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FIVE Amazing Facts about your Catholic faith you didn't know!
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Your Catholic faith is filled with truths, histories, and cool things that few people know or understand. A lot of these facts are taught by Catholic Online School, so we will include links to the school so you can take the courses that teach these amazing things to us.
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LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Here are Five Amazing Truths taught by our faith. How many do you really know?
FACT 1 - Guardian Angels are Real!
Most people know this one, but they don't really "know" it, if you catch the meaning. We've all heard about guardian angels, but many assume it is something we tell children, or that they are only associated with certain events, like dangerous situations.
In reality, each person has a guardian angel assigned to them. The Catechism has several paragraphs explaining this.
From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 336)
Your angel never leaves your side. Sadly, we learn to ignore them from a young age, but we can learn to listen again if we try.
Catholic Online School has a whole lesson on this subject. Lesson 5 in "Angels and Demons" discusses Guardian Angels and their roles in our lives.
FACT 2 - Hell is a choice.
It's a Catholic thing. We're afraid of hell. We should be! But it should come as comfort that hell isn't something we just "fall" into by accident. It's not something that should take anyone by surprise. To go to hell, a person must make choices that land them there. That's due to the nature of sin. Mortal Sin is any kind of sin that puts a person in danger of damnation. For a sin to be mortal, it must satisfy three conditions. It must be a grave sin, (e.g., it violates a Commandment), it must be freely chosen, and it must be chosen with the knowledge that it is a sin.
Sins that do not meet these three requirements are venial, but not mortal. Therefore, to choose hell you must choose sin, and you must choose it freely and in the knowledge that it is a sin.
To this, there is a fourth condition. You must refuse to repent of the sin. However, such sins can be forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Therefore, no matter what one has done, if you are genuinely sorry, you can avoid hell by asking for forgiveness.
Catholic Online School has a great course that discusses this in detail, "Purgatory" which opens with a discussion of hell, and the fact that it is a freely chosen state.
FACT 3 - Yes, it matters if you're Catholic, or not.
In recent decades there's been a trend of folks insisting that denomination doesn't matter. Basically, it's the assumption that all paths lead to heaven, so the one you take is more a matter of preference. It's led many people to attend Protestant, or "non-denominational" churches, or even worse than that, they have simply stopped attending church altogether. Some have concluded that worship isn't necessary, and it's enough to believe in God and try to behave while being sorry for one's sins. This is dangerous.
Jesus did not establish a multitude of churches. He established the Catholic Church, which you can see in Matthew Chapter 16. He appointed Peter as the leader of the apostles, a role Peter embraced following the death of Jesus. It is a fact that Peter was the first pope, that the Church was united under the apostles, that it was dubbed "Catholic" (meaning 'universal') early in its history and that there is an unbroken line of apostolic succession from the apostles to the bishops and priests who serve today.
Jesus did this deliberately because He wanted people to follow the one, right way to salvation, not a different way suggested by mere men or women on the basis of their interpretations. Indeed, logic must rule here. There is one God, one Jesus Christ, one Apostle chosen to preside over the others, in One Church. In other words, the Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.
Choosing the Catholic Church is like choosing to fly to an overseas destination when the alternative is to swim. Nobody will tell you you can't make it, but it's smarter to fly.
Theologian Deacon Frederick Bartels explains this in Catholic Online School in the course. "Why Should I be Catholic?" The course is part of his Defending the Faith series, which teaches valuable apologetics.
FACT 4 - The Ten Commandments cover a lot of stuff!
The Ten Commandments aren't very long, and you can read them all in a minute. This has caused many to assume they are simple, or even too basic to apply to modern times. However, their genius is apparent to those who understand them correctly.
Each commandment covers a wide range of sins. For example, some critics of the faith accuse the Commandments of failing to condemn a wide range of common sins and vices. But they do apply. The Commandments forbid immorality of every kind, not to mention stealing, killing, cheating, lying, disrespect and more.
To understand what is happening here, it pays to learn about the Ten Commandments to see what sins are covered by their broad, traditional interpretation. The course, "Ten Commandments with 'Certificate of Completion'" has the details you need.
FACT 5 - There are answers to all the questions you have and more in the Catechism.
There are answers to a lot of common questions, including those asked by atheists, Protestants, and those who doubt, or are just curious. For example, the Problem of Evil, which is a common question atheists have. (Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? - Or, why does evil exist?)
Everyday questions like, "How do I know the Eucharist is actually the Body and Blood of Christ?" "What happens after we die?" And tough questions, like "Why do Catholics pray to Mary," or "What about same-sex attraction?"
Catholic Online School answers these questions too! All the answers conform to the magisterial teachings of the Catholic Church.
For general questions and answers, "The Way of Christ with 'Certificate of Completion'" is a good primer for everyone, especially lifelong Catholics.
For tough questions, there's this course, among others: "Tough Questions with Professor Connolly."
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