Roman Catholicism


Dennis McCallum and Jose Flores

Evangelicals today have to decide how they stand relative to the Roman Catholic church in light of recent history. Several prominent evangelicals have called on the church to sign an accord expressing unity in the Body of Christ, which, they argue includes the Catholic Church.



At Dwell, we define the church in a way that is incompatible with this declaration, regardless of whether or not we view Catholic doctrine as sufficiently close to ours to warrant some level of cooperation. At Dwell, we would not sign a declaration that any church institution (including our own) lies entirely within the circle of the Body of Christ. At the same time, we would not deny the true Christianity of particular individuals within churches which may not teach evangelical doctrine. Therefore, in our view, the command to cultivate unity would apply only to that part of any church composed of people truly spiritually reborn. This is why we have not agreed to sign onto this accord.

During our discussions with leaders outside Dwell on this issue, we have been challenged to consider the changes in Catholic doctrine embodied in the new Catechism. Therefore, senior pastor, Dennis McCallum took a training paper by Jose Flores on Catholicism and updated it with teaching from the new Catechism. This paper is helpful in assessing the new Catechism, which in our view (and in the view of its authors), changes nothing in historic Catholic teachings.

This paper is a good resource for those needing direct citations from authoritative Catholic literature (see the important discussion about sources in section 1). All citations are verbatim, and in context, and all emphases are original unless otherwise noted. See the endnotes for exact references.

About the Sources

History and Events

Catholic Doctrine

The Church

The Eucharist

Divine Revelation

Salvation and Sanctification

The Seven Sacraments

Temporal Punishment and Indulgences

The "Saints"

Mary, The Mother of God


About the Sources

A. Scrutinize the Sources.

  1. Volumes on the history and the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church are legion. Authorship includes Catholics and Protestants alike and they vary a great deal in accuracy and level of authority. Some of the material written by non-Catholic authors is overly biased against the Catholic church, just as Catholic sources may distort in their favor. Some material is poorly documented, if at all.
  2. Thus, the student of Catholic doctrine must evaluate the sources in order to legitimately represent the object under analysis. This is especially true when attempting to study a complicated subject such as the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church. To be authoritative, study must include material which the Catholic church has "officially" approved as representing its teaching.

B. How to identify "Official" Catholic Church Literature

  1. There are two types of "approval" given by the Catholic church to literature written about any aspect of the Catholic church.
  2. The first type is the Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur designation. Nihil Obstat, means, "nothing stands in the way."1 That is, it doesn't contradict Catholic doctrine. Imprimatur literally means, "let it be printed".2 A Catholic official, usually a Bishop, approves the publishing of the material. This designation is found on the front copyright page of an approved document.
  3. However, it is important to note that this type of approval is nothing but a permission to publish something non-heretical about the Catholic church. But the source may include personal opinions which, while not heretical, are not the official position of the church. The Nihil Obstat--Imprimatur is not a formal declaration on the part of the Catholic church indicating that the approved document officially represents Catholic doctrine.
  4. An official document published by the Catholic church proper will identify itself as such. It will do so very clearly and at the beginning of the document. Such documents include Papal "encyclicals" (pamphlets), conciliar decrees (decrees of church councils), special post-conciliar documents and a few "catechisms" (i.e., The Baltimore Catechism). As of 1994, the church has released the Catechism of the Catholic Church.3 This text is now considered the most modern, clear and authoritative source of Catholic doctrine. While earlier authorized texts are still considered true, most modern Catholics prefer to follow references in this new and improved text. Therefore, it has become the definitive text for Catholic doctrine. Other text are still useful for comparison.
  5. Those doctrines, modern or ancient, which the Catholic church designates as infallible are given the status "De-Fide." De-Fide is a Latin term which literally means "of faith".4

History and Events

A. The Primacy of Rome

  1. At the beginning of Christianity the city of Rome already was regarded as the center of civilization. Rome was also the capital of the Roman empire through some of the fourth century AD. Thus, there were very few early local churches whose leading members did not have to visit Rome on occasion. So the church in Rome tended to have contact with more Christians from all over the empire than did any of the other local churches.
  2. 67 AD. is the generally accepted date of Peter's death. At that time the Catholic church claims the second "Pontiff," Linus, succeeded Peter as the first Pope in Rome.5 They claim this succession gave Rome its primacy over the other centers of Christianity.
  3. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. served to remove what would have been a major rival city. Had Jerusalem continued to exist, historians reason that Rome would have had an even more difficult time asserting its primacy. Ultimately, Jerusalem could have claimed to have given the gospel to Rome. Most importantly, Peter would have been sent from Jerusalem to Rome; thus Jerusalem would have been the "alma mater" and the prime city of Christianity. (Tradition claims that Peter visited Rome, like Paul. And tradition also claims that like Paul, Peter died in Rome).6
  4. In approximately 96 AD., Clement of Rome (the Catholic church's fourth Pope) wrote a letter of rebuke and admonishment to the church at Corinth. Catholics cite this letter as corroborative evidence to prove both the primacy of the church of Rome and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. The position taken by Clement is one of "teacher".7 He takes it upon himself to admonish the bishops in Corinth on matters of faith and practice. This, they claim, showed that the bishop of Rome was known even at this early date to be supreme.
  5. Eusebius preserved a fragment of a letter written about 170 AD. by Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, to the Church of Rome. This letter indicates that the Church of Rome already had a reputation for being hospitable to strangers and for being very generous to other churches with their money.8 Thus by merely suspending her friendly relations with another church, especially a poor one in need, the church in Rome could inflict a severe penalty on such a church.
  6. Finally, in 312 A.D. Constantine won the battle of the Milvian Bridge. He attributed this victory to the “god” of the Christians, resulting in the Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. 9which declared the toleration of all religions, including Christianity, throughout the empire. (although the adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the state did not occur until A.D. 380 under the reign of Theodosius I). This paved the way for the emergence of the Catholic church as a political power.

