The fastest and easiest way to learn about the Catholic Church…is to start looking. As Christ told us in the Gospels, “Seek and ye shall find; knock and the door will be opened.” The simple fact that you are searching for the truth means that you are on the right track. To help you on your journey, here are a few tips to consider…
Find a Friend
Whenever you begin a journey, it’s always recommended to bring a friend along, especially if you are unfamiliar with the road ahead. A Catholic friend who is actively practicing his faith or a trusted priest can serve as a guide to assist you on your path. It’s like having a treasure map in your search for buried treasure.
This person should not only be knowledgeable about the faith, but should also faithfully follow all the teachings of the Magisterium, the authoritative teaching office of the Catholic Church.
It’s important to note here that the Church teachings are not a buffet line available for members to pick and choose although unfortunately, many people have been know to do this. Despite the numerous attempts to convince the Catholic Church to change its teaching on certain controversial issues or to falsely speak in the name of the Church, the Church has remained firm and faithful in her teachings since she was established by Jesus Christ himself over 2000 years ago.
This is where the help of a friend comes in handy. There may be some teachings that are hard to understand or need further explanation. A trusty friend can provide the answers to some questions or doubts that may arise along the journey or direct you to reliable sources.
Consult the Catechism
Got a question about the faith? The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the most systematic and comprehensive collection of the Church’s teaching. It was written in 1993 by a group of theologians, headed by Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. For a complete explanation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, go to www.vatican.va.
If this is too much to take on, you may want to try The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which is an abridged version in an easy-to-read Q & A format.
Search for Sources
Still hungry for more? There are countless sources available for people who want to learn about the Catholic Church. But don’t get lost in the ocean of information. Here are a few tips to narrow your search.
Online Sources: Since typing in “Catholic Church” on Google could bring a billion links, many of which are not backed by trusty sources, start by looking at popular and authentic sources like www.catholic.net or www.catholic.com. Usually general websites will have a listing of links to help you expand your search.
For reliable news sources you can click onto www.zenit.org or www.ncregister.com.
Printed Sources: One of the greatest treasures of the Catholic Church is the wealth of writings and books. Some of the most popular Catholic writers include Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, G.K. Chesterton, and more contemporary authors such as Christopher West, Patrick Madrid and Scott Hahn. If in doubt about the catholicity of a book, look for the words “Imprimatur” or “Nihil Obstat” written on the first few pages. This guarantees that the selected work is without error in Catholic doctrine.
These are just a few ways to get started on your journey. If you are really serious about learning more about the Catholic Church, contact your local parish priest and inquire about any RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) programs in your area.
Caution! The path you are on can at times be arduous and tiring, but rest assured that in this search to learn more about the Catholic Church, you are bound to discover the beauty of the truth that your heart longs to find. It is so worth it!
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