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What we believe

Catholic belief stems from the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed on through scripture and tradition. This ancient but ever-living faith is conveyed in ‘The Apostles Creed’, as used in the Catholic Church’s liturgy at Mass.

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary; suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

(See Catholic Catechism, 194)


Catholics believe in God as the creator of heaven and earth. We encounter His presence in all things. We believe we are each made in God’s own image and likeness.

We believe in God as in three persons – the Father; the Son; the Holy Spirit.

God the Father sent his son Jesus Christ to live and walk among us as people on earth and to preach God’s word to enlighten us.


“I have come that they may have life in all its fullness.” St John’s Gospel Chapter 10.


The Holy Spirit is the interactive love between God the Father and God the Son and bestows spiritual gifts and graces on God’s people.


Jesus and the Gospel

Catholics believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, born 2000 years ago as God personified. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born to the Virgin Mary of Nazareth in Judea. He is therefore considered both God and man – fully divine and fully human. Jesus was sent by his Father to reveal and connect us to God as the loving creator of heaven and earth.

“The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that he has from the Father as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” St John’s Gospel, Chapter 1: 14.

Jesus Christ founded the Christian Church as a sacred voice of salvation to be lived and preached throughout the world by his followers. His teachings centre on love, peace, freedom, equality for all, and the living the joy and abundance of life and living life to the full through God’s gifts and talents given to us.

“To those who did accept Him he gave power to become the children of God, to those who believed in His name.” St John’s Gospel, Chapter 1: 12.

Jesus’ followers, or disciples, recorded His preachings as the Gospels, which make up the New Testament in the Bible. The four gospels are Gospels of (or according to) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

‘The Gospel’ means ‘The Good News’. When Jesus preached the Gospel he preached the Good News about the relationship between God and humans – essentially that God loves us and forgives our sins in His desire to redeem us when our own transgressions come between Him and ourselves.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” St John’s Gospel Chapter 14:6

 

The Catholic Church

Before Jesus was put to death by his opposers, he appointed his apostle Peter as the first Pope (Latin for ‘father’) to head his new catholic (meaning universal) Church. Since St Peter’s time, the Catholic Church has been headed by successive popes through to today’s Pope – Pope Francis. Catholics believe each pope is elected with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The Gospels are central to the Catholic Church’s traditions, dogma, doctrines, beliefs and practices, which include:

  • The seven Sacraments – sacred rites instituted by Jesus to receive God’s grace: baptism, confirmation, holy communion, penance, anointing of the sick, ordination, and matrimony. Baptism is the first rite of becoming a Christian, to live by the grace of God.
  • The Holy Catholic Church – as the assembly of those who, through faith and Baptism, have become children of God. The Holy Spirit is the soul and life of the Church.
  • God’s ten commandments – as a moral compass and ethical standards to live by.
  • Personal prayer and Mass – as a regular faith encounter.
  • The Church’s cardinal virtues – by doing good in the world God’s grace is offered to the soul.
  • Respect for life ‒ the unity of the body and soul for each human being created by God.
  • Mercy and the forgiveness of sins ‒ Christ came to save the world from sin. Belief in the forgiveness of sins is essential to Christianity. Catholicism believes sins are forgiven in Baptism and in the Sacrament of Penance.

 

Tradition

Jesus is called ‘teacher’ 57 times in the Gospels and His mission is described as a ‘teaching’ one 160 times. Catholic tradition teaches that:

  • We are made in God’s own image and likeness.
  • We see God in all things and encounter God’s presence and grace through ordinary everyday life.
  • We are gifted as humans with critical thinking (reason, memory imagination) and can look at, and through, life into the Mystery of faith – ‘there is more to life than meets the eye’ – reason and revelation are both of God.
  • We are born to live in community for one another and find our ‘selves’ in relationship, which prompts a belief in the ‘common good’ – not simply to live as individuals called by God.
  • We participate in a faith community to be a ‘people of God’ and the ‘Body of Christ’ through our Church.
  • We live by tradition and a spirituality of those who have gone before us – from the vibrant tradition with Jesus of Nazareth at its centre, through those who have passed, by parents’ and family teachings, and those of the Church around us.
  • Honouring the dignity of the human person – developing in humanity and living justly through growing in Christ.
  • We have a commitment to justice and human rights as a fundamental element of the Gospels – bringing people into the right relationship with each other and with God in the physical world.
  • We are inclusive – Catholic means universal – to be inclusive, open and welcoming.

 



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