SINS ARE FORGIVEN IN THE CHURCH

SINS ARE FORGIVEN IN THE CHURCH
Not Anywhere Else
An Open Letter to Non-Catholic Christians

These words are addressed to you, Protestants, Evangelicals and the Non-Denominational people. We have love for you as God’s creation and as His people, and, because of your love for Jesus and for your concern for the salvation of Catholics and others. (Indeed, so many Catholics could do with a zeal like yours; some are sure to benefit from reading this exhortation, as well). However, there are some hard facts that you have missed in your walk toward the Lord. So, I am going to ask you further down: “We, Catholics, have our sins forgiven in the Catholic Church, as Jesus had ordained. Where and how do you go about having your sins forgiven in this life on Earth?”

The Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Jesus Christ: Matthew 16:18 is in the SINGULAR! There is no other church for Christianity. And, there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, for those who know that fact! This is the hard fact. Protestant, Evangelical and the Non-Denominational people are joined to us in an imperfect communion through Baptism, which is a sacrament. Baptism is entrance into the Catholic Church as through a door.

So, now, you know that the Catholic Church and Catholics believe that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, for those who know that fact! This is very serious and requires investigating into on your part. To do that, you will have to prove that what the Catholic Church says about herself is wrong; not by what others say of her. Do that! I beseech you. And, if you cannot prove her wrong, you will have to join her.

No! The Catholic Church never went corrupt early on, or later. She is holy, composed of sinners, and that does not exclude the clergy. It is a fact that you got hold of the Bible through the Catholic Church. Corruption would mean that you now have a perverted Gospel and thus a corrupt Bible. The criterion for corruption depends solely on whether the Deposit of Faith was ever tampered with throughout 2,000 years. This is the criterion and this is the mission of the Catholic Church: Not submitting to false brothers, false teachers and the heretics, “so that the truth of the gospel might remain intact for you” (Galatians 2:5).

Jesus Christ instituted one and only one Church (Matthew 16:18 is in the singular, we said). St. Ignatius of Antioch was the first on record to call her the catholic Church, and he was the student of John and was ordained Bishop of Antioch by Peter and served for close to 40 years. He lived concurrently with John for more than 30 years. So, he knew the Gospel quite well. Therefore, Peter and John were Catholic; so was Paul; and, Jesus was the FIRST Catholic.

Jesus made His Apostles priests when He said “Do this in Remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24, and Luke 22:19). He confirmed their priesthood on Resurrection Day: “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:21-23). Paul was appointing bishops by the Laying on of Hands and was instructing his bishops to go and appoint bishops, priests and deacons (Titus 1:5). The Catholic Church is the only entity that has this full APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION by the Laying on of Hands (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; 2 Timothy 1: 6; Hebrews 6:1-2) dating back to Jesus Laying His Hands on the Apostles as last thing before His Ascension (Luke 24:52). Other churches cannot do that. Other churches cannot forgive sins in Persona Christi. The Catholic Church can, by the authority given her by Christ (John 20:21-23).

So, the Catholic Church has the priesthood, as I said, through APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION by the Laying on of Hands. This Laying on of Hands was never transferred to any Protestant, Evangelical or Non-Denominational entity anywhere, at any time.

The Catholic Church was the only Christian Church around for a thousand years! I challenge anyone to give me the name of one church other than the Catholic Church between the years 33 A.D. and 1,000 A.D.

Therefore, based on the previous two paragraphs, we logically arrive at three important conclusions that blow everything else sky high:

a. The word ‘church’ in the Bible refers to the Catholic Church!
b. The Catholic Church has all the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15), which nobody else has! And,
c.Therefore, the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation for those who know that fact, yet, refuse to enter her. Now, you know that this is what we think we know and you will have to investigate and see if we are right.

So, I ask you, good people, “Where and how do you go about having your sins forgiven in this life on Earth?” Your pastors cannot, and do not, forgive sins! So where do you go, straight to Jesus? Yes?!

You mean to say that you are willing to say to Jesus, “NO! I do not accept Your ordinance to go to the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, and the priests they have appointed for this purpose, as You have stipulated in John 20: 21-23! I want to go straight to you. Your Church is no good!”

I am sure Jesus would be mighty sad and offended hearing that from you; as sad as He was when the rich young man rejected His offer and left (Matthew 19:22-26). Among other things, you can expect Him to also say, ‘Did you forget that I said that the forces of the netherworld will not prevail against it?’

Therefore, if you do not like the situation depicted in the previous three paragraphs, then, your only recourse would be to join the Catholic Church. That would take nine months of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults), such that you end up accepting all that Christ and the Holy Spirit have revealed to the Apostles and are stored in the Catholic Church and nowhere else.

Before, you used to consider that this is unthinkable, but, did you stop to think of ascertaining things for yourself. By the mere fact that there are 33,000+ Protestant, Evangelical and Non-Denominational entities in the US alone, and most of them do not agree with each other, that should have been enough motivation for you to check out the only Church that they all agree to despise (through the ignorance of most, the lies of others and hearsay of the multitude)! Now, it is time to do just that. For 2,000 years past, Paul has been advising the faithful: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves” (2 Corinthians 13:5). “Test everything” says Paul (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Yes. Now, is the time to do just that! Could 165 million Americans be wrong?! Yes, yes and yes. Let me help you:

You say in brief, and I answer in brief (I could write plenty more)

1.  Catholics worship Mary. We definitely do not! We venerate her as the Mother of God. She is part of the Communion of Saints Par Excellence. You Say the Communion of Saints is among the living only, but, you cannot corroborate that statement. Who are you to come in 1517 A.D. and tell the Catholic Church what is meant by the Communion of Saints, when it has been a part of the Apostles’ Creed since the days of persecution and the catacombs, 1,400 years ago?! Check out the concept of the Communion of Saints from the words of the Early Church Fathers.

Also, take note that The Book of Revelation refers to ‘saints’ as being both in Heaven (Revelation 16:16, 17:6, and 18:20), and on Earth Revelation 13:7, 14:12, and 20:9). Why would they pray, if they do not know what is going on, on Earth?

The more Catholics venerate her, the more your people try to debase her, as if currying favor with Jesus, blindly oblivious of the fact that she is His Mother that they are debasing…His very own Mother! She was His teacher and became His disciple. Proof is in that she knew who He was. When she told Him that there is no wine, He answered what seemed to us as an unaccommodating response. What did she do? It is as if she turned her back to Him, when she told the servers, “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). She knew what He is capable of. Mother and Son where in communication high up.

Anyway, the Blessed Virgin Mary is more than part of the Communion of Saints. She is Mediatrix of all graces and Advocate. This should infuriate millions, a hundred million or more! All of them, the hundred or more millions, would not obey the Bible and call her the Blessed Virgin Mary (Luke 1:48), as the Holy Spirit in her made to proclaim. They will have to answer to her Son, if they do not repent.

Now, watch how the multitude can be dead wrong: Holy Mary is full of grace. She is full. She cannot be fuller. No one else in the Bible is full of grace (look in Catholic Bibles; no Protestant Bibles existed before 1517 A.D.). Now, Jesus is Jewish. The mother meant a lot. He preserved that as He and His parents preserved other Jewish traditions. Not only Joseph was of the House of David, but, she also was. It was God who gave Solomon wisdom more than was given to any human (1 Kings 3:12). Now, Typology:

1 Kings 2: 19 Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to intercede for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right.

