Skip to comments.The Apostles' Creed in the Scriptures, the Fathers,...THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH [Ecumenical]
Posted on 06/06/2008 9:38:49 PM PDT by Salvation
" you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim. 3, 15).
The Holy Catholic Church is the society of the redeemed, the visible Kingdom of God upon earth, comprising all baptized persons who believe and profess the teachings of Jesus Christ, and who at the same time are in communion with His representative, the Pope of Rome.
Just as there is only one God, one Lord and one Baptism, so is the Church "one and unique as a sacrament a sign and instrument of unity with the center of unity given to us by Christ in the service of Peter" 1
It is upon the rock of St. Peter and his successor, the Pope of Rome, that the stability of the Church rests: "you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (St. Matt. 16, 18-19). Distinct controversy surrounds this passage, with many denying that Christ intended to make Simon Peter the rock on which to build His Church, or that Simon Peter was given authority of any significance. Without giving an exhaustive response, it is necessary to take note of the following facts:
The Kingdom of God upon earth, being a hierarchical institution, comprises those who are to command and teach, and those who are to obey and be taught. The first comprise the bishops and priests; the second, the laity. The authority to command and teach is directly from God Himself: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you" (St. Matt. 28, 19-20); "Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God" (Acts 20, 28). This hierarchy, however, does not exclude legitimate forms of collaboration between clerics and the laity. In most countries today it is principally the laity who undertake tasks such as catechizing and numerous lay groups have been formed in union with the clergy with the aim of influencing all levels of society with Christian principles. Furthermore, the laity no less than clerics are called to holiness and to preach Jesus Christ as Lord in word and deed.
Despite the fact that the Catholic Church is one and a center of unity She possesses within Her bosom many and different Oriental Rites which are nevertheless in communion with the See of Peter. The Church "holds in great esteem the institutions, liturgical rites, ecclesiastical traditions and discipline of Christian life of the Oriental Churches, because they are resplendent in their venerable antiquity and because in them is present the Tradition from the Apostles through the Fathers."2
Sacred Scripture lays upon all the strict obligation to hear and receive the teaching of the Church:
(i) " if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector" (St. Matt. 18, 17);
(ii) "Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me" (St. Luke 10, 16);
(iii) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives any one whom I send receives me; and he who receives me receives him who sent me" (St. John 13, 20);
(iv) "As the Father has sent me, so I send you" (St. John 20, 21);
(v) "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account" (Heb. 13, 17).
(vi) " you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth" (1 Tim. 3, 15).
The mission of the Apostles to govern and teach was not to end with them, but was to be continued by their successors to the end of time: "And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (St. Matt. 28, 20). To believe that the written New Testament replaced the authority of the Apostles after the death of St. John is to believe erroneously that the Church founded by Christ changed in Her essence. Further, the Scriptures themselves show that the Apostles handed on their office through the laying of hands to subsequent generations as their successors: Acts 13, 2; 1 Tim. 4, 14; Tit. 5 - 10.
The Church must possess four "marks" in order to be truly the Church of God: One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic.
We proclaim one Church because Christ came on earth to establish not a number of churches, but only one Church: "...and on this rock I will build my Church" (St. Matt. 16, 18); "So there will be one flock, one shepherd" (St. John 10, 16). She must be one, for "every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls" (St. Luke 11, 17).
The Church must be holy, having an all-holy Founder, and being designed to lead all to holiness: "in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind, yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish" (Eph. 5, 27).
The Church must be catholic, because She must teach all nations, and carry on Our Lords work to the end of time: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations...And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (St. Matt. 28, 19-20).
The Church must be apostolic, for Her doctrines and traditions must be those of the Apostles, and Her bishops must come down from the Apostles in an unbroken succession.
These four distinctive marks are found fully united only in the Holy Catholic Church. Elements of sanctification and truth are found in varying degrees in the other Protestant denominations and these objectively constitute the basis of a certain communion. However, this communion is imperfect due to the rejection of many different articles of Catholic belief, as well as the adherence to other inconsistencies and contradictions which lead many to be "tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4, 14).
Every person who professes the Catholic Faith belongs to the "Body and Soul" of the Church. Adult non-Catholics who have been rightly baptized, and who are in good faith and in a state of grace, belong to the "Soul" of the Church.
All baptized persons, then, who are in error through no fault of their own, and who in all sincerity seek after the truth and attempt, according to the best of their knowledge, to do Gods will, and even those who, though not baptized, are invincibly ignorant of the True Church, but who have an implicit desire of submitting to Her, are united to the Soul of the Church. They even share in many of Her graces, but are deprived of countless other spiritual aids exclusive to the Catholic Church.
However, where a person outside the Body of the Church knows of Her and Her claims to be the Truth, or has the opportunity of knowing Her, but through indifference and neglect fails to procure this knowledge, his rejection or ignorance becomes culpable, and he is responsible to God for his neglect, etc.
