World Religions Report: Catholicism
Catholicism is considered similar to Christianity with slight differences, such as having the Pope as the head of the church and a strong devotion to the Virgin Mary. Basically, Catholics believe that their Church was founded by Jesus Christ. In addition, Catholic beliefs are specifically mentioned in the Apostles’ Creed. Catholics also have sacraments which are received throughout the course of life. They give primary importance to Baptism, which makes them an official member of the Catholic Church.Generally, Catholic belief is based both on Scriprture and Tradition.
The Holy Bible that contains scriptures are divided between the New and Old Testaments. “The original language of most of the Old Testament is Hebrew or Aramaic, but several books or portions of books were written in Greek. The New Testament was also written in Greek” (Christianity Portal, 2006). Moreover, sacred traditions are ones carried over from the earliest Church practices. These are handed down through scriptural teachings.
They are guided in life by the Ten Commandments, that are believed to be given by God himself through a prophet named Moses. These commandments include honoring one’s parents, not taking the name of God in vain, and honoring Sabbath day (Sunday), among others. The commandments are based on love of God and mankind. Based on the commadments, Man is also forbidden to kill another or steal from others. Committing against the commandments is considered a “mortal” sin and can condemn one to hell. On the other hand, following the commandments and being good towards others promises heaven and eternal life.
Furthermore, prayer is important in the life of every Catholic. However, this is not an obligation. They have various forms of prayer towards God, special prayers to saints and patron saints, ad prayers according to intention. In addition, there are Catholics who have established devotion to Mary, the mother of Jesus. They pray to her for intercession, basing on the belief that whatever is asked through her to Jesus will be granted.
These, however, depends if it is God’s will. They pray the Holy Rosary, which consists of repetitions of the Hail Mary, a prayer for Mary. During the rosary, they recall the life of Christ in the form of four mysteries: Joyful, Sorrowful, Glorious, and Light Mysteries.Catholicism believes in one God and sees Him as “eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing and omnipresent”(Christianity Portal, 2006). Catholics believe that God know all man’s thoughts and sees all his actions. Catholics believe that there are three persons in one God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
“The faith of the Church and of the individual Christian is based on a relationship with these three Persons of the one God” (Christianity Portal, 2006).Name, Location Review of the SiteThe interview with Danford Cabinatan was conducted in The Saint Rita’s Catholic Church in Waianae, Hawaii. It is located in 89-318 Farrington Highway, Nanakuli. The church can be easily identified as Catholic as there are three big crosses on top of it. Inside are statues of Mary, angels, and saints. Most noticeable is the statue of the crucified Christ on the cross.
There is a rectangular table by the altar where the priest officiates the Holy Mass. The said table faces wooden pews, where Catholics sit/kneel during the Mass.Based on Saint Rita’s official website, their schedule of Masses are held everyday. However, confessions are held by appointment. In addition, matrimony should be scheduled at least 6 months ahead of the actual wedding date. Saint Rita conducts religious educational activities for the youth and for adults.
They conduct Bible Studies and Scripture Sharing.Interview SummaryTen questions about Catholicism were prepared for this interview. Danford Cabinatan willingly answered all these questions. He was baptized Catholic and was raised as one by his parents. Baptism, as he said, prepares adults to receive other sacraments such as Reconciliation and Confirmation. As a Catholic, he attends Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, confesses his sins, receives the Holy Communion, and observes the days of fasting and abstinence.
Some of the important and traditional Catholic holidays are the Holy Days of Obligation, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, The Ascension, Pentecost, Trinity Sunday, Feast of the Assumption of Mary, All Saints Day, Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas or the Nativity of Jesus Christ. Catholics differ from other Christians as they celebrate the Eucharist. In contrast to Christians, the Catholic Church is overseen by the Pope, and has devotion to Mary and the Saints. The Christia Bible also differs from other religious books as it has the Old and the New Testaments. All Christians use the Bible, however they differ in versions and translations.When asked how has his religion shaped his life, Cabinatan answered “Religion is/will always be part of my life and shaped me to what I am today.
Believing and having faith In God. Believe in the Ten Commandments and life will be good to anyone. One just needs to recite the Apostles’ Creed.” He also denies questioning his faith at any point of his life.The Catholic Church is involved in the community lot of social programs and ministries throughout the world. They include shelters, hospitals and schools.
The ministries like the Catholic Relief Services and Charities help the poor, families, sick and elderly. The Catholic Church have organizations world wide like the Daughters of Charity and the Knights of Columbus. The Knights of Columbus visited every family who had lost family member/members in the 9-11incident. In addition, the Knights also assisted and donated huge amount of money to the families affected by the 9-11 attack. Cabinatan is a member of the Knights of Columbus and a Eucharistic minister.
