Catholicism - Now I Get It!



Study Guide to CHAPTER ONE –

“Founded By Jesus: Now I Get…..the Catholic Church’s Claim”





What does the Catholic Church have that no other Church has?

Which apostle was chosen to lead Christ’s sheep? Which Apostle was the Rock on which Jesus built His Church?

What is Petrine succession? What is apostolic succession?

Name the first 10 popes.

What is the largest single Christian denomination in the world?

What makes the Catholic Church think it has Christ’s own authority to rule and guide Christ’s flock on Earth?

What does it mean when we say we believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

What Church Council is mentioned by the Bible? When was the most recent Church Council?

Name 5 to 10 Early Church Fathers. What was their role in the Early Church?

Who is St. Augustine? What are two of his most famous works?

What is the Biblical basis for each of the Seven Sacraments?

What name refers to Peter in John 1:42? Hint: It’s the Aramaic word for “Rock.”

Homework: Memorize Matthew 16: 18-19




Suggestions for further reading:


The Bible

Catechism of the Catholic ChurchCompendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (short version of catechism- released Oct. 2005!)

Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth. (booklet) San Diego, CA: Catholic Answers, 1996.

Upon This Rock: St. Peter and the Primacy of Rome in Scripture and the Early Church Stephen K. Ray. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1999

Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words by Rod Bennett.  San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2000

Jesus, Peter & the Keys by Scott Butler, Norman Dahlgren, and David Hess. Santa
Barbara, CA: Queenship Publishing Co., 1996

Beginning Apologetics: How to Explain and Defend the Catholic Faith. Farmington, NM: San Juan Catholic Seminars, 1993-1996.

By What Authority: An Evangelical Discovers Catholic Tradition by Mark P. Shea, Our Sunday Visitor, 1996.

Where is That in the Bible? by Patrick Madrid, Our Sunday Visitor, 2001

Why is That  in Tradition? by Patrick Madrid, Our Sunday Visitor, 2002.

The Papacy: Learning Guide by Stephen K. Ray and R. Dennis Walters, Catholic Answers 2003.

The 33 Doctors of the Church. By Rev Christopher Rengers, O.F.M. Cap.,  Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 2000

The Early Church by Henry Chadwick, London: Penguin Books, 1993. (first published in Pelican Books 1967)

The Apostolic Fathers by Fr. Jack Sparks

Apologetics Concordance (This is the Bible cheat-sheet! One laminated page filled with Bible quotes by category)

Set of Six Apologetics booklets (for beginners!)





Helpful entries from the online Catholic Encyclopedia. (St. Peter) (Papacy) (The Fathers of the Church) (The Pope) (The Apostolic Fathers) (Writings of the Church Fathers)




HELPFUL WEB SITES (The Scott Hahn Conversion Story) (The Dave Armstrong Conversion Story) (The Apostolic Church)




CD ROM: “Welcome to the Catholic Church on CD-ROM” (Harmony Media, Inc.)

Video: PETER: Keeper of the Keys (filmed on location in Rome and the Holy Land with Stephen Ray)

Video: JESUS: The Word Became Flesh (filmed on location with Steve Ray)

Video: PAUL: Contending for the Faith (filmed on location with Steve Ray)

Video: Moses: Signs, Sacraments, Salvation (filmed on location with Steve Ray)

Video The Greatest Figures in Salvation History: A Closer Look at Moses and Peter (DVD)

Audiotapes: “Beyond Reasonable Doubt: Tim Staples Live” (set of 6 audiotapes), St. Joseph Communications, West Covina, CA.

Video or audiotape: “The Bible Made Me Do It – The Conversion Story of Tim Staples

Video: The Scott Hahn Conversion Story (VHS)





What did Jesus say about His Church?


Luke 10:16

"He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me."


Matthew 16:18-19

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


Matthew 18:18

Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven


Matthew 18:17

If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.


Matthew 28: 18-20

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."


John 14:16

And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever


For Bible verses related to St. Peter, see John 21:17, Luke 24:34, Acts 1:23-26, Acts 15:7, Acts 15:19, Acts 10:44-46,  Acts 2:41, Acts 5:1-11, Acts 3:6-7, Acts 8:21


John 1:42

He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter). (Note: Cephas means “Rock” in Aramaic)






St. Irenaeus

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).


St. Cyprian of Carthage

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). ... On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).


St. Cyprian of Carthage

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

St. Jerome

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

"The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria" (ibid., 16:2).


St. Augustine

"There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age. The succession of priests keep me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present episcopate [of Pope Siricius]" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 5 [397 A.D.]).

St. Ambrose of Milan

"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [379 A.D.]).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [389 A.D.]).


St. Clement’s letter to James

"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [221 A.D.]).


For further quotes from Church Fathers, see and the three-volume book The Faith of the Fathers by William A. Jurgens, Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1979.






1.     Make time read to the Bible, even if just for 5 minutes each night. Start with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament. Meditate prayerfully over Jesus’ words.

2.     Are there areas where you do not trust the authority of Church teaching? If so, make it a point to research those teachings and the Biblical and historic basis for them. Find out why the Church teaches them. Pray.

  1. Pray for Pope Benedict XVI and his intentions. Pray for Christian unity.
  2. Pray for other Church leaders in authority – the bishop of your diocese and your parish priests. Diocesan priests are swamped with duties these days. Are you able to assist with some parish program or start a new one? Perhaps a Bible study, a Young Adult Group, or a Service Team?






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