We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Jesus Christ, because it alone has the marks of the true Church. By the marks of the Church is meant certain clear signs by which all men can recognize it as the true Church founded by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
It is important that we know which is the Church established by Christ, in order that we may obey it, as God commands. Then shall we also be certain what to believe and do in order to be saved. We must distinguish between the True Church from false churches, because today there are many imitations of the Church founded by Christ.
The chief marks of the Church are four.
Christ intended His Church to be One; therefore the True Church must be One. Its members must united in doctrine, in worship, and in government.
Christ said: "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand" (St. Mark 3: 24).
He also proclaimed: "There shall be one fold and one shepherd" (St. John 10: 16).
Our Lord also confirmed the necessary oneness of His flock with these words in St. John 17: 11: "Holy Father, keep in Thy name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one even as We are One."
All other Christian churches lack essential unity: they are not one! They differ in doctrine, in worship, in government. There are thousands upon thousands of Christian denominations, each different from the rest. They cannot agree, and keep dividing and subdividing year by year. Their only similarity appears to be their opposition to the Catholic Church. Such churches are multiplying. They arise, but in a short time they pass away, to give place to other and more numerous denominations.
These churches, founded by human beings after Christ's Ascension, differ in even the essentials of faith. In trying to accommodate themselves to the changing conditions of the times, they have made changes in doctrine, with no authorization from the Founder of Christianity.
Outside the Catholic Church there is generally no recognition of authority in spiritual matters. No organization has been blessed with infallibility except the Catholic Church. In fact no other church even attempts to claim infallibility. In religion non-Catholic churches recognize no spiritual authority except their own judgment; and this, as we all know, can easily lead to error. Non-Catholic churches vary in practice as well as in doctrine. In worship they are guided more by sentiment and personal conviction than by truths given to the world by Jesus Christ, Son of God.
Realizing the great handicap of disunity, efforts have been made by various groups of churches to organize. General councils and conferences of different bodies such as the Lutheran Synod or Southern Baptist Convention or World Council of Churches have been held; but there is no vital result for unity. This is of course because, though agreement may be general concerning matters such as social work, beneficient societies, and the like, no agreement can be found in the essentials of faith and doctrine. This is the result of free interpretation of the Bible, and the repudiation of Peter's successor, the Vicar of Christ.
Neither do non-Catholic denominations have unity in organization or government. They recognize no superior authority vested in one who is vicar of Jesus Christ. They call themselves Christian, but reject the authority conferred by the Son of God on the Pope, the direct successor of St. Peter. Some recognize the temporal ruler as their spiritual head; others have ministers whom they call bishops, deacons, or elders. The majority reject such titles.
On the other hand the Catholic Church is one because all its members, according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith, have the same sacrifice and sacraments, and are united under one and the same visible head, a true Sovereign Pontiff of Rome. They have unity in doctrine, worship, and government. They have "One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism." There has never been any other society, religion, or government whose members are so closely united. "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand" (St. Mark 3: 24).
Before Vatican II there were nearly one billion Catholics united in doctrine. This unity was evident and admitted by all. All Catholics prior to the Modernist takeover held the same faith that Catholics in the past held. The same Gospel of peace that Jesus preached in Judea, the same that St. Peter preached in Antioch and Rome, the same that St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians and the Ephesians, the same that apostles of all nations have been preaching for nearly 2000 years is preached today and taught in the Catholic Church throughout the world, from January to December 365 days a year, 24 hours a day for as Paul says in Hebrews 13: 8, "Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today, and the same forever."
The Catholic Church was one in worship. All members made use of the same Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and received the same sacraments. Although rites vary, the essentials of worship laid down by Christ formed the foundation of all. Certain ceremonies have been appointed by the Church, to show more clearly in outward form the spiritual significance of whatever act is being done, and to increase the devotion of those who are present or take part in the religious acts. The ritual varies in various places, certain ancient rituals from the early days of the Church being preserved, but since Vatican II, the Mass lost its sacrificial nature and gave up the indelible mark of being One.
The Vatican II or conciliar "popes" have contradicted almost all that their true predecessors proclaimed and these false popes had already been condemned for their words or action by the perennial Magisterium of the Church as anathema: anathema sit. The conciliar hierarchy, in veering from even one iota of the True Faith automatically became the apostates that holy saints warned against. With so much dissension and veering from the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church the conciliar church formed at Vatican II cannot be 'One'. Thus, the conciliar church is an apostate church and must be shunned for the sake of one's own salvation.
Christ intended His Church to be HOLY. It must teach a holy doctrine in faith and morals, because its Founder is holy. It must provide the means for its members to lead a holy life.
Christ prayed for His Apostles as recorded in St. John 17: 17-19, "Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. Even as Thou hast sent Me into the world, so I also have sent them into the world. And for them I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth."
