Manual Catholics Go By the Bible: Biblical Sources of Catholic Theology and Liturgy

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God as Father invites us into a profound and personal relationship with God. However through the life death and resurrection of Jesus, Christians have come to experience the loving intimacy of the Father and the Son through the gift of the Spirit. We can but marvel and wonder that an all powerful God chose in generosity to give us such an important role, the better to serve God. Creation is an ongoing process and we are still awaiting its perfection in the fullness of time.

It is the work of the one God for whenever God is acting, the whole Trinity the Father, the Son and Spirit is involved. Christians believe in a transcendent, personal God, who is one God but three equal persons who are a Trinity or communion of love. Within Jesus everything is contained: God, humanity, creation and salvation. This is the name that was given at the incarnation, pronounced at His birth, crucified on the Cross, risen from the dead and reigns for all eternity. Many people today consider Jesus a great prophet, miracle worker or wise teacher, but cannot accept the Christian belief that Jesus is both divine and human.

Jesus has a particular human history. Mary has a special place in the Catholic tradition as the Mother of Jesus. The Incarnation is the central mystery of the Christian faith and distinguishes Christianity from other religions, since it reveals that God in the fullness of time sent His Son born of a woman to redeem us so that we could be adopted as sons and daughters of God cf Galatians ,5 to share in an eternal destiny with our loving God.

Teachings of the Catholic Church

It is the same God who makes the universe, who comes among us a man, one like us, and who is continually present to the world. Creation and redemption are a single act, proceeding from a single God. Likewise the same Spirit which is involved in making the world, is also involved in remaking it.

Catechism of the Catholic Church - I believe in the Holy Spirit

The Spirit gives life in the first place and also gives new life. All that the Father has is mine. For this reason I said that the Spirit will take what is mine and declare it to you. Jn The Spirit is given to us so that we may not be left orphans. By the power of the Gospel, the Spirit makes the Church keep the freshness of youth. This fourth and final section of the Creed describes the Church as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

The Church is a people gathered together through the Spirit of love, to reconcile the world in Christ and to bring all people into communion with each other and with the Father. A human institution, yes, but in its very humanity a God gathered people, the Church is the instrument, indeed the sacrament of God offering the gift of salvation won by Christ for all creation.

The Church has an intrinsically missionary orientation as it seeks to serve humanity by proclaiming the Gospel in word and deed, to all people. In the work of reconciliation the Church constantly strives to be a sign of unity and peace among all peoples and a witness of universal salvation in Christ under the one God. The apostolic nature of the Church means that it still participates in the same mission of Christ through the apostles, bishops and laity through their common baptism.

We are all charged with the responsibility of being witnesses to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christian Baptism is the gateway or initiation rite that imprints the fundamental pattern of Christian life on the believer and welcomes the believer into the Christian community. Each baptised person clothes themselves in Jesus Christ and thus begins a journey from slavery to freedom, from death to life and from self-centredness to a generous loving existence. Baptism is birth into Christian life, incorporation into the life of the Trinity and liberation from sin.

However, between our baptism and our death, we discover our human frailty and we know that we make many mistakes. Our life is indeed an ongoing struggle to accept the reality of our baptismal liberation from sin while at the same time very much aware of our propensity to failure and sin. Through the Holy Spirit, Christian life on earth is a participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. The ultimate gift of the Incarnation is that God has revealed through Christ, that we will live forever in glory with God, when the Church attains its fulfilment in the communion of saints.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad! Catholics and the Bible Catholics and the Bible The Bible is a collection of 73 books, which were written by different people at different times and places over thousands of years. Catholics believe that the Bible is the Word of God. We believe that it is inspired — that God influenced the human writers in a special way so that the message contained within the various literary styles and forms eg narrative history, prophesy, poetry, wisdom, letter, apocalyptic etc conveys divine truth.

The Bible is divided into two parts called the Hebrew Scriptures, commonly known as the Old Testament, 46 books and the New Testament 27 books. A testament or a covenant is an agreement, an understanding between two parties. The Hebrew Scriptures was written by members of the Jewish community of faith who preceded the birth of Jesus and the Christian Church and, to this day, are an important part of its history. The New Testament is the story of the early Christian Church.

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It consists of the reflections of those who knew and accepted Jesus and entered into a renewed relationship with God. For Catholics, it reflects the life of a community and takes on its full meaning only in the life of the Catholic community, especially its prayer and liturgy. The Bible, especially the Gospels, is a source of wisdom, prayer and inspiration for Catholics to live a life modeled on the example of Jesus. Catholic Church Community Catholic Church Community As you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.

