Catholic Denominations Reading/Handout

Originally there was One Holy Catholic Church, no denominations or branches.

The Catholic Church was historically an Apostolic Church, and during the second Vatican it was decided that all baptized Christians would be welcome during communion in the Catholic Church.
-Roman Catholicism goes back to three apostles, the most well known of which is Peter
-He was known as the church’s first “Pope”, however at the time the church was more focused on survival.
-In 318 AD at the Conversion of Emperor Constantine the church adopted a more modern hierarchical structure.
Catholic Beliefs:
-All main branches of Christianity believe in the doctrine of the Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the bible.
-Catholics believe that the pope has special authority, the power of the saints, the idea of purgatory and the idea of transubstantiation.
Catholic Practices:
-Catholic mass/liturgy = more formal and includes more sacred rituals.
-Eucharist is called the Mass
-Catholics observe all 7 sacraments.
-There are multiple catholic priest orders.
-Catholic priests take the vow of celibacy.
-Catholics and Catholic Churches use crucifixes and rosaries
The Honoring of the Saints
-Saints are people who have died who are now in heaven. While alive, saints have done meaningful and impactful things with their lives in pursuit of goodness for the church and god’s people.
-Protestants make little mention of Saints- not many rituals or special mentions
Lutherans/Episcopalians usually name their churches after saints, however they do not canonize them.
-Catholics/EOC saints are a large part of the church and beliefs. Many rituals take place to recognize the saints.
-Rosaries are used to count prayers
-Catholics commonly use them, however it is not strictly limited to Catholics. Many people of other religions use them as well (Jews, Buddhists, Muslim etc)
-A rosary is made up of decades. One decade is 1 Our Father, 10 Hail Marys and 1 Glory Be. Others include the Apostle’s Creed and the Fatima Prayer.
-Rosaries have “mysteries”. These are known as Joyful Mysteries, Luminous Mysteries Sorrowful Mysteries and Glorious Mysteries.
-Each Mystery has a different day of the week.
How to Pray the Rosary:
1.) Pray the Crucifix (Apostle’s creed)
2.)Large Bead (Our Father)
3.) Next three beads (Hail Marys)
4.) Chain (Glory Be)
5.) First Mystery
6.) Next Large Bead (Our Father)
7.)Ten Beads (Hail Marys)
8.) Chain (Glory Be)
9.) Fatima Prayer (optional)

10.) Repeat


posted by Marisol

Notes- Denominations 12/1

Original sin

  1. human condition
    1. destiny- redemption vs salvation
      1. redemption- general (collective/ universal)
      2. salvation- personal/ individual
    2. How do Christians get there?
      1. Rituals
      2. Sacred texts
      3.  Religious experience
        1. Structure of the denomination
        2. Practice


Roman Catholicism

  1. Original sin is inherited because of Adam and Eve
  2. Death, guilt= inclination to sin but can be overcome
  3. Have free will= grace (loving presence of God) can perfect the spirit; bring about spiritual perfection… meaning the inclination to sin can be counteracted by grace
  4. 7 sacraments
  5. Sin of Humanity – EVERYONE is born with it.
  6. Sin of Pride


Eastern Orthodox Christianity

  1. Ancestral sin
  2. b/c of Adam and Eve the effects of that sin is death and an inclination to sin but NO guilt
  3. have free will= grace (loving presence of God) can perfect the spirit; bring about spiritual perfection… meaning the inclination to sin can be counteracted by grace
  4. Everyone bears the consequences of the first sin but not everyone is guilty. Consequences are hereditary.
  5. NOT a “stain on the soul”
  6. six sacraments
    1. chrismation (baptism and confirmation at the same time)


  1. mankind is inherently bad- sinful and corrupt nature.
  2. b/c Adam and Eve the guilt is passed on and a corrupted nature is passed on
    1. people are unclean and sinful
  3. have free will
  4. belief in grace demonstrated in two sacraments (Baptism and Eucharist)
    1. Baptism (outward sign of your internal faith)- profession of faith and entrance into the Church
    2. Eucharist
  5. Inferior to God
  6. Humans are sentient beings – we can think and choose.


Redemption (universal idea)- needed Jesus to die on the cross = “by your cross and resurrection you have redeemed the world”

  1. EOC/ RCC- insufficient grace for personal salvation, therefore you must believe in the redemption offered by faith and works (DO NOT SAY GOOD WORKS)
    1. Five major works
      1. Attend church services on Sundays
        1. Mass- RCC
        2. Divine Liturgy- EOC
      2. Attend Church services on holy days of obligations and special occasions
      3. Prayer (conversations with God)
      4. Participation in sacraments as prescribed
      5. Good works- service to others (Corporal Acts of Mercy- feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and dying, visit prisoners, and bury the dead)
  1. Lutheranism- sufficient grace
    1. Sola fide (by)
    2. Sola gratia (through)
    3. Solus Christus (in)
      1. By Faith alone through grace given at redemption in Christ will bring salvation


ECC, RCC, Lutheranism

  1. Church Authority
    1. RCC
      1. Petrine doctrine (papacy)
    2. EOC
      1. Ecumenical Council (Patriarch of Constantinople= “representative”)
    3. Lutheranism/ Baptist


Food Fact! Young children are welcomed at the alter for communion in the Lutheran Church. Grape juice is a common substitute for wine.