B. The Rise of the Papacy

  1. Ultimately the rise of the papacy can be traced to the rise of the primacy of Rome.
  2. In 256 AD., according to Cyprian, Stephen, bishop of Rome claimed to be "bishop of bishops" on the basis of being Peter's successor10.
  3. In 343 AD., at the Council of Serdicia, precedence was given to the bishop of Rome. The eastern half of the Roman empire was experiencing a doctrinal controversy with the Arians. Therefore it was felt that if an eastern church needed the input of a high ranking church leader, they should seek out Justin the bishop of Rome (because he was from the western church). This was done to safeguard the churches in need of advise against any possible Arian influence.11
  4. By 605 AD. the papacy was fully established. Boniface III assumed the title "Universal Bishop".
  5. In 1303 Pope Bonafice VIII issued the Bull "Unum Sanctum". This was the first papal address to the universal church and; therefore, the first case of the Pope writing from his supposed infallible position.13
  6. In 1378 AD., the papacy experienced a schism; known as the great Western Schism. After the death of Gregory XI, Urban VI was elected but later rejected by the same electors. Clement VII was elected to replace Urban VI. However, the Italian people were loyal to Urban VI, a fellow Italian, while the French were loyal to Clement VII who was French. Ultimately, the Catholic church deposed them both, and set up a new Pope, Boniface IX.14 It should be noted that some Catholic historians don't even acknowledge this schism because they don't acknowledge the election of Clement VII at this time.15
  7. By 1493 the papacy had grown into such a powerful political and religious entity that it could grant ownership rights to entire sections of the globe. "In a series of bulls from 1493 to 1510, popes Alexander VI and Julius II granted the Spanish kings the right of royal patronage over the church in the newly discovered Americas16.

