How to explain what Catholicism is?

Hi everyone, I hope this is the right place to ask this:

I’m in China for a study abroad and I just met a Chinese Christian who speaks some English. Pretty decent actually. However, I fell flat on my face trying to explain why I can’t go to Mass in China, because it’s technically illegal and the People’s Patriotic Church’s sacraments aren’t valid - textbooks never teach you, for example, the Chinese word for “bishop.”

Given that both of our religious vocabulary is rather limited, can anyone please help me prepare a brief, but simple, description of our faith? I mean, I find it rather difficult enough trying to explain the Real Presence to Protestants in English!

Thanks.

Oh, and “bishop” is 主教…I looked it up.

Jesus,our Lords peace be whit You.
That is a good question,I don’t think the Church teach anyone to ansver that. Try to start from the begining,Matt.16:17-20,and explain that only the Pope,as a follower of St.Peter,can give the rigths to be a bishop,and that the bischop in China is not choosen by the Pope,and then just ansver the questions. I cant think of any other way,and this wos plan B. Blessings,
Totterman

I know this won’t help a lot, but why not start with the Nicene Creed? The fundamental things we believe in. And hopefully there will be a translation of the Creed somewhere in the web, that maybe your Chinese peer can read from.

I know some other Protestant denominations may use the same Creed, and he/she may be already aware of it. Catholicism is so deep and rich, at least you have somewhere to start off.

God bless.

Hi, here is a translation of Nicene Creed in Chinese.
我信唯一的天主,全能的圣父,天地万物,无论有形无形,都是他所创造的。   我信唯一的主、耶稣基督、天主的独生子。他在万世之前,由圣父所生。他是出自天主的天主,出自光明的光明,出自真天主的真天主。他是圣父所生,而非圣父所造,与圣父同性同体,万物是藉著他而造成的。他为了我们人类,并为了我们的得救,从天降下。他因圣神由童贞玛利亚取得肉躯,而成为人。他在般雀比拉多执政时,为我们被钉在十字架上,受难而被埋葬。他正如圣经所载,第三日复活了。他升了天,坐在圣父的右边。他还要光荣地降来,审判生者死者,他的神国万世无疆。   我信圣神,他是主及赋予生命者,由圣父圣子所共发。他和圣父圣子,同受钦崇,同享光荣,他曾藉先知们发言。   我信唯一、至圣、至公、从宗徒传下来的教会。   我承认赦罪的圣洗,只有一个。   我期待死人的复活,及来世的生命。   亚孟。
By the way, the sacraments of the Chinese Patriotic Church are VALID but ILLICIT.

Update:

Oh no. No, no, no, no no. Mein Gott en lehman - what have I done? *

So I tried to explain the difference between us Catholics and Protestants, with yet unknown results. So goes to what I think is an Episcopalian church here in Nanjing - St. Paul’s.

I did do a good job explaining that, because we think that the Eucharist is “very special”, the Priest “celebrates” the Eucharist every time we go to Church. She was shocked to learn that many people in America and Europe hate Christians, and I had to try to explain that some people don’t understand what Christianity is or how some people call themselves Christians but do bad things. In hindsight, I should have said that one quotation from Cardinal…(what was his name?)…“There are not a hundred people in the world who hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they think the Catholic Church is” or something like that.

From there…well…I veered into what some people don’t like the Church because of its teaching on contraception. I think I confused her a little, but she seemed rather understanding at the same time.

Oh…and I am a TOTAL airhead. I was suspicious that she “likes me that way” when she offered to take me to the Nanjing Palace Museum. Long story short, we’re kinda sorta seeing each other now…Oh Lord, why did I have to fall for a girl in China?*

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