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Catholic Basics: Introduction

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Jesus Teaching

Catholic Basics: Introduction

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"Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (St. Paul, Eph. 5:25-27)

  


 

Tracing its roots directly from Christ Himself, the Catholic Church (which simply means "Universal Church") is the one and only true Church on earth. Built upon Peter ("the rock"), Jesus Christ established the Church shortly before His death. He personally gave Peter, the first Pope, the keys to the kingdom of Heaven (Mt. 16:19), and promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church (Mt. 16:18). 

As evidence of Jesus' faithfulness to his promise, the Catholic Church has survived grave threats from heresy, horrific persecutions, fierce attacks from rabid enemies, and Satan's fury. She has seen the rise and fall of entire civilizations and yet remains unchanged, ever faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Clearly, this is only possible due to Divine assistance. 

From the earliest days, the Catholic Church has kept the faith inviolate. She teaches that Almighty God, out of His great love, created the world in a perfect state, and made Man in His image. Unfortunately, however, sin entered the world when Adam and Eve (the first people on Earth) disobeyed God. Their disobedience - promoted by the devil - brought death and evil into the world. The consequences of their sin were severe and pass down to all persons ever born (excepting Christ and His Blessed Mother, Mary). In fact, each of us is conceived bearing the stain of "Original Sin", which was inherited from Adam. As a result, we are brought into the world as "enemies of God", in need of redemption. 

Thankfully, by the exceedingly great mercy of God, a Savior was promised at the time of the fall of mankind. Considering that the offense committed by Adam & Eve was an offense against the infinite and all-holy God, no mere human being was capable of making satisfaction. God, therefore, sent his only-begotten Son into the world, clothed in human flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit & born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to make satisfaction. Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, made reparation for our sins by suffering and dying on the Cross, and therefore made it possible for us to enjoy eternal life with Him in heaven. 

On the third day after Jesus' crucifixion, He rose from the dead. After forty days, Jesus then ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father. After the Ascension, the Holy Spirit was sent upon Church and abides in Her and protects Her until the end of time. 

Although Jesus has 'restored the human race to friendship with God', each individual must have the merits of Christ's Redemption applied to his soul. Further, each person will always continue to suffer the various effects of our ancestors' sin (i.e. suffering, concupiscence, and bodily death), some of which 'conspire' against our ultimate salvation. In order to apply the merits of the Redemption to individual souls and to assist souls in maintaining friendship with God despite our propensity to sin, Christ established His Church. 

The Catholic Church alone acts as Christ's representative, offering His sacrifice and applying the merits of His Redemption to individual souls. Not only does she remove Original Sin through baptism, but her bishops (direct successors of the Apostles) and priests have also been given the power - by Christ - to forgive sins after baptism, and to literally feed us with the Flesh & Blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Protected by the Holy Spirit, She teaches all people in Christ's name. The Pope, the direct successor to St. Peter, is Christ's representative on Earth, and his official teachings enjoy the protection of infallibility (click here for more information). Further, it is important to note that membership in the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation (click here for more information).

By the benevolence of Christ, the Church, our Mother, has been given all the 'tools' necessary for our salvation. Not only can she make us re-born through baptism, nourished through the Holy Eucharist, and restored through Penance, but she also has many other 'tools' capable of gaining us graces and otherwise assisting us in our life-long spiritual combat. She alone accords the Blessed Virgin Mary her rightful honor, grants indulgences, and rightly invokes the Communion of the Saints. She alone has been given the charge to determine what constitutes Holy Scripture and she alone is able to properly interpret it (note that the Catholic Church existed before the Bible and actually determined which writings make up the Bible). In contrast to the numerous sects calling themselves "Christian", only the Catholic Church has the mandate of Christ, the power given by Christ - and Hers alone is the only faith that is fully Biblical. 

The Catholic Church is universal, united, and has taught the same thing for about 2,000 years. Despite the pressure from heretics and other rebels, she holds faithfully to her constant teachings on purgatory, justification, demons, and the Immaculate Conception of Mary, as well as maintaining her prohibitions against abortion, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, etc. She alone has held fast to both the written and oral traditions as St. Paul instructed (1 Cor. 11:2, 2 Thes. 2:15) and has jealously guarded the faith against many dangers. She will continue to do so until Christ's second coming, when He will return to judge the living and the dead.

Unfortunately, in today's age, many people (including many Catholics) have erroneous beliefs about what the Catholic Church teaches. This has been fostered especially by today's all too often poor catechesis & priestly formation, and frequent lack of discipline. Many heterodox persons who call themselves Catholic today actually believe they are quite orthodox. Many others simply believe they can pick and choose what they want to believe. Even priests today are known to speak error. However, those who take the time and effort to do their homework will find out that the official teachings of the Catholic Church, as always, remain faithful to Christ's teachings. Those who fail to follow the official teachings of the Church do so to their own peril.

Although the Catholic Church has been and continues to be persecuted throughout the world for various reasons, many people are simply misinformed about her teachings. Some simply don't like her interpretation of Holy Scripture and prefer interpretations more convenient to a certain lifestyle. Of course, such personal interpretation does not reflect the true teaching of Jesus. There is only one truth. By rejecting His teachings, Jesus himself is being rejected. All other so-called 'Christian' denominations have their origins in the rejection of one or more of the Catholic Church's divinely taught truths. Those without bias cannot rightly deny the historical evidence which shows that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church established by Jesus; the nearly 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church and its unchanged teachings is a fact, not an opinion. While civilizations have come and gone, only the Catholic Church has stood fast, illuminating the world with truth, armed with its unchanging teachings and heavenly Sacraments, and despite cruel persecution and rejection of her. Every other so-called 'Christian' denomination is man-made and is formally opposed to Christ's true Church. These sects continue to splinter as members disagree about interpretations, while the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ Himself stands tall in truth and enjoys His promise of holding the keys to Heaven as well as His assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against her. The Catholic Church is the only true spiritual home on earth for all people - as the Catholic Christ alone was founded by Jesus. The Catholic Faith alone was practiced from the beginning by all the Apostles; it is the faith necessary for your salvation.


 

"Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Mt. 16:17-19)

"If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 18:17)

"May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way." (St.. Paul, Eph. 1:18-23)

"But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth." (St. Paul, 1 Tm. 3:15)

   


Also See...

The Apostles' Creed: Summary of the Catholic Faith

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