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The Catholic Church is the world’s largest single religious body, and comprises 23 "particular churches," or Rites, all of which acknowledge a primacy of jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome and are in full communion with the Holy See and each other. As the oldest continuously operating organization, the Catholic Church has a distinguished history. The Church has also been involved in many of the historical events and movements of the past 2,000 years. The number of Catholics in the world is around 1.1 billion and continues to increase, particularly in Africa and Asia. Brazil is the country with the largest number of Catholics. The increase between 1978 and 2000 was 288 million.
The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church. He and the magisterium (the teaching authority of the Church) clarify doctrine. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is highly revered, though not worshipped. Saints are asked to intercede on behalf of sinners. Social justice teachings urge Catholics to show a special preference for those who are poor and weak.
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CCC is arranged in four principal parts:
❖ The Profession of Faith (the Creed)
❖ The Celebration of the Christian Mystery (the Sacred Liturgy, especially the sacraments)
❖ Life in Christ
❖ Christian Prayer
For this research I went to the Lady of the Nativity Catholic Church and interviewed Mrs. Debbie Dougherty. Below you will find answers to the questions that I thought where important to know.
Brenda: What are some important holidays and traditions of your religion?
Debbie: Christmas, Easter, Lent and Good Friday are very important holidays for her. Catholics are very traditional in their mass. No matter which Catholic Church you go to no matter what city it is in you can count on the service being the same as your home Church.
Brenda: How has religion shaped your life?
Debbie: Religion has always been an important part in my life. It has instilled good morals and values. Religion has also played a very important role in the way that I have raised my children and respected the vows of my marriage.
Brenda: What are the challenges, if any, to practicing this particular religion?
Debbie: Some people may think that the Catholics belief on birth control is a challenge. Another challenge that some people may face is divorce. Divorce is a grave offense against the natural law. It claims to break the contract, to which the spouses freely consented, to live with each other till death.
Brenda: This is a rule or tradition that I wish more people would recognize and abide by.
Brenda: What does it mean to be a Christian?
Debbie: It means that I believe in God and live my life by His teachings.
Brenda: What foundation is this religion based on?
Debbie: Our churches foundation is based on the Bible. We believe in the Written word that was taught by Jesus Christ. The bible is the firmest foundation that you could ask for.
Brenda: Why is it important for children to follow the Word of God?
Debbie: In today’s world there is so much evil doing going on and our children are our future. Children today face so many negative influences and if they are taught to follow the word of God than this will help them make good life choices.
Brenda: What was it about Catholicism that made you decide that it was the religion that you wanted to believe in?
Debbie: I was born and raised in the Catholic Church and that was the way of life. It was only natural that I married a good Catholic boy and we raised good Catholic children.
Brenda: What is the most important thing about being Catholic?
Debbie: To accept Jesus Christ as your savior and know that he died for your sins and to know that Christ is a forgiving God.
Brenda: What are some things that are look down upon in the Catholic Church?
Debbie: Looking down upon is kind of harsh. Catholics have the everything spelled out for say; forgiveness is obtainable if one should fall in the Christian life.
Brenda: Are there certain rules that you should live by as a Catholic?
Debbie: If one lives by the word of God and follows His written word than that is all that we are asked.
Brenda: What happens if these rules are broken?
Debbie: You must repent of your sins and ask Jesus for forgiveness and be truly sorry for what you did or did not do.
Brenda: What are some beliefs of this religion other than those stated in the rules?
Debbie: Catholics are very specific with their guidelines. The doctrine is very clear as to what rules you should abide by.
This was a very pleasant interview which I really enjoyed doing. Debbie was a wonderful person and very open with me while talking about her religious beliefs. After the interview was completed she welcomed me to come and worship at her church as I extended the same invitation as well. I left the interview feeling very warm and having a sense of happiness.
United Methodist preaching and teaching is grounded on Scripture, informed by Christian tradition, enlivened in personal experience. And tested by reason.
The Holy Bible is our primary source for Christian doctrine. Biblical authors testify to God's self-disclosure in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as well as in God's work of creation, in the pilgrimage of Israel, and in the Holy Spirit's ongoing activity in human history.
