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"The Commandments speak of remembering the Sabbath day, and keeping it holy (Gen. 2, 3; Exod. 20, 8). The Sabbath is Saturday, so why do Catholics worship publicly on the first day of the week, that is, Sunday?"

This is a question normally posed by those - such as the Seventh-Day Adventists - who regard Sunday worship as a mark of the Apostate Church of the Beast.

Our Lord Jesus Christ declared that He was Lord of the Sabbath and that its observance was at His disposal: St. Matt. 12, 1-8; St. Mark 2, 24-26; St. Luke 6, 5; St. John 5, 10-11. As a consequence, the early Church, in order to distinguish itself from the worship of the Synagogue, felt itself free to depart from Sabbath worship and worship God on an alternate day of the week. This is evident from the words of St. Paul to the Colossians: "Therefore do not let anyone condemn you in matters of food and drink or of observing festivals, new moons, or sabbaths. These are only a shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ" (2, 16-17).

If Christ Himself had the power to "dispose" of the Sabbath, so too His Church which is His Body. The power of the Church to make such a change is specifically found in Our Lord’s words to St. Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (St. Matt. 16, 19).

From the outset of the Church’s history Christians would replace the Sabbath day with a new day of public worship in commemoration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead - the Day of the Lord. This day is Sunday, the first day of the week:

"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb" (St. Luke 24, 1-2);

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb" (St. John 20, 1).

The official "birthday" of the Church, Pentecost Sunday, also fell on the first day of the week: Acts 2, 1.

The public worship of the Mass was celebrated by the early Christians on Sunday:

"On the first day of the week, when we met to break bread..." (Acts 20, 7).

Collections in support of the Church were gathered on Sunday:

"On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that contributions need not be made when I come" (1 Cor. 16, 2).

St. John received his Revelation on Sunday:

"I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution...was on the island called Patmos...I was in the spirit on the Lord's day..." (Rev. 1, 9-10).

It is important to note that in changing the Sabbath law the Church did not make a change in the divine law obliging men to worship God - a law which is irrevocable - but merely a change in the day on which it was to be offered, that is a change in the positive ceremonial law. All positive laws, including those of divine institution, can be altered or revoked according to changes in time, circumstance or place.

The Fathers:

Sunday worship has always been the worship of the Church:

The Didache (C. 90-150 A.D.):

"On the Lord’s Day of the Lord gather together, break bread and give thanks, after confessing your transgressions so that your sacrifice may be pure..."

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians (110 A.D.):

"Those who lived according to the old order of things have come to a new hope, no longer keeping the Sabbath, but the Lord’s Day, in which our life is blessed by Him and by His death."

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology, C. 67 (C. 155 A.D.):

"We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day (after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day) when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

But the Church of God has thought it well to transfer the celebration and observance of the Sabbath to Sunday.

For, as on that day light first shone on the world, so by the Resurrection of our Redeemer on the same day, by whom was thrown open to us the gate to eternal life, we were called out of darkness into light; and hence the Apostles would have it called the Lord’s day.

We also learn from the Sacred Scriptures that the first day of the week was held sacred because on that day the work of creation commenced, and on that day the Holy Ghost was given to the Apostles.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 2173: The Gospel reports many incidents when Jesus was accused of violating the sabbath law. But Jesus never fails to respect the holiness of this day. He gives this law its authentic and authoritative interpretation: "The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath." With compassion, Christ declares the sabbath for doing good rather than harm, for saving life rather than killing. The sabbath is the day of the Lord of mercies and a day to honor God. "The Son of Man is Lord even of the sabbath."

No. 2175: Sunday is expressly distinguished from the sabbath which it follows chronologically every week; for Christians its ceremonial observance replaces that of the sabbath. In Christ’s Passover, Sunday fulfills the spiritual truth of the Jewish sabbath and announces man’s eternal rest in God. For worship under the Law prepared for the mystery of Christ, and what was done there prefigured some aspects of Christ.



"According to the Presbyterian Minister, Loraine Boettner, the ‘sign of the cross’ was introduced into Catholic worship from paganism at the end of the third century."

There is no direct reference to the use of the Sign of the Cross in worship in Sacred Scripture. Nevertheless, it would be highly presumptuous to denigrate this holy practice simply because of this fact, particularly as Scripture speaks so highly of the Cross as the instrument of our salvation: "May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world" (Gal. 6, 14).

