The outlines of the catholic faith are essentially brief summaries of the fundamentals of the Catholic Church or Catholicism. These include the core beliefs, prayers, practices, thoughts of the church. Most of the outlines are usually documented. For example, the core beliefs or tenets of the Catholic Church are usually documented in creeds like the Apostles Creed or the Nicene Creed. Combining the summaries of these documents together would form the outline of the Catholic Faith.
The outlines of the Catholic faith how man was created and fell from grace through sin, how salvation eventually came to redeem man, the use of the bible as a basic source of teaching Catholicism, the Apostolic Creed, God’s laws as stated in the commandments and the sacraments observed by Jesus and practiced in the church till date.
On creation and sin, the outlines of the Catholic faith acknowledge that:
- God as the creator of heaven and earth (including the sea) and all things that is in them.
- Angels are believed to be the highest forms of God’s creation. Fallen angels are headed by Satan and they reside in hell.
- Human beings are made in the image and likeness of God and have a body, soul and spirit.
- Adam and eve were the first humans created by God
- Sin came into the world when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and this caused suffering and death.
- Because of sin, human beings lost the ‘sanctifying grace’ i.e. an intimate relationship with God.
On salvation and the redemption of man, the outlines of the Catholic faith acknowledge that:
- God gave Adam and Eve hope by promising them redemption.
- Abraham was chosen by God to be the father of the Israelites and the twelve tribes were named after his sons.
- Moses was used by God to lead the Israelites from captivity
- The Ten Commandments were given to Moses on Mount Sinai as a covenant between God and his people.
- God used prophets to speak to his people in the past and the prophets constantly reminded people of their covenants with God as well as the message that salvation will come through the Messiah.
- When Jesus Christ finally came, he established a new covenant and the people of God who followed his teachings are called Christians.
On God’s revelation, the outlines of the Catholic faith acknowledge that:
- God’s truths can be found in the Sacred Scriptures and Sacred Traditions.
- The Sacred Scripture is the Word of God which was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and contained in the Holy Bible.
- The Holy Bible is the basic source of teaching within the Catholic Church. It is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament.
- The Old Testament contains the revelations God made to the Hebrews from the time of Abraham to the coming of Jesus Christ.
- The New Testament gives an account of the life of Jesus Christ, his teachings to the Apostles and their eventual work in the early church.
- The Sacred traditions are the unwritten work of God which is revealed through creeds, liturgy and prayers of the church and the teachings of the Pope and Bishops.
- In addition to the New Testament, the chief truths about Jesus Christ are also contained in the Apostles Creed.
The Apostles Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died and was buried.
He descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints.
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and life everlasting.
On the commandments, the outlines of the Catholic faith acknowledge that:
- The two greatest commandments that contain the total law God are: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with all your mind.” And “The second is like the first: you shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
- The first great commandment summarises the first three out of the Ten Commandments given to Moses. The second greatest commandment encompasses the remaining seven of the
- To love our neighbours as ourselves, we must keep God’s Holy Commandments, follow the Precepts of the Church and perform the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
The Ten Commandments Of God
- I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy.
4 Honour your father and your mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
- You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife.
- You shall not covet your neighbour’s goods.
The Corporal Works of Mercy
- To feed the hungry.
- To give drink to the thirsty.
- To clothe the naked.
- To visit the sick.
- To visit those in prison.
- To shelter the homeless.
- To bury the dead.
The Spiritual Works Of Mercy
- To admonish the sinner.
- To instruct the ignorant.
- To counsel the doubtful
- To comfort the sorrowful.
- To bear wrongs patiently.
- To forgive all injuries.
- To pray for the living and the dead.
In addition to the keeping God’s commandments and carrying out Works of Mercy, a catholic should also observe the Traditional Precepts and the Holy Days of Obligation in the church.
The Six Traditional Precepts Of The Church
- To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation.
- To fast and abstain on the days appointed.
- To confess our serious sins at least once a year.
- To receive Holy Communion during Easter time.
- To contribute to the support of the Church.
- To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.
The Six Holy Days Of Obligation
- Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
- Ascension Thursday
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Solemnity of All Saints
- Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
On the sacraments observed by Jesus, the outlines of the Catholic faith stipulate that:
- Sacraments are symbolic expressions of our inner experience of God
- All sacraments give Sanctifying Grace to the person observing them
- The three sacraments of Christian initiation are: Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion.
- The two sacraments of healing are : Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick
- The two sacraments of service are: Matrimony, Holy Orders.
In conclusion, the outlines of the catholic faith cannot be fully exhausted within this article but all Catholic faithful are taught to live by the outlines in order to gain a deeper relationship with God and fully understand the traditions of the church.