Q. 1. I am confused by the words of Jesus to the thief on Calvary. Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." If the thief was really with Jesus in Paradise on the same day, then Jesus could not have died for three days as the Church teaches.
A. 1. You are truthful in your reasoning based on how the punctuation is placed in the words of Jesus. Unfortunately, the punctuation used in most Bibles is wrong. Jesus did not say to the thief that he would be with him in Paradise on the same day. He told him that He was promising him on that same day, that the thief would be in Paradise with him. Rewording it, it would sound like, Truly I tell you today, you will be with me in Paradise. Noticed what I did, I moved the comma where it belongs. The comma should not be after the word "you" but rather after the word "today." That changes the entire meaning of what Jesus said.
If the comma is placed before the word "today," it is a denial that Jesus died for three days. If the comma is placed after the word "today," it supports that Jesus died for three days.