What Catholics Really Believe: 52 Answers to Common Misconceptions about the Catholic Faith

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Ignatius Press, 1995 - Religion - 155 pages
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The popular apologist and best-selling author of Catholicism and Fundamentalism addresses fifty-two of the most common misconceptions about the Catholic Faith that are held by many Catholics and Protestants. Drawing upon Scripture and the Catholic tradition, he not only shows the logical errors in these positions but clearly spells out Catholic teaching and explains the rationale behind frequently misunderstood doctrines and practices. An excellent guide to what Catholics really believe and why.

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There are many topics and issues in Catholic faith that elicit a not too small amount of controversy. Unfortunately, most of those topics and issues are poorly understood, by either the critics or Catholics themselves. A lot can be said about the poor levels of catecheses of Catholics, but that will not help us much when confronting the real world situations and may in fact be counterproductive - it can in fact dissuade some Catholics from learning more about their faith. In the light of all of this, Karl Keating's book is a Godsend. It deals honestly, succinctly and informatively with all those hot button issues that surround Catholicism. The book is broken down in several major sections, each one of which contains a number of questions that one might ask about Catholic faith. The total of 52 questions comprehensively covers most of the more controversial topics. The book is fairly short, and thus it should be accessible to anyone who is serious about learning more about Catholic faith. For Catholics who have had either an inadequate formation in their faith or who have forgotten most of it this book can serve as a refresher course. On the other hand, for those who have major misgivings about Catholicism this book can server to dispel some misconceptions or at least to give an accurate picture of what it is that Catholics really believe. It may not persuade them in the soundness of the doctrines or the reasoning behind them, but at least it will provide and honest and accurate information about them. 

Selected pages


27 The Immaculate Conception means that Mary did not need a Savior
28 Catholics must believe Mary really appeared at Fatima Lourdes and other sites of apparitions approved by the Church
29 We should get rid of the rosary because its an obstacle to ecumenism
Our Eternal Destiny
30 Everyone is basically good and almost everyone will go to heaven
31 Purgatory is not an essential doctrine but an optional one just like limbo
32 Everyone except for canonized saints and martyrs must spend at least some time in purgatory before going to heaven
33 The Church dropped its old belief in indulgences that you can get time off in purgatory by performing some specified religious acts and prayers

7 The Church teaches that as long as Catholics go to Mass and confess any serious sin they will go to heaven
8 We shouldnt spend money on building fancy churches
The Bible Its Inerrancy and Authenticity
9 Before modern times laypeople werent allowed to read the Bible
10 Because of ecumenism Catholics may now read any Bible translation
11 Only priests or qualified religious can teach Scripture classes
12 The Gospels contain lots of inconsistencies
13 All right but the Old Testament has lots of contradictions and people have known that for at least a century
14 Catholics dont believe in the inerrancy of the Bible That is what Protestants believe especially Fundamentalists
15 Modern Scripture scholarship has shown the New Testament was written well after the events took place The miracle stories are like fishermans ta...
The Mass and the Sacraments
16 Anyone who wants to can receive Communion at Mass
17 Vatican II emphasized the spirit instead of the letter of the law so we are not obliged to attend Sunday Mass anymore
18 Jesus dies and is sacrificed again at every Mass
19 Lutherans and Anglicans believe in the Real Presence in the same way we Catholics do They just explain it differently
20 When you get divorced you are excommunicated automatically and are barred from receiving Communion
21 The recent practice in many parishes of receiving Communion under both species bread and wine now means that we need to receive under both ...
22 If two people marry in the Church and never have children their marriage is invalid
23 Everyone knows that an annulment is really the Catholic equivalent of a civil divorce Only the words are different
24 Conscience tells me whats true or false right or wrong
25 We dont need to go to confession because sins are forgiven by praying straight to God
26 Every Catholic must go to confession at least once a year
The Immaculate Conception Apparitions and the Rosary
34 Hell isnt permanent Eventually all creatures will be reunited with God
35 Priests and deacons shouldnt even mention hell Doing so is uncharitable
36 The Catholic Church teaches we earn salvation by good works
37 Reason plays no role in our salvation We just have to believe
38 A Christian can believe in reincarnation
Evangelization Missionaries and Better Homilies
39 Catholics dont outwardly evangelize like other Christians because they think actions speak louder than words
40 All Christians agree on essentials so we shouldnt worry about secondary points of doctrine
42 Priests should speak only positively from the pulpit and shouldnt concentrate on negative things
43 All we can do is pray for better homilies We shouldnt say anything to our priests since theyre in charge
Catholic Customs Devotions and Disciplines
44 We should eliminate oldfashioned customs such as holy water since they put unnecessary barriers between us and other Christians
5 and that woman arent supposed to cut their hair 1 Cor 116 14 15 Seems reasonable to me
46 Priestly celibacy is unnatural and unnecessary in the modern world The pope should just let priests marry
47 Relics come from a superstitious age and should be done away with
The Spirit World and Superstitions
48 This is a scientific age We know miracles dont happen anymore
49 I dont believe in angels as shown on old holy cards Thats just ancient superstition
50 We know now the devil is imaginary
51 The Church affirms extraterrestrials exist
52 Astrology is just a harmless pastime

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About the author (1995)

Karl Keating is the founder of Catholic Answers. He is a well-known Catholic speaker and apologist, and is the best-selling author of several books, including Catholicism and Fundamentalism, What Catholics Really Believe, and Controversies: High-Level Catholic Apologetics.

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