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  1. In the United States, The Episcopal Church (TEC) is in the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) is a member of GAFCON ( Global Anglican Future Conference). ACNA was founded in 2009 by traditional Anglicans that departed from TEC, which was followed by acrimonious lawsuits and property disputes with the departing congregations and dioceses (some of which continue at the writing of this article). The ACNA isn’t made up of recently-departed Episcopalian groups alone. The Reformed Episcopal Church, which split from the Episcopal Church in 1873, joined the ACNA as a sub-jurisdiction. In other words, the Realignment is not simply a matter of denominational division. It also includes elements of union and reunion. Making things even more confusing is the separate Continuing Anglican movement, which left the Episcopal Church in the 1970s over the issues of the revisionist 1979 American Book of Common Prayer and the adoption of women’s ordination. These groups signed the Affirmation of St. Louis but suffered several splits in the following years. In recent years, there have been efforts on the part of several Continuing jurisdictions to reunite. For both the ACNA and the Continuing Anglicans, members of these groups will call themselves “Anglicans” rather than “Episcopalians.” The term “Episcopalian” is now used for official members of TEC, at least in the United States. Nevertheless, Americans make up only a small fraction of Anglicans in the world. christianity.com
  2. The conflict between revisionist and orthodox doctrine within Anglicanism has come to a head in recent years, manifesting itself particularly with regard to ethical stances on human sexuality. This is an international crisis, since Anglicanism is a global Christian tradition with institutions that relate to one another through various official channels. The original way Anglicans related to one another internationally was in being members of the Anglican Communion. The Primates (highest ranking bishops) of various Provinces (large geographical jurisdictions) meet together, with the Archbishop of Canterbury serving as a “first among equals.” Another important “instrument of unity” for the Anglican Communion is the Lambeth Conference, where many bishops meet together to collaborate and consult among themselves on matters of importance. These institutions and practices continue on to this very day. However, as western Anglicans have adopted revisionist theology and ethics in the 20th century, more traditional Anglicans—particularly those in the Global South—have taken exception, meeting together at the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON), which is led by its own council of primates. The GAFCON movement espouses traditional Christian doctrine and ethics. Some of its members are also members of the Anglican Communion and try to reform that institution. Others have split or are otherwise independent of the Anglican Communion and are working to spread and establish the Gospel without any institutional ties to Lambeth. All of these conflicts and activities are referred to as the Anglican Realignment. christianity.com
  3. Anglicanism is a way of being a Christian. At the heart of the Anglican life is prayer, particularly via the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. These two services were derived from monastic prayer offices by Thomas Cranmer, giving Anglicanism a distinct Benedictine flavor. The Daily Offices, with regular Holy Communion and private devotion, make up the “rule” of Anglican life. Morning and Evening Prayer can be said or sung. When Evening Prayer is chanted, it is called “Evensong.” In the daily prayer offices, which can be practiced congregationally or at home, Anglicans read through the Bible on a scheduled plan, called a lectionary. The traditional Anglican lectionary goes through most of the Old Testament and parts of the Apocrypha once a year, the entirety of the New Testament thrice a year, and the Psalter once a month. There are many other lectionaries now in use within the Anglican world that do not accomplish this. Anglicanism has also featured a strong missionary spirit from its very beginning. Whether it was monastic missionaries from the British Isles during the early medieval times, or courageous modern missionaries who brought the Gospel to Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas, healthy Anglicanism has almost always practiced effective evangelism. The fruits of missional Anglicanism can be clearly seen, as Anglican churches continue to spring up and grow throughout the Global South. christianity.com
  4. Anglicans recognize two dominical sacraments established by Jesus Christ Himself: Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. They understand the sacraments to be visible, effectual signs of grace and God’s good will toward His people, which enliven, strengthen, and confirm their faith in Him. Anglicans also practice 5 other “sacramentals” or lesser sacraments: Confirmation (Acts 8:14-17), Penance (John 20:22-23), Ordination (Acts 6:6, 1 Timothy 4:14, 5:22, 2 Timothy 1:6, Titus 1:5), Matrimony (Ephesians 5:22-33), and Unction of the Sick (James 5:14). Anglicanism espouses the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, where, normatively, the Holy Spirit brings about the new birth in the waters of baptism. In this, classical Anglicans often see regeneration and conversion as different, though complementary, phenomena. As for their doctrine of eucharistic presence, Anglicans believe in a real spiritual presence, in which God’s people are caught up into the heavens by the Holy Spirit to feed on the Body and Blood of Christ by faith. This view falls more in line with Reformed beliefs about the Eucharist rather than Lutheran sacramental presence. It certainly conflicts with Roman Catholic transubstantiation as well as “memorialist” views in which the Lord’s Supper is a purely symbolic commemoration of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. christianity.com
