To belong to the church one must accept as factually true the gospel of Jesus as handed down in tradition and as interpreted by the bishops in union with the pope. The most important thing in this divine tradition is the Bible, its text determined and disseminated by the church. The church, according to the Roman Catholic catechism, is the only Christian body that is "one, holy, catholic (universal)". The doctrine of apostolic succession is one of the key parts of the Catholic faith. It says that the pope (the vicar of Christ) and the bishops have in varying degrees the spiritual authority Jesus assigned to his apostles. The voice of the pope, either alone or in conjunction with his bishops in council, is regarded as infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals taught in common with the bishops. Many features of the traditional teaching (dogma) have been analyzed and restated, by the councils and by great theologians. The chief teachings of the Catholic church are: God's interest in individual human beings, who can enter into relations with God, the Trinity, the divinity of Jesus, the immortality of the soul of each human being, each one being accountable at death for his or her actions in life, with the award of heaven or hell, the resurrection of the Christ, the historicity of the Gospels and the divine commission of the church. In addition the Roman Catholic Church stresses that since the members, living and dead, share in each other's merits, the Virgin Mary and other saints and the dead in purgatory are never forgotten. The church is seen as having from God a system of conveying God's grace direct to humanity. The ordinary Catholic recites the sacraments of penance once per year and the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the center of public worship, often embellished with solemn ceremony. Private prayer is also regarded as essential, contemplation is the ideal, and all believers are expected to devote some time to prayer that is more...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document