Roman Catholic theologian
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Catholic theology is the understanding of
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of
theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...
s. It is based on
canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form, a natural unique representation of an object, or a preferred notation for some object Mathematics * Canonical coordinates, sets of coordinates that can be used to describe a physic ...
scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of ...
, and
sacred tradition Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some propo ...
, as interpreted authoritatively by the
magisterium The magisterium of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the , with 1.3 billion Catholics . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it ...
of the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found. Major teachings of the Catholic Church discussed in the early councils of the church are summarized in various creeds, especially the Nicene (Nicene-Constantinopolitan) Creed and the
Apostles' Creed The Apostles' Creed (Ecclesiastical Latin, Latin: ''Symbolum Apostolorum'' or ''Symbolum Apostolicum''), sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles is a Christianity, Christian creed or "symbol of faith". It most likely ...
. Since the 16th century the church has produced
catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christianity, Christian religious teaching of childre ...
s which summarize its teachings, most recently in 1992. The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
understands the living tradition of the church to contain the essentials of its doctrine on faith and morals and to be protected from error, at times through infallibly defined teaching. The church believes in revelation guided by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
through
sacred scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of ...
, developed in
sacred tradition Sacred tradition is a theological term used in major Christian tradition Christian tradition is a collection of tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some propo ...
and entirely rooted in the original ''deposit of faith''. This developed deposit of faith is protected by the "magisterium" or
College of Bishops College of Bishops, also known as the Ordo of Bishops, is a term used in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism ...
at ecumenical councils overseen by the pope, beginning with the
Council of Jerusalem The Council of Jerusalem or Apostolic Council was held in Jerusalem Jerusalem (; he, יְרוּשָׁלַיִם ; ar, القُدس, ', , (combining the Biblical and common usage Arabic names); grc, Ἱερουσαλήμ/Ἰερο ...
(). The most recent was the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
(1962 to 1965); twice in history the pope defined a dogma after consultation with all the bishops without calling a council. Formal Catholic worship is ordered by means of the
liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksgiving, remembrance ...
, which is regulated by church authority. The celebration of the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...
, one of
seven sacraments There are seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, which according to Catholic theology were instituted by Jesus and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rites seen as signs and efficacious channels of the Grace in Christianity, gra ...
, is the center of Catholic worship. The church exercises control over additional forms of personal
prayer Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication. In the narrow sense, the term refers to an act of supplication or intercession directed towards a deity or a deified an ...
and
devotion Devotion or Devotions may refer to: In religion * Faith * Anglican devotions * Buddhist devotion * Catholic devotions * Bible study (Christian), called "devotion" by some Christian denominations * Marian devotions * Knightly Piety, Knightly Piety ...
including the
Rosary The Holy Rosary (; la, , in the sense of "crown of roses" or "garland of roses"), also known as the Dominican Rosary, or simply the Rosary, refers to a set of prayers Prayer is an invocation An invocation (from the Latin verb ' ...

Rosary
,
Stations of the Cross The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as the Way of Sorrows or the Via Crucis, refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of Crucifixion of Jesus, his crucifixion and accompanying prayers. The station ...

Stations of the Cross
, and
Eucharistic adoration Eucharistic adoration is a Eucharistic practice in the Western Catholic and some Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16 ...

Eucharistic adoration
, declaring they should all somehow derive from the Eucharist and lead back to it. The church community consists of the ordained
clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over specific rituals and teaching their religion's s and practices. Some of the terms used for ind ...
(consisting of the
episcopate A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denom ...
, the priesthood, and the
diaconate A deacon is a member of the diaconate, an office in Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceiv ...

diaconate
), the
laity In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy Clergy are formal leaders within established s. Their roles and functions vary in different religious traditions, but usually involve presiding over ...
, and those like
monk A monk (, from el, μοναχός, ''monachos'', "single, solitary" via Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (f ...

monk
s and
nun A nun is a woman who vows to dedicate her life to religious service, typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience The three evangelical counsels or counsels of perfection in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic rel ...

nun
s living a
consecrated life Consecrated life (also known as religious life) is a state of life in the Catholic Church lived by those faithful who are Vocation, called to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way. Definition According to the Catechism of the Catholic Chu ...
under their
constitutions A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated ...
. According to the ''Catechism'',
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
instituted seven sacraments and entrusted them to the church. These are
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...
, Confirmation (Chrismation), the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...
,
Penance Penance is any act or a set of actions done out of repentance Repentance is reviewing one's actions and feeling contritionIn Christianity, contrition or contriteness (from the Latin ''contritus'' 'ground to pieces', i.e. crushed by guilt) is ...
, the
Anointing of the Sick Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing Anointing is the ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, ...
,
Holy Orders In certain Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church ...
and
Matrimony Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...
.


Profession of Faith


Human capacity for God

The Catholic Church teaches that "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself." While man may turn away from God, God never stops calling man back to him. Because man is created in the image and likeness of God, man can know with certainty of God's existence from his own human reason. But while "Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God," in order "for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith." In summary, the church teaches "Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God."


God comes to meet humanity

The church teaches God revealed himself gradually, beginning in the Old Testament, and completing this revelation by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to Earth as a man. This revelation started with
Adam and Eve Adam (Hebrew: ''ʾĀḏām'') and Eve ( ''‎‎Ḥavvā'') according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone des ...

Adam and Eve
, and was not broken off by their original sin; rather, God promised to send a redeemer. God further revealed himself through covenants between
Noah In the traditions of Abrahamic religions, Noah ''Nukh''; am, ኖህ, ''Noḥ''; ar, نُوح '; grc, Νῶε ''Nôe'' () features as the tenth and last of the Antediluvian , pre-Flood Patriarchs (Bible), patriarchs. His story appears in the ...

Noah
and
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. In Judaism, he is the founding father of the covenan ...

Abraham
. God delivered the law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and spoke through the Old Testament
prophets In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the super ...
. The fullness of God's revelation was made manifest through the coming of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.


Creeds

Creeds (from Latin ''credo'' meaning "I believe") are concise doctrinal statements or confessions, usually of religious beliefs. They began as baptismal formulas and were later expanded during the
Christological In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religio ...
controversies of the 4th and 5th centuries to become statements of faith. The
Apostles Creed The Apostles' Creed (Ecclesiastical Latin, Latin: ''Symbolum Apostolorum'' or ''Symbolum Apostolicum''), sometimes titled the Apostolic Creed or the Symbol of the Apostles is a Christianity, Christian creed or "symbol of faith". It most likely ...
(''Symbolum Apostolorum'') was developed between the 2nd and 9th centuries. It is the most popular creed used in worship by Western Christians. Its central doctrines are those of the Trinity and God the Creator. Each of the doctrines found in this creed can be traced to statements current in the apostolic period. The creed was apparently used as a summary of Christian doctrine for baptismal candidates in the churches of Rome. The
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
, largely a response to
Arianism Arianism is a Christology, Christological doctrine first attributed to Arius (), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Alexandria, Egypt. Arian theology holds that the Son of God is not co-eternal with God the Father and is distinct from th ...
, was formulated at the Councils of
Nicaea Nicaea or Nicea (; el, Νίκαια, ''Níkaia'') was an ancient Greek city in northwestern Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia and t ...
and
Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , alternate_name = Byzantion (earlier Greek name), Nova Roma ("New Rome"), Miklagard/Miklagarth (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germa ...
in 325 and 381 respectively, and ratified as the universal creed of Christendom by the
Council of Ephesus The Council of Ephesus was a council of Christian bishops convened in Ephesus (near present-day Selçuk in Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country straddling Southeastern Europe and Western ...
in 431.''
Catholic Encyclopedia The ''Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church'' (also referred to as the ''Old Catholic Encyclopedia'' and the ''Original Catholic Encyclopedia'') i ...
'',
Council of Ephesus
(1913).
It sets out the main principles of Catholic Christian belief. This creed is recited at Sunday Masses and is the core statement of belief in many other Christian churches as well.Schaff, ''Creeds of Christendom, With a History and Critical Notes'' (1910), pp. 24, 56Richardson, ''The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology'' (1983), p. 132 The
Chalcedonian Creed The Chalcedonian Definition (also called the Chalcedonian Creed or the Definition of Chalcedon) is a declaration of Hypostatic union, Christ's nature, adopted at the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451. Chalcedon was an Early centres of Christia ...
, developed at the
Council of Chalcedon The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Χαλκηδόνος, ''Synodos tēs Chalkēdonos'') was the fourth ecumenical council The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; ...
in 451, though not accepted by the
Oriental Orthodox The Oriental Orthodox Churches are a group of Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings ...
Churches, taught Christ "to be acknowledged in two natures, inconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably": one divine and one human, and that both natures are perfect but are nevertheless perfectly united into one person. The
Athanasian Creed The Athanasian Creed, also called the Pseudo-Athanasian Creed and sometimes known as ''Quicunque Vult'' (or ''Quicumque Vult'') which is both its Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch ...
, received in the Western Church as having the same status as the Nicene and Chalcedonian, says: "We worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the Substance."


