What Catholics Believe

The Catholic Church was established by Jesus Christ to continue proclaiming His message on the meaning of life and on how to live our lives to the fullest, as well as to provide opportunities for growth and love. Catholicism is steeped in 2,000 years of faith and devotion to Jesus Christ and His message of love and salvation for all people.

The Catholic faith

At the core of the Catholic faith is the belief in one God, who exists in three distinct yet inseparable persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. This triune God is the creator and sustainer of the universe and is characterised by infinite love, mercy, and justice.

In the first few centuries of the Church, Catholics developed the Apostles’ Creed as the first statement and summary of our Christian beliefs, and shortly after, in 325 AD, the Nicene Creed was written at the Council of Nicaea. These creeds continue to serve as essential tools for understanding, transmitting, and living the Catholic faith.

Catholics profess the Apostles or Nicene creed at every Sunday Mass to affirm our belief in these essential truths and create a sense of unity and shared purpose amongst a larger body of believers. The Creed serves as a reminder of the promises made at Baptism and Confirmation. By professing our faith, Catholics renew our commitment to live according to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

You are Peter and on this rock, I will build my church.

Matthew 16:18

What is the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world. As Catholics, we believe that the Catholic Church is a very special gift from God and founded by Jesus Christ Himself. We also believe that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of all the gifts that Christ Jesus wishes to give to the world.

Under the leadership of the Pope, who is the successor of Saint Peter, the person appointed by Jesus to lead His Church, the teaching of Jesus continues to be proclaimed. This role of the successor of Saint Peter can be traced right back from this moment in history to the time of Jesus.

Many people see “Church” as referring to a building, but it actually means much more. It is a community of the followers of Jesus, who accept Jesus as God who became man, who came to live amongst us. We share the Sacraments and worship together as members of God’s family.

As Catholics, we strive to develop and live as an active and welcoming Catholic community where people of all ages can draw closer to God, work together to build a Christian community, and are able to offer support to each other in growing to our full God-given potential. In our lives, we strive to witness God’s love for us through the way we live our lives and through our outreach in service to one another.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Another key source for understanding what Catholics believe is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC). The CCC contains a comprehensive summary of Catholic doctrine, morals, and worship. It was promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1992 and is considered the official teaching of the Catholic Church.

It is a comprehensive and authoritative source of information that is written in a clear and accessible style. The CCC is also a valuable tool for Catholics who want to deepen their understanding of their faith.

Catholic prayer and worship

At the heart of Catholic prayer lies a deep reverence for God and a desire to connect with the divine through communication, supplication, and thanksgiving. Worship, on the other hand, takes on a more formal and structured approach, involving liturgical rituals, sacraments, and communal gatherings.

Both play a critical part in Catholic life as expressions of faith that encompass personal devotion and communal celebrations.

The Sacraments: Channels of God’s Grace

Catholics believe that God’s grace, a divine gift that enables spiritual growth and salvation, is imparted through seven sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ:

The Sacraments of Initiation:

Baptism: Welcomes us into the Church and marks our membership in God’s family, equipping us with special gifts to live as part of His family. In Baptism, we are cleansed from original sin and incorporating the individual into the Church.

Eucharist: The real presence of Jesus Christ in bread and wine, received through Holy Communion, provides us with sacramental grace and spiritual nourishment.

Confirmation: Confirmation empowers us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to take ownership of our faith and approach life positively, aided by God’s grace.

By nurturing our relationship with the Holy Spirit and using these gifts daily, we can lead a Christian life and reach our full potential.

Sacraments of forgiveness, healing, strength, and growth

Reconciliation (Confession): Through this sacrament, God not only forgives our sins but also heals and transforms us and offers each of us a means to receive Christ’s transformative power. It’s a form of prayer and a pathway to restore our friendship with God, overcome personal sins and weaknesses, find peace of mind, and start afresh in our faith journey.

Anointing of the Sick: The Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament designed for those in special circumstances, such as serious illness or the infirmities of old age. It provides healing, forgiveness, and inner strength to endure suffering, with the potential to restore mental and physical health according to God’s will. This sacrament also prepares individuals for the possibility of approaching death while always nourishing the health of the soul.

Holy Orders: The sacrament of ordination, enabling men to serve as deacons, priests, or bishops in the Church.

Matrimony: The sacrament of marriage, signifying a lifelong covenant of love, fidelity, and mutual respect between a man and a woman.

Learn more about the Catholic faith

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