IF ONLY YOU KNEW
- How the Catholic Church was Instituted by Christ;
- How the Catholic Church is Constructed;
- How the Catholic Church Operates, and What Her Mission is.
You would Hurry Home to Join Her
Yes! You would hurry home to join her, because she has the fullness of the revelations of God; the Gospel; the Deposit of Faith. She is the ‘Pillar and Foundations of Truth’ (1 Timothy 3:15).
What makes us believe that the Gospel is authentic is the fact that all the Apostles knew they were going to be martyred, and nobody is ever willing to die for a lie!!! Additionally, the structure and the mission of the Catholic Church is proof of the preservation of the Truth, the preservation of the Gospel, as handed down by God to the Apostles.
Greetings, Family, Families, Relatives and Friends. When I write about the Catholic Church, I am not trying to upset anyone. I write with the attitude that I discovered something very good, comparable to a treasure, and I wish to share it with you, because its ramifications touch on Eternity, and there is no religion that explicitly guarantees Eternal Life as the Christian Catholic Faith does.
All I write is Truth and not mine, but, God’s. What I write presents, not opinions, but rather, facts that I can prove, if only you would question me about what you are not sure of, or what you think I am wrong with, and I will answer all your queries.
This environment I have portrayed above is necessitated by the ignorance on the part of most people of what the Catholic Church really is and what it stands for and what its goals are. Hence, the article IF ONLY YOU KNEW!
The article is mainly addressed to Christians. So, some facts have been jumped over, so to speak. An example is the assumption that the Holy Bible is part of the inerrant Word of God.
This article, IF ONLY YOU KNEW, is a must read for Atheists and all those from religions who, nonetheless, are looking for God; a supreme being; someone to provide them with hope beyond death. It is a highly recommended read for Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants and those who, in their religion, exalt Jesus Christ, yet, are not considered Christian. It is an optional read for Jews and Moslems (in all this, I have gone Alphabetical). God bless.
- How the Catholic Church was Instituted by Christ
This is how the Catholic Church was instituted: Jesus said to Peter, “And so I say to you, you are Kepa,[i] and upon this kepa[ii] I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to 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” (Matthew 16:18-19). Jesus Christ instituted the Catholic Church and gave her a visible head (Peter), gave her a promise (Eternity), and, gave her authority (The Keys)!
Therefore, Peter was the visible head of the Catholic Church on earth. He was the Vicar of Christ, with Christ as the actual Head of the Church in her three branches: The Church Militant on Earth; the Church Suffering in Purgatory;[iii] and the Church Triumphant in Heaven. So, Christ is the Head of the Catholic Church and she is His Holy Body (Ephesians 1:22-23), composed of sinner, but, nonetheless, Holy through Christ.
Jesus did not institute any other church. For one thousand years, there was no other church. Since the Bible was compiled starting with the Council of Rome in A.D. 382, then it logically follows that anytime one comes across the word ‘church’ in the Bible, the Catholic Church is meant!
But, the Bible does not use the term ‘Catholic’! True. This is where St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch for some 40 years, comes into the picture. St. Ignatius (d. 107 A.D.), was the first on record to call her the catholic Church. Since he was the disciple of John and was ordained to the See of Antioch by Peter, and since he lived concurrently with John for a third of a century, he knew the Gospel quite well, and is to be considered an Apostolic Man, just like Timothy and Titus, Paul’s disciples.
But, he was not mentioned in the Bible. He was not mentioned in the Bible, simply because God picked on Paul to write about his travels. He neither chose Peter nor did he choose John for that.
If anyone comments that St. Ignatius used a small ‘c’ for catholic, our answer is that since there was no other church around for a thousand years, then, the rules of grammar dictate that the word should start with a capital letter: Catholic!
So, Peter was Catholic, even before the term was applied to him, and John was Catholic, even before the term was applied to him, just like Peter and John are considered Christians, even before the term was first applied to them in Antioch (Acts 11:26). Hence, Jesus was the first Catholic!
It also logically follows that the Catholic Church has all the Truth, for she “is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).
- How the Catholic Church is Constructed
Next, in instituting the Eucharist (which means Thanksgiving), and in declaring, “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19, and 1 Corinthians 11:24), Jesus had designated the Apostles as the first priests.
He later confirmed their priesthood by breathing the Holy Spirit on them and saying, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:22-23).
