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World Religions Report: Catholics

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The world has more than a billion Catholics and with the ever growing religion, it will only get larger in number. To be a Catholic means to have complete faith in God and his divine grace. Having God's divine grace means to obey it and keep it holy as it was created by God and given to his people. The religion itself is based on this and the people take it very seriously. Catholics believe that all people are of good nature but when one commits a sin it not only hurts that one person but the people and the Church.

Catholics are a Christian sect and believe in one God. Like other Christians, they believe that Jesus is God's Son which goes hand-in-hand with the belief in the Holy Trinity. God the Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit are what makes up the Holy Trinity. The Catholics basic beliefs are the bible; which was created by God and is not wrong in any way. The Ten Commandments which are what the Catholics live by for moral and ethnic reasoning. The Ten Commandments are do not kill, do not covet, do not worship any graven object, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not commit adultery, Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy, honor thy father and mother, do not take the Lord's name in Vain, and Thou shall not have any other gods before me.

As mentioned previously, God's divine grace comes from seven sacraments. The seven sacraments are Penance, Baptism, Holy Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Anointing of the Sick, and Holy Orders. These are the spiritual development that makes up the religion.

Catholics belong to Churches known as parishes. These places are where Catholics can go and worship no matter where they are in the world. Holy Mass is a worship that is held daily and weekly that marks Good Friday and Holy Thursday. Sunday Mass has always been a day to go and worship with family and friends. To the Catholics it is an obligation and to miss Sunday Mass is considered a sin because it is the Day of the Lord unless a reasonable excuse is recognized. Many Catholics attend mass on Saturday night instead of Sunday morning because of the work schedule. This was not always the case but has been accepted by Christians since around 1980. They also have rituals of respect during the service which includes kneeling, singing, bowing and responding to the priest or deacon.

Catholics incorporation their religion into everything since God created everything. The things one says, the things one do, and even one's thoughts are under God. Catholicism is not a once-in-a-while religion; it is everyday, 24-7 religion that a Catholic relates everything to. As every religion there are certain things that one must do in order to stay a Catholic. Everyday rituals include daily prayer, live a Christian life, and except the teaching of the church and of God. Being Catholic, one must go to mass every Sunday and holy day as part of the religion. Catholics must only eat one full meal during Ash Wednesday and sustain from meat on the Fridays during Lent which is part of the fasting and abstinence obligation of Catholicism. Lent lasts 40 days and 40 nights. They are to obey the laws of marriage in which the church carries as well as going to confession as much as needed.

Every religion has those followers that have been very dedicated to the faith, those who have strayed, those who have returned, and then those followers who have came into the religion from another or no religion. These three different types of Catholics are known as Cradle Catholics which where born into, grew up, and baptized as a Catholic; the convert Catholics are those people who came into the religion from the outside either from another religion or no religion at all; the Revert Catholics are Cradle Catholics who strayed from the faith only to return in hopes to become Catholic again.

St. Johns Catholic Church in Grand Marais is the only Catholic Church in my area. St. John's Church has the largest group of people who attend in my county. Father Walsh is the priest who holds mass and service for the Catholics of Grand Marais as well as those traveling from different places. This church is among that largest in my county, it has marvelous stain glass windows that line the walls. The Church is located in what I would say as the middle of the town which is also located by the high school.

Father Walsh is a full blood Irish and grew up in Ireland. In Ireland more than 90% is Catholic (Father Walsh, 2007). Father Walsh has been a priest for more than 40 years and just recently has he been serving in my community. Father Walsh has served as a priest in other areas such as Duluth, MN area. He was very informative about his religion, and how important it is for him to be Catholic.

Father Walsh stated that even though many religions have changed over time Catholicism has stayed true to its ground because it is so traditional in all ways. Catholicism is a religion that is not easily changed by the newer religions that are formed. To be Catholic means to live a Christian life. He stated that Catholics have a very strong belief that God is present always because we are made in the image of God. That means that we are good even though we may sin and stray from staying true. As Catholics one of the most important things is the sacraments which God is experienced in the most common day events such as eating and drinking.

For Catholics having a prayer life which is constant communication with God is important. Along with prayer life, Father Walsh stated that one must have a personal and a public prayer life. To have a healthy prayer life a Catholics must keep prayer to a personal level as well as joining together in mass for public prayer which completes the prayer life. The most important holiday for Catholics is Easter. Easter is the holy day for the church which recognized the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Of course like other religions Christmas is very important.

I asked a question that is common among people: What are your thoughts when people say that Catholics are strict? Father Walsh explained to me that Catholics are strict but he believes that they are not strict enough. He states that our current life is a mere beginning to what we are offered in eternal life which is why Catholics are strict because ones does not abuse the life that God has given us. He has refrained from alcohol and drugs which is important in Catholic life.

Father Walsh explained to me that even as a Catholic there are challenges that they face. For instance, it is to live a God centered life.



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