  5. Anglicans hold the Holy Bible, as contained in the 66 Book of the Old and New Testaments, to be the highest and supreme authority in matters of faith. It contains all things necessary for salvation, “that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation” (39 Articles of Religion). Anglicans also read the Apocrypha “for example of life and instruction of manners,” not to establish doctrine. Anglicans confess the three great Creeds: Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian. They also espouse the doctrines of the ecumenical councils, emphasizing the first four in particular. Some of their more unique positions can be found in the historic Anglican Formularies: the Book of Common Prayer, the 39 Articles of Religion, and the Ordinal (which contains ordination services for bishops, priests, and deacons), with the Book of Homilies (an officially-approved collection of sermons) offering commentary on those formularies. As their history makes clear, Anglicans uphold the episcopal form of church government. This means they recognize three pastoral offices: bishops (the term “bishop” is an English contraction of the biblical Greek word episkopos, often translated as “overseer” in modern Protestant translations of the New Testament), priests (the English contraction of presbyter or “elder”), and deacons (derived from the Greek, meaning servant, minister, or messenger). christianity.com
  6. King Henry was no friend to Protestant theology. His refutations against it had won him the title “Defender of the Faith” from the Pope. Nevertheless, Cranmer and other like-minded Protestant churchmen worked slowly and deliberately to achieve reform in England. They were able to accelerate their pace after Henry died and his young son, Edward VI, came to the throne. Perhaps one of the most important breakthroughs was the Book of Common Prayer, which is a collection of services and other important resources for use in the Church of England. One of the main challenges for other Protestants is to understand how the prayers and liturgies of the Anglicans inform and establish their theology. As such, the Prayer Book is a fundamental aspect of Anglicanism. Another important document was the 42 Articles of Religion, which outlined the confessional commitments and concerns of the reformed Church of England. These were written to avoid religious controversies and to keep all Englishmen in the same church, free from the extremes of Roman Catholicism and the Radical Reformation. It is important to remember that the English Reformation was a long one. Arguably, Anglicanism did not come into its own theologically until 1662. During this over-century-long period, it was “killed twice.” The first time was when King Edward died and was succeeded by his Roman Catholic half-sister, Mary. Called “Bloody Mary” by Protestants, she executed many clergymen, including Archbishop Thomas Cranmer himself. Mary was succeeded by her Protestant half-sister Queen Elizabeth I, who provided much-needed political and theological stability during her long reign. Queen Elizabeth worked hard to keep her clergy in line, especially those who had fled to Geneva during the Marian persecutions and desired to “purify” the Church of England along the lines of the Genevan model. These became known as the Puritans. christianity.com
  7. Anglican vs Catholic Though they came from the same Christian roots founded by Jesus Christ in Judea 2000 years ago, Anglicans and Catholics have diverged to become two separate forms of Christianity. Definition Anglican refers to the Church of England and its related branches throughout the world. Catholic comes from the Greek for universal. It was the first form of Christianity and claims to have kept apostolic leadership unbroken since the time of St. Peter. Origins The Anglican Church came into being during the Reformation. It was the brainchild of Henry VIII. He couldn’t secure a sanctioned divorce from the Catholic Church and therefore broke off to form his own sect. During the time of Elizabeth I, the Anglican Church was formalized. The Catholic Church began as soon as Christ’s apostles began to preach after his death. In the 4th century AD, Catholicism was made the official religion of the Roman Empire. Just prior to that, the Council of Nicene codified Catholic beliefs. Leadership The Anglican Church does not recognize any central hierarchy that places one church or priest over all the others. This gives each individual church and region a lot of freedom to decide on policy. All Anglican churches are part of the Communion. The Archbishop of Canterbury is considered the first among equals but this does not give him authority over churches outside his region. The Catholic Church has a fully entrenched hierarchy. At the lowest rung are the parish priests, then the bishops, arch-bishops, cardinals, and finally the Pope himself. Each level has authority over more congregations. The Pope is chosen by the cardinals and is thought to be the successor of the apostle Peter. The Pope is also thought to be infallible on matters of church doctrine. Beliefs and Practices Anglican priests can marry. Parishioners take communion, but believe it to be a symbolic act. The mass entails a lot of ‘smells and bells,’ as one cheeky parishioner put it. Catholic priests must take a vow of celibacy. The same holds true for monks and nuns. Communion is believed to be accompanied by the miracle of transubstantiation. There is liberal use of incense and bell ringing in the mass. Controversy In recent years, the autonomy of the Anglican Church has led to conflict between more liberal branches who want to include gays and lesbians as members of the clergy and conservation branches who feel this is wrong. The Anglican Church is in danger of an irrevocable split. differencebetween.net