From that day on, the Queen Mother ruled with her son, and not the wife (Jeremiah 13:18; and, 29:2, corroborate). The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the King of kings. So, she is the Queen of queens. This is why we call her Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate. She is the dispenser of her Son’s graces, since she is full of grace. Jesus is sole Mediator between man and God, the Father. The Blessed Virgin Mary, on the other hand, is Mediatrix between us and Jesus.

2. Catholics Worship Statues. We definitely do not! That is Idolatry, a grave sin. We use icons in worship to remind us of the information depicted in them, as they are full of details that speak volumes about the truths of the Church as given by Jesus, and, by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and thereafter. We use statues in worship to help us concentrate on the meanings of the prayers. In both cases, you must consider that Moses, Aaron and Eleazar were told by God to make icons and statues (shapes that are in Heaven and on Earth) for worship purposes. The prohibition to the Jews was to make things simple for them, who were still under training as God’s People.

And, though Jesus made the Apostles priests (super bishops, actually) at the last supper by commanding them, “Do this in Remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25; and, Luke 22:19), we, the laity, are also priests in a general sense “But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own…’” (1 Peter 2:9).

So, for worship purposes, in praying before statues we are not praying to the statues, rather, to the persons the statues represent. The Jews had not seen God or His Son.  But, we have seen Jesus! “The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents Christ. It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God, but the incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new “economy” of images” (CCC 1159).

Now, considering the episode of the serpent on the pole (Numbers 21:8-9) that God made Moses to make as a statue of sorts, Typology from the Old Testament expresses the Catholic Christian viewpoint marvelously: “For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the savior of all” Wisdom 16:7);

3. The Bible is the sole authority for Christians.  If there is no authority except what is in the Bible, then, where in the Bible does it say that it is the sole authority for Christians? Nowhere!!

Therefore, the Bible Alone is a false man-made doctrine!

4. Faith Alone is what is Required for Salvation! You Catholics try to gain Heaven through Works. Actually, this is what Jesus had against the Jews; that they did not have faith and were trying to gain heaven through works.  So, are you applying this to us, Catholics?! You mean to say that we Catholics do not have Faith in Jesus Christ?! Document your answer to this, NOW!

Sure we have Faith, but, Faith alone does not save. Demons believe that God is one, as we believe, and they tremble (James 2:19).

Coming to Paul, you must keep in mind that Paul, in Romans, Galatians and Ephesians, is addressing Jews and by every mention of works he means Works of the Law, whether he mentions it or not. So, listen to Paul saying we need both, Faith and Works: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast. For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). If we do not perform good works on a consistent basis, as means and opportunity permit, we will go to Hell, Jesus says (Matthew 25:45-46).

Jesus has as good as said that Faith Alone is a false man-made doctrine!

5. The Holy Spirit is in me and helps with my Personal Interpretation of the Bible.

And, who told you that you are trained to distinguish between the three types of prompts that have an effect on us? Yes, we have three types of prompts that have an effect on us:
a) The prompts of the Holy Spirit, who has been given us as a first installment (Romans 5:5);
b) The prompts of the flesh; our selfish desires (Matthew 26:41); and,
c) The prompts of the Devil (James 4:7). The Christian life consists of learning to distinguish between these types of prompts, discarding the prompts of the flesh and those of the Devil, and following those of the Holy Spirit.

Yes, it requires God’s grace for acquiring knowledge, for forming the conscience, and for absorbing training. God’s grace and understanding increase in those who accept His revelation of a mystery. Whereas, God’s grace is reduced or negated whenever a Christian does not accept any mystery that God has revealed:

Matthew 13: 12 To anyone who has, more will be given 5 and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

Footnote: 5 [12] In the New Testament use of this axiom of practical “wisdom” (see ⇒Matthew 25:29; ⇒ Mark 4:25; ⇒ Luke 8:18; ⇒ 19:26), the reference transcends the original level. God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away (note the “theological passive,” more will be given, what he has will be taken away).

And, all of you have rejected numerous mysteries that God has revealed (fully or in part) to the Apostles at Pentecost and thereafter. So, go ahead and rate yourself with regard to God’s grace upon you.

In paragraph 851, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, describes this very well: “Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation” (CCC 851).

All this shows that we cannot rely on Personal Interpretation. It is being proven day after day that by Personal Interpretation the Holy Spirit seams to be speaking differently; 33,000X1,000 times differently. With Personal Interpretation, each believer has made himself a pope. Better one Pope holding the Keys of the Kingdom than 33 million without any keys.

If the Word of God is to remain intact, it must be taught without error (then, as the Holy Spirit taught it to the Apostles), and it has to be transported, as taught, without error. All that can be done now is to explain it in the context of 2,000 years ago, in words conformant with today’s mentality, with any new scientific discovery explained in the totality of the meaning of the Gospel.

In any case, the Bible already says NO, to Personal Interpretation:

2 Peter 1: 20 Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, 21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

And, do not try to bank on the word prophesy. This is the definition of Prophesy:

The Catholic Encyclopedia: Understood in its strict sense, prophesy means the foreknowledge of future events. It may also apply to past events of which there is no memory, and to present hidden things which cannot be known by the natural light of reason. St. Paul, speaking of prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14, does not confine its meaning to predictions of future events, but includes under it Divine inspirations concerning what is secret, whether future or not.

So, the Bible is all prophesy.

Jesus has as good as said that Personal Interpretation is a false man-made doctrine!

So, tell me, without Faith Alone, without Bible Alone, and without Personal Interpretation, where exactly are you?

God bless.

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IS THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY ON YOUR CONSCIENCE?

IS THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY ON YOUR CONSCIENCE?

Well, she should be, if…

1…You have considered that she was just an instrument to be set aside once she delivered the Messiah;

  • God exalted her to the highest of heights for humans. She is Full of Grace. Aside from her Son, no one is as full than she is in all the Scriptures. She cannot be fuller. “Hail Mary full of grace” (Luke 1:28);
  • God exalted her to the highest of heights for humans. Filled with the Holy Spirit, she was prompted by the Holy Spirit to proclaim: “For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). Do you do her honor by referring to her as ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary’ whenever you utter her blessed name?
  • Jesus had great respect for the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was obedient to her when He was young (Luke 2:51), and He acquiesced to her when He was older: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). She was His first disciple (just ponder on John 2:5). In saying what she said, she knew what He was capable of! It would seem like she was ignoring Him; and,
  • In the Sacred Oral Word (which was before the Written Word), she was more prominent than she was in the Scriptures, but, talk of her was rather subdued in both, because there were many female deities around at the time, and an encounter with Holy Mary would have absolutely charmed people into believing she was a goddess (her being sinless by God’s will; Jesus is the only One who is sinless – by His own will). She and the Apostles did not want that to interfere with her Son’s mission.

2…If you do not believe that she was immaculately conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Ann;

  • Have you pondered on the fact that God, the Father, would not want His Son 9 months in the womb of a woman bearing the stain of Original Sin? “Blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42);
  • The Sacred Oral Word of Christ before, and of the Holy Spirit, at and after, Pentecost (called Tradition with a capital ‘T’) maintains that the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Immaculate Conception. And the Sacred Oral Word was before the Written Word by scores of years.

