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Are Catholics Considered Christians?
There are many misconceptions of what it means to be Catholic. Are Catholics saved? Do they pray to statues? Are Catholics even Christians?
Are Catholics Saved?
Do You Know Jesus Christ?
I walked outside to get the mail today. Two men were riding by on their bicycles. One slows down and says, ‘hi’ to me. I live in a very friendly neighborhood, so this did not seem odd. I returned the ‘hi’ with a smile and a nod. He then asked me if he could ask me a question. I then took a closer look at this man. He was well groomed, wearing a shirt and tie and dressed pants. He asked, “Do you know Jesus Christ?” I smiled and said, “Well, yes I do.”
Now I am hoping he would bike away, but he proceeded, “What domination are you?” I became flustered now and did not want to give a testimony in the middle of the street when I just left my kids alone to run to the mailbox. I told him I knew Jesus, and that is all I want to say about it and turned away.
How many Jesus’s are there? The question, ‘what domination are you?’ implies to me the Jesus in the religion I know, may not be the Jesus in the religion the young man on the bicycle is professing. Is Jesus not universal? If I say I am non-denominational does that mean the Jesus I pray to is not the same as the Jesus Baptist’s pray too? What about Catholics?
Are Catholics Saved?
When I was a little girl I loved Jesus with all my heart and soul. I held Jesus in the highest regard an 8 year can. I prayed often, even drew many pictures that depicted stories from the bible I loved to hear. I was a believer through and through, attended church every Sunday. My parents would pray with me before bed, “Now I lay me down to sleep…” We would pray before every meal together. I was brought up in a family that weaved Jesus into the fiber of everything we did. I grew up in a Catholic home.
Oh wait… does that now mean the Jesus I loved is not the same Jesus in a nondenominational religion? Are Catholics not saved because they believe in the Jesus from the Cahtolic church? How many Jesus' are there?
Vatican City, Rome, Italy
The Pope, head of the Catholic Church lives in Vatican City in Rome.
Do Catholics ask to be saved?
To 'ask Jesus into your heart' means to become a Christian, and to make a personal commitment to follow Him. There seems to be an assumption, by non-denominational Christians, that being raised in the Catholic faith, Catholics have not already started a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Much of the Catholic church's teaching, sacraments, prayers and rituals is to fortified a deep personal relationship with Jesus. It is so interwoven in the Catholic church to have a deep, meaningful and personal relationship with Jesus- to recognize Jesus and proclaim Him into your heart is not necessarily a one time event in Catholisim. It happens at every mass and in the Catholic sacraments, starting at Baptism. Catholics receive Jesus into their hearts and body through Holy Communion at every mass.
None of us have the right to judge the heart or intentions of another. Some non-denominational Christians make judgmental assumptions about Catholics of never having asked Jesus into their heart and proclaiming they are a sinner. Catholics do proclaim they are a sinner and do accept Jesus.
Do Catholics Ask Jesus into Their Hearts?
When I was in high school I was a youth group junkie. I wanted to be around other’s who loved Jesus as much as did. A friend invited me to her youth group. It was on another night than the Catholic youth group so I said enthusiastically, yes! The pastor of the youth group struck up a conversation with me. I was excited to tell him how much I love being around other Christians, and somewhere in the conversation I mentioned I was Catholic.
He began to take more of an interest in me. I was invited to share my faith’s journey. He asked me if I knew Jesus? My adolescent brain had a snarky remark inside, uh-yeah, I just told you I was Catholic. Instead I said, sure I do. He pressed me further and asked when did I invite Jesus as my personal savior? Ummm, I don’t know I have always had Jesus in my heart and soul I never felt separate from that. He asked if we could pray together, I said sure. I bowed my head and repeated some words after him. After he was done he gave me a big hug. All the other teenagers followed. I was celebrated as a new ‘baby’ Christian. If I just invited Jesus into my life as my personal savior, then whom was the Jesus my 8 year old self tenderly adored and loved with all her heart?
I walked away extremely confused by what took place. I was not confused in the matter I was professing my faith and asking God to save me. I was confused into why; this preacher believed I wasn’t saved because I was Catholic. I was confused to why I was called a ‘baby’ Christian when I knew the Bible and had a strong intense personal relationship with Jesus before I ever walked into that youth group. There are some huge misconceptions on what is Catholicism. Can a Catholic be a Christian? Can a Jehovah Witness love Christ like someone who is nondenominational?
There are many religions that are Christians, does that mean there are many Jesus’s? I believe Jesus has the omnipresence to reach and be available to many. Even in places, religions and ways humans cannot understand. My 8 year old self, my teenage self, and now my adult self have always believed in Jesus. Although my relationship with Jesus has changed as I have changed and matured as a Christian. This does not mean that Jesus Himself changed, or I found a new Jesus under another religious title.
There is one Jesus and I happened to have found in in the Catholic Church. To me he has always been the One. What about you?
We Are One Body, John Michael Talbot
Why do Catholics Pray to Statues?
Catholics do not pray to the statues. The arts in the Catholic church are symbols of God's love and grace. Catholics use paintings, stained glass windows, candles, incense and statues to prayerfully connect to God or the person depicted.
Many Christians have nativity scenes at Christmas and do not pray to the statue of Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the Wisemen. The nativity is a reminder of God's love becoming flesh in the birth of Jesus. Sometimes when people pass a nativity they say a prayer of thankfulness for this awesome gift or reflect in prayerful reverence for Christmas. The same principal is applied to the statues, and arts in the Catholic church. Catholics do not pray to the statue, or talk to the statue, like a child would to an action figure. Much like the nativity scene Catholics use these religious artifacts as reminders to connect and reflect in prayer to God, the saints and Jesus.
The Seven Sacraments
Sacraments are sacred ceremonies in the church. They are symbolic rituals of Christ's gifts. Most often before one receives a sacrament through the Catholic church they prepare through classes and prayer, sometimes for months before the sacrament is received. There are seven sacraments in the Catholic church that stem directly from the Gospels and the teachings of Jesus.
The Seven Catholic Sacraments
Baptism, the first and fundamental sacrament. Recipients are incorporated into the church in a sacramental bond of unity.
Water and Consecrated Oil
Confession or disclosure of sin. Those who partake are reconciled with God and the church community.
Disclosure of sin, Prayer, Forgiveness
Around age 7
Catholics partake for the first time Christ's Body and Blood, through the eating and drinking of bread and wine.
Bread and Wine
Around age 7
The gift of the Holy spirit. Catholics strengthen their witness to Christ.
Consecrated Oil, Sponser, Choose a confirmation name
Rings, Candle, Eucharist
A man is ordained as a priest and vows to lead Catholics.
Anointing of the Sick
A ritual for healing.
Any time a person is severely ill, trauma
Mysteries: The 7 Sacraments
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