Our attempt to understand God does not start anew with each generation or each person. Our faith also does not leap from New Testament time to the present as though nothing could be learned from all Christian thinkers and preachers in between. We learn from traditions found in many cultures, but Scripture remains the norm by which all traditions are judged.
United Methodists and Catholics differ on organization, perhaps reflecting the culture into which they were born. The Roman Catholic Church began, of course. When the Roman Empire was the model of efficiency and authority. Therefore, it is not surprising that in interpreting the New Testament, they have an emperor (pope), governors (bishops), a bureaucracy (curia) and later a senate (cardinals). American Methodism reflects its culture by having a legislative branch (General Conference), a judicial branch (Judicial Council), and an administrative branch (bishops). Once every four years, laity and clergy representatives come together to determine theology, social stances, policies, etc. At those meetings the bishops do not have a vote.
Like Catholics, Methodists view the sacraments as means of grace, that is, a way of receiving a gift from God. We believe that God does something to us and for us and in us through Baptism and the Lord's Supper - the two sacraments we recognize as given by Christ.
Finally we believe that this is Christ's table, not a Methodist table. So we welcome all who are called by Jesus including children. Children may not fully understand what is going on. (I don't know if I do!) But they do understand being included or excluded. And they will learn by doing. And, of course, we baptize children as well. In many ways, children have a lot to teach (is about receiving gifts. We respect other sacred acts such as anointing the sick, marriage, and ordination, but we do not consider them as sacraments. Private confession is rarely done in any formal way to a priest More frequently it happens between Christian brothers and sisters in prayer groups and the like. Anyone can forgive in God's name.
The Catholic religion is not very different from my own as we follow the word from the Bible. The Methodist church is not as strict as far as divorce, birth control and things. We do believe in the bible and use it as the foundation of our Church. The traditions in the Methodist church are also similar to those in the Catholic Church but not all Methodist Churches are the same as with the Catholic churches.
I have been a Methodist since I was in Junior High School and the church that I grew up in was very traditional with traditional values and beliefs. The church that we are now members of is also traditional but not as much as First United Methodist. For example communion is done on the first Sunday of every month and at First United Methodist Church, there are special linens and the ladies wear white gloves, the linens are folded a certain way and it is just a very reverent service. Now our current church is a smaller church and communion is still done on the first Sunday of each month but it is not so proper. There are no white gloves no special linens it is just a relaxed service.
Having been raised in the church it has truly instilled good moral values in me. This is evident in the way that I raise my children. I do not take my marriage vows lightly. When I got married I said my vows before God and made a promise to Him. This is the foundation that I have built my marriage on and that is why I have a strong marriage today.
I believe that it is so important for all children to follow the word of God. When children are young the parents should be role models and teach them right from wrong. If you do what is right with your children when they are young than when they become adults than they will have a foundation to fall back on in times of trouble and more likely to be good God fearing productive citizens.
The holidays that Methodist and Catholics celebrate are very much the same also. I wish that all people weather they are Christians or non-Christians would honor their wedding vows like the Catholics do. I feel like it is just to easy for people to enter into these sacred vows. People should have to face the consequences when they are thinking about getting a divorce.
One big difference that I see in Catholics and Methodist is the fact that typically when one is raised Catholic they generally marry Catholic and stay Catholic. I don’t see that as being so prevalent in the Methodist church. I did not marry a Methodist although he did convert prior to our marriage.
In conclusion I would like to say that although there are many differences between the religion that I practice and that Debbie practices I feel like our core values are the same. We both value the lessons that we where and are still being taught from the Bible. God is a prominent person in our lives and the lives of our family. We both feel like with out having the Holy Spirit lead us than we would be lost. My hope is that if someone reads this paper and they are not in church that they will be lead to one. The religion that you choose is not as important as long as the foundation is based on the Holy Bible. There are many different denominations that will fit anyone’s needs. If you are unsure of what the Church is based on than I encourage you to do the research just as I have done here.