The Catholic Church holds that there is one eternal God, who exists as a mutual indwelling of three persons: God the Father; God the Son; and the Holy Spirit, which make up the Trinity. Catholic belief holds that the Church "... is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth."[ To Catholics, the term "Church" refers to the people of God, who abide in Christ and who, "... nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ.
The basic religious beliefs of Roman Catholics are those shared by other Christians as derived from the New Testament and formulated in the ancient Creeds of the early ecumenical councils, such as Nicaea and Constantinople. The central belief is that God entered the world through the Incarnation of his Son, the Christ or Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. The founding of the church is traced to the life and teachings of Jesus, whose death is followed by resurrection from the dead after which he sends the Holy Spirit to assist believers. This triple mission within the Godhead is described doctrinally as the divine Trinity, God one in nature but consisting in three divine persons.
With the possible exception of some Anglican churches, the Catholic liturgy tends to be more formal and ritualized than its Protestant counterparts. Services follow a prescribed liturgy and priests wear more elaborate vestments than most Protestant ministers. Catholics usually celebrate the Eucharist more often than do Protestants, usually weekly. In Catholicism, the Eucharist is called the Mass. Catholics observe seven sacraments, which are religious rituals believed to be commanded by God and effective in conferring grace on the believer. There are several Catholic monastic orders, the most well known being the Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians. Catholic monks and nuns take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience and devote themselves to a simple life focused on worshipping God.... [continues]
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