3…If you do not believe that she was a virgin before, during and after she gave birth to God, the Son;

  • Matthew 1:25 “He had no relations with her until she bore a son, 12 and he named him Jesus.” In the mentality of the time and place of this verse, the word ‘until’ implies no relations before, but, is noncommittal afterwards.
  • Footnote: 12 [25] Until she bore a son: the evangelist is concerned to emphasize that Joseph was not responsible for the conception of Jesus. The Greek word translated “until” does not imply normal marital conduct after Jesus’ birth, nor does it exclude it.
  • If the Blessed Virgin Mary is the Immaculate Conception and was prevented from contracting Original Sin, would you expect God, the Father, to allow her to have relations with someone who has contracted Original Sin? Sinless before, sinful after?

4…If you do not believe that she was, and still is, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate:

  • Since the Blessed Virgin Mary is full of grace, she is the dispenser of her Son’s graces.
  • Jesus (Luke 24:51) and Peter (Acts 1:20-22) used Typology from the Old Testament. Here’s another bit of Typology: 1 Kings 2:19: Then Bathsheba went to King Solomon to intercede for Adonijah, and the king stood up to meet her and paid her homage. Then he sat down upon his throne, and a throne was provided for the king’s mother, who sat at his right. From that day on, the Queen Mother ruled with her son, and not the wife (Jeremiah 13:18; and, 29:2). The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of the King of kings. So, she is the Queen of queens. This is why we call her Queen of Heaven and Earth, Mediatrix of all Graces and Advocate.
  •  Repent, and venerate her.  We do not worship her; that is reserved for God alone; but, we venerate her. At least venerate her as you are supposed to venerate all the saints in Heaven (the Communion of Saints in the Apostles’ Creed). Should you want to say that the Communion of Saints means only among the living, then, I ask: Who are you to say and explain what was in use 2,000 years ago, when we have the Catholic Church preserving the Gospel and explaining word usage?! The Book of Revelation refers to ‘saints’ as being both in Heaven (Revelation 5:7-8, 6:9, and, 8:3-4), and on Earth (Revelation 13:7, 14:12, and 20:9).  God bless.

Shedding some Light on the Mechanics of the Faith

Considering that the Catholic Church alone has all the Truth,[1] and considering that logic and reason dictate that we are bound to believe all that God has revealed, listen to the words of the expert:

Msgr. George Agius: “It is evident, then, not only that there may be truths contained in the Deposit of Faith which may not always have been explicitly believed, but that there are in reality truths which were once implicitly contained in the Deposit of Faith and which must now be explicitly believed by all, under pain of eternal damnation. This follows from more recent definitions of the Sovereign Pontiffs and of the Councils. Those doctrines did not belong to the Faith because the Church has not yet passed judgment. They only became a part of the Faith after the Church had solemnly proclaimed that they must be explicitly believed by all. Such are the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Infallibility of the Sovereign Pontiff.”[2]

Another such doctrine that surfaced after the book Tradition and the Church was written (1928), is that of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Body and Soul into Heaven (Pope Pius XII – 1950).[3]

[Do you find it farfetched that Holy Mary could have been assumed into Heaven Body and Soul?  Why?  Is Enoch better than she is? (Genesis 5:24).  Is Elijah better than she is? (2 Kings 2:11)].

More of Msgr. George Agius’ insights from the pages of Tradition and the Church:

Page 288: The Church has from darkness brought to light with her infallible authority some doctrines which, through human negligence or malice or perversity of mind, remained concealed. And mayhap (means perhaps – YT) there are some still hidden in the Church.

– The Church cannot be afraid of the truth. Is not her Divine Bridegroom “the way, the truth and the life?” Ignorance, rather, is one of her greatest enemies.

– It always was the pretense of knowing more than the Church that brought schism and heresy.

Page 289: God permits errors in order that truth may be made manifest.

Therefore, many of the beliefs of old have their doctrines and dogmas carry a much, much later date than they were first believed and that is because they were never ever challenged before.  When challenged, they were fully defined and defended.  We carry on:

Page 294: If any one says that in the dogma once proposed by the Church it is possible through the progress of science to give a different sense from the one which the Church understood and understands, let him be anathema (Vatican I Council C. III).

Page 295: In all this there can be no contradiction, no ambiguity, no place for retraction – even where the Church defines a dogma which is connected with another dogma as a further declaration of the truth.

My Footnote: Let it be known that because of the Divine Power of Revelation exhibited in the above statement on page 295, the Catholic Church has never ever made any retraction.  The Catholic Church has never ever been wrong on any issue touching on Faith and Morals.  We carry on, still on page 295:

The Apostles had nothing to learn from any human philosophy or science. They knew intimately the mysteries of the Faith and all Revelation by that supernatural gift with which the Holy Ghost filled them on the day of Pentecost. They acquired their knowledge directly from God by an infused science, which no human effort can ever reach or even approximate.  Behold:

1 Thessalonians 1: 5 For our gospel did not come to you in word alone, but also in power and in the holy Spirit and (with) much conviction.

Page 296: The Fathers always considered the “sciences to be founded on Faith.” “Faith comes first in order that the science of the things of the Faith may follow.”

Page 297: If, therefore, in the definitions of the Church there may be any progress, it is “the progress of the faithful in the Faith, rather than of the Faith in the faithful,” as St. Albert the Great remarks (3 Dist., 25A. I.).

The definitions of the Church, therefore, contain in themselves, not only a part of the truth, but all the truth, simple and pure.

All those explanations above, on this page, have a bearing on the writings on page 1.

God bless.

2.26.2015; Enhanced 4.21.2015

[1] Msgr. George Agius, Tradition and the Church, TAN Books.com, 1928, 2005, p. 289

[2] Ibid, pp. 286-287

[3] Ibid, Publisher’s footnote (2005) p. 287

IF ONLY YOU KNEW

IF ONLY YOU KNEW

  1. How the Catholic Church was Instituted by Christ;
  2. How the Catholic Church is Constructed;
  3. 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.

OPENING STATEMENT

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.

  1. 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).

  1. 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 ChristiThe 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]

  1. 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.

 ENDNOTES

[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.”

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD

KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
Reflections on the Word of God

There is no substitute for a thorough knowledge of God. Proverbs 19:2 says: “Without knowledge, even zeal is not good.” Since love is a God-graced decision based on God-graced knowledge, then, knowledge of God and knowledge of His will for us are to be considered fuel for our spirituality; for any personal relationship with Jesus. Because we are here to love God, and since one cannot love what one does not know, it follows that the more we come to know God, who is the Ultimate Good, the more will our love for Him increase. So, knowledge of God is a primary quest for us Christians, and is food for our spirituality.

Now, among the important things Peter has said, two complementary things stand out concerning Scripture:

2 Peter 3: 15 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, 16 speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.

2 Peter 1: 20 Know this first of all, that there is no prophecy of scripture that is a matter of personal interpretation, 21 for no prophecy ever came through human will; but rather human beings moved by the holy Spirit spoke under the influence of God.

So, Peter said ‘No’ to Personal Interpretation (which is a Protestant doctrine contrary to Scripture). The mention of ‘prophecy’ in the above quote does not help those who try to defend Personal Interpretation, because all Scripture is ‘prophecy,’ relying on its definition, as adapted from the Catholic Encyclopedia: Understood in its strict sense, prophesy means the foreknowledge of future events. It may also apply to past events of which there is no memory, and to present hidden things which cannot be known by the natural light of reason. As an example, St. Paul, speaking of prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14, does not confine its meaning to predictions of future events, but includes under it Divine inspirations concerning what is secret, whether future or not.

