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A Little More about The Faith

a supplement to the pew card






ARE ALL RELIGIONS EQUAL? 


No, they are not. All religions claim to have the truth but they contradict one another in major points. How can we know the truth? Check the founders of religions. No other founder of any religion claimed to be God except JESUS CHRIST. Either he is God or a fake and a liar.


He fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah. The New Testament of the bible contains Jesus’ profound teachings, his miracles over disease, death and nature, his rising from death and his ascending to heaven. All these prove that Jesus, the only man ever to claim to be God, was indeed God. Jesus was true God and true man. He founded the Catholic Church so what she teaches is the full truth.


Other religions contain much that is good. The Catholic Church fully realizes this.

That is why she reaches out to them, respects them and cooperates with them wherever possible. All Catholics are expected to behave with similar good will towards non-Catholics, without compromising the truths of their faith.



WHY IS IT CALLED THE “CATHOLIC CHURCH”?


It was called the “Catholic Church” from very early times.  Catholic means universal - world wide, for all people. Jesus gave his Church the mission to preach and teach “all nations”. Everyone is to be given the invitation to seek the kingdom of God.


“If you are visiting a city, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is or where the church is but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the Mother of us all, which is the Spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

 St Cyril of Jerusalem. 350 AD


Jesus said “...All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always to the close of the age.”   Matt. 28:18-20



WHAT IS THE BASIS FOR THE CHURCH’S TEACHING?


The teaching authority of the Church is called the “magisterium”. It is based on Sacred Tradition and on the Bible.


 After Jesus’ ascension, the apostles taught orally, guided by the Holy Spirit. It is called Sacred Tradition.  St. Paul wrote: “Stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word or by letter.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15


Some of the learned and holy disciples who followed the apostles are called the Fathers of the Church. Among them are St. Clement, St. Ignatius of Antioch, St Cyprian, St Athanasius, St Augustine and several more. They taught from Sacred Tradition as well as wrote explanations of it. These writings of the Fathers of the Church support Sacred Tradition and are considered part of it. 


In due course many new books of scripture appeared - including the gospels and letters of the apostles. From all the written material available, the Church declared in 393 AD at the Council of Hippo, that a specific set of books were inspired by God. This was the Bible.  It comprised 46 books in the Old Testament (before Christ) and 27 books in the New Testament (after Christ). It was the Catholic Church, based on Tradition, that “declared” the bible in the first place.


By divine authority of Jesus and the unerring guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church is also the authentic interpreter of the Bible. The revealed truths of the Catholic Church are called “doctrine”. Most of them are stated in the Nicene and Apostles‘ creeds often said in the Mass. 



DOES THE CATHOLIC CHURCH USE THE BIBLE?


The Church uses the Bible in her teaching (doctrine), formal daily prayers (The Liiturgy of the Hours) as well as in the sacraments, particularly in the Mass. 


If a person listens carefully at Mass, he will enter "deep in Scripture."Not only the Liturgy of the Word, but every part of the Mass is based on the Bible. In his "Pocket Guide to the Bible" Dr. Scott Hahn gives references for the parts the Mass - including not only what we say (e.g. Lamb of God, Lord I am not worthy) and do (e.g. Sign of the Cross, Kiss of Peace), but also what we see (e.g. altar, vestments and consecrated celibates).


The Mass flows from the Bible, but it has a greater purpose that simply learning the Scriptures. Conscious participation in the Mass expresses and deepens faith. Without faith, we cannot have a relationship with God - and even with each other.


Fr. Phil Bloom  Oct 14 , 2012 Homilies.net


The daily prayer of the Church for different times of the day, the Liturgy of the Hours, is also profoundly biblical, making extensive use of the Psalms.



WHAT IS HOLINESS?


Jesus commanded his followers to be “holy”,  that is to be saints.  One might ask: me be holy? me a saint? One might conclude: not possible! not attractive! 


Holiness is often misunderstood. It is not just piety or spending a lot of time in the Church or being involved in many charitable activities. It is, at its core, a deep and growing love of the Lord Jesus. We entrust our lives to him daily wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whomever we are with. It is to follow him joyfully through this life to the next.  


Holiness is for everybody: smart or not,  young or old, healthy or ill and people in all occupations. If you can love and be loved, then you too can be holy. You too can be a saint. That’s what you are called to be, through the Catholic Life.



AM I REALLY FORGIVEN ? 


Confession is the sacrament of divine mercy. That’s why it is called “Reconciliation”.... with God. It is God who grants it, out of love for us.


The great consolation for Catholics who go to confession and are sincerely sorry for their sins is that they are absolutely sure that they have been forgiven by the priest who is “ in the person of Christ”. Jesus wipes the slate clean. What a joy it is to know that.


Confession not only forgives sins but helps us to fight against future temptations that could lead to sin. That’s why one should go to confession frequently, not only when one has accumulated a lot of sins or when one has sinned seriously.

PRIMARY REFERENCES


www.vatican.va  

[ Official website of the Vatican /Holy See ]


http://www.vatican.va/archive/index.htm  

[ Catechism of the Catholic Church and Compendium ]


 www.youcat.org  

[ Catechism For Youth & Young Adults ]




OTHER MATERIAL


 www.cccb.ca   

[ Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops ]


 http://www.catholicity.com/commentary  

[ Commentary on faith Issues ]


 http://www.catholic.com/  

[ Catholic Answers ]


 www.newadvent.org 

[ Catholic Encyclopedia ]


 www.peterkreeft.com/  

[ Books and articles on various religious topics ]


 www.osv.com   

[ Our Sunday Visitor  - Newspaper, books ]

 

 http://saltandlighttv.org  

[ Canadian Catholic TV ]


 www.ewtn.com  

[ USA Catholic TV ]

Available in the pews.  Take a copy home.