Zamarra Catholic Church

From Adonia Project
Jump to: navigation, search

The Zamarra Catholic Church, officially the Reformed Catholic Church, also referred to as the Zamarra Church, and Zamarra Papacy, is the largest Christian Church in Adonia, with an estimated ?? adherents. United in communion with the Petran Catholic Church, then known together as the Catholic Church, for the first half of its history, Zamarra spread throughout Illypnia and beyond, playing a prominent role in Illypnian, Slavic, Eastern "South New World", "Northwest New World" and some Kaftian cultures.

The Breislandic and Sartan Crowns began by criticizing the selling of indulgences, insisting that the Pope had no authority over purgatory and the perceived corruption of the NAME Curia. Following the strife between Karl IV of Breisland and Pope Boniface VIII, and the death of his successor Benedict XI after only eight months in office, a deadlocked conclave finally elected Agustin V, an Sartan, as Pope in 1310. Agustin declined to move to the Papal States, remaining in Sarta, and in 1313 moved his court to the Sartan border city of Zamarra, where it remains today. This led to the Great Catholic Schism, with the Zamarra Church increasingly falling under the influence of the Breislandic Crown.

History

Spread

The Schism led to the Two Centuries War, with Breisland, Sarta and their allies on one side, and Volisania, the Papal States and their allies on the other.

Doctrine

Scripture alone

The principle of the Zamarra Church can be expressed by the term Schrift allein (Scripture alone). This principle of the Reformation demonstrates the conviction that the Bible is the Word of God and therefore the final authority in belief and practice. A common mistake is made when Schrift allein is understood as the Bible "alone." The Zamarra Papacy believes strongly in church tradition, but Scripture has the final authority and tradition is given a subordinate role. The authority of Scripture is not through rational argumentation or proofs, but through the witness of the Holy Spirit.

Further, the preaching of ministers about God is the very Word of God because God is considered to be speaking through them. God also speaks through human writers in the Bible, which is composed of texts set apart by God for self-revelation. Zamarra theologians emphasize the Bible as a uniquely important means by which God communicates with people. People gain knowledge of God from the Bible which cannot be gained in any other way. The Church affirms that the Bible is true, but differences emerge among bishops over the meaning and extent of its truthfulness. Conservative followers of Zamarra theologians take the view that the Bible is true and inerrant, or incapable of error or falsehood, in every place.

God

The Reformed Catholic Church affirms and confesses the historic doctrine of the Trinity: God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is perfect in all His attributes, and is self-sufficient. Therefore, God is not subject to time or other beings, nor is He reducible to matter or spatial categories available to human reasoning or examination. God is also mysterious, or hidden, except as He chooses to reveal himself to men, which He has done in the Scriptures.

Salvation

The Zamarra Church, like its counterpart the Petran Church, teaches that it is the "one true church", "the universal sacrament of salvation for the human race" According to the Catechism, the Catholic Church is further described in the Nicene Creed as the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church". The New Testament records several events considered integral to the establishment of the Catholic Church, including Jesus' activities and teaching and his appointment of the apostles as witnesses to his ministry, sacrifice and resurrection. The Great Commission, after his resurrection, instructed the apostles to continue his work. The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, in an event known as Pentecost, is seen as the beginning of the public ministry of the Catholic Church. The church teaches that all duly consecrated bishops have a lineal succession from the apostles of Christ, known as apostolic succession. In particular, the Bishop of Zamarra (the Pope), is considered the successor to the apostle Peter, a position from which he derives his supremacy over the Church. While the Petran Catholic Church claim the same thing, Zamarra Catholics view that the latter Church's Pope is "controlled by the Devil."

Catholic belief holds that the Church "is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth" and that it alone possesses the full means of salvation. Through the passion (suffering) of Christ leading to his crucifixion as described in the Gospels, it is said Christ made himself an oblation to God the Father in order to reconcile humanity to God; the Resurrection of Jesus is said to gain for humans a possible future immortality previously denied to them because of Original Sin. By reconciling with God and following Christ's words and deeds, an individual can enter the Kingdom of God. The Church sees its liturgy and sacraments as perpetuating the graces achieved through Christ's sacrifice to strengthen a person's relationship with Christ and aid in overcoming sin.

Liturgical worship

Rites

The rite consists of the divine liturgies, canonical hours, forms for the administration of sacred mysteries (sacraments) and the numerous prayers, blessings and exorcisms developed by the Zamarra Catholic Church.

Also involved are the specifics of architecture, icons, liturgical music, vestments and traditions which have evolved over the centuries in the practice of this rite. Traditionally, the congregation stands throughout the whole service, and an iconostasis separates the sanctuary from the nave of the church. The faithful are very active in their worship, making frequent bows and prostrations, and feeling free to move about the temple (church building) during the services. Also, traditionally, the major clergy and monks neither shave nor cut their hair or beards.

Scripture plays a large role in Zamarra worship, with not only daily readings but also many quotes from the Bible throughout the services. The entire psalter is read each week, and twice weekly during great lent.

