Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I've had some questions come in via email, and I wanted to give answers... a general overview... in here, for those wondering just what exactly it is that Catholics believe.

Belief in Deity

Trinity of the Father (God), the Son (Christ), and the Holy Spirit that comprises one God Almighty.

Incarnations (state of being)

Jesus Christ is God's only incarnation, Son of God and God.

Origin of Universe and Life

A literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis is held by some, but the Church maintains that God gave humankind both supernatural revelation in the Bible and natural revelation through the rational human mind. One may harmonize science with the book of Genesis, in that a "day" in the Bible is not defined as a 24-hour day. God created the universe from nothing, so if the "Big Bang" theory is true, then God created this event. If evolution occurred, it is under the choice and control of God.

After Death
God immediately judges who will go directly to heaven or hell; most will go to purgatory for punishment and purification. Reward and punishment are relative to one's deeds. Hell was traditionally considered a literal place of eternal torture, but Pope John Paul II has described hell as the condition of pain that results from alienation from God, a thing of one's own doing, not an actual place. When Christ returns at the end of the world, he will judge all humans. All the dead will be bodily resurrected, the righteous to glorified bodies, evildoers to judgment.

Why Evil?

Original sin. All are sinners and prone to the influence of Satan unless they find salvation in God through the Church. ('Church' is not all-inclusive, as in only the Catholic Church, or only one denomination.)


All are already saved (through Christ's death and resurrection), are still being brought to know that salvation (through the efforst of the Church), and will be saved in the future (second coming of Christ). Demands faith in and prayer to God and Jesus Christ, good works, and sacraments, including only one baptism (not to be confused with the christening of an infant. Baptisms performed by other denominations are accepted under the 'one baptism' banner.) One's salvation must be restored after commission of a mortal sin through the sacraments of repentance/confession and Communion. In other words, there is no sin in heaven. Even those who have Salvation can compromise that salvation by putting their egos in God's place. Sin is, at its most basic, an act of selfishness. After we sin, we must make efforts to realize why we were weak to that particular sin, and make an act of contrition (asking forgiveness of God, as well as asking him to help us avoid that pitfall.)

Undeserved Suffering

Some suffering is caused by the inheritance of mortality originating from Adam and Eve's disobedience to God, which includes vulnerability to illness and disease. Also, Satan rules the earth, causing pain and suffering. Suffering is God's design to test, teach, or strengthen belief in Him. Suffering, in itself, is not meant as a means to punish us. God does not give anyone more than he can bear, both in suffering and in joy.

Contemporary Issues

Abortion is considered to be a form of murder, an act worthy of excommunication. Sex outside of marriage is sinful. Women are afforded the highest regard as mothers and wives. Marriage is considered a sacrament and permanent; divorce and remarriage are not acceptable unless the first marriage is annulled. Remarriage without an annulment results in inability to receive sacraments. (Divorce is allowed for biblical reason.) Euthanasia is sinful. Medical research which destroys fertilized embryos is wrong. The death penalty is rarely justified. If in doubt about the strictness of these views, remember the info under Salvation, which allows us to realign ourselves with God.

Other Beliefs

The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He and the magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) clarify doctrine. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is highly revered, though not worshipped. Saints are asked to intercede on behalf of sinners. Social justice teachings urge Catholics to show a special preference for those who are poor and weak.

Other Denominations and Faiths
The Church calls for unity between Christians, Jews and Muslims. The three Theistic faiths should work together towards peaceful co-existence. The Church has learned from the mistakes of its past, and strives towards a better social and spiritual unity. The denominations of Christianity, outside the Catholic Church, are part of the one (inclusive) Holy (from God) catholic (universal) and Apostolic (the Word spread by Jesus' followers) church (body of Christ), so long as they teach the belief of the Trinity, and the forgiveness of sins and Salvation.

If you would like more information on Catholic beliefs, please feel free to contact me via the email link on my profile. I don't believe in 'converting' people from a belief system that works for them, but I do believe that the sharing of what people believe goes a long way in preventing misunderstandings between those of differing doctrines. The misinformation, and misunderstanding or lack of understanding, between Catholic and non-Catholic people only furthers division within the church body of Christ.

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Church of East Corinth, Vermont, New England, USA