Posted by Catherine and Marisol

The Parable of the Sower


Matthew 13:1-9

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus tells the story of a sower who plants seeds in four very different locations. First, the seeds are scattered on hard ground, making them unable to sprout at all. They are consumed by the birds. Next, the seeds fall on rocky soil, preventing them from sprouting substantial roots, and in the heat of the sun, wither immediately. The seeds are then laid on thorny grounds, and though crops are able to grow, they are soon suffocated by the thorns and weeds surrounding them. Finally, the seeds are placed on “good ground”, and are able to grow and produce fruit without interruption. Though the story is seemingly simple, the seed clearly represents Jesus’s words to his people, and each subsequent location represents the obstacles many people face when trying to accept it.

In the beginning of the parable, the hard ground represents those who are unwilling to accept the love and wisdom of Jesus, and the consumption of the seeds by the birds signifies the disposal of this wisdom by the people. Next, the rocky soil represents those who confess their love and acceptance of Jesus, but are untrue in their words. The thorny ground symbolizes those who attempt to follow the words of the Lord, but are unable to overcome and give up the material goods that surround them. Finally, the good ground represents a good and balanced person that is able to prosper and learn from Jesus’s word.

Modern Rewrite:

Catherine was starting a new school, and she didn’t have any friends. She knew she would be a good, loyal and supportive friend, but she hadn’t met anyone who was interested. One day she met Ariana, and though Catherine was kind and outgoing, Ariana was closed off and didn’t seem to want any friends. She sat in the corner of class and every time someone approached her, she turned her back and refused to acknowledge them. Disappointed, Catherine looked for friendship elsewhere. She came upon London, who seemed nice, but said mean things behind Catherine’s back. Their connection was not able to grow deep enough to make a lasting and meaningful friendship. Next, Catherine met Meghan, who seemed willing to be her friend, but due to her “higher social standing” and excess in material goods, was not able to recognize Catherine as someone worthy of her time. Finally, Catherine met Jagpaul, someone who was kind, loving and accepting of Catherine. He was loyal and trusting of Catherine, and their friendship was able to grow and flourish.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Luke 15: 3-7

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

Analyzation by Verse  

  1. (Verse 3) Jesus previously told two parables about sheep in Matthew and John. In Matthew, Jesus makes the comparison that sheep are like “little ones”, highlighting the quality of curiosity and the pursuit of “answers”. In John, Jesus compares the sheep to His followers, highlighting their devotion to Him. In this parable, Jesus relates sheep to the repentant sinner, highlighting the quality of remorse in those who have left his guidance. The shepherd can be though of as God.
  2. (Verse 4) Jesus refers to God as the shepherd who watches over his flock of followers. He asks a rhetorical question, Wouldn’t God take the time to help his lost follower come back to Him, rather than abandoning the lost one to be on his own?
  3. (Verse 5) When God sees that the lost sheep wants to be found, He takes him back to His home (in the light of His kingdom). Not only is the sheep (the sinner) happy to be found, God is happy that he was found.
  4. (Verse 6) God rejoices when the sheep has returned to His guidance because it takes a lot to leave and come back; it takes a lot to admit your wrong and seek repentance.
  5. (Verse 7) The shepherd simply reiterates his message- God will never stop waiting for His children to return to Him; fulfillment is found through God


Modern Parable:

A recent widow, unknown to others, loses the wedding band her deceased husband had given her. She goes around town, creates ads online, and tweets about her missing band and asking others if they have seen it. People criticize her by quoting or replying to her tweets and making comments like ‘why would someone go through this much trouble for a piece of tin”. Ignoring these comments, she continues in search for her lost ring. One day, someone returns the ring to her and she is overwhelmed with tears of joy and gratitude. She posts a photo on Instagram of the ring returned to its proper place on her finger.

Parable Activity (Ariana)

The Parable of the Rich Fool

Luke 12:15-21

Shwager mentioned in his lecture on parables that Jesus’s intetions are to portray reality in a manner that is simple to understand. Therefore, in this parable, there are vital points that allow the reader to understand how they should behave according to the Lord. This story reveals how obsessions over worldly pleasures can take one’s life. Those who are more concerned with themselves and not with God will eventually experience the consequences. With all of the temptations in our world, it is very easy to become more concerned with the accumulation of wealth. However, as one dies and enters a new world, their wealth and materialistic possessions do not accompany them. In the parable, God asks the rich fool, “And the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” (Luke 12:20). As the rich fool dies, his money stays behind and does not enter the afterlife with him. This parable shows that if money is your main priority, then you are neglecting God’s love.