Scriptures

Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of ...

Christianity
regards the
Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. "Common Greek"), also known as Alexandrian dialect, common Attic, Hellenistic or Biblical Greek, was the koiné language, common supra-regional form of Gree ...

Bible
, a collection of
canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form, a natural unique representation of an object, or a preferred notation for some object Mathematics * Canonical coordinates, sets of coordinates that can be used to describe a physic ...
books in two parts (the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
and the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
), as authoritative. It is believed by Christians to have been written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and therefore for many it is held to be the inerrant Word of God. Protestants believe the Bible contains all
revealed truth In religion and theology, revelation is the revealing or disclosing of some form of Religious views on truth, truth or Knowledge#Religious meaning of knowledge, knowledge through communication with a deity or other supernatural entity or entitie ...

revealed truth
necessary for salvation. This concept is known as
Sola scriptura , meaning by scripture alone, is a Christian theological doctrine held by some Protestant Protestantism is a form of that originated with the 16th-century , a movement against what its followers perceived to be in the . Protestants orig ...
. The
books A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data Data (; ) are individual facts A fact is something that is truth, true. The usual test for a statement of fact is verifiab ...
that are considered canonical vary depending upon the denomination using or defining it. These variations are a reflection of the range of
traditions A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of conscious ...
and
councils A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the ...
that have convened on the subject. The Bible always includes books of the Jewish scriptures, the
Tanakh The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages o ...
, and includes additional books and reorganizes them into two parts: the books of the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
primarily sourced from the Tanakh (with some variations), and the 27 books of the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
containing books originally written primarily in
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
. The
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
and
Orthodox Orthodox, Orthodoxy, or Orthodoxism may refer to: Religion * Orthodoxy, adherence to accepted norms, more specifically adherence to creeds, especially within Christianity and Judaism, but also less commonly in non-Abrahamic religions like Neo-paga ...
canons include other books from the
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals Roman numerals are a that originated in and remained the usual way of writing numbers throughout Europe wel ...
Greek Jewish canon which Catholics call
Deuterocanonical The deuterocanonical books (from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its ...
. Protestants consider these books
apocryphal Apocrypha (Gr. ἀπόκρυφος, ‘the hidden hings) The biblical Books received by the early Church as part of the Greek version of the Old Testament, but not included in the Hebrew Bible, being excluded by the non-Hellenistic Jews fr ...
. Some versions of the Bible have a separate Apocrypha section for the books not considered canonical by the publisher. Catholic theology distinguishes two senses of scripture: the literal and the spiritual. The ''literal'' sense of understanding scripture is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation. The ''spiritual'' sense has three subdivisions: the allegorical, moral, and
anagogical Anagoge (ἀναγωγή), sometimes spelled anagogy, is a Greek word suggesting a "climb" or "ascent" upwards. The anagogical is a method of mystical Mysticism is popularly known as becoming one with God or the Absolute, but may refer to a ...
(meaning mystical or spiritual) senses. * The ''allegorical'' sense includes
typology Typology is the study of types or the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics. Typology is the act of finding, counting and classification facts with the help of eyes, other senses and logic. Ty ...
. An example would be the
parting of the Red Sea The Crossing of the Red Sea ( he, קריעת ים סוף, Kriat Yam Suph, parting of the Sea of Reeds In the Exodus The Exodus (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic l ...
being understood as a "type" (sign) of baptism. * The ''moral'' sense understands the scripture to contain some ethical teaching. * The ''anagogical'' interpretation includes
eschatology Eschatology is a part of theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
and applies to eternity and the . Catholic theology adds other rules of interpretation which include: * the injunction that all other senses of sacred scripture are based on the ''literal''; * the historical character of the four Gospels, and that they faithfully hand on what Jesus taught about salvation; * that scripture must be read within the "living Tradition of the whole Church"; * the task of authentic interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the pope.


Celebration of the Christian mystery


Sacraments

There are seven
sacraments A sacrament is a Christian rite A rite is an established, Ceremony, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories: * rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marria ...
of the church, of which the source and summit is the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...

Eucharist
. According to the ''
Catechism A catechism (; from grc, κατηχέω, "to teach orally") is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christianity, Christian religious teaching of childre ...
'', the sacraments were instituted by Christ and entrusted to the church. They are vehicles through which God's grace flows into the person who receives them with the proper disposition. In order to obtain the proper disposition, people are encouraged, and in some cases required, to undergo sufficient preparation before being permitted to receive certain sacraments. And in receiving the sacraments, the ''Catechism'' advises: "To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand, is to fall into superstition." Participation in the sacraments, offered to them through the church, is a way Catholics obtain
grace Grace may refer to: Places United States * Grace, Idaho, a city * Grace (CTA station), Chicago Transit Authority's Howard Line, Illinois * Little Goose Creek (Kentucky), location of Grace post office * Grace, Carroll County, Missouri, an unincor ...
, forgiveness of sins and formally ask for the Holy Spirit. These sacraments are:
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

Baptism
, Confirmation (Chrismation), the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...
, Penance and Reconciliation, the
Anointing of the Sick Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing Anointing is the ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, ...
,
Holy Orders In certain Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church ...
, and
Matrimony Marriage, also called matrimony or wedlock is a culturally and often legally recognized union between people called spouse A religious marriage. A spouse is a significant other Significant other (SO) is colloquially used as a term ...
. In the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Chris ...
, these are often called the ''holy mysteries'' rather than the ''sacraments''.


Liturgy

Sunday is a
holy day of obligation In the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is ...
, and Catholics are required to attend
Mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
. At Mass, Catholics believe that they respond to Jesus' command at the
Last Supper Image:The Last Supper - Leonardo Da Vinci - High Resolution 32x16.jpg, 500px, alt=''The Last Supper'' by Leonardo da Vinci - Clickable Image, Depictions of the Last Supper in Christian art have been undertaken by artistic masters for centuries, ...

Last Supper
to "do this in remembrance of me." In 1570 at the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of ...

Council of Trent
,
Pope Pius V Pope Pius V (17 January 1504 – 1 May 1572), born Antonio Ghislieri (from 1518 called Michele Ghislieri, O.P.), was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian ...

Pope Pius V
codified a standard book for the celebration of Mass for the
Roman Rite #REDIRECT Roman Rite #REDIRECT Roman Rite The Roman Rite ( la, Ritus Romanus) is the main liturgical rite of the Latin or Western Church, the largest of the sui iuris particular Churches that make up the Catholic Church The Catholic Ch ...
. Everything in this decree pertained to the
priest A priest is a religious leader Clergy are formal leaders within established religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social w ...
celebrant and his action at the altar. The participation of the people was devotional rather than liturgical. The Mass text was in
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
, as this was the universal language of the church. This
liturgy Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a community, communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksgiving, remembrance ...
was called the
Tridentine Mass The Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass or Traditional Rite, is the Roman Rite The Roman Rite ( la, Ritus Romanus) is the main liturgical rite of the Latin or Western Church, the largest of the sui iuris particular Ch ...

