Questions I Answered Monday on “Catholic Answers Live”

by Steve Ray on August 21, 2007

It is always a great pleasure to work with Catholic Answers. They are a class-act organization. Monday I was the guest for the monthly "Tough Questions from Non-Catholics." We had some great calls and it seemed everyone was real honest and had good questions.

You can listen to the show on RealAudio by clicking here, or take advantage of their other downloads here.

1) Do Anglicans believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist?
2) Is St. Peter's Basilica in Rome really built over the tomb of St. Peter?
3) I have been reading Jehovah's Witness materials and they say the soul is not immortal. Is it?
4) If there is Apostolic Succession, how can Pope's do bad things like calling men to arms? What is infallibility?
5) A Dutch priest is encouraging Catholic to pray to Allah. Is Allah the same God as our Christian God?
6) Was Martin Luther a full-flegded priest when he broke away from Rome?
7) Why do Catholics make salvation so complicated with all their rituals and sacraments? Baptism is NOT necessary for Salvation – just look at the thief on the cross.
8) Why does the Catholic Church allow Hispanic nations to worship idols and statues?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Oliver August 22, 2007 at 10:24 AM

Hello Mr. Ray, God bless you and your work !

I’ve just a remark following one of your answers, where you said Allah wasn’t the same God as the God revealed to us by the Bible and by Jesus. What do you do of Nostra Aetate (par. 5) ?
“The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems. They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all- powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth,(5) who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.”
(Of course that’s in line with other catholic texts, e.g. the letter of the pope Gregory VII, cited in footnote of Nostra Aetate, or the medieval Summae insisting on arguing with Muslims about our respective concepts of God, which entails two things : that when they think Allah they’re aiming to the one and true God, and that they concept of him is false.)

So the Magisterium does say Muslims adore the one God, living and per se subsistens. As there is only one such God, it is the same as ours. That is of course not to say their concept, their representation, of God, isn’t utterly false; but the text I quoted says that their act of adoration is, however deviated, directed to the one and true God.
Maybe you agree with this text and the nuance I point, and maybe what you wanted to suggest is that difference of concept. But I think you should have made a distinction and have told the positive and the negative sides of the answer to the ‘same God’ question.
Anyway I congratulate you for your remarkable – and live – answers, and ensure you of my prayers for you and your apostolic work.

Steve Ray August 22, 2007 at 11:53 AM

Hello Oliver:

Thanks for your kind words and astute comments. These are deep waters and it is a very complicated and nuanced topic — one fraught with emotion and varying opinions. I have some pretty strong opinions on it myself and I don't think I am in disagree with what the Magiserium has taught. I do think, as you implied by your comments, that the answer can be YES and NO depending on the emphasis or the angle from which we approach it.

I post this question on my Message Board and it is generating some interesting discussion and I invite you to join in at http://forums.catholic-convert.com/viewtopic.php?t=76756.

Olivier August 24, 2007 at 2:45 AM

Thank you for your answer. I’ll have a look at the discussion.

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