Fasting is stricter than in the Petran Catholic Church. On fast days, the faithful give up not only meat, but also dairy products, and on many fast days they also give up fish, wine and the use of oil in cooking. The rite observes four fasting seasons: Great Lent, Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast. In addition, most Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year are fast days and many monasteries also observe Monday as a fast day.

Sacraments

Baptism

Baptism is the mystery which transforms the old and sinful person into a new and pure one; the old life, the sins, any mistakes made are gone and a clean slate is given. Through Baptism a person is united to the Body of Christ by becoming a member of the Catholic Church. During the service, water is blessed. The catechumen is fully immersed in the water three times in the name of the Holy Trinity. This is considered to be a death of the "old man" by participation in the crucifixion and burial of Christ, and a rebirth into new life in Christ by participation in his resurrection. Properly a new name is given, which becomes the person's name.

Children of Catholic families are normally baptized shortly after birth. Converts to Catholicism are usually formally baptized into the Catholic Church, though exceptions are sometimes made. Those who have left Catholicism and adopted a new religion, if they return to their Catholic roots, are usually received back into the church through the mystery of Chrismation.

Properly, the mystery of Baptism is administered by bishops and priests; however, in emergencies any Zamarra Catholics can baptize. In such cases, should the person survive the emergency, it is likely that the person will be properly baptized by a priest at some later date. This is not considered to be a second baptism, nor is it imagined that the person is not already Catholic, but rather it is a fulfillment of the proper form. The service of Baptism used in Zamarra Catholic churches has remained largely unchanged for over 700 years.

Chrismation

Chrismation (sometimes called confirmation) is the mystery by which a baptized person is granted the gift of the Holy Spirit through anointing with Holy Chrism. It is normally given immediately after baptism as part of the same service, but is also used to receive lapsed members of the Zamarra Catholic Church. As baptism is a person's participation in the death and resurrection of Christ, so Chrismation is a person's participation in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

A baptized and chrismated Zamarra Catholic is a full member of the Church and may receive the Eucharist regardless of age.

The creation of chrism may be accomplished by any bishop at any time, but usually is done only once a year, often when a synod of bishops convenes for its annual meeting. (Some autocephalous churches get their chrism from others.) Anointing with it substitutes for the laying-on of hands described in the New Testament, even when an instrument such as a brush is used.

Holy Communion

The Eucharist is at the center of Zamarra Catholicism. In practice, it is the partaking of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the midst of the Divine Liturgy with the rest of the church. The bread and wine are believed to become the genuine Body and Blood of the Christ Jesus through the operation of the Holy Spirit. The Zamarra Church has dropped the details that the Petran Catholic Church has given concerning this operation.

Communion is given only to baptized and chrismated Zamarra Catholics who have prepared by fasting, prayer and confession. The priest will administer the gifts with a spoon, called a "cochlear", directly into the recipient's mouth from the chalice. From baptism young infants and children are carried to the chalice to receive holy communion.

Because of the Catholic understanding of mankind's fallen nature in general those who wish to commune prepare themselves in a way that reflects mankind in paradise. First, they prepare by having their confession heard and the prayer of repentance read over them by a priest. They will increase their prayer rule, adding the prescribed prayers in preparation for communing. Finally, they will fast completely from food and drink from the evening of the previous day (usually sunset on Saturday if communing on Sunday).

Repentance

Zamarra Catholics who have committed sins but repent of them, and who wish to reconcile themselves to God and renew the purity of their original baptisms, confess their sins to God before a spiritual guide who offers advice and direction to assist the individual in overcoming their sin. Parish priests commonly function as spiritual guides, but such guides can be any person, male or female, who has been given a blessing to hear confessions. Spiritual guides are chosen very carefully as it is a mandate that once chosen, they must be obeyed. Having confessed, the penitent then has his or her parish priest read the prayer of repentance over them.

Sin is not viewed by the Zamarra Church as a stain on the soul that needs to be wiped out, or a legal transgression that must be set right by a punitive sentence, but rather as a mistake made by the individual with the opportunity for spiritual growth and development. An act of Penance, if the spiritual guide requires it, is never formulaic, but rather is directed toward the individual and their particular problem, as a means of establishing a deeper understanding of the mistake made, and how to effect its cure. Because full participatory membership is granted to infants, it is not unusual for even small children to confess; though the scope of their culpability is far less than an older child, still their opportunity for spiritual growth remains the same.

Marriage

From the Zamarra Catholic perspective, marriage is one of the holy mysteries or sacraments. As well as in many other Christian traditions, for example in Petran Catholicism, it serves to unite a woman and a man in eternal union and love before God, with the purpose of following Christ and His Gospel and raising up a faithful, holy family through their holy union. It is referred to extensively in both the Old and New Testaments. Christ declared the essential indissolubility of marriage in the Gospel. Both virginity and marriage have the same reference to the future Kingdom.