Our Lord warned also of the necessity to preserve this sanctity and how to discern such in St. Matthew 7: 15-17, 20, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do men gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit....Therefore, by their fruits you will know them."
Finally, Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness in St. John 14: 12, "Amen, amen, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he also shall do, and greater than these he shall do."
Other denominations and their founders are not holy in the same sense or degree as the Catholic Church and its Founder are holy. Many non-Catholics are upright and good because they have retained many doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church. Many founders of non-Catholic churches were far from holy. Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, more specifically Lutheranism, was an apostate Augustinian Friar, who married a nun who had left her convent and turned against her vows. During his life he taught contradictory doctrines, some of them immoral. King Henry VIII, the founder of Anglicanism, who earlier in his life was proclaimed by the Pope as "Defender of the Faith," turned on his Church, married five women successively after divorcing his lawful wife Catherine of Aragon. He had two of his wives put to death. Other founders are of the same class. Not one of them even approaches the infinite holiness of the Divine Founder of the Roman Catholic Church. Voltaire, when a young man asked him for advice about starting a new religious movement, is believed to have said: "First get yourself crucified, then rise from the dead."
No founder of any other church is as holy as Jesus. And among the children of the Church we may mention as examples of holiness the canonized Saints who exemplify the mark of sanctity. The Catholic Church teaches the highest and holiest doctrine ever presented to any people, a standard of perfection. The same precepts delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai, the same warnings uttered by the prophets in Judea, the same sublime lessons taught by Our Lord: these the Church has taught from her inception. The Church teaches its children to know, love and serve God, and thus to become saints by striving for holiness. It urges on them the truth as Christ affirmed in St. Matthew 16: 26, "What does it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?" The Church exhorts its members to imitate Christ.
The Catholic Church provides powerful means for holiness in prayer and the Sacraments. By the Sacraments a Catholic receives abundant graces. One who is faithful in the reception of the Sacraments will never fail to live a righteous life and die a happy death. Every Catholic is obliged to say morning and night prayers, and to resort to prayer in every necessity and temptation, as well as to prayer of thanksgiving. All are required under pain of sin to attend Holy Mass on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
The Catholic Church produces holy members in its saints and martyrs. In every age and country the Church is the Mother of saints, martyrs, confessors, and holy men and women from all walks of life who live in Christ. This does not mean, however, that all Catholics are holy. Unfortunately, some do not live up to the teachings of the Church; that will be their condemnation if they do not wise up and obey the Church. We must remember that even among the Apostles there was one Judas Iscariot. Our Lord Himself taught in the parable of the wheat and the cockle that the good and the bad will grow up side by side in His Church.
The Catholic Church still has the gift of miracles. Christ promised His Church the gift of miracles, a sign of holiness. Each holy soul proposed for canonization must have worked two miracles before beatification, and two more before canonization unless they were martyrs. Just the fact that the Devil's Advocate in the canonization process was eliminated as well as the requirements for a miracle give evidence that the modern church of conciliarism cannot possibly be Catholic for they have abandoned the mission of striving for holiness. Prior to Vatican II, miracles were something the Church did not take lightly and had to confirm, without a shadow of a doubt, that true miracles had taken place, mostly by cures of a physical nature that modern medicine and science could not explain.
Finally, no matter how small the remnant Church may shrink to, it still carries on the countless works of holiness. It is the great Mother of Mercy and Charity to the helpless, instructing children in schools, caring for the poor, the sick, the imprisoned, the elderly, the deaf, the blind, the dumb, the orphaned, the abandoned and downtrodden. Holy Mother Church at all levels engages in all kinds of missionary and charitable activity carrying out the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, but always out of love for God first and then for our neighbor. The heresy of Humanism totally twists this.
The barren fruits stemming from Vatican II along with the shocking scandals and lowering of the moral virtue bar give solid evidence the church of Vatican II cannot possibly be 'Holy'. Thus, the conciliar church is an apostate church and must be shunned for the sake of one's own salvation.
It was through a common bond of faith that the faithful throughout the world were to be united in one body, the Church, their heritage from the Son of God. Our Lord therefore before His Ascension made the necessary provision so that all men might from thenceforth recognize the Church which He established, and which He commanded all to join.
The history of the Catholic Church gives evidence of miraculous strength, permanence, and unchangeableness, thus showing the world that it is under the special protection of God. The Catholic Church has proved itself indestructible for almost two thousand years, against every variety and number of formidable enemies. The Church suffered from persecution and outside attacks, and from schism and heresy within its own ranks, yet still lives, is still universal.