C. Other Events of Interest

  1. The Council of Chalcedon, 451 AD., gave the same rights and honors to the bishop of Constantinople as to the bishop of Rome.17
  2. Charlemagne, 771-814, became the emperor of the first "Holy Roman Empire". During his reign, he declared paganism illegal in such territories as Saxony (part of modern Germany). This resulted in massacres in which as many as 45,000 non-Christians were killed in a single day.18
  3. In 1054 there was a major division within the church. The church divided into east (Orthodox) and west (Roman Catholic). The eastern wing excommunicated Pope Leo IX. This is known to church historians as "The Great East-West Schism".19
  4. In 1095 the first of the eight religiously motivated "Crusades" began. Pope Urban II, at the Council of Clermont 1095, proclaimed the great enterprise to recapture the Holy Lands and hopefully, therefore, reunite east and west, with the cry "God Wills It".20 What ensued for the next two hundred years was the extermination of hundreds of thousands of Jews and Moslems in the name of Christ.
  5. The middle of the twelfth century saw the establishment of the famed Roman Inquisition. The inquisition was a church run program designed to confront and kill heretics. The scandalous Spanish Inquisition was instituted by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1478. This inquisition was empowered by Pope Sixtus IV.21 It resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of, mainly, Jews and ancient Indians of the Americas.22
  6. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his ninety five thesis to the door of the Castle Church (the official bulletin board of the university) in Wittenburg, Saxony. His intent was to offer these as subjects for theological discussion, not as a protest. His theses' can be summarized by seven major points23
    • He restricted the significance and value of indulgences to symbolizing the Church's true and actual forgiveness of ecclesiastical penalties.
    • This true and actual forgiveness of penalties could apply only to the living.
    • There was no such thing as the treasury of merits.24 In other words, he held that good works could not be applied to the "penitent" Christian. The Church claimed the right to dispense merits, usually after a donation was given. This was called an indulgence.
    • Luther believed that the Pope should have granted the indulgences free; that is, if in fact he really had the power to do so.
    • Luther also drew a distinction between repentance and the sacrament of penance (the confessing of sins to a priest for the absolution of sins). He believed that a repentant sinner did not attempt to escape punishment by indulgence but accepted it in humility and faith.25
    • True sorrow for sins (contrition) resulted in forgiveness of sins without indulgence.
    • Therefore the sale of indulgences was leading people into a false security with respect to salvation.
  7. Thus what Luther intended to be a mere theological discussion exploded into the controversy known as the Protestant Reformation. Thus began the development of Protestantism as we know it today.
  8. The Council of Trent, 1545-1563, was the Catholic church's response Protestant Reformation. This is the time that the word "Protestant" became popular; because men like Luther were "protesting" against the Catholic church. The purpose of the council was to refute the Protestant "heresies" and clearly state the "orthodox" (Catholic) position. The result was the vigorous condemnation of all the reformers. Some of the major statements of the council are listed as follows:26
    • Scripture and tradition are equal authorities as standards of divine revelation.
    • The Vulgate translation of the Bible (including the apocrypha) written by Jerome was declared the authentic text.
    • Salvation must come through water baptism and by the merits of the sufferings of Christ. In the "merits of the sufferings of Christ" are also included the sufferings of the "saints".
    • Faith alone is not enough for salvation. "Canon 9. If anyone should say that by faith alone the sinner is justified, so as to understand that nothing else is required to cooperate in the attainment of the grace of justification, and that it is in no way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will: let him be anathema (cf. n. 798, 801, 804)."27
    • The seven sacraments are indispensable to salvation. "Canon 4. If anyone shall say that the sacraments are not necessary for salvation, but are superfluous, and that, although all are not necessary for every individual, without them or without the desire of them, through faith alone men obtain from God the grace of justification; let him be anathema. Canon 5. If anyone shall say that these sacraments have been instituted for the nourishing of faith alone: let him be anathema."28.
    • The office of the indulgence seller was abolished.
    • The Eucharist (communion) is "really, truly and substantially" contains the body and blood together with the divinity of Jesus Christ.
    • It should be noted that all of the decrees of the Council of Trent still stand today, complete with the anathema's.29
    • There were hundreds of these anathema's declared upon the Protestant reformers and anyone who believes the same. Religious historians refer to this council as the council of the anathema's. Although the Catholic church defines the word anathema as a "solemn condemnation"30 it does not admit that with this term they consign someone hell. "Neither excommunication nor anathema's imply the Church's condemning anyone to hell. That is the prerogative of God alone. Excommunication is a Church law, excluding a notorious sinner from the communion of the faithful (Canons 2257-2267)"31. However, if one dies while in an excommunicated state he is guilty of a mortal sin, and will go to hell.32
  9. In 1869, Vatican Council I, convened. The major decree issued concerned the infallibility of the Pope. It was declared that the Pope is, and has been, infallible; however, only when he speaks from the particular role "ex cathedra". The following is a quote from the decree: "The Roman Pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when exercising the office of pastor and teacher of all Christians, he defines with his supreme apostolic authority a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, through the divine assistance promised to him in St. Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to be endowed in defining doctrine concerning faith and morals: and therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable of themselves (and not from the consent of the Church)."33
  10. Vatican Council II, convened between the years 1962 and 1965. Basically this council did not change any of the Catholic church's essential teachings nor did it offer any new doctrines. The focus of this council was to deal with the pastoral disciplinary and liturgical patterns of its ministry in order to update its service to its members and to the world.34

Catholic Doctrine

A. The Church

  1. The calling of Abraham was the "remote preparation" for the church.35 The calling of the twelve with Peter as their head was the formal beginning of the church, which culminated at the death of Christ.36 "Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the church's mystery as 'the bride without spot or wrinkle.' This is why the 'marian' dimension of the Church precedes the 'Peterine.'"37 "One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being 'born anew,' a birth 'of water and the Spirit,' that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.38 The church is one spiritual body with visible "bonds of communion: 
    • profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
    • Common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
    • apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family."39
  2. According to the Baltimore Catechism, "The Catholic church alone has Jesus Christ as its founder . . . She had been carrying on her divinely appointed work of teaching the religion of Christ to mankind for 15 centuries before Protestantism began . . . Thus all forms of Protestantism are man made. And they are without divine sanction or approval."40 In the new Catechism, we read, "The sole Church of Christ [is that] (sic) which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care . . . This church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."41
  3. The new Catechism quotes with approval the documents of Vatican II on the subject of Ecumenism. "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."42
  4. Other churches have arisen since the formation of the Catholic church. These are "rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable." They also admit, "often enough, men of both sides were to blame."43 Therefore the reformers and the eastern fathers were in sin for dividing from the Roman church. However, they also qualify this position, "one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities . . . All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."44 Therefore there is now a recognition that Protestants and others are also a part of the catholic (universal) church as long as they have believed and been baptized.
  5. The catechism also recognized "particular churches" which are local churches. "The church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized local groups of the faithful, which in so far as they are united to their pastors, are also quite appropriately called Churches in the New Testament . . . In them the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the "Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord's supper is celebrated." The particular church is "the diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession."45 Because of the requirement for apostolic succession, "Particular churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome 'which presides in charity.' Indeed, 'from the incarnate Word's descent to us, all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] (sic) to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior's promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against her."46 In the summary, the new catechism states it this way, "The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . (sic) subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines."47
  6. In the section "Who belongs to the Catholic Church?" the new catechism makes some surprising statements. We read, "All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God . . . And to it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to salvation."48 Later in this discussion we read, "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."
  7. Notwithstanding this statement, they go on to affirm that the church "is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood." Therefore, "they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter into it or to remain in it." This is true unless "through no fault of their own, [they] do not know the Gospel of' Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience--those too may achieve eternal salvation."49
  8. Polity: The new catechism declares, "Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone . . . is a permanent one, so also endures the office . . . to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops. . . .The Church teaches that 'the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such ways that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ."50

