What Catholics Believe

Central tenets of this faith, based on the questions in the Belief-O-Matic quiz.

 

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

    Incarnations
    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 occured, 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 and the Church.

    Salvation
    All are already saved (through Christ's death and resurrection), are still being saved (through 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 (infant) baptism. One's salvation must be restored after commission of a mortal sin through the sacraments of repentance/confession and Communion.

    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; the greater the suffering of innocent believers, the greater will be their reward after life.

    Contemporary Issues
    Abortion is considered to be a form of murder, an act worthy of excommunication. Homosexual acts are 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. Euthanasia is sinful. Medical research which destroys fertilized embryos is wrong. The death penalty is rarely justified.

    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.


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