December 12, 2012
The Catholic Faith
A faith that claims to have been around for over two thousand (2000) years, the Catholic faith claims 23% of the USA population and 17.5 % of the world population. It is my intention to discuss the basic beliefs of the Catholic faith, their “textbooks”, their means of preservation, tradition versus Word, and what I believed before I studied this faith. I will follow the 5 W’s method of presentation.
I conducted an interview of a middle age woman who was born and raised Catholic in a Catholic country. She has been active in her faith yet did explore and experienced other Christian denominations for a few years in her life. She authored an autobiography aimed at sharing her faith in her life… or “God in her life”, as she presents it. Therefore, I considered her an informed source but not necessarily an authority in the subject. I also gather information from a Catholic wedding I attended once in the past as well as my readings during this course.
Who is this main person or entity around whom the Catholic faith is centered? The answer points to a three-in-one God, a triune God. God, the creator of the universe and the physical laws that govern it, an omnipotent, omnipresent being is also a triune God. A triune God is constituted by three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God has no past, present or future; it is not confounded to human dimensions; to try to understand Him is futile. However, Catholicism is a monotheistic religion. The Catholic Church holds a structure that includes the Head of the Church – the Pope. Under the Pope, who lives in Vatican City, Italy, are the Cardinals. The Cardinals are distributed all over the world. Under the Cardinals are the Archbishops who preside over the Bishops. The Bishops oversee the Dioceses which are comprised of several parishes. The geographical boundaries of these Dioceses and parishes do not follow the local government boundaries. The Election of the Pope is by vote from among the cardinals. It becomes a process broadcasted around the world where the cardinals are sequestered in a room in the Vatican until a Pope is elected.
What Catholics believe is summarized in their Apostle’s Creed. This is an account of the history of the faith and its beliefs. The US Bishops Conference recently approved a revised translation into English of the Creed. This version began to be recited at the Masses with the beginning of the last liturgical year. Below is the long version of this Creed:
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.
I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen I wondered what “consubstantial” meant and looked it up.