When teaching the Catholic youth, you should know that in Catholicism, perhaps the oldest form of Christianity, there are many traditional and distinguishing elements, but none more fundamental than its teachings on the exclusive nature of the religion. Catholicism posits not only that it is the one true religion begun by Jesus Christ, but also that there are elements which mark it as such. These marks which distinguish the Church should form the most basic part of Catholic education.
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Things you need
- Catholic Catechism
- Archdiocesan recommendations
- Book of Catholic saints
Familiarise yourself with the tenets of the Church's teaching on the Four Marks in the catechism, and review your archdiocesan recommendations for their introduction to the youth. The catechism will help you to better understand the Four Marks, and therefore teach them better. The archdiocesan recommendations are necessary to make sure that you are adhering to your archdiocesan proscriptions on this matter.
Explain to the children that Christ wanted to set up His new Church in a way that would make it easy to identify. Therefore, he gave it Four Marks which separate it from all other Churches. The marks are: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.
Explain that the first mark is that the Church is One. While other Churches may suffer from confusion, internal arguments, and disunity, the unity of the Catholic Church as one undivided whole is guaranteed by Christ, who gave the Church a pope behind which the whole Church could unite.
Explain that the second mark is that the Church is Holy using the book of Catholic saints. In its past and present, the Catholic Church has many examples of holy men and women. This is perfect time where you can introduce the children to as many examples of saints as you desire, but make sure to emphasise why they were holy as explained in the book of Catholic saints. You may also wish to explain the holiness of the Church's sacraments, depending upon the ability of the children to understand those concepts.
Explain that the third mark is that the Church is Catholic. You will probably have to explain that 'Catholic' means "universal," or "worldwide." Therefore, this mark identifies the Church as being present throughout the entire earth, leaving very few areas where men and women do not have the opportunity to come into contact with it.
Explain that the fourth mark is that the Church is Apostolic. In order to maintain the integrity of Christ's bestowal of power upon the apostles, the Catholic Church identifies the proper succession of this power in the consequential ordinations which have resulted. In other words, every Catholic priest can trace his ordination to a historical connection of ordinations leading back to the apostles. This apostolic succession can only be claimed by very few Christian Churches, and the Catholic Church is the only one which is One, Holy, and Catholic, as well as Apostolic.
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