The Meaning of Catholicism as a Culture Sharing Group
A culture-sharing group is a tight community where culture is transmitted from generation to generation and from one individual to another. In addition, by sharing the same values and principles, and being in constant interactions, the members of the group are able to reinforce these values in others. Catholicism is a culture sharing group in that a true Catholic life requires the support of a community that develops under the shade of faith and love. Catholicism also embodies a living tradition that is transmitted from generation to generation since the days of the apostles, and continues to grow with each generation. It is shared within groups of believers and constitutes one of the prerequisites of true faith. Catholicism is faith-sharing community where people can find support from the members of their group and can find meaning in the experiences of the illustrious figures of Catholicism from the past, such as the lives of the apostles, but also, in present-day community religious leaders, from priests to the Pope as the highest religious authority. Of course, the most important and the most basic group of faith and culture sharing is represented by the family unit itself.
Scripture as a Foundation of Catholicism
The Holy Scripture is the word of God, having been written under the influence of the Holy Spirit. As such, it functions as a way of linking humans with divinity. God employed men to transmit his words, and while they wrote the words, these words were inspired by God, and nothing written down is more or less than He wanted to convey. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Scripture while the great men who wore chosen to put the words down only had an instrumental role in its creation. The Scripture therefore is of divine inspiration which renders it sacred. As such, it represents the foundation of the Catholic faith and the most important guide for believers. Believers must read the Scripture and apply its teaching to their own lives every day. The purpose of the Scripture is not only to help believers learn what God expects of them, but also to reveal Himself to humans. By ignoring the Scripture, the believers ignore the Father and the Son themselves and therefore, frequent readings and study of the Bible are one of the main prerequisites for the believers. However, while being the foundation of the Catholic faith, the Scripture alone does not suffice.
The Importance of the Council of Nicaea
The first Ecumenical Council of the Church was held in 325, in a time of great disorder among the supporters of different directions for the young Christian faith. Emperor Constantine, trying to restore religious peace, summoned bishops from within the Roman Empire to Nicaea. Bishops from countries outside the empire were present as well. During the discussion, the bishops came to an agreement regarding the correct manner of outlining the relationship between Father and Son. In expressing their beliefs, they were opposing Arius, a strong supporter of the idea that the Son was not of the same essence as God. However, during the Council, the bishops gave many pertinent arguments that demonstrated the fact that the Son was indeed of the same essence of God. After days of consultations, they came to an agreement regarding this important topic and adopted a creed that gathered together the most important Christian beliefs regarding the nature of the Trinity. Apart from being the moment when the Nicene Creed was adopted, the first Ecumenical Council managed for the first time to create a homogenous Christian doctrine and established a precedent for all the subsequent Councils at different levels, means to create uniform statements of beliefs or canons.