What must one believe to be Catholic?

What must one believe to be Catholic?
A checklist would be great! :o

Get a catechism. I’m not sure a thorough checklist could be posted here easily.:slight_smile:

I hate to disappoint you, but there is no checklist. There’s the Catechism of the Catholic Church, though.

The Faith given by Christ to the Apostles is naturally a complex thing for it endeavors to answer all the needs of humanity. And you know how devious we humans can be! :eek:

But, the long and short of it is we must believe what is contained in the Nicene Creed and all it implies, not just the bare words. I hope that helps. :o

Got the catechsim and the compendium. lol
Believe the Nicene creed, albiet not sure about Catholic with the capitol C. :slight_smile:

For starters, which dogmas must one believe.

The closest thing to a check list would be the Apostle’s Creed…
We believe in

  1. God, The Father,
  2. The Son,
  3. And The Holy Spirit.
  4. We believe in One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic Church
  5. We believe in the Communion of Saints,
  6. The Forgiveness of Sins,
  7. The resurrection of the body,
  8. and life everlasting.

This is why the CCC is formatted in this way-The Creed.
Also See Ludwig Ott’s fundamentals of Dogma

Why do you ask this question? Are you looking for the minimum necessary belief to be Catholic? It sounds like (though I could be wrong) that you are trying to find out what Catholic teachings you are allowed to disbelieve.

The reason I ask is because a Catholic should believe first and foremost that the Church is truly the Church founded by and guided by Christ. And if one believes that, one does not look for a list of Church teachings one must believe. One simply believes what the Church teaches, because she is Christ’s Church.

All the dogmas must be believed–that is the very definition of a dogma, something that must be believed. :wink:

There is a list, but it is quite long. As I said, the Faith is a complex thing not a one line statement: Dogmas of the Catholic Church. Whatever is noted as “De Fide” is a dogma.

As a protestant I believe those 10 things, except #4 is interpreted differently.

Do we have any historical evidences for how
One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic is to be understood

I could say and realized Catholics may disagree to an extent.

One church (including “separated brethren”)
Holy (holy in Christ)
Catholic (universal, including “separated brethren”)
Apostolic (based on the Apostle’s teaching)

I don’t think it’s the intention of the OP to just do the minimum requirements to be Catholic, in light of other threads I’ve read by him/her.
It’s just that Catholicism has so many doctrines and dogmas and traditions that it’s hard for an outsider looking in to grasp all of it.
I think the OP is wanting to know the CC’s core beliefs.

Oh no, not at all Mike. If I were to be Catholic, I would want to know what I am required to believe. If one’s going to be something, I think, they should believe all of it.

I asked for a checklist so that I could go through it and think, yes or no whether I could believe that and then have a point from which to study.

As Della said, it starts with the Creed. And then to distinguish yourself from others who profess/confess the Creed, understand the four marks of the Church as taught by the Church (ewtn.com/faith/teachings/churb2.htm)). This understanding makes it clear that you assent to the Teaching Authority of the Magisterium. This assent is the fruit of you believing that God is all-good, all-knowing and all-loving and that He commissioned the Church to assist His children become more holy and spend eternity with him.

You don’t have to “agree” as in having studied and fully understand everything the Church teaches. But you must agree to study and understand as you can and make improvements on your understanding as you journey through life. Furthermore, when confronted with choices that conflict with what you know the Church teaches, you must agree to assent even if you don’t understand or fully agree.

And as everyone said, the Catechism is a great resource to study and understand the faith and how it provides practical guidance to follow and understand the Word of God.

Read the Church Fathers for the historical evidence. As to how they are to be understood, they are to be understood as they were written in the 4th century, long before there were any Protestants (who didn’t come along until the 16th century) to put their own “interpretation” on them.

I could say and realized Catholics may disagree to an extent.

Catholic are to give mental assent to those dogmas they don’t understand. If we disagree with any dogmas, we are no longer thinking like Catholics.