The Sign of the Cross is employed by the Church when it wishes to bestow the blessings of God on animate and inanimate creatures. It has also always been used as a means to mark out Christ’s faithful. In this, it has its prefigurement in the Old Testament: "And the Lord said to him: Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem: and mark Thau upon the foreheads of the men that sigh, and mourn for all the abominations that are committed in the midst thereof...Utterly destroy old and young, maidens, children and women: but upon whomsoever you shall see Thau, kill him not, and begin ye at my sanctuary" (Ezek. 9, 4; 6 [Douai]). Thau is the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet and is in the form of a cross. From the very beginning, Christians have seen in the Thau a prefigurement of Christ’s own Cross, and its application on people’s foreheads, the Sign of the Cross.

Ezekiel 9, 4 has its echo in Rev. 7, 3: "Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have marked the servants of our God with a seal on their foreheads." Can this seal be possibly any different from the "sign of the Son of man" (St. Matt. 24, 30) which is the Cross?

The early Christians were always eager to develop signs and symbols which summarized the great mysteries of the Faith. In the Sign of the Cross, two immense truths are signified together, namely the mystery of the Blessed Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and the misery and humiliation of the Crucifixion. Spontaneously they drew this holy sign "on everything," accompanied by any one of the following words: "Sign of Christ"; "In the Name of Jesus"; "In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" etc.

Constantine, before his great victory in the battle of Milvian Bridge (312 A.D.), which brought him to power as the first Christian Roman Emperor, saw in the sky a cross with the words "In Hoc Signo Vinces" - "in this sign you shall conquer." The victory of every Christian is achieved always through the power of the Cross.

The Fathers:

Tertullian, The Crown (211 A.D.):

"At every forward step and movement, when coming in and going out, when putting on our clothes, when putting on our shoes, when bathing, when at table, when lighting the lamps, when reclining, when sitting, in all the ordinary occupations of our daily lives, we furrow our forehead with the sign."

St. Athanasius, Treatise on the Incarnation of the Word (C. 318 A.D.):

"And while in times past demons, occupying springs or rivers or trees or stones, cheated men by deceptive appearances and imposed upon the credulous by their juggleries, now, after the divine coming of the Word, an end is put to their deceptions. For by the sign of the cross, a man but using it, their wiles are put to flight."

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures (C. 350 A.D.):

"But what - lest a hostile power dare to counterfeit it - is the sign of His coming? ‘And He shall appear,’ He says, ‘the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens.’ Christ’s own true sign is the cross. The sign of a luminous cross shall go before the King, pointing out Him that was formally crucified."

St. Basil the Great, The Holy Spirit (375 A.D.):

"Indeed, were we to try to reject unwritten customs as having no great authority, we would unwittingly injure the Gospel in its vitals; or rather, we would reduce Kerygma to a mere term. For instance, to take the first and most general example, who taught us in writing to sign with the sign of the cross those who have trusted in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ?"

St. Augustine of Hippo, Homilies on John (416 et 417 A.D.):

"If we should say to a catechumen: ‘Do you believe in Christ,’ he will answer, ‘I do believe,’ and he will sign himself. He already carries the cross of Christ on his forehead, and he is not ashamed of the cross of the Lord."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

...that mark by which the Christian is distinguished from all others, as the soldier is by certain badges, should be impressed on the more conspicuous part of the body.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 617: The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ’s sacrifice as "the source of eternal salvation" and teaches that "his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us." And the Church venerates his cross as it sings: "Hail, O Cross, our only hope."

No. 618: The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the "one mediator between God and men." But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, "the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery" is offered to all men. He calls his disciples to "take up (their) cross and follow (him)," for "Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps..."


"Why are Catholic Churches and homes decorated with statues and images in breach of the Commandments?"

God prohibits in the Commandments the making of idols and worshipping them: "You shall not make for yourself an idol...You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God" (Exod. 20, 4-5). A thorough examination of the Old Testament would preclude any interpretation of the Commandments imposing an absolute prohibition of images per se as this would have God prohibiting what He allows and commands elsewhere:

"You shall make two cherubim of gold; you shall make them of hammered work, at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at the one end, and one cherub at the other; of one piece with the mercy seat you shall make the cherubim at its two ends. The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings. They shall face one to another; the faces of the cherubim shall be turned toward the mercy seat" (Exod. 25, 18-20);

"And the Lord said to Moses, Make a poisonous serpent, and set it on a pole; and everyone who is bitten shall look at it and live. So Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole; and whenever a serpent bit someone, that person would look at the serpent of bronze and live" (Num. 21, 8-9);

"In the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olivewood, each ten cubits high" (1 Kgs. 6, 23);

"The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was that of the other cherub. He put the cherubim in the innermost part of the house; the wings of the cherubim were spread out so that a wing of one was touching the one wall, and a wing of the other cherub was touching the other wall; their other wings toward the center of the house were touching wing to wing" (1 kgs. 6, 26-27);

