Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

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Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 8:50 pm

Ok people here we go! This post will round out what I consider to be the foundation of the Catholic Church! We have already covered "The Bible and Tradition" in other posts. The Church, the Papacy, and the Authority that comes with it is what we call the "Magisterium". This is the third leg of the foundation that is the "Catholic Church". I have chosen to start with these three topics because It is necessary to understand how they interrelate with one another in the formulation of Catholic Dogma! I know that everyone wants to get to certain beliefs and we will eventually. First, I have got to lay the foundation for the teaching authority of the Catholic Church! Then we can explain what we actually believe and why! A little review is in order here. I will not cover in detail everything that was said before. if you want you can read the post labeled Catholicism part 1 and 2 to get more complete coverage. I will a brief overview of Tradition and the Bible here though!

Tradition and The Bible! I have already pointed out that The first book of the Bible was not written until about AD 50 and the last was not written until about AD 100! Christ was Crucified in AD 33! During this early time period the first Christians had nothing to go on except the oral Tradition that was passed on from the Apostles and the guidance that they received from the Church! "There was no Scripture at all for 17 years after Christ's death" and "The last book was not written until 67 years later!" What this means is that the new Testament as we know it was not even completely in existence for the first 67 years of Church history! Another important point to consider is that during this time there were many books in circulation! We have all heard of "the Gnostic Gospels" and there were many more as well! During this time period some Churches had some of the scriptures but non of them had all of them in the fully complete book that we today know as the Bible! In fact "The Bible" was not put together completely until AD 393, at the Council of Hippo! Then at another Council in AD 397, Carthage it was approved again! Finally, in the year AD 405, Pope St Innocent 1, approved the 73 book Cannon and officially closed the Cannon of the Bible. This is a full 372 years after the death of Jesus! It was the Catholic Church that decided what was Scripture and what was not! I want to ask you a few questions here. Is the Bibles table of contents part of the inspired text? Did the Bible fall from heaven preprinted and bound in a single volume? Does the Bible tell us anywhere which books belong in it? No! The Catholic Church put it all together! Protestants reject the Authority of the Catholic Church, yet they do follow her Authority in this matter because it was Catholics who wrote, preserved and decided what books belonged in the New Testament! This is also a Catholic Tradition. It was from the sacred original Deposit of Tradition that the books were written and it was in light of this Tradition that the books were chosen for inclusion into the Cannon! Tradition came first and the scriptures second! I quote Martin Luther here, "without the decisions of the Church, we would not know which books of the Bible are inspired." To trust the Bible is to trust the Authority of the Church which guarantees the Bible! I want to emphasize all of this because prior to this time No one had the full and complete Bible as we know it today! Yes, some Churches had copies of individual books but non of them had the full book in complete form. Another question! Is it reasonable to trust the authority of the Catholic church when it comes to determining the contents of the Bible, then reject her authority when it comes to interpreting the Bible? Sound pretty ludicrous does it not? Why bring all of this up? Because what were the first Christians doing then? They were going to Church and Participating in the mass is what they were doing! If you want evidence there are many writings left by the earliest Christians that attest to this. It does not matter that this material is not Scriptural, it is historical fact! Only the catholic position is found in the earliest writings of the Church fathers, a point we will touch on in greater depth later! What were they following if they did not have a Bible to go by? After all, no one had a full complete Bible to go by for almost 400 hundred years! They were following The oral Traditions passed along by the Apostles themselves also known as "the original deposit of Faith!" Protestants love to throw out this verse , (2 Timothy 3:16) "All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work." What it does not say is "only" Scripture is useful ....! Most people don't think critically and look at verses of the Bible in a critical or contextual manner. They are easily duped by this misunderstanding and believe that the Bible is the only thing that you need! When a Protestant throws this verse in your face, he is really trying to attempt to make you reject Sacred Tradition and the Authority of the Church! Do not be misled! We Catholics believe everything in the Bible word for word. We wrote it after all! We do not cherry Pick out verses, we believe in the whole thing! Another point is that Protestants will say this verse makes a Christian "complete and equipped for every good work." I say is Scripture the only thing that makes a Christian complete or fully equipped? Lets look at (James 1:4) "And let perseverance be perfect , so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." If (2 Timothy 3:16) proves "Bible Alone" then wouldn't (James 1:4) prove only perseverance? This approach would obviously lead to conclusions regarding Salvation that protestants wouldn't accept! That will come in future posts though. Anyhow, lets re examine some Bible verses that prove what I am talking about in regards to tradition so that we can move on to the actual subject at hand here! Protestants think that all Tradition is condemned in Scripture. The problem is that the Bible speaks of two kinds of Tradition: Human and Apostolic! Bad or human Tradition is condemned in (Mt 15:3) and Mark (7:9) Jesus clearly condemns human Tradition that sets aside the commandments of God. In my post on Tradition I clearly explained the context of this verse. It had to do with a rule called Qorban! It violated the Command to honor your mother and father because it allowed a person to keep his money in the possession of the Temple as alms, when in fact he had full control over it! This allowed people to not take care of their parents in time of need! This is a Tradition of man! In (Col 2:8) St Paul tells us to beware of false reasoning "according to human Tradition." We as Catholics can only say Amen! In condemning human traditions we agree! The problem for Protestants is that neither Jesus or St Paul is condemning Apostolic Traditions! the Bible does command us to follow Tradition. What are these Traditions, they are the deposit of divine truths that Jesus orally entrusted to the Apostles! Where is this found in the bible? (2 Thessalonians 2:15) "Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the Traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by letter of ours." (1 Corinthians 11:2) "I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold fast to the Traditions, just as I handed them on to you." (2 Thessalonians 3:6) "We instruct you brothers , in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to shun any brother who conducts himself in a disorderly way and not according to the Tradition they received from us." This can lead to the conclusion that the Catholic Church is right! Tradition is to be respected equally right along with Scripture! This leads to the Third element which is the Magisterium or What I would call the Pope, the Church and the Authority that goes along with it all!

The Church! There has been much debate in this forum about just when exactly the Catholic Church first came into being! I have said and always will say that it was founded by Christ himself. It is the original Christian Church! What proof can I offer for this well lets start with this! I have cut and pasted a part out of "Ignatious of Antioch's, letter to the Smyrneans:

"See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church"

This letter was written in the year AD 110! It is the earliest written record of the word Catholic being used! The last Apostle John died in the year AD 100! This is only 10 years later! here is another article written about this letter: early Church Fathers are indispensable resources for Catholic apologetics, helping to bridge the gap between our own time and the age of the apostles. Not only do they provide extrabiblical verification of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, they also provide a great deal of insight into what the early Christians believed and how they interpreted Scripture.

This can go a long way to demonstrate that certain Catholic distinctives have been believed from the very beginning. One Church Father I find to be particularly helpful in apologetics is St. Ignatius of Antioch.

Ignatius lived from around A.D. 35 to 110. He was the third bishop of Antioch and tradition records that he was a disciple of the apostle John (cf. The Maryrdom of Ignatius). During the reign of Emperor Trajan, he was taken to Rome and suffered martyrdom there. Along the way he wrote seven letters—one to St. Polycarp of Smyrna, and six others to various churches.

On the Authority of the Catholic Church
The Greek root of the term catholic means "according to the whole" or “universal.” Ignatius uses the term to refer to the visible and authoritative Church:


See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. —Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8

Ignatius urges the faithful to submit to the authority of their bishop because it is the will of God:


But inasmuch as love suffers me not to be silent in regard to you, I have therefore taken upon me first to exhort you that you would all run together in accordance with the will of God. For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the manifested will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds of the earth, are so by the will of Jesus Christ… Let us be careful, then, not to set ourselves in opposition to the bishop, in order that we may be subject to God. —Letter to the Ephesians, Ch 3,5

Ignatius recognizes the authority, or “presidency,” in particular of the Church at Rome:


Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church that has found mercy in the greatness of the Most High Father and in Jesus Christ, his only son; to the Church beloved and enlightened after the love of Jesus Christ, our God, by the will of him that has willed everything which is; to the Church wich also holds the presidency in the place of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and because you hold the presidency of love, named after Christ and named after the Father; here therefore do I salute in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father. —Letter to the Romans, Intro

Ignatius indicates that the Church at Rome possessed the authority to teach others:


You have envied no one; but others you have taught. I desire only that what you have enjoined in your instruction may remain in force. —Letter to the Romans, Ch 3

Finally, Ignatius confirms—as do other Church Fathers—that this authoritative Church at Rome was founded by Peter and Paul:


Not as Peter and Paul did, do I command you. They were apostles and I am a convict. They were free, and I even to the present time am a slave. —Letter to the Romans, Ch 4

On the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that the Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ (1374). In his Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ignatius addresses the issue of those who do not believe as the Church does:


Take note of those who hold heterodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God… They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes. —Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 6

Here Ignatius equates the Eucharist to the same flesh of Christ that suffered for our sake on the cross. Jesus also uses this literal comparison when he explained, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51).

Ignatius also explains that the Eucharist must be administered either by a bishop or one of his ordained ministers:


Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it.—Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8

Hear are some videos that I think you guys on Streetgangs might find interesting! They are real fast only a couple of minutes each!



I would like to emphasize the part where he talks about the term Catholic being understood by the audience in his letter and therefore not needing to be defined! It use probably dates from around AD 50! In any case we can least absolutely date it to at least within 10 years of the death of the last Apostle John! That is way earlier than the 6th or 7th century Bumperjack! I have no idea what version of history you are reading? It is obviously very, very wrong!

Here is another article that is really good! It defines the term "Catholic" which is Greek for "Universal" It is not a denomination like Protestant Churches, it is the Universal Church! In this article there are many letters written before the reign of Constantine AD 313 that use the word Catholic! Most Protestants generally try and pin this date as the beginning of the Catholic Church. This is obviously wrong as well as all these writings in this article date to before then! What Constantine did was Legalize or Legitimatize Catholicism. Prior to this time they were low key and hiding out as they were being openly persecuted by all of the various Roman Emperors. Anyhow here is the article:


The Greek roots of the term "Catholic" mean "according to (kata-) the whole (holos)," or more colloquially, "universal." At the beginning of the second century, we find in the letters of Ignatius the first surviving use of the term "Catholic" in reference to the Church. At that time, or shortly thereafter, it was used to refer to a single, visible communion, separate from others.

The term "Catholic" is in the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian creeds, and many Protestants, claiming the term for themselves, give it a meaning that is unsupported historically, ignoring the term’s use at the time the creeds were written.

Early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes: "As regards ‘Catholic,’ its original meaning was 'universal' or 'general.' . . . in the latter half of the second century at latest, we find it conveying the suggestion that the Catholic is the true Church as distinct from heretical congregations (cf., e.g., Muratorian Canon). . . . What these early Fathers were envisaging was almost always the empirical, visible society; they had little or no inkling of the distinction which was later to become important between a visible and an invisible Church" (Early Christian Doctrines, 190–1).

Thus people who recite the creeds mentally inserting another meaning for "Catholic" are reinterpreting them according to a modern preference, much as a liberal biblical scholar does with Scripture texts offensive to contemporary sensibilities.

Included in the quotes below are extracts from the first creeds to use the term "Catholic"; so that the term can be seen in its historical context, which is supplied by the other quotations. It is from this broader context that the meaning of the term in the creeds is established, not by one’s own notion of what the term once meant or of what it ought to mean.



Ignatius of Antioch



"Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).



The Martyrdom of Polycarp



"And of the elect, he was one indeed, the wonderful martyr Polycarp, who in our days was an apostolic and prophetic teacher, bishop of the Catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came forth from his mouth was fulfilled and will be fulfilled" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 16:2 [A.D. 155]).



The Muratorian Canon



"Besides these [letters of Paul] there is one to Philemon, and one to Titus, and two to Timothy, in affection and love, but nevertheless regarded as holy in the Catholic Church, in the ordering of churchly discipline. There is also one [letter] to the Laodiceans and another to the Alexandrians, forged under the name of Paul, in regard to the heresy of Marcion, and there are several others which cannot be received by the Church, for it is not suitable that gall be mixed with honey. The epistle of Jude, indeed, and the two ascribed to John are received by the Catholic Church (Muratorian fragment [A.D. 177]).



Tertullian



"Where was [the heretic] Marcion, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus, the disciple of Platonism? For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago—in the reign of Antonius for the most part—and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherius, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 30 [A.D. 200]).



Cyprian of Carthage



"They alone have remained outside [the Church] who, were they within, would have to be ejected.
. . . There [in John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest, and the flock clinging to their shepherd in the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishops; and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priest of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and catholic, is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another" (Letters 66[67]:8 [A.D. 253]).



Council of Nicaea I



"But those who say: ‘There was [a time] when he [the Son] was not,’ and ‘before he was born, he was not,’ and ‘because he was made from non-existing matter, he is either of another substance or essence,’ and those who call ‘God the Son of God changeable and mutable,’ these the Catholic Church anathematizes" (Appendix to the Creed of Nicaea [A.D. 325]).

"Concerning those who call themselves Cathari [Novatians], that is, ‘the Clean,’ if at any time they come to the Catholic Church, it has been decided by the holy and great council that, provided they receive the imposition of hands, they remain among the clergy. However, because they are accepting and following the doctrines of the catholic and apostolic Church, it is fitting that they acknowledge this in writing before all; that is, both that they communicate with the twice married and with those who have lapsed during a persecution" (Canon 8).

...

"Concerning the Paulianists who take refuge with the Catholic Church, a decree has been published that they should be fully baptized. If, however, any of these in times past have been in the clerical order, if indeed they have appeared spotless and above reproach, after being baptized, let them be ordained by the bishop of the Catholic Church" (Canon 9).



Cyril of Jerusalem



"[The Church] is called catholic, then, because it extends over the whole world, from end to end of the earth, and because it teaches universally and infallibly each and every doctrine which must come to the knowledge of men, concerning things visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly, and because it brings every race of men into subjection to godliness, governors and governed, learned and unlearned, and because it universally treats and heals every class of sins, those committed with the soul and those with the body, and it possesses within itself every conceivable form of virtue, in deeds and in words and in the spiritual gifts of every description" (Catechetical Lectures 18:23 [A.D. 350]).

"And if you ever are visiting in cities, do not inquire simply where the house of the Lord is—for the others, sects of the impious, attempt to call their dens ‘houses of the Lord’—nor ask merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the name peculiar to this holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God" (ibid., 18:26).



The Apostles’ Creed



"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen" (Apostles’ Creed [A.D. 360 version, the first to include the term "Catholic"]).



Council of Constantinople I



"I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who together with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who spoke through the prophets; in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church" (Nicene Creed [A.D. 381]).

"Those who embrace orthodoxy and join the number of those who are being saved from the heretics, we receive in the following regular and customary manner: Arians, Macedonians, Sabbatians, Novatians, those who call themselves Cathars and Aristeri, Quartodecimians or Tetradites, Apollinarians— these we receive when they hand in statements and anathematize every heresy which is not of the same mind as the holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of God" (Canon 7).



Augustine



"We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard" (The True Religion 7:12 [A.D. 390]).

"We believe in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church; for heretics and schismatics call their own congregations churches. But heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God, and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor" (Faith and Creed 10:21 [A.D. 393]).

...

""If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, ‘I do not believe’? Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so" (ibid., 5:6).

In the Catholic Church . . . a few spiritual men attain [wisdom] in this life, in such a way that . . . they know it without any doubting, while the rest of the multitude finds [its] greatest safety not in lively understanding but in the simplicity of believing. . . . [T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in her bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority,
inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).



Vincent of Lerins



"I have often then inquired earnestly and attentively of very many men eminent for sanctity and learning, how and by what sure and so to speak universal rule I may be able to distinguish the truth of Catholic faith from the falsehood of heretical depravity; and I have always, and in almost every instance, received an answer to this effect: that whether I or anyone else should wish to detect the frauds and avoid the snares of heretics as they arise, and to continue sound and complete in the Catholic faith, we must, the Lord helping, fortify our own belief in two ways: first, by the authority of the divine law [Scripture], and then by the tradition of the Catholic Church. But here some one perhaps will ask, ‘Since the canon of Scripture is complete, and sufficient of itself for everything, and more than sufficient, what need is there to join with it the authority of the Church’s interpretation?’ For this reason: Because, owing to the depth of holy Scripture, all do not accept it in one and the same sense, but one understands its words in one way, another in another, so that it seems to be capable of as many interpretations as there are men. . . . Therefore, it is very necessary, on account of so great intricacies of such various errors, that the rule for the right understanding of the prophets and apostles should be framed in accordance with the standard of ecclesiastical and catholic interpretation" (The Notebooks 2:1–2 [A.D. 434]).



Council of Chalcedon



"Since in certain provinces readers and cantors have been allowed to marry, this sacred synod decrees that none of them is permitted to marry a wife of heterodox views. If those thus married have already had children, and if they have already had the children baptized among heretics, they are to bring them into the communion of the Catholic Church" (Canon 14 [A.D. 451]).

I think you get the picture! The Catholic church existed from the very beginning! Christ established one Church with one set of beliefs! (Ephesians 4 3:-6) "One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and Father". He did not establish numerous Churches with contradictory beliefs. To see which one is the true Church, we must look for the one that has an unbroken historical link to the Church of the New Testament! Catholics are able to show such a link. They trace their leaders, the Bishops back through time, Bishop by Bishop all the way to the Apostles, and they show that the Pope is the lineal successor to Peter, who was the first Bishop of Rome! The same thing is true of Catholic beliefs and practices. Take any one you wish, and you can trace it back! If you think that Catholics worship Mary, pray to statues, and claim the Pope is equal to God, then you are rejecting not Catholicism, but someone's misinterpretation of it! Protestant leaders make no effort to trace their version of Christianity back century by century! Why, because they cant! It simply does not exist! They just claim that the Christianity existing in the new testament was like todays Protestant Fundamentalism in all of its essentials. Where are the writing of the earliest Christians to prove this? They cant be found to corroborate their position because they do not exist! A widely propagated myth is that when the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in AD 313, that the Church was founded then and Pagans flocked to the Church in hopes of Secular preferences. They say that the Church compromised its beliefs and principals and became Paganized in an effort to assimilate all these new converts! They say that it developed the doctrines with which the Catholic Church is identified today. Simply put, they claim that it Apostatized and became the Catholic Church! Meanwhile so they say, true Christians did not change their beliefs but were forced to remain in hiding until the Reformation!

The trouble with this version of history is that there are no historical facts whatsoever to back it up! As I already pointed out they had no Bible to work with! All they had was the Church and sacred Tradition to guide them. Distinctively Catholic beliefs such as the Papacy, Priesthood, invocation of Saints, Sacraments, veneration of Mary, Salvation by something besides "Faith alone", purgatory, were all evident long before the fourth century, Before Constantine! They were believed by Christians before this supposed "Paganization" took place. If there were an underground Christian movement in place where are the records to prove it? The Catholic Church was underground for its first 300 years and we have plenty of historical documents that attest to this fact. There were many schisms and heresies early on. All of this is documented in Church history. If a group believed in all or even most of the doctrines put forth by the Protestant reformers eg " Sola Scriptura, Salvation by faith alone, an invisible Church, then where is the evidence? Truth be told it does not exist! There are no records because those things were never believed until later! All evidence of the first fifteen centuries of Christianity points to the Catholic Church and the Catholic church only! (Mathew 5:14) "You are the light of the world a city set on a mountain top cannot be hidden" This is the Catholic Church! Catholics were visible and being persecuted in the Roman Empire. Where are these so called original Protestant Christians? A church that exists only in the hearts of believers is not visible and is more like (Mathew 5:15) "The candle hidden under the bushel basket". That is what the Protestants claim to be! Trouble is they can not even claim that as there is no historical record of them!

Christ came to earth and founded a Church and put a person in charge of that Church, Peter the first Pope! Scripture says (Mathew 16:18-19 "and so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven". Does it get any clearer than that! Peter is the first Bishop of Rome AKA the first Pope! You can literally trace back in time from the Pope that we have today all the way to Peter! If this system was not in place and understood by the Church how could we trace it all the way back to the beginning then? Don't you think that at some point in time the Church would have said hey wait a minute what are you guys doing? This is new! It is not recorded in history because it never existed! Everyone knew that the Bishop of Rome was in charge! I have actually spent the last two weeks researching all of this. If anyone is brave enough to challenge any of it I already got answers for you prepared! I was going to write it all out tonight, but why bother! I will simply wait for Bumperjack or some other brave soul to step up to the plate and then I will shoot down whatever argument that they put forth! I will offer some important bits of information though to prove to you that the early Church always respected the official position of the Bishop of Rome. Around AD 80, the Church at Corinth deposed its lawful leaders. The fourth Bishop of Rome, Pope Clement 1, was called to settle the matter even though St John the Apostle was still alive and much closer to Corinth than Rome! In fact he was in Ephesus "less than 300 miles from Corinth", yet the Corinthians appealed to the Bishop of Rome, "more than 700 miles away", because he had the keys of authority! Why would they go to him if the Bishop of Rome was not in charge of the Church? You had an Apostle who was still alive and closer to them! Things that make you go Hmmm!

We need to cover something very important here! Many Protestants argue that Jesus is not building his Church on Peter by pointing out that, in the Greek text, the word used for Peter is Petros, a masculine noun, while the word used for "Rock" is petra, a feminine noun. Petros means "small stone" while "Petra" means massive rock! They claim therefore, that the "massive rock" (Petra) upon which Christ will build his Church must not refer to Peter the "small stone" (petros) but rather to Peters profession of faith or to Jesus. However Jesus spoke Aramaic, which leaves no room for the Greek petros/petra distinction. In Aramaic the word for Rock is "Kepha" What Christ said was "you are Kepha (Rock) and upon this Kepha (Rock) I will build my Church". Why does the Greek use two different words for Peter and the rock? Because the Greek word for Rock, "Petra" is feminine. it would not be appropriate to give a man a feminine name. So the translator gave "Petra" a masculine ending and rendered it "Petros" Since "Petros" was a pre existing word meaning "Small stone", some of the original word play was lost! It is crystal clear in the Aramaic though. No Church Father, including those that spoke Greek as their native tongue, ever saw a distinction between Peter and the Rock! They all taught that Peter is the rock on which Christ built his Church!

Some Protestants claim that Peter was never in Rome, so he couldn't have been the first Pope! They claim the first link is broken in the chain! In his epistle (1 Peter 5:13) He alludes directly to it though! "The Church here in Babylon, united with you by God's election, sends you her greeting, and so does my son Mark". "Babylon is a code word for Rome"! This is a fact that all Biblical scholars recognize! I have before me quite a few writings of the earliest Christians that talk about him being in Rome. If it becomes necessary I will quote them here! I will say this, his Bones have been found and inscriptions have been identified there as well all identifying the place as Peters Tomb! If you want to read about it get John Evangelist Walsh's "the Bones of St Peter".
Papal infallibility is another question that we must cover! The infallibility of the Pope is certainly a Doctrine that has developed, but it is not one that sprang out of nowhere in 1870 either! We will probably have to do a post on councils, doctrine and dogma, etc soon! I? just want say before Bumperjack gets all crazy, yes understandings can develop! Is the word Trinity found in Scripture? "NO" is the answer! It is a revealed truth found in Scripture and a Dogma that was developed over time! So is Papal Infallibility! It is rooted in Scripture of course, just as the Trinity's essence is found there as well. (John 21: 15-17) "feed my sheep" (Luke 22:32) "I have prayed for thee that thy faith may not fail" (Matthew 16:18 "Thou art Peter , etc". Christ instructed the Church to preach the good news (Mathew 28:19-20 and promised the protection of the holy spirit (John 16:13) "To guide you into all truth". Most importantly in (1 Timothy 3:15) we find "The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth". You notice it does not say Scripture is the pillar and foundation of truth! This scripture promises that the Church will never fall away frpm Christ's teachings even if individual Christians may! You may Ask why was a definition only given in the year 1870? The answer is that definitions are not given out unnecessarily! If no discussion arises on a given subject and no one disputes it then there is no need for a definition! In the seventeenth century the question of the Popes doctrinal Authority came to the front. Until 1870 it was widely assumed that the Pope had these powers. No one ever questioned it because it was something always believed and followed! In 1870 a council was asked to settle the question once and for all! What does this all mean? The inability of the Church to teach error is Infallibility and it is a negative protection! It means that what is taught will not be wrong, not that the official teachers will have the wits about them to stand up to what is right when it needs to be taught! People naturally question how Infallibility could be linked to the Papal office when some of the Popes had been very poor examples in morals and Integrity? Do not confuse ?Infallibility with Impeccability! It is important to remember that no Pope in history has ever contradicted another Pope when he has taught officially about Faith and Morals! Yes, theyb have disagreed in private with each other but never officially!
I also want to point out that if you study (Acts 15: 1-21) you will find "The council of Jerusalem" or the first council of the Church! It is clear in the passages that even before all of the Apostles died, there was already a second generation of leaders exercising authority in the Church! James is one of these leaders chosen by the Apostles even though he was not one of the Apostles! These leaders are called "Elders or Bishops and are always identified separately from the Apostles. What is even more interesting is that Scripture was not used to decide the matter of do the Gentiles need to obey Mosaic Law in order to be saved? They could have quoted from the Old Testament. Instead the issue was decided on the basis of the Councils own Authority! This was done in the presence of Apostles and Church members with Authority "The Bishops"!

Yes! Bishops were leading the Church even before the end of the Apostolic period! From about 92-101, Clement 1 of Rome was acknowledged as the single Bishop of Rome, he is the same one that I just discussed above. "He is 3rd in succession from Peter" He wrote a letter proving that the Bishops are the direct successors to the Apostles! He wrote (First epistle of Clement, 44) "Our Apostles gave instructions, that when these "Bishops should fall asleep other approved men should follow them in their ministry". This all leads to the truth that the Catholic Church is the Church that was founded by Christ himself, in the beginning! If people want to debate it I could have written way more about it! Honestly I am tired! I will search internet real quickly here and try to supplement all of this with more material! Anyhow, peaceout and God bless! Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 8:54 pm

The New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5–6, Rev. 21:14). One metaphor that has been disputed is Jesus Christ’s calling the apostle Peter "rock": "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it" (Matt. 16:18).

Some have tried to argue that Jesus did not mean that his Church would be built on Peter but on something else.

Some argue that in this passage there is a minor difference between the Greek term for Peter (Petros) and the term for rock (petra), yet they ignore the obvious explanation: petra, a feminine noun, has simply been modifed to have a masculine ending, since one would not refer to a man (Peter) as feminine. The change in the gender is purely for stylistic reasons.

These critics also neglect the fact that Jesus spoke Aramaic, and, as John 1:42 tells us, in everyday life he actually referred to Peter as Kepha or Cephas (depending on how it is transliterated). It is that term which is then translated into Greek as petros. Thus, what Jesus actually said to Peter in Aramaic was: "You are Kepha and on this very kepha I will build my Church."

The Church Fathers, those Christians closest to the apostles in time, culture, and theological background, clearly understood that Jesus promised to build the Church on Peter, as the following passages show.



Tatian the Syrian



"Simon Cephas answered and said, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah: flesh and blood has not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee also, that you are Cephas, and on this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it" (The Diatesseron 23 [A.D. 170]).



Tertullian



"Was anything withheld from the knowledge of Peter, who is called ‘the rock on which the Church would be built’ [Matt. 16:18] with the power of ‘loosing and binding in heaven and on earth’ [Matt. 16:19]?" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 22 [A.D. 200]).

"[T]he Lord said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my Church, I have given you the keys of the kingdom of heaven [and] whatever you shall have bound or loosed on earth will be bound or loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. . . . What kind of man are you, subverting and changing what was the manifest intent of the Lord when he conferred this personally upon Peter? Upon you, he says, I will build my Church; and I will give to you the keys" (Modesty 21:9–10 [A.D. 220]).



The Letter of Clement to James



"Be it known to you, my lord, that Simon [Peter], who, for the sake of the true faith, and the most sure foundation of his doctrine, was set apart to be the foundation of the Church, and for this end was by Jesus himself, with his truthful mouth, named Peter" (Letter of Clement to James 2 [A.D. 221]).



The Clementine Homilies



"[Simon Peter said to Simon Magus in Rome:] ‘For you now stand in direct opposition to me, who am a firm rock, the foundation of the Church’ [Matt. 16:18]" (Clementine Homilies 17:19 [A.D. 221]).



Origen



"Look at [Peter], the great foundation of the Church, that most solid of rocks, upon whom Christ built the Church [Matt. 16:18]. And what does our Lord say to him? ‘Oh you of little faith,’ he says, ‘why do you doubt?’ [Matt. 14:31]" (Homilies on Exodus 5:4 [A.D. 248]).



Cyprian of Carthage



"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet he founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were that also which Peter was [i.e., apostles], but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. . . . If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?" (The Unity of the Catholic Church 4; 1st edition [A.D. 251]).

"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering" (Letters 43[40]:5 [A.D. 253]).

"There [John 6:68–69] speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop, and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are
secretly [i.e., invisibly] in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is one and Catholic, is not split nor divided, but it is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere one to another" (ibid., 66[69]:8).



Firmilian



"But what is his error . . . who does not remain on the foundation of the one Church which was founded upon the rock by Christ [Matt. 16:18], can be learned from this, which Christ said to Peter alone: ‘Whatever things you shall bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]" (collected in Cyprian’s Letters74[75]:16 [A.D. 253]).

"[Pope] Stephen [I] . . . boasts of the place of his episcopate, and contends that he holds the succession from Peter, on whom the foundations of the Church were laid [Matt. 16:18]. . . . [Pope] Stephen . . . announces that he holds by succession the throne of Peter" (ibid., 74[75]:17).



Ephraim the Syrian



"[Jesus said:] ‘Simon, my follower, I have made you the foundation of the holy Church. I betimes called you Peter, because you will support all its buildings. You are the inspector of those who will build on earth a Church for me. If they should wish to build what is false, you, the foundation, will condemn them. You are the head of the fountain from which my teaching flows; you are the chief of my disciples’" (Homilies 4:1 [A.D. 351]).



Optatus



"You cannot deny that you are aware that in the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles; the one chair in which unity is maintained by all" (The Schism of the Donatists 2:2 [A.D. 367]).



Ambrose of Milan



"[Christ] made answer: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church. . . . ’ Could he not, then, strengthen the faith of the man to whom, acting on his own authority, he gave the kingdom, whom he called the rock, thereby declaring him to be the foundation of the Church [Matt. 16:18]?" (The Faith 4:5 [A.D. 379]).

"It is to Peter that he says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18]. Where Peter is, there is the Church. And where the Church is, no death is there, but life eternal" (Commentary on Twelve Psalms of David 40:30 [A.D. 389]).



Pope Damasus I



"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has not been placed at the forefront [of the churches] by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. . . . ’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).



Jerome



"‘But,’ you [Jovinian] will say, ‘it was on Peter that the Church was founded’ [Matt. 16:18]. Well . . . one among the twelve is chosen to be their head in order to remove any occasion for division" (Against Jovinian 1:26 [A.D. 393]).

"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).



Augustine



"If the very order of episcopal succession is to be considered, how much more surely, truly, and safely do we number them [the bishops of Rome] from Peter himself, to whom, as to one representing the whole Church, the Lord said, ‘Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not conquer it.’ Peter was succeeded by Linus, Linus by Clement. ... In this order of succession a Donatist bishop is not to be found" (Letters 53:1:2 [A.D. 412]).



Council of Ephesus



"Philip, the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See [Rome], said: ‘There is no doubt, and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power of loosing and binding sins: who down even to today and forever both lives and judges in his successors’" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 431]).



Sechnall of Ireland



"Steadfast in the fear of God, and in faith immovable, upon [Patrick] as upon Peter the [Irish] church is built; and he has been allotted his apostleship by God; against him the gates of hell prevail not" (Hymn in Praise of St. Patrick 3 [A.D. 444]).



Pope Leo I



"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . has placed the principal charge on the blessed Peter, chief of all the apostles. . . . He wished him who had been received into partnership in his undivided unity to be named what he himself was, when he said: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church’ [Matt. 16:18], that the building of the eternal temple might rest on Peter’s solid rock, strengthening his Church so surely that neither could human rashness assail it nor the gates of hell prevail against it" (Letters 10:1 [A.D. 445]).



Council of Chalcedon



"Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod, together with the thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the apostle, who is the rock and foundation of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, has stripped him [Dioscorus] of the episcopate" (Acts of the Council, session 3 [A.D. 451]).

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 8:56 pm

In another Catholic Answers tract, The Authority of the Pope: Part I, we looked at the views of the popes and the other Church Fathers up to the year A.D. 341 and showed that they recognized the unique authority of the pope, the bishop of Rome, in his role as the successor of Peter. In this tract, we will see that the later popes and Church Fathers retained a similar understanding of the Petrine office.



Council of Sardica



"[I]f any bishop loses the judgment in some case [decided by his fellow bishops] and still believes that he has not a bad but a good case, in order that the case may be judged anew . . . let us honor the memory of the apostle Peter by having those who have given the judgment write to Julius, Bishop of Rome, so that if it seem proper he may himself send arbiters and the judgment may be made again by the bishops of a neighboring province" (canon 3 [A.D. 342]).

"[I]f some bishop be deposed by the judgment of the bishops sitting in the neighborhood, and if he declare that he will seek further redress, another should not be appointed to his see until the bishop of Rome can be acquainted with the case and render a judgment" (canon 4).



Optatus of Milevus



"In the city of Rome the episcopal chair was given first to Peter; the chair in which Peter sat, the same who was head—that is why he is also called Cephas [‘Rock’]—of all the apostles, the one chair in which unity is maintained by all. Neither do the apostles proceed individually on their own, and anyone who would [presume to] set up another chair in opposition to that single chair would, by that very fact, be a schismatic and a sinner. . . . Recall, then, the origins of your chair, those of you who wish to claim for yourselves the title of holy Church" (The Schism of the Donatists2:2 [A.D. 367]).



Council of Constantinople I



"The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honor after the bishop of Rome, because his city is New Rome" (canon 3 [A.D. 381]).



Pope Damasus I



"Likewise it is decreed . . . that it ought to be announced that . . . the holy Roman Church has been placed at the forefront not by the conciliar decisions of other churches, but has received the primacy by the evangelic voice of our Lord and Savior, who says: ‘You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it; and I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you shall have bound on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you shall have loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]. The first see, therefore, is that of Peter the apostle, that of the Roman Church, which has neither stain nor blemish nor anything like it" (Decree of Damasus 3 [A.D. 382]).



Synod of Ambrose



"We recognize in the letter of your holiness [Pope Siricius] the vigilance of the good shepherd. You faithfully watch over the gate entrusted to you, and with pious care you guard Christ’s sheepfold [John 10:7ff], you that are worthy to have the Lord’s sheep hear and follow you" (Synodal Letter to Pope Siricius [A.D. 389]).



Jerome



"I follow no leader but Christ and join in communion with none but your blessedness [Pope Damasus I], that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that this is the rock on which the Church has been built. Whoever eats the Lamb outside this house is profane. Anyone who is not in the ark of Noah will perish when the flood prevails" (Letters 15:2 [A.D. 396]).

"The church here is split into three parts, each eager to seize me for its own. . . . Meanwhile I keep crying, ‘He that is joined to the chair of Peter is accepted by me!’ . . . Therefore, I implore your blessedness [Pope Damasus I] . . . tell me by letter with whom it is that I should communicate in Syria" (ibid., 16:2).



Augustine



"There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The consent of the people and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, enlarged by love, and established by age. The succession of priests keep me, from the very seat of the apostle Peter (to whom the Lord after his resurrection gave charge to feed his sheep) down to the present episcopate [of Pope Siricius]" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 5 [A.D. 397]).

"[On this matter of the Pelagians] two councils have already been sent to the Apostolic See [the bishop of Rome], and from there rescripts too have come. The matter is at an end; would that the error too might be at an end!" (Sermons 131:10 [A.D. 411]).



