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Introduction to Roman Catholicism and Homeric Tours’ Catholic Faith Tours Sola Gratia (Grace alone) S


alvation is the free gift of God to man. It is obtained by God’s Grace alone and not through any merit on the part of the Christian. (GRACE = God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense)


“For by grace you are saved through faith: and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God. Not of works that no man may glory.” - Ephesians 2:8-9


The word ‘Catholic’ comes from the Greek phrase καθολου (kath’holou), meaning ‘concerning the whole.’ The word ‘Catholic’ can also be understood in English to mean ‘universal.’


In Catholic doctrine, Salvation is obtained by God’s Grace through faith; faith which is active, not passive. Salvation is through the grace of God which is “infused” into us. This grace is freely given, but men and women are responsible for cooperating with it. Primarily, this is done through participation in the Sacraments, which are seen as channels of grace. This grace of salvation (known as sanctifying grace) can be lost through committing mortal sin, but regained through the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, which involves confession, repentance and forgiveness.


“Not everyone that saith to me, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 7:21.


As with Grace, the Catholic view is that good works accompa- nied by Catholic faith, form the basis for justification “For even as the body without the spirit is dead: so also faith without works is dead.” - James 2:26


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Catholicism accepts Christ’s sole mediatorship between God and Man, but it argues that this does not exclude secondary mediatorships that are subordinated to Christ. On this basis, the saints (including Mary) can act as mediators. Mediatorship can also take the form of that exercised by the priesthood. For example, a validly ordained Priest can celebrate the Mass, which, as a Sacrament acts as a vehicle for the dispensation of Grace.


Like Protestants, Roman Catholics affirm the doctrine of the priesthood of all Believers, on the basis of 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people: that you may declare his virtues, who have called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” - 1 Peter 2:9


However, the Catholic view is that there also exists a special or “ministerial” priesthood, which has its roots in the Biblical priesthood outlined in the Old Testament. Thus ordained priests are able to offer sacrifices to God (especially the Sacrifice of the Mass) and absolve people of sins (through the Sacrament of Reconciliation).


“That I should be the minister of Christ Jesus among the Gentiles: sanctifying the gospel of God, that the oblation of the Gentiles may be made acceptable and sanctified in the Holy Ghost.” - Romans 15:16


The Pope as the visible head of the Church on earth, and the successor of Peter, acts with the authority given to him directly by Christ in Matthew 16:18. Scripture and Tradition together form the fidei depositum - the sacred deposit of faith.


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