Catholicism For Dummies book cover

Catholicism For Dummies

By: Rev. John Trigilio Jr. and Rev. Kenneth Brighenti Published: 03-02-2022

Peer through the stained glass and get an inside look at Christianity's most popular religion

Catholicism can seem a bit mysterious to non-Catholics—and even Catholics. Embrace your curiosity and turn to Dummies for answers! Full of fascinating facts and written in a friendly style, Catholicism For Dummies explains the basics of Catholic beliefs like the importance of Sunday Mass; the seven sacraments; the purity of the Blessed Virgin Mary; heaven, hell, and purgatory; the Trinity; and so much more. You'll learn about the Catholic perspective on women as priests, saints as examples of how to live, and prayer as the basis of a relationship with God.

This easy-to-read resource offers an overview of a rich and diverse faith. You'll also discover:

  • The ins and outs of living as a Catholic and why followers of the faith observe traditions like attending Mass on certain days of the year, praying the rosary, and not eating meat on Fridays
  • Information on what the pope does, how he is selected, the history of the Vatican, and what it's like to be a priest in today's society
  • Details about the church's position on modern social issues, like poverty, abortion and the death penalty, same-sex marriage, and contraception

Whether you're a cradle Catholic or just curious about the world's second largest religion, Catholicism For Dummies has the answers you're seeking to a faith that's been around for thousands of years. Order your copy today.

Articles From Catholicism For Dummies

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Catholicism and the Ten Commandments

Article / Updated 03-15-2022

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. That's why they’re also known as divine positive law. The Church doesn’t see the Ten Commandments as arbitrary rules and regulations from the man upstairs but as commandments for protection. Obey them and eternal happiness is yours. Disobey them and suffer the consequences. For more, take a look at the Catholicism For Dummies Cheat Sheet. The Ten Commandments are: “I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have any gods before Me.” This commandment forbids idolatry, the worship of false gods and goddesses, and it prohibits 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 or taking of 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.

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How to Pray the Rosary

Article / Updated 03-15-2022

Rosary beads help Catholics count their prayers. More importantly, Catholics pray the rosary as a means of entreaty to ask God for a special favor, such as helping a loved one recover from an illness, or to thank God for blessings received — a new baby, a new job, a new moon. On the crucifix, make the sign of the cross and then pray the Apostles’ Creed. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come 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. Amen. On the next large bead, say the 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. On the following three small beads, pray three Hail Marys. 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. On the chain, pray the Glory Be. Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. On the large bead, meditate on the first mystery and pray the Our Father. You pray mysteries for each of the five sections (decades) of the rosary according to the day of the week: Mondays and Saturdays: The Joyful Mysteries remind the faithful of Christ’s birth: The Annunciation (Luke 1:26–38); The Visitation (Luke 1:39–56); The Nativity (Luke 2:1–21); The Presentation (Luke 2:22–38); The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41–52) Tuesdays and Fridays: The Sorrowful Mysteries recall Jesus’ passion and death: The Agony of Jesus in the Garden (Matthew 26:36–56); The Scourging at the Pillar (Matthew 27:26); The Crowning with Thorns (Matthew 27:27–31); The Carrying of the Cross (Matthew 27:32); The Crucifixion (Matthew 27:33–56). Wednesdays and Sundays: The Glorious Mysteries focus on the resurrection of Jesus and the glories of heaven: The Resurrection (John 20:1–29); The Ascension (Luke 24:36–53); The Descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–41); The Assumption of Mary, the Mother of God, into heaven; The Coronation of Mary in heaven. Thursdays: Pope John Paul II added The Mysteries of Light, also known as the Luminous Mysteries, in 2002: The Baptism in the River Jordan (Matthew 3:13–16); The Wedding Feast at Cana (John 2:1–11); The Preaching of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14–15); The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1–8); The Institution of the Holy Eucharist (Matthew 26). Skip the centerpiece medallion, and on the ten beads after that, pray a Hail Mary on each bead; on the chain, pray a Glory Be. Although a decade is 10, these 12 prayers form a decade of the rosary. Many Catholics add the Fatima Prayer after the Glory Be and before the next Our Father: O My Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell and lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy. Amen. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 four more times to finish the next four decades. At the end of your Rosary, say the Hail Holy Queen. Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. O God, whose only-begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal salvation; grant we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Catholicism For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 01-07-2022

Catholicism shares many beliefs with other Christian faiths, as well as certain prayers, but Catholicism puts its own spin on things. For example, the Catholic version of the Lord's Prayer (or the Our Father) differs a bit from the Protestant version. Get a basic understanding of Catholic beliefs by reading the articles of Catholic faith.

