There's no contradiction between faith and good works - both are crucial to the Catholic Church
Letter of the day: religion debate
There is nothing contradictory in what the Catholic Church teaches about the relationship between faith and works, contrary to what your correspondent, Dr Howard Gilpin, writes (Write Back, November 21).
For Catholic Christians, it is not a question of either faith or good works, but of both faith and good works.
The teaching of faith alone is not found in God's word.
We are saved by a faith that is active in charity towards others - especially the poor.
In fact, the good works that we do - the practical love we show towards others - flow from the heart of Christ into us, as members of His body.
It is really very simple.
We are saved, utterly and entirely, by the grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ alone.
The works of love, in which a Christian is obliged to be engaged, are the result of the presence and action of the triune God in the hearts of believers.
The teaching of the Catholic Church is simple and clear: It is impossible for us to save ourselves; nevertheless, we must co-operate with God's grace in perseverance towards our eternal salvation (Hebrews 10:39).
As the Lord teaches in the Parable of the Talents, we must return what He has invested in us with interest (Matthew 25:14-30).
St Paul, for this very reason, warns us against receiving the grace of God in vain (2 Corinthians 6:2).
Fr Patrick McCafferty
Corpus Christi Parish, Belfast