My Religion: Roman Catholicism
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My Religion: Roman Catholicism
Part I: Roman Catholicism is a monotheistic religion centered on Jesus of Nazareth, and on his life and teachings as presented in the New Testament. It traces its origins to Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. Catholicism’s focus is in the Vatican in Rome and it spreads from there. We Catholics believe Jesus to be the Messiah, and thus refer to him as Jesus Christ our savior.
1. The historical dimension:
The historical development that Catholicism went through includes the following events. During the second century before the Common Era up to the middle of the third century, the Church struggled in the face of official Roman persecution. However, in the year 380 Common Era (CE), the Emperor Constantine made Catholicism the official religion of the Roman Empire. By request of Emperor Constantine, in 325 CE, the Council of Nicea got together and proclaimed Jesus Christ as both human and divine. Then the Nicene Creed in the fourth century claimed God as a Trinitarian: the belief that God exists in three divine persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Wilson 79-80). The Church remained substantially one institution up to 1054 CE. However, at that time the first great division occurred, between the Eastern Orthodox Church in the East and the Roman Catholic Church in the West. The next great division occurred in the Western Church with the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century (Smith 347).
Reformers within the Catholic Church launched the Counter Reformation, a period of doctrinal clarification, reform of the clergy and the liturgy, and re-evangelization begun by the Council of Trent in 1545-1563 BC (Wilson 79). The 18th and 19th century Church found itself facing not only the teachings of Protestantism, but also Enlightenment and Modernist teachings about the nature of the human person, the state, and morality (Wilson 79).
2. Personal dimension:
In particular, I subscribe to Catholicism; I have repented for all my sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as my only savor. My most important religious experience took place in Guatemala when I was eighteen years old. I was sitting in my car, in traffic, waiting for a stop light to turn green. I have no idea why but at that moment I was just thinking about how little doubt I had that God existed. There were no bright lights, no angels, no visions, no dreams nothing like that at all, just the belief that God is very real. At that moment, my notion of God changed. I no longer view God as a supreme being totally separated from humanity, instead, I see him as an approachable God.
3. The ritual dimension:
(a) As a religious individual, ritual is very important in my life. For example, I pray to God every night before go to bed. I also read my Bible every Sunday before going to church. (b) I consider Sunday a special holy day because Sunday is the day I receive the Holy Eucharistic and the Wine. (c) Additionally, in my religion we belief in seven sacraments or rites of passages: Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Holy Orders, Holy Matrimony, and Anointing of the Sick. Catholicism also includes the use of images, candles, vestments and music in worship. In addition, Catholicism contains belief that the bread and wine of the Eucharist really are Jesus body, blood, soul, and divinity. Furthermore, salvation through faith lived out through good works, rather than by faith alone is an essential focus in my religion.
4. The conceptual dimension:
(a) Just like my religion, Catholicism, I believe in a Trinitarian God: one god in three divine persons. (c) According to the Bible, (consisting of 73 books supernaturally inspired) God created the universe, the firmament, the light, the day, the night, the water, heaven and everything that resides in the earth in six days (New American Bible, Gen.1.31). (d) We Catholics believe this to be true because it is written in the Bible. We regard the Bible as authoritative and written by human authors under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and therefore the inerrant Word of God.
(b) In addition to the creation of the universe, He created mankind with a soul and a body. He created us in his image and at the beginning everything was beautiful. However, original sin is derived from Adam’s fall and creates human concupiscence; the tendency toward evil. Our sins destroy grace in one’s soul and increases sexual temptation. Sanctifying grace is brought through baptism, which purifies a person’s soul, forgives all sin and makes a person a child of God. (Continuation of part (b) is in part 5 below) (e) Finally, in the Bible God created rules for us to follow in order to be able to discern what is god or bad. Specifically, the Ten Commandments are the main