The Mass or the Liturgy is divided into two services: The Service of the Word, and the Service of the Eucharist. In the Service of the Word, readings from the Old Testament, the Psalms, the New Testament letters/epistles and one of the Gospels are recited. In the Service of the Eucharist on the altar, the Offering and the Sacrifice of Calvary are re-presented (and not repeated), for, there was one Offering and One Sacrifice, an unbloody re-presentation, as per Malachi’s Prophecy:
Malachi 1: 10 * Oh, that one among you would shut the temple gates to keep you from kindling fire on my altar in vain! I have no pleasure in you, says the LORD of hosts; neither will I accept any sacrifice from your hands, 11 For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
Footnote: MAL 1:10
<1> [10-11] The imperfect sacrifices offered without sincerity by the people of Judah are displeasing to the Lord. He will rather be pleased with the offerings of the Gentile nations throughout the world (from the rising of the sun, even to its setting), which anticipate the pure offering to be sacrificed in messianic times, the universal Sacrifice of the Mass, as we are told by the Council of Trent.
During the Eucharistic Celebration, TRANSUBSTANTIATION takes place at the invocation of the priest, where the words of Jesus at the Last Supper are restated by the priest, in persona Christi. The bread becomes the Body of Christ and the wine becomes His Blood, without a change in appearance. So, when we eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, we would be complying with the Lord’s command presented in John Chapter 6, where the Lord repeats, Five Times, for all to understand the words:
John 6: 54 Whoever eats* my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Footnote: JN 6:54 <1> [54-58] Eats: the verb used in these verses is not the classical Greek verb used of human eating, but that of animal eating: “munch,” “gnaw.” This may be part of John’s emphasis on the reality of the flesh and blood of Jesus (cf John 6:55), but the same verb eventually became the ordinary verb in Greek meaning “eat.”
When Jesus wants us to understand something, He repeats and repeats to make us understand. When He intends for us to understand, He never leaves us with the wrong impression. This is demonstrated in John 10:4-9; specifically in verses 6 and 7: “Although Jesus used this figure of speech, they did not realize what he was trying to tell them. So Jesus said again…” Similarly, it is also demonstrated, in John 11:11-14, and 14:7-11; and, in Mark 10:23-26.
The thing is that the Jews understood Him quite well. Even many of His disciples, other than the Apostles, understood Him well and said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” And they actually left Him for good (John 6:60 and 6:66).
Concerning the frequency of Liturgical Celebrations, in going back to 1 Corinthians 11, verse 25, Paul recalls Jesus’ recounting to him in a private revelation and says, “In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”” Now, since Jesus said it, then, it is a good thing, because all things from Him are Good. Therefore, when Jesus uses the phrase ‘as often as,’ He is asking His priests to do the Eucharist often. For the bulk of the faithful, the Apostles started celebrating the Eucharist on Sundays, the day of Jesus’ Resurrection: “On the first day of the week when we gathered to break bread…” (Acts 20:7).
But for those who can, the Eucharist was celebrated every day: “Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes” (Acts 2:46). This is one sentence with no comas; therefore, the ‘Every day’ applies to both parts of the sentence; hence, daily Masses.
Jesus is the High Priest, and the Apostles were His visible aides on Earth. Their Head was Peter and his position was given the designation ‘Pope.’ The Apostles are equivalent to the present day position of super bishops or Cardinals, for, they were appointing bishops and priests and deacons. The position of ‘priest’ as an aide to the bishop became a necessity as the Church expanded amidst the limitation of one bishop per city.[iv]
The bishops and priests were ordained by the Laying on of Hands. The Laying on of Hands gives power through the invocation of the Holy Spirit:
Numbers 27: 18 And the LORD replied to Moses, “Take Joshua, son of Nun, a man of spirit, and lay your hand upon him. 19 Have him stand in the presence of the priest Eleazar and of the whole community, and commission him before their eyes.”
Deuteronomy 34: 9 Now Joshua, son of Nun, was filled with the spirit of wisdom, since Moses had laid his hands upon him; and so the Israelites gave him their obedience, thus carrying out the LORD’S command to Moses.
