'in essentials unity' question for grounded catholic

hi, newbie here, married, male, 64 non-catholic with an essentials question for any grounded catholic. I have a neighbor who is pentecostle with some really ‘out there ideas’. I have done some serious reseach and I need it verified. Among the many ‘essential doctrines and practices’ taught by Catholic church I have included, The Pope (Apostolic), The Catholic Church, 7 sacrements, baptism (water,blood,desire), mortal sin, penanace, separated brethren (2 kinds invincible (uneducated, uniformed, naive, saved), and vincible ignorance ( educated,informed,culpable,lost) are these among many other essentials? She takes the position ‘faith only’ (nothing else is essential).

Trinity is a big one, Nicene creed.

But really for a Catholic, everything the church teaches doctrinally is essential. The non essentials would be like customs and disciplines.

I’d say believing in the Trinity is essential. Baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Believing Jesus is the Son of God. That He started his church after the Jews did not accept him and it’s the Catholic Church. Love God first and then love your neighbor as yourself and any other doctrine He taught us is essential for living the faith.
Believing he instituted and gave himself to us in the Eucharist (and still does daily), and that he gave us the other 6 sacraments is essential.

I don’t really understand faith only. If I believe in Jesus and everything he said then I want to be good and do good things. Not because I’m trying to buy my way into Heaven but because I want to be good and be like Jesus. That’s why works are important. Not because they will get you into Heaven but because by your works you show that you believe in Jesus. How did he tell us to recognize a good tree? by the fruit. If there is no fruit, no good tree and it should be cut down and thrown into the fire. I don’t want to go there. So I try to do good and on my own I can do nothing good but with Jesus I can do good.

Nicene Creed.

This is our faith, and we are proud to confess it in Christ Jesus.


“Faith” is just the beginning. From that time on comes the question of how you live your Christian life.

Marriage - what did Christ say about it?

Baptism - what did Christ say about it?

Sin - what did Christ say about that? Founding the church on Peter (which is in the Scriptures by the way, loud and clear) - how are we to interpret that? The call for unity as expressed by Christ - “as I and the Father are one” - how are we to interpret that? Baptism - immersion or sprinkling? And why?

The day of worship - Saturday (Jewish Sabbath) or Sunday (the day Christ rose from the dead) - which one?

Vincible ignorance - as Scripture says - the one who knew and didn’t do it will be punished with a heavy whipping. The one who didn’t know and didn’t do it will be punished with a light whipping.

How is “faith only” going to answer those questions?

Welcome to CAF!

What the Catholic Church teaches is the Christ gave us **1 **route to Heaven. However, for those who, through no fault of their own, did not know this route but responded to God’s grace as much as they were able, God could invite them to Heaven, because He is not bound by the sacraments.

An example of this is that the Church has never forbidden praying for the souls of non-Catholics.

Hi JuddBrooks. Can you clarify about your neighbor’s really ‘out there ideas’. Does he/she make statements about Catholics/Catholicism?

Thank you kindly for your inquiry. I failed to be clear enough in my question but the answers thus far have been good. Our current battle that prompted my reaching out to this blog is the infamous (yet unclear author) who wrote ‘in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all charity’. She is a ‘literalist’ (takes things literaly far to much’ and claims an english language degree (a burden to me LOL )…She ‘heard’ thru the grape vine that the ONLY thing that can be essential is doctrines…NEVER EVER practices or acts or xxx…or yyy. etc. I ask since you never interviewed the author how can you be sure…being pentecostle her answer is God told me. :frowning: :frowning: So I bring up something like baptism, sacrements, Apostolic Pope, Communion, etc etc THAT ARE ESSENTIAL DOCTRINES (& Practices) among MANY MANY OTHER THINGS…her response I won’t believe it unless a catholic puts the words baptism essential and doctrine for salvation in the same sentence/paragraph. :frowning: :frowning: When people respond ‘oh yes’ its vital…the fail to understand she needs the ‘literal’ words ‘essential for salvation’ and a list of doctrines. for a myriad of reasons. I have bought books like scott hahn, found many links. she says they don’t have ‘impomptau’ seal. I asked about a website with 1/2 million catholics and she said…maybe…so here I am. I have done a serious review and have completely convincing sources for a normal person. She is not and demands I meet a higher bar. I can’t instruct people how to answer (that would be leading the witness / stacking the deck). I can only do a better job of constructing my question and getting the response crafted with the words she needs to hear. :slight_smile:

Definitely interesting; but not entirely clear, I don’t think, on a key point: what is it that you’re trying to convince her of?

