Catholic Q&A

  1. I would like to learn something about Christianity. How do I go about it?
  2. In order to become a Christian believer do I have to undertake any hard study?
  3. I heard Christians can neither smoke cigarettes nor imbibe alcoholic drinks. Can a person who cannot follow such a strict moral life become a Christian?
  4. When I hear the word ‘Church’ I get the idea that it is a place to which serious and fervent people go, and that makes me feel nervous. Is a weak-willed and lethargic person ineligible to become a believer?
  5. I can gain an understanding by participating in church lectures, listening to commentaries, and so on, but when I read the Bible by myself I am not able to understand it, and besides, I find it hard to sustain my interest in it. Could you please teach me how to read the Bible?
  6. Is it necessary to believe in God? Even if we do not believe in God can’t we lead a life free of problems?
  7. How do we know whether God truly exists?
  8. I can believe in the existence of God and transcendental beings, but why does it have to be Jesus Christ? We have other traditional religions in Japan. Is not salvation possible outside Christianity?
  9. Is not the creation of heaven and earth as described in the Bible inconsistent with the theory of evolution?
  10. If a person has committed great sins in the past, how can he or she be forgiven? What sort of restitution should the person make?
  11. I heard that Christianity strictly prohibits abortion. If there happen to be people with such an unfortunate past, is there no salvation for them?
  12. There are some people whom I simply cannot forgive. Christianity teaches that if you do not forgive others, you cannot obtain forgiveness from God. Is there no salvation for people like me?
  13. Even now on recalling my sins of the past, my heart feels dark. Every time I think about my ugliness, I fall into self-loathing. Will forgiveness be granted to a person like me?
  14. In Christianity, crosses are placed in front of churches. Yet for Japanese people who are familiar with the gentle-faced statues of the Buddha, would it not be something difficult for them to get accustomed to?
  15. When I read the Gospels, I learned that Jesus cried aloud on the cross saying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If Jesus is the Son of God, then why did he cry aloud in that pitiful manner?
  16. How does the death of Jesus serve as forgiveness of our sins? I heard it was for the “Redemption” of mankind. I am not sure what that means.
  17. Christianity states that Christ was resurrected from the dead. Do we have to take it seriously when people say that a dead individual has been raised to life again and so on?
  18. Would it be okay to read the account of the resurrection presented in the Bible as a work of literature? As a metaphor for the message of hope the resurrection of Jesus is beautiful and easily explicable. Is it necessary for me to understand it as something historical?
  19. I am of the opinion that the experience of the resurrection of Jesus that the disciples had was not something physical, but was possessed of a spiritual dimension. It is said that from the end of the Edo period to the present, most teachers of new religions began religious activities after long periods of meditation and ascetical practices. Can the fact that after experiencing the resurrection of Jesus the disciples built the Church, be viewed as such a “spiritual revelation”?
  20. People linked to new religions say that misfortunes occurring within a house are due to possession by evil spirits. Would it okay to consider the “Holy Spirit” in Christianity as a “guardian spirit”?
  21. Was the event of “Pentecost” as presented in the “Acts of the Apostles” a one-time event? Cannot it be experienced by us today?
  22. How does the Holy Spirit who guided Jesus differ from the Holy Spirit he sent to his disciples after he was raised from the dead?
  23. I can understand it when you say you believe in the God that Jesus preached. However, that is not all. In Christianity, is Jesus himself worshipped as God?
  24. I think the teachings of Jesus are wonderful. However, I cannot go along with Christians who believe that Christ is the son of God. Even in the new religions there are many masters who refer to themselves as “children of God.” Should I understand it in the same way?
  25. It is said that Jesus was born without original sin. That means Jesus was not a human being but a messenger of God. You said that the resurrection is the central truth of Christianity, and that the resurrection of Jesus is the “first fruit” of the resurrection of all and the basis of hope. Can the resurrection of Jesus, who was not originally a human being, be a guarantee for the resurrection of us humans who have original sin?
  26. Christianity speaks of the concept of the Trinity. This is something I do not understand. Could you please explain it to me?
  27. I cannot agree with the explanation on the Trinity. Regarding the statement, “If you believe that Jesus is the one who in an absolute way is the mediator of God it already implies faith in the Trinity,” would that not mean that Jesus is merely a mediator, and not God? As it is said in the following passages from the Gospel of John, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, I am!” (John 8:58); and “ I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30), I was taught that like the Father, Jesus also was God.
  28. What happens to human beings when they die? Does the concept of reincarnation that we have in Buddhism exist in Christianity as well?
  29. What makes you believe there is “eternal life” after death?
  30. If we consider human salvation as eternal life, it would ultimately mean that the world we now live in is no longer important. Would it not mean that we would then live merely with a desire for the “other world”?
  31. If your religion were different, would you go to a different place after death?
  32. How can we offer a memorial service for those who have died under ill-fated circumstances? Is there a memorial service for the dead in Christianity?
  33. I feel the transience of this world intently. Would it not be better to accept one’s given situation without thinking too hard about it? To live in an open manner without being too particular about it?
  34. Even if we do not presume to believe in “eternal life” and so on, would it not be enough if we lived to the best of our ability in this world?
  35. My working husband suddenly collapsed and passed away. In cases of those who die in the midst of their work, would it be okay to ponder over their deaths? The Bible says “death is the result of sin.” Does that mean my husband died because of his sins?