When, therefore, a Catholic uses the words "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church," he professes that Jesus Christ has established a visible and infallible teaching Church, ruling with Divine authority, speaking in the Name of Her heavenly Founder, and destined to endure for all time. We must believe and obey Her, for She is in truth the One Ark of Salvation for all. The Fathers The So-Called Second Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians 14, 2 (C. 150 AD):
The So-Called Second Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians 14, 2 (C. 150 AD):
"I presume that you are not ignorant of the fact that the living Church is the body of Christ. The Scripture says, God made man male and female. The male is Christ, and the female is the Church. Moreover, the Books and the Apostles declare that the Church belongs not to the present, but has existed from the beginning. She was spiritual, just as was our Jesus; but He was manifested in the last days so that He might save us. And the Church, being spiritual, was manifested in the flesh of Christ." St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3, 4, 1 (C. 180 AD):
St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies 3, 4, 1 (C. 180 AD):
"When, therefore, we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek among others the truth which is easily obtained from the Church. For the Apostles, like a rich man in a bank, deposited with her most copiously everything which pertains to the truth; and everyone whosoever wishes draws from her the drink of life. For she is the entrance to life, while all the rest are thieves and robbers. That is why it is surely necessary to avoid them, while cherishing with the utmost diligence the things pertaining to the Church, and to lay hold of the tradition of truth...In the Church, God has placed apostles, prophets and doctors, and all the other means through which the Spirit works; in all of which none have any part who do not conform to the Church. On the contrary, they defraud themselves of life by their wicked opinion and most wretched behavior. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and where the Spirit of God, there the Church and every grace." St. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 7, 17, 107, 3 (Post 202 AD):
St. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 7, 17, 107, 3 (Post 202 AD):
"From what has been said, then, it seems clear to me that the true Church, that which is really ancient, is one; and in it are enrolled those who, in accord with a design, are just...We say, therefore, that in substance, in concept, in origin and in eminence, the ancient and Catholic Church is alone, gathering as it does into the unity of the one faith which results from the familiar covenants, - or rather, from the one covenant in different times, by the will of the one God and through the one Lord, - those already chosen, those predestined by God who knew before the foundation of the world that they would be just." St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to all His People 43, (40), 5 (251 AD):
St. Cyprian of Carthage, Letter to all His People 43, (40), 5 (251 AD):
"There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering." Lactantius, The Divine Institutions 4, 30, 1 (Inter 304-310 AD):
Lactantius, The Divine Institutions 4, 30, 1 (Inter 304-310 AD):
"It is therefore, the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship. This is the fountain of truth; this, the domicile of faith; this, the temple of God. Whoever does not enter there or whoever does not go out from here, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation...Because, however, all the various groups of heretics are confident that they are the Christians, and think that theirs is the Catholic Church, let it be known: that is the true Church, in which there is confession and penance, and which takes a salubrious care of the sins and wounds to which the weak flesh is subject." Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566)
Catechism of the Council of Trent (1566):
This Church was founded not by man, but by the immortal God Himself, who built her upon a most solid rock. The Highest himself, says the Prophet, hath founded her. Hence, she is called the inheritance of God, the people of God. The power which she possesses is not from man but from God.
Since this power, therefore, cannot be of human origin, divine faith can alone enable us to understand that the keys of the kingdom of heaven are deposited with the Church, that to her has been confided the power of remitting sins, of denouncing excommunication, and of consecrating the real body of Christ; and that her children have not here a permanent dwelling, but look for one above. Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992)
Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992):
No. 771: "The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men." The Church is at the same time:
- a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
- the visible society and the spiritual community;
- the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches."
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes from a human and a divine element": The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest. O humility! O humility! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heavens beauty has adorned her (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, In Cant. Sermo. 27:14).
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.
O humility! O humility! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heavens beauty has adorned her (St. Bernard of Clairvaux, In Cant. Sermo. 27:14).
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While no Christian should have trouble with the sentence above, I think many, indeed any, Christian not Roman Catholic--not to be antagonistic--would find the rest of the sentence (and article) full of unfounded assertions, mis-uses of holy scripture, and frankly utterly preposterous and unconvincing.
Pretty ironic that this is posted as an "Ecumenical" thread eh, since "who at the same time are in communion with His representative, the Pope of Rome." make up less than 1% of the various Christian denominations in the USA--and it is a statement which is the total opposite of "ecumenical."
But hey, it's what Christians on Free Republic have come to expect. For you RC folk reading this...., your article above is NOT a great way to be ecumenical, but definitely a great way to be antagonistic!!!
Please do remember that the new guidelines ask for no bashing on these threads. So please consider...........
