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Transcript of catholicism
The cross that represents what Jesus suffered for his followers is a common Christian symbol, but Catholics take it a step further and add a representation of Christ’s body to the cross and call it a crucifix. The more common symbols used by the Catholic faithful are explained in the following ...
There are more than five million Catholics in Australia. It is the largest single Christian denomination, representing nearly 25% of the community.
The sacred texts in Christian society include the Bible which has two parts, the Old Testament and the New Testament. Any writing the popes have written on doctrine is considered by the Catholics as sacred and infallible.
Catholics are, first and foremost, Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Catholicism shares some beliefs with other Christian practices, but essential Catholic beliefs include the following....
is the inspired, error-free, and revealed word of God.
the rite of becoming a Christian, is necessary for salvation — whether the Baptism occurs by water, blood, or desire.
The existence of the
— one God in three persons. Catholics embrace the belief that God, the one Supreme Being, is made up of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Catholicism shares many beliefs with other Christian faiths, as well as certain prayers, but Catholicism puts its own spin on things.
The Catholic version of the Lord’s Prayer differs a bit from the Protestant version.
A basic understanding of Catholic beliefs can be gained by reading the articles of Catholic faith.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.
This affirms that God exists, that he’s a Triune God (one God in three persons, known as the Holy Trinity), and that he created the known universe.
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
This attests that Jesus is the Son of God and that he’s most certainly divine. The word Lord implies divinity, because the Greek Kyrios and the Hebrew Adonai both mean “lord” and are ascribed only to God. So the use of Lord with Jesus is meant to profess his divinity.
Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
This affirms the human nature of Christ, meaning he had a real, true human mother, and also affirms his divine nature, meaning he had no human father but by the power of the Holy Spirit was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He’s therefore considered both God and man by Christians—fully divine and fully human.
Article 4: He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
The human nature of Christ could feel pain and actually die, and he did on Good Friday. The mention of Pontius Pilate by name wasn’t meant so much to vilify him forever in history but to place the Crucifixion within human history.
He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead.
The hell Jesus descended into wasn’t the hell of the damned, where Jews and Christians believe the devil and his demons reside. Hell was merely a word that Jews and early Christians used to describe the place of the dead.
This passage affirms that on the third day he rose, meaning Jesus came back from the dead of his own divine power. He wasn’t just clinically dead for a few minutes; he was dead dead — then he rose from the dead. More than a resuscitated corpse, Jesus possessed a glorified and risen body.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
The Ascension reminds the faithful that after the human and divine natures of Christ were united in the Incarnation, they could never be separated. In other words, after the saving death and Resurrection, Jesus didn’t dump his human body as if he didn’t need it anymore. Catholicism teaches that his human body will exist forever. Where Jesus went, body and soul, into heaven, the faithful hope one day to follow.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
This article affirms the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world to be its judge. Judgment Day, Day of Reckoning, Doomsday—they’re all metaphors for the end of time when what’s known as the General Judgment will occur.
Catholics pray for the dead, which presupposes that the dead are assisted between death and their entry heaven. For Catholics, perfection is impossible. With God, all things are possible.
I believe in the Holy Spirit.
This part reminds the believer that God exists in three persons — the Holy Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
What’s referred to as the Force in Star Wars isn’t the same as the Holy Spirit, who is a distinct person equal to the other two — God the Father and God the Son.
The Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints
Catholics believe that the Church is more than a mere institution and certainly not a necessary evil. It’s an essential dimension and aspect of spiritual life.
Christ explicitly uses the word church (ekklesia in Greek) in Matthew 16 when he says, “I will build My Church.”
The forgiveness of sins
Christ came to save the world from sin.
Belief in the forgiveness of sins is essential to Christianity.
Catholicism believes sins are forgiven in Baptism and in the Sacrament of Penance.
Article 11: the resurrection of the body
From the Catholic perspective, a human being is a union of body and soul, so death is just the momentary separation of body and soul until the end of the world, the Second Coming of Christ, the General Judgment, and the resurrection of the dead. The just go, body and soul, into heaven, and the damned go, body and soul, into hell.
And in life everlasting.
As Christ Our Savior died, so, too, must mere mortals. As he rose, so shall all human beings. Death is the only way to cross from this life into the next. At the very moment of death, private judgment occurs; Christ judges the soul:
If it’s particularly holy and virtuous, the soul goes directly to heaven.
If it’s evil and wicked and dies in mortal sin, it’s damned for eternity in hell.
If a person lived a life not bad enough to warrant hell but not holy enough to go right to heaven, Catholics believe the soul goes to purgatory, which is a middle ground between heaven and earth, a state where departed souls want to go to be cleansed of any attachments to sin before going through the pearly gates.
