Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked (Part III)

July 13, 2014

Below is the next installment of my summer series from Our Sunday Visitor’s “Top Ten Questions Catholics Are Asked” (Click here to read Part I or Part II).

OSV offers a regular pamphlet series on various Catholic issues/teachings. Check out their website for more info.

Summer blessings, Fr. Brian


We Catholics are often asked tough questions about our Catholic faith and its relationship to the Bible. Here are the ten most-asked questions, and the answers that should help you satisfy both your questioner and yourself.

6. Why do you pray to idols (statues)?

No Catholic who knows anything about the Catholic faith has ever worshiped a statue (as in pagan idolatry). If we cherish the memory of mere political heroes with statues, and that of war heroes with monuments, then there can be no objection to honoring saints and righteous men and women: “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet 2:17 — see also Rom 12:22 23). Statues are simply a visual reminder of great saints and heroes of the faith (Heb 11), who are more alive than we are (2 Cor 3:18), as is evident by their praying: “O Sovereign Lord…how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (Rev 6:10 — see also Ps 35:17). The saints in heaven were never intended by God to be cut off from the Body of Christ on earth. They are involved in intercession, just as the saints on earth are, and they are described as “so great a cloud of witnesses” (Heb 12:1).

5. Why do you confess yours sins to a priest?

Jesus Christ gave his disciples — and by extension, priests — the power not only to “loose” sins (that is, forgive in God’s name), but also to “bind” (that is impose penances): “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 18:18 — see also Mt 16:19). “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:23). The priest serves as the representative of God and of His mercy. Confession gives new courage, confidence, and a fresh start. One learns humility by this practice, receives additional grace in order to avoid sin, and attains a certainty of forgiveness that is superior to mere feelings. Confession is also indicated in Matthew (3:5-6), Acts (19:18), and 1 John (1:9).

(Click here to read Part IV)