The Faith of our Forefathers
Catholicism is the religion passed down the generations by the apostles and the Church fathers. It is the result of Two thousand years of unbroken development since first given to us by Jesus in the New Testament. Below is a summary of some of the basics of Catholic belief. It is based on the New Baltimore Catechism No. 1
Creation & God
God is the supreme Being who created everything including us. He made us to show forth His goodness and to share with us His eternal happiness in heaven. He is above all other creatures. He was not created. He is eternal; he always was and always will be the same.
We must know, love & serve God in order to reach Heaven. We learn this from Jesus; who teaches us through his church on Earth. The main truths taught by God are in the Apostle's Creed.
God is all knowing, all present and all powerful. There is only one God, but there are three persons in God; The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. Each person is entirely God, yet all three are one God. They are all equal and indivisible.
God created everything from nothing. His chief creatures are men and angels. Angels are spirits created without bodies. Some of the angels sinned. These angels were cased into Hell. They use there power and knowledge to tempt us to turn away from God. The angels faithful to God live in the bliss of heaven, they pray and guide us.
Man is a creature of body and soul; made in the image of God. Mankind turned away from God of his own free will and brought sin into the world. Original sin means man is born without God's life of Grace in us and we are inherently selfish. Baptism restores that Grace, but we have the freedom to turn away from God and lose his Grace in our lives.
Sin, Redemption & Grace
Actual sin is any wilful thought, desire, word, action or omission forbidden by the law of God. Mortal sin is the most grievous sin. It takes away the life of the soul. A sin is mortal if the offence is seriously wrong, the sinner knows its seriously wrong and he/she fully consents to it. Venial sin is a less serious offence against God. A sin is venial if the evil done is not serious or the sinner sincerely believes it is not seriously wrong or does not fully consent to it.
God promised a saviour to save us from sin: Jesus Christ; the second person of the trinity. He is of two natures: God and man. He was born to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem at Christmas. Joseph was his foster father.
Jesus redeemed us by offering His sufferings & death up to God in satisfaction for our sins. He demonstrated God's love for mankind. After his death His soul descended into a state of rest in limbo, where the souls of the just were waiting until Heaven was reopened by Jesus. On Easter Sunday he rose from the dead. He ascended into Heaven forty days later. One day he will return.
The Holy spirit is the Third person of the Trinity. He sanctifies souls through the gift of grace. Sanctifying grace makes us holy & pleasing to God, makes us adopted children of God, makes us temples of the Holy Spirit and gives us the right to Heaven. Actual grace is a gift from God that enlightens our minds and strengthens our will to do good and to avoid evil. Grace may be obtained through prayer and the sacraments.
The gifts of the Holy spirit that come with grace are: the three theological virtues and the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. The three theological virtues are: Faith, Hope and Charity. The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.