Pope Innocent I



"If cases of greater importance are to be heard [at a council], they are, as the synod decrees and as happy custom requires, after episcopal judgment, to be referred to the Apostolic See" (Letters2:3:6 [A.D. 408]).

"In seeking the things of God . . . following the examples of ancient tradition . . . you have strengthened . . . the vigor of your religion with true reason, for you have acknowledged that judgment is to be referred to us, and have shown that you know what is owed to the Apostolic See, if all of us placed in this position are to desire to follow the apostle himself [Peter] from whom the episcopate itself and the total authority of this name have emerged. Following him, we know how to condemn evils just as well as we know how to approve what is laudable. Or rather, guarding with your priestly office what the Fathers instituted, you did not regard what they had decided, not by human but by divine judgments, as something to be trampled on. They did not regard anything as finished, even though it was the concern of distant and remote provinces, until it had come to the notice of this See [Rome], so that what was a just pronouncement might be confirmed by the authority of this See, and thence other churches—just as all waters proceed from their own natal source and, through the various regions of the whole world, remain pure liquids of an incorrupted head. . . ." (ibid., 29:1).



Pope Celestine I



"We enjoin upon you [my legates to the Council of Ephesus] the necessary task of guarding the authority of the Apostolic See. And if the instructions handed to you have to mention this and if you have to be present in the assembly, if it comes to controversy, it is not yours to join the fight but to judge of the opinions [on my behalf]" (Letters 17 [A.D. 431]).



Council of Ephesus



"Philip, presbyter and legate of [Pope Celestine I] said: ‘We offer our thanks to the holy and venerable synod, that when the writings of our holy and blessed pope had been read to you, the holy members, by our holy voices, you joined yourselves to the holy head also by your holy acclamations. For your blessedness is not ignorant that the head of the whole faith, the head of the apostles, is blessed Peter the apostle. And since now [we], after having been tempest-tossed and much vexed, [have] arrived, we ask that you order that there be laid before us what things were done in this holy synod before our arrival; in order that according to the opinion of our blessed pope and of this present holy assembly, we likewise may ratify their determination’" (Acts of the Council, session 2 [A.D. 431]).



Pope Leo I



"Our Lord Jesus Christ . . . established the worship belonging to the divine religion. . . . But the Lord desired that the sacrament of this gift should pertain to all the apostles in such a way that it might be found principally in the most blessed Peter, the highest of all the apostles. And he wanted his gifts to flow into the entire body from Peter himself, as if from the head, in such a way that anyone who had dared to separate himself from the solidarity of Peter would realize that he was himself no longer a sharer in the divine mystery. . . . [You, my brothers], must realize with us, of course, that the Apostolic See—out of reverence for it, I mean—has on countless occasions been reported to in consultation by bishops even of your own province [Vienne]. And through the appeal of various cases to this see, decisions already made have been either revoked or confirmed, as dictated by long-standing custom" (Letters 10:2–3 [A.D. 445]).

"As for the resolution of the bishops which is contrary to the Nicene decree, in union with your faithful piety, I declare it to be invalid and annul it by the authority of the holy apostle Peter" (ibid., 110).

"If in your view, [Anastasius of Thessalonica], in regard to a matter to be handled and decided jointly with your brothers, their decision was other than what you wanted, then let the entire matter, with a record of the proceedings, be referred to us. . . . Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed apostles, though they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen [to be apostles], but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. . . . [So today through the bishops] the care of the universal Church would converge in the one see of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head" (ibid., 14:11).



Peter Chrysologus



"We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the most blessed pope of the city of Rome, for blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it. For we, by reason of our pursuit of peace and faith, cannot try cases on the faith without the consent of the bishop of Rome" (Letters 25:2 [A.D. 449]).



Council of Chalcedon



"Bishop Paschasinus, guardian of the Apostolic See, stood in the midst [of the Council Fathers] and said, ‘We received directions at the hands of the most blessed and apostolic bishop of the Roman city [Pope Leo I], who is the head of all the churches, which directions say that Dioscorus is not to be allowed to sit in the [present] assembly, but that if he should attempt to take his seat, he is to be cast out. This instruction we must carry out" (Acts of the Council, session 1 [A.D. 451]).

"After the reading of the foregoing epistle [The Tome of Leo], the most reverend bishops cried out: ‘This is the faith of the fathers! This is the faith of the apostles! So we all believe! Thus the orthodox believe! Anathema to him who does not thus believe! Peter has spoken thus through Leo!’" (ibid., session 2).



Pope Gregory I



"Your most sweet holiness, [Bishop Eulogius of Alexandria], has spoken much in your letter to me about the chair of Saint Peter, prince of the apostles, saying that he himself now sits on it in the persons of his successors. And indeed I acknowledge myself to be unworthy . . . I gladly accepted all that has been said, in that he has spoken to me about Peter’s chair, who occupies Peter’s chair. And, though special honor to myself in no wise delights me . . . who can be ignorant that holy Church has been made firm in the solidity of the prince of the apostles, who derived his name from the firmness of his mind, so as to be called Peter from petra. And to him it is said by the voice of the Truth, ‘To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ [Matt. 16:19]. And again it is said to him, ‘And when you are converted, strengthen your brethren’ [Luke 22:32]. And once more, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep’ [John 21:17]" (Letters 40 [A.D. 597]).

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 8:58 pm

There is ample evidence in the New Testament that Peter was first in authority among the apostles. Whenever they were named, Peter headed the list (Matt. 10:1-4, Mark 3:16-19, Luke 6:14-16, Acts 1:13); sometimes the apostles were referred to as "Peter and those who were with him" (Luke 9:32). Peter was the one who generally spoke for the apostles (Matt. 18:21, Mark 8:29, Luke 12:41, John 6:68-69), and he figured in many of the most dramatic scenes (Matt. 14:28-32, Matt. 17:24-27, Mark 10:23-28). On Pentecost it was Peter who first preached to the crowds (Acts 2:14-40), and he worked the first healing in the Church age (Acts 3:6-7). It is Peter’s faith that will strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and Peter is given Christ’s flock to shepherd (John 21:17). An angel was sent to announce the resurrection to Peter (Mark 16:7), and the risen Christ first appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34). He headed the meeting that elected Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:13-26), and he received the first converts (Acts 2:41). He inflicted the first punishment (Acts 5:1-11), and excommunicated the first heretic (Acts 8:18-23). He led the first council in Jerusalem (Acts 15), and announced the first dogmatic decision (Acts 15:7-11). It was to Peter that the revelation came that Gentiles were to be baptized and accepted as Christians (Acts 10:46-48).



Peter the Rock



Peter’s preeminent position among the apostles was symbolized at the very beginning of his relationship with Christ. At their first meeting, Christ told Simon that his name would thereafter be Peter, which translates as "Rock" (John 1:42). The startling thing was that—aside from the single time that Abraham is called a "rock" (Hebrew: Tsur; Aramaic: Kepha) in Isaiah 51:1-2—in the Old Testament only God was called a rock. The word rock was not used as a proper name in the ancient world. If you were to turn to a companion and say, "From now on your name is Asparagus," people would wonder: Why Asparagus? What is the meaning of it? What does it signify? Indeed, why call Simon the fisherman "Rock"? Christ was not given to meaningless gestures, and neither were the Jews as a whole when it came to names. Giving a new name meant that the status of the person was changed, as when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham (Gen.17:5), Jacob’s to Israel (Gen. 32:28), Eliakim’s to Joakim (2 Kgs. 23:34), or the names of the four Hebrew youths—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Dan. 1:6-7). But no Jew had ever been called "Rock." The Jews would give other names taken from nature, such as Deborah ("bee," Gen. 35:8), and Rachel ("ewe," Gen. 29:16), but never "Rock." In the New Testament James and John were nicknamed Boanerges, meaning "Sons of Thunder," by Christ, but that was never regularly used in place of their original names, and it certainly was not given as a new name. But in the case of Simon-bar-Jonah, his new name Kephas (Greek: Petros) definitely replaced the old.



Look at the scene



Not only was there significance in Simon being given a new and unusual name, but the place where Jesus solemnly conferred it upon Peter was also important. It happened when "Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi" (Matt. 16:13), a city that Philip the Tetrarch built and named in honor of Caesar Augustus, who had died in A.D. 14. The city lay near cascades in the Jordan River and near a gigantic wall of rock, a wall about 200 feet high and 500 feet long, which is part of the southern foothills of Mount Hermon. The city no longer exists, but its ruins are near the small Arab town of Banias; and at the base of the rock wall may be found what is left of one of the springs that fed the Jordan. It was here that Jesus pointed to Simon and said, "You are Peter" (Matt. 16:18).

The significance of the event must have been clear to the other apostles. As devout Jews they knew at once that the location was meant to emphasize the importance of what was being done. None complained of Simon being singled out for this honor; and in the rest of the New Testament he is called by his new name, while James and John remain just James and John, not Boanerges.



Promises to Peter



When he first saw Simon, "Jesus looked at him, and said, ‘So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas (which means Peter)’" (John 1:42). The word Cephas is merely the transliteration of the Aramaic Kepha into Greek. Later, after Peter and the other disciples had been with Christ for some time, they went to Caesarea Philippi, where Peter made his profession of faith: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16). Jesus told him that this truth was specially revealed to him, and then he solemnly reiterated: "And I tell you, you are Peter" (Matt. 16:18). To this was added the promise that the Church would be founded, in some way, on Peter (Matt. 16:18).

Then two important things were told the apostle. "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 16:19). Here Peter was singled out for the authority that provides for the forgiveness of sins and the making of disciplinary rules. Later the apostles as a whole would be given similar power [Matt.18:18], but here Peter received it in a special sense.

Peter alone was promised something else also: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 16:19). In ancient times, keys were the hallmark of authority. A walled city might have one great gate; and that gate had one great lock, worked by one great key. To be given the key to the city—an honor that exists even today, though its import is lost—meant to be given free access to and authority over the city. The city to which Peter was given the keys was the heavenly city itself. This symbolism for authority is used elsewhere in the Bible (Is. 22:22, Rev. 1:18).

Finally, after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" (John 21:15-17). In repentance for his threefold denial, Peter gave a threefold affirmation of love. Then Christ, the Good Shepherd (John 10:11, 14), gave Peter the authority he earlier had promised: "Feed my sheep" (John 21:17). This specifically included the other apostles, since Jesus asked Peter, "Do you love me more than these?" (John 21:15), the word "these" referring to the other apostles who were present (John 21:2). Thus was completed the prediction made just before Jesus and his followers went for the last time to the Mount of Olives.

Immediately before his denials were predicted, Peter was told, "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again [after the denials], strengthen your brethren" (Luke 22:31-32). It was Peter who Christ prayed would have faith that would not fail and that would be a guide for the others; and his prayer, being perfectly efficacious, was sure to be fulfilled.



Who is the rock?



Now take a closer look at the key verse: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Matt. 16:18). Disputes about this passage have always been related to the meaning of the term "rock." To whom, or to what, does it refer? Since Simon’s new name of Peter itself means rock, the sentence could be rewritten as: "You are Rock and upon this rock I will build my Church." The play on words seems obvious, but commentators wishing to avoid what follows from this—namely the establishment of the papacy—have suggested that the word rock could not refer to Peter but must refer to his profession of faith or to Christ.

From the grammatical point of view, the phrase "this rock" must relate back to the closest noun. Peter’s profession of faith ("You are the Christ, the Son of the living God") is two verses earlier, while his name, a proper noun, is in the immediately preceding clause.

As an analogy, consider this artificial sentence: "I have a car and a truck, and it is blue." Which is blue? The truck, because that is the noun closest to the pronoun "it." This is all the more clear if the reference to the car is two sentences earlier, as the reference to Peter’s profession is two sentences earlier than the term rock.



Another alternative



The previous argument also settles the question of whether the word refers to Christ himself, since he is mentioned within the profession of faith. The fact that he is elsewhere, by a different metaphor, called the cornerstone (Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:4-8) does not disprove that here Peter is the foundation. Christ is naturally the principal and, since he will be returning to heaven, the invisible foundation of the Church that he will establish; but Peter is named by him as the secondary and, because he and his successors will remain on earth, the visible foundation. Peter can be a foundation only because Christ is the cornerstone.

In fact, the New Testament contains five different metaphors for the foundation of the Church (Matt. 16:18, 1 Cor. 3:11, Eph. 2:20, 1 Pet. 2:5-6, Rev. 21:14). One cannot take a single metaphor from a single passage and use it to twist the plain meaning of other passages. Rather, one must respect and harmonize the different passages, for the Church can be described as having different foundations since the word foundation can be used in different senses.



Look at the Aramaic



Opponents of the Catholic interpretation of Matthew 16:18 sometimes argue that in the Greek text the name of the apostle is Petros, while "rock" is rendered as petra. They claim that the former refers to a small stone, while the latter refers to a massive rock; so, if Peter was meant to be the massive rock, why isn’t his name Petra?

Note that Christ did not speak to the disciples in Greek. He spoke Aramaic, the common language of Palestine at that time. In that language the word for rock is kepha, which is what Jesus called him in everyday speech (note that in John 1:42 he was told, "You will be called Cephas"). What Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 was: "You are Kepha, and upon this kepha I will build my Church."

When Matthew’s Gospel was translated from the original Aramaic to Greek, there arose a problem which did not confront the evangelist when he first composed his account of Christ’s life. In Aramaic the word kepha has the same ending whether it refers to a rock or is used as a man’s name. In Greek, though, the word for rock, petra, is feminine in gender. The translator could use it for the second appearance of kepha in the sentence, but not for the first because it would be inappropriate to give a man a feminine name. So he put a masculine ending on it, and hence Peter became Petros.

Furthermore, the premise of the argument against Peter being the rock is simply false. In first century Greek the words petros and petra were synonyms. They had previously possessed the meanings of "small stone" and "large rock" in some early Greek poetry, but by the first century this distinction was gone, as Protestant Bible scholars admit (see D. A. Carson’s remarks on this passage in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan Books]).

Some of the effect of Christ’s play on words was lost when his statement was translated from the Aramaic into Greek, but that was the best that could be done in Greek. In English, like Aramaic, there is no problem with endings; so an English rendition could read: "You are Rock, and upon this rock I will build my church."

Consider another point: If the rock really did refer to Christ (as some claim, based on 1 Cor. 10:4, "and the Rock was Christ" though the rock there was a literal, physical rock), why did Matthew leave the passage as it was? In the original Aramaic, and in the English which is a closer parallel to it than is the Greek, the passage is clear enough. Matthew must have realized that his readers would conclude the obvious from "Rock . . . rock."

If he meant Christ to be understood as the rock, why didn’t he say so? Why did he take a chance and leave it up to Paul to write a clarifying text? This presumes, of course, that 1 Corinthians was written after Matthew’s Gospel; if it came first, it could not have been written to clarify it.

The reason, of course, is that Matthew knew full well that what the sentence seemed to say was just what it really was saying. It was Simon, weak as he was, who was chosen to become the rock and thus the first link in the chain of the papacy.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 9:00 pm

The Catholic Church’s teaching on papal infallibility is one which is generally misunderstood by those outside the Church. In particular, Fundamentalists and other "Bible Christians" often confuse the charism of papal "infallibility" with "impeccability." They imagine Catholics believe the pope cannot sin. Others, who avoid this elementary blunder, think the pope relies on some sort of amulet or magical incantation when an infallible definition is due.

Given these common misapprehensions regarding the basic tenets of papal infallibility, it is necessary to explain exactly what infallibility is not. Infallibility is not the absence of sin. Nor is it a charism that belongs only to the pope. Indeed, infallibility also belongs to the body of bishops as a whole, when, in doctrinal unity with the pope, they solemnly teach a doctrine as true. We have this from Jesus himself, who promised the apostles and their successors the bishops, the magisterium of the Church: "He who hears you hears me" (Luke 10:16), and "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven" (Matt. 18:18).



Vatican II’s Explanation



Vatican II explained the doctrine of infallibility as follows: "Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they can nevertheless proclaim Christ’s doctrine infallibly. This is so, even when they are dispersed around the world, provided that while maintaining the bond of unity among themselves and with Peter’s successor, and while teaching authentically on a matter of faith or morals, they concur in a single viewpoint as the one which must be held conclusively. This authority is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church. Their definitions must then be adhered to with the submission of faith" (Lumen Gentium 25).

Infallibility belongs in a special way to the pope as head of the bishops (Matt. 16:17–19; John 21:15–17). As Vatican II remarked, it is a charism the pope "enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith (Luke 22:32), he proclaims by a definitive act some doctrine of faith or morals. Therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly held irreformable, for they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, an assistance promised to him in blessed Peter."

The infallibility of the pope is not a doctrine that suddenly appeared in Church teaching; rather, it is a doctrine which was implicit in the early Church. It is only our understanding of infallibility which has developed and been more clearly understood over time. In fact, the doctrine of infallibility is implicit in these Petrine texts: John 21:15–17 ("Feed my sheep . . . "), Luke 22:32 ("I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail"), and Matthew 16:18 ("You are Peter . . . ").



Based on Christ’s Mandate



Christ instructed the Church to preach everything he taught (Matt. 28:19–20) and promised the protection of the Holy Spirit to "guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13). That mandate and that promise guarantee the Church will never fall away from his teachings (Matt. 16:18, 1 Tim. 3:15), even if individual Catholics might.

As Christians began to more clearly understand the teaching authority of the Church and of the primacy of the pope, they developed a clearer understanding of the pope’s infallibility. This development of the faithful’s understanding has its clear beginnings in the early Church. For example, Cyprian of Carthage, writing about 256, put the question this way, "Would the heretics dare to come to the very seat of Peter whence apostolic faith is derived and whither no errors can come?" (Letters 59 [55], 14). In the fifth century, Augustine succinctly captured the ancient attitude when he remarked, "Rome has spoken; the case is concluded" (Sermons 131, 10).



Some Clarifications



An infallible pronouncement—whether made by the pope alone or by an ecumenical council—usually is made only when some doctrine has been called into question. Most doctrines have never been doubted by the large majority of Catholics.

Pick up a catechism and look at the great number of doctrines, most of which have never been formally defined. But many points have been defined, and not just by the pope alone. There are, in fact, many major topics on which it would be impossible for a pope to make an infallible definition without duplicating one or more infallible pronouncements from ecumenical councils or the ordinary magisterium (teaching authority) of the Church.

At least the outline, if not the references, of the preceding paragraphs should be familiar to literate Catholics, to whom this subject should appear straightforward. It is a different story with "Bible Christians." For them papal infallibility often seems a muddle because their idea of what it encompasses is often incorrect.

Some ask how popes can be infallible if some of them lived scandalously. This objection of course, illustrates the common confusion between infallibility and impeccability. There is no guarantee that popes won’t sin or give bad example. (The truly remarkable thing is the great degree of sanctity found in the papacy throughout history; the "bad popes" stand out precisely because they are so rare.)

Other people wonder how infallibility could exist if some popes disagreed with others. This, too, shows an inaccurate understanding of infallibility, which applies only to solemn, official teachings on faith and morals, not to disciplinary decisions or even to unofficial comments on faith and morals. A pope’s private theological opinions are not infallible, only what he solemnly defines is considered to be infallible teaching.

Even Fundamentalists and Evangelicals who do not have these common misunderstandings often think infallibility means that popes are given some special grace that allows them to teach positively whatever truths need to be known, but that is not quite correct, either. Infallibility is not a substitute for theological study on the part of the pope.

What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from solemnly and formally teaching as "truth" something that is, in fact, error. It does not help him know what is true, nor does it "inspire" him to teach what is true. He has to learn the truth the way we all do—through study—though, to be sure, he has certain advantages because of his position.



Peter Not Infallible?



As a biblical example of papal fallibility, Fundamentalists like to point to Peter’s conduct at Antioch, where he refused to eat with Gentile Christians in order not to offend certain Jews from Palestine (Gal. 2:11–16). For this Paul rebuked him. Did this demonstrate papal infallibility was non-existent? Not at all. Peter’s actions had to do with matters of discipline, not with issues of faith or morals.

Furthermore, the problem was Peter’s actions, not his teaching. Paul acknowledged that Peter very well knew the correct teaching (Gal. 2:12–13). The problem was that he wasn’t living up to his own teaching. Thus, in this instance, Peter was not doing any teaching; much less was he solemnly defining a matter of faith or morals.

Fundamentalists must also acknowledge that Peter did have some kind of infallibility—they cannot deny that he wrote two infallible epistles of the New Testament while under protection against writing error. So, if his behavior at Antioch was not incompatible with this kind of infallibility, neither is bad behavior contrary to papal infallibility in general.

Turning to history, critics of the Church cite certain "errors of the popes." Their argument is really reduced to three cases, those of Popes Liberius, Vigilius, and Honorius, the three cases to which all opponents of papal infallibility turn; because they are the only cases that do not collapse as soon as they are mentioned. There is no point in giving the details here—any good history of the Church will supply the facts—but it is enough to note that none of the cases meet the requirements outlined by the description of papal infallibility given at Vatican I (cf. Pastor Aeternus 4).



Their "Favorite Case"



According to Fundamentalist commentators, their best case lies with Pope Honorius. They say he specifically taught Monothelitism, a heresy that held that Christ had only one will (a divine one), not two wills (a divine one and a human one) as all orthodox Christians hold.

But that’s not at all what Honorius did. Even a quick review of the records shows he simply decided not to make a decision at all. As Ronald Knox explained, "To the best of his human wisdom, he thought the controversy ought to be left unsettled, for the greater peace of the Church. In fact, he was an inopportunist. We, wise after the event, say that he was wrong. But nobody, I think, has ever claimed that the pope is infallible in not defining a doctrine."

Knox wrote to Arnold Lunn (a future convert who would become a great apologist for the faith—their correspondence is found in the book Difficulties): "Has it ever occurred to you how few are the alleged ‘failures of infallibility’? I mean, if somebody propounded in your presence the thesis that all the kings of England have been impeccable, you would not find yourself murmuring, ‘Oh, well, people said rather unpleasant things about Jane Shore . . . and the best historians seem to think that Charles II spent too much of his time with Nell Gwynn.’ Here have these popes been, fulminating anathema after anathema for centuries—certain in all human probability to contradict themselves or one another over again. Instead of which you get this measly crop of two or three alleged failures!" While Knox’s observation does not establish the truth of papal infallibility, it does show that the historical argument against infallibility is weak.

The rejection of papal infallibility by "Bible Christians" stems from their view of the Church. They do not think Christ established a visible Church, which means they do not believe in a hierarchy of bishops headed by the pope.

This is no place to give an elaborate demonstration of the establishment of a visible Church. But it is simple enough to point out that the New Testament shows the apostles setting up, after their Master’s instructions, a visible organization, and that every Christian writer in the early centuries—in fact, nearly all Christians until the Reformation—fully recognized that Christ set up an ongoing organization.

One example of this ancient belief comes to us from Ignatius of Antioch. In his second-century letter to the church in Smyrna, he wrote, "Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8, 1 [A.D. 110]).

If Christ did set up such an organization, he must have provided for its continuation, for its easy identification (that is, it had to be visible so it could be found), and, since he would be gone from earth, for some method by which it could preserve his teachings intact.

All this was accomplished through the apostolic succession of bishops, and the preservation of the Christian message, in its fullness, was guaranteed through the gift of infallibility, of the Church as a whole, but mainly through its Christ-appointed leaders, the bishops (as a whole) and the pope (as an individual).

It is the Holy Spirit who prevents the pope from officially teaching error, and this charism follows necessarily from the existence of the Church itself. If, as Christ promised, the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church then it must be protected from fundamentally falling into error and thus away from Christ. It must prove itself to be a perfectly steady guide in matters pertaining to salvation.

Of course, infallibility does not include a guarantee that any particular pope won’t "neglect" to teach the truth, or that he will be sinless, or that mere disciplinary decisions will be intelligently made. It would be nice if he were omniscient or impeccable, but his not being so will fail to bring about the destruction of the Church.

But he must be able to teach rightly, since instruction for the sake of salvation is a primary function of the Church. For men to be saved, they must know what is to be believed. They must have a perfectly steady rock to build upon and to trust as the source of solemn Christian teaching. And that’s why papal infallibility exists.

Since Christ said the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church (Matt. 16:18b), this means that his Church can never pass out of existence. But if the Church ever apostasized by teaching heresy, then it would cease to exist; because it would cease to be Jesus’ Church. Thus the Church cannot teach heresy, meaning that anything it solemnly defines for the faithful to believe is true. This same reality is reflected in the Apostle Paul’s statement that the Church is "the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). If the Church is the foundation of religious truth in this world, then it is God’s own spokesman. As Christ told his disciples: "He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me" (Luke 10:16).

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 9:03 pm

Linus, Saint, POPE (about A.D. 64 or 67-76 or 79). All the ancient records of the Roman bishops which have been handed down to us by St. Irenaeus, Julius Africanus, St. Hippolytus, Eusebius, also the Liberian catalogue of 354, place the name of Linus directly after that of the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter. These records are traced back to a list of the Roman bishops which existed in the time of Pope Eleutherus (about 174-189), when Irenaeus wrote his book "Adversus haereses". As opposed to this testimony, we cannot accept as more reliable Tertullian's assertion, which unquestionably places St. Clement (De praescriptione, xxxii) after the Apostle Peter, as was also done later by other Latin scholars (Jerome, "De vir. ill.", xv). The Roman list in Irenaeus has undoubtedly greater claims to historical authority. This author claims that Pope Linus is the Linus mentioned by St. Paul in his II Tim., iv, 21. The passage by Irenaeus (Adv. haereses, III, iii, 3) reads: "After the Holy Apostles (Peter and Paul) had founded and set the Church in order (in Rome) they gave over the exercise of the episcopal office to Linus. The same Linus is mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy. His successor was Anacletus". We cannot be positive whether this identification of the pope as "being p he Linus mentioned in II Tim., iv, 21, goes back to an ancient and reliable source, or originated later on account of the similarity of the name.

Linus's term of office, according to the papal lists handed down to us, lasted only twelve years. The Liberian Catalogue shows that it lasted twelve years, four months, and twelve days. The dates given in this catalogue, A.D. 56 until A.D. 67, are incorrect. Perhaps it was on account of these dates that the writers of the fourth century gave their opinion that Linus had held the position of head of the Roman community during the life of the Apostle; e.g., Rufinus in the preface to his translation of the pseudo-Clementine "Recognitiones". But this hypothesis has no historical foundation. It cannot be doubted that according to the accounts of Irenaeus concerning the Roman Church in the second century, Linus was chosen to be head of the community of Christians in Rome, after the death of the Apostle. For this reason his pontificate dates from the year of the death of the Apostles Peter and Paul, which, however, is not known for certain. The "Liber Pontificalis" asserts that Linus's home was in Tuscany, and that his father's name was Herculanus; but we cannot discover the origin of this assertion. According to the same work on the popes, Linus is supposed to have issued a decree "in conformity with the ordinance of St. Peter", that women should have their heads covered in church. Without doubt this decree is apocryphal, and copied by the author of the "Liber Pontificalis" from the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (xi, 5) and arbitrarily attributed to the first successor of the Apostle in Rome. The statement made in the same source, that Linus suffered martyrdom, cannot be proved and is improbable. For between Nero and Domitian there is no mention of any persecution of the Roman Church; and-Irenaeus (I. c., III, iv, 3) from among the early Roman bishops designates only Telesphorus as a glorious martyr.

Finally this book asserts that Linus after his death, was buried in the Vatican beside St. Peter. We do not know whether the author had any decisive reason for this assertion. As St. Peter was certainly buried at the foot of the Vatican Hill, it is quite possible that the earliest bishops of the Roman Church also were interred there. There was nothing in the liturgical tradition of the fourth-century Roman Church to prove this, because it was only at the end of the second century that any special feast of martyrs was instituted, and consequently Linus does not appear in the fourth-century lists of the feasts of the Roman saints. According to Torrigio ("Le sacre grotte Vaticane", Viterbo, 1618, 53) when the present confession was constructed in St. Peter's (1615), sarcophagi were found, and among them was one which bore the word Linus. The explanation given by Severano of this discovery ("Memorie delle sette chiese di Roma", Rome, 1630, 120) is that probably these sarcophagi contained the remains of the first Roman bishops, and that the one bearing that inscription was Linus's burial place. This assertion was repeated later on by different writers. But from a MS. of Torrigio's we see that on the sarcophagus in question there were other letters beside the word Linus, so that they rather belonged to some other name (such as Aquilinus, Anullinus). The place of the discovery of the tomb is a proof that it could not be the tomb of Linus. (De Rossi, "Inscriptiones christianae urbis Roma:", II, 236-7). The feast of St. Linus is now celebrated on September 23. This is also the date given in the "Liber Pontificalis". An epistle on the martyrdom of the Apostles St. Peter and Paul was at a later period attributed to St. Linus, and supposedly was sent by him to the Eastern Churches. It is apocryphal and of later date than the history of the martyrdom of the two Apostles, by some attributed to Marcellus, which is also apocryphal ("Acta Apostolorum apocrypha", ed. Lipsius and Bonnet, I, ed. Leipzig, 1891, XIV sqq., 1 sqq.).

J.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 9:06 pm

The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which was the true Church and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants.

Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles. All over the world, all Catholic bishops are part of a lineage that goes back to the time of the apostles, something that is impossible in Protestant denominations (most of which do not even claim to have bishops).

The role of apostolic succession in preserving true doctrine is illustrated in the Bible. To make sure that the apostles’ teachings would be passed down after the deaths of the apostles, Paul told Timothy, "[W]hat you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2). In this passage he refers to the first three generations of apostolic succession—his own generation, Timothy’s generation, and the generation Timothy will teach.

The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. This was necessary because heretics simply put their own interpretations, even bizarre ones, on Scripture. Clearly, something other than Scripture had to be used as an ultimate test of doctrine in these cases.

Thus the early Church historian J. N. D. Kelly, a Protestant, writes, "[W]here in practice was [the] apostolic testimony or tradition to be found? . . . The most obvious answer was that the apostles had committed it orally to the Church, where it had been handed down from generation to generation. . . . Unlike the alleged secret tradition of the Gnostics, it was entirely public and open, having been entrusted by the apostles to their successors, and by these in turn to those who followed them, and was visible in the Church for all who cared to look for it" (Early Christian Doctrines, 37).

For the early Fathers, "the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles. . . . [A]n additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church’s bishops are . . . Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed ‘an infallible charism of truth’" (ibid.).

Thus on the basis of experience the Fathers could be "profoundly convinced of the futility of arguing with heretics merely on the basis of Scripture. The skill and success with which they twisted its plain meaning made it impossible to reach any decisive conclusion in that field" (ibid., 41).



Pope Clement I



"Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).



Hegesippus



"When I had come to Rome, I [visited] Anicetus, whose deacon was Eleutherus. And after Anicetus [died], Soter succeeded, and after him Eleutherus. In each succession and in each city there is a continuance of that which is proclaimed by the law, the prophets, and the Lord" (Memoirs, cited in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 4:22 [A.D. 180]).



Irenaeus



"It is possible, then, for everyone in every church, who may wish to know the truth, to contemplate the tradition of the apostles which has been made known to us throughout the whole world. And we are in a position to enumerate those who were instituted bishops by the apostles and their successors down to our own times, men who neither knew nor taught anything like what these heretics rave about" (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

"But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition" (ibid., 3:3:2).

"Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time" (ibid., 3:3:4).

"Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth, so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from her the water of life. . . . For how stands the case? Suppose there arise a dispute relative to some important question among us, should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the apostles held constant conversation, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?" (ibid., 3:4:1).

"[I]t is incumbent to obey the presbyters who are in the Church—those who, as I have shown, possess the succession from the apostles; those who, together with the succession of the episcopate, have received the infallible charism of truth, according to the good pleasure of the Father. But [it is also incumbent] to hold in suspicion others who depart from the primitive succession, and assemble themselves together in any place whatsoever, either as heretics of perverse minds, or as schismatics puffed up and self-pleasing, or again as hypocrites, acting thus for the sake of lucre and vainglory. For all these have fallen from the truth" (ibid., 4:26:2).

"The true knowledge is the doctrine of the apostles, and the ancient organization of the Church throughout the whole world, and the manifestation of the body of Christ according to the succession of bishops, by which succession the bishops have handed down the Church which is found everywhere" (ibid., 4:33:8).



Tertullian



"[The apostles] founded churches in every city, from which all the other churches, one after another, derived the tradition of the faith, and the seeds of doctrine, and are every day deriving them, that they may become churches. Indeed, it is on this account only that they will be able to deem themselves apostolic, as being the offspring of apostolic churches. Every sort of thing must necessarily revert to its original for its classification. Therefore the churches, although they are so many and so great, comprise but the one primitive Church, [founded] by the apostles, from which they all [spring]. In this way, all are primitive, and all are apostolic, while they are all proved to be one in unity" (Demurrer Against the Heretics 20 [A.D. 200]).

"[W]hat it was which Christ revealed to them [the apostles] can, as I must here likewise prescribe, properly be proved in no other way than by those very churches which the apostles founded in person, by declaring the gospel to them directly themselves . . . If then these things are so, it is in the same degree manifest that all doctrine which agrees with the apostolic churches—those molds and original sources of the faith must be reckoned for truth, as undoubtedly containing that which the churches received from the apostles, the apostles from Christ, [and] Christ from God. Whereas all doctrine must be prejudged as false which savors of contrariety to the truth of the churches and apostles of Christ and God. It remains, then, that we demonstrate whether this doctrine of ours, of which we have now given the rule, has its origin in the tradition of the apostles, and whether all other doctrines do not ipso facto proceed from falsehood" (ibid., 21).

"But if there be any [heresies] which are bold enough to plant [their origin] in the midst of the apostolic age, that they may thereby seem to have been handed down by the apostles, because they existed in the time of the apostles, we can say: Let them produce the original records of their churches; let them unfold the roll of their bishops, running down in due succession from the beginning in such a manner that [their first] bishop shall be able to show for his ordainer and predecessor some one of the apostles or of apostolic men—a man, moreover, who continued steadfast with the apostles. For this is the manner in which the apostolic churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein by John; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter" (ibid., 32).

"But should they even effect the contrivance [of composing a succession list for themselves], they will not advance a step. For their very doctrine, after comparison with that of the apostles [as contained in other churches], will declare, by its own diversity and contrariety, that it had for its author neither an apostle nor an apostolic man; because, as the apostles would never have taught things which were self-contradictory" (ibid.).

"Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic Church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic. But in truth they neither are so, nor are they able to prove themselves to be what they are not. Nor are they admitted to peaceful relations and communion by such churches as are in any way connected with apostles, inasmuch as they are in no sense themselves apostolic because of their diversity as to the mysteries of the faith" (ibid.).



Cyprian of Carthage



"[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with [the heretic] Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop [of Rome], Fabian, by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way" (Letters 69[75]:3 [A.D. 253]).



Jerome



"Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ and through whose efforts also it is that we are Christians" (Letters 14:8 [A.D. 396]).



Augustine



"[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house" (Against the Letter of Mani Called "The Foundation" 4:5 [A.D. 397]).

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 9:13 pm

Marks of the True Church


We know that Our Lord established a Church before He ascended into Heaven. He made St Peter the head of that Church. But does that Church still exist? There are so many Churches that call themselves Christian ... are they all the true Church? Is only one of them? Which one?

Most true Christians accept as the basis of their faith those truths set forth in the Nicene Creed. It is in that Creed that we learn the true marks (or indicia) of the True Church of Christ.

The True Church is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC.

Only the Roman Catholic Church can validly claim all four marks. It is the Roman Catholic Church which has always been and continues to be that Church which Jesus Himself established almost 2000 years ago.

The Catholic Church is ONE


There is only one Christian Church, united in faith, in worship and in in succession from the Apostles themselves. For the Church is the Body of Christ Himself, and so is whole and one as Christ's Body is whole and one. Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church promulgated by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council, states that:

"The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it .... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that:

"The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by one Spirit, for the sake of one hope, at whose fulfilment all divisions will be overcome."

