LIVING OUR FAITH (nov15liv.htm)

November 14-15, 2004
vol 15, no. 184

The Mission of the Church

    Christ established His Church with no compromises, no ambiguities and no relativism. He left clear instructions for converting souls so they could be saved, and He left His Spirit to carry out this mission after His Ascension into Heaven. The mission of the Church has always been never to compromise, but to convert. This is something rarely heard in the humanistic church of Vatican II.

      Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these "points of enlightenment" will help more Catholics better understand their faith, especially those who were not blessed with early formation of the faith in the home and their parish school. Regardless of where any Catholic is in his or her journey toward salvation, he or she has to recognize that the Faith they were initiated into at the Sacrament of Baptism is the most precious gift they have been given in life. If they truly want to live their Faith as it was taught from Peter to Pius XII, they must know the Faith and live it as Traditional Catholics. That is the only way to KEEP THE FAITH!

        "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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."
        Our Lord's certain words to His Apostles as recorded in Matthew 28: 19.

    Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles to establish the Church all over the world; that was His express command. The Apostles and their successors, the Bishops, have complied with this command, this mission of the Church to continue Christ’s teaching and to apply the fruits of His Sacrifice to all men. In the process many have suffered martyrdom for their mission. Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, one of the Apostolic Fathers, received the crown of martyrdom in the second century under Trajan; he was thrown to the wild beasts in the Amphitheatre during the public games.

    Jesus Christ founded the Church to bring all men to eternal salvation. “For the grace of God our Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us, in order that, rejecting ungodliness and worldly lusts, we may live temperately and justly and piously in this world; looking for the blessed hope and glorious coming of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and cleanse for himself an acceptable people, pursuing good works” (Titus 2: 11-14).

    Our Lord Jesus Christ established the Church in order to lead men to Heaven by:

    (a) continuing His teaching and example; and
    (b) Applying the fruits of His Sacrifice on the cross to all men until the end of the world.

    Our Lord gave to the Church a three-fold office: the office of teacher, the office of priest or sanctifier, and the office of pastor or ruler. By these offices Christ intended His Church to accomplish the purpose for which He founded it.

    The Church founded by Christ was a visible organization, with the Apostles as superiors and rulers. From the very beginning they exercised their authority and powers. They did not advise; they directed, as superiors, and decided, as judges. Thus Saint Paul excommunicated the sinful Corinthians; and he commanded the Hebrews: “Obey your superiors, and be subject to them” (Hebrews 13:17). The Church is enabled to lead men to salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, Who gives life.

    God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the Church. On the feast of Pentecost, we celebrate a mystery which is forever renewed in the Church and in our souls: the mystery of the indwelling of God, the reign of the law of love which succeeded the law of bondage and fear (cf. Romans 8:15).

    The Holy Ghost - the Advocate - guides the rulers of the Church, especially the Pope, and helps them in their duties. Before the descent of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles had been timid and afraid. After His coming they went forth to teach, whatever hardships came; they remembered and understood all the teachings of Christ.

    The Third Person of the Blessed Trinity - the Sanctifier - preserves the Church from all error in its teaching; in times of danger, He raises up able defenders of its doctrines. Saint Athanasius defended the Church in the time of the Arian heretics; Pope Saint Gregory VII during a period of great disorder; Saint Dominic during the time of the Albigenses; and Saint Ignatius of Loyola after the Protestant outbreak.

    The Holy Spirit raises up saints in the Church throughout all generations. The members of the Church strive to imitate its Divine Founder, and in all countries and all times it has produced saints, canonized and uncanonized, martyrs, confessors, hidden souls that burn with the love of God and their fellowmen. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost enables the Church to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the faithful in the name of Christ.

    “But when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will teach you all the truth. For He will not speak on His Own authority, but whatever He will hear He will speak, and the things that are to come He will declare to you. He will glorify Me, because He will receive of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16: 13-14).

    The Church must teach, otherwise men would not know the sacred truths taught by Jesus Christ. The Church must sanctify, bringing grace, otherwise men could not be saved. And the Church must rule, because Christ founded it as a society, which must have authority. The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles to enlighten, strengthen, and sanctify them, so that they could preach the Gospel and spread the Church all over the world, “Guard the good trust through the Holy Spirit, Who dwells in us” (2 Timothy 1:14).

    The power to sanctify is the power of orders; the power to teach and to rule is the power of jurisdiction. With these powers -as can easily be seen in the Gospels- Christ gave His Apostles, and those who were to follow them, the power to bind and loose, to baptize, to forgive sin, to offer Holy Mass. By teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in the name of Christ it meant that the Church always does the will of its Divine Founder, Who remains forever its invisible Head.

    The will of the Founder of the Church is fully expressed in the commission He gave to His Apostles just before His Ascension: “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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19).

    During His public life Christ was a teacher, making His doctrines clear, as in the sermon on the mount. He appointed the Church to teach, saying: “Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Today the Church must continue to teach what He taught, by preaching, by deciding controversies, by condemning wrong teaching. Sadly, since the death of Pope Pius XII this has not been the case as is evidenced over the past forty plus years in which so many souls have been lost on a rudderless ship which tosses to and fro seeking to please the denizens of the deep rather than God above. Wrong teaching has not been condemned and heresy has run amok and countless souls have forfeited their inheritance to Heaven because of the lack of direction and firmness which Holy Mother Church always exhibited before the infiltration of the Modernists and Masons. This is only too evident and all the more proof that the Mission of the Roman Catholic Church as directed from Christ on is not the same mission of the post-conciliar church and therefore, the newChurch cannot be the true Church, but a new religion which we must avoid like the plague.

    During life Christ dispensed the means of grace, as when He forgave Mary Magdalene, and when He gave His flesh and blood at the Last Supper. He appointed the Church to continue this office, to sanctify the faithful by administering the means of grace. The Church had power to forgive sins when He said: “Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them” (John 20:23). It had power to say Mass when, after instituting the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, He said: “Do this in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11: 24-25). Today the Church exercises the priestly office in offering Mass, forgiving sins, administering the sacraments, etc.

    Christ was the Good Shepherd, the pastor and ruler of men. He gave commandments, sent His disciples on missions, instructed them, and reproved the Pharisees. He appointed the Church to rule, with authority, saying: “He who rejects you rejects Me” (Luke 10:16). And “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven” (Matthew 18:18). The Church exercises this office by laying down precepts for all to observe, by reproving and correcting, by binding and loosening. Without this pastoral office and the corresponding duty of the faithful to obey, it would be impossible for the Church to keep going.

    The argument is launched by those of the New Order in trying to condone all the changes that the Pope has the power to "loose" per Christ's words in Matthew 16: 19. However, not those things that were already bound by the Church, especially doctrine and the infrangible teachings passed down in the constituted evangelic traditions. This is affirmed in the Solemn Papal Oath dating back to the time of Pope St. Agatho in which, in part, the Sovereign Pontiffs have vowed:

    "I vow to change nothing of the received Tradition, and nothing thereof I have found before me guarded by my God-pleasing predecessors, to encroach upon, to alter, or to permit any innovation therein;...If I should undertake to act in anything of contrary sense, or should permit that it will be executed, Thou willst not be merciful to me on the dreadful Day of Divine Justice.
    Accordingly, without exclusion, We subject to severest excommunication anyone -- be it Ourselves or be it another -- who would dare to undertake anything new in contradiction to this constituted evangelic Tradition and the purity of the orthodox Faith and the Christian religion, or would seek to change anything by his opposing efforts, or would agree with those who undertake such a blasphemous venture."

    Accordingly, the Mission of the Church is to teach and to sanctify, and those who reject this, Christ clarified the action to take: “And if he refuse to hear them, appeal to the Church, but if he refuse to hear even the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican” (Matthew 18:17) and “Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as bishops, to rule the Church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood" (Acts 20:28).

    Next issue: The Authority of the Church

    November 14-15, 2004
    vol 15, no. 184