Thursday, July 27, 2006
The term "Catholic Church" was first used in a letter by Ignatius of Antioch and Catholic writers list a number of references which point to at least a 'first among equals' status for the See of Rome from the very earliest times.
The 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.
Catholics place particular importance on the Church as an institution founded by Christ and kept from doctrinal error by the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as the font of salvation for humanity.
The principal sources for the teachings of the Catholic Church are the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Tradition. The original language of most of the Old Testament is Hebrew or Aramaic, but several books or portions of books were written in Greek. The New Testament was also written in Greek.
Catholicism is monotheistic. It acknowledges that God is one, eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent. God exists as distinct from and prior to his creation (that is, everything which is not God, and which depends directly on him for existence) and yet is still present intimately in His creation.
There are seven sacraments within the Roman Catholic Church. They are Baptism, Eucharist Confession, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders or ordination of clergy and Matrimony.
The current disagreements between Evangelical Protestants and Catholics are perhaps based on misconceptions.
One point of contention is whether or not Catholics worship statues and saints.
Another point of disagreement is whether or not Catholics pray to the saints.
They are aware of our petitions and present them to God by interceding for us. The answer to this is, yes they ask saints to invoke God upon their behalf.
The Eucharist or Communion is another point that Protestants and Catholics disagree upon.
The final disagreement is upon the reverence of Mary the mother of Jesus. You may note that there are Catholics that have differing viewpoints regarding this.
The Protestant view puts the mother of Jesus as someone who was very special and was chosen of God to bear and raise His Son.
Catholics have bestowed the title of Perpetual Virgin upon Mary which is incongruent with Protestant beliefs.
Another very contemporary and radical belief that some members of the Catholic Churchhave promoted is that of Mary as Co-Redemptrix. This meaning that she cooperates with Jesus, through her special relationship as His Mother, in redeeming the world. Perhaps this was resultant of the recent apparitions of Mary throughout the world. Though this belief is held by some in the Church, Pope John Paul issued a decree before his death that there was only one Redeemer, Christ Jesus.
A final noteworthy point is that much of the mass is derived from the Jewish Sabbath Service.
As the Protestant Church has many different denominations and within differing factions among those denominations, we all can agree that Jesus is the Son of God Most High and came to redeem the world and turn us to His Heavenly Father. We should hold fast to that and not condemn each other.