Of course, it is a sad fact that in the course of its history, rifts have arisen in the Church, sometimes leading whole groups of the faithful to separate from the Church. This is a scandal, unpleasing to God. Our Lord wishes that "all may be one" and it is the duty of all Christians to strive towards and pray earnestly for that day when all Christians will be united in the Lord.

This does not, however, mean that a proliferation of denominations means the Catholic Church is not one. In fact, all those separated from the Catholic Church remain part of her, in a mysterious way. All those who receive Christian baptism belong to the Catholic Church!

We all look forward with hope to the day when we will share a meal together at the one banquet table in the presence of Our Lord.

The Catholic Church is HOLY


Lumen Gentium states further that:

"The Church ... is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy. This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as "alone holy", loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God."

The Church, then, is perfect and holy, the spotless bride of Christ, the undefiled Body of Christ Himself, filled with the Holy Spirit.

The mysterious paradox is that the Church is holy and perfect, even though she is made of imperfect sinners!

The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners". Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy."
--Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is CATHOLIC


"Catholic" in this sense is the "small-c" "catholic", which means "universal". The Church can be found in St Peter's Basilica, in a suburban parish church, in a group of faithful in the Amazon Jungle. But being one in faith and communion with the Church in Rome makes this Church a universal collection of those "particular Churches". Particular Churches fall to the care of Bishops, the pastors of the faithful and successors of the Apostles. Their communion with each other and with the Bishop of Rome makes the Catholic Church truly universal.

Pope Paul VI in his encyclical, Evangelii Nuntiandi, states:

"Let us be very careful not to conceive of the universal Church as the simple sum, or ... the more or less anomolous federation of essentially different particular churches. In the mind of the Lord the Church is universal by vocation and mission, but when she puts down her roots in a variety of cultural, social, and human terrains, she takes on different external expressions and appearances in each part of the world."

"The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fulness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is "missionary by her very nature".
--Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church is APOSTOLIC


The Catholic Church validly claims succession from the Apostles themselves. All bishops of the Catholic Church are ordained by bishops who themselves were ordained by bishops who themselves were ordained ... and so on ... who themselves were ordained by the Apostles. This passing on of the authority and mission of the Apostles throughout time is guided by the Holy Spirit who descended on the Apostles at Pentecost and remains with the Church guiding Her until the Lord comes again.

Other Churches, no longer in communion with the Church of Rome, have also maintained Apostolic Succession. The Orthodox Churches, certain of the bishops of the Anglican Communion and the bishops of the Society of St Pius X, although not in communion with Rome, have maintained this succession from the Apostles by ensuring that only bishops in the Apostolic Succession may ordain other bishops after the group has separated from Rome.

"The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the Lamb". She is indestructible. She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.
--Catechism of the Catholic Church

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 9:16 pm

The opening verse of the book of Hebrews tells us that "[i]n many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets." This was done fragmentarily, under various figures and symbols. Man was not given religious truth as though from a Scholastic theologian, nicely laid out and fully indexed. Doctrines had to be thought out, lived out in the liturgical life of the Church, even pieced together by the Fathers and ecumenical councils. In this way, the Church has gained an ever-deepening understanding of the deposit of faith that had been "once for all delivered" to it by Christ and the apostles (cf. Jude 3).

Protestants—especially Fundamentalists and Evangelicals—admit that much. They recognize there was a real development in doctrine: There was an initial message, much clouded at the Fall, and then a progressively fuller explanation of God’s teachings as Israel was prepared for the Messiah, until the apostles were instructed by the Messiah himself. Jesus told the apostles that in the Old Testament "many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it" (Matt. 13:17).



Hold Fast to What You Were Taught



Christians have always understood that at the close of the apostolic age—with the death of the last surviving apostle, John, perhaps around A.D. 100—public revelation ceased (Catechism of the Catholic Church 66–67, 73). Christ fulfilled the Old Testament law (Matt. 5:17) and is the ultimate teacher of humanity: "You have one teacher, the Messiah" (Matt. 23:10). The apostles recognized that their task was to pass on, intact, the faith given to them by the Master: "[A]nd what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also" (2 Tim. 2:2); "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it" (2 Tim. 3:14).

However, this closure to public revelation doesn’t mean there isn’t progress in the understanding of what has been entrusted to the Church. Anyone interested in Christianity will ask, "What does this doctrine imply? How does it relate to that doctrine?"



Vatican II on Development



In answering these questions, the Church facilitates the development or maturing of doctrines. The Blessed Virgin Mary models this process of coming to an ever deeper understanding of God’s revelation: "But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart" (Luke 2:19). It’s important to understand that the Church does not, indeed cannot, change the doctrines God has given it, nor can it "invent" new ones and add them to the deposit of faith that has been "once for all delivered to the saints." New beliefs are not invented, but obscurities and misunderstandings regarding the deposit of faith are cleared up.

Vatican II explained, "The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts, through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her" (Dei Verbum 8).

As we read Scripture, we see in it doctrines we already hold, each of us having been instructed in the faith before ever picking up the sacred text. This is a necessary process, as Scripture indicates. Peter explained, "There are some things in them [Paul’s letters] hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures" (2 Pet. 3:16). Those who are ignorant of orthodox Christian doctrine because they have never been taught it, or who are unstable in their adherence to the orthodox doctrine they have been taught, can twist Paul’s writings and the rest of Scripture to their own destruction. Therefore, it is important that we read Scripture within the framework of the Church’s constant tradition, as handed down from the apostles in the Catholic Church.

However, when we read Scripture in the light of the apostles’ authentic teachings, we sometimes forget that some central doctrines (such as the Trinity and the hypostatic union) were not always understood or as clearly expounded in the Church’s early days the way they are now. Understanding grew and deepened over time. As an example, consider the Holy Spirit’s divinity. In Scripture, references to it seem to jump out at us. But if we imagine ourselves as ancient pagans or as present-day non-Christians reading the Bible for the first time, we realize, for them, the Holy Spirit’s status as a divine person is not as clearly present in Scripture, since they are less likely to notice details pointing to it. If we think of ourselves as having no recourse to apostolic tradition and to the Church’s teaching authority that the Holy Spirit guides into all truth (cf. John 14:25-26, 16:13), we can appreciate how easy it must have been for the early heresies concerning the Trinity and Holy Spirit to arise.

Another example is the early heresy known as Monothelitism. This heresy, which Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants reject, claimed that Christ had only one will—the divine—and that he had no human will. This error sprang up because people had not yet clearly perceived that, since Christ is fully God, he must have a divine will, and, since he is fully man, he must have a human will. If he lacks one or the other will, then he would either not be fully God or not be fully man. Thus Christ must have two wills, one divine and one human. But because the issue had never been raised before, this teaching had not yet been discerned as a necessary inference from the fact that Christ is fully God and fully man—two teachings that had been understood for ages.

Transubstantiation (the teaching that during Mass, at the moment of consecration, the substance of the bread and wine becomes, through a miraculous change wrought by God’s grace, the substance of the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ, though the appearances of bread and wine remain) is another example of a doctrine that had always been believed by the Church, but whose exact meaning was understood more clearly over time. In the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel, the Eucharist is promised by Jesus. If this chapter is read in conjunction with the accounts of the Last Supper, it is easy to see why the first Christians knew that the bread and wine are transubstantiated into Christ’s actual body and blood. The Bible clearly says this change happens (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16–17, 11:23–29), but it is silent about how it happens.

The technical theological term "transubstantiation" was not formally adopted by the Catholic Church until the Fourth Lateran Council, in 1215. This was not the addition of a new doctrine, but was the Church’s way of defining what it had always taught on this subject in terms that would be so exact as to exclude all the incorrect explanations proposed over the years to explain what happens at the moment of consecration. Because people gave a lot of thought to the meaning and implications of Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, because they tried their best to draw true inferences from this true doctrine, and because not all of them were adept at that, disputes arose, and a formal definition by the Church became necessary.



No Necessity to Define



As these and many other cases demonstrate, doctrinal questions can remain in a not-yet-fully-defined state for years. The Church has never felt the need to define formally what there has been no particular pressure to define. This strikes many, particularly non-Catholics, as strange. Why weren’t things cleared up in, say, A.D. 100, so folks could know what’s what? Why didn’t Rome issue a laundry list of definitions in the early days and let it go at that? Why wasn’t an end-run made around all these troubles that plagued Christianity precisely because things were unclear? The remote reason is that God has had his own timetable and set of reasons (to which we aren’t privy) for keeping it. The same could be said about Old Testament prophets: Why didn’t they understand the fullness of the doctrine of the Trinity all at once? Or the identity of the Messiah? Or the fullness of Christian teaching? Partly because God had not revealed it all yet, and partly because their understanding of the implications of the doctrines they had needed to grow clearer over time.

This need to discern more clearly what is contained in the deposit of faith given to the Church by the apostles points us to the related subjects of infallibility and inspiration. The pope and the bishops (when teaching in union with him) have the charism of infallibility when defining matters of faith or morals; but infallibility works only negatively. Through the intervention of the Holy Spirit, the pope and bishops are prevented from teaching what is untrue, but they are not forced or told by the Holy Spirit to teach what is true. To put it another way, the pope and the bishops are not inspired the way the authors of Scripture or the prophets were. To make a new definition, to clear up some dogmatic confusion, they first have to use human reason, operating on what is known to date, to be able to teach more precisely what is to be held as true. They cannot teach what they do not know, and they learn things the same way we do. They have no access to prophetic shortcuts—they must delve by study into the riches of the words God has already given us.



Borrowing From Paganism?



Fundamentalists assert that what Catholics label as development is nothing more than a centuries-old accumulation of pagan beliefs and rites. The Catholic Church has not really refined the original deposit of faith, they claim. Instead, it has added to it from the outside. In its hurry to increase membership, particularly in the early centuries, the Church let in nearly anybody. When existing inducements were not enough, it adopted pagan ways to encourage pagans to convert. Each time the Church did this, it moved away from authentic Christianity.

Consider Christmas. Strict Fundamentalists do not observe it, and not only because the name of the feast is inescapably "Christ’s Mass." Some say they disapprove of it because there is no proof Christ was born on December 25. Others argue he couldn’t have been born in winter because the shepherds, who were in the fields with their sheep, never put sheep into fields during that season (a plausible, though in this case, erroneous assumption). Others, noting the Bible is silent about the feast of Christmas, say that should settle the matter. But these are all secondary considerations.

The real reasons many Fundamentalists oppose the celebration of Christmas are, first, that the feast of Christmas was established by the Catholic Church (which is bad enough) and, next, that the Church provided celebrating the birth of Christ as an alternative to celebrating a pagan holiday occurring at the same time.

The Fundamentalist objections notwithstanding, Scripture sanctions this practice. The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was on the same day as a Canaanite vintage festival that it supplanted, much as Christmas coincided with the festival of Sol Invictus that non-Christians were celebrating. This is the same principle that Protestant churches use when they replace the celebration of Halloween with "Reformation Day" or "harvest festival" celebrations. It is an attempt to provide a wholesome alternative celebration to a popular but unwholesome one. Anti-Catholics who accuse Christmas of having "pagan origins" fail to recognize that it is precisely anti-pagan in origin.



Paul’s Command about Tradition

More significant than Fundamentalists’ rejection of the development of human traditions—such as when Christ’s birth is celebrated—is their rejection of apostolic tradition. Human traditions may be good or bad, but they do not have the weight that apostolic tradition does. The latter, since it conveys God’s revelation to us, is essential to the proper development of doctrine.

Catholics know that public revelation ended with the last apostle’s death. But the part of revelation that was not written down—the part outside the Bible, the apostles’ inspired oral teaching (1 Thess. 2:13) and their binding interpretations of Old Testament Scripture that forms the basis of sacred Tradition—that part of revelation Catholics also accept. Catholics follow Paul’s command: "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15, cf. 1 Cor. 11:2).

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 14th, 2014, 9:26 pm

the world of Protestant fundamentalism. After being brought up in an independent Bible church, I attended the fundamentalist Bob Jones University. While there I became an Anglican; later, I went to England to become an Anglican priest.

My pilgrimage of faith came to a crisis in the early 1990s as the Anglican Church struggled over the question of the ordination of women. By instinct I was against the innovation, but I wanted to be positive and affirm new ideas rather than reject them just because they were new. I decided to put my prejudices to one side and listen as openly as possible to both sides of the debate.

As I listened I realized that from a human point of view, both the people in favor of women’s ordination and those against it had some good arguments. Both sides argued from Scripture, tradition, and reason. Both sides argued from practicality, compassion and justice. Both sides honestly considered their arguments to be persuasive. Furthermore, both sides were composed of prayerful, church-going, sincere Christians who genuinely believed the Holy Spirit was directing them. How could both be right?

From a human point of view, both arguments could be sustained. This led me to a real consideration of the question of authority in the Church. I realized that the divisions over women’s ordination in the Anglican Church were no different, in essence, than every other debate that has divided the thousands of Protestant denominations.

Some groups split over women’s ordination; others split over whether women should wear hats to church. Some split over doctrinal issues; others split over moral issues. Whatever the issue and whatever the split, the basic problem is one of authority. If Christians have a sincere disagreement, who decides?

Wobbly Three-Legged Stool

Evangelical Protestants say the Bible decides, but this begs the question when the two warring parties agree that the Bible is the final authority. They eventually split because they can’t agree about what the Bible actually teaches. I had moved away from the Protestant understanding that Scripture is the only authority, and as an Anglican, believed that authority rested in Scripture, tradition, and reason.

Anglicans call this the "three-legged stool." By turning to Scripture, tradition, and human reason they hope to have a secure teaching authority. I came to realize, however, that this solution also begs the question. Just as we have to ask the Protestant who believes in sola scriptura, "Whose interpretation of Scripture?," we have to ask the Anglican, "Whose reason and whose tradition?" In the debate over women’s ordination (and now in the debate over homosexuality), both sides appeal to human reason, Scripture and tradition, and they come up with wildly different conclusions.

In the end, the Anglican appeal to a three-legged stool relies on individual interpretation, just as the Protestant appeals to sola scriptura. The three-legged stool turns out to be a theological pogo stick.

A Son of Benedict Speaks

About this time I had a conversation with the Abbot of Quarr Abbey (a Catholic Benedictine monastery on the Isle of Wight). He listened to my situation with compassion and interest. I explained that I did not want to deny women’s ordination. I wanted to affirm all things that were good, and I could see some good arguments in favor of women’s ordination. He admired this desire to affirm all things but he said something that set me thinking further:


Sometimes we have to deny some lesser good in order to affirm the greater good. I think you have to deny women’s ordination in order to affirm the apostolic ministry. If the apostolic authority says no to women’s ordination, then to affirm the greater good of apostolic authority you will have to deny the lesser good of women’s ordination. Because if we deny the greater good, then eventually we will lose the lesser good as well.

He hit the nail on the head. His words led me to explore the basis for authority in the Catholic Church. I already had read and pretty much accepted the Scriptural support for the Petrine ministry in the Church. I also had come to understand and value the four-fold marks of the True Church—that it is "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic." As I studied and pondered the matter further, however, I saw twelve other traits of the church’s authority.

These twelve traits—in six paired sets—helped me to understand how comprehensive and complete the Catholic claims of authority are. I came to realize that other churches and ecclesial bodies might claim some of the traits, but only the Catholic Church demonstrated all twelve fully.

It Is Rooted in History . . .

What are the twelve traits of authority, and how do they work? We have to ask what a group of Christians who were deliberating a difficult matter would need to make their decision.

First of all, it seems clear that their decision would have to be made from a historical perspective. It was not good enough to decide complex moral, social, or doctrinal issues based on popularity polls or yesterday’s newspaper. To decide difficult questions, a valid authority has to be historical.

By this I mean not only does it has to have an understanding of history, but itself must be rooted in history. In addition, the authority has to show a real continuity with the historical experience of Christianity. The churches that have existed for four or five hundred years can demonstrate this to a degree, but only the Catholic (and Eastern Orthodox) Church has a living link with history that goes back to Roman times—and then, through Judaism, back to the beginning of human history.

. . . and Adaptable

The historical link is essential, but on its own is not sufficient. Historical authority has to be balanced with the ability to be up to date. An authority that is only historical becomes ossified. It never changes. An authority that cannot be up to date is not only rooted in history, it is bound by history. A valid authority structure needs to be flexible and adaptable. Christians face complex modern moral and doctrinal dilemmas. A valid authority system draws on the wisdom of the past to rule properly on the questions of the present.

It Is Objective . . .

A third quality of a valid authority system is that it needs to be objective. By this I mean it needs to be independent of any one person’s or group’s agenda, ideology, philosophy or self-interest. A valid authority transcends all political, economic, and cultural pressures. The objective quality of this authority system also allows it to make decisions that are unpopular or that go against the spirit of the times and majority opinion.

An objective authority is based on certain universal basic assumptions, immutable principles, and observable and undeniable premises. From these objective criteria the valid authority system builds its teaching.

. . . and Flexible

For the authority to be valid, however, it cannot rely on abstract principles and objective criteria alone. The valid authority is suitably subjective in applying objective principles. In other words, it understands that the complexities of real life and the pastoral exigencies of helping real people demand a flexible, practical, and down-to-earth application. The Catholic authority system does just that. Throughout the Code of Canon Law, for example, we are reminded that the law is there to serve the people of God in their quest for salvation.

Individual Christians, or particular Christian groups, often fall into one side of this pair or the other. The rigorists or legalists want everything to be objective and "black and white" all the time, while the liberals or sentimentalists want every decision to be relative, open-ended, and flexible according to the pastoral needs. Only the Catholic system can hold the two in tension, because only the Catholic system has an infallible authority which can keep the two sides balanced.

It Is Universal . . .

An authority that can speak to all situations can only do so if it comes from a universal source. This source of authority needs to be universal not only geographically, but also chronologically. In other words, it transcends national agendas and limitations, but it also transcends the cultural trends and intellectual fashions of any particular time. Every church or ecclesial structure other than the Catholic Church is limited, either by its historical foundations or by its cultural and national identity.

For example, the Eastern Orthodox find it very hard to transcend their national identity, while the churches of the Reformed tradition struggle to transcend the particular cultural issues that surround their foundation. The national, cultural, and chronological identities of other ecclesial bodies limit their ability to speak with a universal voice. When they do move away from their foundations they usually find themselves at sea amidst the fashions and trends of the present day. They also find that they lose their distinctive identities when they drift from their foundations. A universal authority system, on the other hand, transcends both chronological and geographical limitations.

. . . and Local

However, this universal authority needs to be applied in a particular and local way. An authority that is only universal remains vague, abstract, and disincarnate. For a universal authority system to be valid, it also must be expressed locally. Catholicism speaks with a universal voice, but it is also as local as St. Patrick’s Church and Fr. Magee on the corner of Chestnut Street. Not only does the universal Church have a local outlet, but that outlet has a certain autonomy which allows it to be flexible in its application of the universal authority. Catholicism travels well, and because of the universal authority structure, it can allow far more varieties of enculturation at the local level than churches which are more bound by the time and place of their foundations.

It Is Intellectually Challenging . . .

The fourth pair of characteristics that demonstrate the validity of the Catholic authority system include its intellectual satisfaction and its accessibility. If an authority system is to speak to the complexities of the human situation, then it must be able to hold its own with the philosophical and intellectual experts in every field of human endeavor. What other ecclesial system can marshal experts from every area of human expertise to speak authoritatively in matters of faith and morals? Time and again, the Catholic Church has been able to speak with authority about the spiritual dimension of economics, ethics, politics, diplomacy, the arts, and philosophy.

This authority must not only be able to hold its own with the intellectual experts in all fields, but it must be intellectually satisfying and coherent within itself. A unified and complete intellectual system must be able to explain the world as it is. Furthermore, this intellectual system must continually develop and be re-expressed—always interpreting ageless truth in a way that is accessible for the age in which it lives. This intellectual system must be an integral and vital part of the religion, while also being large enough to self-criticize. Only the Catholic faith has such an all-encompassing, impressive system of teaching.

. . . and Accessible to the Uneducated

Nonetheless, while the authority system must be intellectually top notch, the religious system must also be accessible to peasants and the illiterate. A religious system that is only intellectual or appeals merely to the literate can speak only for the intellectuals and literate.

Some denominations appeal to the simple and unlearned, but have trouble keeping the top minds. Others appeal to the educated elite, but lose the masses. Catholicism, on the other hand, is a religion of the greatest minds of history and the religion of ignorant peasants. It is a religion that is complex enough for St. Thomas Aquinas and simple enough for St. Joseph Cupertino. It has room at the manger for both the magi and the shepherds.

It Is Visible . . .

As a Protestant I was taught that the Church was invisible. That is, it consisted of all people everywhere who believed in Jesus, and that the true members of the Church were known to God alone. This is true, but there is more to it than that. Invisibility and visibility make up the fifth paired set of characteristics that mark the truly authoritative church.

The Church is made up of all people everywhere who trust in Christ. However, this characteristic alone is not satisfactory because human beings locked in the visible plane of reality also demand that the Church be visible. Even those who believe only in the invisible church belong to a particular church which they attend every Sunday. Those who believe only in the invisible church must conclude that the church they go to doesn’t really matter.

. . . and Invisible

The Catholic system of authority recognizes both the invisible dimension of the Church and the visible. The Church is greater than what we can observe, but the church we observe is also greater than we think. The invisible Church subsists in the Catholic Church, and while you may not be able to identify the extent of the invisible Church, you can with certainty point to the Catholic Church and say, "There is the Body of Christ."

A few small Protestant denominations claim that their visible church is the true church, but their claims are ludicrous because they have none of the other twelve traits of true authority. Because it has all these traits, only the Catholic Church can claim to be the living, historical embodiment of the Body of Christ on earth.

It is Both Human and Divine

Finally, for the church to speak with authority it must be both human and divine. An authority that speaks only with a divine voice lacks the authenticity that comes with human experience. So Islam and Mormonism, which are both based on a book supposedly dictated by angels, are unsatisfactory because their authority is supernaturally imposed on the human condition.

On the other hand, a religion that is purely a construct of the human condition is merely a system of good works, religious techniques, or good ideas. Christian Science or Unitarianism, for example, is developed from human understandings and natural goodness. As such, both lack a supernatural voice of authority.

The Judeo-Christian story, however, is both human and divine. The voice of authority is always expressed through human experience and human history. Divine inspiration in the Judeo-Christian tradition is God’s word spoken through human words. This incarnated form of authority finds its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, who hands on his totally incarnated authority to Peter and his successors.

Built upon the Rock

Some Churches may exercise some of the twelve traits, but only the Catholic Church is able to field all twelve as a foundation for decision-making. When the Catholic Church pronounces on any difficult question, the response is historical, but up to date. It is based on objective principles but applies to specific needs. The Church’s authority transcends space and time, but it is relevant to a particular place and time. The response will be intellectually profound, but expressed in a way that is simple enough for anyone to apply. Finally, it will express truths that are embedded in the human experience, but spring from divine inspiration.

This authority works infallibly through the active ministry of the whole Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that it is Christ who is infallible, and he grants a measure of his infallibility to his body, the Church. That infallibility is worked out through these twelve traits, but it is expressed most majestically and fully through Christ’s minister of infallibility: one person—the Rock on which the Church is built, Peter and his successors.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 15th, 2014, 3:36 pm

They say Jesus Christ was crucified in approximately AD 30. The Catholic Church proclaims itself to be the church that Jesus Christ died for, the church that was established and built by the apostles. Is that the true origin of the Catholic Church? On the contrary. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament will reveal that the Catholic Church does not have its origin in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles. In the New Testament, there is no mention of the papacy, worship/adoration of Mary (or the immaculate conception of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the assumption of Mary, or Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix), petitioning saints in heaven for their prayers, apostolic succession, the ordinances of the church functioning as sacraments, infant baptism, confession of sin to a priest, purgatory, indulgences, or the equal authority of church tradition and Scripture. So, if the origin of the Catholic Church is not in the teachings of Jesus and His apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, what is the true origin of the Catholic Church?

For the first 280 years of Christian history, Christianity was banned by the Roman Empire, and Christians were terribly persecuted. This changed after the “conversion” of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine provided religious toleration with the Edict of Milan in AD 313, effectively lifting the ban on Christianity. Later, in AD 325, Constantine called the Council of Nicea in an attempt to unify Christianity. Constantine envisioned Christianity as a religion that could unite the Roman Empire, which at that time was beginning to fragment and divide. While this may have seemed to be a positive development for the Christian church, the results were anything but positive. Just as Constantine refused to fully embrace the Christian faith, but continued many of his pagan beliefs and practices, so the Christian church that Constantine promoted was a mixture of true Christianity and Roman paganism.

Constantine found that, with the Roman Empire being so vast, expansive, and diverse, not everyone would agree to forsake his or her religious beliefs to embrace Christianity. So, Constantine allowed, and even promoted, the “Christianization” of pagan beliefs. Completely pagan and utterly unbiblical beliefs were given new “Christian” identities. Some clear examples of this are as follows:

(1) The Cult of Isis, an Egyptian mother-goddess religion, was absorbed into Christianity by replacing Isis with Mary. Many of the titles that were used for Isis, such as “Queen of Heaven,” “Mother of God,” and theotokos (“God-bearer”) were attached to Mary. Mary was given an exalted role in the Christian faith, far beyond what the Bible ascribes to her, in order to attract Isis worshippers to a faith they would not otherwise embrace. Many temples to Isis were, in fact, converted into temples dedicated to Mary. The first clear hints of Catholic Mariology occur in the writings of Origen, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, which happened to be the focal point of Isis worship.

(2) Mithraism was a religion in the Roman Empire in the 1st through 5th centuries AD. It was very popular among the Romans, especially among Roman soldiers, and was possibly the religion of several Roman emperors. While Mithraism was never given “official” status in the Roman Empire, it was the de facto official religion until Constantine and succeeding Roman emperors replaced Mithraism with Christianity. One of the key features of Mithraism was a sacrificial meal, which involved eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a bull. Mithras, the god of Mithraism, was “present” in the flesh and blood of the bull, and when consumed, granted salvation to those who partook of the sacrificial meal (this is known as theophagy, the eating of one’s god). Mithraism also had seven “sacraments,” making the similarities between Mithraism and Roman Catholicism too many to ignore. Church leaders after Constantine found an easy substitute for the sacrificial meal of Mithraism in the concept of the Lord’s Supper/Christian communion. Even before Constantine, some early Christians had begun to attach mysticism to the Lord’s Supper, rejecting the biblical concept of a simple and worshipful remembrance of Christ’s death and shed blood. The Romanization of the Lord’s Supper made the transition to a sacrificial consumption of Jesus Christ, now known as the Catholic Mass/Eucharist, complete.

(3) Most Roman emperors (and citizens) were henotheists. A henotheist is one who believes in the existence of many gods, but focuses primarily on one particular god or considers one particular god supreme over the other gods. For example, the Roman god Jupiter was supreme over the Roman pantheon of gods. Roman sailors were often worshippers of Neptune, the god of the oceans. When the Catholic Church absorbed Roman paganism, it simply replaced the pantheon of gods with the saints. Just as the Roman pantheon of gods had a god of love, a god of peace, a god of war, a god of strength, a god of wisdom, etc., so the Catholic Church has a saint who is “in charge” over each of these, and many other categories. Just as many Roman cities had a god specific to the city, so the Catholic Church provided “patron saints” for the cities.

(4) The supremacy of the Roman bishop (the papacy) was created with the support of the Roman emperors. With the city of Rome being the center of government for the Roman Empire, and with the Roman emperors living in Rome, the city of Rome rose to prominence in all facets of life. Constantine and his successors gave their support to the bishop of Rome as the supreme ruler of the church. Of course, it is best for the unity of the Roman Empire that the government and state religion be centralized. While most other bishops (and Christians) resisted the idea of the Roman bishop being supreme, the Roman bishop eventually rose to supremacy, due to the power and influence of the Roman emperors. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the popes took on the title that had previously belonged to the Roman emperors—Pontifex Maximus.

Many more examples could be given. These four should suffice in demonstrating the origin of the Catholic Church. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church denies the pagan origin of its beliefs and practices. The Catholic Church disguises its pagan beliefs under layers of complicated theology and “church tradition.” Recognizing that many of its beliefs and practices are utterly foreign to Scripture, the Catholic Church is forced to deny the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

The origin of the Catholic Church is the tragic compromise of Christianity with the pagan religions that surrounded it. Instead of proclaiming the gospel and converting the pagans, the Catholic Church “Christianized” the pagan religions, and “paganized” Christianity. By blurring the differences and erasing the distinctions, yes, the Catholic Church made itself attractive to the people of the Roman Empire. One result was the Catholic Church becoming the supreme religion in the Roman world for centuries. However, another result was the most dominant form of Christianity apostatizing from the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the true proclamation of God’s Word.

Second Timothy 4:3–4 declares, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Silent apparently we are reading out of different texts of History But the Bible was not written by the Catholic Church my friend! "The New Testament nor the Old Testament" its authors are not Catholics They are Jews and apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ The scriptures were inspired by God Through the Holy Spirit,The jews wrote the Old Testament,Your giving credit to a organization which wasnt even tightly established in them days brother.

This is Some good rebuttal information Silent as we trace back in History alot of claims cannot be justified as we search for the truth many things will become unburied and revelation will hit as we search we will keep our claims in the open for people to see...

Although your post was informational,There are things you stated that are not correct Silent:Faith is believing what is true:Faith has two elements: 1) being convinced of the truth and being certain of reality,having evidence of unseen things,and 2) believing,seizing the truth (Hebrews 11:1) Faith... makes us certain of realities we do not see. Silent while faith requires being convinced that what we believe in is true,just knowing the truth is only half of faith.God's word must be hoped for,embraced,siezed!

I understand you believe this post to be the truth we can only assume my homie but alot of this information is debatable but I wont go into detail so you can proceed with your next one in a week or two?

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby MMRbkaRudog » December 15th, 2014, 6:28 pm

As far as I'm concerned, some of these things you have posted are Antichrist. The type of things non Christian conspiracy theorists come up.
bumperjack wrote:They say Jesus Christ was crucified in approximately AD 30. The Catholic Church proclaims itself to be the church that Jesus Christ died for, the church that was established and built by the apostles. Is that the true origin of the Catholic Church? On the contrary. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament will reveal that the Catholic Church does not have its origin in the teachings of Jesus or His apostles. In the New Testament, there is no mention of the papacy, worship/adoration of Mary (or the immaculate conception of Mary, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the assumption of Mary, or Mary as co-redemptrix and mediatrix), petitioning saints in heaven for their prayers, apostolic succession, the ordinances of the church functioning as sacraments, infant baptism, confession of sin to a priest, purgatory, indulgences, or the equal authority of church tradition and Scripture. So, if the origin of the Catholic Church is not in the teachings of Jesus and His apostles, as recorded in the New Testament, what is the true origin of the Catholic Church?

For the first 280 years of Christian history, Christianity was banned by the Roman Empire, and Christians were terribly persecuted. This changed after the “conversion” of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine provided religious toleration with the Edict of Milan in AD 313, effectively lifting the ban on Christianity. Later, in AD 325, Constantine called the Council of Nicea in an attempt to unify Christianity. Constantine envisioned Christianity as a religion that could unite the Roman Empire, which at that time was beginning to fragment and divide. While this may have seemed to be a positive development for the Christian church, the results were anything but positive. Just as Constantine refused to fully embrace the Christian faith, but continued many of his pagan beliefs and practices, so the Christian church that Constantine promoted was a mixture of true Christianity and Roman paganism.

Constantine found that, with the Roman Empire being so vast, expansive, and diverse, not everyone would agree to forsake his or her religious beliefs to embrace Christianity. So, Constantine allowed, and even promoted, the “Christianization” of pagan beliefs. Completely pagan and utterly unbiblical beliefs were given new “Christian” identities. Some clear examples of this are as follows:

(1) The Cult of Isis, an Egyptian mother-goddess religion, was absorbed into Christianity by replacing Isis with Mary. Many of the titles that were used for Isis, such as “Queen of Heaven,” “Mother of God,” and theotokos (“God-bearer”) were attached to Mary. Mary was given an exalted role in the Christian faith, far beyond what the Bible ascribes to her, in order to attract Isis worshippers to a faith they would not otherwise embrace. Many temples to Isis were, in fact, converted into temples dedicated to Mary. The first clear hints of Catholic Mariology occur in the writings of Origen, who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, which happened to be the focal point of Isis worship.

(2) Mithraism was a religion in the Roman Empire in the 1st through 5th centuries AD. It was very popular among the Romans, especially among Roman soldiers, and was possibly the religion of several Roman emperors. While Mithraism was never given “official” status in the Roman Empire, it was the de facto official religion until Constantine and succeeding Roman emperors replaced Mithraism with Christianity. One of the key features of Mithraism was a sacrificial meal, which involved eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a bull. Mithras, the god of Mithraism, was “present” in the flesh and blood of the bull, and when consumed, granted salvation to those who partook of the sacrificial meal (this is known as theophagy, the eating of one’s god). Mithraism also had seven “sacraments,” making the similarities between Mithraism and Roman Catholicism too many to ignore. Church leaders after Constantine found an easy substitute for the sacrificial meal of Mithraism in the concept of the Lord’s Supper/Christian communion. Even before Constantine, some early Christians had begun to attach mysticism to the Lord’s Supper, rejecting the biblical concept of a simple and worshipful remembrance of Christ’s death and shed blood. The Romanization of the Lord’s Supper made the transition to a sacrificial consumption of Jesus Christ, now known as the Catholic Mass/Eucharist, complete.

(3) Most Roman emperors (and citizens) were henotheists. A henotheist is one who believes in the existence of many gods, but focuses primarily on one particular god or considers one particular god supreme over the other gods. For example, the Roman god Jupiter was supreme over the Roman pantheon of gods. Roman sailors were often worshippers of Neptune, the god of the oceans. When the Catholic Church absorbed Roman paganism, it simply replaced the pantheon of gods with the saints. Just as the Roman pantheon of gods had a god of love, a god of peace, a god of war, a god of strength, a god of wisdom, etc., so the Catholic Church has a saint who is “in charge” over each of these, and many other categories. Just as many Roman cities had a god specific to the city, so the Catholic Church provided “patron saints” for the cities.

(4) The supremacy of the Roman bishop (the papacy) was created with the support of the Roman emperors. With the city of Rome being the center of government for the Roman Empire, and with the Roman emperors living in Rome, the city of Rome rose to prominence in all facets of life. Constantine and his successors gave their support to the bishop of Rome as the supreme ruler of the church. Of course, it is best for the unity of the Roman Empire that the government and state religion be centralized. While most other bishops (and Christians) resisted the idea of the Roman bishop being supreme, the Roman bishop eventually rose to supremacy, due to the power and influence of the Roman emperors. When the Roman Empire collapsed, the popes took on the title that had previously belonged to the Roman emperors—Pontifex Maximus.

Many more examples could be given. These four should suffice in demonstrating the origin of the Catholic Church. Of course, the Roman Catholic Church denies the pagan origin of its beliefs and practices. The Catholic Church disguises its pagan beliefs under layers of complicated theology and “church tradition.” Recognizing that many of its beliefs and practices are utterly foreign to Scripture, the Catholic Church is forced to deny the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.

The origin of the Catholic Church is the tragic compromise of Christianity with the pagan religions that surrounded it. Instead of proclaiming the gospel and converting the pagans, the Catholic Church “Christianized” the pagan religions, and “paganized” Christianity. By blurring the differences and erasing the distinctions, yes, the Catholic Church made itself attractive to the people of the Roman Empire. One result was the Catholic Church becoming the supreme religion in the Roman world for centuries. However, another result was the most dominant form of Christianity apostatizing from the true gospel of Jesus Christ and the true proclamation of God’s Word.

