Catholics see Jesus as the founder of their faith, the head of their church and the savior of their souls. Faith in Jesus Christ is essential to the Catholic. Catholic teachings on Jesus Christ have remained consistent for nearly 2,000 years. To a large degree, other Christian churches base their teachings on Jesus Christ on the teachings of the Catholic Church. Most Christian churches believe in doctrines such as the Trinity, the Virgin Birth and the Atonement, all of which Catholics first articulated.
Catholic teaching refers to Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the 'second person of the Trinity.' Catholics believe that God is one God yet three persons. Father, Son and the Holy Spirit make up the trinity in Catholic belief. The Nicene Creed, an early Catholic confession, declares that person of the trinity is equal with each other person and equal to God. Catholics accept teaching of the trinity as an article of faith. They recognize it's an idea beyond human understanding. The Trinity and Jesus' place in the trinity is confessed by Catholics, rather than understood rationally or exhaustively. Catholics describe the Trinity as a mystery because of this.
Catholics teach that Jesus led a sinless life, perfect in obedience to God in every way. They believe Jesus' death on the cross served as an offering for sin on behalf of all humanity since Jesus died on the Cross so human beings can receive God's grace and forgiveness. They teach that Christ's redemptive act began a new covenant between God and humanity.
Jesus died on the cross and was placed in a tomb. The story doesn't end there, however. Catholics believe Jesus rose from the grave three days later. They teach Jesus Christ appeared to hundreds of believers after His resurrection. The resurrection demonstrates to Catholics the new life that Christians receive because of Christ's redemptive sacrifice. Likewise, Catholics believe that all the dead will rise and spend eternity either with God or separated from God.
Ascension and Beyond
Catholics teach that 40 days after the resurrection, Jesus ascended from the earth to heaven. His resurrected body returned to God, according to Catholics. They believe that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to help and build the Catholic Church 10 days after the ascension. Jesus Christ is present today in the Catholic Church through the Mass, the liturgy, the Gospels and the sacraments according to Catholics. Catholics teach that during the Eucharist the bread and wine are transformed invisibly into the real body and blood of Jesus.
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