  8. In 1992, the Church of England voted to ordain women as priests. This decision sparked debate within the clerical community but also opened the door for further empowerment of women within the church hierarchy. Over the next few years, several attempts to allow women to become bishops were put in place, but many of them were squashed by the opposition. Finally, in 2014, the Church passed a bill to consecrate women as bishops. The archbishops of Canterbury and of York—the church’s most elite officials—approved the bill later that year. The first female bishop of the Church of England, Rev. Libby Lane, was consecrated in January 2015. Since 2005, the Church of England has allowed for the ordination of gay priests, under the condition that they remain celibate. Homosexuals in celibate civil unions were permitted to become bishops in 2013. Also, in 2013, the House of Commons passed legislation to legalize same-sex marriages but didn’t allow the Church of England to perform them. Many consider the Church of England’s elevation of women and gays in the clergy as groundbreaking and long-awaited progress. Others in the church view it as sacrilegious and blasphemous. While the debate continues, experts agree that the Church of England has paved the way for conversations about expanding gender and sexual-orientation roles within Christianity. history.com
  9. The Church of England’s earliest origins date back to the Roman Catholic Church’s influence in Europe during the 2nd century. However, the church’s official formation and identity are typically thought to have started during the Reformation in England of the 16th century. King Henry VIII (famous for his many wives) is considered the founder of the Church of England. Henry VIII Henry VIII broke ties with the Pope in the 1530s after the Catholic church wouldn’t allow him to annul his marriage to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who failed to produce any male heirs. Henry passed the Act of Succession and the Act of Supremacy, which essentially declared himself the supreme head of the Church of England. After Henry’s death, Protestant reforms made their way into the church during the reign of Edward VI. But, when Edward’s half-sister, Mary, succeeded the throne in 1553, she persecuted Protestants and embraced traditional Roman Catholic ideals. After Elizabeth I took the title of Queen in 1558, however, the Church of England was revived. The Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion became important texts that outlined moral doctrine and worship principles. Church Movements The Puritan movement in the 17th century led to the English Civil Wars and the Commonwealth. During this time, the Church of England and the monarchy were quelled, but both were re-established in 1660. The 18th century brought the Evangelical movement, which promoted the Protestant customs of the Church. Conversely, the Oxford Movement in the 19th century highlighted the Roman Catholic heritage. These two movements and their philosophies have endured in the Church and are sometimes referred to as “Low Church” and “High Church.” Since the 20th century, the Church of England has been active in the Ecumenical Movement, which promotes ideas of worldwide Christian unity. Church of England in America Many of the early American colonists were Anglican Puritans. During the Colonial era, the Anglican Church set up establishments in Virginia, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. After the American Revolution, the Anglican Church became an independent organization in the United States and called itself the Protestant Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church, USA, is the official organization of the Anglican Communion in the United States. It’s been a self-governing body since 1785 and has about 1.9 million members. history.com
  10. The Church of England, or Anglican Church, is the primary state church in England, where the concepts of church and state are linked. The Church of England is considered the original church of the Anglican Communion, which represents over 85 million people in more than 165 countries. While the Church upholds many of the customs of Roman Catholicism, it also embraces fundamental ideas adopted during the Protestant Reformation. In recent years, the Church of England has been viewed as one of the more progressive sects of Christianity and is known for its relatively liberal policies, such as allowing the ordination of women and gay priests. Church of England Facts The British monarch is considered the supreme governor of the Church. Among other privileges, he or she has the authority to approve the appointment of archbishops and other church leaders. The Church of England contends that the Bible is the principle foundation of all Christian faith and thought. Followers embrace the sacraments of baptism