Ten Things Catholics Don’t Believe

The Venerable Bishop Fulton J. Sheen once wrote, “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”

Mending the mistaken notions of our non-Catholic friends and relatives about what we actually believe is both a spiritual work of mercy and an important step in the reunion of all Christians. Below is a list of ten common misconceptions paired with what the Catholic Church really teaches:

1. Catholics don’t believe that Mary is a goddess, but that she is the holy mother of God and of all Christians.

2. Catholics don’t worship statues, but images help us connect with our friends in Heaven.

3. Catholics don’t believe that the pope is sinless or inerrant about everything, but that he is the successor to St. Peter and can teach infallibly on faith and morals.

4. Catholics don’t believe that people shouldn’t read Sacred Scripture, but that we won’t interpret it well apart from Sacred Tradition.

5. Catholics don’t believe that we are “saved by works,” but that we must cooperate with God’s saving graces.

6. Catholics don’t believe that Jesus is re-sacrificed every Mass, but that the Mass re-presents (makes present) his one sacrifice and applies its power here and now.

7. Catholics don’t believe in cannibalism, but that the Eucharist truly is the real, living person of Jesus Christ.

8. Catholics don’t believe that married couples must have as many children as humanly possible, but that it is harmful to separate what God has joined in the marital embrace.

9. Catholics don’t believe that purgatory is a second chance or “temporary hell,” but that God perfects us to be in his holy presence in Heaven.

10. Catholics don’t believe that all non-Catholics will go to hell, but we want everyone to come into full communion with us in Christ’s one Church.

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