PART I: WHAT CATHOLICS BELIEVE
2. The role of faith in religion
One of the explanations given of the word “religion” is that it comes from religare in Latin and means “relationship” – relationship with God.
All religions have three aspects: creed, cult, and code; words, worship, and works; theology, liturgy, and morality.
Thus there are three parts to this course in the Catholic religion:
1) what Catholics believe,
2) how Catholics pray, and
3) how Catholics live.
These are also the three concerns of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (The Catechism divides the second concern into two: public worship and private prayer; thus it has four Parts.)
The whole of religion stems from faith. Morality is living the faith. Liturgy is the celebration of the faith. Prayer is what faith does.
The Catholic Faith is summarized in the twelve articles of the Apostles’ Creed.
Catholic liturgy is summarized in the Mass and seven sacraments.
Catholic prayer is summarized in the seven petitions of the Lord’s Prayer.
Catholic morality is summarized in the Ten Commandments.
The Apostles’ Creed is the teaching of Christ and his apostles. It specifies what we believe when we believe Christ’s teachings.
The Ten Commandments specify the way to obey Christ’s two great commandments: to love God and neighbor.
The Mass makes Christ really present and the sacraments are his actions.
The Lord’s prayer is Christ’s answer to his disciples’ plea:“Teach us to pray.”
So the whole Catholic Faith is summarized in Christ.