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11 Popular Catholic Saints

Article / Updated 11-24-2021

Catholics do not worship saints, but the saints are near and dear to Catholic hearts. Catholics respect and honor the saints and consider them to be the heroes of the Church. The Church emphasizes that they were ordinary people from ordinary families, and they were totally human. Here are some tidbits about the lives of 11 ordinary people who became popular saints. St. Peter (died around 64 CE) The brother of Andrew and the son of Jona, St. Peter was originally called Simon. He was a fisherman by trade. Biblical scholars believe that Peter was married because the Gospel speaks of the cure of his mother-in-law (Matthew 8:14; Luke 4:38). But whether he was a widower at the time he met Jesus, no one knows for sure. Scholars believe it's likely that his wife was no longer alive because after the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, Peter became head of the Church (the first pope) and had a busy schedule and itinerary. He also never mentioned his wife in his epistle. According to the Bible, Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus and told his brother, "We have found the Messiah!" (John 1:41). When Peter hesitated to follow Jesus full time, Jesus came after him and said, "I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:19). St. Paul of Tarsus (10–67 CE) Saul of Tarsus was a zealous Jew who also had Roman citizenship because of the place of his birth. A member of the Pharisees, Saul considered Christians to be an extreme danger to Judaism. He saw them as more than heretics; they were blasphemers for considering Jesus to be the son of God. He was commissioned by the Sanhedrin (the religious authority in Jerusalem) to hunt down, expose, and, when necessary, eliminate Christians to preserve the Hebrew religion. Things changed dramatically, however, and the world has never been the same since. One day on the road to Damascus, he was thrown down to the ground, and a voice called out, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" (Acts 9:4). The voice belonged to Jesus of Nazareth, who had already died, risen, and ascended to heaven. Saul realized he had been persecuting Christ by persecuting those who believed in Christ. Opposing the followers of Jesus was, in essence, opposing Jesus himself. Blinded by the event, Saul continued from Jerusalem to Damascus, but not to persecute the Christians — rather to join them. God turned an enemy into His greatest ally. He now called himself Paul and began to preach the Gospel widely in the ancient world. He made three journeys throughout Greece and Asia Minor before his final journey to Rome as a prisoner of Caesar. Being a Roman citizen, he was exempt from death by crucifixion (unlike St. Peter, who was crucified upside-down in Rome around 64 CE). The Emperor had Paul executed by the sword (beheading) around 67 CE. Both St. Peter and St. Paul are considered co-patron saints of the city of Rome where they were both martyred. St. Patrick of Ireland (387–481) There are many stories surrounding the origin of St. Patrick. The most credible says that he was born in Britain during Roman occupation and was a Roman citizen. His father was a deacon, and his grandfather was a priest in the Catholic Church. Much of what we know about Patrick we get from his autobiography, The Confessions. At 16 years of age, he was abducted by pirates and taken to Ireland as a slave. The Celtic pagan tribes who lived in Ireland were Druids. After several years he escaped and returned to Britain, but with a love for the people of Ireland. Patrick did not follow in his dad's footsteps and become a Roman soldier. He felt called to serve the Lord and His Church by being ordained a priest. He went back to Ireland to convert the people who had originally kidnapped him. While there, he became a bishop and was very successful in replacing paganism with Christianity. Legend has it that he explained the mystery of the Holy Trinity (Three Persons in One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to the Irish king by using a shamrock. Folklore also has him driving out all the snakes from Ireland. St. Dominic de Guzman (1170–1221) St. Dominic was a contemporary of St. Francis of Assisi. The faithful believe that when St. Dominic's mother, Joanna of Aza (the wife of Felix de Guzman) was pregnant, she had a vision of a dog carrying a torch in his mouth, which symbolized her unborn son who would grow up to become a hound of the Lord. The name Dominic was thus given to him, because in Latin Dominicanis can be Domini + canis (dog or hound of the Lord). Dominic established the Order of Friars Preachers (shortened to Order of Preachers), called the Dominicans. Along with their brother Franciscans, the Dominicans re-energized the Church in the 13th century and brought clarity of thought and substantial learning to more people than ever before. The motto of St. Dominic was veritas, which is Latin for truth. St. Francis of Assisi (1181–1226) The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, Pietro Bernadone, Francis was one of seven children. Even though he was baptized Giovanni, his father later changed his name to Francesco (Italian for Francis or Frank). He was handsome, courteous, witty, strong, and intelligent, but very zealous. He liked to play hard and fight hard like most of his contemporaries. Local squabbles between towns, principalities, dukedoms, and so on were rampant in Italy in the 12th century. Sometime around 1210, he started his own religious community called the Order of Friars Minor (OFM), which today is known as the Franciscans. They took vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, but unlike the Augustinian and Benedictine monks who lived in monasteries outside the villages and towns, St. Francis and his friars were not monks but mendicants, which means that they begged for their food, clothes, and shelter. What they collected they shared among themselves and the poor. They worked among the poor in the urban areas. Catholics believe that in 1224, St. Francis of Assisi was blessed with the extraordinary gift of the stigmata, the five wounds of Christ imprinted on his own body. St. Francis of Assisi loved the poor and animals, but most of all, he loved God and his Church. He wanted everyone to know and experience the deep love of Jesus that he felt in his own heart. He is credited with the creation of two Catholic devotions: the Stations of the Cross and the Christmas crèche. St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231) St. Anthony was born as Ferdinand, son of Martin Bouillon and Theresa Tavejra. At the age of 15, he joined an order of priests called the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. Later he transferred to the newly formed Order of Friars Minor (OFM), or Franciscans, where he took the religious name of Anthony. He is famous for being an effective orator. Anthony's sermons were so powerful that many Catholics who strayed from the faith and embraced false doctrines of other religions would repent after hearing him. This skill led to his nickname, "Hammer of Heretics." St. Anthony is invoked as the patron saint of lost items. On one occasion, a little boy appeared in the town square, apparently lost. Anthony picked him up and carried him around town looking for the boy's family. They went to house after house, but no one claimed him. At the end of the day, Anthony approached the friary chapel. The boy said, "I live there." Once in the oratory, the child disappeared. It was later discerned that the child was in fact Jesus. Since then, Catholics invoke St. Anthony whenever they lose something, even car keys or eyeglasses. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) The greatest intellect the Catholic Church has ever known was born of a wealthy aristocratic family, the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, and Theodora, Countess of Teano. Thomas's parents sent him at the age of 5, which was customary, to the Benedictine Abbey of Monte Cassino. It was hoped that if he didn't show talents suited for becoming a knight or nobleman, he could at least rise to the rank of abbot or bishop and thus add to his family's prestige and influence. However, ten years later, Thomas wanted to join a new mendicant order, which was similar to the Franciscans in that it didn't go to distant monasteries but worked in urban areas instead. The new order was the Order of Preachers (O.P.), known as Dominicans. Thomas Aquinas is best known for two things: His monumental theological and philosophical work, the Summa Theologica, covers almost every principal doctrine and dogma of his era. What St. Augustine and St. Bonaventure were able to do with the philosophy of Plato regarding Catholic Theology, St. Thomas Aquinas was able to do with Aristotle. (Philosophy has been called the handmaiden of theology because you need a solid philosophical foundation in order to understand the theological teachings connected to it.) The Catechism of the Catholic Church has numerous references to the Summa some 800 years later. He composed hymns and prayers for Corpus Christi at the request of the pope, and he wrote Pange Lingua, Adoro te Devote, O Salutaris Hostia, and Tantum Ergo, which is often sung at Benediction. He died while on the way to the Second Council of Lyons, where he was to appear as a peritus (expert). St. Thérèse of Lisieux (1873–1897) Francoise-Marie Thérèse, the youngest of five daughters, was born on January 2, 1873. When she was 4 years old, her mother died and left her father with five girls to raise on his own. Two of her older sisters joined the Carmelite order of nuns, and Thérèse wanted to join them when she was just 14. The order normally made girls wait until they were 16 before entering the convent or monastery, but Thérèse was adamant. She accompanied her father to a general papal audience of His Holiness Pope Leo XIII and surprised everyone by throwing herself before the pontiff, begging to become a Carmelite. The wise pope replied, "If the good God wills, you will enter." When she returned home, the local bishop allowed her to enter early. On April 9, 1888, at the age of 15, Thérèse entered the Carmelite monastery of Lisieux and joined her two sisters. On September 8, 1890, she took her final vows. She showed remarkable spiritual insights for someone so young, but it was due to her childlike (not childish) relationship with Jesus. Her superiors asked her to keep memoirs of her thoughts and experiences. At the age of 23, she coughed up blood and was diagnosed with tuberculosis. She lived only one more year, and it was filled with intense physical suffering. She died on September 30, 1897. St. Pio of Pietrelcina (1887–1968) Padre Pio was born on May 25, 1887, in Pietrelcina, Italy. Because he showed evidence of having a priestly vocation early in his youth, his father went to the United States to make enough money so Francesco (his baptismal name) could attend school and seminary. At the age of 15, he took the vows and habit of the Friars Minor Capuchin and assumed the name of Pio in honor of Pope St. Pius V, patron of his hometown. On August 10, 1910, he was ordained a priest. Catholics believe that less than a month later, on September 7, he received the stigmata, just like St. Francis of Assisi. During World War I, he served as a chaplain in the Italian Medical Corps. After the war, news spread about his stigmata, which stirred up some jealous enemies. Because of false accusations that were sent to Rome, he was suspended in 1931 from saying public mass or from hearing confessions. Two years later, Pope Pius XI reversed the suspension and said, "I have not been badly disposed toward Padre Pio, but I have been badly informed." Catholics believe that he was able to read souls, meaning that when people came to him for confession, he could immediately tell if they were lying, holding back sins, or truly repentant. He became so well loved all over the region and indeed all over the world that three days after his death on September 23, 1968, more than 100,000 people gathered at San Giovanni Rotundo to pray for his departed soul. Pope St. John XXIII (1881–1963) Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the third of 13 children and grew up in the North of Italy near Bergamo. His family was poor but devout. He was ordained a priest in 1904. Angelo was an army chaplain in World War I, secretary to his diocesan bishop, and spiritual director at the local seminary. He became a bishop in 1925 and served as an apostolic delegate to Turkey and Greece, and eventually Papal Nuncio (Ambassador) to Paris. In 1953, he was made the Cardinal Archbishop of Venice. When Pope Pius XII died in 1958, Roncalli was elected his successor after 11 ballots on October 28, 1958, at age 76. He took the name John XXIII. Many cardinals thought he would be a "caretaker pope" after the 19-year reign of Pius. John XXIII surprised everyone by convening an Ecumenical Council (Vatican II) from 1962–1965. It was the first council since the First Vatican Council ended in 1870. Pope St. John XXIII was a very popular pope and many people were heartbroken when he died during the sessions of Vatican II from stomach cancer. Pope St. John Paul II beatified him in 2000, and Pope Francis canonized him in 2014. Pope St. John Paul II, the Great (1920–2005) Pope John Paul II, a highly visible Catholic of the modern era, was the 264th pope and the first non-Italian pope in more than 450 years. He was born Karol Józef Wojtyla on May 18, 1920, in Wadowice, Poland, the son of Karol Wojtyla and Emilia Kaczorowska. His mother died nine years after his birth, followed by his brother, Edmund Wojtyla, a doctor, in 1932, and then his father, a noncommissioned army officer, in 1941. Pope Paul VI died in August 1978. Albino Cardinal Luciani was elected his successor and took the name John Paul to honor Paul VI and John XXIII, the two popes of Vatican II. But John Paul I lived only a month. So on October 16, 1978, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla was elected bishop of Rome and took the name John Paul II. Pope St. John Paul II wrote 84 combined encyclicals, exhortations, letters, and instructions to the Catholic world, beatified 1,338 people, canonized 482 saints, and created 232 cardinals. He traveled 721,052 miles (1,243,757 kilometers), the equivalent of 31 trips around the globe. During these journeys, he visited 129 countries and 876 cities. While home in Rome, he spoke to more than 17.6 million people at weekly Wednesday audiences. At 5:19 p.m. on May 13, 1981, a would-be assassin, Mehmet Ali Agca, shot Pope John Paul II and nearly killed him. A five-hour operation and 77 days in the hospital saved his life, and the pope returned to his full duties a year later. When he died on April 2, 2005, Pope John Paul II had the third-longest reign as pope (26 years, 5 months, 17 days), behind only Pius IX (31 years) and St. Peter himself (34+ years). John Paul II's funeral was attended by 4 kings, 5 queens, 70 presidents and prime ministers, 14 leaders of other religions, 157 cardinals, 700 bishops, 3,000 priests, and 3 million deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and laity. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, beatified Pope St. John Paul II on May 1, 2011, the Feast of Divine Mercy Sunday. Pope Francis canonized him on April 27, 2014.