Second Timothy 4:3–4 declares, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

Silent apparently we are reading out of different texts of History But the Bible was not written by the Catholic Church my friend! "The New Testament nor the Old Testament" its authors are not Catholics They are Jews and apostles and disciples of Jesus Christ The scriptures were inspired by God Through the Holy Spirit,The jews wrote the Old Testament,Your giving credit to a organization which wasnt even tightly established in them days brother.

This is Some good rebuttal information Silent as we trace back in History alot of claims cannot be justified as we search for the truth many things will become unburied and revelation will hit as we search we will keep our claims in the open for people to see...

Although your post was informational,There are things you stated that are not correct Silent:Faith is believing what is true:Faith has two elements: 1) being convinced of the truth and being certain of reality,having evidence of unseen things,and 2) believing,seizing the truth (Hebrews 11:1) Faith... makes us certain of realities we do not see. Silent while faith requires being convinced that what we believe in is true,just knowing the truth is only half of faith.God's word must be hoped for,embraced,siezed!

I understand you believe this post to be the truth we can only assume my homie but alot of this information is debatable but I wont go into detail so you can proceed with your next one in a week or two?

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 15th, 2014, 6:52 pm

Ok real quick here Bumperjack! I could have written a lot more on this last post but I put about 8 hours into it and decided to stop! I have got to say that I totally disagree with your post! The Catholic Church is the original and founded by Christ himself! I cant believe that you are still propagating the myth that Constantine founded the Church! Did you not read the mountain of evidence that I presented to you? How do you explain all those letters that name the Catholic Church and are dated before Constantine's reign? The Catholic Church is Apostolic! The Apostles founded the Catholic Church! The Bishops are their direst successors! This is all pretty clear if you take the time to read all that I posted! As far as who wrote the Bible? Jews wrote the Old Testament and the Apostles plus some other Church members wrote the new Testament! All of the writers of the New Testament were Catholic! The Catholic Church was the only one in existence! St Irenaeous was a disciple of Polycarp who was a Disciple of John the Evangelist! AKA the Apostle John! St irenaeous is the author of the letter to the Smyrneans. in that letter he calls the Church Catholic! This was written in the year 110 AD! How you can continue to deny the Catholic Church's existence from the very beginning absolutely baffles me! As far as Jesus date od Crucifixion goes, well he was born in AD 1 and lived for 33 years. Wouldn't that make his Crucifixion AD 33? All Catholic beliefs are derived from scripture! Some are clearly spelled out while others are only alluded to! It does not matter if it is clearly spelled out! Is the Trinity? I didn't think so! What you need to meditate on are a few Scriptures here! (Mathew 16:18) "And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it". Peter is the first pope of the Catholic Church! If the Catholic Church is in error then the Gates of hell would have prevailed against it! We were the only Church there in the beginning and still present today! Why because God promised it! If you want to claim that Bible only believing Christians existed from the beginning "Prove it!" You cant because they did not! Re read my post and pay close attention to the word Catholic and look at the dates. You will notice tons of letters written before 313 AD when Constantine took over! (John 10:16) "There shall be one fold one shepherd" Who has been there from the Beginning "The Catholic Church! (John 16:13) "Guided by the holy spirit into all truth" (1 Timothy 3:15) "The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth" Notice is does not say "The Bible" It says the "Church" I pray for you Bumperjack and seriously hope you take a good hard look at those verses! I also want to point out that back in my article I talked about the "Bishop of Rome" in the year AD 80 being sent to settle a dispute. The Apostle John was alive and 400 miles closer. Come on Bumperjack! The "Bishop of Rome" is another title for the "Pope". Re read what I have written! there is a mountain of evidence written by the first Christians all testifying to the Catholic Church and the Papacy being in existence from the very start! As far as all that Pagan stuff goes here is an article that you might enjoy! I have plenty more if need be! Much love and Respect Brother Bumperjack! As always, I do not intend any disrespect! I actually hold you in higher regard than most because I know that you are a follower of God! Peace out Homie! Silent!

We've heard well meaning Evangelicals claim that the Catholic Church adopted pagan practices to appease the people they were converting and consequently the Church blended pagan and Christian spiritualities (syncretism). These claims against the Church come in many varieties. They include accusations that the mother of Jesus is a pagan goddess, Christian martyrs in heaven are a holdover from pagan ancestor worship, the Eucharist is a pagan sun-god, the mass uses pagan symbolism, etc.


Hislop introduces the theory that Catholicism is the whore of Babylon

This view was first advanced by Alexander Hislop (1807-1862) in "The Two Babylons" (1856). He is the grandfather of this theory that has found its way into some Evangelical circles, Seventh Day Adventists and various other fundamentalist groups. The theory claims that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon found in the book of Revelation 17 and that the Catholic Church is not only in grave error but moreover a work of the devil. Fundamentalists will sometimes say that those who are truly 'born again' will "come out of her" (Rev 18:4). This theory is the source of many Evangelical's great anger, fear, and suspicion about all things Catholic. It's the reason why they feel the Catholic Church is not part of the Body of Christ but rather working against it.

It is not often mentioned that Hislop also taught that the Cross was a pagan symbol and a sign of the devil.


"...at first it [the Cross] was the emblem of Tammuz, at last it became the emblem of... Satan himself" (Hislop pg 281)

Hislop inferred that any Church that has a cross is worshipping in a building that contains satanic symbolism.

According to Hislop's theology, if you wear a cross around your neck, you are promoting a pagan sign of the devil.

Hislop apparently either thought that the ancient pagans used the Greek or modern alphabet, or he chose to ignore the fact that Tammuz's worshippers used cuneiform script. They didn't have either the Greek Tau or our "T", which makes his accusation even more obscure and bizare.

This does not sound like a dependable theologian, although his work has influenced hundreds of other writers and denominations that believe the Catholic Church is a pagan religion.

Hislop learned that the way to make people think you are a scholar is to put a footnotes at the bottom of every page. One of the people he fooled was Ralph Woodrow.

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The Evangelical Ralph Woodrow refutes Hislop

An Evangelical theologian Ralph Woodrow wrote a popular book based on Hislop's theory, "Babylon Mystery Religion", that put Hislop's ideas into modern English and in a modern context. The book was a smashing success in Evangelical circles.

A history teacher challenged Woodrow and called the integrity of Hislop's research into question. Woodrow, being an academic and a man of integrity, decided to research the subject himself. He was shocked. He learned of the twists of history and the leaps of logic that Hislop made to advance his theory. He wrote a book of his findings and removed his previous book from print at considerable cost to himself. He is still an Evangelical. His new book "The Babylon Connection" is available from Amazon.com. Here are Woodrow's words:


As I did this [research], it became clear-Hislop's "history" was often only mythology... an arbitrary piecing together of ancient myths can not provide a sound basis for history. Take enough tribes, enough tales, enough time, jump from one time to another, from one country to another, pick and choose similarities - why anything could be "proved"!

Woodrow carefully covers the "sun god" argument that Hislop mounted against the Eucharist. He exposes the poor reasoning that tries to link the Eucharist to the sun god based on its round shape, while ignoring that the manna that God rained down on the Israelites in the dessert was also round. (Exod. 16:14) He also shows how Hislop's arguments turn against themselves.


There is no evidence, so far as I have been able to find, that, in the Babylonian system, the thin round cake...was ever regarded in any other light than as a symbol... [nor did they believe it was] changed into the god whom it represented" (Hislop)

... the Catholics did not get the doctrine of transubstantiation from Babylon! On the other hand, it is the Protestants who regard the communion bread as a symbol!...In reality Babylon had nothing to do with it either way! (Woodrow examining Hislop pg. 65)

Woodrow also carefully exposes the fallacies behind the "pagan goddess" argument against Mary. Mary had nothing in common with the perverted pagan earth goddesses. (more on the attempts to link Mary to pagan goddesses here) He disassembles the argument that the Pope is "actually canonized Satan" citing historical twists used by Hislop to link the Pope to Babylon. He exposes the faulty association that Hislop attempts to make between the pagan god Dagon (the fish god) and the shape of the Pope's hat (mitre) saying that the hat looks like a fish. The hat was not formed until after 1100A.D. and had many shapes over the centuries. To say we worship a fish god because the Pope's hat is pointed, is about as bizarre as saying a guitar is shaped like a fish so any Evangelical who plays a guitar is worshipping the fish god. Woodrow shows Hislop's faulty claims that Peter (who Catholics believe is the first Pope) holding the "keys to the kingdom" is really Janus the god of doors, meanwhile forgetting that this reasoning could lead one to thinking Jesus is also Janus because Christ is described as holding keys. (Rev 1:18, 3-7)

Woodrow shows how Hislop's creative numerology (which is no more than superstition) could be used to make almost any name add up to the mark of the beast, including the name "The Rev Alexander Hislop." Woodrow reclaims candles and lamps (which are used by Jews in the Old Testament), he defends the anointing with oil "...anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord." (James 5:14, 15 & Mk 6:13). Woodrow demonstrates the faulty logic that claims a Church steeple is a phallic symbol and the tower of Babel. According to Herodotus 425 B.C. Babel was a ziggurat shape and looked nothing like a steeple. (pg 28)

Woodrow's in-depth book examines Hislop's attempts to re-write Church history against the Catholicism. Woodrow concludes that these are unfair fringe arguments against Catholic doctrine that don't reflect sound reasoning or research.

Woodrow makes it plain that he himself is an Evangelical and holds Evangelical views. Although he doesn't agree with all Catholic doctrine, he says it is clear that the Eucharist and Mary have nothing to do with pagan practices. Catholics have Jesus in their hearts when they take the Eucharist and they are identifying with the woman of whom Scripture says "all generations will call me blessed" (Lk 1:48) when they think of Mary. The book is called "The Babylon Connection?" by Ralph Woodrow available on Amazon.com.

Augustine responds to pagans who think the Fall of Rome was because the Church abolished Paganism

Augustine wrote the The City of God in 413-426 AD. Augustine answers the pagans, who attributed the fall of Rome (410) to the abolition of pagan worship. If pagans were angry that Catholicism abolished pagan worship it's hard to imagine that the Church adopted paganism.

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Why can't the whore of Babylon be the modern Catholic Church? Ancient Rome vs. modern Rome

We have to make an important distinction. Pagan Rome of the first century is much different than Christian Rome. Pagan Rome tried to squash and kill Christianity, while Christian Rome embraced it. It was a massive conversion and perhaps one of the most important historical moments in Christian history. It is quite likely that Revelation is speaking about Rome, but it is speaking about ancient Pagan Rome.


When the Whore falls we read, "'Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged her for the way she treated you'. . . . In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth" (18:20, 24).

This shows that the Whore persecuted not just Christians, but apostles and prophets. Apostles existed only in the first century, since one of the requirements for being an apostle was seeing the risen Christ (1 Cor. 9:1).

Prophets existed as a group only in the Old Testament and in the first century (Acts 11:27-28, 13:1, 15:32, 21:10). Since the Whore persecuted apostles and prophets, the Whore must have existed in the first century. (1)

It is probable that the Angel was explaining to John that the Beast was Pagan Rome and the Whore was a apostate Jerusalem. The Whore (apostate Jerusalem) was fornicating with the beast (Pagan Rome) to persecute God's people (the early Church).

Continuing in Revelation, the angel begins to explain to John the woman's symbolism:

"This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain only a little while" (Rev. 17:9-10).

We are told that the heads "are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come." If five of these kings had fallen in John's day and one of them was still in existence, then the Whore must have existed in John's day. Yet Christian Rome and Vatican City did not. However, pagan Rome did have a line of emperors, and the majority of commentators see this as the line of kings to which 17:10 refers. Five of these emperors are referred to as having already fallen, one as still reigning in John's time, and another yet to come. Since Jerusalem had no such line of kings in the first century, this gives us evidence that the Beast (though not the Whore) is Rome. (2)

This passage of Revelation makes sense when it is referring to ancient Rome but makes no sense when Fundamentalists try to associate it with modern Rome. The passage says that the Whore will have power over kings. Modern Rome has no power over modern "kings", in fact there are almost no kings left in the world. Nor does the Church have power over political leaders, otherwise abortion, contraception, and pornography would not be legal in the civilized world. Revelation says that whore was the center of commerce. (Rev 18:17-19) No economist today will say that modern Rome is a leader in commerce. The US, Japan, etc are. However, ancient Pagan Rome was a leader in commerce.

Those who still think the Catholic Church is the "Little Horn" of Daniel 7 can go here.

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Altars are OK and Sunday is a good day for God

Some Evangelicals have criticized the use of altars. Sometimes the accusation is launched that the mass looks like pagan worship because pagans had altars and sacrifices. Catholics believe the use of an altar is very Scriptural. Who is to say the pagans didn't steal the idea of the Jewish people who are documented all through the Bible as having altars and sacrifices. Altars are fine. The Bible says so. The pagans actually worshiped ok, except they had the wrong deity. What they did was befitting for a deity. They missed the mark as to the "WHO," but the "what" and the "how" was OK. When Paul was addressing the people of Athens who were building an altar to an UNKNOWN GOD, Paul told them they had the right idea and told them Jesus Christ is that UNKNOWN GOD.

Altars, sacrifice,...that's worship, a vertical tribute to our Lord. (Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind) Tables, sharing...that's fellowship, a horizontal tribute to our Lord (Love your neighbour as yourself)

Carl E. Olson and Sandra Miesel point out that there are over three hundred references to altars in the Old Testament. Jesus came to fulfill the law rather than abolish it. There are references to altars in the New Testament (Matt 5:23-24; 23:18-20; Lk 1:11; Heb 13:10) and references in The Apocalypse to the heavenly altar in the throne room of God (Rev. 6:9; 8:3-5; 9:13; 11:1; 14:8; 16:7). Altars are often discussed by the early Church Fathers such as Ignatius of Antioch in 110 A.D., Tertullian and Cyprian.

Seventh day Adventists claim that early Christians observed the Lord's day on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday) and that Constantine changed it to Sunday so he could do a Sol Invictus sun worship thing. Jesus died on Friday, he rose on the third day. The Second Day is Saturday, the 3rd day is what we now call Sunday. It is little wonder that Early Christians observed this as the "Lord's Day." There are many references in the first two centuries of Christianity to this "8th day" (after the Saturday Sabbath) long before Constantine's 321 A.D. declaration of that day as an official day of rest and worship of the Christian God.

I met with a Native American who became Catholic 20 years ago. He tells me the Jesuits allowed none of his people's pagan traditions to survive. In fact Catholics are being sued because they "stripped Native Americans of their heritage" when they were telling them not to worship their gods and not to do "sweat lodges" and not to have "sacred fires to the gods" and not smoke "peace pipes" etc. This hardly sounds like a Church that is into blending Christ with pagan idolatry.

Don't the bad Popes of the Middle Ages prove Catholics are Pagan?

Most certainly there have been some bad Popes throughout history. Some Evangelicals will point to this as proof that the Catholic Church is Pagan. Even Jesus chose a bad disciple, Judas. We don't say, "Hey Jesus can't be the Saviour, he was pagan because he had a bad disciple." Of the first apostles, 11 out of 12 deserted him in Gethsemane. Why would we think the Church would be spared from bad people if Jesus' original 12 yielded to the attacks of the devil. The miracle is that the Lord kept the "bad Popes" silent on issues of faith and morals.

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Evangelicals fail to avoid symbolism that can be considered Pagan

Almost every symbol known to man has at one time or another been used in pagan worship to some degree or another.


Take enough tribes, enough tales, enough time, jump from one time to another, from one country to another, pick and choose similarities - why anything could be "proved"! (Ralph Woodrow)

In their attempts to avoid all things Pagan many denominations have stripped away symbolism. They have kept only a few Christian symbols. But under the examination, even the few symbols they have left they could still be linked to paganism by a creative historian like Hislop.

fish symbol The fish was used for millennia worldwide as a religious symbol associated with the pagan "Great Mother Goddess." It was meant to represent the outline of her vulva. That's what some pagan religions used long before Christ.
The cross had been used for centuries in the Hindu religion, in Babylon, Egypt, and Assyria. During prehistoric times in Europe a human would be sacrificed and hung on a cross. Then the human would be taken down, chopped up, and pieces would be planted with the crops for fertility. And as we saw earlier, Hislop claims it is "T" in Tammuz, the pagan god, synonymous with the devil.
The wedding ring that thousands of Evangelicals wear on their fingers can be traced by creative historians to pagan origins.

We're not saying we should not use these symbols, we're simply demonstrating the ridiculousness of the claim that Catholics are into Paganism.

There is something deep in the human heart that needs symbols. The Evangelicals began to develop their own modern symbolism after having stripped away symbolism used by Catholicism. One must ask if they have been more successful than Catholics at avoiding symbolism that could be construed as pagan.

The modern Christian merchandise industry is booming. There is jewelry such as W.W.J.D. (What Would Jesus Do), F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely On God), P.U.S.H. bracelets, bumper stickers, mouse pads, etc. If we were to use Hislop's reasoning we could associate many of these modern symbols of Evangelical Christianity to paganism.

For instance, bracelets were commonplace among pagans and a frog was a symbol in some pagan practices. So we could say the Evangelicals are trying to manipulate the youth into pagan practices when they sell F.R.O.G. bracelets. Or we could say W.W.J.D. stands for the pagan gods of "Wodan, Vulcan, Janus and Dagon."

This is the kind of reasoning that some Evangelicals use to link the I.H.S. (Iesus Hominun Salvator) on Papal attire which means "Jesus the Savior of Men" to the pagan gods of "Isis, Horus, and Seb."

Please let me be clear that we have no objection whatsoever to W.W.J.D. bracelets, or F.R.O.G. bracelets or any other Evangelical Christian merchandise. In fact Evangelicals are selling this stuff to Catholic youth too which doesn't bother us in the least. We're glad the youth of all denominations are on fire for Jesus.

For interest sake let us turn the table and examine Evangelical methods of carrying the message of Jesus to the world. Let us look at this through Hislop's pagan coloured glasses.

Evangelicals went to Africa to evangelize and were soon playing Christian music on native instruments. These were instruments similar to those previously used in cannibalistic rituals. New Christians worshipped in tents that had previously been used in sacrifices to native gods. Evangelicals went to China where new Christians would worship Jesus in the same lotus (sitting) position that they had previously used during occult meditation.

Back in North America Evangelicals set up huge Christian contemporary music festivals modeled on the pagan Woodstock phenomenon. They sponsored Christian glam shows with smoke and pyrotechnic effects similar to those used by Marilyn Manson. Evangelical musicians played on bongos and percussion instruments that had their roots in Caribbean sex rituals. They played Christian music to the reggae groove of pagan Rastafarians. They used break dancing that was developed by inner city ghetto kids who were into the cult of gang warfare. They were influenced by blues, jazz, rap and rock that had long been associated with a rebellious, promiscuous counter culture. They got on TV, a media that had also been used for pornographic movies. They gathered in football stadiums and cheered like a Super Bowl crowd. TV Evangelists became more popular than idolized rock stars. In their Churches they put the same kind of $15,000 sound systems that are used in most bars. They had worship services and prayer meetings in community centre rooms that were also used by sex education classes and occult meditation workshops. Meeting halls of almost all Evangelical Churches have beautiful images of nature such as waterfalls, mountains, lakes, and flower filled fields. Through Hislop's pagan coloured glasses these could be mistaken as worshiping the "created' rather than the Creator.

We find it difficult to understand how these well meaning Evangelicals can criticize the Catholic Church for ringing bells during worship, burning incense at important masses, for honouring the woman who risked being stoned to death to give birth to Jesus, for having pictures of great Christian martyrs, for building majestic Churches, for having altars with cups of wine and bowls of bread, and for having a statue of the Crucified Christ who died for our sins.

We're not criticising the Evangelical Church's approach to evangelization here. We love modern Christian music and think they are doing a great job in Africa and China. These Evangelicals are learning what Catholics found out 2000 years ago.
1.It is almost impossible to avoid symbolism that hasn't at some time or another been used in a pagan context.

2.John 1:1 tells us that "all things came into being through him and without him not one thing came into being" therefore, Christians should pick up the tools that are around and use them to evangelize in the name of Jesus.

This is what the Catholic Church did 2000 years ago and that is what Evangelicals are doing today.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 16th, 2014, 5:27 am

Slilent the doctrine of apostolic succession is the belief on their authority to successors, who then passed the apostolic authority on to their successors, continuing throughout the centuries, even unto today. The Roman Catholic Church sees Peter as the leader of the apostles, with the greatest authority, and therefore his successors carry on the greatest authority. The Roman Catholic Church combines this belief with the concept that Peter later became the first bishop of Rome, and that the Roman bishops that followed Peter were accepted by the early church as the central authority among all of the churches. Apostolic succession, combined with Peter’s supremacy among the apostles, results in the Roman bishop being the supreme authority of the Catholic Church – the Pope.

However, nowhere in Scripture did Jesus, the apostles, or any other New Testament writer set forth the idea of “apostolic succession.” Further, neither is Peter presented as “supreme” over the other apostles. The apostle Paul, in fact, rebukes Peter when Peter was leading others astray (Galatians 2:11-14). Yes, the apostle Peter had a prominent role. Yes, perhaps the apostle Peter was the leader of the apostles (although the book of Acts records the apostle Paul and Jesus’ brother James as also having prominent leadership roles). Whatever the case, Peter was not the “commander” or supreme authority over the other apostles. Even if apostolic succession could be demonstrated from Scripture, which it cannot, apostolic succession would not result in Peter’s successors being absolutely supreme over the other apostles’ successors.

Catholics point to Matthias being chosen to replace Judas as the twelfth apostle in Acts chapter 1 as an example of apostolic succession. While Matthias did indeed “succeed” Judas as an apostle, this is in no sense an argument for continuing apostolic succession. Matthias being chosen to replace Judas is only an argument for the church replacing ungodly and unfaithful leaders (such as Judas) with godly and faithful leaders (such as Matthias). Nowhere in the New Testament are any of the twelve apostles recorded as passing on their apostolic authority to successors. Nowhere do any of the apostles predict that they will pass on their apostolic authority. No, Jesus ordained the apostles to build the foundation of the church (Ephesians 2:20). What is the foundation of the church that the apostles built? The New Testament – the record of the deeds and teachings of the apostles. The church does not need apostolic successors. The church needs the teachings of the apostles accurately recorded and preserved. And that is exactly what God has provided in His Word (Ephesians 1:13; Colossians 1:5; 2 Timothy 2:15; 4:2).

In short Silent apostolic succession is not biblical. The concept of apostolic succession is never found in Scripture. What is found in Scripture is that the true church will teach what the Scriptures teach and will compare all doctrines and practices to Scripture in order to determine what is true and right. The Roman Catholic Church claims that a lack of ongoing apostolic authority results in doctrinal confusion and chaos. It is an unfortunate truth (that the apostles acknowledged) that false teachers would arise (2 Peter 2:1). Admittedly, the lack of “supreme authority” among non-Catholic churches results in many different interpretations of the Bible. However, these differences in interpretation are not the result of Scripture being unclear. Rather, they are the result of even non-Catholic Christians carrying on the Catholic tradition of interpreting Scripture in accordance with their own traditions. If Scripture is studied in its entirety and in its proper context, the truth can be easily determined. Doctrinal differences and denominational conflicts are a result of some Christians refusing to agree with what Scripture says – not a result of there being no “supreme authority” to interpret Scripture.

Alignment with scriptural teaching, not apostolic succession, is the determining factor of the trueness of a church. What is mentioned in Scripture is the idea that the Word of God was to be the guide that the church was to follow (Acts 20:32). It is Scripture that was to be the infallible measuring stick for teaching and practice (2 Timothy 3:16-17). It is the Scriptures that teachings are to be compared with (Acts 17:10-12). Apostolic authority was passed on through the writings of the apostles, not through apostolic succession.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 16th, 2014, 5:35 am

Silent Here is where we disagree: The issue concerning any church and its practices should be “Is this biblical?” If a teaching is Biblical (taken in context), it should be embraced. If it is not, it should be rejected. God is more interested in whether a church is doing His will and obeying His Word than whether it can trace a line of succession back to Jesus’ apostles. Jesus was very concerned about abandoning the Word of God to follow the traditions of men (Mark 7:7). Traditions are not inherently invalid…there are some good and valuable traditions. Again, the issue must be whether a doctrine, practice, or tradition is Biblical. How then does the Roman Catholic Church compare with the teachings of the Word of God?

Salvation: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that salvation is by baptismal regeneration and is maintained through the Catholic sacraments unless a willful act of sin is committed that breaks the state of sanctifying grace. The Bible teaches that we are saved by grace which is received through simple faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that good works are the result of a change of the heart wrought in salvation (Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17) and the fruit of that new life in Christ (John 15).

Assurance of salvation: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that salvation cannot be guaranteed or assured. 1 John 5:13 states that the letter of 1 John was written for the purpose of assuring believers of the CERTAINTY of their salvation.

Good Works: The Roman Catholic Church states that Christians are saved by meritorious works (beginning with baptism) and that salvation is maintained by good works (receiving the sacraments, confession of sin to a priest, etc.) The Bible states that Christians are saved by grace through faith, totally apart from works (Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 3:10-11; Romans 3:19-24).

Baptism: In the New Testament baptism is ALWAYS practiced AFTER saving faith in Christ. Baptism is not the means of salvation; it is faith in the Gospel that saves (1 Corinthians 1:14-18; Romans 10:13-17). The Roman Catholic Church teaches baptismal regeneration of infants, a practice never found in Scripture. The only possible hint of infant baptism in the Bible that the Roman Catholic Church can point to is that the whole household of the Philippian jailer was baptized in Acts 16:33. However, the context nowhere mentions infants. Acts 16:31 declares that salvation is by faith. Paul spoke to all of the household in verse 32, and the whole household believed (verse 34). This passage only supports the baptism of those who have already believed, not of infants.

Prayer: The Roman Catholic Church teaches Catholics to not only pray to God, but also to petition Mary and the saints for their prayers. Contrary to this, we are taught in Scripture to only pray to God (Matthew 6:9; Luke 18:1-7).

Priesthood: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that there is a distinction between the clergy and the “lay people,” whereas the New Testament teaches the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:9).

Sacraments: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that a believer is infused with grace upon reception of the sacraments. Such teaching is nowhere found in Scripture.

Confession: The Roman Catholic Church teaches that unless a believer is hindered, the only way to receive the forgiveness of sins is by confessing them to a priest. Contrary to this, Scripture teaches that confession of sins is to be made to God (1 John 1:9).

Mary: The Roman Catholic Church teaches, among other things, that Mary is the Queen of Heaven, a perpetual virgin, and the co-redemptress who ascended into heaven. In Scripture, she is portrayed as an obedient, believing servant of God, who became the mother of Jesus. None of the other attributes mentioned by the Roman Catholic Church have any basis in the Bible. The idea of Mary being the co-redemptress and another mediator between God and man is not only extra-biblical (found only outside of Scripture), but is also unbiblical (contrary to Scripture). Acts 4:12 declares that Jesus is the only redeemer. 1 Timothy 2:5 proclaims that Jesus is the only mediator between God and men.

Many other examples could be given. These issues alone clearly identify the Catholic Church as being unbiblical. Every Christian denomination has traditions and practices that are not explicitly based on Scripture. That is why Scripture must be the standard of Christian faith and practice. The Word of God is always true and reliable. The same cannot be said of church tradition. Our guideline is to be: “What does Scripture say?” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 4:30; Acts 17:11). 2 Timothy 3:16-17 declares, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 16th, 2014, 9:09 am

Silent on a final note the New Testament which Today is our Final Judge of Authority was circulating before any Church was ever formed in Rome,The First Church was located in Jeruselum,Christianity I believe wasnt adopted by the Roman Empire untill 380 AD,Today it says not to go beyond the written word,The Roman Catholic Church did not start before the old and New Testament was circulating, tell me why The Catholic Church goes against the written word brother seriously ? I dig into History and the Roman Empire had No Catholic church for many years brother that is History I bring up Paganism cause its History before Christianity,I have studied the Roman Empire and Christianity was not adopted untill after the bible brother and there was no Catholic Church in 100AD nor 200 AD nor 300AD go figure ? Like I said I dont disrespect your faith but alot of catholic practice's are unbiblical period.The Catholic church was not responcible for the contents of tbe bible and. If they were why are not all them rituals not inside the bible? Out of respect I will let the rebuttal go for now dont agree with your mountain of evidence ,what you are actually telling me is the Church was fully obtainable before the bible was circulating? When Christianity was adopted uuntill the 4 th Century?Ok my rebuttal rests.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 16th, 2014, 9:56 am

Silent hear is some History On the Roman Empire There was No structured Roman Catholic Church in Rome Until much later in "History" Brother it had to be adopted "CHRISTIANITY" Before a Physical church would ever exist my brother in Christ.Remember this is all with love and Respect and just 2 different opinions and veiw points,We have to include history on this subject and include Historians because of course we were not around in them days, it is what is most important I do understand your theory! But I dont agree with your dates as you dont agree with mind! lets search for the truth of dates my friend.Im also a vivid student of History. Im no teacher or preacher as though I could be one day after My schooling,But it gives us different accounts in time and I like your view points. I just dont agree, and as I know the feelings are mutual and thats ok as long as we respect one another & Learn somethings in the process its all good.


In the year 300 AD, Christianity was a minority religion in the Roman Empire, practiced by perhaps ten percent of the population. In good years it was discriminated against; in bad years it was persecuted. By 400 AD, a century later, it had become the official religion practiced by pretty much everyone. Evidence of this remarkable transformation can still be seen in Rome’s monuments.

Teachers in Sunday schools like to tell a story about how it happened.

In the year 312 there ruled a Roman Emperor named Maxentius who had taken power illegally. He hated Christians and persecuted them. The proper heir to the throne, Constantine, marched on Rome to save the Empire. Before the two forces met in battle, Constantine saw a vision of a cross in the sky and the words “Conquer under this”. Constantine and his army converted to Christianity and painted the cross on their shields. The next day they defeated the pagans and brought Christianity to Rome.

This story is almost entirely wrong, yet it has resonated down the centuries through books, paintings, and films to become part of the Christian legend.

The truth is more complex. Maxentius and Constantine were both sons of emperors and thus equally legitimate. Maxentius did not persecute Christians, and the story of Constantine seeing a cross in the sky doesn’t appear in the texts until years after the battle. Constantine did defeat Maxentius and marched into Rome in triumph, bearing his rival’s severed head as a trophy. After the usual celebrations and gladiator spectacles, he built the Arch of Constantine, which has no Christian symbolism but does depict sacrifices to four pagan gods. In later years he built a number of grandiose churches, including the original St. Peter’s, but didn’t get baptized until his deathbed. Paganism remained legal throughout his reign.

Constantine gave one great boon to the Christians–he legalized their religion. From then on it rapidly gained more followers and began edging out the pagan cults. Soon it was the pagans being persecuted. Rioting monks trashed temples and killed pagan philosophers like Hypatia. In 382 the Altar of Victory was removed from its centuries-old home in the Senate. In 391 paganism was outlawed and temples shut all over the Empire. The old cults hung on for a few generations in rural areas, but Christianity was now the dominant power.

Traces of this incredible transformation are visible in Rome. At the Basilica di San Clemente a 12th century church is built atop a much earlier church. This earlier building was the home of a Roman noble, a secret Christian who invited fellow Christians into his home to worship, a common practice in the days when Christianity was illegal. Underneath his home lies a subterranean temple to the pagan god Mithras.

Entering the medieval church you see the usual grandiose paintings and sculptures. The real interest comes when you descend the stairs into the dank, dark cellar. There you can see the original church much as it was. Descend further and you get back to the days of the pagan Roman Empire. Three rooms survive. One may have been a mint. Another, with a few paintings surviving, was a training room for acolytes in the Mithraic faith. The third is the temple, or mithraeum, for Mithras himself.

%Gallery-102749%Mithras was Christianity’s main rival. As a mystery religion with its deepest teachings revealed only to the initiated, we don’t know much about its inner workings. What we do know shows many similarities between Mithraism and Christianity, such as the belief that Mithras was born on December 25 to a virgin, and died and was resurrected in order to save mankind. The similarities were so numerous that early Christian writers said that the older religion was invented by the Devil as a cheap imitation of Christianity before Jesus was even born!

The mithraeum is a long, rectangular room with benches to either side. Members would sit on these benches and share a communal meal that included bread and wine. At the end of the room stood a plaque showing Mithras in a little-understood ritual of killing a bull. Mithraism was popular, but didn’t have the widespread appeal of Christianity. First off, only men were allowed into the cult. Also, most of the teachings were secret, and while that had a certain mystique, it also turned off many who didn’t want to go through a long period of study and initiation. Despite this more than a dozen mithraea survive in Rome and there were probably hundreds during its heyday.

The transition from pagan to Christian isn’t always as obvious as in San Clemente. Sometimes you can see it in the art, such as the image above, a 4th century mosaic from Santa Pudenziana. Here Christ sits enthroned in a pose identical to many statues of the pagan god Jupiter. Saints Peter and Paul sit to either side dressed as Roman senators. The early Christians saw nothing wrong with this. They wanted to win the hearts and minds of the people, and a bit of reworked pagan symbolism was a good way to do that.

At times the Christians reused old buildings or parts of old buildings. San Maria Maggiore, a third century basilica, was originally a secular building before being converted into a house of worship. This is one of the most stunning churches in Rome, with fifth-century mosaics showing Biblical scenes and a ceiling gilded during the Renaissance with the first gold brought back from the New World. So many Roman sites are only foundations with perhaps a few columns standing, but here you can actually stand inside a Roman building.

Christianity would have never caught on so quickly if it didn’t have the Empire’s infrastructure to spread its message. These were the days when trying to cross a border could easily get you killed, and the Empire provided a large, secure area in which to move about. The Catholic Church understood their debt to Rome and wanted to take on its aura of glory and power. Rome went became the capital of the new faith and its art and architecture was incorporated into churches worldwide. The Church was still trying take on a bit of the old Roman magic as late as the 17th century, when the Pope ordered the giant bronze doors from the old Roman Senate installed in the entrance to St. John Lateran.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 16th, 2014, 5:53 pm

Some Evangelicals have been told by their well-meaning pastors that Constantine "invented" the Catholic Church in 325 A.D.

Ignatius, the disciple of John, describes the Church as "Catholic" in 110 A.D.

Ignatius, a disciple of the apostle John, was martyred in Rome under Emperor Trajan's rule. It was during the journey to Rome in 110 A.D. that he wrote his famous letters that contain invaluable information about the early Church. This was 20 years after John wrote his Gospel. Catholic, referring to the Whole Church was a term in common use at the time and Ignatius' writing is the oldest still existing text which contains a specific form of the phrase we still use today as a proper name. That of "ekklesia katholicos," which means "Universal Church". The terms "holen ten ekklesian" which means "The Whole Church" and "ekklesia kathholes" which means "The Church throughout the whole of" were also in use by the Apostles and others in the early Christian community.

What did Constantine do?

We must remember that Constantine did not actually become a Christian until he was an old man on his death bed. That was when he was baptised and professed that Jesus is Lord. During his life he did not surrender to Christ. He simply changed the law so that it was no longer illegal to be Christian. This was quite prudent of him given that Christianity was steadily growing and might have turned into an ugly rebellion against him.

To help us understand Constantine's relationship to the Church, let us look at modern day China. In China, there is great oppression against the Church. We've all heard about the atrocities; about people being dragged off by the authorities never to be seen again; about authorities breaking up public gatherings of Christians and throwing them in prison; outlawing the Bible etc. This is a terrible situation and many Christians have become martyrs to change it.

Assume a leader came into power in China who recognized Christianity and made it legal. Imagine what a great day that would be, a celebration! Christians could go out freely and preach the Good News from the housetops as Jesus commanded. They would be able to freely gather and convert people to the life giving faith in Christ. The leader who accomplished that tremendous feat would be one of the greatest men in all of China's history, regardless of his own personal defects of character. He would be instrumental in the salvation of millions and perhaps billions. (Let's pray that happens).

The situation of the early Church in Rome was not unlike modern day China. Christians were being thrown to the lions, torn limb from limb. They were under great persecution. This was inhibiting Jesus' command to proclaim the Good News from the housetops.


Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops. I tell you my friends, do not fear those who kill the body and after that can do nothing more. (Lk 12:3-4)

This Scripture passage was not only a command, it was a prophesy of things to come, and it did not come to pass until Constantine made Christianity "legal." It's pretty hard to proclaim the Good News from a housetop if someone comes along and arrests you and kills you when you preach! It is clear that the persecution of Christians in the Roman empire was not what Jesus wanted and that it had to change. Constantine was the fulfillment of prophecy (Lk 12:3-4).

Constantine's wife convinced him to preserve many historical sites that have, over the ages, enriched the lives of millions of Christians including Evangelicals who have journeyed to the Holy Land. Despite any personal defects we might attribute to Constantine, he performed one of the greatest feats of any man in history. He brought the Church out from under the yoke of oppression and allowed people to preach the gospel from the housetops which is what Christ commanded and prophesied. This action by Constantine saved millions of lives and more importantly, it saved millions of souls. If you are "saved" today you may want to be thankful for what Constantine did. If you were able to trace back through the generations of Christians leading up to the one who brought the Good News to you, you would probably find a critical link to Constantine's decision. Many Christians, including Evangelicals, would not be Christian today if it was not this providential twist in history.

After the crucifixion, the apostles passed to the Early Church Fathers, the Faith. Later Emperors and Monarchs accepted the Creed; their subjects followed. That's how it started.


...By around 120 [AD], key features of Christianity had taken shape-an organized priesthood... (pg 349, The Romans From Village to Empire, Oxford University Press)

Constantine did not invent Catholicism, he simply recognized it and let people legally be Christian. Christians were having "Catholic" Masses long before this "legalization" of Christianity. Three hundred years before Constantine, Christians believed in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, honoured Mary, had elaborate ceremonies, prayed for the dead, respected the Church hierarchy, baptized babies, recognized Peter as the Rock, built the Church upon him with successors and followed a rich tradition of Christianity. That was the Christianity of the early days of Christianity and that is the Catholic Church of today. Catholic means "universal." A timeline of the Catholic Church from 1-500 A.D. is here

Sometimes Evangelicals look at beautiful Catholic Churches that Constantine built and ask, "Why didn't the Church continue to worship in peoples' homes?" These Evangelicals point out that in the first years of Christianity the places of assembly were people's homes. This is true. They were also sometimes in Catacombs. But Catholics don't think this was God's plan for "Church." It was a result of persecution. If homes were the ideal spot for assembly then they wouldn't have had services in Catacombs.

The martyrs died so that Christians could get out of their homes and have their worship services in public

The martyrs longed for the day when Christians could hold their services in public where they could be a better witness and provide a public venue that was welcoming to strangers. So it confuses me as to why people in today's society would like to go back to the days when Christians were oppressed, and forced to gather in homes. Constantine's legalization of Christianity ended the public and state oppression of Christianity that forced people to gather in homes.

People who grew up in communist Russia during the cold war know what it is like to have the Church forced out of the public square and into their homes. And they celebrated when they could go back to public churches after communism fell. Let us not get nostalgic and romantic about Christian oppression.

In my testimony I talk about the day I got off a bus in Montreal and wandered off the street into a big beautiful Church. I surrendered my life to Jesus that day. It is doubtful that I would have walked into someone's home and done the same thing.

When Jesus saw money changers in the temple. He didn't say, "Hey guys, it's only a building, we can worship anywhere, let's go down the street to the community centre." No, He chased them out. (Lk 19:45) He had a passion for the Temple. He called it "my Father's House." (Lk 2:49, 16:27, Jn 2:16)

Church buildings began in the latter half of the second century during lulls in persecution, long before Constantine. They became widespread after the Enactment of Milan in 313 AD when it finally became possible for the Church to emerge completely from the underground.

Today there are huge Evangelical Churches springing up all over the world. When I was in Guatemala there was a beautiful 7,000 seat Evangelical Church being built. The "Dream Center" in Los Angeles is another example. Evangelicals are building big beautiful Churches as fast as they can get the money to build them. Catholics just have a 1700 year head start :-)

Constantine did not invent the Church any more than a modern day leader who would legalize Christian practices in China would invent Christianity. Let us all pray for China.

"Oh Lord, pour your Holy Spirit upon that great nation of China. Save your people in China, move the hearts of the leadership, rise up a courageous soul who will rewrite the laws of that land. Oh Lord let your Word be proclaimed from the housetops in China, that all men and women of that country may see the light and receive salvation, Amen."

Lord Jesus, let Your prayer of unity for Christians
become a reality, in Your way.
We have absolute confidence
that you can bring your people together,
we give you absolute permission to move.
Amen

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 16th, 2014, 5:55 pm

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Constantine Did Not Create The Catholic Church

Posted on September 21, 2013


By Theodore Shoebat

Out of all the greatest figures in Christian history, one of the most misconstrued and slandered against is Constantine. They say that he founded the Catholic Church, and he bonded it with paganism mixed with Christianity, but is this true?

Constantine —
Constantine

This assertion has been being used to wrongly deceive countless Christians, and bring false information to Messianics and Evangelicals. It was first originated by anti-Christian writers, such as Franz Cumont.

Franz Cumont—
Franz Cumont

What many don’t recognize is that Franz Cumont introduced this theory with an overall anti-Christian intention. He wrote that Christianity


took from its opponents their own weapons, and used them; the better elements of paganism were transferred to the new religion. (1)

With this said, we can agree that the beliefs which try to prove that Constantine configured his own church and mixed it with paganism, was originally produced by haters of the Faith, and has succeeded in causing further division in the Church, with Christians who hate Constantine going against those Christians who they perceive as subscribing to beliefs founded by Constantine. Such contention is founded on false historicity.

To refute the notion that Constantine invented a new church, and to show that the Church did not change after, or was supplanted by, Constantine, I will almost always use primary source accounts such as Eusebius, Tertullian, St. Ambrose, St. Irenaeus, Firmicus, St. Justin Martyr, and St. Augustine.

This is important because it shows that once we look to the original sources of the Church, and not anti-Christian writers or information from the internet, what we find is not Constantine repressing Christians, but heretics who would be rejected by both learned Protestant and Catholic scholars.

One of the most frequent accusations is that Constantine founded, or at least helped establish, an official church of the empire, and then began slaughtering Bible believing Christians who refused to conform, and forced them into an “underground” church.

The evidence presented for this persecution of these obscure believers is an edict of Constantine in which certain sects are listed as being heretical and banned from preaching or assembling religious meetings, it states:


Understand now, by this present statute, ye Novatians, Valentinians, Marcionites, Paulians, ye who are called Cataphrygians, and all ye who devise and support heresies by means of your private assemblies, with what a tissue of falsehood and vanity, with what destructive and venomous errors, your doctrines are inseparably interwoven, so that through you the healthy soul is stricken with disease, and the living becomes the prey of everlasting death. Ye haters and enemies of truth and life, in league with destruction! All your counsels are opposed to the truth, but familiar with deeds of baseness, fit subjects for the fabulous follies of the stage. …We have directed, accordingly, that you be deprived of all the houses in which you are accustomed to hold your assemblies, and our care in this respect extends as far as to forbid the holding of your superstitious and senseless meetings, not in public merely, but in any private house or place whatsoever. Let those of you, therefore, who are desirous of embracing the true and pure religion, take the far better course of entering the Catholic Church, and uniting with it in holy fellowship, whereby you will be enabled to arrive at the knowledge of the truth. (2)

Now, I know that such fierce and overly zealous words may set alarms off in your heads. These poor believers are banned from preaching their theologies, and not only that, they are being coerced into joining the Catholic Church which, as many believe, is the Harlot of Babylon.

But, the question that needs to be asked is, what did these named sects believe in, and were they really Christian? To elucidate this, I will describe each of the sects listed in the edict, and what we will realize is that these sects were completely foreign to any Christian denomination (Protestant or Catholic) and more akin to heretical groups such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, and other cults which we would deem false and dangerous.

Firstly, the five sects condemned by Constantine cannot be considered as original Christians, simply for the reason that all of them broke away from the Catholic Church many years before Constantine was ever emperor, and were not pre-existing to Constantine, or the Catholic Church.

1. The Valentinians. These were founded by one Valentinus, and his doctrine was blatantly heretical. He denied that Christ came in the flesh, (3) *St. Ambrose, Of the Christian Faith, 2.5* coinciding directly with the heresy condemned by St. John when he wrote:


Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (2 John 1:7)

St. Joh—
St. John

They believed that the Father was both male and female, and that he impregnated a type of goddess named Silence, and through this intercourse, she gave birth to an “aeon” named Only-Begotten who then emitted Christ and the Holy Spirit. (4)

This bizarre belief is reminiscent to Mormonism, which teaches that the Father had literal sex with the Virgin Mary in order to beget Christ. For example, Mormon leader Orson Pratt, once said:


But God having created all men and women, had the most perfect right to do with His own creation, according to His holy will and pleasure: He had a lawful right to overshadow the Virgin Mary in the capacity of a husband

Mormon heretic Orson Pratt—
Mormon heretic Orson Pratt

The Valentinians were so blasphemous, that they believed that Christ was in a conjugal relationship with the Holy Spirit. (5) The Valentinians were condemned by St. Polycarp, was he then an agent for the Catholic Church pursuing innocent Bible believers? No. It is true that he was a Catholic, but he pursued heretics, and not only that, he was a student of St. John himself, a fact which cannot go ignored. Irenaeus, a student of St. Polycarp, wrote of St. Polycarp’s relation with the Apostles:


And Polycarp, a man who had been instructed by the apostles, and had familiar intercourse with many that had seen Christ, and had also been appointed bishop by the apostles in Asia, in the church at Smyrna. ...He always taught what he had learned from the apostles, what the church had handed down, and what is the only true doctrine. (6)

St. Polycarp —
St. Polycarp

How could the Valentinians be true Christians if they were teaching such false doctrine and were condemned by a man who had been directly appointed by the Apostles themselves? Either the Apostles lacked discernment when choosing a bishop, or Polycarp was orthodox and the Valentinians were indeed heretical.

This further shows the historical rape which many modern day Christians have done to Church history when condemning Constantine as a repressor of Christians, when he in fact was striving to protect the Church against these very wolves.

2. The Marcionites. These heretics, which are rejected by both Catholic and Protestant scholars, were founded by one Marcion, a native of Pontus, who taught that there was a god greater than the God of the Old Testament, and that, as Islam teaches, God was not the Father of Christ. (7)

Marcion—
Marcion

They affirmed that the God of the Old Testament was evil and corrupt, while the god who Marcion invented, was good. (8) One of their other beliefs was that Christ did not actually fulfill the Law, but abolished it as the work of evil, and that the prophets were all sinister writers and not of God. (9)

The Marcionites were as well condemned by Polycarp, the student of St. John, and when Marcion said to Polycarp, “Acknowledge us,” the saint wittingly responded: “I acknowledge the first-born of Satan.” (10)

3. The Novatians. These were founded by Novatian, a bishop of Rome, over half a century before Constantine’s conversion in 312 AD, and his emperorship in 306 AD.

They were a controlling and legalistic cult, whose main tenet was that Christ could not forgive Christians who, under pain of death, acknowledged the gods of the Roman state, a belief rejected and condemned by the Catholic Church in the third century, (11) and which would be indefinitely condemned by any Protestant or Evangelical church.

He was in fact condemned by a pope, Pope Cornelius, which disproves the common accusation that Constantine was the first pope and the founder of the Catholic Church, and substantiates that the office of pontificate pre-existed the first Christian emperor. Two other popes who reigned in the Church right before Constantine, were Pope Gaius and Pope Marcellinus, who were martyred by the pagans.

Pope Cornelius —
Pope Cornelius

Novatus was not only a schismatic, but had to be treated by exorcists on account of demonic possession which lasted for some time. Can a man of Christ’s Way be overtaken by demons, as Muhammad and Joseph Smith were?

He was a violent madman, who robbed money from the Church, taking even charity funds from orphans and widows, allowed his father to starve to death and did not care to even bury him, and murdered his own son by kicking his pregnant wife in the belly. St. Cyprian described his vicious and evil behavior as such:


Orphans despoiled by him, widows defrauded, moneys moreover of the Church withheld, exact from him those penalties which we behold inflicted in his madness. His father also died of hunger in the street, and afterwards even in death was not buried by him. The womb of his wife was smitten by a blow of his heel; and in the miscarriage that soon followed, the offspring was brought forth, the fruit of a father’s murder. And now does he dare to condemn the hands of those who sacrifice, when he himself is more guilty in his feet, by which the son, who was about to be born, was slain? (12)

St. Cyprian —
St. Cyprian

While he refused to accept the lapsed Christians, he himself was terrified of persecution, to the point that when asked to assist the Christians being oppressed by the emperor Decius, he imprisoned himself in fear and even denied that he was a presbyter, affirming that he was “an admirer of a different philosophy.” (13)

When he gave the communion bread to his followers, he did not bless them in anyway, but forced them to promise not to betray him, telling them: “Swear to me, by the body and blood of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, that you will never desert me, not turn to Cornelius [the Pope].” Instead of the receiver saying “Amen” when accepting the bread, he was compelled to say: “I will no longer return to Cornelius.” (14)

Could you imagine Holy Communion being done like this in your church? It was not done to remember Christ, but to compete with the Catholic Church and gain power over it. Again, this was before Constantine, and it was a cult which broke away from the Church, and did not exist before it. It had no Apostolic succession, but was merely a schism which abused and forced its followers to be loyal to Novatus.

They broke the precept taught by St. Paul,


That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. (I Corinthians 12:25)

Saint Paul—
Saint Paul

4. The Paulians. Their name did not, as some may think, come from St. Paul, but a deceiver named Paul of Samosata who, like Muhammad, taught that Christ was not the Son of God, (15) and that He was not divine, but a mere man. (16)

Constantine repressed this sect, but again, they were heretical and they broke away from the Church, and never had pre-existing church.

5. The Cataphrygians. These are more usually known as Montanists, from their second century Phrygian founder Montanus, He founded his cult similarly to how Joseph Smith founded the LDS, or how Muhammad founded Islam, through a demonic vision.

It was said that he was taken away by an evil spirit which compelled him to go into a violent frenzy in which he uttered all sorts of blasphemies. He attracted two women to join his movement, who has well would enter into hysterical and ecstatic states of ecstasy. They were like Muslim Sufis. They soon founded a cult of wild charismatics who broke away from the Church and believed that they were the true prophets foretold by God. (17)

As the Mormons and the Muslims replaced Jerusalem with Salt Lake City and Mecca, the Montantists declared that the two Phrygian cities, Pepuza and Tymium, were a Jerusalem. *Euseb. Eccles. Hist. 5.18* If the Catholic Church rejected Jerusalem and the Holy Land, as many have said, why would they then condemn this heresy? The Montanists even had a prophet who, like Muhammad, dyed his hair and put on mascara, (18) which reminds us of a lot of a lot of people in the modern day church.

This sums up the five heresies which Constantine’s edict suppresses. They were not Christian, and thus the allegations that Constantine persecuted the original church, founded the Catholic Church and was the first pope, are false.

Those who use these heresies as examples for the original church, are now compelled to either accepts these cults, or admit that the established Church in the time of Constantine, was the same one before Constantine, and that there was no underground church.

Moreover, the fact that Constantine repressed these groups shows that he had a knowledge on the Scripture, and possessed enough discernment to realize that they were dangerous to the Faith.

DID THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ADOPT MITHRAISM?

Mithra on the left—
Mithra on the left

Furthermore, the usual assertion that Constantine introduced Mithraism, or an ancient Persian cult, and Roman paganism, into the Church, is again fallacious.

Mithraism involved the worship of a bull fighter named Mithra, and of fire, and had nothing to do with Christianity. In fact, the cult was repeatedly condemned by Christian authorities before and after the time of Constantine, because the Church never changed its position in regards to the false religion.

For example, the Christian writer Firmicus, who lived during and after the time Constantine, heavily denounced Mithraism as such:


The male they worship as a cattle rustler, and his cult they relate to the potency of fire, as his prophet handed down the lore to us, saying: … ‘Initiate of cattle-rusting, companion by handclasp of an illustrious father’. Him they call Mithra, and his cult they carry on in hidden caves, so that they may be forever plunged in the gloomy squalor of darkness and thus shun the grace of light resplendent and serene. O true consecration of a divinity! O repulsive inventions of a barbaric code! (19)

Firmicus—
Firmicus

Was Firmicus going against the Church when he wrote this? No, if he was, why was he never anathematized as a dissenting heretic? Firmicus was simply agreeing with the Church’s teaching on Mithraism, which was affirmed and taught centuries before Constantine was ever emperor. There was no new church to go against, when combating Mithraism.

Another frequent claim by anti-Christian writers (and sadly Christians who believe their lies), is that the idea of Holy Communion originated from Mithraism (the Mitraists used bread and water in their rituals, which is radically different to Christianity and is what Mormons actually do) and that the Catholic Church took this ritual for their Communion.

Justin Martyr, writing in between 151 and 155 AD (20) (around 277 years before Constantine’s conversion), not only chastised and condemned Mithraism, but concluded that its bread and water ritual was a demonic plagiarism of Holy Communion:


For we do not receive these things as common bread nor common drink; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Savior having been incarnate by God’s logos took flesh and blood for our salvation, so also we have been taught that the food eucharistized through the word of prayer that is from Him, from which our blood and flesh are nourished by transformation, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who became incarnate. For the Apostles in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, thus handed down what was commanded them: that Jesus took bread and having given thanks said: “Do this for my memorial, this is my body”; and likewise He took the chalice and having given thanks said: “This is my blood”‘ and gave it to them alone. Which also the wicked demons have imitated in the mysteries of Mithra and handed down to be done; for that bread and a cup of water are placed with certain words said over them in the secret rites of initiation, you either know or can learn. (21)

St. Justin Martyr —
St. Justin Martyr

The fact that Holy Communion was observed, and Mithraism was condemned, before and after Constantine, shows a consistent tradition being maintained and protected, and not a new church being created after 312 AD.

DID CONSTANTINE ENFORCE PAGANISM INTO THE CHURCH?

Constantine hated paganism and its violent and homosexual practices with such fury, that he passed laws to repress them, and to exterminate the pagan priests of Egypt. Eusebius, one of our major primary writers on Constantine, recounts that:


Consistently with this zeal he [Constantine] issued successive laws and ordinances, forbidding any to offer sacrifice to idols, to consult diviners, to erect images, or to pollute the cities with the sanguinary combats of gladiators. And inasmuch as the Egyptians, especially those of Alexandria, had been accustomed to honor their river through a priesthood composed of effeminate men, a further law was passed commanding the extermination of these as a corrupt and vicious class of persons, that no one might thenceforward be found tainted with the like impurity. (22)

We could reasonably compare these laws to those of Moses, which prescribe the death penalty for paganism and homosexuality. These laws were definitely influenced by Biblical laws, for, according to Eusebius, he would “devote himself to the perusal of the inspired writings.” (23)

Not only that, but Constantine built Constantinople to be a city without the blemish of heathenism and idolatry, without the worship of devils and pagan temples. In the words of St. Augustine, it was to be a city “without any temple or image of the demons.” (23A)

St. Augustine —
St. Augustine

DID CONSTANTINE OUTLAW THE BIBLE?

A frequent accusation is that Constantine outlawed the Bible from being read privately. The truth is that he respected the Bible to the point that he ordered fifty Bibles to be copied for the churches. This was a very laborious project, because in those days there was no printing machines or internet, books had to be copied down by hand, it was costly and time consuming.

Most people in that age would not have been able to afford purchasing a Bible, and Constantine was charitable enough to give Bibles to churches so that the Scriptures could be read to the congregants.

Constantine issued this order to the bishop Eusebius for this to be done, writing:


Do you, therefore, receive with all readiness my determination on this behalf. I have thought it expedient to instruct your Prudence to order fifty copies of the sacred scriptures (the provisions and use of which you know to be most needful for the instruction of the Church) to be written on prepared parchment in a legible manner, and in a commodious and portable form, by transcribers thoroughly practiced in their art. (24)

Eusebius —
Eusebius

After Constantine defeated one of the greatest persecutors of the Church, the pagan emperor Maxentius, the Roman senate erected an arch in honor of the victory, and unlike former emperors, it did not give any praise to Jupiter, Apollo, or Mars. (25)

Before 312 AD, the year of Constantine’s conversion, Roman coins were minted with pagan symbolism, but after 312, the coins are seen with Christian imagery. (26) All of these indications lead to the conclusion that there was indeed a significant change in the empire after Constantine’s conversion.

Did pagan influence remain in the empire? Yes, but was there a new Church established, made with both Christian and pagan beliefs and rituals? No. The Church was the same as it was prior to Constantine, the only difference was that it was allowed to exist without pagan government despotism.

Because of Constantine, the great persecutors of the church, such as Maxentius, Gallerius, and Licinius, were vanquished, Christianity was allowed to thrive. Because of Constantine’s liberation of the Church, Christianity spread as it did, and became the dominant Faith in the world, but of course this is not the case today.

Let this essay teach a good lesson, that history has been lacerated and defiled, and that the Church, in antiquity, was a beacon of light destroying the forces of evil and heresy, unlike today, where it has became a circus.

The Church is here to destroy the works of the devil, and let us do so in light of what the early Christians did, and not defile their history, but repeat it.

silentwssj
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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 16th, 2014, 6:07 pm

Hey there Bumperjack! Read these two articles and tell me what you think! I am not buying the Constantine theory at all! Obviously the Catholic Church was there from the beginning or it wouldn't have all those writings that I posted above! As far as the similarities with other religions go I don't buy that either! It is a Fallacy to say that because something is similar to something else it has to have originated from within it! I would be real careful with those kind of assumptions as they apply to you Protestants just as equally as they do us Catholics! The primary pushers of this are actually Atheists seeking to destroy all forms of Christianity! Anyhow, Much love and respect though! I like this dialogue that we are carrying on! Honestly it is forcing me to learn more everyday! I would like to complement you on how you have been carrying yourself on this post as well. You are staying respectful and on topic which is perfect! That way we can address this one subject and then move on! Anyhow, peaceout Brother! Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 17th, 2014, 7:13 am

Silent yes I agree the posts are doing well and they are digging into the meat which is History I dont listen to leaders of churchs I explore for the truth.Dont get me wrong I respect there schooling and Knowledge but its not always the truth brother Here is some more History and dates now remember these guys you are concidering were in turkey not Rome the Church Fathers as you call them.Silent here is a distinct period of the church in the Roman Empire which began when Justin 1 became Emperor in 518 AD. and the first Schism between Rome and Constantinople ended in the following year Justinian 527-565) definitively established caesaropapism as the Constitution of the Eastern Church believing he had the right. And duty of regulating by his laws the minutest details of worship and discipline and also of dictating Theological opinions to be held in Church. He Established the Bishops of Rome,Constantinople,Alexandria,Antioch,and Jerusalem as the Leadership of the Imperial Church.What you have to understand about Christianity is the First Christians were Jewish and they were not in Rome Nor were there any Bishops there in Rome either Silent.The Capitol Jerusalm is where your first jewish Christians were not in Rome nor were there any bishops in Rome nor any Catholic Church homie,When we explore history the claims begin to unravel Silent ,I believe as we explore the claims history will reveal if they are true or not.Im open to all knowledge and History but research is very important when it comes to any subject really,Religion has alot of history so the information is out there,you just have to search its very educational and Im learning everyday and Im soon going to get after 4 years whats equal to a Mastets in Theology from this Urban Minisyry Institute,so all this study will help me tremendously silent spiritual wisdom I believe is the most important because it is above all understanding,human wisdom only will take you so far.Being Christian we must start with this word I believe HUMILITY.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 17th, 2014, 3:37 pm

Silent,In the early history of Christianity five cities emerged as important. Centers of Christianity number 1 of course was. Jerusalem ,Antioch,Rome,Alexandria & Constantinople,the Churchs in the east generally had more numbers and more authority. Rome was not the only city that could claim a special role in.Christ's so called church.Now Jerusalem had the prestige of being the city of Christ's death & resurrection and an important council was held there in the first century,Antioch is were the first Christ Followers and was there that the first Christians were called Christians,Alexandria was an important early center of Christian thought. Constantinople became highly important after Constantine moved his Capital there in 330AD. By the Fifth Century however the bishop of Rome began to clain Supremacy over all other bishops and some so called church fathers also made this claim for him.Also influential were the barbarian invasians of the fifth century. Leo1 Also known as Leo The Great. Has been reguarded and by many as the first pope in the modern sense and he was instrumental in persuading Attila the Hun not to Attack Rome in 452. When the city finally fell to the vandels in 455,Leo convinced their leader not to burn the city.These accomplishments added to the prestige to the bishop of Rome in them days. Pope Leo The Great started the Office of the papacy, The Official Office,He reigned from 440-461AD) He Has been called the Master Builder of the papacy for he put the idea of primacy of jurisdiction fully into practice,Leo took the Title Pontifex Maximus " Chief Priest" which prior had only been used. By. Roman Emperors,This is Key in history as Several important events for the development of the papacy occured during his reign.In 445AD Emperor Valentinian said the Bishop of Rome now was the Law for all.Thats the reson Silent He was The begining of the papacy.I have more history on early Christianity but like you said first things first brother.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 17th, 2014, 9:54 pm

Hey there! I have to disagree once again! You are definitely right in saying that there were other important cities in early Christianity. The thing is though that Christ built his Church on the Rock of Peter and gave him the keys! Both he and Paul went to Rome and established the Church there! They also were both martyred there! If you look at my post carefully you will see writings of the first Christians attesting to the fact that the Church is called Catholic, it is Apostolic, it decended directly from them, and that the Bishop of Rome has authority over all other Churches! Did you catch what I was saying about the Bishop of Rome being sent to fix a problem in a far off church? This was in 97 AD and the Apostle John was still alive and closer to them. His name was Clement 1 and he admonished them in his epistle to the Corinthians! Look it up!The Bishop of Rome or the Pope was sent because that was the system that was set in place from the beginning! Even an Apostle had to defer to his Authority! The Bishop of Rome is the Pope and he has the keys of Power! It is just like in prison Homie! Whoever runs the yard has the Keys! I have a chart in my possession that shows Bishops of all the various cities throughout Christendom. it covers from the year 314-655 AD during that time period all the Bishops at one time or another had taught Heresy, that is except for the Bishop of Rome! That is because he is divinely protected! We don't mean that everything that he says is true either! Only when he teaches in matters of faith and morals! Look up Pope Vigilius! He agreed to teach heresy! He promised empress Theodora that he would teach Monophysitism or a heresy that taught that Jesus only had one nature 'Divine". He was installed as Pope and had wrote letters teaching this heresy prior to his installment. Once he became Pope he refused to teach this Heresy! If that is not divine protection I don't what is! One thing I would like you to ask yourself is where are all the writings of the earliest Christians that believe like you do? I have already looked into this and know that all the first Christians were Catholic! If you are going to claim that there were Bible only Christians, Faith only, Evangelical or Fundamentalist communities where is the proof? I don't say this to mess with you, I really just want you to think about this as a Historian! There is an abundance of writings left by Catholics, in fact 100% of all early writings come from them. Where is there any historical basis to back up Protestants claims? I keep coming back to the point that nobody had a full and complete Bible for the for the first 400 years of Christianity. How could that simply be brushed aside as not important? Think about that time period! It is longer than there has been a United States of America! All they had to go on was sacred Tradition and the Church! Yes they had some letters but none of them had the whole thing! As I said before the New Testament was not even complete for the first 67 years of Christianity! How can we overlook this? The truth is that Christ established a Church and put a person in charge of that Church! The Scriptures came out of that Church much later! Peter established this church and they immediately went about appointing a successor to him as soon as he was Martyred! Every time the Bishop of Rome dies a new one is appointed by that same Church! This has been going on for 200 years straight! If the Catholic Church ever somehow took over this mythical invisible Church that Protestants talk about where are the records of Protest? Where are there writings that discuss their beliefs? Honestly, If I were a Protestant I wouldn't try to win this argument by denying that the Catholics came first. That is totally historically absurd to me! I would focus on particular beliefs! That I could understand if I was a bible only believing Christian. I have demonstrated that Tradition came first though in past posts. I have also shown an abundance of Bible verses commanding the adherence to Tradition. If a person really looks at the Bible as a whole as I have been saying all along then it should all make sense to them! I know it is hard for you because you have been taught one way! I get that! I am going to keep on praying for you Bumperjack and definitely working with you through more posts! I really hope that some of this stuff starts sinking in with you! If anything, I hope that you start to question some of those Bible verses and really think about them! Anyhow, peaceout Homie! Much love and respect as always! I think we are ready to move on to Salvation next what do you think? Silent!

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 17th, 2014, 9:59 pm

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His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI receives a papal tirara - New Liturgical Movement

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI receives a papal tirara - New Liturgical Movement



In Defense of the Papacy: 9 Reasons True Christians Follow the Pope
by HHAmbrose on 2013-02-21 • 11:44 pm 7 Comments

Listers, glory and honor to God for giving us the grace of the papacy. The Pope is the “Advocate of Christian Memory” and he holds the King’s people to the King’s laws until our Savior returns. Each year on February 22nd the Church celebrates the Cathedra Petri – the Chair of St. Peter.

This feast brings to mind the mission of teacher and pastor conferred by Christ on Peter, and continued in an unbroken line down to the present Pope. We celebrate the unity of the Church, founded upon the Apostle, and renew our assent to the Magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, extended both to truths which are solemnly defined ex cathedra, and to all the acts of the ordinary Magisterium.

The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Rome has been celebrated from the early days of the Christian era on 18 January, in commemoration of the day when Saint Peter held his first service in Rome. The feast of the Chair of Saint Peter at Antioch, commemorating his foundation of the See of Antioch, has also been long celebrated at Rome, on 22 February. At each place a chair (cathedra) was venerated which the Apostle had used while presiding at Mass. One of the chairs is referred to about 600 by an Abbot Johannes who had been commissioned by Pope Gregory the Great to collect in oil from the lamps which burned at the graves of the Roman martyrs. — New Catholic Dictionary1

To commemorate this holy feast day SPL brings you a defense of the papacy with references to Scripture, the Western Church Fathers, the Eastern Church Fathers, and of course, the Medieval Popes.



The article addresses the following questions:
1.Did St. Peter hold any primacy amongst the Twelve Apostles?
2.Did Christ charge St. Peter with the office of the papacy?
3.Did St. Peter exercise his ministry from Rome?
4.What about the controversy of Sts. Peter and Paul?
5.Did the papacy continue after St. Peter and if so, to whom?
6.Did the Early Church speak of a hierarchal Church with bishops?
7.What of those who started their own “churches”?
8.What did the Eastern Early Church Fathers say about the Petrine Ministry?
9.Are all people subject to the papacy?



The following list is certainly not exhaustive. The Scripture studies alone could fill up volumes and a proper study of Church history is a lifetime of academic work; however, we’ve catalogued a quality sampling of sources with biblical and textual citations in order that you may be able to defend or maybe even discover for the first time the grace of the papacy.





Holy Scripture

1. St. Peter was Prince of the Apostles

“Prince of the Apostles” means that St. Peter held a certain primacy over the other eleven. Understanding St. Peter’s unique position among the twelve and the unique ministries he exercised lays an excellent groundwork for a discussion of Christ’s founding of the Papacy. There are three primary topics of focus for exploring the biblical articulation of the primacy of the Petrine ministry.



St. Peter’s Place of Primacy Among the Twelve
Sts. Peter, James, and John are a special group of disciples that are allowed to witness the Transfiguration2 and accompany Christ to the Mount of Olives.3 In each event, St. Peter, the Rock, is singled out. At the Mount of Olives, Christ finds all three asleep, but it is St. Peter he addresses. During the Transfiguration, it is St. Peter who speaks for the disciples. In St. Luke 5:1-11, Christ calls his first disciples, and the first is Simon Peter. According to Cardinal Ratzinger, the “call of Peter appears as the original pattern of apostolic vocation par excellence.”4 Every time the disciples are listed, St. Peter is listed first.5 Furthermore, when referring to the disciples, sometimes only St. Peter is mentioned by name, e.g., “And Simon and those who were with him,” and “Now Peter and those who were with him”.6 St. Peter is the only one to try to walk on the water (Mt 14:28ff) and he is the one that brings up the famous question of how many times we must forgive.7 Even St. Peter’s shadow was an instrument of healing.8



Significance of the Name Change
While it was common for Rabbis to give nicknames or new surnames to their disciples, e.g., the Sons of Zebedee as the “Sons of Thunder,” it was uncommon to change a disciple’s first name. Christ gives Simon the new name “Peter” or Kephas (or Cephas) meaning rock.9 In the Old Testament, God changing someone’s name denoted a special calling, a new vocation, e.g., Abram to Abraham, Sarai to Sarah, Jacob to Israel, etc. St. Peter’s name change denotes that he will have a special vocation among the twelve. Obviously Christ was also referred to as the Rock, because he is the foundation of all things. However, in the rabbinical tradition, Abraham was also referred to as a rock: “Look to the rock from which you were hewn… look to Abraham your father” .10 Cardinal Ratzinger comments:11


Abraham, the father of faith, is by his faith the rock that holds back chaos, the onrushing primordial flood of destruction, and thus sustains creation. Simon, the first to confess Jesus as the Christ and the first witness of the Resurrection, now becomes by virtue of his Abrahamic faith, which is renewed in Christ, the rock that stands against the impure tide of unbelief and its destruction of man.



The Papal Office Given to St. Peter by Christ
After the Resurrection, Christ appears to the Twelve and has a unique conversation with St. Peter. Christ, the Shepherd, asks St. Peter three times if he loves him. St. Peter responds yes all three times – presumably this passage should reflect his three denials. Christ also tell St. Peter and Peter alone: feed my lambs, tend my sheep, and feed my sheep. As the Vicar of Christ, St. Peter must care for the flock.12 In Lk 22:31-34, two major Petrine themes are evident. First, Satan has taken a special interest in St. Peter. He will fail, but will repent. Second, after St. Peter has “turned again” to Christ, Jesus commissions him to “strengthen the brethren.” Another mission given only to St. Peter.

In Matthew 16:13-20, the most famous unique call is given to St. Peter: to be the foundation of the Church and to exercise the authority of keys of the kingdom. The office given to St. Peter is that of the Vicar within the Davidic Kingdom. The Vicar governs in the King’s stead, according to the King’s rules, while the King is gone.13 St. Peter is the Vicar of Christ, the Pope.



Concluding Thoughts and Suggested Reading
For all of this information plus a brief handling of the relationship between Sts. Peter and Paul, please reference 13 Biblical Reasons St. Peter is the Prince of the Apostles. The page citations and Scripture references for this section are taken from Cardinal Ratzinger’s Called to Communion, which was featured in The 6 Books by Pope Benedict XVI All Catholics Should Read.



A selection from “Christ’s Charge to Peter,” Raphael (1515)


2. Jesus Christ Founded the Papacy

According to Holy Scripture, the Office of the Papacy was instituted by Jesus Christ. In fact, he was the only person who had the authority to create such a position. SPL’s article 10 Biblical Reasons Christ Founded the Papacy discusses the following questions:
1.What type of kingdom did Christ intend to bring?
2.What role did Christ intend for Saint Peter?
3.What is the biblical backing for St. Peter’s role in accordance with the Davidic Kingdom?
4.What is the position and what is its purpose?
5.What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say about St. Peter and the Papacy?
6.But in Greek, St. Peter’s name is Petros and Christ says, “upon this petra,” so Christ was not referring to St. Peter, was he?
7.Isn’t Christ The Rock?
8.I am a Christian, how can I follow both Christ and the Pope?
9.How can I have a personal relationship with Christ and have a “middle man,” the Pope?
10.Scripturally, what would be the overall reason Christ would want a Vicar for his Church?

We will address the first three questions here, because they lay out a proper biblical understanding of the Office of the Papacy.