and holy communion. The Church claims to be both Catholic and Reformed. It upholds teachings found in early Christian doctrines, such as the Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed. The Church also reveres 16th century Protestant Reformation ideas outlined in texts, such as the Thirty-Nine Articles and the Book of Common Prayer. The Church of England sustains a traditional Catholic order system that includes ordained bishops, priests and deacons. The Church follows an episcopal form of government. It’s divided into two provinces: Canterbury and York. Provinces are separated into dioceses, which are headed by bishops and include parishes. The Archbishop of Canterbury is thought to be the most senior cleric in the Church. The Church’s bishops play a lawmaking role in Britain. Twenty-six bishops sit in the House of Lords and are referred to as the “Lords Spiritual.” Generally, the Church embraces a way of thinking that includes scripture, tradition and reason. The Church of England is sometimes referred to as the Anglican Church and is part of the Anglican Communion, which contains sects such as the Protestant Episcopal Church. Each year, about 9.4 million people visit a Church of England cathedral. In recent years, women and homosexuals were given the opportunity to participate in the church’s leadership roles. history.com
  11. Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition which has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England following the English Reformation. Adherents of Anglicanism are called "Anglicans", or "Episcopalians" in some countries. The majority of Anglicans are members of national or regional ecclesiastical provinces of the international Anglican Communion, which forms the third-largest Christian communion in the world, after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and thus the Archbishop of Canterbury, whom the communion refers to as its primus inter pares (Latin, "first among equals"). He calls the decennial Lambeth Conference, chairs the meeting of primates, and is the president of the Anglican Consultative Council. Some churches that are not part of the Anglican Communion or recognised by the Anglican Communion also call themselves Anglican, including those that are part of the Continuing Anglican movement and Anglican realignment. Anglicans base their Christian faith on the Bible, traditions of the apostolic Church, apostolic succession ("historic episcopate"), and the writings of the Church Fathers. Anglicanism forms one of the branches of Western Christianity, having definitively declared its independence from the Holy See at the time of the Elizabethan Religious Settlement. Many of the new Anglican formularies of the mid-16th century corresponded closely to those of contemporary Protestantism. These reforms in the Church of England were understood by one of those most responsible for them, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and others as navigating a middle way between two of the emerging Protestant traditions, namely Lutheranism and Calvinism. In the first half of the 17th century, the Church of England and its associated Church of Ireland were presented by some Anglican divines as comprising a distinct Christian tradition, with theologies, structures, and forms of worship representing a different kind of middle way, or via media, between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism – a perspective that came to be highly influential in later theories of Anglican identity and expressed in the description of Anglicanism as "Catholic and Reformed". The degree of distinction between Protestant and Catholic tendencies within the Anglican tradition is routinely a matter of debate both within specific Anglican churches and throughout the Anglican Communion. Unique to Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer, the collection of services in one Book used for centuries. The Book is acknowledged as a principal tie that binds the Anglican Communion together as a liturgical rather than a confessional tradition or one possessing a magisterium as in the Roman Catholic Church. After the American Revolution, Anglican congregations in the United States and British North America (which would later form the basis for the modern country of Canada) were each reconstituted into autonomous churches with their own bishops and self-governing structures; these were known as the American Episcopal Church and the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada. Through the expansion of the British Empire and the activity of Christian missions, this model was adopted as the model for many newly formed churches, especially in Africa, Australasia, and Asia-Pacific. In the 19th century, the term Anglicanism was coined to describe the common religious tradition of these churches; as also that of the Scottish Episcopal Church, which, though originating earlier within the Church of Scotland, had come to be recognised as sharing this common identity. wikipedia.org