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What Exactly Is Catholicism Anyway?

Article / Updated 09-27-2021

Feels like kind of a big question, eh? The cut-to-the-chase answer is that Catholicism is a Christian religion (just as Protestantism and Eastern Orthodoxy). Catholics are members of the Roman Catholic Church (which means they follow the authority of the bishop of Rome, otherwise known as the pope), and they share various beliefs and ways of worship, as well as a distinct outlook on life. Catholics can be either Latin (Western) or Eastern (Oriental) Catholic; both are equally in union with the bishop of Rome (the pope), but they retain their respective customs and traditions. Core beliefs Catholics believe that all people are basically good, but sin is a spiritual disease that wounded humankind initially and can kill humankind spiritually if left unchecked. Divine grace is the only remedy for sin, and the best source of divine grace is from the sacraments, which are various rites that Catholics believe have been created by Jesus Christ and entrusted by Him to His Church. From the Catholic perspective, here are some of the bottom-line beliefs: 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. More than an intellectual assent to an idea, Catholicism involves a daily commitment to embrace the will of God — whatever it is and wherever it leads. Catholicism means cooperation with God on the part of the believer. God offers His divine grace (His gift of unconditional love), and the Catholic must accept it and then cooperate with it. Free will is sacred. God never forces you to do anything against your free will. Yet doing evil not only hurts you, but also hurts others because a Catholic is never alone. Catholics are always part of a spiritual family called the Church. More than a place to go on the weekend to worship, the Church is a mother who feeds spiritually, shares doctrine, heals and comforts, and disciplines when needed. Catholicism considers the Church as important to salvation as the sacraments because both were instituted by Christ. General outlook The Catholic perspective sees everything as being intrinsically created good but with the potential of turning to darkness. It honors the individual intellect and well-formed conscience and encourages members to use their minds to think things through. In other words, instead of just giving a list of dos and don'ts, the Catholic Church educates its members to use their ability to reason and to apply laws of ethics and a natural moral law in many situations. Catholicism doesn't see science or reason as enemies of faith, but as cooperators in seeking the truth. Although Catholicism has an elaborate hierarchy to provide leadership in the Church, Catholicism also teaches individual responsibility and accountability. Education and the secular and sacred sciences are high priorities. Using logical and coherent arguments to explain and defend the Catholic faith is important. Catholicism isn't a one-day-a-week enterprise. It doesn't segregate religious and moral dimensions of life from political, economic, personal, and familial dimensions. Catholicism tries to integrate faith into everything. The general Catholic perspective is that because God created everything, nothing is outside God's jurisdiction, including your every thought, word, and deed — morning, noon, and night, 24/7.