Tridentine Mass
and endured universally until the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
approved the
Mass of Paul VI The Mass of Paul VI, also known as the Ordinary Form, is the most commonly used liturgy in the Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt ...
, also known as the New Order of the Mass (), which may be celebrated either in the
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
or in Latin. The Catholic Mass is separated into two parts. The first part is called Liturgy of the Word; readings from the
Old Old or OLD may refer to: Places *Old, Baranya Old () is a village in Baranya county Baranya ( hu, Baranya megye, ) is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictiona ...
and
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
s are read prior to the and the priest's
homily A homily (from Greek ὁμιλία, ''homilía'') is a commentary that follows a reading of scripture, giving the "public explanation of a sacred doctrine" or text. The works of and (known as ) are considered exemplary examples of Christian homil ...

homily
. The second part is called Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which the actual sacrament of the Eucharist is celebrated. Catholics regard the Eucharist as "the source and summit of the Christian life", and believe that the bread and wine brought to the altar are changed, or transubstantiated, through the power of the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
into the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. Since his sacrifice on the Cross and that of the Eucharist "are ''one single sacrifice''", the church does not purport to ''re-sacrifice'' Jesus in the Mass, but rather to ''re-present'' (i.e., make present) his sacrifice "in an unbloody manner".


Eastern Catholic

In the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Chris ...
, the term ''
Divine Liturgy Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λειτουργία, Theia Leitourgia) or Holy Liturgy is the Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, am ...
'' is used in place of ''Mass'', and various Eastern rites are used in place of the Roman Rite. These rites have remained more constant than has the Roman Rite, going back to early church times. Eastern Catholic and Orthodox liturgies are generally quite similar. The liturgical action is seen as transcending time and uniting the participants with those already in the heavenly kingdom. Elements in the liturgy are meant to symbolize eternal realities; they go back to
early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religi ...
traditions which evolved from the Jewish-Christian traditions of the
early church The history of Christianity concerns the Christianity, Christian religion, Christendom, Christian countries, and the Christians with their various Christian denomination, denominations, from the Christianity in the 1st century, 1st century to ...
. The first part of the Liturgy, or "Liturgy of the Catechumens", has scripture readings and at times a homily. The second part derives from the
Last Supper Image:The Last Supper - Leonardo Da Vinci - High Resolution 32x16.jpg, 500px, alt=''The Last Supper'' by Leonardo da Vinci - Clickable Image, Depictions of the Last Supper in Christian art have been undertaken by artistic masters for centuries, ...

Last Supper
as celebrated by the early Christians. The belief is that by partaking of the Communion bread and wine, the
Body Body may refer to: In science * Physical body, an object in physics that represents a large amount, has mass or takes up space * Body (biology), the physical material of an organism * Body plan, the physical features shared by a group of animals ...
and
Blood of Christ Blood of Christ in Christian theology #REDIRECT Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons betw ...
, they together become the body of Christ on earth, the church.


Liturgical calendar

In the Latin Church, the annual calendar begins with
Advent Advent is a season of the liturgical year The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, as well as the kalendar, consists of the cycle of liturgy, liturgical seasons in Christian churches that determines when fea ...

Advent
, a time of hope-filled preparation for both the celebration of Jesus' birth and his
Second Coming The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianit ...
at the end of time. Readings from "
Ordinary Time Ordinary Time ( la, Tempus per annum) is the part of the liturgical year in the liturgy of the Roman Rite, Mysterii Paschalis, as revised in 1969, which falls outside the two great seasons of Christmastide and Eastertide, or their respective pr ...
" follow the Christmas Season, but are interrupted by the celebration of Easter in Spring, preceded by 40 days of Lenten preparation and followed by 50 days of Easter celebration. The Easter (or Paschal) Triduum splits the Easter vigil of the early church into three days of celebration, of Jesus
the Lord's Supper The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christianity, Christian rite that is considered a sacrament in most churches, and as an O ...
, of
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
(Jesus' passion and death on the cross), and of Jesus'
resurrection Resurrection or anastasis is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of religions, a Dying-and-rising deity, dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. Reincarnation is a similar process hypothesized by ot ...
. The season of
Eastertide Eastertide (also known as Eastertime or the Easter season) or Paschaltide (also known as Paschaltime or the Paschal season) is a festal season in the liturgical year The liturgical year, also known as the church year or Christian year, ...
follows the Triduum and climaxes on
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
, recalling the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus' disciples in the upper room.


Holy Trinity

The ''
Trinity The Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ''Christian ...

Trinity
'' refers to the belief in one God, in three distinct
person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is ...

person
s or hypostases. Trinity is from Latin Word (Tris Unitas) English (Three in One/One in Three)IJohn 5:7 KJV. These are referred to as '
the Father Father is the male parent of a child. Father may also refer to: Name * Daniel Fathers (born 1966), a British actor * Father Yod (1922–1975), an American owner of one of the country's first health food restaurants Cinema * Father (1966 film), ' ...

the Father
' (the creator and source of all life), 'the Son' (who refers to
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
), and '
the Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
' (the bond of love between Father and Son, present in the hearts of humankind). Together, these three persons form a single
Godhead Godhead (from Middle English ''godhede'', "godhood", and unrelated to the modern word "head"), may refer to: * Deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines ...
. The word ''trias'', from which ''trinity'' is derived, is first seen in the works of
Theophilus of Antioch :''There is also a Theophilus of Alexandria'' (c. 412 AD). Theophilus ( el, Θεόφιλος ὁ Ἀντιοχεύς) was Patriarch of Antioch Patriarch of Antioch is a traditional title held by the bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecra ...
. He wrote of "the Trinity of God (the Father), His
Word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most lang ...
(the Son) and His Wisdom (Holy Spirit)". The term may have been in use before this time. Afterwards it appears in
Tertullian Tertullian (; la, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus; 155 AD – 220 AD) was a prolific early Christian The history of Christianity concerns the Christian religion Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religio ...

Tertullian
. In the following century the word was in general use. It is found in many passages of
Origen Origen of Alexandria, ''Ōrigénēs''; Coptic language, Coptic: Ϩⲱⲣⲓⲕⲉⲛ Origen's Greek name ''Ōrigénēs'' () probably means "child of Horus" (from , "Horus", and , "born"). ( 184 – 253), also known as Origen Adamantius, was an ...

Origen
. According to this doctrine, God is not divided in the sense that each person has a third of the whole; rather, each person is considered to be fully God (see
Perichoresis ''Perichoresis'' (from el, περιχώρησις ''perikhōrēsis'', "rotation") is a term referring to the relationship of the three persons of the triune God The Christian doctrine of the Trinity (, from "threefold") holds that God ...
). The distinction lies in their relations, the Father being unbegotten; the Son being eternal yet begotten of the Father; and the Holy Spirit 'proceeding' from Father and ( in Western theology) from the Son. Regardless of this apparent difference in their origins, the three 'persons' are each
eternal Eternal(s) or The Eternal may refer to: * Eternity, an infinite amount of time, or a timeless state * Immortality or eternal life * God, the supreme being, creator deity, and principal object of faith in monotheism Comics, film and television * ...

eternal
and
omnipotent Omnipotence is the quality of having unlimited power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is t ...
. This is thought by Trinitarian Christians to be the revelation regarding God's nature which Jesus Christ came to deliver to the world, and is the foundation of their belief system. According to a prominent Catholic
theologian Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed ...

theologian
of the 20th century: "In God’s self communication to his creation through grace and Incarnation, God really gives himself, and really appears as he is in himself." This would lead to the conclusion that we come to a knowledge of the immanent Trinity through the study of God's work in the "
Economy An economy (; ) is an area of the production Production may be: Economics and business * Production (economics) * Production, the act of manufacturing goods * Production, in the outline of industrial organization, the act of making products ...
" of creation and salvation.


