University of Surrey Catholic Chaplaincy
These pages give background to the Catholic Faith. I hope you find them of interest! If after reading them you would like to find out more, or discuss anything that you have read please contact me at j.mccarthy@surrey.ac.uk , and I will be happy to talk with you about it. - John

Catholicism
Saints
Religious Orders
Catholic Thought

The Catholic Church has an unbroken tradition going back to Jesus of Nazareth, who lived in Judea and Galilee 2000 years ago. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus are recorded in four books called the Gospels.

The Sermon on the Mount


Catholic Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and follow his teaching and example as recorded in the Gospels by his disciples. Besides the Gospels, Catholic Christians also adhere to Church Tradition because they believe that God has been guiding his followers throughout the last 2000 years. The Gospel of John says:

The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

In Catholicism, and Christianity in general, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ) and God the Holy Spirit are the three Persons of God, often called the Trinity. Catholics also have a special admiration for Mary the mother of Jesus, because it was her love for God which allowed Jesus Christ to be born. Together with her son Jesus Christ, she is seen as a model of the ideal Christian.

The Annunciation to Our Lady


Loyalty to the Pope is a distinguishing feature of Catholicism. Towards the end of his life, Saint Peter, the most important of Jesus' disciples, became the leader of the Church in Rome. When he was put to death for his faith in Jesus Christ, his follower Saint Linus became bishop of Rome, and since then, despite persecution under the Romans, Rome has always been an important centre of Christianity. The bishops of Rome are seen as the successors of Peter, and this is very significant to Catholics, because it says in the Gospels:

Simon Peter said, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' Jesus replied, 'Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So now I say to you: You are Peter [Peter means Rock] and on this rock I will build my Church.' (Matthew 16:16-18)

The Confession of Peter


Catholics believe that the Pope is guided in a special way by the Holy Spirit, and is allowed to clarify Catholic belief (although this is only done very rarely). This is because the Gospel goes on to say:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.' (Matthew 16:19)

This fidelity to the Pope, currently Pope Francis, is a sign of continuity and authenticity, going all the way back 2000 years to that commission given to Peter by Christ.


Life as a Catholic

Jesus gave two commandments to his followers:

Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, all your Mind, all your Soul and all your Strength

Love your Neighbour as Yourself

He also taught his followers that prayer is a vital part of life, since it lets God communicate with us, and lets us communicate with God. Prayer, therefore, is very important to Catholics. Simply put, prayer is the lifting of the heart and mind to God. God also gives us other ways of getting close to him, which Catholics call the Sacraments. These are: Baptism, Confession, the Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders (Priesthood), and the Last Rites. It may surprise some Christians that, besides being supported by Church Tradition, all of these sacraments have a solid basis in the New Testament.

Out of all the sacraments, Catholics have a great love for the Eucharist, which is often called the Blessed Sacrament. This is the deepest expression of God's love for us. On the last evening before he died, Jesus was eating with his disciples:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, 'Take and eat, this is my body.' Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.'

The Institution of the Eucharist


Catholics believe that when a priest says these words, this is much more than a simple memorial of Jesus. This is based on what Jesus says:

Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven.


The Eucharist is therefore believed to be the Body of Jesus Christ. Because of this, it is treated with the utmost respect and love. A Catholic will try to receive the Blessed Sacrament as often as possible (usually once a week but sometimes more frequently), since it is an enormous help in sustaining the spiritual life.

To summarise, Catholics believe that we were all created to love and serve God. A Catholic tries to grow closer to God by obeying the teaching and following the example of Jesus Christ. They are sustained in this by frequent prayer, and by the help of the sacraments; in particular by the Eucharist.

The Catholic Church in Guildford

Our Bishop of Arundel and Brighton in turn makes provision for the Pastoral care of the people of his Diocese, and ensuring the availability of the Sacraments to the Community, most especially the Eucharist, the Source and Summit of our Christian lives. With this in mind he has appointed a Chaplain, John McCarthy, to the community of St Thomas More at the University of Surrey.





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The Roman Catholic Chaplaincy to the University of Surrey is provided by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arundel and Brighton
The Arundel and Brighton Trust is a Registered Charity No. 252878

This website was last updated on 9th October 2015