Biblical Studies/Christianity/Roman Catholicism/Doctrines

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Attributes of the Catholic Church

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The four attributes of the Catholic Church are: it is One, Holy, Catholic (universal), and Apostolic.[1]

The Trinity and the two natures of Jesus

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There is One God in three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This doctrine is also called the doctrine of the Holy Trinity. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity (the Son) assumed a human nature by being born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was free from all stain of original sin.

The Life of Christ

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  • Presentation in the Temple
  • Baptism by Saint John the Baptist
  • Miracle at Cana
  • Sermon on the Mount
  • Choosing the Twelve Apostles
  • The Transfiguration
  • The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem
  • The Last Supper
  • The Agony in the Garden
  • Christ's Passion

For our redemption He was crucified on Calvary, died, and was buried in a tomb. On Easter Sunday He rose from the dead.

  • Appearance to Mary Magdalene
  • Appearance to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus

He ascended into heaven on Ascension Thursday, forty days after the Resurrection.

Marian Doctrines

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The doctrine of Mary being conceived without original sin is the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, a dogma of the Faith. Mary was assumed body and soul into heaven, also a dogma of the Faith. She has also been proclaimed as the "Theotokos",or, "God-Bearer" by the Council of Ephesus(?).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains much of the Church's teaching. This is available on the Vatican's website.

The Creeds

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Two Creeds are used on a frequent basis in the Catholic Church: the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Athanasian Creed is also used.

Suffering in God's Plan

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For Roman Catholics, suffering is meant to bring them closer to God, to merit graces for others, and to give the opportunity to practice charity.

Sources of Truth

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The Catholic Church uses two sources for its teaching: Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. Sacred Tradition could be described as the understanding of what Christ wanted for the Church as He communicated it to the Apostles being handed down through the centuries. Sacred Scripture is various writings of different authors at different times that the Catholic Church determined were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Sacred Scripture gives stability to the unchanging truths communicated through Sacred Tradition, and Sacred Tradition prevents a legalistic interpretation of Sacred Scripture.

The various writings of Sacred Scripture were compiled into one volume in the 4th Century AD. This volume of collective works is often called the Bible. A complete Catholic Bible contains the following books: Genesis; Exodus; Leviticus; Numbers; Deuteronomy; Joshua; Judges; Ruth; 1 and 2 Samuel; 1 and 2 Kings; 1 and 2 Chronicles; Ezra; Nehemiah; Tobit; Judith; Esther; 1 and 2 Maccabees; Job; Psalms; Proverbs; Ecclesiastes; The Song of Songs; The Wisdom of Solomon; Sirach (Ecclesiasticus); Isaiah; Jeremiah; Lamentations; Baruch; Ezekiel; Daniel; Hosea; Joel; Amos; Obadiah; Jonah; Micah; Nahum; Habakkuk; Zephaniah; Haggai; Zachariah; Malachi; Gospel of Matthew; Gospel of Mark; Gospel of Luke; Gospel of John; Acts of the Apostles; Romans; 1 and 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Ephesians; Philippians; Colossians; 1 and 2 Thessalonians; 1 and 2 Timothy; Titus; Philemon; Hebrews; James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2 and 3 John; Jude; and Revelation (Apocalypse).

The Angels

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The Angels are pure spirits created by God who, unlike humans, have no physical bodies. There are two ways of classifying angels: by the choir to which an angel belongs by nature, and by whether or not the angel remained faithful to God.

It is taught that there are nine choirs of angels: Seraphim , Cherubim, Virtues, Dominations, Powers, Principalities, Thrones, Archangels, and Angels (might not be in correct order). The term angel broadly refers to any creature possessing an angelic nature, but specifically refers to the ninth choir.

The second manner of classifying distinguishes between the good angels and the bad angels, also called devils. It appears that all angelic beings were tested at a certain point, and that some chose to follow God and others rejected Him. It is speculated by many theologians (in a good sense of the term) that the event was probably as follows:

God showed the angels that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would become man. They were told that they must adore Him in His human nature, and that they would be expected to serve Him and any creatures He created that possessed a human nature. One of the Seraphim announced that he would not do it. One of the Archangels countered him with "Who is like unto God?" All the members of the nine choirs of angels irrevocably and with full knowledge made a determination as to whether or not they would serve God. A battle was then fought in heaven and the devils were driven out. When humans were created, the devils began to try to persuade them also to choose not to serve God, which they continue to do until this day.