God the Father

The central statement of Catholic faith, the
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
, begins, "I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible." Thus, Catholics believe that God is not a part of nature, but that God created nature and all that exists. God is viewed as a loving and caring God who is active both in the world and in people's lives, and desires humankind to love one another.


God the Son

Catholics believe that Jesus is God incarnate, " true God and true man" (or both fully divine and fully human). Jesus, having become fully human, suffered our pain, finally succumbed to His injuries and gave up his spirit when he said, "it is finished." He suffered
temptations The Temptations are an American vocal group from Detroit, Michigan, who released a series of successful singles and albums with Motown Records during the 1960s and 1970s. The group's work with producer Norman Whitfield, beginning with the Top ...
, but did not sin. As true God, he defeated death and
rose A rose is a woody perennial plant, perennial flowering plant of the genus ''Rosa'', in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears. There are over three hundred Rose species, species and Garden roses, tens of thousands of cultivars. They form ...
to life again. According to the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
, "God raised Him from the dead," he
ascended Ascendency is a quantitative attribute of an ecosystem, defined as a function of the ecosystem's trophic network. Ascendency is derived using mathematical tools from information theory. It is intended to capture in a single index the ability of ...
to
heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also ...
, is "seated at the right hand of the Father" and will return again to fulfil the rest of
Messianic prophecy The New Testament frequently cites Jewish scripture to support the claim of the Early Christians that Jesus was the promised Messiah in Judaism, Jewish Messiah, but few of these citations are actual predictions in their original context. The major ...
, including the
resurrection of the dead General resurrection or universal resurrection is the belief in a resurrection of the dead, or resurrection from the dead (Koine Greek, Koine: , ''anastasis nekron''; literally: "standing up again of the dead") by which most or all people ...
, the
Last Judgment The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday or The Day of the Lord ( he, יום הדין, Yom ha-din, ar, یوم القيامة, Yawm al-qiyāmah, Day of Resurrection or ar, یوم الدین, ...
and final establishment of the
Kingdom of God The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" but ...
. According to the
gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Te ...

gospel
s of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was conceived by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
and born from
the Virgin Mary Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, translit=Mariam; la, Maria; he, מִרְיָם, translit=Miriam; cop, Ⲙⲁⲣⲓⲁ, translit=Maria; ar, مريم, translit=Maryam; also known by various titles, styles and honorifics was a 1st century Galilean ...
. Little of Jesus' childhood is recorded in the
canonical Canonical may refer to: Science and technology * Canonical form, a natural unique representation of an object, or a preferred notation for some object Mathematics * Canonical coordinates, sets of coordinates that can be used to describe a physic ...
gospels, although
infancy gospels Infancy gospels (Greek: ''protoevangelion'') are a genre of religious texts that arose in the 2nd century. They are part of New Testament apocrypha The New Testament apocrypha (singular apocryphon) are a number of writings by Early Christianity, ea ...
were popular in antiquity. In comparison, his adulthood, especially the week before his death, are well documented in the gospels contained within the New Testament. The biblical accounts of Jesus' ministry include: , healings, teaching, and "going about doing good".


God the Holy Spirit

Jesus told his apostles that after his
death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organi ...
and
resurrection Resurrection or anastasis is the concept of coming back to life after death. In a number of religions, a Dying-and-rising deity, dying-and-rising god is a deity which dies and resurrects. Reincarnation is a similar process hypothesized by ot ...
he would send them the "Advocate" (; ), the "
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...
", who "will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you".Barry, ''One Faith, One Lord'' (2001), p. 37 In the
Gospel of Luke The Gospel according to Luke ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Λουκᾶν , translit=Euangélion katà Loukân), also called the Gospel of Luke or simply Luke, tells of the origins, Nativity of Jesus, birth, Ministry of Jesus, ministry, Cr ...
, Jesus tells his disciples "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), pp. 230–31 The
Nicene Creed The original Nicene Creed (; grc-gre, Σύμβολον τῆς Νικαίας; la, Symbolum Nicaenum) was first adopted at the First Council of Nicaea, which opened on 19 June 325.''Readings in the History of Christian Theology'' by William Ca ...
states that the Holy Spirit is one with God the Father and God the Son (Jesus); thus, for Catholics, receiving the Holy Spirit is receiving God, the source of all that is good.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), p. 88 Catholics formally ask for and receive the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation (Chrismation). Sometimes called the sacrament of Christian maturity, Confirmation is believed to bring an increase and deepening of the grace received at
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

Baptism
, to which it was cojoined in the early church. Spiritual graces or
gifts of the Holy Spirit A spiritual gift or charism (plural: charisms or charismata; in Greek singular: χάρισμα ''charism'', plural: χαρίσματα ''charismata'') is a concept in Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, ...
can include wisdom to see and follow God's plan, right judgment, love for others, boldness in witnessing the faith, and rejoicing in the presence of God. The corresponding
fruits of the Holy Spirit The Fruit of the Holy Spirit is a biblical term that sums up nine attributes of a person or community living in accord with the Holy Spirit, according to Galatians 5, chapter 5 of the Epistle to the Galatians: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, ...
are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), p. 277 To be validly confirmed, a person must be in a state of
grace Grace may refer to: Places United States * Grace, Idaho, a city * Grace (CTA station), Chicago Transit Authority's Howard Line, Illinois * Little Goose Creek (Kentucky), location of Grace post office * Grace, Carroll County, Missouri, an unincor ...
, which means that they cannot be conscious of having committed a
mortal sin A mortal sin ( la, peccatum mortale), in Catholic theology Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on Biblical canon, canonical Catholic Bible, sc ...
. They must also have prepared spiritually for the sacrament, chosen a sponsor or
godparent A godparent (also known as a sponsor, or '' gossiprede''), in Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek ...
for spiritual support, and selected a
saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term ''saint'' depends on the context and Christian denomination, denominatio ...

saint
to be their special patron.


Soteriology


Sin and salvation

Soteriology Soteriology (; el, σωτηρία ' "salvation Salvation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ' ...
is the branch of doctrinal theology that deals with
salvation Salvation (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in re ...
through
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
. Eternal life, , cannot be merited but is a free gift of God. The crucifixion of Jesus is explained as an atoning
sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural being considered divinity, divine or sacred. The ''Oxford Dictionary of English'' defines deity as a God (male ...

sacrifice
, which, in the words of the
Gospel of John The Gospel according to John ( el, Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ἰωάννην, translit=Euangélion katà Iōánnēn, also known as the Gospel of John, or simply John) is the fourth of the four canonical gospels. It contains a highly sc ...
, "takes away the sins of the world." One's reception of salvation is related to justification.


Fall of Man

According to church teaching, in an event known as the "fall of the angels", a number of angels chose to rebel against God and his reign. The leader of this rebellion has been given many names including "
Lucifer Lucifer is one of various figures in folklore Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: ...

Lucifer
" (meaning "light bearer" in Latin), "
Satan Satan, (''śāṭān''), meaning "adversary"; grc, ὁ σατανᾶς or σατάν (''ho satanas'' or ''satan''); ar, شيطان (''shaitan''), meaning "astray", "distant", or sometimes "devil" also known as the Devil, is an entity in th ...

Satan
", and the
devil A devil is the personification Personification occurs when a thing or abstraction is represented as a person, in literature or art, as an anthropomorphic Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') ...
. The sin of pride, considered one of
seven deadly sins The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings, although they are not mentioned in the Bible. Behaviours or habits are classified under this cat ...
, is attributed to Satan for desiring to be God's equal.Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), p. 57 According to
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Bible * Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of ...
, a
fallen angel In Abrahamic religions, fallen angels are angels who were expelled from heaven. The literal term "fallen angel" appears neither in the Bible nor in other Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic scriptures, but is used to describe angels cast out of h ...

fallen angel
tempted the first humans,
Adam and Eve Adam (Hebrew: ''ʾĀḏām'') and Eve ( ''‎‎Ḥavvā'') according to the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions, were the first man and woman. They are central to the belief that humanity is in essence a single family, with everyone des ...

