what we believe

Hot Button Issues

Overview of Catholic Social Teaching and how it applies to America's politics & culture.

Doctrine

Church teachings in matters of faith and morals.

Apologetics

How to give reasonable defense of Church teachings (doctrine).

Your Questions

Submit your questions about what we believe as Catholics and see how other submitted questions have been answered.

Hot Button Issues

The Church & Public Policy

The Church continues to apply principles flowing from her faith to public policy, most notably in her teaching on the dignity of the human person and the culture of life. The Church’s advocacy for the poor, the elderly, children, and immigrants are further examples of the Church’s commitment to advance social justice in America.

Abstinence & Chastity

All people- married, single, religious, and ordained- need to acquire the virtue of chastity. This virtue unites our sexuality with our entire human nature because sex is not only a physical act but an act which affects the whole person due to the unity of body and soul. “Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self- mastery which is a training in human freedom” (CCC 2339). Self- mastery is a long work which must be renewed in effort at all stages of life. Chastity is a moral virtue and a gift from God which allows us to imitate the purity of Christ.

Pornography
Stem Cell Research & Cloning
Abortion

Legalized abortion is having a destructive effect on our society. The Church has always condemned abortion. From its conception, the child has a right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a criminal practice. Modern technology has made people aware of the fact that human life begins the moment the egg is fertilized. Many common forms of birth control cause abortions by not allowing the newly conceived human child to implant in the mother’s womb. The pro- life commitment of the Church is reflected in her compassion for those who so often regret having had an abortion, her understanding for those who are facing difficult decisions, and her assistance for all who choose life. 

More on the Church’s teachings:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/on-the-prochoice-position-on-abortion.cfm

 

For more on the pro- life movement of the Church:

http://www.secondlookproject.org/tslp_fetal.html

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/women-deserve-better-than-abortion.cfm

http://liveactionnews.org/

Contraception

Artificial contraception is contrary to God’s will for marriage because it separates the act of conception from sexual union. Similarly, efforts to achieve pregnancy outside of the act of sexual intercourse are morally wrong for the same reason- they separate conception from sexual intercourse. However, there are contemporary methods of natural family planning (NFP) which make it possible for couples, with legitimate need, to space the births of their children while remaining faithful to God’s plan for marriage. Using these methods, couples may, for serious reasons, decide to avoid a new birth for the time being.

Death Penalty

The Catechism teaches that governmental authority has the right and duty to assure the safety of society, and to punish criminals by means of suitable penalties. This includes imposition of the death penalty if there is no other way to protect society (CCC 2267). If, however, non- lethal means are sufficient to protect people from an aggressor, authority will limit itself to those means, as these are more in keeping with the dignity of the human person.

Euthanasia & Physician- Assisted Suicide

Intentional euthanasia, sometimes called mercy killing, is murder. Regardless of motive, euthanasia is putting to death those who are sick, disabled, or dying. The emergence of physician- assisted suicide, popularized by the right-to-die movement, seeks to legalize what is an immoral act. Its advocates plan to achieve this on a state-by-state basis. Suicide is gravely sinful whether committed alone or aided by a doctor.

Homosexuality

Homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and immoral. The close the sexual act to the gift of life and are contrary to natural law, not proceeding from a genuine sexual complementarity. Having homosexual inclinations is not immoral, it is the act which is sinful. Those who experience this inclination must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and unite their difficulties to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross.

For more on the Church’s teachings on homosexuality:

http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/homosexual-inclination-guidelines-general-principles.cfm

 

Resources for those with homosexual inclinations:

https://couragerc.org/courage/#resources-bar

Just War

Doctrine

Apostolic Succession 
Reconciliation 
Communion of Saints 
The Eucharist 

Hot Button Issues

The Church & Public Policy

The Church continues to apply principles flowing from her faith to public policy, most notably in her teaching on the dignity of the human person and the culture of life. The Church’s advocacy for the poor, the elderly, children, and immigrants are further examples of the Church’s commitment to advance social justice in America.

Abstinence & Chastity

All people- married, single, religious, and ordained- need to acquire the virtue of chastity. This virtue unites our sexuality with our entire human nature because sex is not only a physical act but an act which affects the whole person due to the unity of body and soul. “Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self- mastery which is a training in human freedom” (CCC 2339). Self- mastery is a long work which must be renewed in effort at all stages of life. Chastity is a moral virtue and a gift from God which allows us to imitate the purity of Christ.

Abortion

Legalized abortion is having a destructive effect on our society. The Church has always condemned abortion. From its conception, the child has a right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a criminal practice. Modern technology has made people aware of the fact that human life begins the moment the egg is fertilized. Many common forms of birth control cause abortions by not allowing the newly conceived human child to implant in the mother’s womb. The pro- life commitment of the Church is reflected in her compassion for those who so often regret having had an abortion, her understanding for those who are facing difficult decisions, and her assistance for all who choose life. 

More on the Church’s teachings:

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/on-the-prochoice-position-on-abortion.cfm

 

For more on the pro- life movement of the Church:

http://www.secondlookproject.org/tslp_fetal.html

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/abortion/women-deserve-better-than-abortion.cfm

http://liveactionnews.org/

Homosexuality

Those who identify as homosexuals must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Though homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered and immoral, the Church welcomes the person with love and compassion as she does all her children. The Church holds that the act is disordered because it closes the sexual act to the gift of life and is contrary to natural law, not proceeding from a genuine sexual complementarity. Identifying as homosexual is not immoral, it is the act which is sinful. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will, living lives of chastity and uniting their difficulties to the sacrifice of the Lord’s cross.

