Where Can I Discover More About Catholic Faith?
The best way to discover more about what Catholics believe and how we aim to follow Christ is to talk to Catholics who are already active in their faith. Many parishes in our Diocese have a group which meets to prepare adults to join the Church through the process known as RCIA. These groups (often called ‘Journey into Faith’) will usually offer a series of meetings where various aspects of Catholic teaching are presented with an opportunity for group discussion and prayer. Attending RCIA classes doesn’t commit you to joining the Church, but is a good way to understand the good news which the Church claims to have received through Christ. It may also allow you to develop a sense of what it would feel like to belong to a community of practising Catholics, and how you might deepen your relationship with God through the Church and the Sacraments.
Alternatively, there are also ways to explore the teachings of the Church on your own, through private reading and research. The website of the Catholic Faith Centre may prove very helpful to explore initially. Whilst there are many further books and resources which might be useful, here are a few suggestions for adults:
- The most definitive and comprehensive presentation of the Church’s teachings is the Catechism of the Catholic Church (Revised edn). If you are seriously considering becoming a Catholic, or just interested in discovering more about Catholicism, it’s important to have some familiarity with the Catechism. A good way to introduce yourself to the full Catechism is to read the shorter Compendium of the Catechism, or YouCat which presents the teachings of the Catechism in accessible language with illustrations.
- Word on Fire is a website and ministry produced by Bishop Robert Barron. It contains many useful videos and articles explaining the faith. If you prefer listening to bite-sized videos or reading short articles, then this website is perfect for you. The resources are relatively easy to understand, and have a helpful focus on the roots of the Church’s teaching in Biblical narratives, and their relation to modern culture. Bishop Barron has also written a very clear and vivid presentation of the faith in his book Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith (New York: Image Books, 2011).
- Credo: The Catholic Faith Explained (London: Catholic Truth Society, 2007) by Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent, is a beautifully illustrated pocket introduction to the Catholic Faith.
- For someone who is not sure whether to believe in God or not and questions whether Christianity is intellectually rational, then Taking Pascal’s Wager: Faith, Evidence and the Abundant Life (IVP Academic, 2016) by Professor Michael Rota is a book which offers an accessible presentation of contemporary philosophical evidence for God’s existence and for the truth of Christianity. Professor Rota argues that Christianity is not only rational, but also that embracing a relationship with Christ significantly improves one’s well being in this life. The book closes with a powerful consideration of several examples of people who have had their lives transformed by Christianity.
- The Light of Christ: An Introduction to Catholicism (Washington D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2017) by Thomas Joseph White OP, provides a detailed explanation of the Church’s teachings, and its claim to reveal God’s love for us through Christ. The Light of Christ might be of particular interest to you if you have some background knowledge of philosophy.
“If I am asked to convert others … I say plainly I do not care to overcome their reason without touching their hearts.” (Blessed John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua)
Whilst learning about Catholic beliefs is an excellent way to reach an intellectual appreciation of Catholic doctrine, our faith aims to foster a loving, personal relationship with Christ. If you feel that God is drawing to you into a deeper relationship with Himself by receiving the Sacraments in the Catholic Church, it is important to foster the personal knowledge of God which is gained through private prayer and participation in the Liturgy. Many enquirers find the experience of attending Mass, where Christ is present in the Eucharist, an inspiring and powerful motivation to embrace the Catholic faith. Whilst the reception of Holy Communion at Mass is reserved for those who are members of the Catholic Church, any person is welcome to attend the celebration of Mass and other services in any Catholic church.
If you have questions about our faith or would like more information about opportunities for formation, please contact your parish priest or for further information, resources or support please contact the Diocesan Co-ordinators of Catechesis, Kieran Hughes (for family catechesis & children’s catechesis), Gregory Stacey (for adult catechesis) or Breda Theakston (family catechesis & Baptism).