  12. According to Exodus in the Old Testament, God issued his own set of laws (the Ten Commandments) to Moses on Mount Sinai. In Catholicism, the Ten Commandments are considered divine law because God himself revealed them. And because they were spelled out specifically with no room for ambiguity, they’re also positive law. Hence they’re also known as divine positive law. The ten commandments, in order, are: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before Me.” This commandment forbids idolatry, the worship of false gods and goddesses, and it excludes polytheism, the belief in many gods, insisting instead on monotheism, the belief in one God. This commandment forbids making golden calves, building temples to Isis, and worshipping statues of Caesar, for example. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” The faithful are required to honor the name of God. It makes sense that if you’re to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, then you’re naturally to respect the name of God with equal passion and vigor. “Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day.” The Jewish celebration of Sabbath (Shabbat) begins at sundown on Friday evening and lasts until sundown on Saturday. Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christians go to church on Sunday, treating it as the Lord’s Day instead of Saturday to honor the day Christ rose from the dead. “Honor thy father and mother.” This commandment obliges the faithful to show respect for their parents — as children and adults. Children must obey their parents, and adults must respect and see to the care of their parents, when they become old and infirm. “Thou shalt not kill.” The better translation from the Hebrew would be “Thou shalt not murder” — a subtle distinction but an important one to the Church. Killing an innocent person is considered murder. Killing an unjust aggressor to preserve your own life is still killing, but it isn’t considered murder or immoral. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” The sixth and ninth commandments honor human sexuality. This commandment forbids the actual, physical act of having immoral sexual activity, specifically adultery, which is sex with someone else’s spouse or a spouse cheating on their partner. This commandment also includes fornication, which is sex between unmarried people, prostitution, pornography, homosexual activity, masturbation, group sex, rape, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, and necrophilia. “Thou shalt not steal.” The seventh and tenth commandments focus on respecting and honoring the possessions of others. This commandment forbids the act of taking someone else’s property. The Catholic Church believes that this commandment also denounces cheating people of their money or property, depriving workers of their just wage, or not giving employers a full day’s work for a full day’s pay. Embezzlement, fraud, tax evasion, and vandalism are all considered extensions of violations of the Seventh Commandment. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” The Eighth Commandment condemns lying. Because God is regarded as the author of all truth, the Church believes that humans are obligated to honor the truth. The most obvious way to fulfill this commandment is not to lie — intentionally deceive another by speaking a falsehood. So a good Catholic is who you want to buy a used car from. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife.” The Ninth Commandment forbids the intentional desire and longing for immoral sexuality. To sin in the heart, Jesus says, is to lust after a woman or a man in your heart with the desire and will to have immoral sex with them. Just as human life is a gift from God and needs to be respected, defended, and protected, so, too, is human sexuality. Catholicism regards human sexuality as a divine gift, so it’s considered sacred in the proper context — marriage. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” The Tenth Commandment forbids the wanting to or taking someone else’s property. Along with the Seventh Commandment, this commandment condemns theft and the feelings of envy, greed, and jealousy in reaction to what other people have. dummies.com
  13. Like most religions, Catholicism has specific prayers that believers say at certain times or on certain occasions. The Our Father is part of the Catholic Mass, for example, and the Act of Contrition is said as part of the Sacrament of Penance. The Glory Be and Hail Mary are repeated as part of the Rosary, along with the Our Father: Our Father: Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. Hail Mary: Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Glory Be: Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Act of Contrition: O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You. I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, My God, who are all good and worthy of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen. dummies.com
  14. Catholics are, first and foremost, Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Catholicism shares some beliefs with other Christian practices, but essential Catholic beliefs include the following: The Bible is the inspired, error-free, and revealed word of God. Baptism, the rite of becoming a Christian, is necessary for salvation — whether the Baptism occurs by water, blood, or desire. God’s Ten Commandments provide a moral compass — an ethical standard to live by. The existence of the Holy Trinity — one God in three persons. Catholics embrace the belief that God, the one Supreme Being, is made up of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Catholics also believe that since Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, all humans are born with original sin, which only Baptism removes. A happier belief is in grace, a totally free, unmerited gift from God. Grace is a sharing in the divine; the inspiration to do God’s will. dummies.com