For more on the Church’s teachings on homosexuality:

http://www.usccb.org/about/doctrine/publications/homosexual-inclination-guidelines-general-principles.cfm

Resources for those who identify as homosexual:

https://couragerc.org/courage/#resources-bar

Euthanasia & Physician- Assisted Suicide

Intentional euthanasia, sometimes called mercy killing, is murder. Regardless of motive, euthanasia is putting to death those who are sick, disabled, or dying. The emergence of physician- assisted suicide, popularized by the right-to-die movement, seeks to legalize what is an immoral act. Its advocates plan to achieve this on a state-by-state basis. Suicide is gravely sinful whether committed alone or aided by a doctor.

Just War

The best way to avoid war is to safeguard peace by letting go of the anger and hatred that breed war and by eliminating the poverty, injustice, and deprivation of human rights that lead to war. Disarmament needs to be encouraged. While every possible means must be taken to avoid war, there are times when a use of force by competent authority may be justified to correct an injustice, especially to defend against a threat to one’s homeland.

The conditions of a just war are as follows:

  1. The damage inflicted by the aggressor must be lasting, grave and certain;

  2. All other means of putting an end to it must have been shown as impractical or ineffective;

  3. There must be serious prospects of success;

  4. The use of arms must not produce evils graver than the evil to be eliminated.

Pornography

With the rise of the Internet, pornography has become more available, presenting real difficulties for both individuals and society because viewing porn is not only sinful, but can become addictive and lead to dangerous sexual behaviours. It has also led to a greater exploitation of children as sexual objects.

For more information on the dangers of pornography:

http://www.fightthenewdrug.org/get-the-facts/

http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/pornography/upload/Create-in-Me-a-Clean-Heart-Statement-on-Pornography.pdf

http://www.foryourmarriage.org/women-and-online-pornography/

 

Resources for those with porn addiction:

http://theporneffect.com/#battleplan

http://theporneffect.com/ask-an-expert/

http://www.foryourmarriage.org/help-for-men-and-women-struggling-with-pornography-use-or-addiction/

 
 

Apologetics

What are apologetics?

The term apologetics does not refer to apologizing or being apologetic (saying ‘sorry’), rather it comes from the Greek word ἀπολογία (apologia) meaning defense. The Greek term refers to a reasoned defense that would be given in a court of law. Christian apologetics is the reasoned defense of the Christian faith against objections, but also include setting forth positive grounds for Christianity. Apologetics is the duty of all Christians for many reasons, including:

 

  1. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded: ‘You shall love the Lord, your God … with all your mind.’ (Matthew 22:37)

  2. The Apostle Peter commanded Christians: ‘Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope.’ (1 Peter 3:15)

  3. The Apostle Paul said: ‘We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5).

Starting out as an apologist
Step 1: Unlearn the attitudes of the world

The world we live in is obsessesed with words like 'relativism' and phrases like 'live and let live', but if we adopt these attitudes we dare to ask God the same question Cain did in Genesis, 'Am I my brother's keeper?' (4:9). It should bother us that the non chalant attitude of the world mirrors that of a man who killed his own brother. If we truly wish to live the Christian life, we must live as Christ did: boldly. Jesus challenged the world he lived in, he called people out of their comfort and into the greatness the Father had for them. To be a defender of the Church is to defend the very teachings and Tradition given to us by God, let us be bold in defending it and shed the attitudes of the world.

Step 2: Study your Catholic faith

St. Jerome once said,"Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of Christ". To defend the Church we must know what she teaches and, if we take Saint Jerome seriously, to know Christ we must take the time to read and study scripture. Open up the Bible and start with the Gospels, take the time to get to know the world Jesus lived in and the people who encountered him. Each day time must be set aside to read through the Gospels. Once finished, continue through the New Testament. Almost all the Church’s teachings are present in the pages of the New Testament, but are not organized in an easy-to-remember manner.  Once the New Testament has been read and we have begun to absorb its material, we need to know how to organize and interpret that material. This is something we cannot do on our own. Supplement the reading of scripture by reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which gives the Church’s interpretation of scripture and a deeper understanding of the Church's teachings and Tradition.

Step 3: Learn the objections

Next, learn what kinds of objections are made against the Catholic faith. Sit down and read the right stuff. In some cases, anti- Catholic works will need to read in order to understand the objections (check with a priest or spiritual director before reading such material). 

After learning what the charges are, learn the responses. We cannot presume that mastering the Bible will be sufficient. It’s trickier than that. Though you will certainly make use of the Bible in any argument with a non- Catholic, reading how the saints and theologians have responded will help immensely.

Step 4: PRAY

Throughout this process, there must always be prayer. Only with prayer can God give grace to understand and accept His Word over the ramblings of the world. Only in silence do we hear his whisper. Take time to pray while studying, and then take time to pray before entering into a discussion with a non- Catholic. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and that he opens the hearts of those who will hear. Pray for wisdom and understanding. Pray for peace. Even while being confronted by someone who is questioning the faith, say a quick prayer before giving a response (a simple, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ or ‘Come, Holy Spirit’).  

Step 5: Respond with love

Defending the Church takes boldness, requires Truth and understanding, and must be done with love. The goal of an apologist is not to prove someone wrong, but to point them to the Truth Jesus Christ and His Church offers. If the conversation is truly being led by Christ, Truth will be said with love.  

Step 6: Revisit what you may not know 

Even with preparation and studying there will always be mysteries, and difficult-to-answer questions may be posed. We must not be discouraged, rather we should look to others who may know more. Part of church is community- take advantage of it. If this means the conversation needs to continue at another time, once more research has been done, then so be it. God is not limited by time, so do not feel like defending the Church or convincing people of Catholicism needs to happen right now. Plant seeds, let God do the rest.   

YOUR QUESTIONS