Being Catholic Today
As members of the Catholic Church in today’s world, believers are called upon to share their faith with the wider community. As we follow in the footsteps of Christ, we witness to our faith in how we raise our children, how we interact with friends, family and coworkers, and how we engage in modern culture. Through the centuries, no church has done more to care for our brothers and sisters in need than the Catholic Church.
The beginning of Catholic belief is God’s revelation. We believe that God loves us and desires to be in relationship with his creation. We believe that God’s reveals himself in numerous ways, but particularly through the revelation of his Word, which comes to us in two forms – Sacred Scripture (written) and Tradition (unwritten). The ultimate sign of God’s revelation is the Incarnation – God becoming human in Jesus Christ. The Incarnation is the ultimate sign of God’s love for God’s people.
Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity, God revealed as three divine persons of one nature: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Church was founded by Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, and carried forward through the ages by the Apostolic Tradition. The Paschal Mystery – the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – is the central mystery of every liturgical celebration, most especially the Mass, which is the “source and summit” of our lives as Catholics.
The Mass is the central, binding celebration of the Church. We live out the sacramental life most fully in community. Christ calls us to the forgiveness of sins and we recognize the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a way to repair sin and return to right relationship with God, ourselves and others. We are nourished and fed by the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. The presence of the Risen Christ is revealed throughout the sacred liturgy and in the community gathered as the Body of Christ, in the Word, in the Presider, and most especially in the Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Jesus).
As the living Body of Christ, Catholics are called to live a “countercultural” life. We are called to serve one another, just as Jesus served. We stand up for our faith and beliefs even if this means suffering in the world. The Catholic social teachings call us to care especially for the dignity of the human person – from the moment of conception to the end of natural life. We are called to tend to the poor, care for our environment, ensure just working conditions for all and work towards an economic system that allows for equal treatment of people.
We believe that we are united with all of the angels and saints, especially Mary, the Mother of God, and we model on lives on their holy example. We pray to Mary and all the saints to intercede for us. Personal and communal prayer is a hallmark of the Catholic faith. We pray to strengthen our relationship with God and to grow in faith and love. We are united with all believers throughout the world – the universal Church – each week as we gather for communal prayer, the Mass.
We are the Church
The Church is comprised of all believers or the People of God. Ordained clergy have a distinct role and function in the Church; all of the baptized are a part of the whole of the Body of Christ. Together with ordained ministers, the lay faithful are called to live out their baptism through spreading the gospel message and ministering to people in need.
The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when ‘from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful,’ they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.Lumen Gentium #12