Monday, June 9, 2008

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church has been in existence on the earth longer than any other Christian denomination. The Catholics can trace the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s authority back to Peter at the time of Jesus Christ. Most other Christian churches broke away from the Catholic Church at one point in time or another. But, they still retain many of the traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church defines its mission as spreading the message of Jesus Christ, found in the four Gospels, administering sacraments that aid the spiritual growth of its members and the exercise of charity. To further its mission, the Church operates social programs and institutions throughout the world. These include schools, universities, hospitals, missions and shelters, as well as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Internationalism and Catholic Charities that help the poor, families, the elderly and the sick.

The Catholic Church rests on a foundation of four basic beliefs or tenets. These beliefs are: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Here are brief definitions of the beliefs to make them clearer:

One: One stands for the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. Although there are many principles within the gospel, there is only one true gospel and one true Church as Jesus Christ set it up. It also stands for the one body of Jesus Christ.

Holy: Holy means that the Catholic Church is perfect, pure and sanctified. Although the members and even the leadership are not perfect the church itself is perfect.

Catholic: The word Catholic can be traced back to the Greek word “katas” which means universal or whole. If you were to look at the statement of beliefs for some Protestant religions not just the Catholic Church, you would find the term “catholic” in them as well. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he commanded his followers to take the gospel to the whole earth so that in theory all people would share one belief and faith.

Apostolic: Just as when Christ was on the earth, the Catholics set up a Church with apostles.

The Catholics in the world today number over 1 billion. The church is concerned that it is not growing as fast as some of the Protestant and other religions.

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