To begin our discussion about what Catholics believe, I thought it'd be a good idea if we discussed one thing Catholics don't believe.
Catholics don't believe salvation comes from anywhere but through Jesus.
I don't know how widespread this misunderstanding is, but some Protestants seem to think that Catholics "replace" Jesus with prayers or works or ceremonies or beliefs - that we place our hope for salvation, not in Jesus, but in the Catholic Church.
A few weeks ago a dear non-Catholic relative of mine told me, "I hope you're placing your hope in Jesus Christ, and not in your confirmation or your baptism." That made me giggle a little bit. The thought of me placing my hope in my confirmation or my baptism instead of in Jesus was just so ridiculous.
Not that I don't put hope in my confirmation or my baptism - I do - but only because it is through these sacraments that Jesus comes to me. Confirmation and baptism and the Holy Eucharist don't replace Jesus; they lead me to Him. They unite me with Him.
Next week, on the feast of Corpus Christi, I'll talk at some length about one of the ways Jesus comes to Catholics most vividly: the Holy Eucharist.
Well! Sorry if the hurriedness with which I wrote this post came blatantly through. :) Any questions? Concerns? Comments? Let's talk!