BYU students came together Thursday evening for a forum on Roman Catholicism to help respect and learn about the other religions here on campus.
The event was put on by SHARE, students honoring and appreciating religious equity, a club on campus that brings together students of all different religions and beliefs.
Christine Cramer, a Ph. D. candidate and a devote Roman Catholic, spoke at the forum and talked about the Catholic church, how it works and what they believe.
The meaning of the term Catholic is universal, and Catholicism is one of the strongest and most dominant religions in the world.
“There are 27 different types of Catholics in the Catholic church, but 98.7 percent are Roman Catholics,” Cramer said.
Cramer talked about some of the ways that Catholics worship, and there were a surprising number of similarities between Catholicism and Mormonism. For example, Roman Catholics hold mass and go to church every week. And at mass, they partake of the Eucharist, which is similar to the sacrament.
The Eucharist is a small wafer and water that symbolizes the blood and water of Christ. Some in the Catholic church believe that when Christ was pierced in the side, his heart was also pierced. So when they partake of the Eucharist, they are partaking of the blood and water from the very heart of Christ.
“At mass we come to celebrate, and we celebrate Christ,” Cramer said. “And the Eucharist symbolizes thanksgiving. We’re giving thanks to God for everything we have received when we partake of it.”
Another interesting similarity that Cramer talked about was the fact that Catholicism and Mormonism are two of the only churches that are concerned about apostolic succession. Catholics believe that there has been an unbroken line of apostolic succession and that all of the Popes have descended from Peter.
Catholics also believe in seven different sacraments, although most Catholics receive only six. These sacraments consist of infant baptism, confirmation, confession, first holy communion, anointing of the sick, matrimony and holy orders. Holy orders are for those that become priests or nuns, who take an oath of celibacy and therefore can’t participate in matrimony.
Cramer’s parting advice to the crowd was: “Be open-minded with the Catholic students and don’t try to convert us when you meet us. Let’s respect and learn about each others’ religions.”