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Who Can Receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church

Article / Updated 02-04-2020

The word Communion comes from Latin: Con means "with" and unio means "union." Communio means "union with." Catholics believe that Communion allows the believer to be united with Christ by sharing His body and blood. The priest and deacon, sometimes with the assistance of extraordinary ministers (nonclerics who have been given the authority to assist the priest), distribute Holy Communion to the faithful. Because this is really and truly the body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ, receiving Holy Communion, God's intimate visit with His faithful souls, is most sacred. When believers receive Holy Communion, they're intimately united with their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, Communion isn't limited to the communicant (the one receiving Holy Communion) and Jesus Christ. By taking Holy Communion, the Catholic is also expressing her union with all Catholics around the world and at all times who believe the same doctrines, obey the same laws, and follow the same leaders. This is why Catholics (and Eastern Orthodox Christians) have a strict law that only people who are in communion with the Church can receive Holy Communion. In other words, only those who are united in the same beliefs — the seven sacraments, the authority of the pope, and the teachings in the Catechism of the Catholic Church — are allowed to receive Holy Communion. In the Protestant tradition, Communion is often seen as a means of building unity among various denominations, and many have open Communion, meaning that any baptized Christian can take Communion in their services. Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, on the other hand, see Communion not as the means but as the final fruit of unity. So only those in communion can receive Holy Communion. It has nothing to do with who's worthy. Think of it this way: If a Canadian citizen moves to the United States, lives in Erie, Pennsylvania, works in Erie, and has a family in Erie, he can do so indefinitely. However, he can't run for public office or vote in an American election unless and until he becomes a U.S. citizen. Does being or not being a citizen make you a good or bad person? Of course not. But if citizens from other countries want to vote, they must give up their own citizenship and become U.S. citizens. Being a non-Catholic in the Church is like being a non-citizen in a foreign country. Non-Catholics can come to as many Catholic Masses as they want; they can marry Catholics and raise their children in the Catholic faith, but they can't receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church until they become Catholic. Becoming Catholic is how a person gets united with and experiences union with the whole Catholic Church. Those in union can then receive Holy Communion. Similarly, Catholics who don't follow the Church's laws on divorce and remarriage, or who obstinately reject Church teaching, such as the inherent evil of abortion, shouldn't come forward to receive Communion because they're no longer in communion. This prohibition isn't a judgment on their moral or spiritual state because only God can know that. But receiving Holy Communion is a public act, and therefore, it's an ecclesiastical action requiring those who do it to be united with all that the Church teaches and commands and with all the ways that the Church prays.

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What Goes on at a Catholic Baptism?

