Exploring the Catholic Faith
Helpful Resources and Sources
Whether you have been a life-long Catholic, are new to the faith, are considering returning to the Church, or are interested in learning more about the Catholic faith, we offer several resources to assist you in your spiritual journey. This section is for people who want to explore the Catholic faith more deeply and to understand what the Church teaches. Please click on the links below to learn more.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
A catechism is the name given to a written work that contains a summary of all the beliefs of the faith that is used as a teaching tool. The Catechism of the Catholic Church contains the essential and fundamental content of the Catholic faith in a complete and summary way. It presents what Catholics throughout the world believe in common. It presents these truths in a way that facilitates their understanding. The Catechism presents Catholic doctrine within the context of the Church's history and tradition. Frequent references to Sacred Scripture, the writings of the Fathers, the lives and writings of the saints, conciliar and papal documents and liturgical texts enrich the Catechism in a way that is both inviting and challenging. The Catechism serves several important functions namely: it conveys the essential and fundamental content of Catholic faith and morals in a complete and summary way; it is a point of reference for national and diocesan catechisms; it is a positive, objective and declarative exposition of Catholic doctrine; it is intended to assist those who have the duty to catechize, namely promoters and teachers of catechesis.
- Frequently asked questions about the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Informative Dossier on the Catechism of the Catholic Church
- View the Catechism of the Catholic Church online
The Catholic Encyclopedia
The Catholic Encyclopedia, as its name implies, proposes to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine. What the Church teaches and has taught; what she has done and is still doing for the highest welfare of mankind; her methods, past and present; her struggles, her triumphs, and the achievements of her members, not only for her own immediate benefit, but for the broadening and deepening of all true science, literature and art — all come within the scope of the Catholic Encyclopedia. It differs from the general encyclopedia in omitting facts and information which have no relation to the Church. On the other hand, it is not exclusively a church encyclopedia, nor is it limited to the ecclesiastical sciences and the doings of churchmen. It records all that Catholics have done, not only in behalf of charity and morals, but also for the intellectual and artistic development of mankind.
Documents of the Second Vatican Council
Almost every Catholic has heard of Vatican II, but how many of us have actually read the documents of this great council? These 16 brilliant documents go deep into the nature of the church, the word of God, liturgy, the role of clergy, religious, laity and more. These writings play an intricate role in how we as a Church live the Gospel message and proclaim it to the world. Below you can read the documents of the Second Vatican Council. We encourage every Catholic and non-Catholic alike to read and reflect on these wonderful writings.
Code of Cannon Law
Canon law is the body of laws and regulations made by or adopted by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of the Christian organization and its members. Canon law is a tool to guide the Church as a large human institution from differing cultures and languages. In short, canon law informs the community on how to conduct themselves and protects the rights of the faithful. The code is divided into seven books: General Norms; People of God; Teaching Office; Sanctifying Office; Temporal Goods; Sanctions; Procedures.
- Code of Cannon Law from the Vatican
Today's Catholic is called to take an intelligent, spiritual approach to the bible. The Church encourages Catholics to make reading the Bible part of their daily prayer lives. Reading these inspired words, people grow deeper in their relationship with God and come to understand their place in the community God has called them to in himself. Reading the Bible is not like reading a novel or a history book for the Bible isn't a book - it's a library that contains a collection of 73 books written over the course of many centuries. Knowing the genre of the book you are reading will help you understand the literary tools the author is using and the meaning the author is trying to convey. Reading the Bible should also begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to the Word of God. Scripture reading should end with a prayer that this Word will bear fruit in our lives, helping us to become holier and more faithful people.
When selecting a Bible, look for a Catholic edition. A Catholic edition will include the Church's complete list of sacred books and will have an imprimatur notice on the back of the title page. An imprimatur indicates that the book is free of errors in Catholic doctrine. By reading and reflecting on Sacred Scripture, Catholics join those faithful men and women who have taken God's Word to heart and put it into practice in their lives. We read the Bible within the tradition of the Church to benefit from the holiness and wisdom of all the faithful. The Bible is not addressed only to long-dead people in a faraway land. It is addressed to each of us in our own unique situations. When we read, we need to understand what the text says and how the faithful have understood its meaning in the past. In light of this understanding, we then ask: What is God saying to me? If Scripture remains just words on a page, our work is not done. We need to meditate on the message and put it into action in our lives. Only then can the word be "living and effective."(Hebrews 4:12).
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is that in the Bible?
What is the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
Is there a Catholic Encyclopedia?
How to find a Catholic Church
Understanding the Mass
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