B. The Eucharist

  1. "Worship of the Eucharist In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. 'The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with utmost care, espousing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.'" 51

C. Divine Revelation

  1. The transmission of divine revelation was entrusted by God to three equally authoritative sources: The Written Scriptures and Tradition (the popes and early church Fathers and original Apostles), and the Catholic church.
    • Written Scriptures. "Holy Mother Church relying on the belief of the apostles, holds that the books of both Old and New Testament in their entirety, with all their parts, are sacred and canonical because, having been written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (cf. John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:19-21; 3:15-16) they have God as their author and have been handed on as such to the Church herself."52 The Old Testament, as agreed upon in the Council of Trent, includes the books of the apocrypha.
    • Oral Tradition. "Christ wrote nothing; neither did He command the Apostles to write. He commissioned them to teach His doctrines to all mankind, (Matthew 28:19-20). The Apostles fulfilled the command of Christ by their oral preaching. Peter, Matthew, John, James, and Jude supplemented their preaching by writing. It is well to remember, however, that the Church was a growing concern, a functioning institution, teaching, preaching, administering the sacraments, saving souls, before the New Testament ever saw the light of day."53
    • "Therefore Christ the Lord . . . commissioned the apostles to preach to all men the gospel . . . This commission was faithfully fulfilled by the apostles who, by their oral preaching, by example, and by ordinances, handed on what they had received from the lips of Christ . . . in order to keep the gospel forever whole and alive within the Church, the apostles left bishops as their successors, handing over their own teaching role to them. This sacred tradition, therefore, and sacred Scripture of both the Old and the New Testament are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God . . . The words of the holy Fathers (i.e., the ancient Fathers of the Church, early orthodox Christian writers up to and including St. Gregory I in the West and St. John of Damascus in the East.--Ed.) witness to the living presence of this tradition . . ."54
    • The Catholic Church. "Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, which is committed to the Church...The task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it."55
  2. "The Catholic Church is the Mother of the New Testament . . . She is not the child of Bible, as many non-Catholics imagine, but its Mother. She derives neither her existence nor her teaching authority from the New Testament; she had both before the New Testament was born; she secured her being, her teachings, her authority directly from Jesus Christ."56
  3. "It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, sacred Scripture, and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God's most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."57

D. Salvation and Sanctification

  1. Faith. It is a supernatural virtue, whereby, with the help of God's grace, one believes what God reveals not because its intrinsic truth is perceived by the natural light of reason but on account of the authority of God, who can neither deceive nor be deceived. However, the object of faith is to believe " . . .all those things which are contained in the written word of God and in tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church."58 And, finally, faith is only the beginning of human salvation (Romans 3:22,24).
  2. Justification. It must begin with baptism by water. "Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ." But, "Justification is conferred in baptism, the sacrament of faith."59 "Grace is a participation in the life of God . . . by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ."60 Most will wonder how justification is received by faith during infant baptism.
  3. Merit. At the point of baptism, the merits of Christ obtained by His obedience, death, and resurrection are applied. However this application is not permanent. The baptized individual is only free from original sin (the fall) and is empowered to perform the works of hope and charity, without which faith is not sufficient. ""Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity, we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life." [emphasis original61
  4. Sanctification. It is intimately tied to salvation. It has three steps. "The first sanctification takes place at baptism, by which the love of God is infused by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Newly baptized persons are holy because the Holy Trinity begins to dwell in their souls and they are pleasing to God. The second sanctification is a lifelong process in which a person already in the state of grace grows in the possession of grace and likeness to God by faithfully corresponding with divine inspirations. The third sanctification takes place when a person enters heaven and becomes totally and irrevocably united with God in the beatific vision."62 The "divine inspirations" referred to here are the three sources of divine inspirations, see footnote number 38.
  5. Moral living and good works. The church's authority to declare what constitutes a moral life "is ensured by the charism of infallibility."63 "The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the Natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation."64 Although having declared earlier that justification and salvation are by faith, it seems clear that works are also required. 

    Thus, the church decrees certain "Precepts." "The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the indispensable minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor."65 The first precept is "You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation." The second is "You shall confess your sins at least once a year." The third is "You shall humbly receive your Creator in Holy Communion at least during the Easter season." The fourth is, "You shall keep hold the Holy days of obligation." The fifth is, "You shall observe the prescribed days of fasting and abstinence." Finally, Catholics must "provide for the material needs of the church . . ."66 

    Stated negatively, the doctrine of mortal sin states that sins which destroy charity in the heart (such as adultery, perjury, murder or blasphemy) necessitates a new initiative of God's mercy and a conversion of heart" through the sacrament of reconciliation.67 Venial sins, (thoughtless chatter or immoderate laughter are the only two listed) are forgiven at mass. "Mortal sin . . . unless redeemed by repentance and God's forgiveness, causes exclusion from Christ kingdom and the eternal death of hell"68
  6. Sanctifying Grace. It is what empowers the Catholic to perform the good works (charity) that are essential for salvation and growth. "Sanctifying grace is a supernatural gift which is a sharing in the nature of God Himself and which raises men to the supernatural order, conferring on them powers entirely above those proper to human nature."69 It can be lost, however, by committing a mortal sin. It is gained primarily by receiving the sacraments, especially reconciliation and the "Eucharist" (communion).

E. The Seven Sacraments:

  1. Definition. "304. What is a sacrament? A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace...In each of the sacraments there is an outward sign, that is, some external thing or action called the matter, and a set formula of words known as the form. The matter and the form together make up the sign of the sacrament...When the sign is applied to the one who receives the sacrament, it signifies inward grace and has the power of producing it in the soul."70
  2. Baptism. "Baptism is that sacrament that gives our souls the new life of sanctifying grace by which we become children of God and heirs of heaven; Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 1:6-8; 16:15-16; John 1:2; 3:5; Acts 2:38. Baptism takes away original sin; and also actual sins and all the punishment due to them, if the person baptized be guilty of any actual sins and truly sorry for them. Thus, children should be baptized as soon as possible after birth. Parents commit a mortal sin if they neglect to do this."71 "Baptism is birth into a new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism."72 But later we read, "Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without know of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized."73
  3. Confirmation. The reception of confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace."74 "Confirmation is the sacrament through which the Holy Ghost comes to us in a special way and enables us to profess our faith as strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Christ"75 John 7:38-39; 16:7; Acts 2:1-4; 8:14-16; 19:5-6. "The effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles at Pentecost."76 Normally, confirmation should be performed by a bishop, but "if a Christian is in danger of death, any priest should give him Confirmation."77
  4. The Holy Eucharist (Communion). "The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross . . . In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner."78 "The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who 'have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,' so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ."79 The whole Christ is really, truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. We use the words really, truly and substantially to describe Christ's presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to distinguish our Lord's teaching from that of mere men who falsely teach that the Holy Eucharist is only a sign or figure of Christ, or that He is present only by His power; . . . John 6:48-59; Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-29."80 The Catholic Church applies John 6 to communion. "The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: 'Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.'"81  

    The effects of taking Eucharist are profound. "Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: 'As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the father, so he who eats me will live because of me.' . . . Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ . . . preserves, increases and renews the life of grace received at Baptism . . . The Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins."82 The catechism quotes with approval Ambrose: "I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy."83 However, the Eucharist only forgives venial sins. It "is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins -- that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation."84  

    Eucharist only works when offered by either the Catholic or Orthodox priest. The churches of the Reformation "have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders [ordination of priests]."85 This is because "Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord."86
  5. Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. "It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin. It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction . . . It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent 'pardon and peace.'"87 "Penance is the sacrament by which sins committed after Baptism are forgiven through the absolution of the priest. Penance is a supernatural moral virtue which prompts the sinner to detest his sins and incites him to offer satisfaction for them and amend his life in the future."88 The Catholic church claims that ultimately God is the one forgiving the sins but that the priest receives the power from Jesus Christ on the basis of 2 Corinthians 5:18,20 where apostles are "given the ministry of reconciliation." and Mtatthew 18:18, where "bind," means excluded from communion."89  

    Penance is for all sinners, but "above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen to grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace . . ."90  

    The sacrament of Penance includes three basic steps from the side of the sinner: "contrition, confession, and satisfaction."91 Contrition is "sorrow of the world and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."92 Such contrition forgives venial sins, but mortal sins only "if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible."93 The second is the act of confession. "Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance."94 All mortal sins (including violations of the last two commandments) must be confessed and venial sins should also be confessed.95 The third step is properly called penance which is the act of atoning for ones sins, 2 Kings 12:13-14; Daniel 4:24; and Joel 2:12. 

    Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops' collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, gave the power to forgive all sins 'in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.'"96 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."97  

    The act of atonement, in the third step, is based on the Catholic church's view of punishment which is due to sin--eternal and temporal (see below). God wants us to perform works of penance ourselves in order to receive all the benefits of the satisfaction of Christ . . . John 15:6; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15; Revelation 21:8."98
  6. Extreme Unction (Care of the Sick). "Extreme Unction is the sacrament which, through the anointing with blessed oil by the priest, and through his prayer, gives health and strength to the soul and sometimes to the body when we are in danger of death from sickness, accident, or old age...Mark 6:12-13; James 5:14-15."99
  7. Holy Orders. "Holy Orders is the sacrament through which men receive the power and grace to perform the sacred duties of bishops, priest and other ministers of the Church."100  

    The biblical basis for priesthood according to the new Catechism is Hebrews 5:6;7:11 and Psalm 110:4. These all have to do with Christ's priesthood according to the order of Melchizedek, which by inference they believe was passed to the apostles in Matthew 16:18 and parallels.101  

    Also, the church "sees in the priesthood of Aaron and the service of the Levites, as in the institution of the seventy elders, a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant."102  

    Priests have great authority. "In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, High priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth . . .In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatious of Antioch, the Bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.103 "The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a 'sacred power' which is none other than that of Christ."104  

