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Catholicism

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Overview:

Catholics may seem different from other Christians, but they have many of the same underlying beliefs as Protestants. They believe in the Trinity, Christ’s divinity, the Word of God, and more. They differ in several areas, too, like the use of the Apocrypha and the placing of spiritual authority on the Pope in Rome. They also place an emphasis on interceding through saints, and they believe in Purgatory. Also, the doctrine surrounding the Eucharist differs, too.

Doctrine:

The sacred texts used by Catholicism are the Bible and the Apocrypha. They use several creeds and confessions, but mostly focus on the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed. Doctrine is mainly dictated by the Bible, church, the Pope, bishops, and priests. They believe that spiritual authority comes from both Scripture and tradition.

Sacraments:

Catholics believe that there are seven sacraments. They also believe in transubstantiation, where the bread used in the Eucharist actually becomes the body of Christ when blessed by a priest.

Intercession:

Catholics use many people and beings to intercede including Mary, saints, and angels. They believe that Mary had no original sin and remained free of sin throughout her life. They also canonize and ask saints to intercede. Often Catholics have statues and icons of saints on display. Saints are not uncommon to other denominations, but none use them in this way. Finally, angels are considered to be non-corporeal, spiritual, and immortal beings with names and purposes.

Salvation:

Salvation is received upon baptism. The Catholic Church as decreed that a person can lose their salvation through sin, because sin cuts people off from God. Perseverance is the key to maintaining salvation.

Heaven and Hell:

Catholics believe Heaven is the ultimate fulfillment of our deepest desires. It is a state of absolute happiness. Yet one can only reach Heaven if they are in Christ. In the same vein, the Catholic Church believes that there is an eternal Hell, which is an eternal separation from God. However, they also believe in Purgatory, which is a place one goes if they are not purified correctly. They spend time in Purgatory until they become holy enough to enter Heaven.

Satan and Demons:

Satan is considered a pure spirit, filled with power and evil. Catholics also believe that demons are fallen angels incapable of repentance.

The Rosary:

Basically rosary beads are used to count prayers. They are not necessarily unique to Catholicism. Hebrews used to have strings with 150 knots to represent the Psalms. Other religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and more use beads to keep track of prayers. The prayers said on the rosary are known as “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” and “Glory Be.” They also say the Apostles’ Creed and Fatima Prayer. They are done in a certain order.
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