What are the Basic Tenets of Catholicism?

The Catholic Church has been in existence on the earth longer than any other Christian denomination. The Catholics can trace the Pope’s and the Catholic Church’s authority back to Peter at the time of Jesus Christ. Most other Christian churches broke away from the Catholic Church at one point in time or another. But, they still retain many of the traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Church.

If you examine the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, you will find that it is very similar to the Church that Jesus Christ established when he set up his Church. Just as Peter was the head of the Church after Christ was crucified, the Church today has the Pope. Then there are the Cardinals. The Bishops are like the apostles, and then there are deacons and priests. Only men can participate in the leadership roles in the Church.

Quite simply, traditional Catholicism is the set of Catholic beliefs and principles that the Catholic faithful have always practiced throughout the ages. After the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, some reforms swept through the Church, impacting almost everything. The mass was substantially changed (masses were for example always conducted in Ecclesiastical Latin; it was after Vatican II that native languages like English began to be used for the Latin rite of the Church). Many new prayers were added to the mass, while many old prayers were removed. All 7 of the sacraments were revised (Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Penance, Eucharist, Anointing of the Sick, and Matrimony.) The catechism was updated to be made consistent with the documents of Vatican II and a new code of canon law was issued. The changes were so far-reaching that even the Rosary and the rite of exorcism were modified and changed.

Traditional Catholic priests administer the sacraments according to their traditional form. Catechism classes are taught using older catechisms, such as the Baltimore Catechism or the Catechism of the Council Trent. Other traditional Catholic practices are still followed as well, such as abstaining from meat on all Fridays (in remembrance of Christ’s death) and kneeling to receive Holy Communion.

The Catholic Church rests on a foundation of four core beliefs or tenets. These beliefs are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. Here are brief definitions of the beliefs to make them clearer:

One
One stands for the one true gospel of Jesus Christ. Although there are many principles of the gospel, there is only one true gospel and one true Church as Jesus Christ set it up. It also stands for the one body of Jesus Christ.

Holy
Holy means that the Catholic Church is perfect, pure and sanctified; although the members and even the leadership are not perfect the church itself is.

Catholic
The word Catholic can be traced back to the Greek word “katas” which means universal or whole. If you were to look at the statement of beliefs for some Protestant religions, not just the Catholic Church, you would find the term “Catholic” in them as well. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, he commanded his followers to take the gospel to the whole earth so that in theory all people would share one belief and faith.

Apostolic
Just as when Christ was on the earth, the Catholics set up a Church with apostles.

The Catechism Of The Catholic Church states the doctrines for the church, and you can use it as a guide to help you understand the stance that the Catholic church takes and why.

Catholics believe that the true presence of Jesus is in the Eucharist, which most would call communion. Catholics believe in the true presence of Jesus Christ in the bread and the wine, and we believe that the bread and wine are the body and the blood of Jesus Christ.

They do not believe in sola fide or sola scriptura. Simplistically put, these are the beliefs that you go to heaven by believing in the Bible alone and that you do not need the teachings of the church that were handed down.

Catholics do ask saints to pray for them, just like they ask family and friends to pray for us. Catholics do this because there is great power in numbers and since they have already gone on before us and are now in the presence of God.