Matthew Catholics are a community made up of many different people united in a common bond of love. There are many different faces to the Catholic community. This is because the message of Jesus is for all people, everywhere. We share a family-like bond that is based upon the spiritual bond of our common faith. Catholics believe in one loving and compassionate God who is with us in every moment of our existence.

Being Catholic is a way of life in which we are united by our belief and our bond with each other. We believe that through the presence of the Holy Spirit we embody the living presence of Jesus Christ. This requires us to strive for unity in our everyday life in very practical ways such as: praying together, assisting others in times of struggle, resolving our differences with love and patience, celebrating and socialising together, sharing our gifts, skills and possessions with others.

God also calls us to gather together in worship. The Mass is the central act of worship for Catholics. It is in the Mass that we celebrate that Jesus died for us and rose again. It is in the Mass that we believe that Jesus comes among his people once again.


It is an important event for Catholics. It extends to the wider community. This may happen at a personal level wherever we show hospitality or friendship to others and it also happens through our church organisations which include: hospitals and clinics, schools, counselling clinics, missionary and relief agencies and organisations that care for the poor and homeless.

Our social justice teachings motivate the way in which the Catholic community influences the wider society. The Church accepts the responsibility to work for peace and justice where people are oppressed by circumstances such as war, unjust social conditions or political persecution. Becoming a Catholic Becoming a Catholic Here are some ideas for finding out more about being a Catholic:.

For questions about Catholic beliefs, morals and practices you can find a series of videos in our Beliefs and works section. Additionally numerous articles explaining what Catholics believe and why they observe particular practices are found at the Catholic Enquiry Centre website. Shortlink: archbne. A look at key teachings, beliefs, practices and rituals of the Catholic Church and connections to more information. God in our world God is more than everything, and yet everything is in God.

Borg Catholics believe that God exists in our world and if we seek to discover God, we will. The purpose of life We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John Catholics believe that the purpose of life is to have life and have it more abundantly. Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, GS 23, 24 One reason for being is to learn to love ourselves and others as God loves us — enough to give over His own Son for the love of humankind.

You may find opportunities to do this within your local parish or by contacting Evangelisation Brisbane: Ph: 07 Email: eb bne. Faith today Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews Faith is both a gift of God and a human act by which the believer gives personal adherence to God. This spirituality has been captured in the Vision of the Archdiocese of Brisbane which calls each Catholic to: Deepen our understanding of the person and vision of Jesus Christ.

Build Communion with God, our brothers and sisters within the Christian community and all people of good will. Ethics and Life Issues For questions about ethics and life issues, you can find a range of articles on the Queensland Bioethics Centre website. Social Justice Issues For questions about social justice issues you can find a range of topical and in-depth insights into issues of justice and peace confronting us in our world today at the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission website. Beliefs For questions about Catholic beliefs, moral and practices you can find a series of videos in our Beliefs and works section.

Who is Jesus Christ? What is special about Mary?

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What are the seven Sacraments? Why do I pray? What is the relationship of Catholics with the Bible? What is happening to bring about Christian unity? What is the Communion of Saints? What does the Church say about organ donation? Do I need to go to confession before I go to communion?

Can non-Catholics be God-parents? Can I get married in a garden instead of a church? When does Lent finish? Is it true that Non-Catholics can now take communion in the Catholic Church? Who are the patron saints of Australia? Expression of spirituality There are many different expressions of Catholic spirituality that have developed over the past two thousand years. Some of these spiritualities include: Desert — is characterised by prayer in solitude, asceticism and a life of sacrifice.

St Anthony of Egypt lived a desert spirituality, which includes centering prayer, a form of meditation on a single, sacred word that draws one closer to God. Benedictine — is characterised by life in community, order and obedience to superiors. St Benedict is considered to be the father of western monasticism.

Lectio Divina, is a Benedictine prayer form based on reflection on the Word of God. More about Benedictine spirituality. Franciscan — is characterised by a life of poverty, love of nature and giving charity to those in need. St Francis rejected all of his possessions and founded a community of friars who lived in poverty and helped the poor. More about Franciscan spirituality. Dominican — is characterised by poverty, preaching and devotion to truth. We hope they will serve as a starting point for those interested in exploring the Catholic social tradition more fully.

Life and Dignity of the Human Person In a world warped by materialism and declining respect for human life, the Catholic Church proclaims that human life is sacred and that the dignity of the human person is the foundation of a moral vision for society. Our belief in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person is the foundation of all the principles of our social teaching. In our society, human life is under direct attack from abortion and assisted suicide. The value of human life is being threatened by increasing use of the death penalty.