Jesus employed the Laying on of Hands as a means of ordaining the Apostles. Even though Luke said in Luke 24:51, “Raising his hands, he blessed them and parted from them and was taken up to heaven,” Jesus actually did more than raise His hands. The Maronite Liturgy for Ascension Day specifies that Jesus had actually Laid Hands on the Apostles, commissioning them as His priests (and the Mass/Liturgy is part of the Sacred Oral Word which came before the Sacred Written Word). The Apostles, thereafter, began ordaining bishops and priest by the Laying on of Hands: 1 Timothy 4:14; Hebrews 6:1-2; and elsewhere in the New Testament, and:
2 Timothy 1: 6 For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands.
Of course, a priest or a deacon cannot lay hands on anyone to ordain; only bishops did that.[v]
- How the Catholic Church Operates
And what Her Mission is
So, the Apostles were going around preaching and ordaining bishops who can teach, for, the bishop is the teacher of his diocese/eparchy:
1 Timothy 3: 2 Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,
2 Timothy 2: 2 And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well.
So, a bishop is the teacher and he is to ordain other bishops and priests who are able to teach. The priest must also have that ability since he is the bishop’s aide. The bishop cannot be everywhere. Part of his duties is to visit each local church in his diocese/eparchy during a specified span of time. I say diocese/eparchy because the Catholic Church is composed of 23 churches, one Western Roman Catholic, and 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. They differ mainly in their Liturgical details, though following the same main divisions of the Mass/Liturgy.
Yes, the Apostles were going around preaching and ordaining bishops and this verse proves the fact:
Titus 1: …4 to Titus, my true child in our common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our savior. 5 For this reason I left you in Crete so that you might set right what remains to be done and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you, 6 on condition that a man be blameless, married only once, with believing children who are not accused of licentiousness or rebellious. 7 For a bishop as God’s steward must be blameless…”
So, the Apostles were appointing their trained aides as bishops and sending them out to appoint other bishops and priests.
An Illustrative Probable Portrait of Expansion in the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church:
From Thessalonica, Paul was sent to Beroea for his safety (Acts 17:10). As he was preaching in Beroea in Greece, Silas and Timothy, his main disciples and companions, were writing down what Paul was preaching, knowing that they would soon be preaching the same things themselves. [We need to pause, here, and impress on you the fact that the Sacred Oral Word delivered by Jesus and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles did not remain oral, and these writings by the main disciples of the Apostles were guarded by the local churches and circulated among them and became the main teachings of the Church and were preserved to our day. The Bible was extracted from the Sacred Oral Word!]
Now, Sopater of Beroea was listening to Paul, and he was converted. He asked questions; he came to know; he came to impart knowledge to others; to refute heresies. Paul noticed, corrected, gave insights, and trained Sopater. He let him copy Silas’ and Timothy’s writings that they may be references for him. Then, Paul commissioned Sopater as Bishop (by the Laying on of his Hands). He placed Silas and Timothy in charge of Sopater’s on-hand advanced training, and left them and moved on to Athens, again for his safety (Acts 17:14). Now, look where Sopater showed up, along with the others:
Acts 20: 2 Then he arrived in Greece, 3 where he stayed for three months. But when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return by way of Macedonia. 4 Sopater, the son of Pyrrhus, from Beroea, accompanied him, as did Aristarchus and Secundus from Thessalonica, Gaius from Derbe, Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus from Asia 5 who went on ahead and waited for us at Troas.
Now, keep in mind that the Acts of the Apostles was written chronologically. So, Paul called the Bishop of Ephesus and all the presbyters to join them all, and gave them that famous emotional farewell address:
Acts 20: 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus in order not to lose time in the province of Asia, for he was hurrying to be in Jerusalem, if at all possible, for the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus he had the presbyters of the church at Ephesus summoned. 18 When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia…25 But now I know that none of you to whom I preached the kingdom during my travels will ever see my face again…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. 29 I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. 30 And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them. 31 So be vigilant…36 When he had finished speaking he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37 They were all weeping loudly as they threw their arms around Paul and kissed him, 38 for they were deeply distressed that he had said that they would never see his face again. Then they escorted him to the ship.
By the mere fact that Paul gathered all these overseers, illustrates that the churches are, in fact, one Church! They all had the same teaching. The other Apostles would have done the same thing as Paul did, as Paul’s writings, chosen by God, were prototypes of the evangelical work done by the other Apostles. This is a close approximation of how the Church grew and expanded. All the churches had the same teaching of the One Holy Spirit. She was One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The letters to Timothy and Titus serve to corroborate this portrayal, with Paul speaking of the qualities of the bishop and the deacon, and their commissioning by the Laying on of Hands, as indicated above.
