The Catholic Church
you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven
(Photo Credit: Fr Lawrence Lew OP)
The Church of Rome
The Catholic Church is the community of believers founded by Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, to accomplish His Father's plan for the salvation of the whole of mankind. During His lifetime, Our Lord Jesus Christ gathered together a community of believers, taught them how to live and how to pray, and entrusted their care to his closest followers; the Apostles. To the Apostle Peter, Jesus entrusted three great offices;
That he should be the 'Rock' - the symbol of unity in the Church
That he should exercise authority in his teachings: that what he binds on earth is bound in heaven, and what he looses on earth shall be loosed in heaven
That he should confirm the brethren in right doctrine: "feed my lambs" (John 21:7)
When Saint Peter came to Rome, and ministered alongside the Apostle Paul, these two great Apostles chose a successor, Linus, to take up the mantle of the Petrine office. St Linus would become the second Bishop of Rome, the first successor of Saint Peter as Pastor of the Church. Over the centuries, Saint Peter's successors would be acknowledged as the pre-eminent Bishops, first in dignity amongst the others, speaking with a greater authority. The Second Century Bishop and Martyr, St Ignatius of Antioch (himself a 'Successor of Peter' as Bishop of Antioch) wrote of the Bishop of Rome: "worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of obtaining her every desire, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over charity." The Bishop of Rome, the Pope, presides over Charity, over love, over the whole communion of the Church which exists in Charity.
The Catholic Church of today is led by Pope Francis, the 266th Bishop of Rome, the latest in an unbroken line of succession from the Apostle Peter. As Catholics we believe and affirm the authority of the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, the Universal Pastor, the authoritative teacher, and the symbol of the unity of the Church.
What do We Believe?
The Catholic Church is the body of Christ- we follow and believe in Jesus Christ as the Incarnate God and Saviour of all mankind. Jesus' earliest followers gave us an early Creed, a statement or summary of our beliefs. The core beliefs of the Catholic Church are contained in this Creed.
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit (and) born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, The Holy Catholic Church, The Communion of Saints, The Forgiveness of Sins, The Resurrection of the body and Life Everlasting. Amen.
The Catechism of The Catholic Church
A 'Catechism' (from the Greek word for oral teaching: κατηχέω) is a summary of beliefs and doctrines. For many centuries the Church Councils issued specific Catechisms which taught and explained specific truths of the Catholic Faith. In 1992, Pope John Paul II unified these teachings of the Church into the 'Catechism of the Catholic Church'. For those seeking to understand the Catholic Faith more deeply, this is a valuable resource which defines and explains the core elements of the Catholic Faith: it explains who God is, his relationship to us, the role of the Church and its Sacraments and much, much more. You will be able to find a copy of the Catechism in many online book shops, but it is also available for free on the Vatican Website: