These are the core tenets of Catholicism that all Catholics should know.
Commandments of God
The Ten Commandments of God
I. I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange gods before me.
II. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
III. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day.
IV. Honor your father and your mother.
V. You shall not kill.
VI. You shall not commit adultery.
VII. You shall not steal.
VIII. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
IX. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
X. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
The Two Great Commandments
You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart, and with your whole soul, and with your whole mind, and with your whole strength; you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
To love God, our neighbor, and ourselves, we must keep the commandments of God and of the Church, and perform the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
These two commandments contain the whole law of God.
Precepts of the Catholic Church
The Precepts of the Church describe the minimum effort we must make in prayer and in living a moral life. All Catholics are called to move beyond the minimum by growing in love of God and love of neighbor:
I. Attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation
II. Confession of serious sin at least once a year
III. Reception of Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter season
IV. Observance of the days of fast and abstinence
V. Providing for the needs of the Church
The Seven Sacraments
The traditional definition of a sacrament is this: “A sacrament is a visible sign, instituted by Christ, to give grace.” Within this definition there are three important statements:
A visible sign:
An action is performed by a minister (usually a priest). For example, when a baby is baptized in the church the priest pours water over its head and at the same time says the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” That is a visible sign.
Instituted by Christ:
The Lord Jesus Christ instructed His church to offer the seven sacraments to His followers. For example, His directive to His disciples in Matthew’s Gospel (28/19), “Go then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples; baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
To give grace:
Grace is God’s free gift of Himself as the controlling influence in our life and the decisions we make once we have committed ourselves to Him in faith.
Sacraments of Initiation (These sacraments lay the foundation of every Christian life)
In Baptism we receive new life in Christ. Baptism takes away original sin and gives us a new birth in the Holy Spirit. Its sign is the pouring of water.
Confirmation seals our life of faith in Jesus. Its signs are the laying on of hands on a person’s head, most often by a bishop, and the anointing with oil. Like Baptism, Confirmation is received only once.
The Eucharist nourishes our life of faith. Its signs are the bread and wine we receive—the Body and Blood of Christ.
Sacraments of Healing (These sacraments celebrate the healing power of Jesus)
Through Penance we receive God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness requires being sorry for our sins. In Penance we receive Jesus’ healing grace through absolution by the priest. The signs of this sacrament are our confession of sins and the words of absolution.
Anointing of the Sick
This sacrament unites a sick person’s suffering with that of Jesus and brings forgiveness of sins. Oil, a symbol of strength, is the sign of this sacrament. A person is anointed with oil and receives the laying on of hands from a priest.
Sacraments at the Service of Communion (These sacraments help members serve the community)
In Matrimony a baptized man and woman are united with each other as a sign of the unity between Jesus and his Church. Matrimony requires the consent of the couple, as expressed in the marriage promises. The couple and their wedding rings are the signs of this sacrament.
In Holy Orders men are ordained as priests, deacons, or bishops. Priests serve as spiritual leaders of their communities, and deacons serve to remind us of our baptismal call to help others. Bishops carry on the teachings of the apostles. The signs of this sacrament are the laying on of hands and anointing with oil by the bishop.
Note: The sacraments that can be received only once are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders.
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
“Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:17-20)
This passage in Matthew’s Gospel helps us to understand the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are the observable behaviors of people who have allowed the grace of the Holy Spirit to be effective in them. The tradition of the Church lists 12 fruits:
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
In the Book of Isaiah 11:2-3, the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are described. In the passage the gifts are considered ones that the Messiah would have possessed. Through Jesus, we also receive the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Wisdom helps us recognize the importance of others and the importance of keeping God central in our lives.
Understanding is the ability to comprehend the meaning of God’s message.
Knowledge is the ability to think about and explore God’s revelation, and also to recognize there are mysteries of faith beyond us.
Counsel is the ability to see the best way to follow God’s plan when we have choices that relate to him.
Fortitude is the courage to do what one knows is right.
Piety helps us pray to God in true devotion.
Fear of the Lord is the feeling of amazement before God, who is all-present, and whose friendship we do not want to lose.
7 Deadly Sins and 7 Heavenly Virtues
The Roman Catholic church recognizes the Seven Capital Virtues as opposites to the Seven Capital Sins or the Seven Deadly Sins.
SIN <==> VIRTUE
Lust (excessive sexual appetites) <==> Chastity (purity)
Gluttony (over-indulgence) <==> Temperance (self-restraint)
Greed (avarice) <==> Charity (giving)
Sloth (laziness/idleness) <==> Diligence (zeal/integrity/Labor)
Wrath (anger) <==> Forgiveness (composure)
Envy (jealousy) <==> Kindness (admiration)
Pride (vanity) <==> Humility (humbleness)
The Seven Deadly Sins
LUST – An insatiable need for sex or things of a sexual nature. This includes thoughts, desires, and actions. If this need is unfed, it can lead to masturbation, rape, and even bestiality. Lust is fed by any of the aforementioned means or viewing pornography.
GLUTTONY – Over-indulgences of anything to the extreme, usually food or drink. Alcoholism is considered part of Gluttony.
GREED – Greed is the need for material possessions or material wealth. If this need is unfed, a Greedy person may even resort to hoarding their goods, theft, robbery, or obtaining any material possessions by means of trickery, violence, deception, or manipulation. Greedy people usually are easy to bribe, or will take any bet or do anything for a dollar.
SLOTH – Sadness, depression, or the inability to feel joy. Sloth is often confused with Gluttony. Those who suffer from depression to an extreme usually have thoughts of or plans for suicide. Many times, Sloth can lead to another sin: Wrath. Those who have lost or lack love, usually fall into a deep state of Sloth.
WRATH – Extreme anger, rage, hatred, or a need for vengeance or revenge. People who suffer with Wrath issues will often resort to taking the law in their own hands if they feel the justice system has failed them. To feed the need of Wrath, they may even turn to physical abuse of themselves or others, murder, or even genocide. Wrath usually is a need to do harm to others. Dante described Wrath as “love of justice perverted to revenge and spite” according to the Wikipedia.
ENVY – The need to have better or be better than others. The need to have the goods of others. Wanting what others have for yourself. Many times, someone with extreme envious needs may turn to voyeurism to feed the need to see what others have that the envious want.
PRIDE – Once considered a need to be the most beautiful, Pride can also mean a need for public acceptance in all acts. Pride can also be a need to be more important than others. Those who suffer with Pride issues, usually fail to give due complements to others, but instead fish for complements for them selves. They find ways to be better than those around them and usually have a “One Up” story. Pride is said to be the original and most deadly of the seven sins, leading straight to damnation.
The Seven Heavenly Virtues
CHASTITY – Courage and boldness. Embracing of moral wholesomeness and achieving purity of thought through education and betterment.
ABSTINENCE – Constant mindfulness of others and one’s surroundings; practicing self-control, abstention, and moderation.
LIBERALITY – Generosity. Willingness to give. A nobility of thought or actions.
DILIGENCE – A zealous and careful nature in one’s actions and work. Decisive work ethic. Budgeting one’s time; monitoring one’s own activities to guard against laziness.
PATIENCE – Forbearance and endurance through moderation. Resolving conflicts peacefully, as opposed to resorting to violence. The ability to forgive; to show mercy to sinners.
KINDNESS – Charity, compassion, friendship, and sympathy without prejudice and for its own sake.
HUMILITY – Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one’s own self. Modest behavior, selflessness, and the giving of respect. Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one’s own self.
Holy Days of Obligation
The Holy Days of Obligation are the days other than Sundays on which we celebrate the great things God has done for us through Jesus and the saints.
On Holy Days of Obligation, Catholics attend Mass.
- Mary, Mother of God
- Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- All Saints Day
- Immaculate Conception
- Christmas (Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ)
- The Vatican (The Holy See)
- United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Supreme Knights of Columbus – Our Faith
- The Spirit of Catholicism
- EWTN Catholicism Site
- Relevant Radio
- The Beatitudes
- The Great Commandment and New Commandment
- Theological and Cardinal Virtues
- Works of Mercy
- I Believe – A Summary of Basic Catholic Beliefs
- Loyola Press Catholic Beliefs
- Marks of the Church