Catholic Faithful
Catholic Faithful

Catholic Faithful

99 Members

Church  Structural  Roles ‎

There  are  many  roles  within  the  Catholic  Church  for  both  ordained  and  non-‐ordained  people.  A non-‐ordained  person  is  typically  referred  to  as  a  layperson,  or  one  who  is  not  a  member  of  the  clergy.  One  who  is  ordained  is  someone  who  has  received  the sacrament  of  Holy  Orders.  


  • The  pope  is  the  head  of  the  Church  on  earth.  He  is  the  Vicar  of  Christ  in  that  he  guides  the  Church  in  faith  and  morals.  
• First  among  equals.  Of  all  the  bishops  and  archbishops  in  the  world  he  is  the  leader.  While  he  himself  is  the  bishop  of  the  diocese  of  Rome,  he  is  the  leader  of  the  entire  Christian  flock  as  commissioned  by  Jesus  (John  21:15-‐19).  
• The  present  day  process  for  selecting  a  pope  is  through  election.  The  election  is  held  amongst  the  cardinals  of  the  Church  that  form  a  conclave  and  select  the  next  pope.  The  cardinals  vote  each  day  until  a  majority  of  the  votes  cast  are  in  favor  of  one  person. • The  pope,  by  the  power  of  the  keys  and  promise  of  Jesus  to  protect  the  Church  (Matt.  16:13-‐19),  has  the  ability  to  speak  infallibly  ex  cathedra  on  matters  of  faith  and  morals  only.  This  does  not  mean  that  he  is  impeccable  or  that  every  time  he  speaks  he  is  infallible.  Infallibility  also  extends  to  all  other  bishops  as  long  as  they  are  speaking  together  with  the  pope.  The  pope  does  not  make  infallible  pronouncements  as  a  private  person,  but  rather  does  so  as  the  supreme  teacher  of the  Catholic  faith.  Even  when  he  is  not  speaking  ex  cathedra  his  teaching  authority  is  to  be  respected.  
• 21st  –  20thCentury  popes:  
» Leo  XIII  (1878-‐1903)  ‎
» St.  Pius  X  (1903-‐14)  
» Benedict  XV  (1914-‐22)  
» Pius  XI  (1922-‐39) ‎
» Pius  XII  (1939-‐58)  
» Blessed  John  XXIII  (1958-‐63)  
» Paul  VI  (1963-‐78)  
» John  Paul  I  (1978) 
» John  Paul  II  (1978-‐2005)  ‎
» Benedict  XVI  (2005-‐Present

The  oldest  documented  use  of  the  word  Catholic  to  describe  the  church  occurs  circa  110  A.D.  The  context  in  which  it  is  used  (by  Saint  Ignatius)  implies  that  it  was  a  well-‐known,  established  term.  By  110  A.D.  all  the  books  that  would  become  the  Bible,  had  not  yet  been  written.    Yet,  the  church  was  already  being  called  a  Catholic  church.    It  only  makes  sense.  The  Church  being  called  Catholic  is  a  natural  consequence  of  its  oneness  and  its  holiness.    If  the  church  is  one,  that  is  united,  its  members  would  be  unified  in  fulfilling  the  great  commission  (to  preach  the  gospel  to  everyone,  everywhere).    If  the  church  is  holy,  that  is  a  reflection  of  God;  it  would  desire  the  love  of  God  for  all  of  God's  people,  as  does  the  Catholic  Church.    So,  just  as  a  church,  that  is  not  unified,  cannot  be  God's  church,  just  as  a  church,  that  is  not  holy,  cannot  be  God's church  and  a  church  that  is  not  universal  is  not  fulfilling  the  great  commission  cannot  be  God's  church  -‐  that  is  a  sure  fire  sign  that  the  Spirit  is  not  at  work  in  her  and  she  cannot  be  the  true  church  of  God.‎

The  Church  is  Catholic  

Catholics have  sometimes  been  heard  to  speak  of  the  four  marks  of  the  church.  In  fact,  we  state  our  belief  in  them  every  time  we  say  the Nicene  Creed  at  mass,  when  we  state  that  we  believe  in  "one,  holy,  catholic  and  apostolic  church."    Catholics  believe  that  the  true  church  can  only  be  identified  as  one  that  bears  all  four  qualities.  If  part  2 (Holy)  was  the  hardest,  part  3  (Catholic)  may  be  the  easiest.    "Catholic"  means  universal.  That  the  true  church  would  be  a  universal  or  catholic  church  is  undeniable.    Jesus  told  us  to  make  disciples  of  all  men.  He  instructed  us  to  preach  the  gospel  to  the  entire  world.    Jesus  made  a  promise  that  was  certain  to  be  misunderstood  at  its  time:    

Matthew  10:23  -‐  "When  they  persecute  you  in  one  town,  flee  to  the  next;  for  truly,  I  say  to  you,  you  will  not  have  gone  through  all  the  towns  of  Israel,  before  the  Son  of  man  comes."