Before the Gospels were written, the words and deeds of Jesus were told by word of mouth. In other words, the Gospels were preached before they were written. The spoken word preceded the written word. And after it was written, because the papyrus on which the scrolls were written was so fragile, expensive, and rare, most people didn't read the Word but heard it as it was spoken in church during Mass.
The Church calls it the three-level development of the Gospel: first, the actual sayings and teachings of Christ; second, the oral tradition where the apostles preached to the people what they saw and heard; and third, the writing by the sacred authors to ensure that the message wouldn't be altered.
In addition, the books of the Old Testament are also considered scriptural as these tell of the revelation of God throughout history, before the coming of Christ, but also they point to the coming of Christ through prophesy.
The 10 Commandments
are from the Old Testament summarising the basic obligations an individual has to act towards God.
Christians believe that they were delivered by Moses on Mount Sinai engraved on two tables of stone.
Christian Spiritual Writings and Wisdom
There is a vast range of spiritual writing in the rich tradition of Catholic Christianity which continue to tell the story of God’s relationship with people and the human response to God.
These spiritual writings include writings of the mystics, the fathers and mothers of the Church, the founders of the great traditions of Christian spirituality and other religious and lay people past and present.
The crucifix is a typically Catholic symbol, a cross bearing an image of Jesus being crucified. The graphic symbol of the crucifix became predominant in the Western Church to remind Catholics that Jesus was true man as well as true God and that his suffering and death were very real and painful.
The crucifix reminds Catholics of the high price paid for humankind’s sins and inspires believers to repent of their sins and be grateful for the salvation obtained by Jesus’ death on the cross.
Water blessed by a priest, bishop, or deacon, holy water is a sacramental — a religious object or action created by the Catholic Church as opposed to those instituted by Jesus himself. Holy water is used as a symbolic reminder of Baptism. On entering or leaving a church, Catholics dip their right hand, usually with two fingers, into a font, a cup of holy water on a wall near the doors of the church, and make the sign of the cross.
Holy water can be used to drive out demons; so on rare occasions the Church uses it for that purpose.
Anytime a priest or deacon blesses a religious article, such as rosary beads, a statue, or a medal of one of the saints, he sprinkles holy water on the object after saying the prayers of blessing.
Before Christianity, Hindus strung beads and used them to help count their prayers. Buddhists, Taoists, and Muslims have also used prayer beads to assist them in their private devotions. Hebrews used to tie 150 knots on a string to represent the 150 Psalms of the Bible.
According to pious Catholic tradition, in the 13th century, Mary, the Mother of God, appeared to St. Dominic de Guzman, gave him a rosary, and asked that instead of praying the Psalms on the beads or knots, the faithful pray the Hail Mary, Our Father, and the Glory Be.
Catholics often wear special religious articles, such as medals and scapulars, as a type of personal devotion. Scapulars are worn around the neck and have two pieces of cloth — one piece rests on the chest and the other on the back.
These items aren’t considered good luck charms, magical amulets, or anything like that. Catholics don’t believe that medals and scapulars prevent sickness or stop you from sinning, and they’re not a get-out-of-hell-free card. Catholics use them as mere reminders to stay close to God and to try to imitate the sanctity and holiness of the saints. They’re just tangible symbols of the faith, such as a crucifix.
Scapulars and medals
The Church is made up of bishops, priests, deacons, men and women belonging to religious orders and lay people.
Through their baptism, all are called to enter into the life of the Church.
The Church in Australia is organised into thirty-three dioceses, each headed by a Bishop.
Dioceses include geographic areas as well as Eastern rites and the Military diocese.
Each diocese is made up of smaller geographic areas, called parishes.
Worshipping as a Catholic: the Holy Mass
The second pillar of faith in the Catholic religion is the seven sacraments — or in more general terms, divine worship of God as celebrated in the sacred liturgy. The ceremonies, rituals, and rites performed for the past 2,000+ years were developed by the Church to render worship of the Almighty, to teach the faith to the believers, and to give moral guidance on how to live that faith.
The seven sacraments are the most sacred and ancient Catholic rites; they mark the seven major stages of spiritual development:
Baptism: You are born.
Holy Eucharist: You are fed.
Confirmation: You grow.
Penance: You need healing.
Anointing of the Sick: You recover.
Matrimony: You need family.
Holy Orders: You need leaders.
Because humans have five senses and can’t physically see what’s happening in the spiritual realm, the seven sacraments involve physical, tangible symbols (such as the water used in Baptism, the oil for anointing, and unleavened bread and wine).
Symbols help connect us to the invisible spiritual reality, the divine grace (God’s gift of unconditional love) given in each sacrament.