1. What type of kingdom did Christ intend to bring?
Jesus Christ was descended from King David and referred to as “Son of David”14. King David was promised a descendent who would not only “rule forever,” but would sit on “David’s throne” forever15; thus, any conversation of what is and what is not properly intended by Christ, regarding his Kingdom, must be couched within the template of the Davidic Kingdom16.



2. What role did Christ intend for Saint Peter?
In the district of Caesarea Philippi, Christ asks his disciples “Who do men say that the Son of man is?” St. Peter responds, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then says to St. Peter:


And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Christ’s intention for the role of St. Peter within the kingdom is twofold: Christ changed Simon Bar-jona’s name to Peter meaning rock and he will be a foundation for Christ’s kingdom on earth, the Church, and secondly, St. Peter is given the “keys of kingdom,” which come with great authority17. It is important to note this is one of the few times Christ ever mentions the “Church.”



3. What is the biblical backing for St. Peter’s role in accordance with the Davidic Kingdom?
If Christ is giving St. Peter a role within his Church, his kingdom of God on earth, then it must be part of the Davidic Kingdom. The symbols of authority given to St. Peter are the “keys of the kingdom.” Looking to the Old Testament, it is clear that Christ is rewording a passage from Isaiah that speaks of a position within the Davidic Kingdom:


And I will place on his should the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten him like a peg in a sure place, and he will become a throne of honor to his father’s house.

Here a position within the Davidic Kingdom is described which has the key of authority to open and close, and is considered a position of security and authority when the King is away. Christ, who will sit on David’s throne forever, is using an Old Testament verse to elucidate a New Testament Kingdom position.





A section of the “Martyrdom of St. Peter” by Leonello Spada (1576–1622)


Early Church

3. St. Peter Exercised his Ministry from Rome

Bl. John Henry Newman said it best: “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” History paints an overwhelming picture of St. Peter’s apostolic ministry in Rome and this is confirmed by a multitude of different sources within the Early Church. Catholic Encyclopedia states:


“In opposition to this distinct and unanimous testimony of early Christendom, some few Protestant historians have attempted in recent times to set aside the residence and death of Peter at Rome as legendary. These attempts have resulted in complete failure.”

Protestantism as a whole seeks to divorce Christianity from history by rending Gospel message out of its historical context as captured by our Early Church Fathers. One such target of these heresies is to devalue St. Peter and to twist the authority of Rome into a historical mishap within Christianity. To with, the belief has as its end the ultimate end of all Catholic and Protestant dialogue – who has authority in Christianity?

The article 11 Reasons the Authority of Christianity is Centered on St. Peter and Rome is a sampling of the praise of and adherence to the Petrine Ministry – The Papacy. While the list gives three quality examples of Scripture connecting St. Peter with Rome, we will look here at a few choice quotes from the Early Church.



Taught in the Same Place in Italy
Bishop Dionysius of Corinth, in his letter to the Roman Church in the time of Pope Soter (165-74), says:


“You have therefore by your urgent exhortation bound close together the sowing of Peter and Paul at Rome and Corinth. For both planted the seed of the Gospel also in Corinth, and together instructed us, just as they likewise taught in the same place in Italy and at the same time suffered martyrdom” (in Eusebius, Church History II.25).



St. Peter Announced the Word of God in Rome
In his “Hypotyposes” (Eusebius, Church History IV.14), Clement of Alexandria, teacher in the catechetical school of that city from about 190, says on the strength of the tradition of the presbyters:


“After Peter had announced the Word of God in Rome and preached the Gospel in the spirit of God, the multitude of hearers requested Mark, who had long accompanied Peter on all his journeys, to write down what the Apostles had preached to them” (see above).



Come to the Vatican and See for Yourself
The Roman, Caius, who lived in Rome in the time of Pope Zephyrinus (198-217), wrote in his “Dialogue with Proclus” (in Eusebius, Church History II.25) directed against the Montanists:


“But I can show the trophies of the Apostles. If you care to go to the Vatican or to the road to Ostia, thou shalt find the trophies of those who have founded this Church.”

By the trophies (tropaia) Eusebius understands the graves of the Apostles, but his view is opposed by modern investigators who believe that the place of execution is meant. For our purpose it is immaterial which opinion is correct, as the testimony retains its full value in either case. At any rate the place of execution and burial of both were close together; St. Peter, who was executed on the Vatican, received also his burial there. Eusebius also refers to “the inscription of the names of Peter and Paul, which have been preserved to the present day on the burial-places there” (i.e. at Rome).





Sts. Peter and Paul, pray for us.


4. The Early Church on Sts. Peter and Paul

“Many modern day academics enjoy setting St. Peter and St. Paul in enmity with one another,” states SPL author Catherine, “however, the over emphasis of Galatians 2:11-14 by modern scholarship fails to acknowledge that even though they had a disagreement their mission of spreading the Gospel was the same. In this spirit, I present to you five reflections by members of the early church on the mutual impact that St. Peter and Paul had on the early church. Prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to let St. Peter and St. Paul’s example of faithfulness unto death be your focus today and everyday.” Out of Catherine’s excellent list, we will focus on one particular passage by St. Irenaeus:


Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meeting; [we do this, I say] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; also [by pointing out] the faith they preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.
Against Heresies 3.3.2.

Along with the above quote, the other four passages from the Early Church demonstrate the Fathers focusing on Sts. Peter and Paul as brothers in the faith and fellow martyrs – not enemies vying for power within the Church. For a more biblical focus of the relationship between Sts. Peter and Paul see the above-mentioned list on St. Peter as Prince of the Apostles.





Crucifixion of St. Peter – Masaccio, AD 1426


5. The First Popes of the Catholic Church

In cataloguing the first ten popes of the Catholics Church, SPL hoped to address a few misconceptions. The first would be that the office of the papacy was simply given to St. Peter and then closed upon his death. The necessity of a Vicar of Christ with the Keys of Kingdom is present until the King returns and the Keys are returned to him. Secondly, we hoped to address the pernicious error that the papacy is a historical fiction within the Early Church and it did not materialize until medieval times. For our purposes, we’ll select the two popes that followed St. Peter from The First 10 Popes of the Catholic Church.



Pope St. Linus (67-76)
All the ancient records of the Roman bishops which have been handed down to us by St. Irenaeus, Julius Africanus, St. Hippolytus, Eusebius, also the Liberian catalogue of 354, place the name of Linus directly after that of the Prince of the Apostles, St. Peter. These records are traced back to a list of the Roman bishops which existed in the time of Pope Eleutherus (about 174-189), when Irenaeus wrote his book “Adversus haereses”. As opposed to this testimony, we cannot accept as more reliable Tertullian’s assertion, which unquestionably places St. Clement (De praescriptione, xxii) after the Apostle Peter, as was also done later by other Latin scholars (Jerome, Illustrious Men 15). The Roman list in Irenaeus has undoubtedly greater claims to historical authority. This author claims that Pope Linus is the Linus mentioned by St. Paul in his 2 Timothy 4:21. The passage by Irenaeus (Against Heresies III.3.3) reads:


After the Holy Apostles (Peter and Paul) had founded and set the Church in order (in Rome) they gave over the exercise of the episcopal office to Linus. The same Linus is mentioned by St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy. His successor was Anacletus.

We cannot be positive whether this identification of the pope as being the Linus mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:21 goes back to an ancient and reliable source, or originated later on account of the similarity of the name.



Pope St. Anacletus (Cletus) (76-88)
The second successor of St. Peter. Whether he was the same as Cletus, who is also called Anencletus as well as Anacletus, has been the subject of endless discussion. Irenaeus, Eusebius, Augustine, Optatus, use both names indifferently as of one person. Tertullian omits him altogether. To add to the confusion, the order is different. Thus Irenaeus has Linus, Anacletus, Clement; whereas Augustine and Optatus put Clement before Anacletus. On the other hand, the “Catalogus Liberianus”, the “Carmen contra Marcionem” and the “Liber Pontificalis”, all most respectable for their antiquity, make Cletus and Anacletus distinct from each other; while the “Catalogus Felicianus” even sets the latter down as a Greek, the former as a Roman.





The Martyrdom of Saint Clement c. 1480


6. The Apostles Appointed Bishops

The Early Church was the Early Catholic Church. First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians is an orthodox window into the infancy of the Church (AD 97) and particularly into the structure of the Church. The Early Church is not an ambiguous or mysterious time. It is a well recorded period with a great number of writings from the Early Church Fathers. Clement lived in Rome only a stone’s throw away from the Coliseum. He is seen as a successor to St. Peter and is considered the fourth Pope of Rome, following St. Peter, St. Linus and St. Anacletus.

Chapter XLII outlines a clear theology of succession from Christ to the Apostles to the Bishops of the Church. As an early Christian, how do you know if you belonged to the true Church? Well, does your community have a bishop? Did your bishop come from the Apostles who came from Christ our Lord who came from God the Father? It should be stressed this epistle is dated AD 97.


“The apostles have preached the gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done so] from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place, I will appoint their bishops in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.”



In Chapter XLIV, St. Clement shuts the book on any doubt that the apostles chose and declared men to lead as bishops after their death. It is apostolic succession in a clear and practical manner articulated in AD 97.


“Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.”

It is important to note the universal authority in which Pope St. Clement I is writing. One cannot miss how early in the life of the Church this writing is and how the Church is already a hierarchal body that respects the teachings of the Bishop of Rome. Pope St. Clement I even commands the Corinthians at one point – this note and other are commented on in The Apostles Appointed Bishops: 9 Teachings from St. Clement AD 97.





The Schismatics of Dante’s Inferno by Gustave


7. Those Who Start Their Own Church Follow the Voice of Satan

The Pope as the Vicar of Christ and as the Advocate of Christian Memory stands as tent peg holding down the Universal Church of Christ, and no list on Church unity would be complete without the (in)famous epistle of St. Cyprian, AD 250.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is not returning to our world for a harem of “churches.” There is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church and it was founded by Christ and charged by him to St. Peter and the Apostles. However, there are now and always have been those groups that attempt to rend Christ from his Church – to recreate that which God gave us, the Church. In AD 250, St. Cyprian wrote an outstanding work entitled On the Unity of the Church. The epistle focuses especially on the topic of schism and those who would set themselves up as Church leaders and/or start their own “churches.” Without question, these groups are proto-protestant groups and the saint’s arguments apply just as much to our modern schismatic and heretical groups as they did to his ancient schismatic groups.18



The New Way of Satan


“He [Satan] has invented heresies and schisms, whereby he might subvert the faith, might corrupt the truth, might divide the unity. Those whom he cannot keep in the darkness of the old way [paganism], he circumvents and deceives by the error of a new way [schism/heresy]. He snatches men from the Church itself; and while they seem to themselves to have already approached to the light, and to have escaped the night of the world, he pours over them again, in their unconsciousness, new darkness.”



Upon This Rock


“There is easy proof for faith in a short summary of the truth. The Lord speaks to Peter, saying, “I say unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” And again to the same He says, after His resurrection, “Feed my sheep.”



Can the Spouse of Christ Be Adulterous?


“The spouse of Christ cannot be adulterous; she is uncorrupted and pure. She knows one home; she guards with chaste modesty the sanctity of one couch. She keeps us for God. She appoints the sons whom she has born for the kingdom. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress, is separated from the promises of the Church; nor can he who forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is a stranger; he is profane; he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for his Father, who has not the Church for his mother.”



Those Who Start Their Own Church Vomit Poison


“These are they who of their own accord, without any divine arrangement, set themselves to preside among the daring strangers assembled, who appoint themselves prelates without any law of ordination, who assume to themselves the name of bishop, although no one gives them the episcopate; whom the Holy Spirit points out in the Psalms as sitting in the seat of pestilence, plagues, and spots of the faith, deceiving with serpent’s tongue, and artful in corrupting the truth, vomiting forth deadly poisons from pestilential tongues; whose speech doth creep like a cancer, whose discourse forms a deadly poison in the heart and breast of every one.”



Priests and Sacrifice


“What sacrifices do those who are rivals of the priests think that they celebrate? Do they deem that they have Christ with them when they are collected together, who are gathered together outside the Church of Christ?”

Without a doubt this epistle of St. Cyprian is one of the most quotable letters of the Early Church Fathers. For more commentary and more unabashed Catholic quotes visit Those Who Start Their Own Church Follow the Voice of Satan: 11 Teachings from St. Cyprian AD 250.





St. John Chrysostom, pray for us.


8. The Eastern Fathers Supported the Petrine Ministry

Often times the papacy is misunderstood a “characteristic” of Western Christianity. In fact, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Catholic Church embraces the Eastern Catholic Churches along with the Roman Church and they are united in doctrine under the Holy Father, the Pope. SPL has catalogue an extensive collection of quotes from the Eastern Church Fathers supporting the Petrine Ministry.

St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (d. A.D. 638)


“Teaching us all orthodoxy and destroying all heresy and driving it away from the God-protected halls of our holy Catholic Church. And together with these inspired syllables and characters, I accept all his (the pope’s) letters and teachings as proceeding from the mouth of Peter the Coryphaeus, and I kiss them and salute them and embrace them with all my soul … I recognize the latter as definitions of Peter and the former as those of Mark, and besides, all the heaven-taught teachings of all the chosen mystagogues of our Catholic Church.” – Sophronius, Mansi, xi. 461



St. Theodore the Studite of Constantinople (d. 826)
Writing to Pope Leo III:


Since to great Peter Christ our Lord gave the office of Chief Shepherd after entrusting him with the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, to Peter or his successor must of necessity every novelty in the Catholic Church be referred. [Therefore], save us, oh most divine Head of Heads, Chief Shepherd of the Church of Heaven. (Theodore, Bk. I. Ep. 23)



Sergius, Metropolitain of Cyprus (649)
Writing to Pope Theodore:


O Holy Head, Christ our God hath destined thy Apostolic See to be an immovable foundation and a pillar of the Faith. For thou art, as the Divine Word truly saith, Peter, and on thee as a foundation-stone have the pillars of the Church been fixed. (Sergius Ep. ad Theod. lecta in Sess. ii. Concil. Lat. anno 649)



SPL has listed over 50 quotes of the Eastern Church Fathers: The Early Church in Jerusalem Followed the Pope: 7 Quotes from History, Constantinople: 25 Quotes from the Eastern Fathers on the Petrine Ministry, and Rome is the Apostolic Throne: 24 Quotes from Alexandria, Antioch, and Cyprus.





St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles, Vicar of Christ, pray for us.


Medieval

9. All Human Creatures Are Subject to the Pope

The following is a short compilation of quotes taken from previous Ecumenical Pontiffs of Rome: “Outside the Church there is no hope for salvation.” These quotes show us the confidence that our previous Bishops of Rome have had in their authority given by God Himself to be the Vicar of Christ here on Earth. As St. Augustine said, “Rome has spoken, the case is closed.”


“The universal Church of the faithful is one outside of which none is saved.”
Pope Innocent III, ex cathedra, Fourth Lateran Council (1215 AD)



“We declare, say , define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.”
Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam (1302 AD)



“You see, dearly beloved sons and venerable brothers, how much vigilance is needed to keep the disease of this terrible evil from infecting and killing your flocks. Do not cease to diligently defend your people against these pernicious errors. Saturate them with the doctrine of Catholic truth more accurately each day. Teach them that just as there is only one God, one Christ, one Holy Spirit, so there is also only one truth which is divinely revealed. There is only one divine faith which is the beginning of salvation for mankind and the basis of all justification, the faith by which the just person lives and without which it is impossible to please God and to come to the community of His children.[Rom 1; Heb 11; Council of Trent, session 6, chap. 8.] There is only one true, holy, Catholic church, which is the Apostolic Roman Church. There is only one See founded in Peter by the word of the Lord,[St. Cyprian, epistle 43.] outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation. He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a father, and whoever abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is established trusts falsely that he is in the Church.[St. Cyprian,de unitat. Eccl.] Thus, there can be no greater crime, no more hideous stain than to stand up against Christ, than to divide the Church engendered and purchased by His blood, than to forget evangelical love and to combat with the furor of hostile discord the harmony of the people of God.[St. Cyprian, epistle 72.]”
Blessed Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem

Happy Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, listers. More medieval quotes on the papacy can be found at All Human Creatures Are Subject to the Pope.


1.Introduction to the Chair of St. Peter – SOURCE [↩]
2.Mark 9:2-8 [↩]
3.Mark 14:33 [↩]
4.Called to Communion, by Cardinal Ratzinger, 54 [↩]
5.Matt 10:2-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13 [↩]
6.Mk 1:36; Lk 9:32 [↩]
7.Mt 18:21 [↩]
8.Acts 5 [↩]
9.John 1:42; Mt 16 [↩]
10.Is 51:1-3 [↩]
11.56 [↩]
12.John 21 [↩]
13.Is. 22 [↩]
14.Matt 1:1-2; 9:27-29; Mk 10:47, 48 [↩]
15.I Chron 17:14; Ps 89:35-36; Luke1:31 [↩]
16.cf. Is. 9:6-7; 11:1-3; Jer 33:14-15, 17, 19-21, 26; Ps 132:10-14, 17; Luke 1:31-33, 68-71; II Tim 2:8; Rev 5:5, 22:16; Rom 1:3 [↩]
17.Matt 16:13-20 [↩]
18.Novatian: Another impetus of the epistle was the first “anti-pope” who attempted to claim he was holier than the rest of the Church and claimed moral superiority, especially in not wanting to ever extend forgiveness to sins post-baptism. [↩]

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silentwssj
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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 17th, 2014, 10:29 pm

Bumperjack if you have the time read this letter! It was written by Clement 1, Bishop of Rome, AKA the 4th Pope! It was written in AD 97. It is important to understand that Clement was writing to the distant eastern Church in Corinth, which was founded by the Apostle Paul! This Church was 300 miles from the Apostle Johns residence! Clement was 700 miles away in Rome! If you read the letter there is no hint that he is overstepping his authority. Remember the Apostle John was alive when this was written! There is no record of the Corinthians feeling that he was overstepping his authority. Clement dealt with their internal Church affairs even more than Theology! If the ruling power of the keys had not been recognized this would have been outrageous. It was not considered outrageous because it was believed to be the right of Peter's successor, from the beginning to instruct and guide the entire Church! I want you to focus on chapter XLIV! It talks about the orders of the Apostles themselves to appoint successors when they die! Silent!


THE FIRST EPISTLE OF CLEMENT TO THE CORINTHIANS
St. Clement of Rome
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Chap. I. The salutation. Praise of the Corinthians before the breaking forth of schism among them.
THE Church of God which sojourns at Rome, to the Church of God sojourning at Corinth, to them that are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be multiplied.

Owing, dear brethren, to the sudden and successive calamitous events which have happened to ourselves, we feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the points respecting which you consulted us;1 and especially to that shameful and detestable sedition, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have kindled to such a pitch of frenzy, that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be universally loved, has suffered grievous injury. For who ever dwelt even for a short time among you, and did not find your faith to be as fruitful of virtue as it was firmly established? Who did not admire the sobriety and moderation of your godliness in Christ? Who did not proclaim the magnificence of your habitual hospitality? And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well-grounded knowledge? For ye did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the command-merits of God, being obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honour to the presbyters among you. Ye enjoined young men to be of a sober and serious mind; ye instructed your wives to do all things with a blameless, becoming, and pure conscience, loving their husbands as in duty bound; and ye taught them that, living in the rule of obedience, they should manage their household affairs becomingly, and be in every respect marked by discretion.

Chap. II. Praise of the Corinthians continued.

Moreover, ye were all distinguished by humility, and were in no respect puffed up with pride, but yielded obedience rather than extorted it, and were more willing to give than to receive? Content with the provision which God had made for you, and carefully attending to His words, ye were inwardly filled with His doctrine, and His sufferings were before your eyes. Thus a profound and abundant peace was given to you all, and ye had an insatiable desire for doing good, while a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was upon you all. Full of holy designs, ye did, with true earnestness of mind and a godly confidence, stretch forth your hands to God Almighty, beseeching Him to be merciful unto you, if ye had been guilty of any involuntary transgression. Day and night ye were anxious for the whole brotherhood, that the number of God's elect might be saved with mercy and a good conscience. Ye were sincere and uncorrupted, and forgetful of injuries between one another. Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight. Ye mourned over the transgressions of your neighhours: their deficiencies you deemed your own. Ye never grudged any act of kindness, being "ready to every good work." Adorned by a thoroughly virtuous and religious life, ye did all things in the fear of God. The commandments and ordinances of the Lord were written upon the tablets of your hearts.

Chap. III. The sad state of the Corinthian church after sedition arose in it from envy and emulation.

Every kind of honour and happiness was bestowed upon you, and then was fulfilled that which is written, "My beloved did eat and drink, and was enlarged and became fat, and kicked." Hence flowed emulation and envy, strife and sedition, persecution and disorder, war and captivity. So the worthless rose up against the honoured, those of no reputation against such as were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. For this reason righteousness and peace are now far departed from you, inasmuch as every one abandons the fear of God, and is become blind in His faith, neither walks in the ordinances of His appointment, nor acts a part becoming a Christian, but walks after his own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous and ungodly envy, by which death itself entered into the world.

Chap. IV. Many evils have already flowed from this source in ancient times.

For thus it is written: "And it came to pass after certain days, that Cain brought of the fruits of the earth a sacrifice unto God; and Abel also brought of the firstlings of his sheep, and of the fat thereof. And God had respect to Abel and to his offerings, but Cain and his sacrifices He did not regard. And Cain was deeply grieved, and his countenance fell. And God said to Cain, Why art thou grieved, and why is try countenance fallen? If thou offerest rightly, but dost not divide rightly, hast thou not sinned? Be at peace: thine offering returns to thyself, and thou shalt again possess it. And Cain said to Abel his brother, Let us go into the field. And it came to pass, while they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him." Ye see, brethren, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother. Through envy, also, our father Jacob fled from the face of Esau his brother. Envy made Joseph be persecuted unto death, and to come into bondage. Envy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, when he heard these words from his fellow-countryman, "Who made thee a judge or a ruler over us? wilt thou kill me, as thou didst kill the Egyptian yesterday?" On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their abode without the camp. Envy brought down Dathan and Abiram alive to Hades, through the sedition which they excited against God's servant Moses. Through envy, David underwent the hatred not only of foreigners, but was also persecuted by Saul king of Israel.

Chap. V. No less evils have arisen from the same source in the most recent times. The martyrdom of Peter and Paul.

But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples furnished in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy, the greatest and most righteous pillars[of the Church] have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labours and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, departed to the place of glory due to him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself a striking example of patience.

Chap. VI. Continuation. Several other martyrs.

To these men who spent their lives in the practice of holiness, there is to be added a great multitude of the elect, who, having through envy endured many indignities and tortures, furnished. us with a most excellent example. Through envy, those women, the Danaids and Dircae, being persecuted, after they had suffered terrible and unspeakable torments, finished the course of their faith with stedfastness, and though weak in body, received a noble reward. Envy has alienated wives from their husbands, and changed that saying of our father Adam, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." Envy and strife have overthrown great cities and rooted up mighty nations.

Chap. VII. An exhortation to repentance.

These things, beloved, we write unto you, not merely to admonish you of your duty, but also to remind ourselves. For we are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us attend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look stedfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious that blood is to God, which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that, from generation to generation, the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all such as would be converted unto Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens [to the covenant] of God.

Chap. VIII. Continuation respecting repentance.

The ministers of the grace of God have, by the Holy Spirit, spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it, "As I live, saith the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance; " adding, moreover, this gracious declaration Repent O house of Israel, of your iniquity. Say to the children of My people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, I and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sackcloth, yet if ye turn to Me with your whole heart, and say, Father !I will listen to you, as to a holy people." And in another place He speaks thus: "Wash you, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before mine eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together. He declares, Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool. And if ye be willing and obey Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse, and will not hearken unto Me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things." Desiring, therefore, that all His beloved should be partakers of repentance, He has, by His almighty will, established [these declarations].

Chap. IX. Examples of the Saints.

Wherefore, let us yield obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labours, and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions. Let us stedfastly contemplate those who have perfectly ministered to His excellent glory. Let us take (for instance) Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to happen to him? Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and the Lord saved by him the animals which, with one accord, entered into the ark.

Chap. X. Continuation of the above.

Abraham, styled "the friend," was found faithful, inasmuch as he rendered obedience to the words of God. He, in the exercise of obedience, went out from his own country, and from his kindred, and from his father's house, in order that, by forsaking a small territory, and a weak family, and an insignificant house, he might inherit the promises of God. For God said to him, "Get thee out from thy country,, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, into the land which I shall show thee. And I will make thee a great nation, and will bless thee, and make thy name great, and thou shall be blessed. And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." And again, on his departing from Lot, God said to him. "Lift up thine eyes, and look from the place where thou now art, northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward; for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever. And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth, [so that] if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered." And again [the Scripture] saith, "God brought forth Abram, and spake unto him, Look up now to heaven, and count the stars if thou be able to number them; so shall thy seed be. And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness." On account of his faith and hospitality, a son was given him in his old age; and in the exercise of obedience, he offered him as a sacrifice to God on one of the mountains which He showed him.

Chap. XI. Continuation. Lot.

On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodore when all the country round was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it manifest that He does not forsake those that hope in Him, but gives up such as depart from Him to punishment and torture. For Lot's wife, who went forth with him, being of a different mind from himself and not continuing in agreement with him [as to the command which had been given them], was made an example of, so as to be a pillar of salt unto this day. This was done that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves? and become a sign to all succeeding generations.

Chap. XII. The rewards of faith and hospitality. Rahab.

On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. For when spies were sent by Joshua, the son of Nun, to Jericho, the king of the country ascertained that they were come to spy out their land, and sent men to seize them, in order that, when taken, they might be put to death. But the hospitable Rahab receiving them, concealed them on the roof of her house under some stalks of flax. And when the men sent by the king arrived and said "There came men unto thee who are to spy out our land; bring them forth, for so the king commands," she answered them, "The two men whom ye seek came unto me, but quickly departed again and are gone," thus not discovering the spies to them. Then she said to the men, "I know assuredly that the Lord your God hath given you this city, for the fear and dread of you have fallen on its inhabitants. When therefore ye shall have taken it, keep ye me and the house of my father in safety." And they said to her, "It shall be as thou hast spoken to us. As soon, therefore, as thou knowest that we are at hand, thou shall gather all thy family under thy roof, and they shall be preserved, but all that. are found outside of thy dwelling shall perish." Moreover, they gave her a sign to this effect, that she should hang forth from her house a scarlet thread. And thus they made it manifest that redemption should flow through the blood of the Lord to all them that believe and hope in God. Ye see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophecy, in this woman.

Chap. XIII. An exhortation to humility.

Let us therefore, brethren, be of humble mind, laying aside all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to that which is written (for the Holy Spirit saith, "Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man Story in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in the Lord, in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgment and righteousness"), being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He spake, teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For thus He spoke: "Be ye merciful, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven to you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure ye mete, with the same it shall be measured to you." By this precept and by these rules let us stablish ourselves, that we walk with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word saith, "On whom shall I look, but on him that is meek and peaceable, and that trembleth at My words?"

Chap. XIV. We should obey God rather than the authors of sedition.

It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. Let us be kind one to another after the pattern of the tender mercy and benignity of our Creator. For it is written, "The kind-hearted shall inhabit the land, and the guiltless shall be left upon it, but transgressors shall be destroyed from off the face of it." And again [the Scripture] saith, "I saw the ungodly highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon: I passed by, and, behold, he was not; and I diligently sought his place, and could not find it. Preserve innocence, and look on equity: for there shall be a remnant to the peaceful man."

Chap. XV. We must adhere to those who cultivate peace, not to those who merely pretend to do so.

Let us cleave, therefore, to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "This people honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." And again: "They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart." And again it saith, "They loved Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, neither were they faithful in His covenant." "Let the deceitful lips become silent," [and "let the Lord destroy all the lying lips,] and the boastful tongue of those who have said, Let us magnify our tongue; our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, and for the sighing of the needy, will I now arise, saith the Lord: I will place him in safety; I will deal confidently with him."

Chap. XVI. Christ as an example of humility

For Christ is of those who are humble-minded, and not of those who exalt themselves over His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Him. For He says, "Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared [our message] in His presence: He is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yea, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yea, deficient in comparison with the [ordinary] form of men. He is a man exposed to stripes and suffering, anti acquainted with the endurance of grief: for His countenance was turned away; He was despised, and not esteemed. He bears our iniquities, and is in sorrow for our sakes; yet we supposed that [on His own account] He was exposed to labour, and stripes, and affliction. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we were healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; [every] man has wandered in his own way; and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins, while He in the midst of His sufferings openeth not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall declare His generation? for His life is taken from the earth. For the transgressions of my people was He brought down to death. And I will give the wicked for His sepulchre, and the rich for His death? because He did no iniquity, neither was guile found in His mouth. And the Lord is pleased to purify Him by stripes. If ye make an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived seed. And the Lord is pleased to relieve Him of the affliction of His soul, to show Him light, and to form Him with understanding, to justify the Just One who ministereth well to many; and the Himself shall carry their sins. On this account He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered to death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors, and He bare the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered." And again He saith, "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All that see Me have derided Me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, [saying] He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him, let Him save Him, since He delighteth in Him." Ye see, beloved, what is the example which has been given us; for if the Lord thus humbled Himself, what shall we do who have through Him come under the yoke of His grace ?

Chap. XVII. The Saints as examples of humility.

Let us be imitators also of those who in goat-skins and sheep-skins went about proclaiming the coming of Christ; I mean Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel among the prophets, with those others to whom a like testimony is borne [in Scripture]. Abraham was specially honoured, and was called the friend of God; yet he, earnestly regarding the glory of God, humbly declared, "I am but dust and ashes." Moreover, it is thus written of Job, "Job was a righteous man, and blameless, truthful, God-fearing, and one that kept himself from all evil." But bringing an accusation against himself, he said, " No man is free from defilement, even if his life be but of one day." Moses was called faithful in all God's house; and through his instrumentality, God punished Egypt with plagues and tortures. Yet he, though thus greatly honoured, did not adopt lofty language, but said, when the divine oracle came to him out of the bush, "Who am I, that Thou sendest me? I am a man of a feeble voice and a slow tongue." And again he said, "I am but as the smoke of a pot."

Chap. XVIII. David as an example of humility.

But what shall we say concerning David, to whom such testimony was borne, and of whom God said, "I have found a man after Mine own heart, David the son of Jesse; and in everlasting mercy have I anointed him?" Yet this very man saith to God, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Thy great mercy; and according to the multitude of Thy compassions, blot out my transgression. Wash me still more from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee only have I sinned, and done that which was evil in Thy sight; that Thou mayest be justified in Thy sayings, and mayest overcome when Thou art judged. For, behold, I was conceived in transgressions, and in my sins did my mother conceive me. For, behold, Thou hast loved truth; the secret and hidden things of wisdom hast Thou shown me. Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; Thou shalt wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Thou shalt make me to hear joy and gladness; my bones, which have been humbled, shall exult. Turn away Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and establish me by Thy governing Spirit. I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and the ungodly shall be converted unto Thee. Deliver me from blood- guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation: my tongue shall exult in Thy righteousness. O Lord, Thou shalt open my mouth, and my lips shall show forth Thy praise. For if Thou hadst desired sacrifice, I would have given it; Thou wilt not delight in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice [acceptable] to God is a bruised spirit; a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise."

Chap. XIX. Imitating these examples, let us seek after peace.

Thus the humility and godly submission of so great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received His oracles in fear and truth. Wherefore, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the mark set before us; and let us look stedfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and cleave to His mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions, of peace. Let us contemplate Him with our understanding, and look with the eyes of our soul to His long-suffering will. Let us reflect how free from wrath He is towards all His creation.

Chap. XX. The peace and harmony of the universe.

The heavens, revolving under His government, are subject to Him in peace. Day and night run the course appointed by Him, in no wise hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings upon it, never hesitating, nor changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed. The unsearchable places of abysses, and the indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws. The vast unmeasurable sea, gathered together by His working into various basins, never passes beyond the bounds placed around it, but does as He has commanded. For He said, "Thus far shalt thou come, and thy waves shall be broken within thee." The ocean, impassible to man, and the worlds beyond it, are regulated by the same enactments of the Lord. The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, peacefully give place to one another. The winds in their several quarters fulfil, at the proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for enjoyment and health, furnish without fail their breasts for the life of men. The very smallest of living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have fled for refuge to His compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.

Chap. XXI. Let us obey God, and not the authors of sedition.

Take heed, beloved, lest His many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. [For thus it must be] unless we walk worthy of Him, and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight. For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "The Spirit of the Lord is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly." Let us reflect how near He is, and that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hid from Him. It is right, therefore, that we should not leave the post which His will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than [offend] God. Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us honour the aged among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God; let us direct our wives to that which is good. Let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity [in all their conduct]; let them show forth the sincere disposition of meekness; let them make manifest the command which they have of their tongue, by their manner of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring one to another, but by showing equal affection to all that piously fear God. Let your children be partakers of true Christian training; let them learn of how great avail humility is with God how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Him how excellent and great His fear is, and how it saves all those who walk in it with a pure mind. For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires [of the heart]: His breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.

Chap. XXII. These exhortations are confirmed by the Christian faith, which proclaims the misery of sinful conduct.

Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these [admonitions]. For He Himself by the Holy Ghost thus addresses us: "Come, ye children, hearken unto Me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth to see good days? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are [open] unto their prayers. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles." "Many are the stripes [appointed for] the wicked; but mercy shall compass those about who hope in the Lord."

Chap. XXIII. Be humble, and believe that Christ will come again.

The all-merciful and beneficent Father has bowels [of compassion] towards those that fear Him, and kindly and lovingly bestows His favours upon those who come to Him with a simple mind. Wherefore let us not be double-minded; neither let our soul be lifted up on account of His exceedingly great and glorious gifts. Far from us be that which is written, "Wretched are they who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened unto us.." Ye foolish ones! compare yourselves to a tree: take [for instance] the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit. Ye perceive how in a little time the fruit of a tree comes to maturity. Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying, "Speedily will He come, and will not tarry;" and, "The Lord shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Holy One, for whom ye look."

Chap. XXIV. God continually shows us in nature that there will be a resurrection.

Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has rendered the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day [again] departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits [of the earth], how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and casts it into the ground; and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell upon the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.

Chap. XXV. The phoenix an emblem of our resurrection.

Let us consider that wonderful sign [of the resurrection] which takes place in Eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phoenix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has acquired strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And, in open day, flying in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, hastens back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the registers of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly as the five hundredth year was completed.

Chap. XXVI. We shall rise again, then, as the Scripture also testifies.

Do we then deem it any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those that have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the mightiness of His power to fulfil His promise ? For [the Scripture] saith in a certain place, "Thou shalt raise me up, and I shall confess unto Thee; " and again, "I laid me down, and slept; I awaked, because Thou art with me; " and again, Job says, "Thou shalt raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things."

Chap. XXVII. In the hope of the resurrection, let us cleave to the omnipotent and omniscient God.

Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is faithful in His promises, and just in His judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall much more Himself not lie; for nothing is impossible with God, except to lie. Let His faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are nigh unto Him. By the word of His might He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. "Who shall say unto Him, What hast thou done? or, Who shall resist the power of His strength?" When and as He pleases He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away? All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard."

Chap. XXVIII. God sees all things: therefore let us avoid transgression.

Since then all things are seen and heard [by God], let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For whither can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him? For the Scripture saith in a certain place, "Whither shall I go, and where shall I be hid from Thy presence? If I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Thy right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Thy Spirit." Whither, then, shall any one go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?

Chap. XXIX. Let us also draw near to God in purity of heart.

Let us then draw near to Him with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of His elect. For thus it is written, "When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance." And in another place [the Scripture] saith, "Behold, the Lord taketh unto Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.

Chap. XXX. Let us do those things that please God, and flee from those He hates, that we may be blessed.

Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking after change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. "For God," saith [the Scripture], "resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." Let us cleave, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever exercising self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For [the Scripture] saith, "He that speaketh much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech deem himself righteous? Blessed is he that is born of woman, who liveth but a short time: be not given to much speaking." Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hateth those that commend themselves. Let testimony to our good deeds be borne by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those that are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to such as are blessed by Him.

Chap. XXXI. Let us see by what means we may obtain the divine blessing.

Let us cleave then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? was it not because he wrought righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully yielded himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, through reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Chap. XXXII. We are justified not by our own works, but by faith.

Whosoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also [was descended] our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him [arose] kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, inasmuch as God had promised, "Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven." All these, therefore, were highly honoured, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Chap. XXXIII. But let us not give up the practice of good works and love. God Himself is an example to us of good works.

What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immoveable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word into existence. So likewise, when He had formed the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them [within their proper bounds] by His own power. Above all, with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent [of His creatures], and truly great through the understanding given him the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God: "Let us make man in Our image, and after Our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created them."[1] Having thus finished all these things, He approved them, and blessed them, and said, "Increase and multiply." We see, then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay accede to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.

Chap. XXXIV. Great is the reward of good works with God. Joined together in harmony, let us implore that reward from him.

The good servant receives the bread of his labour with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for of Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us: "Behold, the Lord [cometh], and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work." He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture saith, "Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, and cried, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory." And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, cry to Him earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be made partakers of His great and glorious promises. For [the Scripture] saith, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which He hath prepared for them that wait for Him."

Chap. XXXV. Immense is this reward. How shall we obtain it?

How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendour in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence, faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the cognizance of our understandings [now]; what then shall those things be which are prepared for such as wait for Him? The Creator and Father of all worlds, the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found in the number of those that wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts. But how, beloved, shall this be done? If our understanding be fixed by faith rewards God; if we earnestly seek the things which are pleasing and acceptable to Him; if we do the things which are in harmony with His blameless will; and if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, along with all covetousness, strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of God, pride and haughtiness, vainglory and ambition. For they that do such things are hateful to God; and not only they that do them, but also those that take pleasure in them that do them. For the Scripture saith, "But to the sinner God said, Wherefore dost thou declare my statutes, and take my covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee? When thou sawest a thief, thou consentedst with him, and didst make thy portion with adulterers. Thy mouth has abounded with wickedness, and thy tongue contrived deceit. Thou sittest, and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things thou hast done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest, wicked one, that I should be like to thyself. But I will reprove thee, and set thyself before thee. Consider now these things, ye that forget God, lest He tear you in pieces, like a lion, and there be none to deliver. The sacrifice of praise will glorify Me, and a way is there by which I will show him the salvation of God."

Chap. XXXVI. All blessings are given to us through Christ.

This is the way, beloved, in which we find our Saviour, even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven. By Him we behold, as in a glass, His immaculate and most excellent visage. By Him are the eyes of our hearts opened. By Him our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms up anew towards His marvellous light. By Him the Lord has willed that we should taste of immortal knowledge, "who, being the brightness of His majesty, is by so much greater than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they." For it is thus written, "Who maketh His angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire." But concerning His Son the Lord spoke thus: "Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten Thee. Ask of Me, and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." And again He saith to Him, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." But who are His enemies? All the wicked, and those who set themselves to oppose the will of God.

Chap. XXXVII. Christ is our leader, and we his soldiers.

Let us then, men and brethren, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with His holy commandments. Let us consider those who serve under our generals, with what order, obedience, and submissiveness they perform the things which are commanded them. All are not prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in his own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and thence arises mutual advantage. Let us take our body for an example. The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yea, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work harmoniously together, and are under one common rule for the preservation of the whole body.

Chap. XXXVIII. Let the members of the Church submit themselves, and no one exalt himself above another.

Let our whole body, then, be preserved in, Christ Jesus; and let every one be subject to his neighbour, according to the special gift bestowed upon him. Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect unto the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless God, because He hath given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by [mere] words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not bear testimony to himself, but leave witness to be borne to him by another. Let him that is pure in the flesh not grow proud of it, and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence. Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made, who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared His bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into His world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Chap. XXXIX. There is no reason for self-conceit.

Foolish and inconsiderate men, who have neither wisdom nor instruction, mock and deride us, being eager to exalt themselves in their own conceits. For what can a mortal man do? or what strength is there in one made out of the dust? For it is written, "There was no shape before mine eyes, only I heard a sound, and a voice [saying], What then? Shall a man be pure before the Lord? or shall such an one be [counted] blameless in his deeds, seeing He does not confide in His servants, and has charged even His angels with perversity? The heaven is not clean in His sight: how much less they that dwell in houses of clay, of which also we ourselves were made! He smote them as a moth; and from morning even until evening they endure not. Because they could furnish no assistance to themselves, they perished. He breathed upon them, and they died, because they had no wisdom. But call now, if any one will answer thee, or if thou wilt look to any of the holy angels; for wrath destroys the foolish man, and envy killeth him that is in error. I have seen the foolish taking root, but their habitation was presently consumed. Let their sons be far from safety; let them be despised before the gates of those less than themselves, and there shall be none to deliver. For what was prepared for them, the righteous shall eat; and they shall not be delivered from evil."

Chap. XL. Let us preserve in the Church the order appointed by God.

These things therefore being manifest to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it behoves us to do all things in [their proper] order, which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has enjoined offerings [to be presented] and service to be performed [to Him], and that not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for inasmuch as they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations devolve on the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen.

Chap. XLI. Continuation of the same subject.

Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him. Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin- offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death. Ye see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been vouchsafed to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed.

Chap. XLII. The order of ministers in the Church.

The apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ [has done sol from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first-fruits [of their labours], having first proved them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of those who should afterwards believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning bishops and deacons. For thus saith the Scripture a certain place, "I will appoint their bishops s in righteousness, and their deacons in faith."

Chap. XLIII. Moses of old stilled the contention which arose concerning the priestly dignity.

And what wonder is it if those in Christ who were entrusted with such a duty by God, appointed those [ministers] before mentioned, when the blessed Moses also, "a faithful servant in all his house," noted down in the sacred books all the injunctions which were given him, and when the other prophets also followed him, bearing witness with one consent to the ordinances which he had appointed? For, when rivalry arose concerning the priesthood, and the tribes were contending among themselves as to which of them should be adorned with that glorious title, he commanded the twelve princes of the tribes to bring him their rods, each one being inscribed with the name of the tribe. And he took them and bound them [together], and sealed them with the rings of the princes of the tribes, and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness on the table of God. And having shut the doors of the tabernacle, he sealed the keys, as he had done the rods, and said to them, Men and brethren, the tribe whose rod shall blossom has God chosen to fulfil the office of the priesthood, and to minister unto Him. And when the morning was come, he assembled all Israel, six hundred thousand men, and showed the seals to the princes of the tribes, and opened the tabernacle of witness, and brought forth the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but to bear fruit upon it. What think ye, beloved? Did not Moses know beforehand that this would happen? Undoubtedly he knew; but he acted thus, that there might be no sedition in Israel, and that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Chap. XLIV. The ordinances of the apostles, that there might be no contention respecting the priestly office.

Our apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and there would be strife on account of the office of the episcopate. For this reason, therefore, inasmuch as they had obtained a perfect fore-knowledge of this, they appointed those [ministers] already mentioned, and afterwards gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterwards by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blame-lessly served the flock of Christ in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we eject from the episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure [from this world]; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that ye have removed some men of excellent behaviour from the ministry, which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honour.

Chap. XLV. It is the part of the wicked to vex the righteous

Ye are fond of contention, brethren, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them. There you will not find that the righteous were cast off by men who themselves were holy. The righteous were indeed persecuted, but only by the wicked. They were cast into prison, but only by the unholy; they were stoned, but only by transgressors; they were slain, but only by the accursed, and such as had conceived an unrighteous envy against them. Exposed to such sufferings, they endured them gloriously. For what shall we say, brethren? Was Daniel s cast into the then of lions by such as feared God? Were Ananias, and Azarias, and Mishael shut up in a furnace of fire by those who observed the great and glorious worship of the Most High? Far from us be such a thought! Who, then, were they that did such things? The hateful, and those full of all wickedness, were roused to such a pitch of fury, that they inflicted torture on those who served God with a holy and blameless purpose [of heart], not knowing that the Most High is the Defender and Protector of all such as with a pure conscience venerate" His all-excellent name; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. But they who with confidence endured [these things] are now heirs of glory and honour, and have been exalted and made illustrious by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen.

Chap. XLVI. Let us cleave to the righteous: your strife is pernicious.

Such examples, therefore, brethren, it is right that we should follow; since it is written, "Cleave to the holy, for those that cleave to them shall [themselves] be made holy." And again, in another place, [the Scripture] saith, "With a harmless man thou shalt prove thyself harmless, and with an elect man thou shalt be elect, and with a perverse man thou shalt show thyself perverse." Let us cleave, therefore, to the innocent and righteous, since these are the elect of God. Why are there strifes, and tumults, and divisions, and schisms, and wars among you? Have we not [all] one God and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? And have we not one calling in Christ? Why do we divide and tear to pieces the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own body, and have reached such a height of madness as to forget that "we are members one of another?" Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how He said, "Woe to that man [by whom offences come]! It were better for him that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yea, it were better for him that a millstone should be hung about [his neck], and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones. Your schism has subverted [the faith of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continueth.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 17th, 2014, 10:31 pm

Her is the last half of the letter! I exceeded the 60,000 word limit and had to cut it in half! Silent!

Chap. XLVII. Your recent discord is worse than the former which took place in the times of Paul.

Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another entailed less guilt upon you, inasmuch as your partialities were then shown towards apostles, already of high reputation, and towards a man whom they had approved. But now reflect who those are that have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yea, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of as that the most stedfast and ancient Church of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in sedition against its presbyters. And this rumour has reached not only us, but those also who are unconnected with us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.

Chap. XLVIII. Let us return to the practice of brotherly love.

Let us therefore, with all haste, put an end s to this [state of things]; and let us fall down before the Lord, and beseech Him with tears, that He would mercifully be reconciled to us, and restore us to our former seemly and holy practice of brotherly love. For [such conduct] is the gate of righteousness, which is set open for the attainment of life, as it is written, "Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go in by them, and will praise the Lord: this is the gate of the Lord: the righteous shall enter in by it." Although, therefore, many gates have been set open, yet this gate of righteousness is that gate in Christ by which blessed are all they that have entered in and have directed their way in holiness and righteousness, doing all things without disorder. Let a man be faithful: let him be powerful in the utterance of knowledge; let him be wise in judging of words; let him be pure in all his deeds; yet the more he seems to be superior to others [in these respects], the more humble-minded ought he to be, and to seek the common good of all, and not merely his own advantage.

Chap. XLIX. The praise of love.

Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the [blessed] bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love beareth all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love admits of no schisms: love gives rise to no seditions: love does all things in harmony. By love have all the elect of God been made perfect; without love nothing is well- pleasing to God. In love has the Lord taken us to Himself. On account of the Love he bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls.

Chap. L. Let us pray to be thought worthy of love.

Ye see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing is love, and that there is no declaring its perfection. Who is fit to be found in it, except such as God has vouchsafed to render so? Let us pray, therefore, and implore of His mercy, that we may live blameless in love, free from all human partialities for one above another. All the generations from Adam even unto this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made manifest at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ. For it is written, "Enter into thy secret chambers for a little time, until my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a propitious day, and will raise you up out of your graves." Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; that so through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written, "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not impute to him, and in whose mouth there is no guile." This blessedness cometh upon those who have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Chap. LI. Let the partakers in strife acknowledge their sins.

Let us therefore implore forgiveness for all those transgressions which through any [suggestion] of the adversary we have committed. And those who have been the leaders of sedition and disagreement ought to have respect to the common hope. For such as live in fear and love would rather that they themselves than their neighbours should be involved in suffering. And they prefer to bear blame themselves, rather than that the concord which has been well and piously handed down to us should suffer. For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up sedition against Moses the servant of God, and whose condemnation was made manifest [unto all]. For they went down alive into Hades, and death swallowed them up. Pharaoh with his army and all the princes of Egypt, and the chariots with their riders, were sunk in the depths of the Red Sea, and perished, for no other reason than that their foolish hearts were hardened, after so many signs and wonders had been wrought in the land of Egypt by Moses the servant of God.

Chap. LII. Such a confession is pleasing to God.

The Lord, brethren, stands in need of nothing; and He desires nothing of any one, except that confession be made to Him. For, says the elect David, "I will confess unto the Lord; and that will please Him more than a young bullock that hath horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad." And again he saith, "Offer unto God the sacrifice of praise, and pay thy vows unto the Most High. And call upon Me in the day of thy trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me." For "the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit."

Chap. LIII. The love of Moses towards his people.

Ye understand, beloved, ye understand well the Sacred Scriptures, and ye have looked very earnestly into the oracles of God. Call then these things to your remembrance. When Moses went up into the mount, and abode there, with fasting and humiliation, forty days and forty nights, the Lord said unto him, "Moses, Moses, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people whom thou didst bring out of the land of Egypt have committed iniquity. They have speedily departed from the way in which I commanded them to walk, and have made to themselves molten images." And the Lord said unto him, "I have spoken to thee once and again, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: let Me destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make thee a great and wonderful nation, and one much more numerous than this." But Moses said, "Far be it from Thee, Lord: pardon the sin of this people; else blot me also out of the book of the living." O marvellous love! O insuperable perfection! The servant speaks freely to his Lord, and asks forgiveness for the people, or begs that he himself might perish along with them.

Chap. LIV. He who is full of love will incur every loss, that peace may be restored to the Church.

Who then among you is noble-minded? who compassionate? who full of love? Let him declare, "If on my account sedition and disagreement and schisms have arisen, I will depart, I will go away whithersoever ye desire, and I will do whatever the majority commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the presbyters set over it." He that acts thus shall procure to himself great glory in the Lord; and every place will welcome him. For "the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." These things they who live a godly life, that is never to be repented of, both have done and always will do.

Chap. LV. Examples of such love.

To bring forward some examples from among the heathen: Many kings and princes, in times of pestilence, when they had been instructed by an oracle, have given themselves up to death, in order that by their own blood they might deliver their fellow-citizens [from destruction]. Many have gone forth from their own cities, that so sedition might be brought to an end within them. We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to bonds, in order that they might ransom others. Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, that with the price which they received for themselves, they might provide food for others. Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked of the elders permission to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and, exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bare to her country and people then besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman. Esther also, being perfect in faith, exposed herself to no less danger, in order to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For with fasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting God, who seeth all things; and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose sake she had encountered peril..

Chap. LVI. Let us admonish and correct one another.

Let us then also pray for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not unto us, but to the will of God. For in this way they shall secure a fruitful and perfect remembrance from us, with sympathy for them, both in our prayers to God, and our mention of them to the saints. Let us receive correction, beloved, on account of which no one should feel displeased. Those exhortations by which we admonish one another are both good [in themselves] and highly profitable, for they tend to unite us to the will of God. For thus saith the holy Word: "The Lord hath severely chastened me, yet hath not given me over to death." "For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth." "The righteous," saith it, "shall chasten me in mercy, and reprove me; but let not the oil of sinners make fat my head." And again he saith, "Blessed is the man whom the Lord reproveth, and reject not thou the warning of the Almighty. For He causes sorrow, and again restores [to gladness]; He woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles, yea, in the seventh no evil shall touch thee. In famine He shall rescue thee from death, and in war He shall free thee from the power of the sword. From the scourge of the tongue will He hide thee, and thou shalt not fear when evil cometh. Thou shalt hugh at the unrighteous and the wicked, and shalt not be afraid of the beasts of the field. For the wild beasts shall be at peace with thee: then shalt thou know that thy house shall be in peace, and the habitation of thy tabernacle shall not fail? Thou shall know also that thy seed shall be great, and thy children like the grass of the field. And thou shall come to the grave like ripened corn which is reaped in its season, or like a heap of the threshing-floor which is gathered together at the proper time." Ye see, beloved, that protection is afforded to those that are chastened of the Lord; for since God is good, He corrects us, that we may be admonished by His holy chastisement.

Chap. LVII. Let the authors of sedition submit themselves.

Ye therefore, who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that ye should occupy a humble but honourable place in the flock of Christ, than that, being highly exalted, ye should be cast out from the hope of His people. For thus speaketh all-virtuous Wisdom:" Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of My Spirit, and I will teach you My speech. Since I called, and ye did not hear; I held forth My words, and ye regarded not, but set at naught My counsels, and yielded not at My reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yea, I will rejoice when ruin cometh upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when overturning presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression fall upon you. For it shall come to pass, that when ye call upon Me, I will not hear you; the wicked shall seek Me, and they shall not find Me. For they hated wisdom, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; nor would they listen to My counsels, but despised My reproofs. Wherefore they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and they shall be filled with their own ungodliness." [A page is here missing from the manuscript. For completed text, see ANF9-5.]

Chap. LVIII. Blessings sought for all that call upon God.

May God, who seeth all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh—who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people—grant to every soul that calleth upon His glorious and holy Name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, self- control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His Name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honour, both now and for evermore. Amen.

Chap. LIX. The Corinthians are exhorted speedily to send back word that peace has been restored. The benediction.

Send back speedily to us in peace and with joy these our messengers to you: Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, with Fortunatus: that they may the sooner announce to us the peace and harmony we so earnestly desire and long for [among you], and that we may the more quickly rejoice over the good order re-established among you. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and with all everywhere that are the called of God through Him, by whom be to Him glory, honour, power, majesty, and eternal dominion, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.

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Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland beginning in 1867. (ANF 1, Roberts and Donaldson). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.

Footnotes were not included in the transcription. Return

(NOTE: The electronic text obtained from The Electronic Bible Society was not completely corrected. EWTN has corrected all discovered errors.)

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bumperjack
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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 18th, 2014, 4:58 am

Silent Catholicism I give you goes back along time I will give you that brother there is no Apostlic Succession that ever happened in History all the unbiblical practices that go against what the co creator of all things stands for Im not buying it brother they only have the keys to the yard in your Neighborhood not mine brother.
The way you obtain grace salvation and you having to have meritous works and all that garbage is unbiblical excuse my word garbage but it simply is not biblical if you are lead to believe that the pope and these priests were left with the authority from apostlic succession and you need them to mediate in your relationship with our savior your not crazy or dumb because you are a smart young man but your are mislead brother.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 18th, 2014, 5:15 am

Basically your saying your faith is in the Church it was here first us Catholics wrote the Bible so we dont follow the bible we listen to what these leaders of this Holy Church progandized says and what the bible says contradicts almost everything the church stands for but are you trying to tell everyone that what was handed down from tradition from write after the death of our savior thats ludicrous brother really if you can back up what catholics. due in church and all the rituals they perform by the bible all the false doctrines I will convert to Catholicism brother righrt now like I said our Final Judge of Authority on planet earth is not a corrupt Church and corrupt fallible men who run it there is no holy men on this planet that Im following period I will be a Ambassador for Christ untill the end I want to keep it civil brother I dont want to take anything out of context so I will wait on your next post brother peace be with you brother silent ,Im not judging or going to disrespect your faith but I will only disagree brother.look forwrd to the next post.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby bumperjack » December 18th, 2014, 5:49 am

I will end this rebuttal my brother in Christ Silent with this Scripture: Galatians 1:6-10 Iam astonished that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel- not that there is another one ,but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ but even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,let him be accursed,as we have said before so now. I say again. If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you recieved let him be accursed,for am I now seeking the approval of man or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ.

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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 18th, 2014, 6:22 pm

Apologetics: Defending the Catholic Faith



In the United States, we have been guaranteed the right to freedom of religion by our First Amendment in the Bill of Rights in our Constitution. However, Catholics are still attacked by people of other faiths, including other Christian faiths. We are questioned about our beliefs and traditions. Some fundamentalist churches will even publish literature that tries to "prove" Biblically why we are wrong and they are right! We are even ridiculed and told we are going to hell because we are not following the teachings of the Bible. Of course, Catholics who have studied their religion and know what the Catechism says know that this is not true.

Unless we have gone to Catholic schools and had daily religion classes, we may not have enough information to defend ourselves and our faith. It can be difficult to explain why we do some of the things we do or where some of our traditions came from. Because of this, I am including a list of Biblical references to explain the origins of some of the "hot topics" that fundamentalist Protestants like to argue. So when someone says to you, "Show me in the Bible where it says that...." you can respond with confidence and knowledge to prove the Catholic belief. These Biblical references are categorized by subject, so you can more easily find the arguments you need.

You might also point out to them that the King James Version of the Bible is incomplete. The KJV came into being during the Protestant Reformation. The Catholic Bible is the original Bible as our early Church Fathers compiled it under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. You could recommend that they obtain a Catholic Bible and read the entire thing. The KJV and subsequent "versions" of the Bible are missing 7 entire books and parts of 2 books. Protestants refer to these texts as the "apocrypha," as if they do not rightfully belong to the Bible as the Word of God. What could kings and politicians possibly have learned centuries after the Bible was originally compiled that would make them leave these texts out??? I submit that they did not have divine guidance in their decision to remove these texts, but instead had political reasons that suited their own lifestyles/beliefs.





Sacraments: Baptism; Confession; Holy Communion; Confirmation; Matrimony; Holy Orders; Anointing of the Sick

see Sacraments





Roman Catholic Church is Apostolic, Instituted by Christ Himself, with Peter as the first Pope (appointed head):

Mt 16:18-19; -- upon this rock I will build my Church
Mt 18:17-18; -- if he refuses to listen even to Church...
Mt 28:18-20; -- go baptize and teach all nations
Mk 16:16; -- go to the whole world and proclaim the gospel
Lk 10:16; -- whoever hears you, hears Me; rejects you, rejects Me
Jn 14:16,26; -- Holy Spirit is with you always, teach and remind everything
Jn 16:12; -- Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth
1 Tim 3:15; -- Church is the pillar and foundation of truth
Jn 15:16; -- Jesus chose special men to be his apostles
Jn 20:21; -- Jesus gave the apostles their own mission
Lk 22:30; -- Jesus gave them a kingdom
Mt 16:18; -- Jesus built Church on Peter, the rock
Jn 10:16; -- one shepherd to shepherd Christ's sheep
Lk 22:32, Jn 21:17; Peter appointed to be chief shepherd
Eph 4:11; -- church leaders are hierarchical
1 Tim 3:1, 8; 5:17; -- identifies the roles of bishops, priests, deacons
Tit 1:5; commission for bishops to ordain priests





The Church is the Body of Christ:

Col 1:18; -- he is the head of the body, the Church
1 Cor 12:20-27; -- you are Christ's body, individually parts of it
Eph 5:30; -- we are members of His body
Rom 12:4-5; -- though many, we are one body in Christ
1 Cor 6:15; -- don't you know your bodies are members of Christ





The Church Must be One:

Jn 10:16; -- there shall be one fold and one shepherd
Eph 4:3-6; -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father
Rom 16:17; -- avoid those who create dissensions
1 Cor 1:10; -- I urge that there be no divisions among you
Phil 2:2; -- be of same mind, united in heart, thinking one thing
Rom 15:5; -- God grant you to think in harmony with one another
Jn 17:17-23; -- I pray that they may be one, as we are one
Jn 17: 23; -- that they may be brought to perfection as one
1 Cor 12:13; -- in one spirit we were baptized into one body
Rom 12:5; -- we, though many, are one body in Christ
Eph 4:4; -- one body, one Spirit, called to one hope
Col 3:15; -- the peace into which you were called in one body





The Authority and Infallibility of the Church:

Mt 28:18-20; -- Jesus delegates all power to apostles
Jn 20:23; -- power to forgive sin
1 Cor 11:24; -- power to offer sacrifice (Eucharist)
Lk 10:16; -- power to speak with Christ's voice
Mt 18:18; -- power to legislate
Mt 18:17; -- power to discipline
Jn 16:13; -- guided by Holy Spirit into all truth
Jn 14:26; -- Holy Spirit to teach and remind them of everything
Lk 10:16; -- speak with Christ's own voice
1 Tim 3:15; -- church called "pillar and foundation of truth"
1 Jn 2:27; -- anointing of the Holy Spirit remains in you
Acts 15:28; -- apostles speak with voice of the Holy Spirit
Mt 28:20; -- I am with you always





The Church is Perpetual:

Is 9:6-7; -- of Christ's government there will be no end
Dan 2:44; -- God's kingdom shall stand forever
Dan 7:14; -- His kingdom shall not be destroyed
Lk 1:32,33; -- no end to Christ's kingdom
Mt 7:24; -- Jesus is like a wise man who built his house on a rock
Mt 13:24-30; -- let wheat and weeds grow together until harvest
Mt 16:18; -- gates of hell will never prevai against Christ's church
Jn 14:16; -- Holy Spirit will be with you always
Mt 28:19-20; -- I am with you always





Primacy of Peter and Apostolic Succession:

Mt 16:18; -- upon this rock (Peter) I will build my church
Mt 16:19; -- I give you the keys of the kingdom; power to bind and loose
Lk 22:32; -- Peter's faith will strenghthen his brethren
Jn 21:17; -- given Christ's flock as chief shepherd
Mk 6:7; -- angel sent to announce Resurrection to Peter
Lk 24:34; -- risen Jesus first appeared to Peter
Acts 1:13-26; -- headed meeting which elected Matthias
Acts 2:14; -- led apostles in preaching on Pentecost
Acts 2:41; -- received the first converts to Christianity
Acts 3:6-7; -- performed first miracle after Pentecost
Acts 5:1-11; -- inflicted first punishment; Ananias and Saphira
Acts 8:21; -- excommunicated first heretic, Simon Magnus
Acts 10:44-46; -- received revelation to admit Gentiles into the Church
Acts 15; -- led first council in Jerusalem
Acts 15:17; -- pronounces first dogmatic decision
Gal 1:8; -- after conversion, Paul visits chief apostle
Gal 2:11-14; -- I opposed Cephas to h is face, for his hypocrisy
Mt 10:1-4; Mk 3:16-19; Lk 6:14-16; Acts 1:13; -- Peter's name always heads the list of the apostles
Mt 18:21; Mk 8:29; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:69; -- Peter speaks for all the apostles
2 Chr 19:11; -- high priest is over you in everything of the Lord's
Mal 2:7; -- seek instruction from priest; he is God's messenger
Eph 2:20; -- church built upon foundation of apostles and prophets
Eph 4:11; -- God gave some as apostles, others as prophets
1 Cor 12:29-29; God designated in church: apostles,....
Acts 1:20; -- let another take his office
Acts 1:25-26; -- Matthias takes Judas's apostolic ministry
1 Tim 3:1, 8; 5:17; -- qualifications for bishops, priests and deacons
1 Tim 4:14; -- gift conferred with the laying on of hands
1 Tim 5:22; -- do not lay hands too readily on anyone
Acts 14:23; -- they appointed presbyters in each church
2 Tim 2:2: -- what you heard from me entrust to the faithful teachers
Tit 1:5; -- appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed





Bible Plus Tradition:

1 Cor 11:2; -- hold fast to traditions I handed on to you
2 Thess 2:15; -- hold fast to traditions, whether oral or by letter
2 Thess 3:16; -- shun those acting not according to tradition
Jn 21:25; -- not everything Jesus said is recorded in Scripture
Mk 13:31; -- heaven and earth shall pass away, but My Word won't
Acts 20:35; -- saying of Jesus not recorded in the gospels
2 Tim 1:13; -- follow my sound words; guard the truth
2 Tim 2:2: -- what you heard, entrust to faithful men
2 Pet 1:20; -- no prophecy is a matter of private interpretation
2 Pet 3:15-16; -- Paul's letters can be difficult to grasp and interpret
1 Pet 1:25; -- God's eternal Word is the Word preached by you
Rom 10:17; -- faith comes from what is heard
1 Cor 15:1-2; -- being saved if you hold fast to the word I preached
Mk 16:15; -- go to the whole world, proclaim the gospel to every creature
Mt 23:2-3; -- chair of Moses; observe whatever they tell you
Mt 15:3; -- break commandment of God for your tradition
Mk 7:9; -- set aside God's commandment to uphold tradition
Col 2:8; -- seductive philosophy according to human tradition
1 Cor 11:2; -- commends them for following Apostolic tradition
2 Thess 2:15; -- commands them to keep traditions
2 Thess 3:16; -- shun those acting not according to tradition





Have You Been Saved? Faith Plus Works:

Rom 8:24; -- for in hope we are saved
Eph 2:5, 8; -- by grace you have been saved through faith
2 Tim 1:9; -- He saved us, called us, according to His grace
Tit 3:5; -- He saved us through bath of rebirth, renewal by the Holy Spirit
Phil 2:12; -- work out your salvation with fear and trembling
1 Pet 1:9; -- as you attain the goal of your faith and salvation
Mt 10:22; -- he who endures to the end will be saved
Mt 24:13; -- he who perseveres to the end will be saved
Mk 8:3-5; -- whoever loses his life for My sake will save it
Acts 15:11; -- we shall be saved through the grace of Jesus
Rom 5:9-10; -- since we are justified, we shall be saved
Rom 13:11; -- salvation is nearer now than first believed
1 Cor 3:15; -- he will be saved, but only as through fire
1 Cor 5:5; -- deliver man to Satan so his spirit may be saved
Heb 9:28; -- Jesus will appear a second time to bring salvation
Jam 2:24; -- a man is justified by works and not by faith alone
Jam 2:26; -- faith without works is dead
Gal 5:4-6; -- only thing that counts is faith working in love
1 Cor 13:2; -- faith without love is nothing
Jn 14:15; -- if you love Me, keep My commandments
Mt 19:16-17; -- if you wish to enter into life, keep My commandments
Mt 7:21; -- not "Lord, Lord," but he who does the will of the Father
Jn 14:21; -- he who keeps My commandments loves Me
Rom 2:2-8; -- eternal life by perseverance in good works
Eph 2:8-10; -- we are created in Christ for good works
Jas 2:14-24; -- man is justified by works and not faith alone





Are We Assured of Salvation?:

Rom 2:5-8; -- God will repay each man according to his works
2 Cor 11:15; -- recompense according to what you did in body; their end will correspond to their deeds
1 Pet 1:17; -- God judges impartially according to one's works
Rev 20:12-13; -- dead judged according to their deeds
Col 3:24-25; -- will receive due payment for whatever you do on earth
Rom 11:23; -- remain in His kindness or you will be cut off
1 Cor 9:27; -- drive the body for fear of being disqualified
1 Cor 10:11-12; -- those thinking they are secure may fall
Gal 5:4; -- separated from Christ, you've fallen from grace
Hb 6:4-6; -- describes sharers in the Holy Spirit who have fallen away
Heb 10:26-27; -- if you sin after receiving the truth, judgment remains





Purgatory:

Mt 5:48; -- be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect
Heb 12:14; -- strive for that holiness without which we cannot see God
Jam 3:2; -- we all fall short in many respects
Rev 21:27; -- nothing unclean shall enter heaven
1 Jn 5:16-17; -- degrees of sins are distinguished
Jm 1:14-15; -- when sin reaches maturity, it gives birth to death
2 Sam 12:13-14; -- David, though forgiven, was still punished for his sins
Mt 5:26; -- you will not be released until you've paid the last penny
Mt 12:32; -- sin against the Holy Spirit is unforgiven in this life and the next
Mt 12:36; -- account for every idle word on judgment day
2 Macc 12:44-46; -- atoned for dead to free them from sin
1 Cor 3:15; -- suffer loss, but saved as through fire
1 Pet 3:18-20; -- Jesus preached to the spirits in prison
2 Tim 1:16-18; -- Paul prays for his dead friend, Onesiphorus
1 Cor 15:29-30; -- Paul mentions people baptizing for the dead





About Hell:

Is 33:11,14; -- who of us can live with the everlasting flames
Mt 25:41; -- depart, you accursed, into the eternal fire
Mt 25:46; -- these will go off to eternal punishment
Lk 3:16-17; -- the chaff he will burn in unquenchable fire
2 Thess 1:6-9; -- these will pay the penalty of eternal ruin





Call No Man Father:

Acts 6:14, 7:2; -- St. Stephen calls Jewish leaders "fathers"
Acts 21:40, 22:1; -- St. Paul calls Jerusalem Jews "fathers"
Rom 4:16-17; -- Abraham called "the father of us all"
1 Cor 4:14-15; -- I became your father in Christ through the gospel
1 Tim 1:2; -- my true child in the faith
Tit 1:4; -- my true child in our common faith
Heb 12:7-9; -- we have earthly fathers to discipline us
Lk 14:26; -- if anayone comes to me without hating his father...
1 Thess 2:1; -- we treated you as a father treats his children
Philem 10; -- whose father I became in my imprisonment
1 Jn 2:13-14; -- I write to you, fathers, because you know Him





Homosexuality:

Gn 1; -- complementarity of sexes reflects God's inner unity
Gn 2; -- transmission of life through total self donation; one flesh
Gn 19; -- original sin deteriorates to Sodom's sin, destroyed
Lv 18:22; -- called abomination, cut off from the people
Lv 20:13; -- both shall be put to death for abominable deed
Rom 1:27; -- called unnatural, shameful, and a perversity
1 Cor 6:9; -- active homosexuals won't inherit the kingdom of God
1 Tim 1:10; -- those who engage in such acts are called "sinners"





Drinking Fermented Wine:

Gn 27:25; -- Isaac brough Jacob wine, and he drank
Dt 14:23-26; -- spend money on sheep, wine, and strong drink
Prov 20:1; -- wine is a mocker, and it is unwise to be led astray by it
Eccl 9:7; -- drink your wine with merry heart; God approves
Is 25:6; -- God will provide feast of rich foods and choice wines
Is 5:11; -- woe to those who rise early and run after strong drink
Is 5:22; -- woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine
Lk 7:33-34; -- Son of Man eats and drinks; behold the glutton and the drunk
Jn 2:2-9; -- miracle at Cana; water turned into wine by Jesus
Eph 5:18; -- do not get drunk with wine; that is debauchery
1 Tim 5:23; -- drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach





Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage:

Mal 2:14-16; -- for I hate divorce, says the Lord
Mt 5:32-33; -- to divorce or marry divorced wife is adultery
Mt 19:4-6, 9; -- to divorce wife and remarry is adultery
Mk 10:11-12; -- if either divorces and remarries, it is adultery
Lk 16:18; -- to divorce and remarry or marry a divorced person is adultery
Rom 7:2-3; -- if a wife consorts, she is adultress if husband is alive; if dead, not
1 Cor 7:10-11; -- if a wife separates, she must stay single or reconcile
Mt 19:5; -- leave father and mother, join a wife; the 2 become 1 flesh
Mk 10:7-12; -- what God has joined together, no man can separate
Eph 5:22-32; -- union of man and wife is the image of Christ and His Church
1 Thess 4:4; -- acquire a wife for yourself in holiness and honor





Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus:

Lk 1:28, 30; -- angel Gabriel: "full of grace....found favor with God"
Lk 1:40; -- Elizabeth: "most blessed among women"
Lk 1:48; -- Mary: "all generations wil call me blessed"

Mary as the Mother of God:
Lk 1:43; -- Elizabeth calls her "mother of my Lord"
Mt 1:23; -- a virgin will bear a son, Emmanuel (means "God is with us")
Lk 1:35; -- child born will be called holy, the Son of God
Gal 4:4; -- God sent His Son, born of a virgin

The Assumption of Mary's Body into Heaven after her Death:
Gn 5:24; Hb 11:5; -- Enoch taken to heaven without dying
2 Kg 2:11; -- Elijah assumed into heaven in a fiery chariot
Mt 27:52; -- many saints who had fallen asleep were raised
1 Thess 4:17; -- caught up to meet the Lord in the air
1 Cor 15:52; -- we shall be instantly changed at the last trumpet
Rom 6:23; -- for the wages of sin is death
Rev 11:19; 12:1; -- ark in heaven is a woman clothed with the sun

Immaculate Conception (Mary was Conceived Without Sin):
Lk 1:28; -- hail full of grace, highly favored daughter; the Lord is with you
Lk 1:30; -- you have found favor with God
Lk 1:37; -- for with God, nothing shall be impossible
Gn 3:15; -- complete enmity between woman and Satan (sin)
Ex 25:11-21; -- ark made of purest gold for God's Word

Mary Ever-Virgin; Her Perpetual Virginity:
Lk 1:34; -- how can this be, since I do not know man
Lk 2:41-51; -- at age 12, Jesus was apparently the only child of Mary
Mk 6:3; -- "the" son of Mary, not "a" son of Mary
Mt 27:56; -- Mary the mother of James and Joseph is also...
Jn 19:25; -- Mary, the wife of Clopas
Jn 19:26; -- entrusted Mary to John, not a younger sibling
Jn 7:3-4; -- brothers advise like elders: "go to Judea, manifest...."
Mk 3:21; -- set out to seize him, "he is out of his mind"
Mt 28:20; -- I am with you always, until the end of ages





Communion of Saints:

Eph 1:22-23; -- He is head of the Church, which is His Body
Eph 5:21-32; -- Christ is head of the Church, the Saviour of the body
Col 1:18, 24; -- He is the head of the body, the Church
1 Cor 12:12-27; -- if 1 suffers, all suffer; if 1 is honored, all rejoice
Rom 12:5; -- we are 1 body in Christ, individually parts of one another
Eph 4:4; -- one body, one Spirit, called to one hope
Col 3:15; -- you were called in one body
Rom 8:35-39; -- death cannot separate us from Christ
Rom 12:10; -- love one another with mutual affection
1 Thess 5:11; -- encourage and build up one another
Gal 6:2; -- bear one another's burdens
Gal 6:10; -- let us do good to all, especially those in the family of faith





Intercessory Prayer to the Saints:

Rom 15:30; -- join me by your prayers to God on my behalf
Eph 4:3; -- pray for us
2 Th 1:11; -- we always pray for you
2 Th 3:1; -- finally, brothers, pray for us
Eph 6:18; -- making supplication for all the saints and for me
Tob 12:12; -- angel presents Tobit and Sarah's prayer to God
Rev 5:8; -- angel offers prayers of the holy ones to God
Mk 12:26-27; -- He is God of the living, not of the dead
Mk 9:4; -- Jesus is seen conversing with Elijah and Moses
Lk 23:43; -- this day you will be with me in paradise
Rev 6:9-11; -- martyrs under the altar want earthly vindication
Heb 12:1; -- we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses
Lk 16:19-30; -- departed rich man intercedes for his brothers
Rev 20:4; -- saw the souls of those who had been beheaded
Wis 3:1-6; -- the souls of the just are in the hand of God
1 Tim 2:1-7; -- offer prayers, petitions for all men
1 Pet 2:5; -- be a holy priesthood to offer sacrifices through Christ
Mk 10:18; -- only God is good
Mt 25:23; -- well done my good and faithful servant
Jn 10:11-16; -- I am the good shepherd; one flock, one shepherd
Jn 21:15-16; -- feed my lambs, tend my sheep
Eph 4:11; -- He gave some as apostles...others as pastors
Heb 3:1; 7:24; 9:12; -- Jesus is the eternal high priest; one sacrifice
Rev 1:6; 5:10; -- He made us a kingdom of priests for God





Veneration of the Saints (is NOT Worship!):

Jos 5:14; -- Joshua fell prostrate in worship before an angel
Dan 8:17; -- Daniel fell prostrate in terror for Gabriel
Tob 12:16; Tobiah and Tobit fall to the ground before Raphael
Mt 18:10; -- angels in heaven always behold the face of God (We venerate angels because of their great dignity, which comes from their union with God. Saints are also united with God in heaven.)
1 Jn 3:2; -- we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is
1 Thess 1:5-8; -- you became an example to all belivers
Heb 13:7; -- remember leaders, consider and imitate their life and faith

Relics:
2 Kgs 13:20-21; -- contact with Elijah's bones restored life to a dead man
Acts 5:15-16; -- cures performed through Peter's shadow
Acts 19:11-12; -- cures through face cloths that touched Paul

Statues:
Ex 25:18-19; -- make 2 cherubim of beaten gold
Num 21:8-9; -- Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on a pole
1 Kgs 6:23-29; -- temple had engraved cherubim, trees, flowers
1 Kigs 7:25-45; -- temple had bronze oxen, lions, pomegranates

See also Praying to the Saints

silentwssj
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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 18th, 2014, 6:32 pm

Updated November 30, 2012






APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION






Sections.