So, Scripture in many instances cannot be explained correctly by the reader himself. True, that the Holy Spirit that is in us is our Teacher, but, who says that we are trained to differentiate between the three main prompts that are in us, the prompts of the Holy Spirit who has been given us as a first installment (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; CCC 851); the prompts of the flesh, our selfish fleshly desires (Matthew 26:41); and, the prompts of the Devil (John 13:2; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)?

Not being trained to differentiate between these three main prompts that are in us, we are like a ship without a rudder. Actually, living the Christian life is learning to discern the inner voice of the Holy Spirit and learning to abide by His commands. For that, we need knowledge, and, we have no recourse but to go to “the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). There, stored within her, is all the Truth and all the Revelations of God. For, the Sacred Oral Word within her was before the Bible and the Bible was extracted from the Sacred Oral Word. The Sacred Oral Word ruled the Church throughout the first five centuries of her history. The Sacred Oral Word, nowadays, is called Sacred Tradition or Oral Tradition or just Tradition, with a Capital ‘T’ (2 Thessalonians 2:15; and, CCC 78, 79, and, 126).

The following paragraphs point out some difficult passages that cannot be explained correctly through one, two, or more readings. Even 10 readings are not sufficient to connect these passages with other passages and their footnotes to give ingredients that the Holy Spirit may use to give us understanding. This is why Peter and Paul, each hammered on us the words: ‘Knowledge of God’ and ‘Knowledge of His will for us.’ Actually, there are more than 30 Bible verses that specifically mention ‘knowledge of God,’ ‘knowledge of His will,’ or ‘knowledge of the truth’ (Romans 11:33, 12:2, 15:14; 1 Corinthians 1:5, 15:34; 2 Corinthians 2:14, 4:6, 8:7, 10:5; 11:6; Ephesians 1:17, 4:13, 5:17; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9, 10, 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25, 3:7; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:2, 3, 5, 8, 2:20, 3:18; 1 John 2:3-6+12-17+20+their Footnotes). Best of all is Paul’s: “For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34). Also, Ephesians 5:17: “Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.”

Reading the Scriptures from Catholic Bibles and referring to the footnotes and the cross references will definitely help the building blocks of knowledge and prepare and train the reader to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit and to be receptive to His guidance. So will the reading of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially through the use of its semi-interactive subject index. Just Google: catechism index and select the Vatican index and the St. Charles Borromeo Church index. Each has its own specific application. Thumbnail them among your ‘Favorites.’

In this endeavor of getting to know God better, here below are some explications of a few difficult Bible passages based on the wordings and the Footnotes of the New American Bible:

Difficult Passage No. 1
It is appropriate to start difficult passages with this one, as the concept is basic and can be utilized hereafter:

Matthew 13: 12 To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.

And you thought that this passage was about money and business! Well, think again! Now, read the footnote:

Footnote: In the New Testament use of this axiom of practical “wisdom” (see Matthew 25:29; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18); the reference transcends the original level [money, possessions – YT]. God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away (note the “theological passive,” more will be given, what he has will be taken away).

Therefore, in our quest to know God more (so we can love Him more, because love is a God-graced decision based on God-graced knowledge), if we accept His revealed truths, more truths will be revealed, because Jesus promised to reveal Himself to those who love Him:

John 14: 21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.

In one way, you got this one wrong, didn’t you? See what you miss when you try to interpret Scripture without the Church!

Difficult Passage No. 2
Matthew 18: 1 At that time the disciples approached Jesus and said, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a child over, placed it in their midst, 3 and said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

You have read this before and you thought that the presumed innocence of children is the passport to eternal life. Well, think again! And now, read the footnote:

Footnote: Become like children: the child is held up as a model for the disciples not because of any supposed innocence of children but because of their complete dependence on, and trust in, their parents. So must the disciples be, in respect to God

You got this one wrong too, didn’t you? See what you miss when you try to interpret Scripture without the Church!

Difficult Passage No. 3
John 5: 25 Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

John 5: 28 Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.

While reading this before, you dismissed the matter as being repetition by Jesus, did you not? Well, think again!
And now, read the footnote:

Footnote: While John 5:19-27 present realized eschatology, John 5:28-29 are future eschatology; cf Daniel 12:2
(Eschatology is that branch of systematic theology which deals with the doctrines of the last things – Catholic Encyclopedia).

So, it is not repetition. You got that one wrong as well, didn’t you? See what you miss when you try to interpret Scripture without the Church!

Difficult Passage No. 4
Ephesians 4: 10 The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things. 11 And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

You found nothing extraordinary in verse 11, above, have you? Well there is, and it is a big deal: If you count the tasks, you will find them to be five, but, if you take the grammar into account, you will discover that the persons are four. St. Augustine made an exhortation some 1,600 years ago concerning this, explaining that Paul put pastors and teachers together as one entity to indicate that the pastor has a double duty of pastoring and teaching! The words ‘others as’ joins the two together into one person. Check the footnote below:

Footnote: 4 [11] Concerning this list of ministers, cf 1 Corinthians 12:28 and Romans 12:6-8. Evangelists: missionary preachers (cf Acts 21:8; 2 Timothy 4:5), not those who wrote gospels. Pastors and teachers: a single group in the Greek, shepherding congregations.

So, it is not business as usual for that sentence. You got that one wrong as well, didn’t you? See what you miss when you try to interpret Scripture without the Church!

So have millions who have subscribed to Personal Interpretation. NO TO PERSONAL INTERPRETATION!!! And, that makes the Church a necessity, which is not what our Separated Brethren want. They have the Bible Alone, as doctrine, and have no need for the Church, they say. The Bible Alone, as doctrine, is erroneous, and we can prove it. That makes the Church a necessity!

She provides us with Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. And, she provides us with more knowledge of God and knowledge of His will for us through Sacred Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Timothy 3:15; CCC 77, 78, 83, 126) and Sacred Scripture, i.e., the Deposit of Faith, which has been guarded zealously by the (Catholic) Church through 2,000 years to bring it to us, unadulterated and protected from change, just as Paul described in Galatians 2:4-5. Both, the Church, with the Sacred Real Presence of the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and the Deposit of Faith are necessary to keep us on track. In fact, such knowledge is the fuel for any personal – as well as any communal – relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord!

Let St. Vincent explain it to you, again:

St. Vincent of Lerins (d. after 434 A.D.) “Guard” says St. Paul, “what has been committed”. What does it mean? It is what has been faithfully entrusted to you, not what has been discovered by you; what you have received, not what you have thought up; be not the leader but the follower!

What has been entrusted to Timothy, the bishop, is guarded by the Church, in the Church! The Catholic Church is necessary for salvation. Refer to CCC 837 (http://www.catholicdoors.com/catechis/cat0781.htm#836).

God bless.

LOVE IS A DECISION

LOVE IS A DECISION
Love is a God graced Decision based on God Graced Knowledge

The world would have you believe that love is a feeling. Well, the world would have you believe many things that are not true. Why? Because, we Christians, are not of this world (John 17:14) and the world is in the grip of the evil one, the prince of darkness (John 14:30; and 1 John 5:19). And, the prince of darkness is at war with God, knowing that he has but little time left (Revelation 12:12). He tries to use us as his pawns, only to discard us, after we have done his wish unknowingly (or knowingly, when we are deluded). However, his plans are not unknown to us (2 Corinthians 2:5). Satan will even try to kill us, as soon as possible after having us commit mortal sin in order to guarantee us hell, not unless he can trust us to stay with him to do other evil chores; then, he will postpone his attempt at murder for later; but, sooner or later he will want to do it. However, we are not afraid:

James 4: 7 So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5: 7 Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you. 8 Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for (someone) to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.

