Roman Catholicism Thesis

Pages: 10 (3414 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Roman Catholicism

According to many Roman Catholics, the history of Catholicism is the history of Christianity. This claim may not be that farfetched, since the Roman Catholic Church was fully functioning as a church by the middle of the first century, near the advent of Christianity. Roman Catholics believe that Jesus "assigned to Peter the responsibility of establishing the Christian church. Peter traveled to Rome where he was the first pope. At his death, his work was continued by a continuous succession of popes." (Robinson). Catholics believe that "Jesus' Apostles ordained bishops, who in turn ordained the next generation of bishops" in a tradition that continues today, so that each modern ordained bishop can trace his line of succession back to Jesus. (Robinson). Jesus was the start of the Roman Catholic Church, and it is built on a foundation in the belief that Jesus was the savior of mankind and the immaculately conceived son of God. Moreover, Catholics believe that their Popes are divinely assisted by God, so that doctrines established by Popes are infallible.

Catholic Beliefs

Unlike members of many other religions, Catholics adhere to a creed, the Athanasian Creed. That creed focuses on one of the main beliefs in Catholicism, which is the divinity of Jesus Christ and the existence of a Holy Trinity consisting of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit; three separate individuals, who share one singular divinity. (Richert, "The Athanasian Creed").

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The most controversial aspect of this creed is that it outright states that those who do not hold to the creed will perish for eternity. In more recent times, the Catholic Church has become more tolerant in its view towards other religions, and has stressed the importance of embracing Jesus Christ as the savior as its primary goal. However, while recognizing that God may desire to save every member of society, the official view, as expressed by Pope John Paul II, is that, "the certainty of the universal salvific will of God does not diminish, but rather increases the duty and urgency of the proclamation of salvation and of conversion to the Lord Jesus Christ." (Pope John Paul, II).

TOPIC: Thesis on Roman Catholicism Assignment

Catholics take the idea of sin very seriously. They believe in two types of sin: the venial sin and the mortal sin. "Mortal sins destroy the grace of God in the heart of the sinner...Venial sin, that of less grave matter, does not cut [one] off from Christ." (Miranda). To be a mortal sin, a sin has to meet three conditions: (1) be a sin of grave matter; (2) be committed with the sinner's full knowledge; (3) be committed with the sinner's full consent. (Miranda). Several things qualify as grave sins, including fornication, idolatry, adultery, theft, covetousness, drunkenness, extortion, anger, blasphemy, envy, hatred, malice, murder, neglect of Sunday obligation, sins against faith, sins against hope, sins against love, murder, sodomy, homosexual relations, taking advantage of the poor, defrauding the workingman of his wages, pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth. (Miranda). Most importantly, Catholics believe that all sin can be forgiven, and that such forgiveness occurs through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, which was developed by Christ in the recognition that even Baptized Christians can continue to sin. (Miranda). According to Catholics:

It is vitally important that Catholics confess sins on a regular basis, especially if we are in the state of mortal sin. A person who dies in mortal sin cannot enter the kingdom of heaven and is doomed to eternal suffering in hell. Even when we have not committed mortal sin, we are still obliged to confess our sins at least once a year. Christ, in perfect love, laid down his life so that we may be forgiven of our sins. The sacrifice of the cross should not be neglected or taken for granted. Jesus died for the life of the world and is thus the light of the world. "He that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). (Miranda).

Catholics also profess a very literal belief in Satan. Rather than viewing Satan as an allegory for evil and temptation, they view him as the source of evil and temptation and blame him for many of the problems in the modern world. In fact, rather than believing that Satan's existence has dissipated in modern, scientific times, they believe that "Satan is thriving in this world of materialism. His master plan is to fool everyone. He has even succeeded in fooling some religious and clergy into believing he does not exist anymore." (Concerned Catholics). Catholics also continue to believe in the concept of demonic possession, though this belief is not openly discussed. According to Father Cliff Graham, fear keeps many religious people from acknowledging that Satan exists, and this attitude belies the superiority of God, who is capable of conquering Satan. He believes that priests who refuse to be exorcists are failing their promise to God, because exorcism was one of Jesus' duties in his lifetime. (Graham).

In addition to Satan, Catholics have a very real belief in angels. They believe that angels are pure spirits "created by God." (Catholic Online). The existence of angels appears presumed in the Bible, and by New Testament there were seven specific orders of angels: Angels, Powers, Principalities, Domininos, Thrones, Archangels, Seraphim, and Cherubim. (Catholic Online). Angles are possessed of great wisdom and power and appear to perform God's work. This is largely due to the fact that humans, in their imperfections, are not good enough to have a direct audience with the Lord. Therefore, the angels act as intermediaries between God and humans, such as when the Angel of the Lord spoke to Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Christ.

Catholics believe in a spiritual afterlife after death. They believe that those who are saved will go to Heaven and live an eternal life with God. They believed that those who are damned will go to Hell. However, Catholics also believe in purgatory. Purgatory is where the unclean who were still friends with God go at the time of their death and is a place where people can eventually ascend to Heaven. Therefore, someone with unconfessed mortal sins might go to purgatory at their death. According to Catholics, the doctrine of purgatory makes sense because "there is a requirement that a soul not just be declared clean, but actually be clean, before a man may enter into eternal life." (Catholic Answers).

Catholics view eschatology quite literally, and many believe that they can predict the end of the Earth from looking at clues and dates in the New Testament. For example, author Ron Conte, a renowned Catholic Biblical scholar, has summarized the future of the world in a single paragraph:

The first part of the tribulation, from 2009/2010 to 2039/2040, includes world war 3, civil disorder, famine, many deaths, a great massacre of Christians, word war 4, and the afflictions of the first six trumpets from the Book of Revelation (the last trumpet being the three days of darkness). Next the great monarch and the angelic shepherd reign peacefully. Afterwards the world gradually slips into ever greater sinfulness, over the next few centuries, until the reign of the ten kings dominates the 24th century. The Antichrist rises to power in the early 25th century, wins a war in 2430, and becomes ruler of nearly the whole world from 2431 to 2437. Then Christ returns in 2437 and establishes his kingdom on earth. Christ returns to Heaven, but he continues to reign on earth through the Sacraments and the Church, for well over a thousand years, in peace and holiness. After that there is a brief time of trouble, followed by the general resurrection, and a new heaven and a new earth. (Conte).

Another aspect of Catholicism that differs substantially from many Protestant faiths is the Catholic belief in saints. For many Protestants, this belief in saints seems very much like idolatry or polytheism, and many Protestants do not understand how a person becomes a saint. Catholics would consider this a misunderstanding on the part of Protestants. Understanding what makes a person a saint is difficult, because, during their lifetimes, saints do not always share certain characteristics. On the contrary, saints include people from all walks of life. However, "all the saints share certain virtues- a yearning for holiness, an intimacy with God, perseverance in prayer, humility of heart, and love of their fellow men and women, that is, charity of soul." (Feast of All Saints). Modern saints are chosen through a formal process known as canonization, but ancient saints were selected due to public acclaim.

A post-death miracle is required to start the canonization process, and an additional post-death miracle is required before one can become a saint. Catholics do not pray to saints, but they pray with them. The fact that saints are demonstrated to have performed miracles means that Catholics believe that they are in Heaven and have the power to help… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Roman Catholicism" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Roman Catholicism.  (2008, August 14).  Retrieved January 16, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Roman Catholicism."  14 August 2008.  Web.  16 January 2022. <>.

Chicago Style

"Roman Catholicism."  August 14, 2008.  Accessed January 16, 2022.