Beliefs

The Book of Acts illustrates Peter's leadership among the apostles, and by the early 2nd century Church leaders such as Bishop Ignatius of Antioch would recognize Peter as the first bishop of Rome and the beginning of the line of leadership that stretched down to their time and beyond. These are the men who are now call the popes, and Catholics believe that their leadership is a vital part of the sacred narrative of God's unending presence in the world through the medium of the Church.

Beyond the two major poles of Catholicism's sacred narratives lie other stories such as the biographies of saints. Saints are people who followed the example of Jesus in living their lives closely in communion with God and were able to overcome great adversities with faith. The accounts of saints' lives and deeds are known as hagiographies, and they often tell of miraculous acts the saints performed and their ability to withstand extraordinary suffering and even death without breaking their faith in God's love and mercy.

The lives of the saints are held up as models for all Catholics to follow, and Catholics are encouraged to call upon them as intercessors before God, just as someone might ask living loved ones to pray for him or her. Devotions to different saints emerged from the belief in the "communion of saints," the trust that all the faithful, living and dead, share a bond of faith; frequently, these devotions were related to factors such as the saint's birthplace, profession, or lifestyle that encouraged imitation.


Study Questions:
     1.     Why do Catholics hold the entirety of the Bible to be sacred?
     2.     What sacred narrative is associated with Jesus’ life? Why is still held in high regard amongst Catholics?
     3.     Do Catholics hold the Bible as inerrant? Why or why not?
     4.     Why is tradition important to the understanding of scripture?

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