Tradition Came First and was Oral:
I have mentioned the Sacred Oral Word (which we now call Tradition with a capital ‘T’), and I have mentioned the Sacred Written Word (the Bible). Here’s how this thing came about:
Jesus taught the Apostles through three years, and there is no evidence that any of that was written down during those years. The Apostles did not understand things fully. So, at the Last Supper Jesus said to them:
John 16: 12 “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. 13 But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”
Sure enough, true to His promise, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and the Holy Spirit taught the Apostles the whole Gospel supernaturally, then, and thereafter. Nothing was written in some 15 years! And then, 19 years after Pentecost, in among the first words to be written that ended up in the Bible 300 years later, Paul mentions the word Gospel (the revelations of God). Therefore, the Gospel came orally! The Gospel came supernaturally! How: “For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the holy Spirit with much conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Oral retention of the Gospel in their minds was also supernatural through the power of the Holy Spirit:
2 Timothy 1: 13 Take as your norm the sound words that you heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard this rich trust with the help of the holy Spirit.
So, all at once, all the churches had the Gospel. All had the same teaching, from India to the Atlantic! This Deposit of Faith became the Norm. From then on, the Word of God had its momentum that no one could derail, and everything would be measured with respect to this Norm. Heresies became rampant soon after, as they are nowadays, for, the devil had not been idle; rather, he worked overtime trying to destroy the Church. Therefore, whenever a heresy surfaced, it was examined and compared to the Norm. If it did fit, well and good. If, however, there was any contradiction, the new was rejected and the old, the Norm, retained and upheld as being authentic, just as aptly described by Paul in Galatians 2:5, below.
Paul had anticipated that parts of the Sacred Oral Word would end up being written. So, he advised all:
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 a letter of ours.
The Mission of the Catholic Church has been, is, and ever shall be, till the end of time, to PRESERVE THE GOSPEL (Tradition, the Catholic Bible and their explanations; that is, the Deposit of Faith), intact for you who are being saved:
Galatians 2: (concerning false brothers – YT) 5 “to them we did not submit even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain intact for you.”
The Catholic Church is the guardian of the Word of God, preserving it from change for you! Therefore, the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation for those who know that fact! And now you know that fact, because the Bible is nothing but a good book and a good read, if it did not come from the Catholic Church, the:
ONE – Jesus instituted one and only one Church. Matthew 16:18-19 is in the singular;
HOLY – composed of sinners sanctified by Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross;
APOSTOLIC – built on Apostolic Succession by the Laying on of Hands;
CATHOLIC CHURCH – named so by the Apostolic Man, St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, disciple of St. John
and ordained Bishop of Antioch by St. Peter, with Christ’s promise that the forces of the netherworld will never
prevail against her.
THERE WAS NO TIME IN A.D. HISTORY IN WHICH THE CATHOLIC CHURCH WAS NOT!
Come Home to the Fullness of the Faith.
[i] Aramaic was the language of the commoner, as well as, the common language of the Levant in those days, just like English is the common language of India these days, otherwise, the people of India would not be able to communicate with each other because of their many languages.
All Bibles have the transliterated name of Peter in Greek as being Kephas or Cephas. Now, where did that come from, except from the Aramaic word ‘kepa’? Our Separated Brethren do not like the word ‘kepa’ because in Aramaic there is no other word for ‘rock’ except ‘kepa.’
A good illustrative verse on that, found in all their Bibles, as in ours, is: “Then he brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you will be called Kephas” which is translated Peter” (John 1:42).
[ii] Jesus spoke to Peter in Aramaic. Jesus spoke Aramaic many a time. Imagine! Even while on the cross He quoted the beginning of Psalm 22 in Aramaic (Mark 15:34 – the Footnote in Matthew 27:46 states in part: “In Mark the verse is cited entirely in Aramaic”). Other Aramaic rendering by Christ can be found in Mark 5:41 – “He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!””
[iii] References to Purgatory in the Bible: 2 Maccabees 12:46; Matthew 5:26, repeated in Luke 12:59; and, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. At the time of Jesus, 1 and 2 Maccabees were in the Jewish Bible and Jesus said, “and scripture cannot be set aside” (John 10:35). Therefore, these books are inspired like all the others.
[iv] St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on Philippians, 1:1 (A.D. 404), in NPNF2, XIII:184: “What is this? Were there several Bishops of one city? Certainly not…”
[v] Ibid. “Yet Presbyters would not have laid hands on a Bishop.”