Adam and Eve
, who then sinned, bringing suffering and death into the world. The ''Catechism'' states:


Sin

Christians classify certain behaviors and acts to be "sinful," which means that these certain acts are a violation of conscience or divine law. Catholics make a distinction between two types of sin.
Mortal sin A mortal sin ( la, peccatum mortale), in Catholic theology Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on Biblical canon, canonical Catholic Bible, sc ...
is a "grave violation of God's law" that "turns man away from God", and if it is not redeemed by repentance it can cause exclusion from Christ's kingdom and the eternal death of hell. In contrast,
venial sin According to Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is ...
(meaning "forgivable" sin) "does not set us in direct opposition to the will and friendship of God" and, although still "constituting a moral disorder", does not deprive the sinner of friendship with God, and consequently the eternal happiness of heaven.


Jesus Christ as savior

In the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
, God promised to send his people a savior.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), pp. 71–72 The church believes that this savior was Jesus whom
John the Baptist John the Baptist ''Yohanān HaMatbil''; la, Ioannes Baptista; grc-gre, Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστής, ''Iōánnēs ho baptistḗs'' or , ''Iōánnēs ho baptízōn'', or , ''Iōánnēs ho pródromos'';Wetterau, Bruce. ''World history' ...

John the Baptist
called "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world". The Nicene Creed refers to Jesus as "the only begotten son of God, … begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father. Through him all things were made." In a supernatural event called the
Incarnation Incarnation literally means ''embodied in flesh'' or ''taking on flesh''. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient Sentience is the capacity to experience feeling Feeling was originally used to describe the physical sensation of to ...
, Catholics believe God came down from heaven for our salvation, became man through the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of a virgin Jewish girl named
Mary Mary may refer to: People * Mary (name) Mary is a feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constru ...
. They believe Jesus' mission on earth included giving people his word and example to follow, as recorded in the four
Gospel Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel#REDIRECT The gospel In Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Te ...

Gospel
s.McGrath, ''Christianity: An Introduction'' (2006), pp. 4–6 The church teaches that following the example of Jesus helps believers to grow more like him, and therefore to true love, freedom, and the fullness of life.Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), p. 265 The focus of a Christian's life is a firm belief in
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
as the
Son of God Historically, many rulers have assumed titles such as the son of God, the son of a God or the son of heaven. The term "son of God" is used in the Hebrew Bible as another way to refer to humans who have a special relationship with God. In Book ...
and the "
Messiah In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...
" or "
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
". The title "Messiah" comes from the
Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as one of the spoken languages of the Israelites and their longest-survivi ...
word מָשִׁיחַ (''māšiáħ'') meaning ''anointed one''. The Greek translation (''Christos'') is the source of the English word "
Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew/Aramaic ( AD 30 / 33), also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Christ, is the central figure of Christianity, the Major religious groups, world's largest ...

Christ
". Christians believe that, as the Messiah, Jesus was
anointed Anointed is a contemporary Christian music duo from Columbus, Ohio, known for their strong vocals and harmonies, featuring siblings Steve Crawford and Da'dra Crawford Greathouse, along with former members Nee-C Walls (who left the group in 2001) ...
by God as ruler and savior of humanity, and hold that Jesus' coming was the fulfillment of
messianic prophecies In Abrahamic religions, a messiah or messias (; , ; , ; ) is a salvation, saviour or liberator of a group of people. The concepts of ''Messiah in Judaism, mashiach'', Messianism#Judaism, messianism, and of a Messianic Age#Judaism, Messianic Ag ...
of the
Old Testament The Old Testament (often abbreviated OT) is the first division of the Christian biblical canon A biblical canon or canon of scripture is a set of texts (or "books") which a particular Jewish or Christian religious community regards as aut ...
. The Christian concept of the Messiah differs significantly from the contemporary Jewish concept. The core Christian belief is that, through the death and resurrection of Jesus,
sinful In a religion, religious context, sin is a transgression against divine law. Each culture has its own interpretation of what it means to commit a sin. While sins are generally considered actions, any thought, word, or act considered immoral, se ...
humans can be reconciled to God and thereby are offered salvation and the promise of eternal life in heaven. Catholics believe in the resurrection of Jesus. According to the
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
,
Jesus Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it ...

Jesus
, the central figure of Christianity, was
crucified Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the ...

crucified
, died, buried within a tomb, and resurrected three days later. The New Testament mentions several
resurrection appearances of Jesus The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus in the canonical gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message ("the gospel"), but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was set out. In this sense a go ...
on different occasions to his
twelve apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, partic ...

twelve apostles
and disciples, including "more than five hundred brethren at once", before Jesus' Ascension. Jesus's death and resurrection are the essential doctrines of the Christian faith, and are commemorated by Christians during
Good Friday Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday (also Holy ...
and
Easter Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...

Easter
, as well as on each Sunday and in each celebration of the Eucharist, the
Paschal feast Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer''; "Easter Sunday", used by James Ussher''The Whole Works of the Most Rev. James Ussher, Volume 4'' and Samuel Pepys''The Diary of Samuel Pe ...
. Arguments over death and resurrection claims occur at many religious
debate Debate is a process that involves formal discourse on a particular topic, often including a moderator and audience. In a debate, argument In logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is the ca ...

debate
s and
interfaith , Ladkah, India Interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive, and positive interaction between people of different religion, religious traditions (i.e. "faiths") and/or spirituality, spiritual or humanism, humanistic beliefs, at both ...

interfaith
dialogues. As
Paul the Apostle Paul; el, Παῦλος, translit=Paulos; cop, ⲡⲁⲩⲗⲟⲥ; he, פאולוס השליח, name=, group= (born Saul of Tarsus;; ar, بولس الطرسوسي; el, Σαῦλος Ταρσεύς, Saũlos Tarseús; tr, Tarsuslu Pavlus AD ...
, an early Christian convert, wrote, "If Christ was not raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your trust in God is useless". The death and resurrection of Jesus are the most important events in
Christian Theology #REDIRECT Christian theology #REDIRECT Christian theology Christian theology is the theology of Christianity, Christian belief and practice. * help them better understand Christian tenets * make comparative religion, comparisons between Christia ...
, as they form the point in scripture where Jesus gives his ultimate demonstration that he has power over life and death and thus the ability to give people eternal life. Generally, Christian churches accept and teach the New Testament account of the resurrection of Jesus. Some modern scholars use the belief of Jesus' followers in the resurrection as a point of departure for establishing the continuity of the historical Jesus and the proclamation of the early church. Some
liberal Christians Liberal Christianity, also known as liberal theology, is a movement that interprets Christianity, Christian teaching by taking into consideration modern knowledge, science and ethics. It emphasizes the importance of reason and experience over ...
do not accept a literal bodily resurrection, but hold to a convincing interior experience of Jesus' Spirit in members of the early church. The church teaches that as signified by the passion of Jesus and his
crucifixion Crucifixion is a method of capital punishment Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the ...
, all people have an opportunity for forgiveness and freedom from sin, and so can be reconciled to God. Sinning according to the Greek word in scripture, ''amartia'', "falling short of the mark", succumbing to our imperfection: we always remain on the road to perfection in this life. People can sin by failing to obey the
Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments ( he, עֲשֶׂרֶת הַדִּבְּרוֹת, ''Aseret ha'Dibrot''), also known as the Decalogue, are a set of biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek Koine Greek (, , Greek approximately ;. , , , lit. " ...