Catholics belong to their own churches, called parishes, which are local places of worship.
The Holy Mass (the Catholic daily and weekly church service) is a re-enactment of Holy Thursday (when Jesus celebrated the Last Supper) and Good Friday (when He died to purchase the rewards of eternal life in heaven for humankind).
The word church has many meanings.
Most obviously, it can signify a building where sacred worship takes place. The Catholic Church is not one particular building even though the head of the Church (the pope) lives next to Saint Peter’s Basilica (the largest church in the world) in Rome.
People who use the church building — the body or assembly of believers — are also known as the Church.
Catholic Churches may differ liturgically, but they’re still Catholic. The two main lungs of the Church are the Latin (Western) Church and the Eastern Catholic Church.
The Latin (Western) Church
follows the ancient traditions of the Christian community in Rome since the time of St. Peter and St. Paul; most parishes in the United States, Canada, Central America, and South America celebrate this type of Mass, said in either the location’s common tongue or Latin.
The Eastern Catholic Church
, which includes the Byzantine Rite, celebrates its Mass like Greek or Russian Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Both Masses are cool by the pope, though.
At an even more profound level, the entire universal church (meaning the Catholic Church around the world) is theologically considered the Mystical Body of Christ.
In other words, the Church sees itself as the living, unifying, sanctifying, governing presence of Jesus Christ on Earth today. Not just an organisation with members or an institution with departments, the Church is an organic entity; it is alive.
Its members, as Saint Paul says in his epistle (1 Corinthians 12:12–31), are like parts in a body. Just as your body has feet, hands, arms, legs, and so on, the Church has many parts but is also one complete and whole body.
Unlike a club or association, the Church is more than an informal gathering of like-minded people with similar goals and interests.
The Church was founded by Christ for a specific purpose: to save us.
The Church is an extension of Jesus and continues the work begun by Him.
He came to teach, sanctify, and govern God’s people as the Anointed One.
The Church is necessary for salvation because it is the Mystical Body of Christ, and Christ is necessary for salvation because He is the One Mediator between God and man.
Anyone who has not consciously and deliberately rejected Christ and the Catholic Church can still be saved. In other words, besides the formal members (baptised, registered parishioners), there are many anonymous and unofficial members of the Church who act in good faith and follow their conscience, living virtuous lives. Someone may be innocently ignorant of the necessity of Christ and His Church and still achieve salvation from both.
One body with many members: That is how the Church sees itself.
The Church’s mission is to provide everything its members need — spiritually, that is. From the seven sacraments that give grace to the Magisterium that teaches essential truths to the hierarchy that brings order through laws and governance, the Church is there to give the soul what it needs on its journey to heaven.
Deacon – like Reverend Deacon Mark Kelly
Priest – like Reverend Father Herman Hengel
Monsignor – like Reverend Monsignor Daniel McCartan
Bishop – like Most Reverend Bishop Christopher Prouse
Archbishop – like Most Reverend Archbishop Denis Hart
Three types of 'holy orders' in the Catholic Church
Catholic moral theology is a major category of doctrine in the Catholic Church, equivalent to a religious ethics. Moral theology encompasses Roman Catholic social teaching, Catholic medical ethics, sexual ethics, and various doctrines on individual moral virtue and moral theory. It can be distinguished as dealing with "how one is to act," in contrast to dogmatic theology which proposes "what one is to believe."
Sources of Catholic moral theology include both the Old Testament and the New Testament, and philosophical ethics such as natural law that are seen as compatible with Catholic doctrine.
The Old Testament provides an ethical guideline that many Catholics try to follow. Catholics believe that God handed down the Ten Commandments to Moses, who shared it with the Jewish people.
These commandments prohibit acts such as murder, theft, bearing false witness and adultery, as well as mental acts, such as coveting another person's possessions or wife and failing to honour one's parents.
Furthermore, the Ten Commandments advocate the moral responsibility of respecting God by not taking his name in vain, not worshiping other gods, and keeping the Sabbath a holy day of rest.
For Christians, spiritual experience signifies the interaction
of God. It is a vitally important aspect of Christian spirituality
that indicates a relationship and interaction between the believer and God.
For some Christians a spiritual experience is a discovery of the inner “self”, or an opportunity to get in touch with the core of their existence. For others a spiritual experience means transcending the physical reality and contact between the self and divinity.
Spiritual experience can happen during everyday rituals or events, such as during prayer, whilst attending a church service or mass, or when life brings you a feeling of great joy.
The birth of a baby, for instance, can be a spiritual experience for some people.
For some people, going on a pilgrimage can be a spiritual experience. Many Christians travel to Jerusalem in order to gain a spiritual experience - retracing the steps of Jesus Christ.