Christ intended His Church to be universal, that is, catholic from the Greek word katholicos, the etimology of which is derived from kata meaning "concerning" and holos meaning "whole," hence: universal. Therefore the True Church must be Universal, or Catholic. It must be for all peoples of every nation and for all times and teach the same faith everywhere in the world.
Christ commanded His disciples in St. Matthew 28: 19, "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations."
He reinforced this in St. Mark 16: 15, "Go into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature."
Jesus again foretold the power of the Word in reaching the world in St. Matthew 24: 14, "And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a witness to all nations; and then will come the end."
Finally, in Acts 1: 8, St. Luke wrote what Christ intended by universality, "You shall be witnesses for Me...even to the very ends of the earth."
Outside of the Church Christ founded, no denomination is catholic or universal. These non-Catholic churches are everywhere, sprouting up on every corner, but different everywhere. A regional or national church cannot be the true Church, since it cannot teach all nations, as Christ commanded. The Church of England cannot be the universal Church. Its very name declares it a national and not universal or true Church. The Catholic Church is catholic or universal because, destined to last for all time, it never fails to fulfill the divine commandment to teach all nations all the truths revealed by God.
The word "Catholic" first came into prominence when the holy Doctor of the Church St. Ignatius, appointed Bishop of Antioch by St. Peter, first used the the word Katholicos when referring to the Church founded by Christ. He used this term in order to distinguish the True Church, already being preached throughout the world, from heretical churches that had arisen. In the 4th century certain sectarians protested against the True Church, yet still called themselves Christians. And so Catholics began calling themselves "Catholic" to differentiate. In that same century St. Augustine said: "All heretics wish to call themselves Catholics; yet if you ask any of them to direct you to a Catholic church, he will not direct you to his own."
In order to be truly Catholic, wherever you go in the world there must be the mark of unity. Otherwise it would not be the same body, but many separate bodies. Some heretical churches have branches in different countries, but they are really different bodies, because they change doctrines under different conditions. Whereas the true Church teaches all the doctrines that Christ commanded His Apostles to teach and it is taught everywhere in the world. In the Catholic Church is fulfilled the prophecy of Malachia "From the rising of the sun to the going down, My name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to My name a clean oblation; for My name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of Hosts" (Malachia 1: 11).
The True Church must be so organized that it can admit all men into its communion. This the Catholic Church does. Christ founded the Church for all men, not only for a selected few. It is man who rejects God, not God Who rejects man. He died for all men, and wishes the fruits of His death to do good for all men. Only the Catholic Church is to be found all over the world, ministering to all races and peoples, to all classes of the population, poor or rich, wise or ignorant, saint or sinner. The Cathoic Church is the only Church for Everyman.
Because, except in the True Church of the Catacombs, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been abandoned in favor of a Protestant service that seeks to de-mystify the Mystery of Faith, thus eliminating the "universal language of the Church" by not only abandoning Latin but also the essential propitiatory nature of the Holy Mass, the church of Vatican II cannot possibly be 'Catholic' or 'Universal'. Thus, the conciliar church is an apostate church and must be shunned for the sake of one's own salvation.
The True Church must be that which Jesus Christ personally founded, and the Apostles propagated. It must have existed continuously since the time of Christ. It must teach in their entirety all the doctrines commanded by the Divine Founder while He was still on earth; and all its members must profess those fundamental doctrines.
In spite of corruption and persecution, in spite of the combined forces of error and evil, the Catholic Church has continued to live and carry out its purpose, as its Founder promised through passing down the truths and the apostolic succession of true bishops who, together, comprise the Magisterium of the Church. The indestructability of the Church, as has been proved by history, is alone enough to mark it as divine. God alone could have preserved it so long. The Church is the only institution which has proved itself an exception to the law of decay and death! It has watched the birth and decay of every government on earth for 2,000 years. After every attack against it, it rises, the Bride of Christ, ever fresh and fair through the unbroken apostolic line.
Christ intended His Church to be propagated by His Apostles; and therefore the True Church must be Apostolic. It must be the Church propagated by the Apostles. Its rulers must derive their office and authority by the lawful succession from the Apostles. It must hold intact the doctrine and traditions of the Apostles, to whom Christ gave authority to teach. The Church and her hierarchy cannot veer one inch from the truths and traditions passed down.
It was Christ Himself, and no one else, Who chose His Apostles and disciples, and commanded them to teach His doctrines to all the world. To Simon Peter He said: "And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (St. Matthew 16: 18).
St. Paul says to the Galatians in Chapter 1, verse 8: "Even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach a Gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." The Apostle Paul also refers to the Church in Ephesians 2: 20 as "built upon the foundation of the Apostles."
Thus, we can prove that the only true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, because: Only the Catholic Church possesses the marks of the Church established by Christ: that is unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. As a matter of fact, only the Catholic Church claims to have all these four marks of the True Church, the marks so evidently set by Christ.
