The Catholic Faith
The Faith of the Catholic Church
At the heart of our faith is Jesus Christ. Born in the Roman province of Judaea some 2000 years ago, we believe that he is the Son of God. His followers called him Lord, Master, Teacher: we also call him Redeemer, Saviour, Judge, and Friend. We do this not only on the basis of his teaching and healing, recorded in the Tradition of the Church, and written down in the Gospels, but above all because of his death and resurrection. Put to death by crucifixion at the age of 33, Jesus was raised from the dead by his Father, and appeared to his followers. His tomb was empty: he was alive. It is the faith of the Catholic Church that Jesus Christ is alive today, and that he is really present, in his body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the gift which he gave to his Church, a gift we call the Sacrament of the Eucharist.
The Charter of the Catholic Church
After his resurrection from the dead, Jesus instructed his followers to ‘preach the Gospel to all nations’. This is the basic charter of the Catholic Church. ‘Catholic’ means ‘universal’. The ‘Gospel’ (‘Good News’) which Jesus preached concerned ‘Kingdom of God’. God created the world, and intended the human race to live in harmony with God and with one another. Among the gifts with which he endowed the human race was freedom to choose how to live: and in that freedom, we human beings have failed to live in that relationship for which we were created.
Through the risen Jesus, who is truly God and truly man, God restores that original harmony. Through Baptism in the name of the One God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we become members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. That Church is called to be a sign to the world of God’s purpose of unity for the whole of humanity. It is the place where, if we seek forgiveness, we can find it; if we need nourishment, it is there; if we need strength to find out and follow what God’s love has in store for us, he will give it to us in and through his Church.
The Structure of the Catholic Church
The Catholic Church throughout the world is, as we profess in the Creed, ‘One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic’. It is One in its visible Unity; Holy, because it was instituted by Jesus Christ; Catholic, which means Universal, because it is for everyone; and Apostolic, because in the bishops, the leaders of the local church, we have the successors to the Apostles.
The present Pope is Francis, and the Bishop of our Diocese of Portsmouth is Bishop Philip Egan.