Article / Updated 02-04-2020

Baptisms in the Catholic Church usually take place on Sundays, during the parish Mass or in the early afternoon after all the Masses are over. It all depends on the parish, the pastor, and the parents at the Baptism. Adults who were never baptized are an exception to this rule; they're highly encouraged to be baptized with other adults on Holy Saturday evening, during a service known as the Easter Vigil, because it's held on the night before Easter Sunday. Children, however, are baptized once a month or every Sunday, depending on the diocese and parish. The person being baptized is asked to dress in white. Some parishes put a small white garment on the child, especially if she isn't already dressed in white. When adults are baptized, they typically put on a full-length white gown known as an alb, from the Latin word for white. The white garment symbolizes the white garments that Jesus wore when he was placed in the tomb after his death on Good Friday. When the women and disciples returned on Easter day, they found the tomb empty except for the white robes. So it represents the promise of the Resurrection, made at Baptism. The promise is that the baptized body will one day die, like Christ's did, but it'll be raised from the dead someday by Christ. White also symbolizes purity of faith and cleansing. The priest or deacon is usually the minister of Baptism, but anyone can baptize in an emergency, such as in a hospital or whenever someone's life is in danger. Here are the steps that occur during both infant and adult Baptism: During the Baptism of an infant, the priest or deacon asks the parents, "What name do you give your child?" He doesn't ask this question because he's too senile to remember or too blind to read the child's name on the card in front of him, but because that person becomes a child of God by name and Jesus becomes her brother by name as soon as the person is baptized. The parents respond aloud, ideally with a Christian name, such as one of the saints or heroes of the Bible. In adult Baptism, skip this step. The priest or deacon asks, "What do you ask of God's Church for your child?" The parents respond, "Baptism." If an adult is being baptized, she answers the same. In infant Baptism, the priest or deacon asks the parents and the godparents whether they're willing and able to fulfill their duties to bring up this child in the Christian faith. As a symbolic gesture, the priest or deacon makes the sign of the cross with his thumb gently on the forehead of the child or adult. This sign is made to show that the cross of Christ has saved her. The parents and godparents do the same. A particular passage from the Bible is read, usually from the New Testament, where Baptism is mentioned or alluded to. After some other prayers, the first anointing takes place. The infant's white garb is pulled slightly beneath the neck so the priest or deacon can smear a little Oil of Catechumens (blessed olive oil) on the infant's neck with his thumb. The same anointing takes place for an adult. The oil symbolizes that the person, born into the world, is now being set apart from the world by the anointing. She is soon to be baptized and therefore belongs not to the world but to God and heaven. The priest or deacon blesses the water of Baptism. The prayer recalls how water has played an important role in salvation history as recorded throughout the Bible: It represents a sign of new life, the washing of sin, deliverance from slavery, and a new beginning. The first part of the baptismal promises are made: renunciation of evil. Because an infant can't speak for herself, mom, dad, and the godparents answer for her. The priest or deacon asks, "Do you renounce Satan? And all his works? And all his empty promises?" If things go well, everyone says "I do." If not, you have to check for devil worshippers among the crowd. Later, probably when she's 14 years old, the child answers those same questions on her own before the bishop. Adults who are being baptized answer for themselves. The second part of baptismal promises follows, with the Apostles' Creed put in question form: "Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?" Again, the hoped-for response is "I do." Then the other two persons of the Trinity are mentioned: "Do you believe in Jesus Christ. . . ?" and "Do you believe in the Holy Spirit. . . ?" And, once again, parents and godparents answer for infants; adults answer for themselves. The actual Baptism takes place. In infant Baptism, the immediate family gathers around the baptismal font (see the figure), and the child is held over the basin while the priest or deacon pours water three times over the child's head and says his first and middle name, and then, "I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." Usually, the baby cries, because the water tends to be a little cool. (In the Eastern Catholic Church, the formula is: "The servant of God, [name], is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Confirmation (Chrismation) and Holy Communion are also given at the ceremony when one is baptized in the Eastern Church.) In adult Baptism, the catechumen holds her head over the basin, and the priest pours water over her head; or, if baptized by immersion, she enters the pool, and the priest dips her head into the water three times. The priest or deacon anoints the top of the new Christian's head with chrism oil. The anointing symbolizes that the newly baptized Christian is now exactly that — a Christian. The word Christ means anointed, and a Christian is someone who's anointed in Jesus Christ. This anointing also means the person is now to share in the three-fold mission of Christ — to sanctify, proclaim, and give Christian leadership and example to the world. Now, a white garment is usually presented to the newly baptized. A Baptismal candle is lit from the burning Easter Candle, which is present throughout the ceremony. It symbolizes that the new Christian is a light to the world. The Our Father is said and a blessing is given for mom, dad, and the family, and everyone celebrates. If you're invited to a Baptism: You don't need to be Catholic or even a Christian to attend. Your presence is a sign of love, support, and friendship for the parents and for the baptized. If you're a Christian, you may want to join in the renewal of baptismal promises when they're asked.

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Common Catholic Prayers

Article / Updated 01-22-2020

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. For more information, take a look at the Twelve Articles of Catholic Faith.

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The Twelve Articles of Catholic Faith

Article / Updated 04-10-2017

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. Check here to see how Catholics view the Ten Commandments.

