True artistic expression is a creative activity of the Holy Spirit and a potent factor in the moral and spiritual upliftment of humanity. The training and refining of the emotions and intuitive perceptions through the influence of art are as necessary as the development of the mind by science and philosophy.
The expression of beauty in acts of worship is most valuable in our technological and utilitarian society. The rhythm of ceremonial, the colour and form of vestments, the uplifting power of music, and the simple beauty of buildings and furnishings, are all part of the liturgical work of the Church. Art has been called the handmaid of religion. It is in truth an integral part of worship.
Politics and Social Work
The Liberal Catholic Church does not involve itself directly in either politics or social work. It feels that it should rather make itself the motive power behind social and political progress, inspiring its members with the love of humanity and the desire to serve others, whilst leaving them free to select their own suitable aims and methods.
Other Churches & Communions
The Liberal Catholic Church is part of the historical Church, which is truly one, despite its many outward divisions, because the one life of Christ animates and sustains it through the sacraments that He instituted. The Liberal Catholic Church therefore seeks to work in amity with all other Christian denominations. It has no wish to convert the adherents of any other church. Anyone is welcome to participate fully in Liberal Catholic services, and will not be expected to leave his or her own church. Visitors are always welcome to take communion with us. The Church’s chief appeal is to those who are not members of another church. The Liberal Catholic Church is ready at all times to co-operate with other Churches in any way that may be mutually agreeable.
SUMMARY OF DOCTRINE
- The Liberal Catholic Church teaches the existence of God, infinite, eternal, transcendent and immanent. He is the one essence from which all forms of existence are derived. ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28)
- God manifests in His universe as a Trinity, called in the Christian religion Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three Persons in one God, co-equal and co-eternal; the Father the cause of all, the Son the Word who was made flesh and dwelt among us, the Holy Spirit the life-giver, the inspirer and sanctifier.
- Man is a complex of spirit, soul and body. The spirit of man, made in the image of God, is divine in essence. Therefore he cannot cease to exist; he is eternal and his future is one whose glory and splendour have no limit.
- Christ ever lives as a mighty spiritual presence in the world, guiding and sustaining His people. The divinity, which was manifest in Him, is gradually being unfolded in all of us, until each shall come ‘unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph. 4:13).
- The world is the theatre of an ordered plan, according to which the spirit of man, by repeatedly expressing himself in varying conditions of life and experience, continually unfolds his powers. This spiritual unfoldment takes place under an inviolable law of cause and effect. ‘Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap’ (Gal. 6:7). His doings in each physical incarnation largely determine his experience after death in the intermediate world (or world of purgation) and the heavenly world, and greatly influence the circumstances of his next birth. Man is a link in a vast chain of life extending from the highest to the lowest. As he helps those below him, so also he is helped by those who stand above him on the ladder of life, receiving thus a free gift of grace. There is a communion of saints, just men made perfect (Heb 12:23) or holy ones, who help mankind. There is a ministry of angels, who transmit God’s love and vitalizing energy to all parts of His evolutionary scheme.
- We have ethical duties to ourselves and to others. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment and the second is like unto it, thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and Prophets’ (Matt. 22:37-40). It is our duty to learn to discern the divine light in ourselves and in others, that light ‘which lighteth every man’ (John 1:9). Because we are the children of God, we are all inseparably linked together. We all share His life. That which harms one, harms all. Hence we owe it as a duty to God, both within ourselves and in others, to live up to the highest that is in us, thereby enabling the God within to be more perfectly manifested in our lives; and also, to recognise the unity of all humanity by constant effort towards unselfishness, by love of, consideration for, and service to, our fellow human beings. The service of humanity, reverence for all life and the sacrifice of the lower self to the higher, are laws of spiritual growth.
- Christ instituted various sacraments in which an inward and spiritual grace is given to us through an outward and visible sign. The Liberal Catholic Church recognises and administers the seven traditional sacraments, which are: Baptism, Confirmation, the Holy Eucharist, Absolution, Holy Unction, Holy Matrimony, and Holy Orders. To ensure their efficacy it guards with the greatest care the administration of all sacramental rites. The doctrine of these sacraments is sufficiently set forth in the authorised liturgy of the Church. Christ, the living head of the Church, which He founded, is the true minister of all sacraments.
The Liberal Catholic Church welcomes to its membership all who are seeking truth. Therefore it does not require its members to accept this Statement of Principles and Summary of Doctrine as a prerequisite for worship, or membership of the Church. However, the Church regards this Statement of Principles and Summary of Doctrine as containing the distinctive contribution of The Liberal Catholic Church to Christian thought. The Bishops are prepared to accept as candidates for ordination only those who are in general agreement with it, and are ready to apply and teach the principles embodied in this Statement and Summary.
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