For a person like this, that bar will just keep rising as you try to convince her. After talking with people like this in the past, I have realized that unless it is on the internet where you might be reaching a larger audience and convincing some, it is better to just walk away from the conversation and let it be. This is probably a good example of what Catholic’s call invincible ignorance. It is not so much a case of education as repatriation. She exists in a world where only a certain paradigm is accepted and all others are labeled against God’s clear plan. If she is not willing to abandon that world and walk into yours, no amount of education will work.

The Bible is very clear: we need truth to be saved, but the Bible is also very clear that we cannot get this truth from reading the Bible alone. We need someone to instruct us or to guide us to understand what the Bible says about the truth.

Of course, Protestants don’t really believe that all you need to do is read scripture and pray for guidance from the Holy Spirit, either. Otherwise, why would they send so many of their pastors to study at seminary? Can a seminary teach them anything that the Holy Spirit can’t? No. They recognize, however, that personal, individual interpretation of the Bible can lead to misunderstanding of the Word of God – even to destruction. Therefore, guidance is necessary. So, where do we find a guide that can teach us the accurate interpretation of scripture regarding truth?

The Church guides us regarding truth for salvation

Jesus taught the Apostles who in turn taught others about the meaning of scripture and how to live the life of faith which the Gospel reveals. What does the Bible tell us about this?

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers” (1 Corinthians 12:28)

The Bible tells us that one of the functions or offices in the Church is that of teacher. Of course, there would be no need for teachers if everyone could read the Bible and figure it out all by themselves. Other responsibilities of the church are found in Paul’s first letter to Timothy:

“if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)

So, we can see from this passage that it is the church – and not the Bible – that is the pillar and bulwark of the truth. A pillar holds something up; a bulwark provides protection. The church upholds and protects or defends the truth that we need for salvation. Now we know where to go to find the truth that will set us free. We go to the church.

But which Church? If we open the Yellow Pages, we’ll find many, many pages of churches listed. With so many to choose from, how can we be sure which one is the best? Are they all the same? Do I really need to limit myself to just one or could I take a round-robin approach moving from church to church each week?

There are three possibilities regarding the church

We have come to the realization that we need the church to guide us into the truth that will set us free, but we haven’t determined which church or churches we can rely on to teach the truth accurately. Today, there are more than 25,000 recognized Christian denominations throughout the world. Given this situation, we realize one of the following must be true:

  1. Jesus established more than one church

  2. Jesus established one church, but it is an invisible, abstract, “spiritual” church in which all true believers, regardless of denomination, are members. In this church, either:
    INDENT Doctrine does not matter, or
    (b) Conflicting and contradictory doctrines are acceptable.

  3. Jesus established one, visible church in which doctrine matters and does not conflict. This church contains the fullness of truth as revealed by God; all others have partial truth, at best.[/INDENT]

Which of these three options will your friend choose?

Are there any doctrines that are not essential - for salvation? Not trying to pick an argument on this, just curious about what you think.

Concerning #3, it appears that the Eastern Orthodox Church satisfies #3, but the Roman Catholic Church does not. For example, in the Roman Catholic Church, western rite, Catholics believe that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and from the Son. Whereas in the Catholic Church, eastern rite, Catholics proclaim at Divine Liturgy, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. Also, some Catholics say that the Blood was shed for many, whereas others say that the Blood was shed for all. Some Catholics believe in capital punishment, others do not. Some Catholics maintain Communion on the tongue, others do not.

Maaaaaaaaybe … or maybe TCC is the only church that has hit it just right, not being too strict about teachings-not-conflicting, like the Orthodox, nor too lenient about it, like the Anglican Communion. :):):slight_smile:

By definition, a doctrine is essential. IT is essential for aiding a person in walking an authentic Christian Life.

How one does with this in their own personal life is between them and God. Perfection is not required, just a heart of love for God that leads us to conform our lives to his will.

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