Ten Commandments
, failing to love God, and failing to love other people. Some sins are more serious than others, ranging from lesser,
venial sin According to Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is ...
s, to grave,
mortal sin A mortal sin ( la, peccatum mortale), in Catholic theology Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on Biblical canon, canonical Catholic Bible, sc ...
s that sever a person's relationship with God.Barry, ''One Faith, One Lord'' (2001), p. 77


Penance and conversion


Grace and free will

The operation and effects of grace are understood differently by different traditions. Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy teach the necessity of the
free will Free will is the capacity of agents to choose between different possible courses of action ACTION is a bus operator in , Australia owned by the . History On 19 July 1926, the commenced operating public bus services between Eastlake ( ...

free will
to cooperate with grace. This does not mean we can come to God on our own and then cooperate with grace, as
Semipelagianism Semi-Pelagianism (or Semipelagianism) is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ ( ...
, an early church heresy, postulates. Human nature is not evil, since God creates no evil thing, but we continue in or are inclined to sin (
concupiscence Concupiscence (from Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally s ...
). We need grace from God to be able to "repent and believe in the gospel."
Reformed theology Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the a ...
, by contrast, teaches that people are completely incapable of self-redemption to the point human nature itself is evil, but the grace of God overcomes even the unwilling heart.
Arminianism Arminianism is a branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a majority of the populati ...
takes a synergistic approach while
Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Jesus Christ and was founded by Martin Luther, a 16th-century German monk and Protestant Reformers, reformer whose efforts to reform the theology ...
doctrine teaches justification by grace alone through faith alone, though "a common understanding of the doctrine of justification" has been reached with some Lutheran theologians.


Forgiveness of sins

According to Catholicism, forgiveness of sins and purification can occur during life – for example, in the sacraments of
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...
and
Reconciliation Reconciliation or reconcile may refer to: Accounting * Reconciliation (accounting) Arts, entertainment, and media Sculpture * Reconciliation (Josefina de Vasconcellos sculpture), ''Reconciliation'' (Josefina de Vasconcellos sculpture), a sculpt ...
. However, if this purification is not achieved in life, venial sins can still be purified after death. The sacrament of
Anointing of the Sick Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing Anointing is the ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, ...
is performed only by a priest, since it involves elements of forgiveness of sin. The priest anoints with oil the head and hands of the ill person while saying the prayers of the church.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), p. 373


Baptism and second conversion

People can be cleansed from all personal sins through
Baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

Baptism
.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), p. 308 This sacramental act of cleansing admits one as a full member of the church and is only conferred once in a person's lifetime. The
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
considers baptism so important "parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks" and, "if the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptised without any delay." It declares: "The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole 'households' received baptism, infants may also have been baptized." At the
Council of Trent The Council of Trent ( la, Concilium Tridentinum), held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent (or Trento, in northern Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of ...

Council of Trent
, on 15 November 1551, the necessity of a second conversion after
baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

baptism
was delineated: David MacDonald, a Catholic
apologist Apologetics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approx ...
, has written in regard to paragraph 1428, that "this endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a "contrite heart," drawn and moved by
grace Grace may refer to: Places United States * Grace, Idaho, a city * Grace (CTA station), Chicago Transit Authority's Howard Line, Illinois * Little Goose Creek (Kentucky), location of Grace post office * Grace, Carroll County, Missouri, an unincor ...
to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first."


Penance and Reconciliation

Since Baptism can only be received once, the sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation is the principal means by which Catholics obtain forgiveness for subsequent sin and receive God's grace and assistance not to sin again. This is based on Jesus' words to his disciples in the ''Gospel of John'' 20:21–23.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), p. 336 A penitent confesses his sins to a priest who may then offer advice or impose a particular penance to be performed. The penitent then prays an
act of contrition An Act of Contrition is a Christian prayer Christian prayer is an important activity in Christianity, and there are several different forms used for this practice. Christian prayers are diverse: they can be completely spontaneous, or read ent ...
and the priest administers
absolution Absolution is a traditional theological term for the forgiveness imparted by ordained Christian priests and experienced by Christian penitents. It is a universal feature of the historic churches of Christendom Christendom historically refers to ...
, formally forgiving the person's sins.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), p. 344 A priest is forbidden under penalty of
excommunication Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure A censure is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism. In parliamentary procedure, it is a debatable main motion that could be adopted by a majority vote. Among the ...
to reveal any matter heard under the seal of the confessional. Penance helps prepare Catholics before they can validly receive the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Confirmation (Chrismation) and the
Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names, is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monothe ...
.


Afterlife


''Eschaton''

The Nicene Creed ends with, "We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come." Accordingly, the church teaches each person will appear before the judgment seat of Christ immediately after death and receive a
particular judgment Particular judgment, according to Christian eschatology, is the divine judgment that a departed person undergoes immediately after death, in contradistinction to the general judgment (or Last Judgment) of all people at the End Time, end of the w ...
based on the deeds of their earthly life.Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), pp. 379–86 Chapter 25:35–46 of the ''Gospel of Matthew'' underpins the Catholic belief that a day will also come when Jesus will sit in a universal judgment of all humankind.Barry, ''One Faith, One Lord'' (2001), p. 98, quote: "Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me … amen I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." The
final judgment The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday or The Day of the Lord ( he, יום הדין, Yom ha-din, ar, یوم القيامة, Yawm al-qiyāmah, Day of Resurrection or ar, یوم الدین, ...
will bring an end to human history. It will also mark the beginning of a new heaven and earth in which righteousness dwells and God will reign forever.Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), p. 397 There are three states of afterlife in Catholic belief.
Heaven Heaven or the heavens, is a common religious cosmological or transcendent supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the . This term is attributed to , such as s, s, , and . It also ...
is a time of glorious union with God and a life of unspeakable joy that lasts forever. Purgatory is a temporary state of purification for those who, although saved, are not free enough from sin to enter directly into heaven. It is a state requiring purgation of sin through God's mercy aided by the prayers of others. Finally, those who freely chose a life of sin and selfishness, were not sorry for their sins, and had no intention of changing their ways go to
hell In religion Religion is a - of designated and practices, , s, s, , , , , or , that relates humanity to , , and elements; however, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. Different religions may o ...
, an everlasting separation from God. The church teaches no one is condemned to hell without freely deciding to reject God's love. God predestines no one to hell and no one can determine whether anyone else has been condemned. Catholicism teaches that God's mercy is such that a person can repent even at the point of death and be saved, like the good thief who was crucified next to Jesus. At the
second coming of Christ of the Second Coming, c. 1700 The Second Coming (sometimes called the Second Advent or the Parousia) is a Christianity, Christian and Islam, Islamic belief that Jesus will return again, after his Ascension of Jesus, ascension to Heaven (Christia ...
at the end of time, all who have died will be resurrected bodily from the dead for the
Last Judgment The Last Judgment, Final Judgment, Day of Reckoning, Day of Judgment, Judgment Day, Doomsday or The Day of the Lord ( he, יום הדין, Yom ha-din, ar, یوم القيامة, Yawm al-qiyāmah, Day of Resurrection or ar, یوم الدین, ...
, whereupon Jesus will fully establish the
Kingdom of God The concept of the kingship of God appears in all Abrahamic religions, where in some cases the terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are also used. The notion of God's kingship goes back to the Hebrew Bible, which refers to "his kingdom" but ...
in fulfillment of scriptural prophecies.
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas

''Summa Theologicum, Supplementum Tertiae Partis''
questions 69 through 99


Prayer for the dead and indulgences

The Catholic Church teaches that the fate of those in purgatory can be affected by the actions of the living. In the same context there is mention of the practice of
indulgence In the teaching of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ...

indulgence
s. An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven. Indulgences may be obtained for oneself, or on behalf of Christians who have died. Prayers for the dead and indulgences have been envisioned as decreasing the "duration" of time the dead would spend in purgatory. Traditionally, most indulgences were measured in term of days, "quarantines" (i.e. 40-day periods as for Lent), or years, meaning that they were equivalent to that length of canonical penance on the part of a living Christian. When the imposition of such canonical penances of a determinate duration fell into desuetude these expressions were sometimes popularly misinterpreted as reduction of that much time of a person's stay in purgatory. (The concept of time, like that of space, is of doubtful applicability to purgatory.) In
Pope Paul VI Pope Paul VI ( la, Paulus VI; it, Paolo VI; born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini, ; 26 September 18976 August 1978) was head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the ...
's revision of the rules concerning indulgences, these expressions were dropped, and replaced by the expression "partial indulgence", indicating that the person who gained such an indulgence for a pious action is granted, "in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church." Historically, the practice of granting indulgences and the widespread associated abuses, which led to their being seen as increasingly bound up with money, with criticisms being directed against the "sale" of indulgences, were a source of controversy that was the immediate occasion of the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
in Germany and Switzerland.