1.A. CHRIST AND HIS MISSION -
To Teach, Rule, and Sanctify


1. part B
NOW THAT WE HAVE THE BIBLE,
WHY IS APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION NECESSARY ?? -
To define what is the Bible and what it means.

2. HAND - AUTHORITY - A Word study on “Hand” in Old Testament showing that the “laying on of hands” was the method of passing on authority.

3. THE CHURCH IS THE FAMILY OF GOD -
We are not Orphans.

4. APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT -
Authority is passed on by laying on of hands.

5. CHURCH IS HIERARCHICAL - Saint Peter

6. CHURCH’S THREEFOLD MISSION

7. THE EARLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH -
an off site article

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1. CHRIST AND HIS MISSION


John 5:19
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.’ ” RSV

John 12:49
“For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.”

By His example Jesus gives us a model of humility to imitate in regards to our approach and attitude toward Truth and how reluctant we should be in promoting our own ideas or our own thinking.

John 14:6
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’ ”

There are three aspects to the mission of Jesus Christ.

1. To teach, - truth
see Mark 1:38 which depicts His role as the Prophet; See Bible. We need to know with an infallible certainty of how to get to heaven.
2. To rule, - way
see Revelation 17:14 depicting Him as the King of Kings; Jesus set up a kingdom.
3. To Sanctify, - life
see Hebrews 5-10 especially 7:21- 8:6 depicting His role as the High Priest. Jesus came to make us holy and fit for heaven where nothing that is unclean will be able to enter, Revelation 21:27.

Just as Christ was sent by the Father, He sends the Twelve Apostles. He entrusts and empowers them with this three fold mission of His.

Luke 22:29-32
“ … and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.’ ” RSV




Now that we have the Bible,
Why is Apostolic Succession Necessary ?



There are over 32,000 different Protestant denominations who claim to be following the Bible Alone. And yet, they all contradict each other on what is to be believed. Jesus promised in


John 17:20-21
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”



Since it is Jesus who made this prayer we know that the Church He established has perfect unity. [See Note 1] Jesus prays for a visible unity so that it will be an apologetic sign to the whole world that He is the Messiah, the Son of God. Therefore, there must be some visible authority - John 17:20-21, Matt. 18:17 - through which God reveals what is the correct and infallible interpretation of the Bible. It is unacceptable to hold that Jesus has failed in His mission and has failed to provide us a way of knowing how to follow Him to heaven, or what the Bible means.

The Old Testament reveals a hierarchical structure for God’s people. It should be noted that nowhere does Jesus dispense with this type of hierarchical structure. In fact he even defends its authority when those in charge are corrupted, that is, not following its own teachings. Its teachings of course are protected from error by the Holy Spirit. See Matthew 23:1-3. John 11:49-53. In regards to the New Testament Church see Luke 10:16.

We also need to recognize that the Sacred Scriptures that came to make up the contents of the Bible where not collected into one work until the latter part of the fourth century. The earliest complete and accurate list of which books comprise the New Testament, the 27 Books, is 367 AD. Neither Jesus nor the Apostles give us a written list of the Books that belong in the Bible.

It was the Catholic Church at the Council of Rome 382 AD, and confirmed by the subsequent Councils of Hippo 393 AD, Carthage 397 AD, and Trent 1546 AD, that settled the issue, and all of which agree on which of the 400 plus books really belonged in the New Testament. Based on their guidance of the Holy Spirit they chose which books they believed were approved and passed on by the Apostles through oral tradition.

So, before the fourth century there was no definition as to what constituted the Bible. Without a hierarchical Church there is no authority to decide the issue of, “What is the Bible, which books belong in it ?” And without that Church there is also no way to infallibly define what the Bible means, and what is the true path to salvation. Remember there are over 32,000 different Protestant, Bible Alone claiming churches. It is through Apostolic Succession that Christ's mission is carried out through the Church.

The Church is “the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15


Note 1.
The Catholic Church is One. Her definitive teachings have been consistent from the Church’s “birthday” on Pentecost Sunday almost 2000 years ago. Pope John Paul II made it clear that those who dissent from her teachings by that very fact, put themselves outside of the Church.





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2. HAND - AUTHORITY


This authority to teach, to govern, and to sanctify is passed on to others through Apostolic Succession by the laying on of hands. This authority has been passed on in an unbroken line down to the present day Bishops of the Catholic Church. In order to see this we first need to do a Bible word study on the word “hand” and the phrase “laying on” of hands.

In the following examples the translation for the Hebrew word for hand, is underlined. These examples demonstrate that it means authority.


Strong’s #3027 meaning “hand”

2 CHRON 31.13
“…Mahath, and Benaiah, were overseers under the hand of Cononiah and Shimei his brother, at the commandment of Hezekiah the king, and Azariah the ruler of the house of God.” KJV
[the New American Standard Bible translates “hand” as “authority.”]


NUMBERS 33.1
“These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.” KJV

“These are the stages of the people of Israel, when they went forth out of the land of Egypt by their hosts under the leadership of Moses and Aaron.” RSV

In today’s language we have an idiom that retains the use of the word “hand” to signify authority. “To rule with a heavy hand,” is used to refer to someone who has a lot of authority and he doesn’t let anybody forget it.

Consecrate - literally in Hebrew “fill their hand” =
Strong’s: #4390 meaning- “to fill” [plus] #3027 meaning- “hand”

The English word that is translated for the Hebrew word for “fill their hand” is underlined below. In the RSV it is translated as “ordain.”

EXODUS 28: 39-43
“And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, … 41And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. … 43And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place;” KJV

“41 And you shall put them upon Aaron your brother, and upon his sons with him, and shall anoint them and ordain them and consecrate them, that they may serve me as priests” RSV

EXODUS 29: 29-30
“And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons’ after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them. And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place.” KJV

LEVITICUS 16: 32-33
“And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary” KJV

NUMBERS 3: 3
“These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office.” KJV

“these are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he ordained to minister in the priest’s office.” RSV

The laying on of hands in the Old and New Testament drew from this context. Thus the "laying on" of hands was the way of passing on one’s own authority to another and filling up his hands with authority. Moses passed his authority onto Joshua by this method.

Numbers 27:15-18, 22-23
“Moses said to the Lord, ‘Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep which have no shepherd.’ And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay your hand upon him…’ 22 And Moses did as the Lord commanded him; he took Joshua and caused him to stand before Eleazar the priest and the whole congregation, and he laid his hands upon him, and commissioned him as the Lord directed through Moses.” RSV

Deuteronomy 34:9
“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; so the people of Israel obeyed him, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”


Thus we can see that the hierarchical structure of authority was passed on by the laying on of hands. Just as it was true in the Old Testament it also is true in the New Testament.

It is important to note that if those in authority were morally corrupt, they did not lose their authority. Jesus says in


Matthew 23:2-3
“The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”




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3. THE CHURCH IS THE FAMILY OF GOD


Romans 8:14-16
“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, ‘Abba, Father!’ The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God”

In John 14:18 Jesus promises not to leave us orphans. However, we cannot appreciate this promise unless we clearly distinguish what it means to be an orphan.

What is an “orphan” ?
Most people assume that they know what this word means, while in actuality they do not. Their assumptions are best tested so that they may become humble enough to accept a better definition. This will also help startle them enough to better remember the the significance of Jesus’ promise. So, it is usually best to ask them,
“What does it mean to be an orphan ?”

They will usually respond by saying, “An orphan is someone without a mother or father.”

NO ! That is wrong. An orphan has a father. His father may be in heaven, hell, or purgatory, but he has a father. The following example helps to clarify the meaning of the term.

A man writes his last will and testimony on how to divide up his family fortune among his kids. He and his wife die, but the children find the will and testimony can be interpreted in various and conflicting ways. The oldest child, who was very close to his father, believed with all his heart that he knew his father and his wishes because this son had a close intimate relationship with him. And this child really believed that he knew the spirit in which the father wrote the last will and testimony, so he believed that his interpretation was correct. However, the other children also claimed to have a close intimate relationship with their father and they also claimed to know the spirit with which he wrote his last will and testimony. And they disagreed on how to interpret certain passages on how to divide the family fortune.

And so, a great disagreement arose between them. Some of the children no longer even wanted to speak to the others. The rift became so bad that these siblings no longer wanted to live together or share a common meal. And because of this great division which arose among them all the children moved out and built their own houses.

Therefore, we can see that an orphan is someone who cannot hear an audible voice from his father giving a clear and infallible interpretation of the words that his father has previously spoken or written.

The Bible is infallible in what it's authors intended to teach. It does not teach error. However, the question remains on how to interpret it. This has led to over 32,000 different Protestant denominations who all contradict each other on what it means and yet each of those denominations claims to be following the Bible and the Bible alone. And the position that no one can infallible interpret the Bible leaves it as a book that serves no certain and definite purpose.

John 14:18
“I will not leave you orphans”

However, because we are not orphaned we must be able in some way to hear God’s voice spoken to us through His Church. Jesus comes to us through the Church that He established. And it is the Holy Spirit working through the Holy Father, the vicar of Christ, that overcomes any personal sins that Pope might have to give us an infallible guidance of what we should do to get to heaven.
Cf. Acts 9:4-5. The term “Pope” comes from the term “papa” which means father. His authority over us is as a father over his spiritual children.

Luke 10:16
“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

The Church that Christ built [ See Matthew 16:18 below] is the pillar and foundation of truth which God works through to guide us in how to follow Jesus Christ and what it means to have faith in Him.

1 Timothy 3:15
“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.”




A Fatherly Office

The priest is also a father Judges 17:5, 10. And Judges 18:19.

Judges 18:19
“Come with us and be our father and priest. Is it better for you to be priest for the family of one man or to be priest for a tribe and a clan in Israel ?”

Saint Paul also call himself a father and passes on to Timothy this office of Priesthood. (The word for Priest comes from the word presbyter, which means elder in a literal sense, yet Timothy was young.)

1 Corinthians 4:15-17
“Even if you should have countless guides to Christ, yet you do not have many fathers, for I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore, I urge you, be imitators of me. For this reason I am sending you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord; he will remind you of my ways in Christ (Jesus), just as I teach them everywhere in every church.” NAB

So this office in the Church, the Priesthood is to be understood not as a Chief Executive Officer, but as a fatherly service to the Church. The Bible uses this “father" “son" description of this office.

Ephesians 3:14-15
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named …” RSV
The Greek word that is translated to “family" in this verse is actually based on the Greek word for "father" and could be translated as “fatherhood."


The Church Faithful Are Governed By A Father - Son Relationship

1 Timothy 1:2, 18
“… to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. … 18 I entrust this charge to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophetic words once spoken about you. Through them may you fight a good fight” NAB

2 Timothy 1:2
“to Timothy, my dear child: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

2 Timothy 2:1
“So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Titus 1:4
“to Titus, my true child in our common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior.”

1 Corinthians 4:17
“For this reason I am sending you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord; he will remind you of my ways in Christ (Jesus), just as I teach them everywhere in every church.”

Philippians 2:22
“But you know his worth, how as a child with a father he served along with me in the cause of the gospel.” NAB

This fatherly office of the Priesthood / Bishop was passed on by the laying on of hands. We see this position of authority being passed on this way in the next study of Apostolic Succession in the New Testament.




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4. APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT



Romans 10:13-15
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?
And how can people preach unless they are sent?”

The word “sent” in Romans 10:15 is a translation of the Greek word “apostalosin,” Strong’s # 649. This word has the same root as the words “Apostles” and “Apostolic.” It is necessary that the early church to have been able to distinguish the validity between one preacher’s interpretation and another preacher’s interpretation who contradicted the first. Jesus did not write out a Bible, however He sent out the twelve Apostles who had been given His authority. [ See Luke 22:29-32 above] These Apostles in turn sent out others to carry on their mission. And these ordained others down through history. No one has the authority to send himself as the authority comes from above. In Jesus’ prayer to the Father He speaks about the special Twelve that He had chosen.

John 17:18
“As you (Father in heaven) sent me into the world, so I sent them (the Apostles) into the world.” (contextual clarification added in brackets)



As Apostles, the chosen Twelve, had the authority to reveal the new teachings of Jesus Christ. They also had the office of Bishop to oversee the Church and safeguard those truths. They passed on the office of Bishop to their successors by the laying of hands as was done in the Old Testament. We can have no new doctrines since the fullness of the teachings of Christ was passed on by the Apostles. Those teachings and the correct understanding of them are safeguarded by their successors.

Peter points out in Acts how after Judas died, they needed to appoint a successor to his bishopric, or office.

Acts 1:20
“ … His office let another take.”

The Greek word that is translated above as “office” is “episcope,” Strong’s number 1984. Literally it means “one who oversees” or “one who supervises.” This Greek word is translated as “overseers” below.

Acts 20:28
“Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the church of God that he acquired with his own blood.”

“Episcope” is translated as “bishop” in 1 Timothy 3:1, and in Titus 1:7. The office that is transmitted is “bishop” not Apostle.

1 Timothy 3:1
“If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.”

Some object to this passing on of the office because of the following restrictions.

Acts 1:21-22
“Therefore, it is necessary that one of the men who accompanied us the whole time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us, become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

However, it can be shown that these restrictions were not perpetual, but only temporary. Paul, who was not originally a follower of Christ, is also a Bishop. 1 Thess. 2: 3-7 and 1 Timothy 2:7. Besides Timothy was very young when Ordained by Paul as a Bishop and was not an original follower of Christ, yet he becomes a Bishop as well. Philippians 2: 19-22. 1 Timothy 4: 12-16. 2 Timothy 1:6 First Timothy was written in about 60 AD and it refers to Timothy as young, so obviously these restrictions were not binding on him. In fact the note at the end of Second Timothy in the King James (Authorized) Version says that Timothy was the first ordained Bishop of Ephesus.

Others object by saying that the number of Bishops was always restricted to twelve. However, this view is not in keeping with the view of Christ that the Church is like a seed that grows into a big beautiful tree.

Luke 13:19
“It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”

We see this progress and growth of the Church already taking place in the Letter to Titus.

Titus 1:5
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you …”

This authority was passed on through the laying on of hands.

Acts 6:6
“These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them.”

The Bishops passed on their authority to their successors by the laying on of hands.

Acts 9:15-19
“But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened.
For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.” RSV

God called Paul in a unique and personal way. Yet God still chose to work through an officer /minister in His Church to administer grace to him. Paul remained with them and became an officer /minister of the Church himself.

Acts 13:2-3
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”

Colossians 1:24-26
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known …” RSV

1 Timothy 1:3
“As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine” RSV

1 Timothy 4:11-16
“Command and teach these things. Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you. Practice these duties, devote yourself to them, so that all may see your progress. Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”

1 Timothy 5:22
“Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man’s sins; keep yourself pure.”

2 Timothy 1:6
“Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands”

Paul tells us that he is about to be martyred.

2 Timothy 4:6
“For I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come.”

Instead of setting up a church based on Sola Scriptura, the Bible alone, he shows that the Church is an authoritative teaching Church that passes on her teachings through oral Tradition. This oral Tradition is that which is “heard.”

2 Timothy 2:2
“ … and what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

The need for an authoritative teaching Church, as opposed to each person using his own interpretation, is demonstrated by the following.

2 Timothy 4:1-4
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.”

Titus 1:5, 9
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…9 he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.”

Titus 2:15
“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”





Simon Magnus tried to obtain this authority but Saint Peter denied it to him.

Acts 8:17-20
“Then they laid hands on them and they received the holy Spirit.
When Simon saw that the Spirit was conferred by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, ‘Give me this power too, so that anyone upon whom I lay my hands may receive the holy Spirit.’ But Peter said to him, ‘May your money perish with you, because you thought that you could buy the gift of God with money …” NAB

Thus we can see that the individual could not obtain this power or authority on his own private relationship with God. These graces and this office come to us through a hierarchical structured Church. And it comes through the laying on of hands by those who have had that authority passed onto them by the same manner.

This hierarchical structure is even more apparent in the next study, the Church is Hierarchical.




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5. CHURCH IS HIERARCHICAL


John 5:19
“Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise.’ ” RSV

John 12:49
“For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak.”

Matthew 20:23
He said to them, “You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”

Even though the Son is equal in dignity and greatness with God the Father (John 5:18), He shows how he humbly embraces the will of God the Father.

The Church He establishes, and promises to build on Saint Peter in Matthew 16:18 has a hierarchical aspect.



Luke 6:13
“And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles”

1 Corinthians 12:28
“And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.”

The Church has a hierarchical aspect as can be seen in the manner in which the authority was passed on to others. It is the type of authority that a Father possesses. For example, a father does not say to his children, if you agree that my decisions are correct and persuasive, then and only then are you bound by them. Like a good father who disciplines as needed, the Church also governs to safe guard the faith for the people as a service to them.

2 Corinthians 13:10
“I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.”



Clearly the early Church had a hierarchical structure of authority where the leaders had supreme authority to teach, rule or govern. This hierarchical aspect can be clearly seen in Paul’s claim to have the power to excommunicate another. To excommunicate is the most hierarchical aspect that a person can have. It essentially is the power for one person to be able to say that he is in the Church, but that another person is not. This power demonstrates very clearly the visible characteristic of the Church. Of course the final judgment of the soul is left to God.



1 Corinthians 5:2-5
“… The one who did this deed should be expelled from your midst. I, for my part, although absent in body but present in spirit, have already, as if present, pronounced judgment on the one who has committed this deed, in the name of (our) Lord Jesus: … with the power of the Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” NAB



Notice that Saint Paul does not defend his right to excommunicate this other person. He assumes that they already know this apparently basic hierarchical aspect of the Church.

God has giving us a Church that has specific purposes. By the power of the Holy Spirit she proposes the unity of Christ to all the world so that they might embrace it, and thereby direct their efforts in a common direction for the effective accomplishment of that Church’s goals. This is done for the good of its own members as well as for the good of the whole world. This unity of purpose is essential for any society.

Mark 3:24-25
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

John 17:17-21
“Consecrate them in the truth … so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

So, the Church has a visible aspect and she can be identified. She is a visible apologetic sign to the world that Christ was sent by the Father. The Church has perfect unity (cf. CCC 813 - 822), it is just that some of those who attempt to follow Christ do not accept and receive that perfect unity because of their dissent from the Church’s teaching.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-13
“But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” RSV



Jude 3-12
“… I found it necessary to write appealing to you … For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness … Yet in like manner these men in their dreamings defile the flesh, reject authority, and revile the glorious ones…. But these men revile whatever they do not understand, …Woe to them! For they walk in the way of Cain, … and perish in Korah’s rebellion. These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they boldly carouse together, looking after themselves; waterless clouds … twice dead …”

Korah's rebellion, as can be seen below in Numbers 16, is committed by those who reject the hierarchical authority over themselves. And as the passage above in Jude points out there are still those who reject the authority of those over them today.

The Old Testament showed three different levels of the priesthood. There was the High Priest, the ministerial priesthood, and the common priesthood of all believers. And in the New Covenant we also have 3 categories of Priests, Jesus Christ who is the High Priest, the ministerial priests, and the common priesthood of all believers.

Cf.
Numbers 16:1-33
“Korah, son of Izhar, son of Kohath, son of Levi … took two hundred and fifty Israelites who were leaders in the community, members of the council and men of note. They stood before Moses, and held an assembly against Moses and Aaron, to whom they said,


‘Enough from you! The whole community,
all of them, are holy; the LORD is in their midst. Why then should you set yourselves over the LORD’S congregation?’ …

Moses also said to Korah, ‘Listen to me, you Levites! Is it too little for you that the God of Israel has singled you out from the community of Israel, to have you draw near him for the service of the LORD’S Dwelling … and yet you now seek the priesthood too. …
Then each of your two hundred and fifty followers shall take his own censer, put incense in it, and offer it to the LORD; and you and Aaron, each with his own censer, shall do the same.’ …
and the LORD said to Moses and Aaron,
‘Stand apart from this band, that I may consume them at once. …
Speak to the community and tell them: Withdraw from the space around the Dwelling’ (of Korah, Dathan and Abiram). …
No sooner had he finished saying all this than the ground beneath them split open, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their families (and all of Korah’s men) and all their possessions. They went down alive to the nether world with all belonging to them; the earth closed over them, and they perished from the community.” NAB


The head of the Church is Jesus Christ in Heaven. However, he has left us a visible earthly head that He works through. First Corinthians refers to the Church as the Body of Christ and this earthly head.

1 Corinthians 12:12, 13, 21
“As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. … 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’”

The reference to “head” above cannot refer to Jesus Christ because it would be presumptuous, and therefore wrong, for St. Paul to tell God what He could or could not say and presumptuous to say that God could not tell a person that he was not needed.





Saint Peter



Luke 22:29-32
“ ‘… and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you (plural in Greek), that he might sift you (plural in Greek) like wheat, but I have prayed for you (singular in Greek) that your (singular in Greek) faith may not fail; and when you (singular in Greek) have turned again, strengthen your (singular in Greek) brethren.’ ” RSV (emphasis added in parenthesis to clarify the Greek text.)

The King James version retains the meaning of the original Greek where Satan had demanded to have “you -plural,” - meaning all of the disciples - but Christ says that He prayed for “you -singular” meaning Peter uniquely.

Luke 22:31-32
“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” KJV

Christ only started one Church. And He built that Church on Saint Peter. Peter, who as only a man is weak is now made strong by the power of the Holy Spirit. And he is entrusted with special and unique guidance to lead the Church and strengthen the other Apostles. The passage below shows that it was God the Father who singled him out for this special role.

Matthew 16:15-19
“He said to them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Simon Peter replied, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona ! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you ( in the Greek it is “you - singular”) the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ ” RSV (emphasis added in parenthesis to clarify the Greek text.)

That the “the powers of death” or “gates of Hades,” as some translations put it, “shall not prevail against it” implies that after Peter’s death there will be a successor to the position that Christ is referring to here and which will be given to St. Peter after the Resurrection. Cf. See Papacy by Karl Keating.

To find the context of the meaning of the keys we look to the Bible, Isaiah 22.

Isaiah 22:15, 19-24
“Thus says the Lord, the GOD of hosts: Up, go to that official, Shebna, master of the palace… 19 I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station. On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open. I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family; On him shall hang all the glory of his family: descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs.” NAB

Isaiah 36:1-3
“In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, … 3 there came out to him the master of the palace, Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, and Shebna the scribe, and the herald Joah, son of Asaph.” NAB

The keys represent absolute power to rule. They are owned by the King of Israel who entrusts them to his representative the “master of the palace.” Christ is the true King of Israel who gives his keys to Peter.

The key of the “house of David” implies succession because King David had been dead for hundreds of years at the time of King Hezekiah’s rule. Just as the king had a successor so did the head of the household, or the “master of the palace.” Or in today’s language we might use the terms “prime minister” or even better “the king’s regent,” “viceroy,” or “vicar” since he had absolute authority under the king. His office was one of being a father to the people, Cf Isaiah 22: 21.


John 21:15
“Jesus said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these ?’ He said to him, ‘Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.’ He said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ ” NAB

Jesus gave over to Saint Peter the care of all of His sheep.
Now the only question is how many Christian sheep belong to Jesus ?
……………Answer: All of them.

Saint Peter, and the Church's mission to care for the sheep is manifested by carrying out Christ's mission to teach, to rule, and to sanctify all those who are called to Him. The Church’s mission is made more abundantly clear in the next study, the Church’s Threefold Mission.

See separate article demonstrating that the office bestowed on Peter by Jesus Christ implies a succession.

Succession for Peter’s office





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6. CHURCH’S THREEFOLD MISSION


If Jesus does not fulfill this mission through His Church, then his success lasted only until His Ascension into heaven two thousand years ago, whereas in regards to modern times He would have to be termed as a failure. But, He did not fail.

It is through this Apostolic Church that the Catholic Church’s earthly leaders can be traced back through history. See external link to see the list of Popes going back to Saint Peter. Also, see the list written by St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, around 180 - 199 AD, see sections two and three. And it is through these earthly leaders that our heavenly leader Jesus Christ carries out His mission to teach, to rule, and to sanctify.

1. To Sanctify :


The Church Receives The Mission Of Priesthood To Make God’s People Holy By The Transmission Of God’s Grace

Jesus makes us holy through His Church, through His Sacraments. We need this because “ … but nothing unclean will enter it [heaven,] nor any (one) who does abominable things or tells lies.” Revelation 21:27

If the validity of God’s Sacraments depended on the holiness of the minister giving them then we would be in quite a quandary because we are forbidden to try to judge another person’s holiness. Fortunately, it is Jesus Christ who works through the minister who has been validly ordained by the Church that He established. And it is Jesus Christ who makes the sacrament valid.

John 20:21-23
“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.’ ”

Matthew 28:18-20
“Then Jesus approached and said to them, ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit … ”



2. To Teach :


The Church Receives The Mission Of Teacher To Teach In God’s Name.

Acts 8:26-31
“ … Now there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of the Candace, that is, the queen of the Ethiopians, in charge of her entire treasury, who had come to Jerusalem to worship, and was returning home. Seated in his chariot, he was reading the prophet Isaiah. … Philip … said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ He replied, ‘How can I, unless someone instructs me?’ ”

The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. All that it teaches is true. However, even though a person may have access to the Bible he still needs instruction on how to interpret it. Private interpretation has led to a tremendous disunity among those who seek to follow Jesus and a certain obscurity of His teachings.

Jesus did not give us a Book for each man or woman to interpret however they wished. He gave us a Church that He established to guide us in how to follow Him.

Matthew 28:18-20
“… Jesus … said to them, ‘All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, … teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.’ ”

John 17:17-21
“Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth … so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

John 16:13
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak ...”

1 Timothy 3:15
“ … the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.”


These scriptures below show how Timothy and Titus could declare that their interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures was correct, but the interpretation of others was incorrect.

2 Timothy 4:1-4
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.”

Titus 1:5, 9
“This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you…9 he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.”

Titus 2:15
“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

The fact they had this authority is evidence of the Apostolic Authority they had received from Saint Paul.



3. To Rule or Govern :


The Church Receives From Christ The Power, The Right, And The Duty To Govern And To Pass Binding Decrees So As To Fulfill Her Responsibility To Serve Those Who Are Her Spiritual Children In Christ.

The Catholic Church promotes religious freedom and respects the obligation that everyone has to follow their conscience. Each person has an obligation to discover the truth that God has revealed. However, some people will fail to discover and recognized the authority of the Catholic through invincible ignorance. The Church recognizes this. No one is forced to become a member of the Catholic Church as the Church recognizes only genuine and freely given conversions. So, the Church rules by invitation not by force. At the end of time God will hold accountable those who disobeyed.

Matthew 10:1
“Then he summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits to drive them out and to cure every disease and every illness.”

Luke 10:17-19
“The seventy (-two) returned rejoicing, and said, ‘Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.’ Jesus said, ‘I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky. Behold, I have given you the power ‘to tread upon serpents’ and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.”

2 Corinthians 13:10
“I write this while I am away from you, in order that when I come I may not have to be severe in my use of the authority which the Lord has given me for building up and not for tearing down.”

Titus 2:15
“Declare these things; exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you.”

Matthew 18:17
“If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Notice that Jesus does not say that the final authority is a book, but rather a Church, which by necessity had to be a visible Church in order to be identified so that we could listen to it and obey its decisions.



John 17:20-21
“I [Jesus] pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

Therefore, the Church that Jesus established has a visible unity, unlike the false claim to an invisible unity that Protestants claim to have, and this unity is a visible sign, or a visible apologetic, pointing to the world that Jesus is the Messiah.

This Church and her Apostolic Tradition working along with Sacred Scriptures would be the final authority, “the pillar and foundation of truth” 1 Timothy 3:15, in determining what God had revealed. It is by the authority of the Church that Christ founded, being guided by the Holy Spirit, that we know which books are truly the inspired Word of God and which are not, therefore we can know with infallible certainty which books belong in the Bible and which do not. This Church, whose teachings are protected by the Holy Spirit, shows us the correct interpretation of the Bible.


Luke 10:16
“He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”




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7. The Early Fathers Also Tell Us That This Authority Was Passed On To The Apostles Successors -
an off site article at Catholic Answers

THE EARLY FATHERS OF THE CHURCH

silentwssj
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Re: Catholicism part 4 "The Church, Papacy, and Authority"

Unread postby silentwssj » December 18th, 2014, 6:35 pm

Origin of the name “Catholic Church”


The Church has been Catholic from the 1st century. The English word Catholic is a transliteration of the Greek katholikos which is a compound word from “kata” which means according to, and “holos” which means whole. http://www.catholic.com/tracts/what-catholic-means

So one THEN can ask, where does kata holos appear in scripture and particularly kata holos ekklesia ? [We see it in the following verse.]

Acts 9:31 the church throughout all [Greek: ἐκκλησία,καθ’,ὅλης ,τῆς ] Judea and Galilee and Sama'ria..." = Kataholos Church.


ἐκκλησία = ekklésia = Church
καθ’ : kata = according to
ὅλης : holos = whole, complete
τῆς : ho, hé, to = the



Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch from ~69 a.d. to ~107 a.d. He was ordained by the apostles, and was a direct disciple of St John. It was in Antioch where the disciples were first called Christian Acts 11:26 . And Ignatius in his writings uses both "Christian" and "Catholic Church" in his writings.
•St Ignatius, uses Christian (ch 2) and Catholic Church (ch 8) Epistle to the Smyrnæans of which schismatics won't be going to heaven Epistle to the Philadelphians (ch 3) . As an aside, where would Ignatius learn to teach that warning and corresponding consequence for one's soul, for commiting and remaining in the sin of schism / division from the Catholic Church? Paul condemned division / dissention from the Church Romans 16:17-20 , Galatians 5:19-21 and Jesus does NOT approve of division in His Church John 17:20-23, and since the HS only teaches what comes from Jesus John 16:12-15 no one can say the HS inspired all the division we see today in Christianity. There is no expiration date to that warning and condemnation
•St Polycarp, Bp Smyrna, disciple of St John called the Church the "Catholic Church" The Martyrdom of Polycarp
•Muratorian canon http://www.earlychristianwritings.co...uratoria n.html uses authority of “Catholic Church”
•Irenaeus ~180 a.d. wrote "Against Heresies" called the Church the "Catholic Church" Adversus haereses [Bk 1 Chapter 10 v 3], and also Irenaeus who was taught by Polycarp, teaches all must agree with Rome [Bk 3, Chapter 3, v 2-3]
•Cyprian~250 a.d. calls the Church the Catholic Church Epistle 54
•The Nicene Creed, 325 a.d., it's a matter of faith to believe in the "One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church"
•Augustine ~395 There are many other things that most justly keep me in her [i.e. the Catholic Church's] bosom. . . . The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate. And so, lastly, does the name itself of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental (ch 5 v6)
•etc
The same Church Pope Francis is over today, 267th successor to St Peter. [This office is passed down through Apostolic Succession.
Also see Irenaeus "Against Heresies" [Bk 3, Chapter 3, v 1]


Jesus started one Church. The Catholic Church. He gave all His promises to His Church. Jesus does NOT approve of division John 17:20-23 , and since the HS only teaches what comes from Jesus John 16:12-15 no one can say the HS inspired them to divide from the Catholic Church especially when considering the scandal of all the division we see today outside the Church. As you can see from the links above from Paul, which ultimately came from Jesus, division is condemned as are those who do it and remain in it. For 2000 years division from the Catholic Church has been condemned. There is no expiration date to that warning.


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