Now, we know that love and knowledge go together; for, love is a decision and not a feeling, as the world would want us to believe. Love is accompanied by feelings, but, it is not a feeling. It is a God graced decision based on God graced knowledge. One loves what one knows, not what one does not know. Anyway, both love and knowledge are bestowed on us through the grace of God. Here are some Bible and Church insinuations concerning love and knowledge. Notice how knowledge and love keep coming together, whether in the Bible or in the Catechism:

Philippians 1: 9 And this is my prayer: that your love may increase ever more and more in knowledge and every kind of perception

This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church – CCC (www.vatican.va/archive/index.htm) starts off (the heading and the first and the third paragraphs). Notice how love and knowledge come together also in other paragraphs (the underlined bold fonts are added for accentuation):

I. The life of man – to know and love God
CCC 1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.
CCC 3 Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ’s faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer.
CCC 158 “Faith seeks understanding”: it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love.
CCC 356 Of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”. He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”, and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God’s own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity:
CCC 429 From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to “evangelize”, and to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ.
CCC 477 At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.”
CCC 2614 When Jesus openly entrusts to his disciples the mystery of prayer to the Father, he reveals to them what their prayer and ours must be, once he has returned to the Father in his glorified humanity. What is new is to “ask in his name.” Faith in the Son introduces the disciples into the knowledge of the Father, because Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life.” Faith bears its fruit in love.
CCC 2715 Contemplation is a gaze of faith, fixed on Jesus. “I look at him and he looks at me”: this is what a certain peasant of Ars in the time of his holy curé used to say while praying before the tabernacle. This focus on Jesus is a renunciation of self. His gaze purifies our heart; the light of the countenance of Jesus illumines the eyes of our heart and teaches us to see everything in the light of his truth and his compassion for all men. Contemplation also turns its gaze on the mysteries of the life of Christ. Thus it learns the “interior knowledge of our Lord,” the more to love him and follow him.

Notice the sequence in the paragraphs above, (we are here assuming initial reception of faith by God’s grace): Increase in knowledge increases faith, and this in turn increases love. This is most prominent in the last phrase of CCC 158; also, in CCC 2614.

Now, behold. The Catechism even gives us the opposite case:

CCC 1792 Ignorance of Christ and his Gospel, bad example given by others, enslavement to one’s passions, assertion of a mistaken notion of autonomy of conscience, rejection of the Church’s authority and her teaching, lack of conversion and of charity: these can be at the source of errors of judgment in moral conduct.

Are we now convinced that we love what we know, not what we do not know? The more we know about someone, the more we are able to love that person, if the qualities we come to know about in him/her are likeable.

THROUGH KNOWLEDGE FROM THE SCRIPTURES, WE KNOW OUR GOD, THE ONE AND ONLY GOD! HE IS OUR:

Awesome God: Luke 1:36-37 Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 1:19 + 27-28; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7 Revelation 2:23
Who makes the Impossible Possible: Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37 + 18:27; John 15:5; Hebrews 11:6
He is the Searcher of Hearts and Minds: Matthew 6:18; Luke 16:15; Act 1:24-25; Romans 8:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 John 3:19-20; Revelation 2:23
The Omnipotent (The Almighty, the only One infinite in power): Romans 1:20; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8
The Omnipresent (The only One present everywhere at the same time): Acts 17:27; Hebrew 4:13; Revelation 2:23
The Omniscient (The only One with infinite knowledge): Matthew 12:25; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Timothy 2:7; Revelation 2:23
And the Omnificent (The only One having all powers of creation): John 1:3; Romans 4:17; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7

If we get to know all these attributes of God, we would come to realize that there can be no one better than Him. There is no way we can come to love anyone or anything more than Him. God is the All Loving, the All Compassionate, the All Merciful and the All Just and Impartial God that He is. He is our Awesome God; the Searcher of hearts and minds; our Creator; our Sustainer!

Now, because we have come to know that God is the Ultimate Good, we have the potential to love Him above all else, depending on our knowledge of Him. The more we know Him, the more will our love for Him be. And this is what we must do: realize that potential and get to know Him well. Knowing that through the grace of God, love is a decision based on knowledge, the Apostles repeatedly urge us to get to know God and know His will for us:

1 Corinthians 15: 34 Become sober as you ought and stop sinning. For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame.

Ephesians 1: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.

Colossians 1: 9 Therefore, from the day we heard this, we do not cease praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding

1 Timothy 2: 3 This is good and pleasing to God our savior, 4 who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 1: …2 may grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

2 Peter 3: 18 But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory now and to the day of eternity. (Amen.)

So, why are these things being said?! Because, if we think we love God a lot and yet know very little about Him, we are deceiving ourselves. If we want to love God more, we need to get to know Him better.

It was revealed to us that conversion is a daily process (2 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 1:6+2:13; and 1 Thessalonians 5:24, all together). So, let us give this process a chance, and let us get to know God better. How do we get to know God more and better? We read the Scriptures regularly; we read Church teachings regularly; we pray constantly (CCC 2742-2745); we meditate; we contemplate; we fast; we ask for wisdom (James 1:5). The more we look for God, the more He reveals Himself to us (Luke 10:22; and, John 14:21). Have you not come across Matthew 13:12 “To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away?” This is explained in the New American Bible thus: ‘The reference’ here ‘transcends the original level’ [money, possessions]. ‘God gives further understanding to one who accepts the revealed mystery; from the one who does not, he will take it away.’ Therefore, let us get to know all about God, that we may love Him above all things (Luke 14:26).

Therefore, let us get into the habit of daily Scripture reading starting with the New Testament and with the four Gospels. We are to study utilizing a Catholic Bible. We are not against our Separated Brethren, but, they have chosen to remove seven books from the Old Testament of their Bibles (Refer to 5 Myths about 7 Books in Chapter Twelve), and this is not acceptable under any circumstance. Additionally, since there is copyright involved, and a translator needs to choose other words, some of their Bibles have words chosen to reflect their understanding of the meaning of Scripture, which follows Personal Interpretation; which in turn produces errors. Peter warned us of this in 2 Peter 1:20-21.

The New American Bible is a good choice. It is the English Language Bible of the Catholic Church in America. It is what is being read at Mass every day throughout America. It is the Bible on the Vatican website!!

We are to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church regularly, and to read only Catholic books; those with a NIHIL OBSTAT and IMPRIMATOR in the copyright page. Do not read non-Catholic literature as there will always be errors within, and something crucial is always missing in them. We are people of the Whole Truth. So, do not settle for anything less. Besides, with Personal Interpretation, error is bound to find its way in (2 Peter 1:20-21; and, 3:15-18). The explanation here is that not everyone who examines the prompts that are in him is able to distinguish the prompts of the flesh or those of the Evil One, from those of the Holy Spirit (CCC 851). Why would I want to read books by other Christian thinkers and theologians? They are all deficient, because their authors have not researched enough to qualify them to address us, the laity. Had they researched enough, they would have been able to discover that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Christ. Behold, Matthew 16:18-19, is in the singular!!! So, listen not to the learned who have not researched enough to discover that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord!!!

The Church teaches us that “Salvation is found in the truth” (CCC 851). And the Catholic Church, being the one and only Church instituted by Christ, has all the Truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Consequently, salvation is found only in the Catholic Church for those who know this. If one does not know, it is a different matter and is subject to God’s will and mercy, and His Word (John 15:22; 1 Timothy 1:13). But, now, you know this. I have told you. Therefore, your salvation is through the Catholic Church. That’s the common sense given us by God. I say all this with love for all of God’s people. There is no animosity or ill feeling toward anyone. We are all entitled to all of God’s Truth.

