Hello Rosary Lovers! There are many different views about Jesus. In this post we will ask: Who is the Catholic Jesus Christ?
Born of the Immaculate Virgin
One of the things Catholics believe about Jesus is that he was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. They believe that Mary remained a virgin even after conceiving and giving birth to Jesus.
Catholics also believe that Mary was without any stain of sin at all when she conceived Jesus. In fact, that she was pure from all sin from the first moment of her existence. Catholics call this the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception.
So the Jesus born of Mary was absolutely pure and spotless, because he is God, the Infinite and all Holy One. Because of this, Mary his Mother had to also be perfectly pure, a fitting Temple for the eternal King of Kings.
Mary remained a Virgin her entire life, and we call her Ever-Virgin. Again, this is because of the awesome Holiness of her Son conceived in her body.
Christ’s Flesh and Blood on the Altar
Catholics believe that every Mass, the real flesh and blood of Jesus appears on our Catholic Altars.
We believe that the Eucharist/Mass is a real Sacrifice. We believe that the Crucified Victim – Jesus – comes down onto our altars to feed us with his real flesh and blood.
He does this through the hands of a Catholic bishop or priest, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The bread and wine stay bread and wine in their appearance, taste, smell, touch, etc. But the essence or underlying reality of the bread and wine change supernaturally into Jesus himself: his very body and blood.
We call this the doctrine of transubstantiation.
Jesus speaks of this much in John’s gospel, chapter 6, for instance: ‘The life that I give to the world is my flesh … If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you … For my flesh is true meat, and my blood is true drink.’
Catholics take Jesus’ words literally when he says these things.
Catholics believe so passionately in these words of Jesus, that they even WORSHIP the Eucharist!
We so believe that the Eucharist is the true body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus, that we believe that by worshipping it we are actually directly worshipping God.
We don’t merely venerate or honour the Eucharist; we worship and adore it as our God.
The Catholic Jesus Appointed Peter as Head of the earthly Church
Catholics believe that Jesus had a careful plan before leaving earth. He chose a real Representative to take his place on earth in the Church.
This was Simon Peter, whom Jesus called the Rock. We see this in Matthew chapter 16: ‘And I say to you, you are Peter and on this Rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.’
In this passage, Jesus also gives Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven. This is why many Catholic images depict St Peter with keys. He is the most important Apostle.
But Peter also died. So where is Peter today? Where is Jesus today?
He is represented by the Pope of Rome. Simon Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, and when he died he left a Bishop to take his place. When that Bishop died, another Bishop took his place at Rome.
And so on to today. Today’s Pope is Pope Francis (2013 -). Pope Francis is the true successor of Simon Peter at Rome, and is therefore the Vicar of Peter and the Vicar of Christ, the true Representative of Jesus on earth over the Church.
Catholics believe that the Church needs a Pope because without the Pope the Church cannot enjoy true unity in love and unity in truth.
The Pope is the foundation of the Church’s unity, and is the Pastor of all Christians.
The Catholic Jesus Left the World his Body, the Catholic Church
Catholics believe that when Jesus left the world, he left a real part of himself. He did not leave us orphans. He sent us the Holy Spirit, but he also left us his Body, the Church, in which the Holy Spirit lives.
The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ, and thus the Body of God. The Church is Christ in a real sense, since the Church is a kind of extension of the Incarnation.
This is why when Saul persecutes Christians in the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus comes to him and says: ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?’ Not why are you persecuting my Church, but why are you persecuting me.
Jesus and his Body, the Church, are mystically ONE. We cannot separate the Catholic Church from Jesus, or Jesus from the Catholic Church.
Without the Catholic Church, the true knowledge of Jesus would be lost to the world, and the world would perish through skepticism about who Jesus really is, or whether he even really existed. It is the Catholic Church which has preserved in the world the true knowledge of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit eternally comes from the Catholic Jesus
There is an old Church debate about whether the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from God the Father alone, or from the Father and the Son.
The Catholic Church has a strong stance on this matter. She believes that the Holy Spirit comes from the Father and the Son.
This is why Jesus breathes onto his apostles the Holy Spirit in John 20:22. The Holy Spirit comes from Jesus eternally.
This is also why Jesus sends the Holy Spirit onto the world from heaven.
Notwithstanding, the Catholic Church also believes that it is the Father whom the Holy Spirit comes from principally, as Jesus himself said: ‘When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who proceeds from the Father‘ (John 15:26).
Whilst it is true that the Holy Spirit comes also from the Son eternally and economically, the ultimate Source of the Holy Spirit is God the Father.
The Catholic Jesus has a real Mother forever, the Mother of God
Catholics venerate Mary as the true Mother of God precisely because Jesus Christ is God, and Mary is the Mother of Jesus.
Catholics proudly call Mary ‘Mother of God’, and ‘Our Lady’ and ‘Our Mother’. We believe that in Christ Mary is our Mother also.
Mary will always be Jesus’ Mother and will always be the Mother of God. As such, she holds a very special place next to Jesus in the Church and in Heaven.
The Catholic Jesus wants his Images and Saints Venerated
Jesus has filled many people throughout history. Filled with Christ, the Church has declared such people Saints. That is, people who are truly in heaven and can be appealed to and venerated.
The Church makes images and pictures of these people, and of the Saviour, and venerates these images as representations of the true individuals in heaven.
All of this is an extension of the Incarnation. Since God really became human and took on our flesh, creation is very good and can be used to make images of God in the flesh and his holy ones.
The Catholic Church is filled with images, pictures and statues of Jesus. Whether he is crowned with thorns or bloody, or on the cross, or otherwise, we have it all in the Church.
We also have a host of images and statues of Mary, St Joseph, and all the saints.
These images bring us to God by connecting us to the people they represent.
In the Byzantine Catholic tradition, these images are understood to be so united to these heavenly individuals that to touch them is to touch the individual in heaven.
These images are absolutely not worshipped, but merely venerated/honoured.
There are many other ways that the Catholic Jesus is unique amongst all other viewpoints about Jesus in the world. Indeed, there have always been so many different views of Jesus since he was here on earth.
The Church has battled against heresy after heresy and error after error, but she still stands strong in what she has always believed.
The Catholic Church’s beliefs have certainly evolved and developed over the last 2000 years, but they have never fundamentally changed.
We can find the same things the Church believes and teaches today believed and taught by Catholic Bishops in the 2nd century, the 3rd century, the 4th, 5th and so on right through history.
The Catholic Jesus is the true Jesus, the one Jesus of salvation who came to redeem humanity. It is imperative that we come to Christ through his holy Catholic Church.
God bless, and if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.