The name Catholic
The Word Catholic comes from the Greek and means
"universal". We know it to be the Church that Jesus founded on Peter the Rock.
Jesus commissioned the apostles to proclaim the Gospel, to make disciples of all nations
and to baptise in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Church of today is the same of 2000 years ago, we still have the same teachings that the Lord handed to the apostles and we possess the source of Grace for our Salvation which is only found in the seven sacraments.
Foundation of the Church
Our Lord said to Peter " Mt.
16:18 " Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed
it to thee, (that I am the Christ, the Son of the Living God, ) but my Father who is in
18 And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.
So we know that we are in good hands when we know that the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and apostolic. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ, the successor of Peter the Apostle.
1 Timothy 3:15 The church is the house of God, which is the pillar and ground of the truth.
Structure of the Church
The head of the Church is the Pope, the bishop of Rome. He has been given the gift of infallibility in matters of Christian doctrine and morals and we listen to his word because it is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
His anointing gives the Church the assurance given by Jesus " I will be with you until the end of times" He ordains the bishops, who in turn ordain Priests.
This divine anointing coming from Christ and the apostles, gives the priest the power to forgive sins and to consecrate the bread and wine that turns into the flesh and blood of Christ by His Divine command. "Do this in memory of me" .
The priest is our closer contact with the Hierarchy of the Church and he represents the Church in all his structure and power through the sacraments.
The Structure of the Church is hierarchical, not democratic as many would like it to be , because it represents the Body of Christ and we are its members. Therefore there must be in order a head (the pope ) and then the members, some more important than others, we the faithful are called the laity.
So, to be a faithful member of the Body of Christ, we must be obedient to the teachings of The Magisterium of the Church, we must obey all the teachings of the Catechism and accept all the Catholic dogmas without protest.
Our faith is in the Son of God, our Lord Jesus Christ who entrusted the keys of the Church to Peter, and it is based on the Holy Scriptures and complemented by Sacred Tradition.
The Apostles Creedcontains all the truths and beliefs that are necessary for Our Salvation. We say with confidence in the Creed "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church."
The Ten Commandments are the Laws given by God to Moses.
The Sacraments are channels of Grace by which we achieve our salvation.
Prayer is our most important spiritual source in order to have a relationship with God.
Our Faith is complemented by Hope and Love, and we increase our faith as we pray and as we take part in the Sacraments.
We need to pray in order to come close to God and to humble ourselves in His Majestic Presence, and we do this through various prayers and devotions.
Scripture and tradition
The Church is the custodian of the the Holy Scriptures, all the revelation given by God to His people and the way it functions is based on Sacred Scripture. Sacred Tradition is also part of its basis and we adhere to Tradition in order to respect its authority. Our Lord said to the apostles "He who hears you, hears me. He who rejects you, rejects me. He who rejects me, rejects the One who sent me.
Many have questioned the teachings of the Church throughout History, and they have desecrated the truth, therefore they have been called heretics.
The Church in its Wisdom has had several councils in order to proclaim certain teachings as dogmas, which mean definitive truths or tenets which can not be changed.
Protestantism has challenged the teachings of the Church and have turned away from the solid doctrine conveyed by the apostles.
Just as the Lord predicted, in the last days they will set the abominable desolation in the Sacred Place, they will abolish the perpetual sacrifice ( The Holy Mass ).
Protestants deny the Priesthood, the power of the priest to forgive sins, they don't believe in the true presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, they don't believe in the authority of the Pope, they don't accept the dogmas of the Catholic Church, they don't believe in the Sanctity of Our Lady and in the Power of her intercession, they don't believe in the intercession of the saints, they don't believe in Purgatory; in synthesis they don't believe what we Catholics believe in Our Creed. There are thousands of different Christian denominations claiming to be the true Church, but we know the Lord said: "On you Peter, the rock I found my Church," not my churches.
We cannot base our faith on Scripture only, because even St. Paul referring to the Holy Eucharist says: " What I have received from the Lord I also transmit to you..." ; in the letter 2 Thessalonians 15 He says " So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by our letter. "
Many Christians claim that the Bible is their only authority, but this is not taught in the Bible, actually in the Second Letter of Peter 1:20-21 It reads: Understanding this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is made by private interpretation. ( no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation ) This kept the early Christians away from their own deductions, and some were led to errors and heresies by their disobedience.
The seven sacraments - See dogmas
The seven sacraments are the channels of Grace by which we find sanctification and Salvation.They are encounters with God who has left his Presence in the Church through his anointed.
Baptism is the holy sacrament of initiation, when we are baptised we become members of the body of Christ.
Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy
Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh, is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit.
The anointing by the bishop with the laying of hands (1 Timothy 4:14) Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophesy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood.
The power to forgive sins has been left to the Church in this sacrament. In this sacrament we come to the tribunal of the mercy of God which is found through the absolution given by the priest.
This Sacrament is greatly abused today by the introduction of the third rite which is only supposed to be used
in emergencies, and only with
the condition that the faithful will have a personal
confession as soon as possible.
If you accidentally receive absolution in this form, you must confess your sins as soon as possible and tell other people not to accept it since it is contrary to the teachings of the Church.
We should go to confession at least once a month or when required, otherwise we will loose sense of sin and will think of ourselves to be saints.
John 20:21 He
said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send
22 When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
23 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.
God is with us, Emmanuel, Jesus is truly present in the consecrated species of the the bread and the wine. He is the bread of life.
We should have great respect in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament because when we come to Church we come to the house of God.
The tabernacle is supposed to be located in the most important part of the Church, behind the altar, so that we may pay homage and adoration to the Presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament at all times during our stay in church, but today we can see many churches where Jesus is despised and the tabernacle is thrown away onto a corner.
Reverence for Jesus truly present in the Holy Eucharist
Matthew 26: 26 And whilst they were at
supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said:
Take ye, and eat. This is my body.
27 And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this.
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.
Christ sanctified the Sacrament of Marriage by attending the wedding at Canna and performing the first public miracle.
Genesis 2:24 Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.
The anointing of the sick
14 Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man: and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he be in sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.
This sacrament confers the authority given by Christ to his apostles and from them to their successors and so on.
Communion of Saints
Those who live a life in Christ may attain Salvation. We call them saints. The Church goes through a very thorough process to consider the sanctity of a deceased person. However we are all called to be saints since the Will of God is that we become holy, nothing defiled can enter heaven, therefore "we must become saints."
Leviticus 11:44 For I am the LORD your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.
We have a cloud of
witnesses in our Church and we call them saints because they lived their lives in
accordance with the Gospel. Some of them performed miracles. They are intercessors for us
before God. Our Lady is the
greatest of all the saints. The bodies of some of the saints remain incorrupt for hundreds of years after their
deaths as a sign from God.
(Acts 2: 27) Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption.
Our duties as Catholics
We must be witnesses of Christ and we must proclaim the gospel by the testimony of our lives; we must learn more about our Catholic faith and study the Holy Scriptures in order to recognise the holiness of our Holy Mother Church so that we can defend it from the attacks of the enemy.
We must become eucharistic , since we pray "Give us this day our daily bread " and we have the privilege of having the daily bread that came down from Heaven.
We must support the Pope, the bishops and the priests. There would not be Church for us without the Eucharist, and there would not be Eucharist without the priest.
We must be Marian and entrust ourselves to Our Lady because She is the mother of the Church, She is our Heavenly Mother and the Lord says that we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Rev. 12:17 And the dragon was angry against "the woman" (Our Lady): and went to make war with the rest of her seed (Catholics), who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Emmanuel: God is with us in the Holy Eucharist.)
The Work of God Apostolate - The Church