This is only one line in the entire Apostles’ Creed. Yes, it is ecumenical. And though your reply was not really too polite, I accept it because I can see where you are coming from.
May I ask you to put on another pair of spectacles and look at the other side of the issue......just one line in the Apostles’ Creed.
You might want to click on the other links and read them also.
To keep the "ecumenic" tone of the thread, contrast your beliefs to those in the article without being antagonistic.
Can anyone expand on this? I find it interesting but I am not sure what St. Bernard meant.
“The Holy Catholic Church is the society of the redeemed, the visible Kingdom of God upon earth, comprising all baptized persons who believe and profess the teachings of Jesus Christ, and who at the same time are in communion with His representative, the Pope of Rome.
Just as there is only one God, one Lord and one Baptism, so is the Church “one and unique as a sacrament a sign and instrument of unity with the center of unity given to us by Christ in the service of Peter” “
I am not surprised to see this comment from a Latin source, especially since the article appeared in an unabashed Roman apologetics site. It is a shame though because it is precisely this sort of comment, that “the society of the redeemed” is limited to those who have submitted to the Pope of Rome, which makes it so difficult for Orthodox Christians below the level of Metropolitan to get on the reunion bandwagon.
S, this article, like so many unabashed apologetical articles put out by Latins, may well not reflect the actual position of the Roman Church and it may well be that your hierarchs and ours understand that. But to the extent that this is the sort of thing we among the laity, the lower clergy and the monastics are exposed to, the more likely it is that we will refuse any sort of communion with Rome lest we be subjected to this inside of our parishes rather than simply out in the world.
By the way, is this Robert M. Haddad the doctor from Boston who was removed as the head of Caritas Christi in Boston for “indiscretions”? I know its a fairly common name, we have a theologian with that name, but if one knows anything about an author, sometimes that explains what he/she has written.
Sounds like an exciting organization...However, the Christianity of the Scriptures alone is entirely different...A different organization altogether...
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
As one can see, flesh and blood are corrupt; there is no physical church...There are no flesh and blood bodies in the Christian church...So how do you get into the Body of Christ??? You don't...You can't...You can't join a Church to become a Christian...
The Body of Christ gets into you...It's spiritual...You can't see it...
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
That's the church, the Body of Christ I belong to...
The catholic or universal church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.
The church consists of the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ its head; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that fills all in all.
While there is one only Church of Jesus Christ, we always acknowledge that necessity requires companies of the faithful to be distributed in different places. Of these assemblies each one is called the Church. But in as much as all companies do not assemble in the name of our Lord, but rather to blaspheme and pollute him by their sacrilegious deeds, we believe that the proper mark by which we rightly discern the Church of Jesus Christ is that his holy gospel be purely and faithfully preached, proclaimed, heard, and kept, that his sacrament be properly adminisered, even if there be some imperfections and faults, as there always will be among men. On the other hand, where the Gospel is not declared, heard, and recieved, there we do not acknowledge the form of the Church. Hence the churches governed by the ordinances of the pope are rather synagogues of the devil than Christian churches.
That the true Church is composed of all such persons who through saving faith in Jesus Christ have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and are united together in the Body of Christ of which He is the Head.
We believe and profess, one catholic or universal Church, which is a holy congregation, of true Christian believers, all expecting their salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed by his blood, sanctified and sealed by the Holy Ghost. This Church has been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof; which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal King, which, without subjects, cannot be. And this holy Church is preserved or supported by God, against the rage of the whole world; though she sometimes (for a while) appears very small, and in the eyes of men, to be reduced to nothing; s during the perilous reign of Ahab, the Lord reserved unto him seven thousand men, who had not bowed their knees to Baal. Furthermore, this holy Church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed over the whole world; and yet is joined and united with heart and will, by the power of faith, in one and the same spirit.
All who are born again are members of the universal church, which is the Body and Bride of Christ.
See also THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT UNIVERSAL, INVISIBLE CHURCH, by Thomas M. Strouse
In summary, all Christians are members of the catholic church. Bur the popish church of Rome (which was established in 1054) is not THE catholic church. And membership in a church does not make anyone a Christian.
No Christian that I know of objects to any line in the Apostles Creed--as it defines "mere" Christianity, and you are well aware that is not what I was objecting to.
Rather I was objecting to the overt statement--and bias in your article to call anyone NOT a Roman Catholic not a Christian, which the article above does--and so by definition is not worthy of being called an "Ecumenical" posting.
The content of your posting is a violation in and of itself of the "Ecumenical" standard in the new Religion guidelines.
Thank the Lord Jesus, Head of the one Holy Catholic Church--superseding all human institutions, that the creeds nowhere say "Roman," the insulting utterly non-ecumenical article above notwithstanding.
You had the option of stating what you believe the term means without being antagonistic. You didn't.
Leave the thread.
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