Nga Wakapono — The Beliefs
As Christians Catholics believe in one God who has been revealed to be Trinity. Catholics believe that one God in three divine persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The core beliefs of the Catholic Faith are expressed through Creeds. Creeds are prayers that profess the faith and are agreed on by the entire Church community.
The Nicene Creed
- I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
- I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.
- I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified who has spoken through the prophets.
- I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen
The Nicene Creed is only one of the Creeds of the Catholic Church. At Sunday Masses a Creed is proclaimed. This will be either the Nicene Creed or one of the oldest Creeds - the Apostle's Creed.
A key Christian belief concerns the Trinity the knowledge that there is One God, three persons.
The challenge for many of us is to pray the familiar words of the Creed rather than just rush through it like a robot.
Catholics believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God. Written by human authors who were inspired by the Holy Spirt the Scriptures are the revelation of truth. The authors of the Bible used their own abilities and perspectives to write. God did not dictate the Scriptures word-for-word to authors. Instead, God inspired the writers to use their own unique talents to write.
Catholics believe the Bible is true. This does not mean that God created the world in seven 24-hour days, or that Jesus wants us to cut off body parts if they lead us to sin. The truth the authors of Genesis wanted to convey was that God created the world out of love with a plan. When Jesus said that you should cut off your hand if it causes you to sin (Matt 5:30), he was using hyperbole to tell us how important it is that we avoid whatever causes us to sin. Just as I might tell you of my frustration at the length of the que at the supermarket by recounting that it was miles long. It was not but you get my meaning.
When reading the Bible, it is important for Catholics to understand the authors’ intentions in writing the books. A book like 1 Kings is historical; a book like the Song of Solomon is poetic; a book like Revelation relies heavily on symbolism. Therefore, when interpreting 1 Kings, the Song of Solomon, and Revelation, Catholics use knowledge of the different literature forms to understand what the Scriptures are trying to tell us about God and about ourselves.
Catholics believe that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. The story of the Church is full of tales of people who have done amazing things for God and/or have lived extraordinary lives of faith. Catholics believe that just as we can ask each other to pray for us so too we can ask those who have gone before us to pray for us. Catholics do not pray to saints they ask the Saints to pray with them.
Mary is honoured as first among the saints because she is the Mother of God and the Mother of the Church. Being human, Mary had free will, which means she had the power to say “yes” or “no” to God when his messenger, the angel, came to her. The fact that she willingly said “yes” is an example for us of love and willingness to follow the call of God. As with the saints, we ask Mary to pray with us to intercede on our behalf.
Catholics only worship God. They do not worship statues or saints or Mary. Statues are part of the Christian tradition because along with the words of Scripture, images can illuminate the Gospel message. Many people have photos of loved ones in frames around their home or workplace. These photos remind them of the love they share, of good times, of the importance of the person. This is the rationale for statues to help us remember and perhaps be comforted.