Salvation outside the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church founded by Jesus. Concerning non-Catholics, the ''
Catechism of the Catholic Church The ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' ( la, Catechismus Catholicae Ecclesiae; commonly called the ''Catechism'' or the ''CCC'') is a promulgated for the by in 1992. It sums up, in book form, of the Catholic faithful. Publication history ...
,'' drawing on the document '' Lumen gentium'' from
Vatican II The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
, explains the statement "Outside the Church there is no salvation":
Reformulated positively, this statement means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body. Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church ... but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation. Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.


Ecclesiology


Church as the Mystical Body of Christ

Catholics believe the Catholic Church is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth.Schreck, ''The Essential Catholic Catechism'' (1997), p. 131 Jesus told his disciples "Abide in me, and I in you. … I am the vine, you are the branches". Thus, for Catholics, the term "Church" refers not merely to a building or exclusively to the ecclesiastical hierarchy, but first and foremost to the people of God who abide in Jesus and form the different parts of his
spiritual body In Christianity, the apostle Paul introduced the concept of the spiritual body (''sōma pneumatikos'') in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 15:44), describing the resurrection body as "spiritual" (Greek ''"pneumatikos"'') in contrast to the natural ...
,Norman, ''The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History'' (2007), p. 12 which together composes the worldwide Christian community. Catholics believe the church exists simultaneously on earth (Church militant), in
Purgatory Purgatory (, via Anglo-Norman language, Anglo-Norman and Old French) is, according to the belief of some Christianity, Christians (mostly Catholics), an intermediate state after physical death for expiatory purification. There is disagreement amo ...

Purgatory
(Church suffering), and in Heaven (Church triumphant); thus Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the other saints are alive and part of the living church.Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), pp. 113–14 This unity of the church in heaven and on earth is called the "
communion of saints The communion of saints (), when referred to persons, is the spiritual union of the members of the Christian Church, living and the dead, excluding therefore the damned. They are all part of a single " mystical body", with Christ Jesus; he ...
".Kreeft, ''Catholic Christianity'' (2001), p. 114


One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic

Section 8 of the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, '' Lumen gentium,'' states "this Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity."


Faith of the church

Faith of the Church (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
: ''fides ecclesiae'') is a basic concept of Catholic theology which implies that not the faithful individual but the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
as a whole is considered to be the primary carrier of
Christian faith Christianity is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the an ...

Christian faith
. This refers to the act of believing (''fides qua creditur'') as well as to the matters of doctrine (''fides quae creditur''). According to Catholic teaching, the church has received the complete faith by
Jesus Christ Jesus, likely from he, יֵשׁוּעַ, translit=Yēšūaʿ, label=Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it i ...

Jesus Christ
through the
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...
(''depositum fidei''). Led by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
, as promised by Christ (John 16:12-14), the church progressively during the times "unpacks" and displays the germ of the
creed A creed, also known as a confession of faith, symbol, or statement of faith, is a statement of the shared belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology ...
, such keeping it actual and alive. May there be reductions or unbalances in single ages or regions, the church as a whole, however, is trusted to be sustained in the truth and to maturate towards its complete understanding. Equally, in this concept, the act of believing, the personal devotion to the holy and inconceivable
God In monotheistic Monotheism is the belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the ...

God
, for the individual is participation in the devotion of the church, which means in the devotion of Christ himself to the Father in the Holy Spirit. The single faithful, in consequence, is invited to acquire the faith of the church, as assiduously as possible, into his personal possession, nevertheless being aware of the insufficiency of isolated cogitation and listening to the common voice of the church.


Devotion to the Virgin Mary and the saints

Catholics believe that the church (community of Christians) exists both on earth and in heaven simultaneously, and thus the Virgin Mary and the Saints are alive and part of the living church. Prayers and devotions to Mary and the saints are common practices in Catholic life. These devotions are not
worship Worship is an act of usually directed towards a . For many, worship is not about an emotion, it is more about a recognition of a God. An act of worship may be performed individually, in an informal or formal group, or by a designated . Such a ...
, since only God is worshiped. The church teaches the Saints "do not cease to intercede with the Father for us. ... So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped." Catholics venerate Mary with many titles such as "Blessed Virgin", , "Help of Christians", "Mother of the Faithful". She is given special honor and devotion above all other saints but this honor and devotion differs essentially from the adoration given to God. Catholics do not worship Mary but honor her as mother of God, mother of the church, and as a spiritual mother to each believer in Christ. She is called the greatest of the saints, the first disciple, and
Queen of Heaven Queen of Heaven ( la, Regina Caeli) is a title given to the Virgin Mary According to the gospels Gospel originally meant the Christian message, but in the 2nd century it came to be used also for the books in which the message was se ...
(Rev. 12:1). Catholic belief encourages following her example of holiness. Prayers and devotions asking for her intercession, such as the
Rosary The Holy Rosary (; la, , in the sense of "crown of roses" or "garland of roses"), also known as the Dominican Rosary, or simply the Rosary, refers to a set of prayers Prayer is an invocation An invocation (from the Latin verb ' ...

Rosary
, the
Hail Mary The 'Hail Mary' ( la, Ave Maria) is a traditional Christian prayer addressing Mary, the mother of Jesus According to the gospels of Gospel of Matthew, Matthew and Gospel of Luke, Luke in the New Testament, Mary; arc, ܡܪܝܡ, transli ...
, and the
Memorare Memorare ("Remember, O Most Gracious Virgin Mary") is a Catholic Church, Catholic prayer seeking the Intercession#Intercession of the saints, intercession of the BVM(RC), Blessed Virgin Mary. It first appears as part of a longer 15th-century pr ...
are common Catholic practice. The church devotes several liturgical feasts to Mary, mainly the
Immaculate Conception The Immaculate Conception is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the lege ...

Immaculate Conception
,
Mary, Mother of God ''Theotokos'' (Koine Greek, Greek: , ) is a Titles of Mary, title of Mary, mother of Jesus, used especially in Eastern Christianity. The usual Latin translations are ''Dei Genitrix'' or ''Deipara'' (approximately "parent (fem.) of God in Chri ...
, the Visitation,
the Assumption The Assumption of Mary (name in full Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) is, according to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodoxy, Church of the East, and some Anglo-Catholicism, Anglo-Catholic Chu ...
, the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; and in the Americas the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Pilgrimages to Marian shrines like Lourdes, France, and Fátima, Portugal, are also a common form of devotion and prayer.


Ordained ministry: Bishops, priests, and deacons

Men become bishops, priests or deacons through the sacrament of Holy Orders. Candidates to the priesthood must have a college degree in addition to another four years of theological training, including pastoral theology. The Catholic Church, following the example of Christ and Apostolic tradition, ordains only males. The church teaches that, apart from ministry reserved for priests, women should participate in all aspects in the church's life and leadership The Bishop (Catholic Church), bishops are believed to possess the fullness of Catholic priesthood; priests and deacons participate in the ministry of the bishop. As a body, the
College of Bishops College of Bishops, also known as the Ordo of Bishops, is a term used in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism ...
are considered the successors of the Apostles. The pope, cardinals, patriarchs, primates, archbishops and metropolitan bishop, metropolitans are all bishops and members of the Catholic Church episcopate or College of Bishops. Only bishops can perform the sacrament of holy orders. Many bishops head a diocese, which is divided into parishes. A parish is usually staffed by at least one priest. Beyond their pastoral activity, a priest may perform other functions, including study, research, teaching or office work. They may also be Rector (Catholic Church), rectors or chaplains. Other titles or functions held by priests include those of Archimandrite, Canon (priest), Canon Secular or Regular, Chancellor (ecclesiastical), Chancellor, Chorbishop, Confessor, Dean of a Cathedral Chapter, Hieromonk, Prebendary, Precentor, etc. Permanent deacons, those who do not seek priestly ordination, preach and teach. They may also baptize, lead the faithful in prayer, witness marriages, and conduct wake and funeral services. Candidates for the diaconate go through a diaconate formation program and must meet minimum standards set by the bishops' conference in their home country. Upon completion of their formation program and acceptance by their local bishop, candidates receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. In August 2016 Pope Francis established the Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate, to determine whether ordaining women as deacons should be revived. This would include the deacon's role of preaching at the Eucharist. While deacons may be married, only celibate men are ordained as priests in the Latin Church. Protestant clergy who have converted to the Catholic Church are sometimes excepted from this rule. The
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Chris ...
ordain both celibate and married men. All rites of the Catholic Church maintain the ancient tradition that, after ordination, marriage is not allowed. A married priest whose wife dies may not remarry. Men with "transitory" homosexual leanings may be ordained deacons following three years of prayer and chastity, but men with "deeply rooted homosexual tendencies" who are sexually active cannot be ordained.


Apostolic succession

Apostolic succession is the belief that the pope and Catholic bishops are the spiritual successors of the original twelve apostles, through the historically unbroken chain of consecration (see: Holy orders). The pope is the spiritual head and leader of the Catholic Church who makes use of the Roman Curia to assist him in governing. He is elected by the College of Cardinals who may choose from any male member of the church but who must be ordained a bishop before taking office. Since the 15th century, a current cardinal has always been elected. The
New Testament The New Testament grc, Ἡ Καινὴ Διαθήκη, Transliteration, transl. ; la, Novum Testamentum. (NT) is the second division of the Christian biblical canon. It discusses the teachings and person of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus, as ...

New Testament
contains warnings against teachings considered to be only masquerading as Christianity, and shows how reference was made to the leaders of the Church to decide what was true doctrine. The Catholic Church believes it is the continuation of those who remained faithful to the apostolic leadership and rejected false teachings. Catholic belief is that the Church will never defect from the truth, and bases this on Jesus' telling Peter "the gates of hell will not prevail against" the Church. In the ''Gospel of John'', Jesus states, "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth".


Clerical celibacy

Regarding clerical celibacy, the ''Catechism of the Catholic Church'' states: The Catholic Church's discipline of mandatory celibacy for priests within the Latin Church (while allowing very limited individual exceptions) has been criticized for not following either the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
practice, which rejects mandatory celibacy, or the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Chris ...
's and Eastern Orthodox Churches's practice, which requires celibacy for bishops and priestmonks and excludes marriage by priests after ordination, but does allow married men to be ordained to the priesthood. In July 2006, Bishop Emmanuel Milingo created the organization Married Priests Now! Responding to Milingo's November 2006 consecration of bishops, the Vatican stated "The value of the choice of priestly celibacy... has been reaffirmed." Conversely, some young men in the United States are increasingly entering formation for the priesthood because of the long-held, traditional teaching on priestly celibacy.


Contemporary issues


Catholic social teaching

Catholic social teaching is based on the teaching of Jesus and commits Catholics to the welfare of all others. Although the Catholic Church operates numerous social ministries throughout the world, individual Catholics are also required to practice spiritual and corporal Works of Mercy, works of mercy. Corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, immigrants or refugees, clothing the naked, taking care of the sick and visiting those in prison. Spiritual works require Catholics to share their knowledge with others, comfort those who suffer, have patience, forgive those who hurt them, give advice and correction to those who need it, and pray for the living and the dead.


Creation and evolution

Today, the church's official position remains a focus of controversy and is non-specific, stating only that faith and science, scientific findings regarding human evolution are not in conflict, specifically: the church allows for the possibility that the human body developed from previous biological forms but it was by God's special providence that the immortal soul was given to humankind. This view falls into the spectrum of viewpoints that are grouped under the concept of ''theistic evolution'' (which is itself opposed by several other significant points-of-view; see Creation–evolution controversy for further discussion).


Comparison of traditions


Latin and Eastern Catholicism

The Eastern Catholic Churches have as their theological, spiritual, and liturgical patrimony the traditions of Eastern Christianity. Thus, there are differences in emphasis, tone, and articulation of various aspects of Catholic theology between the Eastern and Latin churches, as in Roman Catholic Mariology, Mariology. Likewise, medieval Western scholasticism, that of
Thomas Aquinas Thomas Aquinas (; it, Tommaso d'Aquino, lit=Thomas of Aquino, Italy, Aquino; 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Dominican Order, Dominican friar, Philosophy, philosopher, Catholic priest, and Doctor of the Church. An immensely influential ...

Thomas Aquinas
in particular, has had little reception in the East. While Eastern Catholics respect papal authority, and largely hold the same theological beliefs as Latin Catholics, Eastern theology differs on specific Marian beliefs. The traditional Eastern expression of the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary, for instance, is the Dormition of the Theotokos, which emphasizes her falling asleep to be later assumed into heaven. The doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception The Immaculate Conception is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the lege ...

Immaculate Conception
is a teaching of Eastern origin, but is expressed in the terminology of the Western Church. Eastern Catholics, though they do not observe the Western Feast of the Immaculate Conception, have no difficulty affirming it or even dedicating their churches to the Virgin Mary under this title.


Orthodox and Protestant

The beliefs of other Christian denominations differ from those of Catholics to varying degrees. Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Orthodox belief differs mainly with regard to papal infallibility, the filioque clause, and the doctrine of the
Immaculate Conception The Immaculate Conception is a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus Romulus was the lege ...

Immaculate Conception
, but is otherwise quite similar.Parry, ''The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity'' (1999), p. 292 Protestantism, Protestant churches vary in beliefs, but generally differ from Catholics regarding the authority of the pope and church tradition, as well as the role of
Mary Mary may refer to: People * Mary (name) Mary is a feminine Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attributes, behaviors, and roles generally associated with women and girls. Although femininity is socially constru ...
and the
saint In religious belief, a saint is a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of Q-D-Š, holiness, likeness, or closeness to God. However, the use of the term ''saint'' depends on the context and Christian denomination, denominatio ...

saint
s, the role of the priesthood, and issues pertaining to
grace Grace may refer to: Places United States * Grace, Idaho, a city * Grace (CTA station), Chicago Transit Authority's Howard Line, Illinois * Little Goose Creek (Kentucky), location of Grace post office * Grace, Carroll County, Missouri, an unincor ...
, good works, and salvation.McManners, ''Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity'' (2002), pp. 254–60 The five solas were one attempt to express these differences.


See also

*
Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic
*Catholic Reformation * Eastern Orthodox – Roman Catholic theological differences * Eastern Orthodox – Roman Catholic ecclesiastical differences * Catholicism * Criticism of the Roman Catholic Church * Catholic ecclesiology * General Roman Calendar * Indult Catholic * List of canonizations * Lists of Roman Catholics * Philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of Catholic canon law * Scholasticism * Ten Commandments in Catholic theology * Traditionalist Catholic


References and notes

''NOTA BENE'': :*CIC 1983 stands for the 1983 Code of Canon Law, 1983 ''Code of Canon Law'' (from its
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
name, ''Codex Iuris Canonici''); canons are cited thus: "CIC 1983, c. ###".


Works cited

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Catholic Theology Catholic theology and doctrine, Trinitarianism