So, do not stay in ignorance (Acts 17:30; and, Ephesians 5:17). St. Jerome, who in 400 A.D. translated the Bible into Latin said: “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”! So, let us delve into the Truth. We have plenty of catching up to do, and plenty of love to give God and His people; His creation. If we start the process, we are on holy ground and we are safe, because: “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24), and, another insight: “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus” 5 (Philippians 1:6).

Keep it up and never give up, and salvation is yours! Remember, conversion is a daily, life long process (2 Corinthians 4:16) of employing our God given free will, to gradually give up our will, for that of the Father. That is the definition of the Road to Salvation! Let us all walk it!

EXCERPTS FROM PORTA FIDEI
The following are just a few paragraphs to show the importance of knowledge of the Faith, as depicted by this Encyclical of two Popes: Pope Francis and Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus:

1. From Paragraph 4:
My venerable Predecessor the Servant of God Paul VI announced one in 1967, to commemorate the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul on the 19th centenary of their supreme act of witness. He thought of it as a solemn moment for the whole Church to make “an authentic and sincere profession of the same faith”; moreover, he wanted this to be confirmed in a way that was “individual and collective, free and conscious, inward and outward, humble and frank”. [5] He thought that in this way the whole Church could reappropriate “exact knowledge of the faith, so as to reinvigorate it, purify it, confirm it, and confess it.”

2. From Paragraph 10e:
Evidently, knowledge of the content of faith is essential for giving one’s own assent, that is to say, for adhering fully with intellect and will to what the Church proposes. Knowledge of faith opens a door into the fullness of the saving mystery revealed by God. The giving of assent implies that, when we believe, we freely accept the whole mystery of faith, because the guarantor of its truth is God who reveals himself and allows us to know his mystery of love.[18]

3. From Paragraph 11a:
In order to arrive at a systematic knowledge of the content of the faith, all can find in the Catechism of the Catholic Church a precious and indispensable tool. It is one of the most important fruits of the Second Vatican Council. In the Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, signed, not by accident, on the thirtieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Blessed John Paul II wrote: “this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church … I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith.”

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/motu_proprio/documents/hf_ben-xvi_motu-proprio_20111011_porta-fidei_en.html

SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH

SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
GUIDING SOULS TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
Our Most Important Link to the Early Church

Do you want to know what the Apostles taught? Then read the writings of St. Ignatius of Antioch!

One cannot underestimate the importance of St. Ignatius of Antioch as a vital historical link in the fabric of the Early Church. He was the very first person on record to call the Church the ‘catholic Church’ (catholic=katholikos=universal). His special status and the fact that his writings survived are key to his importance as that vital historical link. With respect to present day Christian evangelization, St. Ignatius of Antioch (50-107 A.D.) is the most important saint in the Church. This is because some claim that our Church became corrupt early on, and St. Ignatius proves them wrong! This is where his importance lies.

A staunch Non-Denominational Christian friend of mine gave me a lot of trouble in my efforts to present the Catholic Christian Truth to him. Nothing seemed to register with him until I came to speak of St. Ignatius. After a pensive pause and with an altered non-combative tone (how sincere was that stance, I do not know), he said to me, “How is the Church of our Lord linked to the Catholic Church of St. Ignatius?” I told him, “She is one and the same!” It is just that the name ‘Catholic’ came afterwards. And, I proceeded to illustrate my point, basing my information (today) mostly on data provided by the Catholic Encyclopedia, under ‘Ignatius of Antioch, Saint’ (newadvent.org), on the Bible, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and on his writings:

Saint Ignatius was born in Syria around 50 A.D. and died a martyr in Rome in 107 A.D. He was appointed to the See of Antioch by St. Peter, the Head Apostle, and, along with his friend St. Polycarp (martyred in 155 A.D.), Bishop of Smyrna, were disciples of St. John, the Apostle, the Beloved Disciple, who reclined his head on the Lord’s chest at the Last Supper (John 13:23-25). St. Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch for some 40 years, and he and St. John knew each other for a third of a century!

The Catholic Encyclopedia says this about St. Ignatius: “All the sterling qualities of ideal pastor and a true soldier of Christ were possessed by the Bishop of Antioch in a preeminent degree. Accordingly, when the storm of the persecution of Domitian broke in its full fury upon the Christians of Syria, it found their faithful leader prepared and watchful. He was unremitting in his vigilance and tireless in his efforts to inspire hope and to strengthen the weaklings of his flock against the terrors of the persecution.”

Later on, Emperor Trajan, upon his victory over the Scythians and Dacians, decreed while sojourning in Antioch that Christians are to offer sacrifice to the gods, along with all the rest of the people, and threatened persecution. Bishop Ignatius was alert and tried by all means to thwart the Emperor’s plans. His success did not remain a secret for long and the Emperor ordered him to be chained and taken to Rome to be fed to the wild beasts.

Of the great trials he endured, Ignatius writes, “From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated.”

His trajectory on this long trek was by sea to Southern Asia Minor (Turkey), and then by land. “At Laodicea, on the River Lycus, where a choice of routes presented itself, his guards selected the more northerly, which brought the prospective martyr through Philadelphia and Sardis, and finally to Smyrna, where Polycarp, his fellow-disciple in the school of St. John, was bishop. The stay at Smyrna, which was a protracted one, gave the representatives of the various Christian communities in Asia Minor an opportunity of greeting the illustrious prisoner, and offering him the homage of the Churches they represented. From the congregations of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles, deputations came to comfort him. To each of these Christian communities he addressed letters from Smyrna, exhorting them to obedience to their respective bishops, and warning them to avoid the contamination of heresy. These letters are redolent with the spirit of Christian charity, apostolic zeal, and pastoral solicitude. While still there he wrote also to the Christians of Rome, begging them to do nothing to deprive him of the opportunity of martyrdom.” He reached Rome after a protracted voyage by land and sea, and was promptly martyred in 107 A.D.

Of course, this biography is very interesting. Providence would have it that the soldiers at one point in their trek, while in present day Asia Minor (Turkey), came across a fork in the road and decided to travel the northern route, thus taking St. Ignatius through the territory previously traveled by Paul. He stayed with his friend, St. Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, for a good while and all the churches sent delegates to honor him and bid him farewell on his journey to martyrdom and on to eternal life with the Lord. It was a journey of courage and love and of enlightenment for all.

“The occasion of St. Ignatius’ trip to Rome proved to be a unifying event for all of the early Churches. Through his letters, he confirmed the hierarchy of bishop, priest, and deacon for the early Churches, the pattern which still exists today [The Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 1593, quotes St. Ignatius in his Letter to Tralles 3:1, as saying: without the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church]. His letters are treasures of the Christian faith.” (www.maryourmother.net/Ignatius.html ).

On his way, St. Ignatius wrote a total of seven letters: one each to the churches at Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and one to his friend St. Polycarp (d. 155 A.D.), Bishop of Smyrna. These letters remind us of the seven letters to the seven churches which the Lord revealed to St. John in Revelation 2, and 3.

