Catholicism and christianity Assignment

Catholicism and christianity Assignment Words: 1227

I decided to do my religious study on Catholicism because I am a protestant Christian, and our religions are generally grouped together under the banner of “Charlatans even though our beliefs and traditions vary. I wanted to learn more about the beliefs of Catholicism so that I could better understand the differences between it and Protestantism. As it turned out, this semester my Catholic extended family invited my family and I to mass while we were visiting them in Michigan one weekend, so we decided to accept the invitation. As I walked through the parking lot at SST.

Mark Parish, the first thing that caught my eye was the ornate architecture on the outside of the church. It had a soaring steeple with a cross on top, as well as a fully-brick exterior and many sharp edges. The parking lot was almost completely full, which didn’t necessarily surprise me but was nonetheless interesting; however, the most peculiar thing to me was that not one person walking into the church was carrying a Bible. Coming from a Protestant church where nearly everyone brings a Bible to church to follow along with the sermon, this was surprising to me.

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After studying Catholicism more this semester I understand why this was the case (the Interpretation of the Bible Is left to the Church but at the time it shocked me. Walking in to the church, the lobby was very pretty if a little plain, which was not quite what I expected from the outside of the church. However, there were pretty stained glass windows with pictures on them, which sort of colored the room. As I walked in to the auditorium, I noticed a bowl of water that people were dipping their fingers Into and crossing themselves with. I learned that this was “holy water,” water that has been blessed.

The sight of the auditorium almost took my breath away. It as beautiful; the stage was completely white, with different podiums and an altar in front of it, and there was a huge crucifix on the wall in front of the auditorium. Also, there were candles all over and stained glass windows with images of Jesus and Mary surrounded the room, as well as the priests wearing elaborate robes. This was in stark contrast with what I was used to. In the auditorium of my church there aren’t any windows, let alone windows of the ornate stained glass variety, and compared to what I witnessed, Is very bland.

Needless to say, I was Impressed with the aesthetic aspect of the church, but what about the mass itself? In case you were wondering, the term “1 hour people” is exactly spot-on. The service lasted almost exactly 60 minutes, and very soon after it started I realized that I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing. Let me make a little disclaimer: I should have brought a notebook to take notes, but I figured that would be rude so I am Just going from memory here. The aspect of the service that stood out to me most was how interactive yet rehearsed everything felt.

It seemed like the entire time, the priest would read or recite a phrase and the congregation would simply repeat exactly what they were “supposed” to repeat. Obviously, these people had been through catechism in order to learn the correct order of the service, which I learned remains mostly the same save for the Scripture readings and particular songs that mass. In my church, the pastor preaches from the Bible for roughly 45 minutes every Sunday, but in mass it is read for only a few minutes before the recitation of learned responses continues.

At one point during mass the priests walked around flinging holy water throughout the congregation while making blessings, which was out of the ordinary for me. Also, the offering was collected with baskets attached to large poles urine the service, which differs from my church where people simply leave their offering in the back of the auditorium as they leave after the service. One of the most important aspects of catholic mass is communion, where they partake of bread and wine in remembrance of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

This took place at the end of mass, and everyone lined up down the aisles to get their bread and drink from the cup of wine, following a recitation by the priest. This was very different from what I am used to; in my church, broken up crackers and little cups of grape Juice are passed around. What I found interesting about the Catholic communion was the fact that everyone drank from the same cup – to me, this didn’t seem healthy at all. What if a sick person drank out of that cup?

Even though the priest holding the cup wiped it after someone took a sip, I still imagine that germs could remain. Obviously the congregation didn’t feel the same way, as most of them drank the wine. The other major difference between Catholic and Protestant communion is the Catholic belief in transubstantiation, or the belief that the bread and wine literally become the body and blood of Christ once ingested. This is a view hat only Catholics hold, and is something that they have not backed down from over the years.

It differs from the Protestant belief that the bread and Juice merely represent the body and blood of Christ, and is one of the major divisions between Catholics and Protestants. The mass ended with some more recitation by the priest and responses from the congregation, and that was pretty much all she wrote. My family had plans to meet friends for lunch, so I didn’t have time for an interview with a priest. However, on the way out I did ask my uncle (the one who invited us to church) what, in his opinion, the oust important Catholic beliefs were.

He listed the seven Sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation, Confirmation, Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick), the Virgin Mary, Jesus as the Son of God and the Trinity, Original Sin, the belief that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus Christ established, and salvation through baptism. Some of these beliefs I agree with (the Virgin Mary, Jesus as the Son of God and the Trinity, Original sin) and some I do not (Seven Sacraments, belief that the Catholic Church is the Church that Jesus Christ established, salvation through baptism) in accordance with my religion.

Even though both Catholicism and Protestantism exist under the banner of “Christianity’, I find it thought provoking that our religions differ on such seemingly important issues. Overall, the experience of visiting a Catholic church and witnessing a mass was great. It gave me a chance to compare and contrast my Protestant church with that of a Catholic church, and turned out to be both interesting and thought provoking. I am very glad that I chose to do my report on Catholicism, and also that I got a chance to physically visit SST. Marks, because I don’t think that my report would have been as informative if I had not.

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