    The fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders is seen in bishops, which are distinguished from presbyters in Catholic theology. "By the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ Himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative."105  

    Priests also act as proxies for Christ. "Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head."106 Once a clergyman receives this sacrament, he is changed spiritually forever, and can never again be a lay person, even if barred from practicing priestly functions. Ordination is forever.107 Ordination is bestowed by bishops on baptized men who agree to celibacy for life.108 

    Priests and bishops are enabled, by the sacrament of Holy Orders, to turn the bread into flesh and the wine into blood during Eucharist.109 Thus, Protestant ministers cannot effect transubstantiation, and therefore cannot offer Eucharist that is effective at forgiving sins. (see above, on Eucharist) 

    The Sacrament of Holy Orders also gives the priest added sanctifying grace, and gives him special supernatural powers; i.e. to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ (transubstantiation).
  8. Matrimony. "Matrimony is the sacrament by which a baptized man and a baptized woman bind themselves for life in a lawful marriage and receive the grace to discharge their duties."110  

    Divorce is simply not allowed for any reason whatsoever. The Catholic church bases this view on Romans 7:1-3; 1 Corinthians 7:18-25; 7:39-40. An annulment (dissolution) is granted on the basis that the marriage was never valid from the start.111
  9. In March of 1966 the Catholic Church through its Sacred Doctrinal Congregation repealed the law of excommunication against Catholics married before non-Catholic ministers. The ruling was retroactive to cover marriages performed before the ruling was established.112

F. Temporal Punishment and Indulgences

  1. Indulgence. "An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven . . ."113 Scriptures used are Matthew 16:19-20; 2 Corinthians 2:10, 2 Kings 24:1-25. Indulgences apply the merits of Christ and the saints to the sinner in order to avoid or lessen temporal punishment for sin. "Grace sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the 'eternal punishment' of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, . . . must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory."114  

    "The 'treasury of the Church' is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God . . . This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary . . . In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints."115  

    There are two kinds of indulgences. The first is the "plenary" indulgence. This removes all temporal punishment due to sin; and unless otherwise stated it can only be gained once a day. The other kind of indulgence is a "partial" one. The indulgence grants time off purgatory. 

    "An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins."116  

    The following are examples of indulgences that can be gained:117
    • Reciting five decades of the Rosary in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament (exposed communion wafer), publicly exposed or even reserved in the tabernacle, may gain a plenary indulgence , on condition of Confession and Communion (The Raccolta, No. 360,c.).
    • The faithful who recite devoutly the prayer "Behold O good and sweetest Jesus," before an image of Jesus Christ Crucified, may gain a plenary indulgence under the usual condition (The Raccolta, No. 171).
    • The following are some "ejaculations" and "invocations" to which partial indulgences are attached:
      • 300 days for the ejaculation: "Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts: the heavens and the earth are full of Thy glory!" (The Raccolta, No. 2).
      • 300 days for saying the ejaculation: "My God and my All!" (The Raccolta, No. 5).
      • An indulgence of 500 days for saying the ejaculation: "O God, be merciful to me, the sinner" (The Raccolta, No. 14).
    • Some of the most commonly said prayers:118 
      • The Sign of the Cross. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. (100 days indulgence; with holy water, 300 days)
      • Hail, Holy Queen. "Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, hail, our life, our sweetness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us; and after this, our exile, show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!" Five years indulgence. This prayer is not to be confused with the main prayer of the rosary, that is the "Hail Mary."
      • Grace After Meals, 300 days indulgence.
      • "My Jesus, mercy." 300 days.
      • "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, bless us now and at the hour of our death. 300 days.
  2. Temporal Punishment (Purgatory). According to the Council of Trent, the abodes of hell are not all of the same nature. "Among them is also the fire of purgatory, in which the souls of just men are cleansed by a temporary punishment, in order to be admitted into their eternal country, into which nothing defiled entereth (Apoc.xxi. 27.). The truth of this doctrine, founded, as holy Councils declare, on Scripture, and confirmed by Apostolic tradition, demands exposition . . ."119
    • The teaching on purgatory in the scriptures and the Fathers can be found in the following: 2 Macc. 12:43-46; "Our Lord speaks of the forgiveness of sins in the world to come (Matthew 12:32, which refers to purgatory according to St. Augustine (De Civ. Dei., xxi., 24) and St. Gregory the Great (Dial., iv., 39); 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 refers to purgatory according to Origen (Hom., vi., Exod.); St. Jerome (In Amos, iv.), St. Ambrose (Ser. xx., In Ps., cxvii) and St. Augustine (In Ps., xxvii)."120 This list is not exhaustive.