All is well and good, but, the prime importance of St. Ignatius lies in six factors, no doubt engineered by God:
1. St. Ignatius was the disciple of John, the beloved of Jesus, our Lord;
2. St. Ignatius was ordained Bishop of Antioch by Peter, the Rock on which our Lord built His Church;
3. St. Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch for some 40 years and lived concurrently with the Apostle John for more than a third of a century;
4. Therefore, due to his proximity to the Apostles, we can say that he knew what he was talking about. This is why we say that his words are, in effect, the Gospel Truth!
5. St. Ignatius wrote seven letters on his journey to martyrdom; and,
6. These seven letters survived! They are Apologetics masterpieces. He explained things where they needed to be explained. So, now we have a microscope or a telescope into the Early Church.

To recapitulate, in his writings, St. Ignatius:
1. Was the first on record to call the Church the catholic Church;
2. Spoke of the virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary;
3. Spoke of the hierarchal structure of the Church;
4. Spoke of the status and esteem that the faithful are to have for their bishop;
5. Spoke about schisms and those who produce them;
6. Spoke about the return to the unity of the faith by those who follow perpetrators of schisms; and,
7. Spoke about the Eucharist.

This is where things become interesting; getting a glimpse of the dawn of Christianity, and how the Apostles understood things explained to them by the Holy Spirit as per the Lord’s instructions:

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.”

In writing the prominent quotes cited further below, St. Ignatius was confirming the truths God taught, which the Apostles handed down to their disciples parallel to the rules Paul set forth before Timothy:

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

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.

In the first quote, in verse 14, notice that the Holy Spirit is the One who guards this rich trust in the minds of those who are to teach. This is how Tradition (with a capital ‘T’), or the Sacred Oral Word, which was before the Written Word, was preserved from error, supernaturally, then as now. Now, on to St. Ignatius. This is what he had to say from what he was taught by John:

St. Ignatius of Antioch: “Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the catholic Church.”
Letter to the Smyrnians (8:1-2)

St. Ignatius of Antioch: “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,”
Letter to the Smyrnians (7:1)

St. Ignatius of Antioch: “For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ are also with the bishop, and as many as shall, in the exercise of repentance, return into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall belong to God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ.
Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God. If any one walks according to a strange opinion, he agrees not with the Passion of Christ.” Letter to the Philadelphians (3:2)

St. Ignatius of Antioch: “Mary’s virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord’s death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God’s silence.” Letter to the Ephesians (19:1)

John Henry Cardinal Newman, himself a convert to Catholicism, said something quite true: “To become deep in history is to cease to be Protestant, and, to cease to be deep in history is to become Protestant.” Had Martin Luther been versed in history and versed on the unique status of St. Ignatius, he would not have started the Reformation (from without)! He would have realized that as an Augustinian monk in the Catholic Church, he was in the Church that Jesus Christ instituted, and his obedience is therefore required. He would never have left.

So, to my friend, I explained (not as clearly as now) that since Ignatius was in the Catholic Church, saying what he said in the foregoing, and since he was appointed to this position in the Church by Peter, and since he had many years in common with his mentor John (a third of a century!), then, he knew what he was talking about, and his words are part of the Truth of the Gospel as he learned it from St. John!

Since St. Ignatius knew what he was talking about, read his sayings above and believe in the Eucharist, that it is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Believe what he wrote about those who cause schisms in the Church and believe about those who return to the unity of the Church and act on those beliefs. Believe what he says about the Virgin birth and about the Blessed Virgin Mary and about hierarchy in the Church, as depicted in these paragraphs from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

CCC 496: From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says:

You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen.

CCC 498: People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark’s Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus’ virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. The meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the “connection of these mysteries with one another” in the totality of Christ’s mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: “Mary’s virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord’s death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God’s silence.”

CCC 1549: Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.

CCC 1593: Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishops, that of presbyters, and that of deacons. The ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church: without the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church (cf. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3, 1).

He pretty well covered it all. Do you want to know more about the Church? Then, read all his seven letters. They survived, through God’s providential election! A good address for you would be the website of the renowned historical theologian, author and TV personality, Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio:
http://www.crossroadsinitiative.com/library_author/45/St._Ignatius_of_Antioch.html.

So now, we can say that as Catholics, we are in the Church that Jesus Christ our Lord instituted. We can also say that both Peter and John were in the Catholic Church, even before it was called so; as similarly, Peter was the first Pope, even before the term had been put into use later for his successors; as similarly Stephen, who was martyred very early on (Acts 7:60), is considered Christian, even though the term was first put into use in Antioch after his death (Acts 11:26). By the same token, Christ is both Christian and Catholic! The Very First!!

Now, all that Catholics need to do is behave as people worthy of this privilege, and all other Christians need to do is drop everything and come home and help rejuvenate Catholics!

In conclusion, we can say that the Catholic Church is not a denomination, and we are not a sect. We are the Church that Jesus Christ instituted and He instituted no other Church (Matthew 16:18 is in the singular)! We are not boasting here, rather, stating a fact. We have no reason to boast. In fact, humility is the order of the day, since we are not living up to our calling as we should.

Actually, the Catholic Church is composed of 23 Churches: One Roman Catholic and 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. These 23 Churches can be either patriarchal or metropolitan or independent with a head. For every Eastern Catholic Church, there is an Orthodox counterpart, except for the Maronite Church. It never split with Rome. There are some differences between all of them where it pertains to the Liturgy itself. There are more prayers in the Eastern Liturgy, because, for instructional purposes, there is more theology in the Liturgy. Odd things for Roman Catholics are that in the Eastern Churches, the posture of reverence is standing. There is no kneeling, throughout. Communion is by intinction; never by hand. Whatever Rite the Mass belongs to, follow its rules; in Eastern Masses, stand or sit as the Liturgy specifies; in a Roman Catholic Mass, sit, stand, kneel, as specified in the Missal.

CATHOLIC FAITH TENNETS

ABRIDGED CATHOLIC FAITH TENETS
That People are Mostly Ignorant of

GOD
1. GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:16). Love is a Decision. Love is a God-graced Decision based on God-graced Knowledge. Knowledge and Love go together (Philippians 1:9; and CCC 1, 3, 158, 356, 2614, and 2715). One cannot love what one does not know (Logic). We are not talking here about the exaltation of knowledge and Gnosticism. “Without knowledge even zeal is not good” (Proverbs 19:2). There are at least 30 mentions of knowledge of God, of His will, of the Truth, etc…in the Bible. Because God is the Ultimate Good, the more you know about Him and His attributes, the more you will love Him. So, get to know God.

2. GOD KNEW US AND CHOSE US BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD (Jeremiah 1:4; Ephesians 1:3-4); and He called us (Romans 8:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, and CCC 2567). Man was created to serve and love God (CCC 358, 1721).

3. GOD GAVE US FREE WILL (Deuteronomy 30:19; Sirach 15:14-20; CCC 1711, and 1730).

4. WE MUST ACCEPT ALL OF GOD’S REVELATIONS. We cannot pick and choose. In not accepting any one revelation, we would be committing the Unpardonable Sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, thus, attributing to Satan what is the work of the Spirit of God. Ref: Matthew 12:31-32 and its footnote in the New American Bible (NAB): http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PVL.HTM#-31B.

5. GOD GIVES FURTHER UNDERSTANDING TO ONE WHO ACCEPTS THE REVEALED MYSTERY. “To anyone who has, more will be given 5 and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Ref: Matthew 13:12 and its footnote in the New American Bible (NAB): http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PVM.HTM#-31R.

6. GOD REVEALS HIMSELF TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM. “Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him” (John 14:21).

THE CHURCH
7. GOD MADE HIS APOTLES PRIESTS, when, at the Last Supper, He said to them, “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:24 & 25). Then, again, He confirmed it when He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained” (John 20:22-23).

