Who is the Pope?
The Pope or 'Holy Father' refers to what is known as the Vicar of Christ. These sacred office was established by Jesus Christ Himself as confirmed in holy Scripture,
" And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven.
And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth,
it shall be loosed also in heaven." - Matthew 16:18-19.
Since then, there have been successors of St. Peter who would assume the role as the Rock on which Christ's Church was built.
He was granted heavenly authority to make doctrinal and dogmatic pronouncements as long as those pronouncements reflected the teachings found within
the Deposit of the Faith (otherwise known as teachings that have been passed down since the Apostles).
The current Pope that currently reigns is Pope Francis. Among a
many other things, he has made himself well-known for establishing a Year of Mercy for which all are called to accept the mercy of Jesus Christ.
The History of the Catholic Church?
As stated before, the Catholic Church is referred to as the Pillar and Ground of the Truth as it is the establishment and sacred work of God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
The history of the Church actually begins with Christ Himself when He in Matthew 16:18 establishes the Church under the guidance of St. Peter as its head Priest.
Although, Christ is the true Head of the Church, Jesus marked the office of the Pope to be one of awesome authority and world wide jurisdiction over all the Church.
However, it was not until the day of Pentecost did the Church actually add numerous souls by way of miraculous happenings. The Book of Acts found in the Bible illustrates
the great lengths the early Church went to and its guidance by the Holy Spirit to grow into what we know the Church to be today.
The Church has existed throughout the ages
because of a solemn promise Christ made in which that His Church would never be destroyed, not even by the gates of hell.
Amazingly, the Catholic Church can be easily dated
back by the writings of the early Christians and Popes that end with the original twelve disciples of Christ! How many Churches do you know can go back in history and end
with the very men that dwelt with Christ?
Who are the Saints?
The Saints of the Catholic Church are the men and women that lived a life of not only heroic virtue but also those who lived for the practice of holiness in Christ.
Saints are those 'cannonized' by the Catholic Church and declared worthy of imitation for the purpose of intercession from heaven. As stated in the Apostles Creed, Catholics
believe in the 'Communion of Saints', meaning we believe that we are in prayerful connection to those who lived on earth, died and now live eternally in heaven. Catholics
believe that those that are in heaven pray and intercede for us and likewise Catholics pray and make mention of those in heaven, who are with God, to pray for us as
we would do for those that live among us.The Catholic church celebrates these holy men and women because of their lives in obtaining God while walking the earth. Their
example is highly regarded so as to imitate for the goal of salvation. Therefore, we ask those who went before us to pray for us so that we may be worthy as Christ wills.
What is a Catholic Priest?
A Catholic Priest is one who is ordained by the Catholic Church to carry out the functions of the Priesthood that Jesus Christ established. The Catholic Priest in
many ways, represents the image of Christ which stands as the servant, the father-figure, spiritual director, and instrument of God's graceful mercy. The Catholic Priest
is responsible for many duties so that the laity may obtain the promises of Christ. Without the Catholic Priest, there would be no Sacrifice of the Mass, nor would there be
the Sacrament of Matrimony, proper Baptisms, Anointing of the Sick, Confession, nor Confirmation. The Catholic Priesthood is essential to the growth and vibrancy of the faith
among the faithful.
What is the Mass?
As mentioned before, without the Catholic Priest, there is no Sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is understood to be the Unbloody Sacrifice of the Body and Blood of
Christ. As it was at the Last Supper, (the first Mass), Jesus took bread and wine and with the words of Consecration the Church has defined as Transubstanitation.
The purposes for which the Mass is offered are: first, to adore God as our Creator and Lord; second, to thank God for His many favors; third, to ask God to bestow His
blessings on all men; fourth, to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him. "For, from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great
among the Gentiles; and in every place there is sacrifice and there is offered to my name a clean oblation." (Malachi 1:11)
What is Confession?
Our Lord Jesus Christ said to His Disciples (His Priests) " When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost.
 Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20: 22-23). Jesus gave specific authority to forgive
sins by the merits of Jesus and the authority given to Him by God the Father. Therefore, we a Catholic goes to a Catholic Priest for the sacrament of Penance, he is to
confess his sins with true contrition (true sorrow) so as to be honestly absolved of his offenses. Because, Confession is the telling of our sins to an authorized priest
for the purpose of obtaining forgiveness. "He that hideth his sins shall not prosper; but he that shall confess and forsake them shall obtain mercy." (Proverbs 28:13).
It is often befitting for a Catholic to utilize an examination of conscience before entering into this sacrament as the examination helps discover past sins that may have
been buried by forgetfullness. In this way, as we do in a mirror for the sake of our looks, we examine the condition of our soul and how it pertains to the Justice of God
while petitioning for mercy. Though we may receive forgiveness of sins we must also take into account the punishment or cost due to our sins; this is why we perform penances
to relieve the punishment due to sins. In the same way when a boy breaks a window, he may ask for forgiveness and receive it, the window still must be paid for repair. Therefore,
prayers and acts of charity are often fitting for such costs of sins.
Jesus Bless you all