*We Believe...
Catholicism is a monotheistic religion. There is one God, who is infinitely perfect, existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, each identical with the one essence, whose only distinctions are in their relations to one another: the Father's relationship to the Son, the Son's relationship to the Father, and the relations of both to the Holy Spirit, constitute the one God as a Trinity.


Catholics believe that God the Son, the second of the three Persons of God, became incarnate as Jesus Christ, a human being, conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary. He remained truly divine and was at the same time truly human. In what he said, and by how he lived, he taught us how to live, and revealed God as Love, the giver of unmerited favors or Graces.

He died upon the cross, the just for the unjust, as a substitutional sacrifice, and all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood. He arose from the dead according to the Scriptures. He is now at the right hand of the Majesty on high as our great High Priest. He will come again to establish His Kingdom of righteousness and peace.

The Holy Spirit is a divine person, sent to indwell, guide, teach and empower the believer and to convince the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. After Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, his followers, foremost among them the Apostles, spread more and more extensively their faith in Jesus Christ with a vigour that they attributed to the Holy Spirit, the third of the three Persons of God, sent upon them by Jesus.

The Old and New Testament, inerrant as originally given, were verbally inspired by God and are a complete revelation of His will for salvation of men. They constitute the divine and only rule of Christian faith and practice.

Humanity's separation from God
Man was originally created in the image and likeness of God. He fell through disobedience, incurring thereby both physical and spiritual death. All men are born with a sinful nature, are separated from the life of God and can be saved only through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Human beings, in Catholic belief, were originally created to live in union with God. Through the disobedience of the first humans, that relationship was broken, and sin and death came into the world (cf. Romans 5:12). Man's fall left him separated from his original state of intimacy with God which carried into death through the idea of the individual human soul being immortal. But when Jesus came into the world, being both God and man, he was able through his sacrifice to pay the penalty for all human sin and to reconcile humanity with God. By becoming one in Christ, through the Church, humanity was once again capable of intimacy with God but also offered a much more amazing gift: participation in the Divine Life, also called the Beatific Vision.

Salvation has been provided through Jesus Christ for all men, and those who repent and believe in Him are born again of the Holy Spirit, receive the gift of eternal life and become the children of God.

Salvation
The Church teaches that salvation to eternal life is God's will for all people, and that God grants it to sinners as a free gift, a grace, through the sacrifice of Christ. Man cannot, in the strict sense, merit anything from God. It is God who justifies, that is, who frees from sin by a free gift of holiness (sanctifying grace, also known as habitual or deifying grace). Man can accept the gift God gives through faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22) and through baptism (Romans 6:3-4). Man can also refuse the gift. Human cooperation is needed, in line with a new capacity to adhere to the divine will that God provides. The faith of a Christian is not without works, otherwise it would be dead (James 2:26). In this sense, "by works a man is justified, and not only by faith" (James 2:24), and eternal life is, at one and the same time, grace and the reward given by God for good works and merits.

It is the will of God that each believer should be filled with the Holy Spirit and be sanctified wholly, being separated from sin and the world, and fully dedicated to the will of God, thereby receiving power of holy living and effective service. This is both a crisis and progressive experience wrought in the life of the believer and subsequent to conversion.

The Christian Path
Following baptism, the Catholic Christian must endeavour to be a true disciple of Jesus. The believer must seek forgiveness of subsequent sins, and try to follow the example and teaching of Jesus. To help Christians, Jesus has provided seven sacraments which give Grace from God to the believer. These are, Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Reconciliation/Confession, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

Catholics believe that God works actively in the world. Christians may grow in grace through prayer, good works, and spiritual disciplines such as fasting and pilgrimage. Prayer takes the form of praise, thanksgiving and supplication. Christians can and should pray for others, even for enemies and persecutors (Matthew 5:44). They may address their requests for the intercession of others not only to people still in earthly life, but also to those in heaven, in particular the Virgin Mary and the other Saints. As Mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary is also considered to be the spiritual mother of all Christians. Unless a Christian dies in unrepented mortal sin, which is normally remitted in Penance, that person has God's promise of inheriting eternal life. Before entering heaven, some undergo a purification, known as Purgatory. Catholic teachings include a stress on forgiveness, doing good to others, and on the sanctity of life. This is manifested in practical terms by opposing activities which Catholics see as destroying divinely created life, including euthanasia, eugenics, contraception, abortion, and capital punishment. The Catholic Church maintains that, through the graces Jesus won for humanity by sacrificing himself on the cross, salvation is possible even for those outside the visible boundaries of the Church, whether non-Catholic Christians or non-Christians, if in life they respond positively to the grace and truth that God reveals to them.

Social Teaching
Main article: Catholic social teaching

Examine your conscience


The Church holds that the teachings of Jesus call on its members to act in a particular way in their dealings with the rest of humanity. While not endorsing any particular political agenda, the Church holds that this teaching applies in the public (political) realm, not only the private. Among these teachings, as they have been elaborated in recent decades by Catholic thinkers, Bishops' statements and Papal encyclicals, are that every person has a right to life and to a decent minimum standard of living, that humanity's use of God's creation implies a responsibility to protect the environment, and that the range of circumstances under which military force or capital punishment is permissible is extremely limited.

Provision is made in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the healing of the mortal body. Prayer for the sick and anointing with oil are taught in the Scriptures and are privileges for the church in this present age.

The church consists of all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, are redeemed through His blood and are born again of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the Head of the Body, the Church, which has been commissioned by Him to go into all the world as a witness preaching the gospel to all nations. The local church is a body of believers in Christ who are joined together for the worship of God, edification through the Word of God, prayer, fellowship, the proclamation of the gospel and observance of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's Supper.

There shall be a bodily resurrection of the just and of the unjust; for the former, as resurrection unto life; for the latter, a resurrection unto judgment.

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is imminent and will be personal, visible and premillenial. This is the believers hope and is a vital truth that is an incentive to holy living and faithful service.


*"Roman Catholic Church."
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