Defining Catholicism

In a brief manner, how would you define or explain the Catholic faith to non-Catholics?

Belief in the teachings, and adherence to the authority that was passed down from Christ to his apostles, and then on to their successors.

This is the most simple way I can think to put it.

Thanks exoflare! What would you then say if asked about all the external expressions of our faith such as such as the use of a crucifix, making the sign of the cross, statues, etc.? I know each of these requires its own explanation, but can you think of a general explanation that answers all? How about, “the external expressions of our faith help us to be a witness to others and remind us of what God has done for us and who we are?” Does that sound good, too general, or off base totally?

It depends on exactly what they want to know about these externals… Are they inquiring about why we use them, specifically? Or how they fit into Jesus’ teachings, or what?

Also, you may want to point out with some of those expressions of faith you pointed out… that most of them are optional and not absolutely required. I’ve found that some people can get a VERY severe misunderstanding from previous impressions they’ve developed. One guy (Baptist) actually told me before I explained stuff to him, that he thought Catholics were only allowed to pray to Mary or other saints, but never directly to God!

These people are looking at Catholicism with preconceived ideas based on what they’ve seen or heard and don’t understand why Catholics use certain objects or do certain things. We can get into a very lengthy discussion about each, but I’d like a more compact answer if that’s possible.

Good point!

I guess I would just tell you, make sure to stress which things are essential to the faith (and why!) as opposed to those optional “expressions” of the faith which are really just a matter of personal preference.

I would say they help draw us closer to God.

Just like seeing a picture of my Mother reminds me of her, a crucifix reminds me that Jesus died on the cross for my sins. That’s just one example - but everything we “use” draws us closer to God… so it’s all good. That’s what I’d say to a non-Catholic.

I don’t know if there’s a simple or brief way to explain the Catholic faith. Not without sounding Protestant! :smiley:

The very basics are somewhat simple to state but not explain: Faith in Christ as Savior, Unity with Rome and the Magisterium, Belief in the Sacred Scriptures and their inerrancy.

How about the Apostles Creed in addition to the above?

I think it’s too late at night for me to get any good ideas. I thought I’d give it a shot, not working. I’ll try to come back tomorrow and do better!:wink:

Hooray! I like that.

I do not mean to get this thread off course, but I have learned this from personnal experience. No one can logically reject Catholicism with the true understanding of it. I bet that if the whole of Christendom were to truely understand Catholicism right now that over half would convert to it. God speed.

Stepping up to bat…:o

I was taught that everything I need to express my Catholic Faith to someone is neatly packed into the Apostles Creed…is that brief enough?

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