8. THE CHURCH IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION for those who know that fact. “Salvation is found in the truth,” for those who have knowledge of that fact. Therefore, from among those who have faith, there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, for those who know that fact (CCC 846).

9. OUR FAITH COMES FROM THE FAITH OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. The Catholic Church believed and so we did: “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” – St. Cyprian (d. 258 A.D.) (CCC 119). “But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me” – St. Augustine (354-430) (CCC 119).

10. THE WORD ‘CHURCH’ IN THE BIBLE IS ALWAYS REFERRING TO THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107A.D.) was the first on record to call her the ‘catholic Church.’ He was the disciple of John and lived concurrently with him for a third of a century. He was ordained to the See of Antioch by Peter. So, he was an Apostolic Man. Therefore, Peter and John were Catholic and Jesus was the First Catholic. If anybody does not like the present day Capital ‘C’ in Catholic, as opposed to the small ‘c’ that is in the Creed, let it be known that the rules of grammar demand it, because for one thousand years, there was no other church in existence. The Letters and Gospels were written between 48 and 95 A.D. and compiled into the Canon of the New Testament in 382, 393, and 397 A.D., then, exactly as they are in the Catholic Bible today, at 27 Books. Similarly and simultaneously for the Old Testament Canon, all the 46 Books present in the Septuagint at the time of Jesus are as they are now in the Catholic Bible.
The point is that all these events took place during the first one thousand years, when there was no other church in existence, except, the Catholic Church. Hence, the ‘church’ in the Bible is the Catholic Church!

11. Throughout, there was one church, one Gospel and one Bible, as things are now in the Catholic Church.

The Holy Bible is a divinely inspired document that the Catholic Church was entrusted with.

NO OTHER ENTITY CAN HAVE CLAIM TO IT AND NO ENTITY, INCLUDING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, IS ALLOWED TO DELETE FROM IT OR ADD TO IT BOOKS OR PARTS OF BOOKS OR WORD/S SO AS TO CHOOSE WORDS TO REFLECT DIFFERENT BELIEFS.

12. THE SACRED ORAL WORD (THE GOSPEL) WAS THERE FIRST, BEFORE THE WRITTEN WORD. The Bible was extracted from the Sacred Oral Word that we call Tradition or Sacred Tradition, with a capital ‘T.’ One proof is in history showing that nothing was written between the Ascension (33 A.D.) and the year 48 A.D., the year of the first Letter to have ever been written. This is pursuant of the Lord’s promise to the Apostles: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth” (John 16:12-13). And the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost and taught the Apostles, supernaturally.

13. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ALONE HAS ALL THE TRUTH: “…the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). We have already established that the word ‘church’ in the Bible always refers to the Catholic Church.

THE FAITHFUL
14. WE ARE BUILT IN THE IMAGE AND LIKENESS OF GOD (Genesis 1:26). When we sin, we are no longer in His likeness, but, we remain in His image.

15. CONVERSION IS A DAILY, LIFELONG PROCESS (2 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 1:6; CCC 1435; 1436; 1439; 1490; 1888; and 2784). Never fail to remember that! “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often” (Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman). Conversion is renewal (CCC 1989). Time of conversion: NOW! (2 Corinthians 6:2; CCC 1041). There might be no other opportunity available later on.

16. END OF THE WORLD AND TIME OF OUR PERSONAL PARTICULAR JUDGMENT OCCURS AT OUR DEATH. “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment…” (Hebrews 9:27; CCC 1021-2; 1051).

17. AT THE ONSET OF CONVERSION, WE MUST PROGRESS TO STRONG FAITH ASAP that we may not remain in the bracket of weak faith and fall back into apostasy. This requires and entails acquiring more knowledge of God, His precepts and His will for each one of us. Studying Scriptures daily, praying and referring to the Catechism of the Catholic Church are the constants. So are any combination of the following, as the day dictates: Conversion is accomplished in daily life by: a) gestures of reconciliation; b) concern for the poor; c) the exercise and defense of justice and right; d) by the admission of faults to one’s brethren; e) fraternal correction; f) revision of life; g) examination of conscience; h) spiritual direction; i) acceptance of suffering; and, j) endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one’s cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance (CCC 1435).

Thereafter, perseverance is the required mode of operation throughout life (Hebrews 7:11-12).

18. We have 3 main prompts working in us: THE PROMPTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, who has been given us as a first installment (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; CCC 851); THOSE OF THE FLESH; our selfish desires (Matthew 26:41); and, THOSE OF THE DEVIL (John 13:2; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9). The Christian life is a matter of learning to distinguish between these three types of prompts, discarding the other two and following the prompts of the Holy Spirit, our Teacher (CCC 2766). “Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation” (CCC 851).

19. IF WE FAIL TO MEET THE SERIOUS NEEDS OF THE POOR AND THE LITTLE ONES WHO ARE HIS BRETHREN, AND WE DIE UNREPENTANT, WE GO TO HELL. “…He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matthew 25:45-46; CCC 1033).

20. A WORD OF CAUTION: For those who claim that the Catholic Church was corrupt early on, let it be known that Jesus Christ Himself gave her the promise that she will never die (Matthew 16:18). These are unfounded allegations based on the disjointed actions of ignorant/insincere Catholics, whom popes had difficulty in controlling due to geographical disparity and lengthy, time consuming communication channels. Of course, reform was needed, but, from within and not by leaving and protesting from outside. Reform then took place and is ongoing!

The fact of the matter is that the Catholic Church is Holy (as the Creed states), composed of sinners, and this includes the clergy. When we pray for the deceased who are in Purgatory (2 Maccabees 12:46), we realize we are praying for some popes, bishops, priests, monks and nuns, who are sure to be there. Some were false brothers and the ravenous wolves that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:15. And some are the injected savage wolves and the men from our own group who “will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them,” which Paul spoke of in his dramatic farewell speech in Asia Minor in Acts 20:29-30.

All of these had no effect on the Deposit of Faith throughout history; we know that from the structure of the Catholic Church and the Apostolic Succession she possessed and abided by as per the directions and guidance of the Holy Spirit, initially and thereafter. Thus, the Deposit of Faith “remained intact for you” (Galatians 2:5).

AN IMPORTANT AXIOM: We do not join the Church because the choir is good, or because the pastor preaches well, or because the service is neat and orderly and well coordinated, or because there is fellowship, or because the church is nearby and is heated and air conditioned. We do want all these things, but, they are hardly the criteria for joining the Church.

We do join the Church because she has the whole Truth, including, most importantly, the Real Presence of the Lord: Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. The whole Truth is the only consideration. Nothing else matters. Never mind if, for example, we are given the cold shoulder or we are left out from some activity, or our ego is not being soothed. One can always find a way out, or, in irreconcilable situations, look for another Catholic church nearby to fit into. The important thing is to be in the Church that Jesus Christ founded, which the forces of the netherworld can never prevail against (Matthew 16:18); in which the Deposit of Faith can be found in its entirety.

Here’s the link to the whole DEPOSIT OF FAITH: http://www.vatican.va/archive/index.htm.

The Deposit of Faith is the only consideration (refer to #12 above)! It was guarded zealously through 2,000 years of uninterrupted Apostolic Succession by the Laying on of Hands of the Apostles/bishops, just as Paul described in Galatians 2:5, where he was speaking of the false brothers: “…to them we did not submit even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain intact for you.”

The Laying on of Hands: Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; 2 Timothy 1:6; Hebrews 6:1-2.