In Catholic theology, the concept of dogma refers to those truths the Church declares to be infallible and indisputable. Catholic dogma is elaborate. Some major examples include:
- That God alone created the world
- That the Son of God became man in order to redeem men
- That Mary is truly the Mother of God
- That even in his fallen state man can attain religious and moral truths
- That Christ founded the Catholic Church and that he is the head of the Catholic Church
- That the Pope has full power over the government of the Catholic Church
- That Baptism is a true sacrament created by Christ and that Baptism of children is valid
- That the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ are substantially present in the Holy Eucharist
- That sins may be remitted with the Church’s absolution
- That Bishops are superior to priests
As with most religions, the administrative details are usually beyond the realm of the everyday practitioner. The key to understanding the concept of Catholic dogma is in grasping its immutability; none of it is subject to question. The actual meaning of the word “catholic” is universal. In theological terms, this means that Catholicism is invariable all over the world. It is only in sociological and cultural terms that American Catholicism shows a uniquely national character. An important aspect of this character relates to Catholicism’s struggle to validate itself in a primarily Protestant country.
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