"Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it." These words of Our Savior in Matthew 16:18 form the core of the Catholic Church's claim to be the one, true Church founded by Jesus Christ: Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia
--"Where Peter is, there is the Church." The Pope, the successor of Peter as bishop of Rome, is the sure sign that the Catholic Church remains the Church of Christ and His apostles.
The links below will help you explore the beliefs and practices of Catholicism. They form a good starting point for learning more about the Catholic Church.
For Catholics, the seven sacraments
are the center of our life as Christians. Our baptism
removes the effects of original sin and brings us into the Church, the Body of Christ. Our worthy participation in the other sacraments provides us with the grace we need to conform our lives to Christ and marks our progress through this life. Each sacrament was instituted by Christ during His life on earth and is an outward sign of an inward grace.
After the sacraments, prayer is the single most important aspect of our life as Catholics. Saint Paul tells us that we should "pray without ceasing," yet in the modern world, it sometimes seems that prayer takes a back seat not only to our work but to entertainment. As a result, many of us have fallen out of the habit of daily prayer that characterized the lives of Christians in centuries past. Yet an active prayer life, like frequent participation in the sacraments, is essential to our growth in grace.
One thing that unites the Catholic Church to the Eastern Orthodox Churches and separates it from most Protestant denominations is the devotion to the saints, those holy men and women who have lived exemplary Christian lives. Many Christians--even Catholics--misunderstand this devotion, which is based on our belief that, just as our life does not end with death, so too our relationships with our fellow members of the Body of Christ continue after their deaths. This Communion of Saints is so important that it is an article of faith in all Christian creeds, from the time of the Apostles' Creed.
Many people think that Christmas is the most important day in the Catholic liturgical calendar, but from the earliest days of the Church, Easter
has been considered the central Christian feast. As Saint Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, "If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain." Without Easter—without the Resurrection of Christ—there would be no Christian Faith. Christ's Resurrection is the proof of His Divinity.