About the Catholic Faith
The Catholic Church has been devoted to spreading truth since she was founded by Christ 2,000 years ago. The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said, “It is easy to find truth; it is hard to face it, and harder still to follow it.” If you are searching, pray that Christ will lead you to find truth, and that your heart will be open to the truth wherever you may find it.
As St. Elizabeth Ann Seton once said, “I will go peaceably and firmly to the Catholic Church: for if Faith is so important to our salvation, I will seek it where true Faith first began, seek it among those who received it from God Himself.”
The Catholic Church is the only church today that can claim to be the one Church founded by Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. Other denominations can trace their origins back to various human founders at a later date in history.
Catholics believe that worship is due to God alone. Catholics do, however, venerate Mary. In other words, we honor our Blessed Mother with great reverence and devotion because she is the Mother of God.
Mary is the model of perfect love and obedience to Christ. God preserved Mary from sin, and she conceived our Lord by the power of the Holy Spirit, bringing Christ into our world. Catholics can’t help but honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is full of grace, the Mother of God and our Mother, for her “yes” to God that made the Incarnation possible. And without the Incarnation, we would not have salvation.
Mary is the most beautiful model of total submission to the will of God. Catholics do not view Mary as equal to Christ, but rather venerate Mary because of her relationship to Christ. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “Mary’s role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows directly from it” (CCC 964).
As Catholics, we pray that we can respond to God’s call to holiness for our lives in the way that Mary did. Mother Teresa of Calcutta prayed to emulate Mary’s devotion to Christ:
“Mary, Mother of Jesus, give me your heart so beautiful, so pure, so immaculate, so full of love and humility that I may be able to receive Jesus in the Bread of Life, love Him as You loved Him, and serve Him as You served Him….”
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh. The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (John 6:48-56).
Furthermore, the early Christians either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Mass is really the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!
This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.
Well, the quick answer is because that’s the way God wants us to do it. In James 5:16, God, through Sacred Scripture, commands us to “confess our sins to one another.” Notice, Scripture does not say confess your sins straight to God and only to God…it says confess your sins to one another.
In Matthew, chapter 9, verse 6, Jesus tells us that He was given authority on earth to forgive sins. And then Scripture proceeds to tell us, in verse 8, that this authority was given to “men”…plural.
In John 20, verses 21-23, what is the 1st thing Jesus says to the Apostles on the night of His Resurrection? “Jesus said to them, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’” How did the Father send Jesus? Well, we just saw in Mt 9 that the Father sent Jesus with the authority on earth to forgive sins. Now, Jesus sends out His disciples as the Father has sent Him…so, what authority must Jesus be sending His Apostles out with? The authority on earth to forgive sins. And, just in case they didn’t get it, verses 22-23 say this, “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’”
Why would Jesus give the Apostles the power to forgive or to retain sins if He wasn’t expecting people to confess their sins to them? And how could they forgive or retain sins if no one was confessing their sins to them?
The Bible tells us to confess our sins to one another. It also tells us that God gave men the authority on Earth to forgive sins. Jesus sends out His Apostles, the first Priests, with the authority on earth to forgive sins. When Catholics confess our sins to a Priest, we are simply following the plan laid down by Jesus Christ. He forgives sins through the Priest…it is God’s power, but He exercises that power through the ministry of the Priest.
Have more questions? Contact Fr. Brian Crenwelge at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the parish, 304-337-9837.