One church (including “separated brethren”)

Only by reason of the trinitarian baptism, but they are still in danger if they know they ought to be fully in union the Catholic Church.

Holy (holy in Christ)

Yes, but also truly holy. Catholicism teaches that Christ makes us truly holy not merely appear to be holy.

Catholic (universal, including “separated brethren”)

With the caveat I expressed above.

Apostolic (based on the Apostle’s teaching)


I have some mentally retarded friends who became Catholic. They recognize and accept the voice of authority of the Church as having a divine origin, but they do not have to know a certain number of dogmas or understand a certain percentage of teaching to be Catholic.

I just mention that so you don’t think the Church is like some bureaucracy or theology exam at its essense.

But if you are attempting to learn the faith as best as you can, the Catechism is an excellent and authentic source. A more advanced reference book would be the Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr. Ludwig Ott.

The tracts and archived “This Rock” magazine articles on Catholic.com are great help for converts.

You’ve got to be a fairly sophisticated philosopher to even have an opinion on some of the subjects the Church has pronounced upon.

Basically a Catholic believes that Jesus is God, and that He was crucifed and rose again in order to save mankind from their sins. So we believe that men are sinful, and unworthy of eternal life, but that Jesus has changed that situation.

We also believe that Jesus founded the Church as the main instrument of that salvation, that this Church is the same organisation as the current Roman Catholic Church, and that it has not ceased to be effective though any major blunder that would make it no longer meannigfully the Church that Jesus founded.

We also believe that the most important thing the Church does is to offer the sacraments - baptism, confirmation, communion, confession, marriage, ordination, and last rites - and that these are effective in salvation. In the case of some of them, like confession, it is very easy to see how they are effective. In other cases, like communion, the sacrament acts on a more mystical level.

We also believe that the church can make rules for its members from time to time. Some of these, as with any organisation, are for the good of the club. Others are interpretations of Jesus’ teachings to fit modern conditions. Examples are; that one must attend Mass every Sunday, that one may not remarry after divorce, that abortion is prohibited, in some places, that where Catholic education is offered one must choose it for one’s children, that fasting is necessary during Lent. Some of these a Catholic can quibble with, or argue that the rules should not be as they are, but you must accept the Church’s authority to make these sorts of rules to be a member in good standing.

I think this is key. Basically, I think, you need to be a Christian that has faith that Christ left the Catholic Church to feed his sheep. He left the Spirit to guide the Catholic Church. The Church as 2,000 years of experience and the understanding from some extremely intelligent and gifted people - much more knowledgeable and with deeper understanding then yourself. We are all mentally retarded compared to some of the Doctors of the Church. You may not understand why all the dogmas are taught but you need faith that the Church is correct.

This is why essentially the Apostle’s Ceed could be stripped down to the one sentence- I believe IN the Catholic Chuch.

Meaning there is a single institution of the Church which Christ established. That is the Catholic Church. Christ desires one, unified Church not many denominations that interpret things differently. Separated Brethren can be joined to the One Church, but imperfectly.

Catholic (universal, including “separated brethren”)

Catholic is normally taken to mean universal as in open to all. We’ll accept anyone, in other words, there are no prerequisites. It has also been interpreted by certain Church Fathers as universal as in no matter which Catholic Church you go to the same beliefs are preached in all. In that sense, it’s not something that could be said of any other Church.

Apostolic (based on the Apostle’s teaching)

Meaning the Church was founded by the Apostles and their teachings, whether by word or letter, are to be found there. Also that the apostolic authority has been passed on from the apostles to their sucessors for centuries. The authority that the Pope and Bishops have today is the same authority given to the apostles by Jesus.

I think the Catholic Church teaches the opposite.

OK, that’s fine. Really, the Catechism is the best source for the teachings of the Catholic faith. Peter Kreeft also has a Catechism out, and since I like his writings and his orthodoxy I’d guess that’s a good one also. Ott’s “Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma” is often said to be the go-to book for a list of dogmas and doctrines.

Would I be prying to ask if your question is just academic, or if you are genuinely curious about the Church?

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