Other than the Catholic Church, no other heretical Christian denomination is apostolic. The Protestant churches came some 1500 years later than the Church founded on the Rock of Peter. Their ministers cannot trace their succession from the Apostles. Not one teaches all the doctrines of the Apostles. How then could they be the Church founded by Christ? Truth and error are not the same and all other churches have errors in their doctrines because of the absence of all four marks. God is not divided. He revealed only one religion. We either believe that religion, or do not believe it. There is no middle way as Jesus says in St. Matthew 12: 30, "He who is not with Me is against Me." No one will assert that glass or zirconium is as valuable as diamonds nor that brass is as good as gold. No one claims that an imitation is just as good as the authentic thing. Why then would it be reasonable for a church to claim that a religion established by a man is as good as that founded by the Incarnate God?
From the very beginning of mankind there has been one true religion. From Adam to the coming of Christ this religion was preserved by the patriarchs, prophets and others chosen by God to keep the knowledge of the promised Redeemer intact. The Old Covenant was kept by the Jews, the "chosen people." All other nations had degenerated and worshipped idols and false gods. In spite of the imperfections of the old religion, it was always the true religion, the one true religion. It foreshadowed the coming of the perfect religion, that established by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Who then abrogated the Jewish Faith, the Old Law, in favor of the New Faith, the New Law.
It would be absurd to suppose that God does not care whether men denounce His Son as an imposter and blasphemer. The Father does care if they worship His Son as God; He does care that His chosen people, as a whole, have rejected His Son, treating Jesus merely as a prophet. And Christ and His Apostles cared too. Why else would Christ, and after Him the Apostles and after them a long line of believers, have suffered so much and resisted persecution so firmly, if it were of no importance what a man believed? St. Luke put it in focus in Acts 4: 12, "There is no other name under Heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."
The mark of Apostolicity is easily proved by the facts of history. If a church cannot trace back its history lawfully in an unbroken line step by step to the Apostles, it is not the True Church. The Catholic Church can at least to the reign of His Holiness Pope Pius XII. Since that time, because of their own words and actions proving they have veered from the faith and have excommunicated themselves, the men who succeeded since must be regarded as antipopes for no true Pope can preach error and they have. All the Sees founded by the Apostles perished or were interrupted, except the See of Peter alone. Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesiam "Where Peter is, there is the Church" founded by the Son of God. Because of the confusion of these times and the documentation of the conciliar heresies, controversy has arisen over whether the conciliar leaders are legitimate. According to the perennial, infallible Magisterium of the Church they cannot possibly be. Therefore, the only conclusion can be that we are living in an unprecedented time of an insufferable interregnum between legitimate true Popes, now over fifty years!
Those denominations and conciliarists that broke away from the Church thus lost their connection with the Apostles. They were all begun by individuals who could never have had any authority from either Christ or the Apostles. Vatican II was a man-made concoction where the Holy Ghost withdrew His protection when the heretical leaders announced that non-Catholic denominations would be on an equal level with Catholicism. This is heresy for non-Catholic denominations may claim that they did not begin new churches, but merely "reformed" the old one. But to that must be asked, did the True Church exist at the time of the founding of these new churches or not? If it did not, then Christ's promise to be with His Church always had failed; His Church had died, and no human reform could possibly have resurrected it. That would also mean that Christ, Who is all-knowing, would have made a mistake. God doesn't make mistakes! Because of that the Church still exists. Therefore, those who invented new doctrines were not reforming it, but founding new churches, turning their backs on God's Will and, in effect, saying to God that they were more important than their Creator. They won't last long that way! Thus the conciliar church is destined to collapse.
The Catholic Church derives all its holy orders, doctrines, and mission from the Apostles. It is "built on the foundation of the Apostles," of which Christ is the corner-stone (cf. Ephesians 2: 20). It holds intact the doctrine and traditions of the Apostles, to whom Christ gave authority to teach. A church which at any time denies an apostolic doctrine, discards the sacrament of Holy Orders, or breaks away from obedience to a true Pope, ceases to be apostolic. It becomes a dead branch broken off from the parent vine which is Christ Himself: "I am the vine; you are the branches" (St. John 15: 5).
Because of the modernist, progressive agendas and the insidious infiltration of the satanic, Masonic and Communist operatives within the Church, the conciliar bishops have, by their refusal to uphold the Faith and place their flock as their top priority, abdicated their apostolic succession and made this well known with their assertion that it is not necessary to become Catholic anymore. Therefore, the church of Vatican II can never be 'Apostolic.' Thus, the conciliar church is an apostate church and must be shunned for the sake of one's own salvation. Return now before it is too late to the true fold. The One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church awaits you with open arms.