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What Catholics Really Believe: Answers to Common Misconceptions About the Faith

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Have you heard these common misconceptions?

  • Whatever the pope says is the gospel truth.
  • At every Mass Jesus is sacrificed again.

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.

"Catholics and others who want to play with a full deck will welcome the fifty-two explanations provided by Karl Keating in What Catholics Really Believe. He deals with each question crisply and clearly. Readers can await the last trump with equanimity."
-Ralph McInerny, University of Notre Dame

"With erudition, wit, and charm, Karl Keating explains some of the most common misunderstandings of the Roman Catholic Church. I highly recommend this work to Catholics seeking better to understand our Faith."
-Cardinal John O'Connor, Archdiocese of New York

"Keating is simply one of the best Catholic apologists alive. He writes in the tradition of, and as a worthy successor to, Frank Sheed and Fulton Sheen. He is thoroughly orthodox, reasonable, clear, and interesting."
-Peter Kreeft, Author, Fundamentals of the Faith



Book One: The Teaching Church and Its Authority

  • The pope can change doctrine.
  • Infallibility means that everything the pope says is true.
  • Vatican II teaches that the Church should be like a democracy.  That's why we have parich councils.
  • Vatican II was such a watershed that it's now a waste of time to read the book written before the Council.
  • Catholics who leave the Church will go to hell.
  • The Church teaches that as long as a Catholic goes to Mass and confess any serious sin, they will go to heaven.
  • We shouldn't spend money on building fancy churches

Book Two: The Bible – Its Inerrancy and Authenticity

  • Before modern times, paypeople weren't allowed to read the Bible.
  • Because of ecumenism Catholics may now read any Bible.
  • Only priests or qualified religious can teach Scripture classes.
  • The Gospels contain lots of inconsistencies.
  • All right, but the Old Testament has lots of contradictions and people and people have known that for at least a century.
  • Catholics don't believe in the inerrancy of the Bible.
  • That is what Protestant believe, especially Fundamentalists.
  • Modern Scripture scholarship has shown the New Testament was written well after the events took place.  The miracle stories are – like fisherman's tales – probably exaggerated and legendary.

Book Three: The Mass and the Sacraments

  • Anyone who wants to can receive Communion at Mass.
  • Vatican II emphasized the spirit instead of the letter of the law, so we are not oblidged to attend Sunday Mass anymore.
  • Jesus dies and is sacrified again at every Mass.
  • Lutherans and Anglicans believe in the Real Presence the same way Catholics do.  They just explain it differently.
  • When you get divorced you are excommunicated automatically and are barred from receiving Communion.
  • The recent practice in many parishes of receiving communion under both species (bread and wine) now means that we need to receive under both kinds, or we haven't received both the body and blood of Christ.
  • If two people marry in the Church and never have children, their marriage is invalid.
  • Everyone knows that an annulment is really the Catholic equivalent of a civil divorce.  Only the words are different.
  • Conscience tells me what's true or false.  Right or wrong.
  • We don't need to go to confession because sins are forgiven by going straight to God.
  • Every Catholic must go to confession at least once a year.

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