Conduct of life – LOVE: At Saint Willibrord’s, we believe in living our lives,… to the best of our ability,… according to the Two (2) Great Commandments Jesus gave us in the New Testament:
1 . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment,… and the second is like unto it:
2. Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.
These Two Great Commandments emphasize “LOVE.” Our obedience/adherence to these 2 Commandments, upon which hang all the law and the prophets, helps us to live and abide,… more naturally,… by God’s Ten (10) Commandments.
We believe in demonstrating our love for others, not only towards fellow believers, but also toward those who are not believers and even to those who may oppose us. (Lev 19:18; Matt 5:44; Luke 6:31; John 13:34-35; Rom 12:9-10; 17-21; 13:8-10; Phil 2:2-4; 2 Tim 2:24-26; Titus 3:2; 1 John 3:17-18)
Sacred Scripture gives us great insight as to how others will know if we are followers of Christ (Christian disciples),… and again, it hinges on the word “LOVE.”
John 13:35 – Everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.
HUMAN SEXUALITY / MARRIAGE: We believe God has commanded that no intimate activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.
We believe that the term “marriage” has only one, legitimate, meaning and that is a marriage sanctioned by God, which joins one man and one woman (as that gender was determined at birth) in a single, sacramental and covenantal union, as delineated by Sacred Scripture.
ABORTION: We believe that human life begins a conception and that the unborn child is a living human being. We reject any teaching that abortions are acceptable. (Job 3:16; Ps 1:5; 139:14-16; Isa 44:24; 49:1, 5; Jer 1:5; 20:15-18; Luke 1:44)
- We believe in The Holy Trinity–God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
- We believe in one God, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible.
- We believe in one Lord, Christ Jesus (God the Son), who is the second person of the Holy Trinity, who, for our salvation, came down from heaven, and by the power of the Holy Spirit was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man in the flesh.
- We believe that Jesus, for our sake, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, suffered, died, and was buried.
- We believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, who died on the cross to atone for sin and on the third day, rose from the dead in accordance with the Scriptures.
- We believe that Jesus ascended (of His own power) into heaven and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, from where He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.
- We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who has spoken through the prophets and has guided the Catholic Church in all her doctrines and dogmas as they relate to, and are connected with, the first seven ecumenical councils.
- We believe that “Catholic Church” has always meant the “Universal Christian Church” which teaches and affirms what Orthodox Christians everywhere believe.
- We do not believe the late doctrine that “Catholic” means being in union with the Bishop of Rome (the Roman Catholic Pope).
- We believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
- We believe in one baptism for the forgiveness of sin (washes away original sin).
- We believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
- We believe in the three historic creeds: Apostles, Nicene, and Athanasian.
- We believe that the Catholic faith was established by seven (7) Ecumenical Councils guided by the Holy Spirit, specifically:
The Council of Nicea (325),
The Council of Constantinople (381),
The Council of Ephasis (431),
The Council of Chalcedon (451),
The Second Council of Constantinople (453),
The Third Council of Constantinople (680-681),
The Second Council of Nicea (787).
- We believe that all other “Councils” after 1054 were not Ecumenical Councils (since the whole church did not meet together) but that they were Synods of a part of the whole church; therefore, their decisions are not binding on the whole church.
- We believe that the Bible is the inspired, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God.
- We believe that the apocryphal or deutero-canonical books of the Old Testament are not of the same canonicity as the books contained in the Hebrew Canon. They are good for personal edification and spiritual growth, but not for doctrine.
- We believe that the Bible should be read in the common language that is understood by the people (English in England, French in France, German in Germany, etc.).
- We believe that the Bible is the primary source for our faith, but we also accept the Holy Tradition as passed down by the Apostles through teaching, documents of the early Church, and Ecumenical Councils.
- We believe in and maintain Apostolic Succession.
- We Believe that the guidance of the Early Church Fathers is part of Holy Tradition.
- We believe that the liturgy of the church should be conducted in the common language that is understood by the people.
- We believe that faith and works are required of us by God (because we do what we believe).
- We believe that no amount of good deeds can earn salvation. Salvation comes by God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
- We respect the Saints of the church, but we do not believe that they have earned some sort of extra salvation that can be transferred to others.
- We do not believe in Purgatory or Indulgences and depend entirely on the mercy of God and love of Christ if any purification is necessary upon death.
- We believe in seven Sacraments of the church:
- We believe that the Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist are the primary Sacraments of the church.
- We believe that the Eucharistic celebration is not a continual sacrifice, or a re-sacrifice of Christ, but its sacrificial character consists in that it is a permanent memorial of Christ’s sacrifice that was offered once forever on the cross.
- We believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist–that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ.
- We believe that the Sacrament of the Eucharist is open to all who are baptized and repentant of their sins, regardless of their personal views regarding the character of the Eucharist. Jesus, truly and substantially present in the Eucharist, will not be denied to anyone who wants to draw closer to Him in His Sacrament of Communion.
- We believe that celibacy for those in Holy Orders is a personal decision, is voluntary, and is not something that is required.
- We believe that the practice of confession of sins to a Priest is a Sacrament that has been passed down to us by the Catholic Church. While encouraged and always available for humility and personal growth, it is not required. Direct, personal confession of sins to God that is sincere and based on a firm purpose of amendment is equally effective.
- We believe that the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary are new teachings that have crept into the Church and therefore are neither binding on the Catholic Church to observe nor binding on any person to accept. However, people are free to accept these teachings as a personal belief.
- We believe that the doctrine of the infallibility of the Bishop of Rome is a new teaching that has crept into the Church and therefore is neither binding on the Catholic Church to observe nor binding on any person to accept.
- We believe that the pope, as Bishop of Rome, is an heir to the apostolic authority and ministry of the Apostles; therefore, the Bishop of Rome is very much respected.
- We believe that all Bishops hold an equal apostolic calling/authority and no one See is above in authority over any other.
- We believe that the idea that the Bishop of Rome is the ruler of the church, worldwide, is not in keeping with the Catholic Church, but it is a new idea that has crept into the church and is neither binding on the Catholic Church to observe nor binding on any person to accept.
- We believe that the use of “Catholic” for only those who are in full communion with the Bishop of Rome as ruler of the church is not in keeping with the Catholic Church, the Seven Ecumenical Councils, Holy Tradition, or Scripture of the Catholic Church. Therefore, it is a new idea that has crept into the church and is neither binding on the Catholic Church to observe nor binding on any person to accept.
- We believe that marriage is a Sacrament, but divorce and remarriage are realities. We do not believe that divorce is an “unforgivable sin,” neither do we believe that divorce should bar anyone from the ministry and Sacraments of the church.
- We believe contraception is a personal decision (with the exception of abortion, which is never acceptable).
- We believe in teaching what the whole church has always taught everywhere. We do not teach theological speculation, new and controversial doctrines, neither do we believe in debating or arguing them with anyone.
- We believe that the church cannot compel anyone to believe anything and that it is not the role of the church to impose “faith” on anyone, in or out of the church.
- We believe the role of the clergy is to guide morality and faith by being examples, not by being authoritarians–the clergy serves the church, they do not impose their will on it.
- We believe that the Catholic Church combats unbelief and religious indifference by faithfully professing the doctrine of Jesus Christ, by refusing to admit human error into the teaching of the Catholic Church, by weeding out any abuses of the church, and by the clergy living simple lives of faith that serve as examples to others.
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