This ebook explores:
• a few of the stances inside American Catholicism today
• fresh Catholic background, so much particularly, the demise of John Paul II and the succession of Pope Benedict XVI
• The seven sacraments
• the current nation of Catholic schooling, Catholic identification, and Catholic social educating
Read or Download The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism, 3rd Edition PDF
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Additional info for The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Catholicism, 3rd Edition
Nature shut down and regenerated itself again in spring. To die was to be reborn. Ceremonies celebrating the seasons of the year were deeply rooted in the human psyche; they affirmed that life would continue. A Visit to Antiquity Imagine you're a member of a tribe living thousands of years ago. Summer is ending. The days grow shorter. A distinct chill fills the morning air. The vines no longer produce their fruits. You're concerned about the food supply. (Remember that this is before the age of microwaves and corner grocery stores. When the food was gone, it was gone! ) If the winter is as long and cold as it was the previous year, will there be enough food? Will the old people and the children stay warm enough; will they survive the winter? Winter connects us to thoughts of death and also to renewal. Today, as well as in ancient times, ritual and rites explore these themes. In the past, drummers gathered in a circle outside the cave and beat their drums in rhythms that matched the human heartbeat to make the spirit strong for winter. Then dancers circled the fire, echoing the beat and pounding the experience of hope renewed, moving it up through the legs into the body and into their hearts. Hope is strengthened through the rhythms of ritual and enactment of ceremony. In Baptism, for example we light the candle, which is our ritual fire. We are immersed in water, and through it we are born into the new life of the spirit just as God once gave us physical life through our mother. We are connected in a sacramental way to God's renewing spirit. We are reborn. Within the Catholic Church, the rituals and ceremonies celebrate not the passing of seasons as they did in ancient times but rather the physical presence of Christ on Page 80 earth. His availability to human beings, walking and talking with them in their everyday experiences, is a key belief for Catholics. They believe he showed us that God is, was, and will always be present to his people. We can realize his presence through all of creation. We can understand that we are loved and cared for in all ways. God is in the earth, providing food, shelter, and all the material things we need to sustain us. Catholics connect to the earthly presence of God by enacting rituals. Through rituals, they're able to physically touch and be touched by God's presence. The Communion bread is made of the wheat that grows in the fields. The Communion ritual says: “I am here with you. This is my body. I will feed and nourish you. This is how I am intimate with you. ” This earthy ritual manifests the physicality of God. Rituals are tribal events. They're acted out in a community. It is only when we find a connection to the symbols of hope with others that we become certain of their validity. “Yada, Yada, Yada” As we stated earlier, Catholics share a common history with the Jews. In Hebrew, the word for faith is yada, which the Greeks translated as gnoskin, meaning “to recognize. ” For JudeoChristians, yada (knowing) is something we do more with our hearts than with our minds.