What do Catholics Believe?

and other questions you are too afraid to ask

“There are not one hundred people in the United States
who hate the Catholic Church,
but there are millions who hate what they wrongly perceive
the Catholic Church to be.” ― Fulton J. Sheen

Am I a good person?

Yes! Catholics believe that humans are intrinsically good because they were created in the image of God. The first time humans appear in the Bible, they are being created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), and as the concluding part of a creation that God continually calls “very good.” While some Christian theologies hold humans to be intrinsically evil due to the sin committed after this creation, Catholics believe that humans are intrinsically good because they were created in the image of the good God. This is known theologically as the imago dei (Latin for “image of God”), and it is a lynchpin of the Catholic understanding of human nature.

Nevertheless, sin has transformed human nature. Sin entered the world when humans disobeyed a decree from God. Afterward humans were forced to leave the Garden of Eden, the perfect home that had been created for them, and go out into the world to toil and suffer.

“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
  St. Augustine of HippoConfessions, 1,1.5
“It is Christ you seek when you dream of happiness.”
  St. John Paul IITor Vergata, Saturday, 19 August 2000

What is Sin?

a quick introduction by Fr. Mike Schmitz, Ascension Presents

What is my purpose in life?

God has created you uniquely, and called you for a relationship with Him out of Love for you. Despite our sins of failings, God through the work of salvation in Jesus Christ, his Son, has saved us and adopted us. Our purpose therefore, is faith, also known as our response to this love: to seek to know, love, and serve God in this world, and be happy with Him forever in the next. To do this we are to deny ourselves selfish acts, to put God first above all things, and to serve Him in our love for others.

 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Corinthians 8:28.

So, indeed, God has a purpose and we have been created as part of that purpose and for a purpose. And Jesus tells us what that purpose is – to love and serve God, and to love and serve others – and it’s repeated three times in the Scriptures (Matt 22:36, Mark 12:29, Luke 10:25). It’s really so very, very simple. When we are fulfilling that purpose, then that place deep down inside of us fills up and we experience peace and happiness. When we’re not, and we begin focusing on our own self and our own needs exclusively, then other emotions start flooding in.

“Love God, serve God: everything is in that.”
   St. Clare of Assisi
We are to love God because of a twofold reason: Nothing is more reasonable, and nothing is more profitable.
  St. Bernard of ClairvauxOn Loving God, Ch 1

Who is Jesus? Why does salvation matter?

Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh. In Him, we find a friend, a brother, our Saviour, our Redeemer, The Only truth Wholly Divine, and Wholly Human, the answer to every question, purpose and desire in our life, the source of all Love, Grace and Blessing.  He, Who redeemed man by His Death on the Cross, and Whose Divine mission is continued by the ministry of the Church.

Salvation is the goal of human existence. Humans were created to live in harmony with God, but our relationship was broken through sin. As Adam and Eve represented all humanity when they chose sin over obedience, so Jesus the Christ represented all humanity when he chose obedience to God over personal desire. With his death and resurrection, Catholics believe, Jesus the Christ repaired the basis of the human-divine relationship, making it once again possible for humans to attain the goal for which they were created.

Humans experience this repaired relationship through grace, which is the loving benevolence of God freely offered to humans. Grace is a vitally important concept for Catholics, who believe that God offers grace to humans at all times, although in their brokenness they often refuse to accept it. When humans do accept the grace offered to them, their brokenness is overcome and they are able to be co-creators with God in the good.

Catholics believe that a repaired relationship with God leads to actions of goodness since it returns humans to their original purpose of loving and serving God and each other. These are not two separate aims: humans serve God by serving others. This service can take place in very concrete ways, such as teaching children, helping the poor and caring for the sick, or in more meditative ways, such as praying for others and performing penance for their sins.