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The Roman Catholic Church

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Keywords: catholic church essay, catholicism, catholic religion

The Roman Catholic Church is ruled by the Pope in Vatican City, Rome. He rules over all Catholic Churches in the world and many Catholics make it their life-long dream to visit Vatican City one day and to attend Mass with the Pope. The origin of this Christian denomination leads all the way back to apostolic times. The rituals that the Roman Catholic Church has are very similar to Christian rituals which include baptism and confirmation. Most Catholics who attend the Roman Catholic Church follow and obey the Bible and the way in which their church interprets it. The Roman Catholic Church is very similar but also very different in certain areas to Protestant beliefs but overall it is up to personal opinion as to what religion an individual will follow and how they will act upon it.

Rituals that the Roman Catholic Church follows are baptism, first communion, confirmation, marriage, the last rites and becoming a priest or a nun. Baptism is where the baby is taken to the front of the church to be sprinkled or poured over with water while a bible passage from Matthew 28:19 is being read. This is to show everyone that the baby and his or her family confess their faith in Jesus and will continue to in future life. Many families like to dress their child in a gown that becomes a keepsake for later life. First communion is a person's first reception of the sacrament of the Eucharist (central focuses of the Catholic Church). Confirmation shows that the child is still practicing their faith and will continue on from then on. It is usually required that the child be baptised before they can be confirmed to continue practicing their beliefs. Marriage is a sign between a man and woman who are mutually in love to God that they have eternal love. Divorce is not recognised in this religion but annulments may be granted. The last rite is also known as Anointing of the Sick. This is where a seriously ill person is given three sacraments; Penance, Eucharist and Viaticum. The last ritual is becoming a nun or priest. This is where the person takes vows to commit him or her to a spiritual life. It also means that they must follow and live their life praying and if a woman, must also live in a monastery or convent.

The Roman Catholic Church has many beliefs, some of which are common to the Protestant but some are totally different and may not be accepted by either belief system. Examples of characteristics that are similar: both religions believe in the Holy Spirit and good people go to heaven. There are very little similarities because of the fact that they may agree on one issue but the underlying way that the conclusion was made are different from each other. Both religions believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son. This is one common belief that both belief systems hold. The idea that good people go to heaven can be debated as being a difference between the two because of the fact as to how believers go to heaven. The Roman Catholic Church believes that those who go to heaven have been following all their life and have not done any wrong in life will be allowed to heaven. Protestants believe that if you have shown your faith to God and shown that you give your life to him, you will be saved and brought up to heaven and have a life with God. These are just the similarities between these two religions, there many more differences which is what sets these two beliefs apart from each other

What sets the Catholics apart from the Protestants are the beliefs in the areas of free will, predestination, the interpretation of the Bible, marriage and divorce and the significance of Eucharist. Free will is the power of making free choices unconstrained by external agencies. For the Catholics this statement is good for them as they are free to do good or evil. But for Protestants, this is not the case. They are only free to do good things. Predestination is being determined in advance where God chooses what will happen to you in life and what happens to you in the after-life. Catholics believe that your predestination is based on God's foreknowledge of you and your actions while Protestants believe that your predestination is related to God's decrees. The interpretation of the Bible is different as the Catholic interpretation includes apocrypha which are books of the Bible that are added in to the Old Testament. While Protestants omit these 14 books of the Bible. These are just a few differences between the Protestants and the beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church. Marriage is accepted in both religions and shows the unity of two people and shows their beliefs and sacrifices for God. Divorce on the other hand, is accepted by Protestants but discouraged and is accepted as evidence of human weakness. While with Catholics, divorce is looked down upon unless there is some canonical obstruction in which an annulment may be granted in this situation. Eucharist is the sacrament of the Holy Communion. These two religions have different opinions as to this issue. To the Roman Catholics, the Eucharist is known as the "Holy Sacrifice of the Mass". This is opposed to the Protestants, who believe that along with Baptism, The Eucharist is a symbol of grace and that is it. The sacrificial nature of The Eucharist is also rejected.

In conclusion, the Roman Catholic Church is another religion that people believe in and is ruled by the Pope. It is all up to personal opinion as to what an individual believes in and how they act upon it. Protestants have very different beliefs to Catholics but they all look up to the same person; God. No one can judge you on your religion and actions. These beliefs and actions just determine your future in some peoples' opinions but it is all up to personal opinion and personal views.


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