If  you  take  this  promise  at  face  value,  it  appears  that  Jesus  broke  His  promise.    However,  in  this  passage,  Israel  refers  to  the  new  Israel,  which  is  the  Church.  Since  Jesus  still  has  not  returned,  this  reinforces  the  idea  that  the  church's  message  must  still  be  spread.‎

What is the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is a global community of believers founded by Jesus Christ over two-thousand years ago. There are over 1 billion Catholics on earth. The Catholic Church is made up on many people from diverse cultural backgrounds. Sometimes the Catholic Church is thought of as a big tent – it encompasses many people within the spectrum of political belief all united by the same central religious belief or creed.

A Group of Christians
The Catholic Church is Christian. Sometimes people are confused and juxtapose the Catholic Church with Christianity when in fact they are one in the same. The Catholic Church was the first group of Christians and is the group from which all other Christian groups have splintered over the centuries.

The Catholic Church is primarily a worldwide group of Christians, but is also an institution. Within the Catholic Church there is a leadership structure. The leaders of the Catholic Church are not like kings and queens, but rather servant-leaders following the example of Jesus. Servant-leaders put themselves at the service of those whom they lead unlike a king who lords himself over the people. The primary servant-leaders of the Catholic Church are all men who have undergone a ritual called Holy Orders in which they are ordained or commissioned into the priesthood. Becoming a priest, while a special privilege, carries much responsibility for priests act in the place of Jesus in a special way. The exclusive selection of priests as men is a tradition that is rooted in Jesus’ selection of the original twelve apostles, the twelve men he chose to carry out his mission after Jesus’ death.

One of the most important roles of the priest in the Catholic Church is that he re-presents Jesus’ great sacrifice at each Eucharistic (YOO-ka-rist-ick) liturgy. A Eucharistic liturgy is commonly referred to as Mass, the time when Catholics gather to worship God by listening to readings of the Bible and receiving Jesus in the form of bread and wine. Catholics believe that the bread and wine at Mass are turned into the body and blood of Jesus by the priest (called consecration). The consecrated bread and wine are then distributed to the worshippers much like Jesus did with his twelve apostles the night before he was hung on a cross (crucifixion). This ritual is at the center of Catholic belief and worship.

Carrying Out the Ministry of Jesus
Aside from the special duties of the ordained priesthood, there is also an expectation of all Catholics to carry out the ministry of Jesus. All Catholics, when initiated into the church through a ritual called baptism, are baptized as priest, prophet, and king thereby responsible for a share in the work of Jesus.

Like any institution the Catholic Church is not exempt from having bad leaders, but even with poor leadership the faith and hope in Jesus Christ remains and it is that which brings the Catholic Church together.

What about all the needless suffering?
A popular argument against God is that if he really loves us so much then why is there all the suffering and pain in the world. There are a few responses to that question. One is that there is pain and suffering in the world not due to God, but due to sin that humanity brought into the world.

It is humankind that has chosen to separate itself from God and therefore causing the pain and suffering that was not in the initial plan of Creation as outlined in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God made everything wonderful and perfect for us, but by the sin of Adam we now suffer.

Another response, and one that fits well into the first one, is that through pain and suffering we find God, we finally see the need to seek God and thereby form a closer relationship with him. Have you ever had an experience where you were really injured and you have a lot of free time while recovering you started to read the Bible more? Chances are you have not, but that is just one example of how suffering brings people closer to God.

Our lives can be filled with many distractions that take away our time from God and suffering and hardships in this world remind us that we cannot do it alone ‘ we need the love and grace of God which we seek and he freely gives. Jesus reminds us that even though we may be suffering now it is later that we will get our reward (Mt. 5:3-12). We should not be angry with God for suffering, but use it as a chance to seek him and develop a closer relationship with him.