He also is an Extra Ordinary minister at the hospital where he visits the sick and administers the Eucharist every 5th Sunday.Catholism versus BuddhismThere are significant differences between Catholicism and Buddhism. Among which are beliefs, faith, traditions, and practices. One of the major differences is the entity worshipped. Catholics, as Christians, primarily believe in Jesus Christ while Buddhists believe in Buddha.
Jesus Christ was the son of Mary, who conceived Christ through Immaculate Conception. Buddha was born as Siddhartha Gautama, who was the King of India. Christ claimed he is both man and God, who died and rose again, “establishing a unique and everlasting covenant with man” (Clark, 2008). On the other hand, Buddha is believed to be one of the many to come in different ages “to teach man that life is an illusion and to strip away human desires and attachments”(Clark, 2008). Christ said that he is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” while Buddha teaches that “every person must find their own path to enlightenment, or nirvana, the extinction of self”(Clark, 2008).
Jesus taught “God wishes to share His divine life, given through the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit while Buddha taught individuality must perish and that everything is One” (Clark, 2008).On faith, Buddhists do not believe in a god. Buddha was a human being “who attained full Enlightenment through meditation and showedthe path of spiritual awakening and freedom”(Fisher, 2005, p. 134). With this, Buddhism is said to be a religion of “wisdom, enlightnement and compassion” while Catholicism is a religion of God. “Catholics believe that the Church is the Body and Bride of Christ, the seed of the Kingdom of God, and the conduit of God’s grace and mercy in the world” (Clark, 2008).
Catholics rely on faith in God when difficulties and trials come in life. Meanwhile, Buddhist teaching suggests that the only way to escape these difficulties is non-existence. In the light of sufferings and problems, Catholics see these as something to bring them closer to God. They see these as part of everyday life and takes these as a reason to maintain devotion to God. In other words, sufferings and sacrifices unite them with him.
On the other hand, the Buddhists see suffering as something to be escaped from. They are “not concerned with whether or not God exists, nor offer worship. Instead, seek after non-self (anatman)”(Clark, 2008).Buddhists also believe that it was during meditation under a bodhi tree that Buddha was suddenly enlightened. He was enlightened with the doctrine or “dharma” of “Four Noble Truths”.
These are:(1) life is suffering; (2) the cause of suffering is desire; (3) to be free from suffering we must detach from desire; and, (4) the “eight-fold path” is the way to alleviate desire. The eight-fold path includes having right views, intentions, speech, actions, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration. The final goal of Buddhism is not merely to eradicate desire, but to be free of suffering. (Clark, 2008)On practice, the Catholics celebrate the Holy Eucharist every Sunday. They attend the mass on Holy Days of Obligation: Feast of the Immaculate Conception and Christmas Day.
Catholics have various prayers that are prayed at any time of the day. Catholics also have traditional prayers such as the Our Father, that is believed to have been taught by Jesus Christ himself. Any conversation with God is considered a form of prayer. At times, they meditate and keep silent, since they believe that God speaks in silence. Buddhists, on the other hand, do not pray to a higher power as Catholics do, but they recite mantras and meditate. Buddhists meditate to gain clarity of thought, power of concentration and insight into the true nature of reality.
Similarities noted between these two religions is the practice of prayer and the desire to reach a good and peaceful state. According to the Ignatius in Sight website, “External similarities, including monks, meditation, and prayer beads, seemed to indicate a newly discovered closeness between the followers of Christ and Buddha” (Clark, 2008).ConclusionIt appears that Catholicism is a religion while Buddhism is more of a way of life. Catholics observes rules based on the commandments and morals that guide their way of life. However, this is not in a strict sense.
Some opt to be non-practicing Catholics. These are ones who were baptized in the Catholic church but do not attend the Mass or receive any other sacraments. Catholics may do good in the name of God and mankind but with the fear that failing to do so will make them sin and go to hell. Also, they aim to do what the Catholic Church teach, for fear of immorality.Based from the interview of Danford Cabinatan, his inclination in the Catholic faith was instilled right after birth. He was baptized as a Catholic and accordingly brought up as one by his parents.
When he was asked how he deals with the impulses of the secular world, he exclaimed “I tell everyone to stay close to the church and life will be good to you! Don’t let life pass you by!” This is why Cabinatan is an active member of the Church and a true practicing Catholic. The impression is Cabinatan appears contented and happy being a Catholic all his life. He even remarked that he has never doubted the Catholic faith. He did not consider converting to any religion.Just like any job, relationship, or status, one’s religion can be freely chosen.
What matters is what works for the person and what makes him live a healthy productive life. For Cabinatan, Catholicism is beneficial, as he appears contented and confident in the Catholic belief.ReferencesClark, A. E. (2008). Catholicism and Buddhism.
Ignatius in Sight. Retrieved February 28, 2008 from http://www.ignatiusinsight.com/features2005/print2005/catholicism_buddhism_print.htmlFisher, M. P.
(2005). Living religions. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.N.A.
(2006) Christianity Portal. Retrieved February 28, 2008 from http://www.bookrags.com/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church#Terminology