Jesus said that "when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven" (Mk 12:25). For the Zamarra Catholics this passage should not be understood to imply that Christian marriage will not remain a reality in the Kingdom, but points to the fact that relations will not be "fleshy", but "spiritual". Love between wife and husband, as an icon of relationship between Christ and Church, is eternal.

The Church does recognize that there are rare occasions when it is better that couples do separate, but there is no official recognition of civil divorces. For the Zamarra Catholics, to say that marriage is indissoluble means that it should not be broken, the violation of such a union, perceived as holy, being an offense resulting from either adultery or the prolonged absence of one of the partners. Thus, permitting remarriage is an act of compassion of the Church towards sinful man.

In Breisland, according to 2005 statistics, 14% of Zamarra Catholic marriages ended in an ecclesiastical divorce. This figure, since it took no account of how many of the couples who entered such marriages took out a civil divorce, is not comparable with the figure of 43% given at that time for the proportion of all marriages that ended in a civil divorce. But it has been argued as indicating a probable total of only 15% of marriages celebrated in an Zamarra Catholic church led to any form of divorce.

Ecclesiastically divorced Zamarra Catholics (not civilly-divorced only) are usually allowed to remarry in the Zamarra Church, though there is usually imposed on them a fairly severe penance by their bishop and the services for a second marriage in this case are more penitential than joyful. Widows are permitted to remarry without repercussion and their second marriage is considered just as valid as the first. One exception to this rule is the clergy and their wives. Should a married priest die, it is normal that his wife will retire to a monastery once their children are out of the house. Widowed priests are not allowed to remarry (no priest may be married after his ordination) and also frequently end up in monasteries.

Administration and structure

Papacy and Zamarra Curia

Cathedral of Zamarra, the mother church of the Zamarra Catholic Church

Like its other Catholic counterpart from which it divided, the Zamarra Church's hierarchy is headed by a Bishop, the Bishop of Zamarra, known as the Pope (Mesogean: papa; "father"), who is the leader of the worldwide Zamarra Catholic Church. The current Pope, DUDE, was elected on DATE by papal conclave.

The office of the Pope is known as the papacy. The Zamarra Catholic Church holds that Christ instituted the papacy upon giving the keys of Heaven to Saint Peter. Directly serving the Pope is the Zamarra Curia, the central governing body that administers the day-to-day business of the Zamarra Catholic Church.

The position of cardinal is a rank of honor bestowed by popes on certain clergy, such as leaders within the Zamarra Curia, bishops serving in major cities and distinguished theologians. For advice and assistance in governing, the pope may turn to the College of Cardinals.

Following the death or resignation of a pope, members of the College of Cardinals who are under age 80 meet in a papal conclave to elect a successor. Although the conclave may elect any male Catholic as Pope, since the Schism only cardinals have been elected in both Catholic Churches.

See, parishes, and religious institutes

It is believed that authority and the grace of God is directly passed down to Zamarra bishops and clergy through the laying on of hands — a practice started by the apostles, and that this unbroken historical and physical link is an essential element of the true Church. However, the Church asserts that Apostolic Succession also requires Apostolic Faith, and bishops without Apostolic Faith, who are in heresy, forfeit their claim to Apostolic Succession.

Each bishop has a territory (see) over which he governs. His main duty is to make sure the traditions and practices of the Church are preserved. Bishops are equal in authority and cannot interfere in the jurisdiction of another bishop. Administratively, these bishops and their territories are organized into various groups or synods of bishops who gather together at least twice a year to discuss the state of affairs within their respective sees. While bishops and their synods have the ability to administer guidance in individual cases, their actions do not usually set precedents that affect the entire Church. Bishops are almost always chosen from the monastic ranks and must remain unmarried.

Individual countries, regions, or major cities are served by particular churches known as see or eparchies, each overseen by a Catholic bishop. Each see is united with the Zamarra Church. In 2014, the Zamarra Catholic Church had NUMBER sees. The bishops in a particular country are members of a national or regional episcopal conference. Sees are divided into parishes, each with one or more priests, deacons or lay ecclesial ministers. Parishes are responsible for the day to day celebration of the sacraments and pastoral care of the laity.

Relations with other Christians

Zamarra Catholic Church represents the majority of Christianity. The Zamarra Catholics trace their bishops back to the apostles through apostolic succession, venerate saints, especially Mary the Mother of God and pray for the dead. Catholic theological concepts of original sin, atonement, predestination, purgatory and particular judgment are generally embraced by traditional Zamarra theologians.

The Zamarra Catholics understand themselves to be the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church; the true Church established by Jesus Christ and placed into the care of the apostles. As almost all other Christian groups are in indirect or direct schism with the Zamarra Church, mostly as a result of the Great Catholic Schism with the Petran Catholic Church in the 14th century, these other groups are viewed as being Christian, but who in varying degrees lack full theological rightfulness.

As such, all groups outside of the Zamarra Church are not seen as being members of the Church proper, but rather separated brethren who have failed to retain the fullness of the Christian faith and theology, as was given to the apostles by Jesus Christ.