The dignity of life is undermined when the creation of human life is reduced to the manufacture of a product, as in human cloning or proposals for genetic engineering to create "perfect" human beings. We believe that every person is precious, that people are more important than things, and that the measure of every institution is whether it threatens or enhances the life and dignity of the human person. Call to Family, Community, and Participation In a global culture driven by excessive individualism, our tradition proclaims that the person is not only sacred but also social.

How we organize our society,in economics and politics, in law and policy,directly affects human dignity and the capacity of individuals to grow in community. The family is the central social institution that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined. While our society often exalts individualism, the Catholic tradition teaches that human beings grow and achieve fulfillment in community. We believe people have a right and a duty to participate in society, seeking together the common good and well-being of all, especially the poor and vulnerable. Our Church teaches that the role of government and other institutions is to protect human life and human dignity and promote the common good.

Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions

Rights and Responsibilities In a world where some speak mostly of "rights" and others mostly of "responsibilities," the Catholic tradition teaches that human dignity can be protected and a healthy community can be achieved only if human rights are protected and responsibilities are met. Therefore, every person has a fundamental right to life and a right to those things required for human decency.

Corresponding to these rights are duties and responsibilities,to one another, to our families, and to the larger society. While public debate in our nation is often divided between those who focus on personal responsibility and those who focus on social responsibilities, our tradition insists that both are necessary. Option for the Poor and Vulnerable In a world characterized by growing prosperity for some and pervasive poverty for others, Catholic teaching proclaims that a basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring.

In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment Mt and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first. The Dignity of Work and the Rights of Workers In a marketplace where too often the quarterly bottom line takes precedence over the rights of workers, we believe that the economy must serve people, not the other way around.

Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God's creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected,the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

Respecting these rights promotes an economy that protects human life, defends human rights, and advances the well-being of all. Solidarity Our culture is tempted to turn inward, becoming indifferent and sometimes isolationist in the face of international responsibilities. Catholic social teaching proclaims that we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers, wherever they live.

We are one human family, whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. Learning to practice the virtue of solidarity means learning that "loving our neighbor" has global dimensions in an interdependent world. This virtue is described by John Paul II as "a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all" Sollicitudo Rei Socialis , no.

Care for God's Creation On a planet conflicted over environmental issues, the Catholic tradition insists that we show our respect for the Creator by our stewardship of creation. Care for the earth is not just an Earth Day slogan, it is a requirement of our faith. We are called to protect people and the planet, living our faith in relationship with all of God's creation.

This environmental challenge has fundamental moral and ethical dimensions that cannot be ignored. This teaching is a complex and nuanced tradition with many other important elements. Principles like "subsidiarity" and the "common good" outline the advantages and limitations of markets, the responsibilities and limits of government, and the essential roles of voluntary associations. These and other key principles are outlined in greater detail in the Catechism and in the attached Report of the Content Subgroup see pp.

These principles build on the foundation of Catholic social teaching: the dignity of human life. This central Catholic principle requires that we measure every policy, every institution, and every action by whether it protects human life and enhances human dignity, especially for the poor and vulnerable.

These moral values and others outlined in various papal and episcopal documents are part of a systematic moral framework and a precious intellectual heritage that we call Catholic social teaching. The Scriptures say, "Without a vision the people perish" Prv As Catholics, we have an inspiring vision in our social teaching. In a world that hungers for a sense of meaning and moral direction, this teaching offers ethical criteria for action.

In a society of rapid change and often confused moral values, this teaching offers consistent moral guidance for the future. For Catholics, this social teaching is a central part of our identity. There will be legitimate differences and debate over how these challenging moral principles are applied in concrete situations. Differing prudential judgments on specifics cannot be allowed, however, to obscure the need for every Catholic to know and apply these principles in family, economic, and community life. The Educational Challenge.

Catholic schools, religious education, adult education, and faith formation programs are vitally important for sharing the substance and values of Catholic social teaching.

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Just as the social teaching of the Church is integral to Catholic faith, the social justice dimensions of teaching are integral to Catholic education and catechesis. They are an essential part of Catholic identity and formation. In offering these reflections, we want to encourage a fuller integration of the Church's social tradition into the mainstream of Catholic education and catechesis.