"...on the borders that were set in the frames were lions, oxen, and cherubim. On the frames, both above and below the lions and oxen, there were wreaths of beveled work" (1 Kgs. 7, 29);

"...for the altar of incense made of refined gold, and its weight; also his plan for the golden chariot of the cherubim that spread their wings and covered the ark of the covenant of the Lord" (1 Chron. 28, 18);

"In the most holy place he made two carved cherubim and overlaid them with gold" (2 Chron. 3, 10);

"Under it were panels all around, each of ten cubits, surrounding the sea; there were two rows of panels, cast when it was cast. It stood on twelve oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east; the sea was set on them" (2 Chron. 4, 3-4);

"It was formed of cherubim and palm trees, a palm tree between cherub and cherub. Each cherub had two faces" (Ezek. 41, 18).

Joshua venerated the Ark of the Covenant in the same way Catholics have always honored images: "Then Joshua...fell to the ground on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening" (Josh. 7, 6). It follows that if the Commandments prohibited the making of any images whatsoever, Protestants ought to remove and destroy all their statues of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and even Mount Rushmore, as well as burn all their pictures of relatives, friends etc.

The Jewish practice in this regard was very strict due to their proneness to imitate the idolatry of the surrounding pagans among whom they lived. The same difficulty was had by the early Christians. Yet the Catacombs are a treasury of paintings, gilded glasses, etc., depicting scenes from the lives of Christ, His Mother, the Apostles and other persons of the Old and New Testaments. The mind of the early Christians was clearly a Catholic mind.

The Catholic doctrine on the veneration of images was fully defined by Nicaea II in 787:

"Proceeding as it were on the royal road and following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers, and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition is of the Holy Spirit which dwells in the Church), with all care and exactitude, that the venerable and holy images are set up in just the same way as the figure of the precious and life-giving cross; painted images, and those in mosaic and those of other suitable materials, in the holy churches of God, on holy vessels and vestments, on walls and in pictures, in houses and by the roadsides; images of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ and of our undefiled Lady, the holy God-bearer, and of the honorable angels, and of saintly and holy men. For the more continually these are observed by means of such representations, so much the more will the beholders be aroused to recollect the originals and to long after them, and to pay the images the tribute of an embrace and a reverence of honor, not to pay to them the actual worship which is according to our faith, and which is proper only to the divine nature: but as to the figure of the venerable and life-giving cross, and to the holy Gospels and the other sacred monuments, so to those images to accord the honor of incense and oblation of lights, as it has been the pious custom of antiquity. For the honor paid to the image passes to its original, and he that adores an image adores in it the person depicted thereby..."

"But I have seen a Catholic kissing statues etc.?"

If someone kisses the photograph of his father, is he paying respect to a piece of cardboard, or is it an act of love and respect offered to his father? A Catholic pays respect to images and statues only because they remind him of God, Christ, Our Lady or the Saints. The homage given to the image is referable to the prototype it represents. A pagan adores and worships a statue in itself. A Catholic kisses a Crucifix, not to worship the actual metal or wood image, but because it represents Our Lord and what He did for us. Our Lord would see this and say: "bless you, for you appreciate my sacrifice for you." We should not judge interior dispositions simply from exterior conduct.

The Fathers:

St. Basil the Great, The Holy Spirit (375 A.D.):

"It does not follow that there are two kings because we speak of a king and a king’s image. The authority is not split nor is the glory divided. The sovereignty and power to the authority which we are subject is one, just as the glory we ascribe thereto is not plural but one; for the honor paid to the image passes to the prototype."

St. Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary on the Psalms (Ante 429 A.D.):

"Even if we make images of pious men it is not so that we might adore them as gods but that when we see them we might be prompted to imitate them; and if we make images of Christ, it is so that our minds might wing aloft in yearning for Him."

St. John Damascene, Apologetic Sermons Against Those Who Reject Sacred Images (Post 725 A.D.):

"We would certainly be in error if we were making an image of the invisible God; for what is incorporeal and invisible and uncircumscribable and without defined figure is not able to be depicted. And again, if we were making images of men and thought them gods, certainly we would be impious. But we do not do any of these things."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

Let no one think that this Commandment entirely forbids the arts of painting, engraving or sculpture. The Scriptures inform us that God Himself commanded to be made images of Cherubim, and also the brazen serpent. The interpretation, therefore, at which we must arrive, is that images are prohibited only inasmuch as they are used as deities to receive adoration, and so to injure the true worship of God.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 1159: The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents Christ. It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God, but the incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new "economy" of images:

No. 1161: All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the "cloud of witnesses" who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in sacramental celebrations. Through their iconic, it is man "in the image of God," finally transfigured "into his likeness," who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who also are recapitulated in Christ...