  15. If you want to know the basics of the Catholic faith, look no further than the articles of Catholic faith. This list of twelve articles mirrors the Apostles’ Creed, a prayer that sets out Catholic tenets: Article 1: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. This affirms that God exists, that he’s a Triune God (one God in three persons, known as the Holy Trinity), and that he created the known universe. Article 2: And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. This attests that Jesus is the Son of God and that he’s most certainly divine. The word Lord implies divinity, because the Greek Kyrios and the Hebrew Adonai both mean “lord” and are ascribed only to God. So the use of Lord with Jesus is meant to profess his divinity. The name Jesus comes from the Hebrew Jeshua, meaning “God saves.” So Catholics believe that Jesus is Savior. Article 3: Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. This affirms the human nature of Christ, meaning he had a real, true human mother, and also affirms his divine nature, meaning he had no human father but by the power of the Holy Spirit was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He’s therefore considered both God and man by Christians—fully divine and fully human. Article 4: He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. The human nature of Christ could feel pain and actually die, and he did on Good Friday. The mention of Pontius Pilate by name wasn’t meant so much to vilify him forever in history but to place the Crucifixion within human history. Reference is made to an actual historical person, the Roman governor of Judea, appointed by Caesar, to put the life and death of Jesus within a chronological and historical context. It also reminds the faithful that one can’t blame all Jews for the death of Jesus, as some have erroneously done over the ages. Certain Jewish leaders conspired against Jesus, but the actual death sentence was given by a Roman and carried out by Roman soldiers. So both Jew and Gentile alike shared in the spilling of innocent blood. Anti-Semitism based on the Crucifixion of Jesus is inaccurate, unjust, and erroneous. Article 5: He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. The hell Jesus descended into wasn’t the hell of the damned, where Jews and Christians believe the devil and his demons reside. Hell was merely a word that Jews and early Christians used to describe the place of the dead. This passage affirms that on the third day he rose, meaning Jesus came back from the dead of his own divine power. He wasn’t just clinically dead for a few minutes; he was dead dead — then he rose from the dead. More than a resuscitated corpse, Jesus possessed a glorified and risen body. Article 6: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. The Ascension reminds the faithful that after the human and divine natures of Christ were united in the Incarnation, they could never be separated. In other words, after the saving death and Resurrection, Jesus didn’t dump his human body as if he didn’t need it anymore. Catholicism teaches that his human body will exist forever. Where Jesus went, body and soul, into heaven, the faithful hope one day to follow. Article 7: He will come again to judge the living and the dead. This article affirms the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world to be its judge. Judgment Day, Day of Reckoning, Doomsday—they’re all metaphors for the end of time when what’s known as the General Judgment will occur. Catholics believe that after the death of any human person, immediate private judgment occurs and the person goes directly to heaven, hell, or purgatory (an intermediate place in preparation for heaven). Article 8: I believe in the Holy Spirit, This part reminds the believer that God exists in three persons — the Holy Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. What’s referred to as the Force in the movie Star Wars isn’t the same as the Holy Spirit, who is a distinct person equal to the other two — God the Father and God the Son. Article 9: the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, Catholics believe that the Church is more than a mere institution and certainly not a necessary evil. It’s an essential dimension and aspect of spiritual life. Christ explicitly uses the word church (ekklesia in Greek) in Matthew 16 when he says, “I will build My Church.” Article 10: the forgiveness of sins, Christ came to save the world from sin. Belief in the forgiveness of sins is essential to Christianity. Catholicism believes sins are forgiven in Baptism and in the Sacrament of Penance. Article 11: the resurrection of the body, From the Catholic perspective, a human being is a union of body and soul, so death is just the momentary separation of body and soul until the end of the world, the Second Coming of Christ, the General Judgment, and the resurrection of the dead. The just go, body and soul, into heaven, and the damned go, body and soul, into hell. Article 12: And in life everlasting. As Christ Our Savior died, so, too, must mere mortals. As he rose, so shall all human beings. Death is the only way to cross from this life into the next. At the very moment of death, private judgment occurs; Christ judges the soul: * If it’s particularly holy and virtuous, the soul goes directly to heaven. * If it’s evil and wicked and dies in mortal sin, it’s damned for eternity in hell. * If a person lived a life not bad enough to warrant hell but not holy enough to go right to heaven, Catholics believe the soul goes to purgatory, which is a middle ground between heaven and earth, a state where departed souls want to go to be cleansed of any attachments to sin before going through the pearly gates. dummies.com
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