  36. In Christianity, when a person dies, they say, “he was called away by God.” If God controls the life and death of people, what is the reason for calling away a person in the middle of his life?
  37. If God cares for each and every human being, then why is there so much injustice in the world? For those who are handicapped with regard to both natural abilities and circumstances, what can be done in order that they may lead lives of hope?
  38. I feel devastated by the unending misfortunes in my family. Is it because I am a sinner that God does not care for me?
  39. If God is truly kind, then why is there suffering in the world?
  40. I work as a volunteer for the disabled. People have asked me why they were born with such bodies, if human beings are created in the “image of God.” How shall I answer them?
  41. When I consider the critical state of world affairs and the problem of environmental pollution on the earth, I feel uneasy about the future. Some Christian denominations are actively preaching on the streets that the end of the world is approaching, that judgment is imminent, and so on. Is that the case? What does the Catholic Church think about this?
  42. I have studied Christianity quite a bit so far, but there is one thing I cannot quite comprehend. I envy those who obediently believe in it. Am I by nature an unbeliever?
  43. In our house we do not believe in any particular religion. However, since I was a child we would join our hands together and pray to God. Is this type of prayer okay in Christianity?
  44. Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life I really desire to pray, but I don’t know how to do so. Could you please teach me how to pray?
  45. I am very much interested in astrology. I have been helped by horoscopes when I was depressed. Does that disqualify me as a Christian?
  46. We hear the phrase “Choice of God.” Is salvation available only to those whom God has chosen? Is there no salvation for those who are not chosen?
  47. Christians often speak of the “call of God” or “will of God.” Is it possible for us to know what God wants of us? If that is so, how do we come to know it?
  48. In the recent Gulf War, both sides claimed to fight in the name of God. Is religion a promoter of war? How does the Catholic Church view this war?
  49. I can understand Christians calling for the separation of Church and state on the occasion of the Daijosai Festival (the Great Thanksgiving Festival Service after the enthronement of an emperor), but why do they oppose the Emperor System itself? Is the Emperor System incompatible with Christian faith?
  50. Jews are often hated. Is it because they put Christ to death? Can we allow the Jews to occupy Palestine and oppress its inhabitants just because the land was promised to them in the Bible?
  51. There seem to be many different denominations of Christianity. In what way do Catholicism and Protestantism differ?
  52. If we study the history of Christianity in the West, we see that it has been a source of strife rather than peace. Even today Catholics and Protestants are fighting each other in Ireland. Why is this?
  53. I am attracted to the teachings of Jesus Christ, but I am unable to move to the point of receiving Baptism. Is Baptism necessary for salvation?
  54. I have a desire to be baptized, but people in my house are opposed to it. Should I be baptized even if it causes discord in my family?
  55. I agree with the teachings of Jesus Christ, but I feel uncomfortable with the Church. The statues displayed inside a church and the rituals held there, seem like a world that I am not allowed to be a part of. Is it permissible to be a disciple of Jesus but not be a member of the Church?
  56. A Christian friend informed me that the Catholic Church is not faithful to the Bible, and that it teaches as doctrine things that are not in the Bible. Is this true?
  57. I have been going to church for a while, but the hassle of relationships has kept me away. Why do believers, who are supposed to know God’s love so well, complain about others behind their backs?
  58. I am having a tough time getting along with the newly appointed Parish Priest. Can I shift to another Church?
  59. If Protestant pastors are permitted to get married why do Catholic priests have to remain unmarried?
  60. Please tell me something about Angels. They appear often in the Bible, as in the case when it was announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that she was going to become the Mother of Jesus, the shepherds were informed of the birth of Christ, and so on. Do angels really exist?
  61. The Catholic Church appears to have many Saints. May we consider them as guardian deities, so to speak?
  62. I was informed that both the Bible and Christianity were originally born in Judea, which is a patriarchal society, and that the image of God and the teachings of the faith are all male-centric. Isn’t that a bias?
  63. It is not misogynistic to say that women cannot be ordained in the Catholic Church?
  64. Endo Shusaku writes that what he finds frustrating on reading the Bible, is the fact that he does not see any sexual problems in Jesus. Then again, had Jesus transcended such problems of the common people?
  65. I heard there are different groups within the Catholic Church, such as Franciscans, Dominicans, and so on. How do they differ from each other?
  66. I always admire the kindness and cheerfulness of the Sisters. I wonder what kind of life they lead.
  67. What sort of people become Sisters? Is it possible to be live temporarily in a convent in order to gain the experience?
  68. In recent years I hear that mutual dialogue and cooperation among Christian denominations has increased. Then why do you exclude the Unification Church by saying that it is not Christian?
  69. There is a Mormon church in the vicinity, and polite foreign youth eagerly recruit on the streets. Can it be viewed as an orthodox Christian denomination?
  70. I see Jehovah’s Witnesses moving from door to door, and newspapers often mention their refusing blood transfusions and so on. What denomination are they?
  71. I heard Christians believe in the Virgin Birth. Is that medically possible?
  72. We often hear about apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her miracles. Do you adore Mary more than Christ in the Catholic Church?
  73. In the "Hail Mary" that Catholics love to recite, I have a question about the words, “Holy Mary, Mother of God.” In the Bible, why is the Blessed Virgin the Mother of Heaven when God the Father is the Lord of Heaven?