"Where does it say in the Bible that Priests are not allowed to marry? In any case, the Bible states that ‘Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh’ (Gen. 2, 24)."

Celibacy is not a Dogma of Faith but a disciplinary law designed to increase the dignity of the Priesthood. Contrary to popular mythology, celibacy has not always been the rule for priests of the Catholic Church. It was only introduced as a mandatory rule in the Western Church during the eleventh century, while in the East married men have always been allowed to become priests. However, once ordained, an Eastern Rite priest cannot marry, and only celibate monks can be chosen as bishops.

The Divine Master, Himself a Virgin born of a Virgin, spoke of virginity as follows:

"Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can" (St. Matt. 19, 11-12).

Our Lord clearly praises celibacy when undertaken for his service and glory. The injunction to "be fruitful and multiply" in Genesis 1, 28 is only a general counsel for the human race, it is not meant to be obligatory for each individual. Otherwise, Christ would have been counselling and allowing people to live in a state of sin, including St. John the Baptist and all the Apostles except St. Peter.

The teaching of the Apostle of the Gentiles, St. Paul, is naturally the same as Our Lord’s. He, like Christ, led a life of celibacy and recommended it to others:

"To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion...Now concerning virgins, I have no command of the Lord...Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a virgin marries, she does not sin" (1 Cor. 7, 8-9; 25; 27-28).

Furthermore, he expressly states that celibacy is a higher state than the state of marriage:

"So that he who marries his betrothed does well; and he who refrains from marriage will do better" (v. 38).

In the face of the words and examples of Christ and St. Paul how can anyone say that the virginal life is not an excellent one and therefore deny souls the opportunity of following more closely the footsteps of their Master?

St. Paul also gives a practical reason why the Priesthood of Christ should practice celibacy:

"The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about the affairs of the world, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided" (vv 32-34).

The Catholic Church realizes that better work is done for God’s people by a celibate rather than married Clergy.

"But still, is not Celibacy against nature?"

With God all things are possible. Celibacy is not impossible because it is the grace of God, not purely human effort, that keeps a celibate person pure.

"But did not St. Paul say that ‘forbidding marriage’ was one of the ‘teachings of demons’ (1 Tim. 4, 1-3) and that a Bishop should be ‘married only once’ (1 Tim. 3, 2)?"

St. Paul did make such statements, but in the first case he was condemning Gnostic heretics who believed marriage to be evil in itself (while the Catholic Church has always regarded it as a sacrament of Christ); in the second case, St. Paul meant that if a Bishop marries it must be only once, not that he must marry for he himself - as mentioned earlier - never married.

As a final point, the one hundred and forty-four thousand who sing the new canticle and follow the Lamb wherever He goes in the Book of Revelation are all virgins, as St. John relates in Chapter 14.

The Fathers:

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to Polycarp (C. 110 A.D.):

"If anyone is able to remain continent, to the honor of the flesh of the Lord, let him so remain without boasting."

Origen, Against Celsus (C. 248 A.D.):

"Certain ones among the Christians, from a desire of excelling in chastity, and in order to worship God in greater purity, refrain even from physical pleasures as are in accord with the law."

St. Ambrose of Milan, Synodal Letter to Pope Siricius (C. 389 A.D.):

"They pretend to honor marriage; but what praise can be given marriage if there is no glory in virginity?...It is quite right that a good wife be praised, but even better that a pious virgin be preferred."

St. John Chrysostom, Virginity (C. 392 A.D.):

"That virginity is good I do agree. But that it is even better than marriage, this I do confess and if you wish, I will add that it is as much better than marriage as heaven is better than earth, as much better as the angels are better than men. And if there were any other way in which I could say it even more emphatically, I would do so."

St. Augustine of Hippo, Heresies (428 A.D.):

"He (Jovinian) destroyed the virginity of Mary, saying that it was lost by her parturition. He equated the merits of chaste spouses and of the faithful with the virginity of consecrated women and the continence of the male sex in holy persons choosing a celibate life."

Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):

As it is the duty of the pastor to seek the holiness and perfection of the faithful, his earnest desires must be in full accord with those expressed by the Apostle when writing to the Corinthians: I would that all men were even as myself...No greater happiness can befall the faithful in this life than to have their souls distracted by no worldly cares, the unruly desires of the flesh tranquilized and restrained, and the mind fixed on the practice of piety and the contemplation of heavenly things.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):

No. 1618: Christ is the center of all Christian life. The bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social. From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming. Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:

No. 1619: Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away.

No. 1620: Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will. Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:

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