G. The "Saints"

  1. The Second Council of Nicea, 787, defined the role of images of the "saints" and of Mary and Christ. The Council commanded that images of these be placed in the churches and homes of the Catholics. The images of the saint were not to be worshipped as one does God. Instead they were to "kiss and to render honorable adoration to them." It was hoped that this would cause the people to be inspired to be like these saints. But images of the cross and of the scriptures were to be given "oblations" of candles and of incense.121
  2. Definition. "A saint, in the strict sense of the word, is person who is declared officially by the Church to be in heaven and who may be publicly venerated . . . The supreme honor given to God only is adoration in the full and strict sense of the word. The veneration given to the Blessed Mother and to the saints is an act of respect and honor of an entirely different nature. The veneration given to the Blessed Mother of God surpasses that given to the saints and angels . . . Exodus 23:20-21; Joshua 5:14-15; Ecclesiasticus 44:1; Matthew 4:10; Luke 1:48."122
  3. The saints can be "honored" by imitating their lives, praying to them, and by showing respect to their relics and images; IV Kings 13:20-21; Job 42:8; Philippians 3:17.

H. Mary the Mother of God

  1. The Mother of God. By giving birth to Jesus the Catholic church concludes that she gave life to the world. "Redeemed in an especially sublime manner by reason of the merits of her Son, and united to Him by a close and indissoluble tie, she is endowed with the supreme office and dignity of being the Mother of the Son of God."123
  2. The Immaculate Conception. Mary was born without original sin. "It is no wonder, then, that the usage prevailed among the holy Fathers whereby they called the mother of God entirely holy and free from all stain of sin, fashioned by the Holy Spirit into a new substance and new creature."124
  3. Co-Redemtrix. Mary also shared in the sufferings of Christ in such a way that she assists Christ in attaining salvation for men. "By thus consenting to divine utterance (Luke 1:28), Mary, a daughter of Adam, became the mother of Jesus. Embracing God's saving will with a full heart and impeded by no sin, she devoted herself totally as a handmaid of the Lord to the person and work of her son. In subordination to Him and along with Him, by the grace of almighty God she served the mystery of redemption. Rightly therefore the holy Fathers see her as used by God not merely in a passive way, but as cooperating in the work of human salvation through free faith and obedience."125
  4. The Assumption of Mary into heaven. "Finally, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, the Immaculate Virgin was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory upon the completion of her earthly sojourn. She was exalted by the Lord as Queen of all, in order that she might be the more thoroughly conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords (cf. Apoc. 19:6) and the conqueror of sin and death."126
  5. It should be noted that the Catholic church is still not wholly "decided" as to the theology of her role. "The synod does not, however, have in mind to give a complete doctrine on Mary, nor does it wish to decide those questions which have not yet been fully illuminated by the work of theologians. Those opinions therefore may be lawfully retained which are freely propounded by schools of Catholic thought concerning her who occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and yet very close to us."127


A. The Pillars of Catholic Doctrine

  1. The whole of Catholic doctrine rests on its view of the sources for divine revelation; namely, tradition, the Bible, and the teaching office of the Catholic church.
  2. But even among these three sources, which they deem equal in authority, the most crucial "pillar" is that of tradition. As is evident in the quotations presented in this study, the tradition source includes the oral and written elements. It is this source, primarily, that the Catholic Church holds forth to prove that their line of popes succeeds Peter. And again it is the source of tradition to which the Catholic church chiefly refers to support the primacy of the "Roman" Catholic church. Thus, without proof for the papal succession from Peter and without proof for the primacy of the Roman church, the Catholic church cannot support its maternal view of the scriptures. Consequently, most of the unique Catholic doctrines (temporal punishment, penance, the veneration of Mary and the saints, the mass, etc.) would also not be able to stand.
  3. It is important, therefore, that the serious student of Catholic doctrine become very familiar with the patristic writings themselves. Attempting to dialog with the Catholic pillars of doctrine from a standard non-Catholic Bible is insufficient. To be sure, an understanding of the history of the New Testament and of the scriptures cited by the Catholic church is necessary.

B. Questions for Reflection

  1. What is the difference, if any, between the Catholic church's Seven Sacraments and the so-called Means of Growth?
  2. What is the difference between the Catholic view of "confession" and your view of confessing sins to one another?
  3. If you think Catholic doctrine is "unbiblical," why are there over 60 million in the U.S. alone?
  4. What, if anything, is wrong with the Catholic view of Mt. 16:18-19? What was Christ granting to Peter? What bearing does that have on today?
  5. Are there areas in the non-essential theology or methodology of your church that are vulnerable to unbiblical veneration?

C. Caution

  1. It would be wise to remember that the "average" Catholic is hardly aware of any of the foundational development of their doctrine. They are often even less aware of the more scandalous events found in the history of the Catholic church. This is because the focus of their faith revolves around the activity of their particular local church.
  2. The material presented in this study is designed to provide a better understanding of the Catholic church. The direction of any particular dialog between Protestant and catholic must be decided individually.


1. John A. Hardon, S.J., Modern Catholic Dictionary (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1980)p. 376.

2. John A. Hardon, S.J., Modern Catholic Dictionary (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1980)p. 270.

3. Catechism of the Catholic Church, (Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 1994) This is the English translation of the Latin ediion, which has not yet been published at the time of writing.

4. John A. Hardon, S.J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1980)p. 149.

5. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1957), p. 19

6. Frank E. Gaebelein, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, 12 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI, 1981), Vol. 12, p. 212.

7. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 19

8. George Salmon, D. D., The Infallibility of the Church, (London: John Murray), p. 158.

9. M. A. Smith, The Church Under Siege, (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity, 1976), p. 23.

10. George Salmon, D. D., The Infallibility of the Church, pp. 186-187.

11. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, pp. 27-30.

13. George Salmon, D. D., The Infallibility of the Church, p. 218.

14. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, (San Francisco, CA: Harper & Row, 1984), Vol. 1, pp. 338-339.

15. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 208.

16. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, p 381.

17. George Salmon, D. D., The Infallibility of the Church, pp. 202-204.

18. M. A. Smith, The Church Under Siege, p. 237.

19. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, Appendix 2.

20. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, pp. 292-297.

21. John A. Hardon, S. J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1980), p. 280.

22. Justo L. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, pp.378-412

23. Harold J. Grimm, The Reformation Era 1500-1650, (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1965), p. 91.

24. The treasury of merits, " . . .consists of the superabundant merits of Jesus Christ and his faithful ones. Such a treasury implies that the Communion of Saints is also an intercommunication of merits, not only when a good work is performed but, under God's Providence, for all future time"John A. Hardon, S. J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 541.

25. Jerome's Latin Vulgate translation of Acts 2:38 (and in other passages also) reads "do pennance" instead of the Greek, "repent". Luther had discovered this anomoly.

26. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, pp. 243-303.

27. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 258.

28. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 262.

29. Vatican II repeatedly affirmed the authority of Trent. For example, see a typical citation in The Documants of Vatican II, (New York: Guild Press, 1966) p.115 note # 13. So too does the new Catechism. See for example, Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 347 section 1376.

30. John A. Hardon, S. J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 24.

31. Rev. Bertrand L. Conway, C. S. P., The Question Box, (New York: The Paulist Press, 1929), p. 205.

32. See John A. Hardon, S. J., "Mortal Sin", in Modern Catholic Dictionary, p.362

33. Dom Cuthbert Butler, The Vatican Council 1869-1870, (London: Collins and Harvill Press, 1962), p. 385.

34. Stuart P. Garver, Watch Your Teaching!, (Hackensack, N. J.: Christ's Mission, Inc., 1973), p. x.

35. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 200

36. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 202

37. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p.204

38. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 206

39. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 215

40. Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D., LL.D., Understanding the Catholic Faith, "An Official Edition of the revised Baltimore Chatechism No. 3", (Notre Dame, Ind.: Ave Maria Press, 1954), pp. 20-24. This Catechism is still official, and was not affected by Vatican II or any other ruling.

41. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 215

42. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 215

43. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 216

44. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 216

45. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p.221

46. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 221

47. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 230

48. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p.222

49. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p.224

50. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 229

51. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. p. 347

52. Walter M. Abbott, S. J., The Documents of Vatican II, (New York: Guild Press, 1966), pp. 118-119.

53. Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D., LL.D., Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], p. 11.

54. Walter M. Abbott, S. J., The Documents of Vatican II, pp. 115-116.

55. Walter M. Abbott, S. J., The Documents of Vatican II, p. 117.

56. Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D., LL.D., Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], p. 11.

57. Walter M. Abbott, S. J., The Documents of Vatican II, p, 118.

58. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 445.

59. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 482.

60. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 483.

61. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 487.

62. John A. Hardon, S. J., Modern Catholic Dictionary, p. 488.

63. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 492.

64. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 492.

65. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 493.

66. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 493,494.

67. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 455.

68. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 456.

69. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], p. 74.

70. Rev. John A. O'Brien, Ph.D., LL.D., Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], p. 189.

71. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 194-198.

72. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 324.

73. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 325.

74. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 326.

75. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], p. 200.

76. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 330.

77. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 332.

78. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 344.

79. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 345.

80. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 205-206

81. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 349.

82. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 351.

83. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 352.

84. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 352.

85. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 353.

86. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 355.

87. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 357,358.

88. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], p. 221.

89. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 362, 363

90. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 363.

91. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 363.

92. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 364.

93. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 364.

94. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 365.

95. 365,366.

96. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 367.

97. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 369.

98. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 235-236.

99. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 245-246.

100. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 248-249

101. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 384.

102. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 385

103. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 387.

104. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 388.

105. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 389.

106. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 391.

107. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 395.

108. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 399.

109. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 391.

110. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, pp. 295-298.

111. Bertrand L. Conway, The Question Box, p. 330.

112. John T. Catoir, "America," (quotes from the document issued by the Sacred Doctrinal Congregation, "Matrimonii Sacramentum," March 18, 1966), Jesuit Weekly, (April 12, 1969), p. 447.

113. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 370.

114. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 370.

115. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 371.

116. Catechism of the Catholic Church, p. 371.

117. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 242-243.

118. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 48-51.

119. John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan, Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests, (New York: Joseph F. Wagner, Inc., 1923), p. 63.

120. Bertrand L. Conway, The Question Box, pp. 393-394.

121. Henry Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, p. 121.

122. O'Brien, Understanding the Catholic Faith [Baltimore Catechism], pp. 150.

123. Vatican II, p. 86.

124. Vatican II, p. 88.

125. Vatican II, p. 88.

126. Vatican II, p. 90.

127. Vatican II, pp. 86-87.