We seek to encourage a more integral sharing of the substance of Catholic social teaching in Catholic education and catechesis at every level. The commitment to human life and dignity, to human rights and solidarity, is a calling all Catholic educators must share with their students. It is not a vocation for a few religion teachers, but a challenge for every Catholic educator and catechist. The Church has the God-given mission and the unique capacity to call people to live with integrity, compassion, responsibility, and concern for others.

Our seminaries, colleges, schools, and catechetical programs are called to share not just abstract principles but a moral framework for everyday action. The Church's social teaching offers a guide for choices as parents, workers, consumers, and citizens. Therefore, we emphasize that the values of the Church's social teaching must not be treated as tangential or optional. They must be a core part of teaching and formation. Without our social teaching, schools, catechetical programs, and other formation programs would be offering an incomplete presentation of our Catholic tradition.

This would fall short of our mission and would be a serious loss for those in our educational and catechetical programs. We strongly support new initiatives to integrate the social teachings of the Church more fully into educational and catechetical programs and institutions. Many catechists and Catholic teachers do this every day by weaving these ideas into curricula and classrooms.

They introduce their students to issues of social justice. They encourage service to those in need and reflect on the lessons learned in that service. Yet in too many schools and classrooms, these principles are often vaguely presented; the values are unclear; the lessons are unlearned. We support the task force's clear call for new efforts to teach our social tradition and to link service and action, charity and justice.

The report of the task force includes a series of recommendations for making the Church's social teaching more intentional and explicit in all areas of Catholic education and formation. Without summarizing the full agenda, we call attention to several recommendations which we believe deserve priority attention:. Elementary and Secondary Schools We strongly urge Catholic educators and administrators to create additional resources and programs that will address the lack of familiarity with Catholic social teaching among many faculty and students.

We encourage diocesan and local educators to promote curriculum development in the area of Catholic social thought and would like to see a model developed for faculty interested in this arena. Religious Education, Youth Ministry, and Adult Faith Formation We support the proposal that diocesan offices as well as regional and national organizations that work in the areas of religious education, youth ministry, and adult education focus on Catholic social teaching in meetings and publications.

A clearinghouse of existing resources and effective methodologies should be developed, and new resources should be produced.

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Leadership formation programs should be developed to enhance the explicit teaching of Catholic social doctrine in these educational ministries. Higher Education We support the proposal that the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and other appropriate national groups explore the creation of a national organization of faculty interested in Catholic social teaching.

We support summer seminars for faculty members to examine Catholic teaching and explore ways to incorporate it into classes and programs.

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These guidelines should offer assistance and direction in achieving the goal of having all seminaries require at least one course that is specifically focused on Catholic social teaching. We encourage the suggestion that a symposium be held for seminary instructors involved or interested in teaching Catholic social thought. We urge that diaconate programs incorporate Catholic social teaching fully and explicitly. We further encourage continuing formation of priests so they can more effectively preach, teach, and share the Church's social tradition and its concrete implications for our time.

Textbooks and Catechetical Materials We call on publishers of Catholic educational materials to continue and to strengthen efforts to incorporate the principles of Catholic social teaching into all materials and disciplines in addition to providing resources specific to Catholic social thought. A standard of assessment for Catholic social teaching, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church , papal teaching, and the documents of our conference, should be developed to assist publishers.

The work of the task force can serve as a helpful guide. This review should be coordinated with other assessments for which publishers presently submit their materials. A clearinghouse of lesson plans and other resources should be created to help educators share information and ideas easily. Conclusion As bishops and pastors, we believe the Church's social teaching is integral to our identity and mission as Catholics.

This is why we seek a renewed commitment to integrate and to share the riches of the Church's social teaching in Catholic education and formation at every level. This is one of the most urgent challenges for the new millennium. As John Paul II has said, "A commitment to justice and peace in a world like ours, marked by so many conflicts and intolerable social and economic inequalities, is a necessary condition for the preparation and celebration of the Jubilee" Tertio Millennio Adveniente , no. Our conference is committed to following through on the task force report.

We urge our Committees on Education, Domestic Social Policy, International Policy, and Priestly Formation and other relevant bodies to continue to bring together more effectively our educational and catechetical ministries and social mission. We encourage other Catholic leaders and educators to read the full report and to develop specific and concrete initiatives flowing from the task force recommendations. We very much welcome the commitment and the initiatives of many national and diocesan organizations to act on these recommendations, developing appropriate structures and programs at the diocesan level, and improving our capacity to teach Catholic social values and make a difference in our world.

One promising step at the diocesan level would be bringing together educational and catechetical leaders with those involved in social ministry to form a local task force on this topic to follow through on these recommendations. The most urgent ecclesial task of our times is the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ.