Catholicism Written Report
The religion I have chosen to report on is Catholicism. For one reason, it is one of the oldest religions and has much complexity and history behind it; the word Catholic is from the Greek word “katholike”, meaning throughout the whole. And the Greek word “ekklesia”, is the word for Church, combined they make The Catholic Church founded by the Catholic religion which over a period of thousands of years was created and remains one of the oldest organized religions throughout the history of religions.
The Catholic Church has been around since the death of Jesus Christ and is thought to have been created by the apostle Peter, who was his disciple. Throughout the creation of the Catholic religion bishops are thought to be the successors to all the apostles. This religion just like Christianity, and Judaism, originated in Jerusalem and [Catholic beliefs are based on the deposit of Faith containing both the Holy Bible and Sacred Tradition handed down from the time of the Apostles, which are interpreted by the Church’s teaching authority. Those beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed and formally detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.] (Wikipedia, 2009)
During the 11th century there was a major rift within Catholicism dealing with conflicts between methods of Church government and of separation of rites and practices. [The most recent major split within the Catholic Church occurred in the 16th century with the Protestant Reformation, after which many parts of the Catholic Church rejected the leadership of Rome and reformed themselves, becoming Protestant. All of the preceding groups, including Protestants, consider themselves to be fully and completely Catholic. All of them claim to be either part of the Catholic Church or the only Catholic Church.] (Space and motion, 2009)
It is thought that the Roman Catholic Church is the biggest denomination of Christianity; this denomination contains over a billion members and claims to be the original Christian Church. There are also many different sects of Catholicism through out the world; some of those who consider themselves to be Catholic [are the Old Catholic Church, the Liberal Catholic Church, the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, similar groups among Filipinos and Poles, and some elements of Anglicanism (“High Church Anglicans” or “Anglo-Catholics”). These groups hold spiritual beliefs and practice religious rituals similar to those of Roman Catholics of the Latin Rite from which they emerged, but reject the Pope’s claimed status and authority] (Space and Motion, 2009) Russia also holds many members of the Catholic Church within its country.
The Catholic Church also has much different orthodoxy which also span the globe and Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox consider themselves to be the original and true Catholic Church and regard western Catholics as heretical because they left the original and Apostolic church and do not have direct oversight of another Bishop. These orthodoxies condone a primary code of honor to the Bishop of Rome, but are not acceptant of monarchical claims; beliefs and practices tend to differ from denomination to denomination but all follow the teachings from the bible.
The inner workings of the church are from direct and continuous organizational descent from the original church founded by Jesus Christ. [The Church’s highest earthly authority in matters of faith, morality, and governance is the Pope, currently Pope Benedict XVI, who holds supreme authority in concert with the College of Bishops, of which he is the head. The Catholic community is made up of an ordained ministry and the laity; members of either group may belong to organized religious communities.] (Wikipedia, 2009) Catholics believe in one true god whose existence is made up of the Father, Son, and The Holy Ghost. The central belief system of Catholics can be summarized from the Nicene Creed; which is also the central statement from other Christian denominations.
Based on the promises of Jesus from the Gospels, the Church believes that it is continually guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected infallibly from falling into doctrinal error. The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit reveals God’s truth through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. Sacred Scripture, or the Catholic Bible, consists of those books found in the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament. The Church’s teaching authority which through apostolic succession is exercised by the pope and the college of bishops in union with the pope.
The Catholic Church teaches that god is the source and creator of all existence and is directly involved in people’s lives but their souls occupy an invisible, spiritual world that worships and serves God. The fall of man happens often in this world and Catholics still believe that a soul can be saved and hold the belief that [The soul did not evolve, according to Catholic doctrine, but was infused into man and woman directly by God. The Church believes that people can be cleansed of original sin and all personal sins through Baptism. This sacramental act of cleansing admits a person as a full member of the natural and supernatural Church and can only be conferred on a person once] (Wikipedia, 2009)
How a person lives on this planet according to the Catholic faith determines what will happen to them in the afterlife. The belief in the afterlife is part of the Catholic faith and written in a doctrine, the last four things; death, judgment, heaven, and hell; which basically speak for their selves and the last steps to life on this earth and what will happen to the soul after judgment. This also includes three states of afterlife, and purgatory is feared the most because a person’s soul is basically in limbo because that person did not fully accept god and his will or repent and confess their sins.
Attending mass is the Catholic equivalent of the Christian version of going to church and is considered to be a holy obligation to be carried out every Sunday. Once a year Catholics are required to attend confession to confess their sins and ask God for his forgiveness, this is the center of Catholic worship. [Mass consists of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist Because the Church teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist there are strict rules about its celebration and reception. The ingredients of the bread and wine used in the Mass are specified and Catholics must abstain from eating for one hour before receiving Communion] (Wikipedia, 2009)
Prayer is also very important to the Church as well because according to the Gospel of Luke, Jesus instructed his disciples to pray always and the Church responded to this request with The Liturgy of the Hours and priests and deacons are required to pray to it every day. Paying to God and having your prayers answered does not depend on the number of words spoken but on the fervor of our souls. The three most common prayers for the devout Catholic are The Lords Prayer, the Rosary, and the Stations of the Cross. There are other forms of contemplative prayer but they all are to try and become closer to God and are part of the sacred readings.
Although Jesus is thought to be the head of the religion, the pope is the spiritual leader of the whole Churches organization.[ The pope governs from the Vatican City in Rome – a sovereign nation of which he is the head of state. Each pope is elected for life by the College of Cardinals, a body composed of clerics (normally bishops) who have been elevated to the rank of cardinal. The cardinals, who also serve as papal advisors, may select any Catholic male as pope, but if the candidate is not already a bishop, he must become one before taking office.] (Wikipedia, 2009)
There are several Catholic monastic orders. The most well-known being the Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians. Catholic monks and nuns are known to take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and devote themselves to a simple life focused on worshipping God and all his glory.
There has been some contriversary surrounding this religion simply because of the size of it and the fact that the whole churches organization is controlled by the pope in the Vatican City, in Italy. The most recent controversy in this religion I do not wish to discuss in depth has to deal with priests and small boys, my concern with this matter is that if they just now caught it, how long has the molestation actually been going on, and what other atrocities have been going on in the whole history of this religion.
I have learned a lot about this religion with some of the research I have been doing, but to get a better understanding of the Catholic Faith I went to a Catholic Church and talked to a priest there.
The church I visited is called St Helena Catholic Church and it is located in Clayton Georgia, in Rabun County. The church is located a few miles away from its previous location; as it moved to a new building about a year ago. In side the church it looked like your typical church except it contains prayer stools and decorations that are directly related to Catholicism.
The name of the priest I interviewed is John Watkins and he has lived in this county all his life and has practiced in the Catholic faith almost all of his life. During the interview I asked him some questions that I thought would be appropriate for this report.
The first question I asked him about was, “How far back does the Catholic religion date back to?” The priest then told me that the Catholic religion is basically the oldest religion and was started right after the death of Jesus.
I then asked him, “What are the basic traditions that deep rooted?” His response to me was informative as he told me that Catholics basically share the same traditions as Christians; like Christmas and Easter, which is referred to as Lent. Confession is also a highly practiced tradition because asking God to forgive them for their sins is how they get reassurance for entrance onto Heaven.
I also asked him, “What was the difference between Catholicism and Christianity?” He told me the main difference in the two religions is basically how they are practiced and some of the beliefs but they are similar for the most part.
The fourth question I was going to ask him he already answered in a previous question, but the question I was going to ask was, “Where did the religion originate from?” I remember him saying something about it began when Jesus died in Jerusalem.
I than asked him, “How has your life felt more fulfilled in his chosen religion.” He then answered me by saying, “Well I have never not felt like for a moment I did not need God in my life and the reason I became a priest was to help anyone who chooses to serve our lord and savior, to the best of their abilities and also to anyone who needs a guiding hand.”
I also asked him, “Are there any specific writings and teachings the Catholics live by?” His response was that a big document that all Catholics should follow is The Ten Commandments. He also told me that attending Mass is another form of following the bible and is also a way to learn more about the bible.
The final question I asked him was, “Being a man of the Catholic faith, do you receive any negative or biased feelings towards you or your faith?” He told me, “Since we live in a small community and I know many people from my faith and of the Christian faith, and I have not encountered anything I can recall which is harmful to me or my beliefs.”
I found the interview to be very enlightening and I learned a lot from the Priest at the Catholic Church. As I have said before I can now have a intelligent conversation with someone about this Christian based religion.
There are similarities and differences between Catholicism and Christianity. Some of the apparent ones would be that (Roman Catholicism demands submission of the intellect and will to the doctrines taught by the Roman magisterium (the Pope and bishops). It is claimed that the Catholic Church derives its doctrines from the “sacred deposit” found in Scriptures and Sacred Tradition.) (Mizzi, no date) this differs from Christianity in that (in principle, Christianity is built solely on the Holy Scriptures, the written Word of God.
The Bible is our only infallible rule of faith, being sufficient to give us the sure knowledge of the Gospel for our salvation and holiness.) (Mizzi, no date)
Though there are some similarities in these religions, there are some differences that are quite apparent. The Roman Catholic Church may seem like an obstacle to anyone seeking salvation, millions of people hole beliefs to this religious system which seems to prevent them from coming directly to Christ; the choice is between salvation by grace through faith in Christ, or through human merit and effort in the Roman religion.
In conclusion to this report, the things I have learned about the Catholic religion have made me more aware of religion in general. There are many different sects and denominations that have evolved through the history of this religion. The teachings from the bible are a big part of this religion; there are also many different practices and traditions that this religion considers to be sacred to them like attending Mass and observing Lent, and going to confession. In some ways The Catholic religion is similar to Christianity, but it is also very different in the ways each religion is practiced. After conducting an interview with a Catholic Priest I have learned much about this religion, I also plan to share what I have learned about this religion with anyone who wants to know and I also would like to dig a little deeper into this religion as I have found many interesting things.
Mizzi, J. (no date). The Difference Between Catholicism and Christianity
. JustforCatholics.ogr. Retrieved December 1, 2009. from, http://www.justforcatholics.org/a19.htm
On truth and Reality, (2009). Catholicism: History / Beliefs of Catholic Religion / The Catholic Church. Retrieved November 20, 2009. from, http://www.spaceandmotion.com/religion-catholicism-catholic-church.htm
Wikipedia, (2009). Catholic Church. Wikipedia free Encyclopedia. Retrieved November 20, 2009. from, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church
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In your readings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, you gleaned a better understanding of what the Catholic Church’s teachings are on specific theological topics.
You will now use the information gleaned in the text to delineate the teachings listed below in a concise manner:
- Catholic Understanding of God as Trinity
- Salvation is Achieved through the Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ
- Eschatology – Death and the Afterlife
When completing this written report, the following guidelines must be followed. Failure to do so will result in points being deducted from your grade:
- This report must be typed in a 12 point non-ornamental font.
- Each section of the report must include a section title on a separate line (ex: Freedom, Virtues, Sin, etc.).
- Incorporate at least 2 direct quotations with appropriate footnotes.
- First quotation must come from the specific section of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the required readings.
- Second quotation with accompanying footnote must come from the specific section of the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the required readings.
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