By Michael Smith
HUM/130 - RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD
Instructor: THOMAS THIESSEN
December 9, 2012
Catholicism is originally a branch of Christianity, which is one of the largest if not the largest religion in the entire world. With about 7.74 billion people in the world about one third of that are Christians. Christianity is a monothestic and Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings. It also considers the Hebrew Bible, which is known as the Old Testament to be canonical. Adherents of the Christian faith are known as Christians. One of the biggest denominations of the Christian faith is that of the Catholic Church also known as the Roman Catholic Church, it also is one of the oldest. The Catholic Church is said to have over one billion members. Catholicism is distinguished from other forms of Christianity in its particular understanding and commitment to tradition, the sacraments, and the mediation between God, communion, and the Church of Rome. The first Catholic Church was said to have been created by Jesus Christ, and ordained the First Pope Simon Peter. From that day forward the Pope has been the leader of the Catholic Church, from the first Pope Simon Peter to the current Pope Benedict XVI (256th). The first Pope St. Peter eventually fled Jerusulem to avoid further persecution to Rome in the year 33 A.D. where the first Roman Catholic Church was founded ("How The Catholic Church Started", 2003). Almost 2000 years later the Catholic Church has grown to what it is today, there are about 20 different types of Catholic Churches; The Roman Catholic Church, Coptic Catholic Church, Ethiopic Catholic Church, Maronite Church, Syrian Catholic Church, Syro-Malankara Catholic Church, Armenian Catholic Church, Chaldean Catholic Church, Syro-Malabar Church, Albanian Byzantine Catholic Church, Belarusian Greek Catholic Church, Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church, Byzantine Church of the Eparchy of Križevci, Greek Byzantine Catholic Church, Hungarian Greek Catholic Church, Italo-Albanian Catholic Church, Macedonian Greek Catholic Church, Melkite Greek Catholic Church, Romanian Church, Russian Byzantine Catholic Church, Ruthenian Catholic Church, Slovak Greek Catholic Church, and Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church just to name a few ("What Are The Different Types Of Catholic? ", 2009). With there being so many different types of Catholic Churches you would think that there wouldn’t be anything that they agree on. That is not true there are things that all Catholics value; that God comes first, no sex before marriage, once married no use of artificial contraception (they are open to life), and no drugs, stealing, or immoral behavior. The most important thing is probably that the Catholic Church has authority not over God, but of God. The religion of Catholicism was a complete unknown; I had known little or nothing at all about the values of it. While writing this paper I have learned a whole lot, thru both research and speaking to devout and less than devout Catholics. I took the time to interview a Catholic priest Father Louis Bernhardt, just to get a little bit more insight into what it is to be Catholic.
Senior Minister Father Louis N. Bernhardt, Director of Services and Clergy Officiant, was one of the main people I chose to interview. He is an Anglican Catholic Priest that services the Houston, Galveston, Austin, San Antonio, Lake Charles, and surrounding areas. The services he performs includes baptism celebrations, wedding officiant, quinceanera celebrations, masses, funeral ministry, and the renewing of wedding vows. Father Bernhardt received his bachelor’s of arts in 1971 and his master’s of theology in 1992. He was ordained a Priest of The Anglican Rite Old Catholic Church in 1993. He was a staff member of the St. Albans Catholic Church from 1993 to 1994 and a staff member of St. Ignatius Catholic Church...
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