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10 Famous Catholics

Article / Updated 03-13-2017

Here is a list of ten of the most famous Catholics, beginning with the most famous. But take heed: Just being baptized Catholic doesn't mean a person is a good Catholic. The Catholic Church believes that a good Catholic is one who regularly and faithfully practices his faith every day of his life. A person who dissents from official Catholic teaching on faith and morals, who never or only irregularly attends Mass, or who has a scandalous, immoral lifestyle is not considered a practicing — or a good — Catholic. Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910–1997) Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu was born August 26, 1910, of Albanian ancestry. She was baptized August 27, 1910, in Skopje, Macedonia, and was later known to the world as Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She joined the Sisters of Loreto in 1928, was trained in Dublin, Ireland, and took her final vows in 1937. Known as Sister Teresa at the time of her final vows, she was named headmistress of a middle-class girls' school in Calcutta, India, after some years of teaching history and geography. Later, on a train ride to Darjeeling on September 10, 1946, she said that she had a strong intuition and message from the Lord to work among the poorest of the poor in the world. Probably the most famous Catholic of the 20th century, this nun, who earned the Nobel Peace Prize (1979) and who was only the fourth person in the world to be named honorary citizen of the United States (1996), traveled the world spreading the message of love for the poor — especially the poorest of the poor. Regarded as a modern-day St. Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa is respected by peoples of all faiths, religions, cultures, and political persuasions. Whether a person was an "untouchable" leper in India or someone dying of AIDS in North America, she saw Christ in those who suffer. She was a true servant of charity to them. Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997, the same day as Princess Diana's funeral in England. Six years later, Pope John Paul II beatified Mother Teresa on October 19, 2003, with more than 300,000 pilgrims in attendance at Saint Peter's Square, Rome. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895–1979) Born on May 8, 1895, in El Paso, Illinois, the son of Newton Morris and Delia (Fulton) Sheen was baptized Peter John (P.J.) Sheen. Later, he took the maiden name of his mother and was thereafter known as Fulton J. (John) Sheen. Ordained in Peoria on September 20, 1919, Fulton did graduate work at Catholic University of America and then post-graduate studies (PhD) at the University of Louvain, Belgium (1923). He also attended the Sorbonne in Paris and the Angelicum University in Rome, where he earned a doctorate in theology (1924). Pope Pius XI made him a monsignor in 1934, and then he was ordained and consecrated an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of New York in 1951. Later that same year, Fulton was asked to host a weekly television series, titled Life is Worth Living. The program ran for five seasons — from February 12, 1952, to April 8, 1957 — first on the Dumont Network and then on ABC. And at one point, it beat The Milton Berle Show as number one in the ratings. Fulton exhibited a classy, edified, yet also patriotic and pastoral approach, which helped to erode some deep-seated and hateful anti-Catholic bias prevalent since the days of colonial America. Many famous celebrities, musicians, and politicians owe their conversion to Catholicism to Fulton J. Sheen. Actor Martin Sheen adopted his stage name because of this famous Catholic. He died at the age of 84 on December 9, 1979. Mother Angelica (1923–2016) Rita Antoinette Rizzo was born in Canton, Ohio, on April 20, 1923, the daughter of John Rizzo and Mae Helen Gianfrancesco. Six years later, her parents divorced, and Rita and her mom were on their own. Rita entered the Franciscan Sisters (Poor Clares) of Perpetual Adoration in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 15, 1944, as Sister Mary Angelica of the Annunciation. In 1973, Mother Angelica inaugurated a Catholic book and pamphlet apostolate to spread the faith. But the big stuff was yet to come; Mother Angelica decided to go into television, and on August 15, 1981, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) was launched, broadcasting four hours a day to 60,000 homes. She reached 1 million homes in less than two years, and in 1987 the network was transmitting 24 hours a day. Today, through EWTN's own satellite, cable, radio, and short-wave broadcasting, 160 million people are reached across 140 countries. (EWTN is also online.) EWTN has become the world's largest and most-watched Catholic network, and Mother Angelica is still very much a part of it. In 1946, Mother Angelica suffered many injuries due to an accident with a floor-buffing machine when she was a novice (a new nun in training who hasn't yet made vows). On January 28, 1998, while she was praying the rosary with an Italian lady she didn't know, she was miraculously cured — her legs and back no longer needed braces or crutches. Mother Angelica suffered a major stroke in 2001 that rendered her speechless. She later became bedridden but had the foresight to relinquish control of the network to a lay private corporation a year before her illness. On March 27, 2016, she died from complications of her condition. Thousands of faithful attended the funeral, and millions watched on EWTN. John F. Kennedy (1917–1963) John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States of America, was the first Roman Catholic to hold the highest office in the land. Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917, to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he was one of nine children in this affluent and influential family. His father was the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and later became the Ambassador to Great Britain. John graduated from Harvard in 1940 and a year later enlisted in the U.S. Navy before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war. The boat he commanded (PT-109) in the Pacific theater was attacked and sunk by the Japanese. He saved his crew but seriously injured his back. He was discharged in 1945 and ran as a Democrat for the U.S. Congress in 1946. He was re-elected twice. On September 12, 1953, he married Jacqueline Bouvier, who gave him three children (Caroline, 1957; John, Jr., 1960; and a son who died in infancy). He became a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts in 1953. Seven years later, he ran against Vice President Richard M. Nixon and won the presidency. Historians still debate whether John was a devout or practicing Catholic. What's known is that he was the first Catholic to be elected president and that his Catholicism received positive press coverage during his term in office: He, Jackie, and the kids went to Sunday Mass, bishops and cardinals frequented the White House, and an elaborate, solemn, and sad Catholic requiem Mass was said for his funeral following his assassination in November 1963. