It is important to understand what we believe as Catholics, and to understand the true teachings of the Catholic Church. There are so many misconceptions about what we believe. Part of the problem is the many Catholics have no clue about what the Church teaches, and as such they are easily mislead by un-truths. St Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6: 3 - 5, "Anyone who teaches anything different and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is proud and has no understanding, but rather a weakness for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and evil mistrust; and unending disputes by people who are depraved in mind and deprived of truth, and imagine that religion is a way of making a profit." In another article, I shared a brief history of the Catholic Church and the Bible, and the origin of both. Please feel free to review this before reading on.
In this article, we will look at the truth about the Catholic Church and what her true teachings are. The beauty of it as you will see is that it is all scriptural. In fact, the teachings of the Church are based on:
- The Majesterium of the Church
- The Church's traditions
- The Bible
The Creed of the Catholic Church is as follows:
The Apostle’s Creed
We believe in God the Father Almighty, :- The Church believes in one God. That He is All Powerful, Ever Present and knows all. We believe that God is our Father and we are His children. We believe that there are three persons in this One God - the Blessed Trinity - and this is one of the mysteries of the Church. The three Persons are God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
Creator of Heaven and earth,:- We believe that God is the Creator of Heaven and earth; that He alone is Creator, and that we all are His creatures. He alone can give life, and only He should take it away. It is for this reason that the Catholic Church is completely against any movement that does not bring life, why the Church is pro-life and does not support abortion in any form, no mater what the reason might be; and why the Church does not support any form of capital punishment.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord :- The Catholic Church believes in Jesus Christ, who is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity and that He is God’s only Son.
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary,:- We believe the Jesus Christ, God’s Only Son was born of the Virgin Mary, so that He could be one with us - except for sin - so as to save us from the punishment of sin. We believe that it was through the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary conceived and bore Jesus into this world. The Church believes and teaches that Mary is a Virgin and that she is Mother of the Church.
Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.:- We believe that God loved us to such an extent that He constantly seeks to redeem us from death, hell and sin, and as part of His Plan to save us, He sacrificed His Only Son, who suffered, bore a cross to Calvary’s hill, was beaten in the most barbaric manner, spat upon, suffered tremendous pain, and eventually nailed to the cross to die. We believe the Jesus willingly laid down His life that we might be saved.
He descended into Hell :- Prior to Jesus’ resurrection from the dead end because of the sin of man, man could not enter the kingdom of Heaven. The Catholic Church teaches and believes that Jesus descended into the place of death, to free all those who were redeemed by His Blood
The third day He arose again from the dead :- When Jesus died on Calvary, that was not the end - only the beginning for on the third day - the Sunday after His death, He arose from the dead. Death could not hold Him ALLELUIA!
He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty :- After Jesus’ work of salvation was done here on earth, He returned to Heaven where He is enthroned at the right hand of God the Father
From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead :- The Church teaches and believes that Jesus will one day come again to judge us all - both those who have gone before and those who will still be alive.
I believe in the Holy Spirit :- The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. When Jesus ascended into Heaven, He did not leave us alone. Rather, He sent us His Holy Spirit to be our comforter and guide. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that God’s plan of salvation is continuing, and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that we can choose to do what is right and reject what is evil.
The Holy Catholic Church :- We believe that the Church is Holy. The word Catholic means Universal and the Catholic Church is indeed Universal. We believe and we know that the Catholic Church is the true church, since it is the only Christian church that can trace itself all the way back to Jesus. Jesus, who was sent by the Father to accomplish His plan of Salvation in the fullness of time, instituted the Church. Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures. To fulfil God’s will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery.
The Church is also apostolic. This means that she remains, through the successors of St. Peter and the other apostles, in communion of faith and life with her origin: and in that she is "sent out" into the whole world. All members of the Church share in this mission, though in various ways. "The Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as well." Indeed, we call an apostolate "every activity of the Mystical Body" that aims "to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth. The Church therefore has a history that goes back to Jesus and it has structure. This is very important.
The Communion of Saints :- Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others. . . . We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the head. . . . Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members, through the sacraments. As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund.
The term "communion of saints" therefore has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)" and "among holy persons (sancti)."
The forgiveness of sins :- We believe that the Church has the power to forgive sins given to Her by Jesus, the head of the Church. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.
Jesus tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that "we too might walk in newness of life."
When we made our first profession of faith while receiving the holy Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither original sin nor offences committed by our own will, nor was there left any penalty to suffer in order to expiate them. . . . Yet the grace of Baptism delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. On the contrary, we must still combat the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into evil.
In this battle against our inclination towards evil, who could be brave and watchful enough to escape every wound of sin? "If the Church has the power to forgive sins, then Baptism cannot be her only means of using the keys of the Kingdom of heaven received from Jesus Christ. The Church must be able to forgive all penitents their offences, even if they should sin until the last moment of their lives."
It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church.
The resurrection of the body, and life everlasting :- We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity.
Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ. The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.
Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through purification or immediately, -- or immediate and everlasting damnation.
By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has "opened" heaven to us. The life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated into Christ, and is all part of God's plan of Salvation for us - that we might be with Him in Heaven forever.
So be it! Let it be so! So shall it be!
Reference: Catechism Of The Catholic Church
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