God has blessed every person with individual and unique talents. God has also blessed us to share our talents with each other. God expects us to be a blessing in the lives of others as we strive to continue building the Kingdom of God. The Bible emphasizes that those who give freely are able to grow richer. Therefore, if we honor God and cherish what God has given us, we will be blessed with more. It is not our responsibility to hoard our wealth and keep it only to ourselves. God loves everyone unconditionally and so humans must reciprocate that love. If God has blessed us with material wealth, like the man in the parable, we must not set our hearts on it but instead be rich toward God. Additionally, it is important to remember that one can better concentrate and focus on God by detaching themselves from all trivial worldly pleasures. One must not be thirsty for materialistic possessions. Instead, one should appreciate the love God constantly distributes and strive to enter the Kingdom of God.

Characters in the Parable:

The Rich Man: In the beginning this man appears to be good. It is evident that he has many riches and wants to be content with them and enjoy them. As the parable progresses, we learn that the rich man is only concerned with his personal wealth.

God: In this parable, God is the judge and overseer. After witnessing this man’s behavior, God decides that this man is a fool. The problem is not that the man has several riches, but it is his attitude towards the riches. Instead of devoting his life to God or his relationships with family and friends, he thinks his sole purpose of living is to accumulate wealth. Thus, God observes this behavior.


Modern Parable Rewrite:

Once upon a time there lived a man who spent his life in and out of the training facilities of Denver, Colorado. His routine consisted of 8-10 hours of weight lifting per day, attempting to reach his goal of becoming the strongest man on the planet. He then began visiting additional gyms and spent more time working out in several unfamiliar facilities. When he was not exercising, he envisioned his next workout so that weightlifting became not only his occupation, but also his preoccupation. His wife tried to persuade him to stop spending his life at the gym and reminded him of his loving family that he continued to neglect. He mentioned that he was doing this all out of love for his family. He was aware that his family would not be able to understand his determination until he won the body building competitions, collected trophies and brought the money back home. Until then, he listened to his children complain about how he would not read to them anymore or how he would forget to eat dinner with them. He responded by saying there will be plenty of time for that after he became the strongest man on the planet. A month before the competition, he was required to visit the doctor to make sure he was in healthy condition. The doctor informed him that his blood pressure was extremely high, his resting heart rate was elevated and that his muscles were experiencing microscopic damage. Nonetheless, he continued to spend several hours of his day at the gym. The day of the competition, the man reached his goal of becoming the strongest man on the planet. During the celebration after the competition, the man collapsed and was unable to regain his position. He laid on the cold, dirty ground for several minutes until someone was finally able to call 911. When the paramedics arrived, they informed the crowd that he had just died of a severe heart attack. His death became a major story throughout the Denver community. At his funeral, several hundred people showed up to express their condolences. The majority of the people were his friends from the several gyms that he had memberships to. On his memorial, various people wrote inspiring words as how they remembered him: audacious, determined, committed, successful, superior. And at the very top, they wrote the man’s favorite words that he had given his life for: The Strongest. When they all departed, the angel of God appeared at the cemetery and made his way to the man’s accomplished memorial. There, the angel traced the word God had decided to summarize this successful, determined, busy man’s life. He wrote: Fool. God said, “You fool! This very night, your soul will be required of you. And the things you have stored up—whose will they be?”

Parable Activity (Serena)

The Parable of the Two Builders (Matthew 7:21-29): “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many mighty works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them, shall be likened unto a wise man, who built his house upon the rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and if fell not: for it was founded upon the rock. And every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and smote upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall thereof. And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these words, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching: for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”

MESSAGE: One man builds his house’s foundation upon rock and it stays strong through several natural disasters, while another man builds his house’s foundation upon sand and it fell after those same natural disasters. The man who built his house upon the rock foundation is a good Christian who builds his life upon God’s Word; the man who built his house upon the sand foundation is a person who does not rest his life upon God. The rock represents God and God’s Word, while the sand represents superficial things. The natural disasters represent the bad things that may come in life, such as illness, death, financial troubles, etc. The overall message is that building your life around God is the only way to truly stay strong. God, therefore, is the strength that we need to endure, and he is always there as a rock is always there. Humans have a tendency to build their lives around things that ultimately fade away or are not significant in the first place.

MODERN REWRITE: One couple, Tom and Lisa, build their relationship upon mutual trust and support. Another couple, Jerry and Annie, build their relationship upon Twitter biographies of their anniversary date and Instagram pictures of their dates. Tom and Lisa go through a rough patch where they are unable to see each other due to school and work commitments, and they make it through even stronger. Jerry and Annie go through a similar rough patch, but their relationship falls apart almost immediately.