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801–1890) One of the most famous converts to Catholicism from England, he was initially an Anglican priest and pastor of St. Mary's Church, Oxford, England. Here he ministered to countless university students. It was his studies of the Early Church Fathers that lead to his intellectual conversion, which resulted in his conversion to Catholicism. Newman was famous for his long sermons that he delivered at St. Mary's Anglican Church. He joined and was instrumental in the Oxford Movement, a grassroots effort to restore certain Catholic elements of worship so as to reinvigorate the Anglican Church. The deeper he studied and prayed, the more he came to the conclusion that conversion to the Catholic Church was not an option for him but a necessity. He was received in the Catholic Church in 1845 and ordained a Catholic Priest in 1847. This resulted in his being ostracized by the Anglican community, Oxford University, and many of his intellectual friends. He established the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, Birmingham, England, and continued to write and publish works on apologetics, all while establishing a Catholic University in Dublin and a school in Birmingham. As an Anglican in Oxford, Newman ministered to the intellectual elite. In Birmingham, he served the poor Irish immigrants. Pope Leo XIII promoted him to Cardinal in 1849. After his death, about a century later, during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to England, Newman was beatified on September 19, 2010. He is considered a genius and at the same time a humble pastor. Bishop John Carroll (1735–1815) Carroll was the third son of Daniel Carroll and Eleanor Darnall. In 1753 he entered to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was ordained a priest in 1769. After the Jesuit order was suppressed temporarily (1773–1814), Fr. Carroll returned to Maryland, only to find strict anti-Catholic laws and no parish assignment. In 1776 the Continental Congress asked Carroll to go to Quebec and persuade the French Canadians to help the American Revolution. He was able to influence some of the founding fathers to prohibit discrimination against religion in the Constitution. Only four states ratified this in the beginning: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Delaware. Years later (1791), religious liberty would be enshrined as the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Pope Pius VI appointed him the first bishop of Baltimore (1789), the very first diocese of the United States of America. He battled anti-Catholicism throughout his life and showed personally that Catholics, especially clergy, could and should be patriotic citizens while still being faithful to their religion. Archbishop Carroll encouraged St. Elizabeth Ann Seton to move from New York to Baltimore and then later to Emmitsburg, Maryland, where she established the Sisters of Charity (now the Daughters of Charity). With his blessing and support, she established the foundation of the Catholic (parochial) school system in the United States. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973) J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, was born in South Africa in 1892, but after his father died four years later, he and his mother and younger brother, Hilary, moved to England. There, his aunt and mother converted to Catholicism, which annoyed both sides of the family. Ronald (as he was known then) and his brother, however, embraced the Roman Catholic religion. A contemporary and close friend of C.S. Lewis, the author of the Chronicles of Narnia and the Screwtape Letters, Tolkien learned to use fantasy writing to strategically but subtly convey Catholic values while retaining imagination and excitement in his works. Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874–1936) Born in London in 1874, G. K. Chesterton was baptized in the Church of England. Surprisingly, he wrote many of his famous Father Brown mysteries before joining the Roman Catholic Church in 1922. Those mysteries tell of a quiet, unassuming priest who solves mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, Lord Peter Wimsey, or Hercule Poirot. Ironically, this author didn't learn to read until he was 8 years old, but he would eventually be a prolific and scholarly author of 17 nonfiction books, 9 fiction books, and numerous essays and poems. His book Orthodoxy remains a classic for Catholic apologists — people who defend Catholicism through the use of logic, reason, and debate — and for literary critics alike. Dorothy Day (1897–1980) Dorothy Day converted to Catholicism in 1927. A writer and social activist, she hobnobbed with the literary and social elite prior to her conversion. Dorothy wrote for several socialist and progressive publications in the 1910s and 1920s. She had an affair, an abortion, and a child out of wedlock before giving herself over to Jesus and converting to the Catholic Church. She became Catholic through an encounter with a Sister of Charity, who helped baptize both her and her daughter. She founded the Catholic Worker movement along with former Christian Brother, Peter Maurin. Day edited and wrote in the Catholic Worker, a newspaper that promoted the social teachings of the Catholic Church, and refuted the Communist paper, the Daily Worker. She was a die-hard pacifist, which made her unpopular during World War II. Many individual Catholics and Catholic institutions (schools, hospitals, and so on) banned her newspaper. Dorothy Day tangled with Cardinal Spellman of New York when he tried to break the gravedigger strike of 1949 by sending seminarians as replacements, or scabs (the incident is described in detail in a 1998 Fordham Urban Law Journal article by David L. Gregory). She lived a radical view of the Gospel in showing concern and commitment to the poor, the disenfranchised, and the marginalized. Most of all, however, she was a woman of deep faith and conviction as well as service to those in need. Day has the title of Servant of God, which is the first step in possible beatification and canonization in the Catholic Church. Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR (1933–2014) Born Peter Groeschel in Jersey City, New Jersey, he was the oldest of six children. He entered the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in 1951 and took the name Benedict. In 1959 he was ordained a priest and later earned a doctorate in psychology from Columbia University. Father Benedict served as chaplain to emotionally disturbed children and taught at several Catholic universities and seminaries, including Fordham and Saint Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie. He also founded Trinity Retreat Center, used by many priests. Author of many books on spirituality, Groeschel also hosted numerous television series for EWTN (Catholic TV network). Groeschel and seven other Capuchins formed a new religious community called the Congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (CFR) in 1987. They wanted to return to the original charism of the Capuchin Franciscans and work with the poorest of the poor. Being good friends and colleagues with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Fr. Benedict attracted many men to this new order. A frequent guest on Mother Angelica's live show on EWTN, Father Groeschel became a poplar retreat master, preacher, spiritual director, and conference speaker across the U.S. His psychology training enabled him to evaluate, counsel, and provide recommendations to clergy with various mental health issues. In 2004 he was injured during a visit to Florida in a car accident while crossing the street. Five years later, he suffered a minor stroke. Those and other health issues led to his death on October 3, 2014.

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