The Marks of the True Church APOSTOLIC|
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!
"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" Our Lord's charge to Peter as the first Pope in Matthew 16: 18
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 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 almost 2,000 years. After every attack against it, it rises, the Bride of Christ, ever fresh and fair through the unbroken apostolic line.
The chief marks of the Church are four. We have covered ONE, HOLY and CATHOLIC so far, today we cover APOSTOLIC.
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.
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" (Matthew 16: 18).
Saint 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, and the conciliar church has adopted many of the heretical practices of those Protestant churches. Because of this, there is great confusion. In truth, though it might look like the last four popes follow an unbroken line, they have abdicated their succession per Pope Paul IV's binding decree Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio and the Fifth Opinion determined by the great Doctor of the Church Cardinal St. Robert Bellarmine, Protector of Trent. The Protestant 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 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? And Christians and Muslims do NOT have the same God, an anathema John Paul II has so boldly proclaimed many times. Neither can there be salvation in other faiths for that would be denying the dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus. Again, proof positive that the conciliar popes are not Catholic but Protestant in every way but name.
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? Saint Luke puts 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. Only in the Catholic Church can the lineage be traced back to Peter. 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. Keep in mind, however, that there have been bad popes and anti-popes, yet these sedevacante periods did not disrupt the pure lineage for the authority resides with the previous Pontiff who was a true Pope. Thus the rationale for Ubi Ecclesia, ibi Petrum. Today when the conciliar popes have abdicated their offices through apostasy, authority reverts back to the authority of Pope Pius XII just as it would during a period after a Pope has passed away before the election of the next authentic Pontiff. The Church has called this period of time Sedevacante for the chair is empty, yet the Church continues, keeping intact the four marks of the Church. So also today the true Church lives, maybe not in modern Rome, but forever through Eternal Rome.
It is interesting to note that those denominations 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, even if they claimed such. 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 either during the time of the Arians, the Reformation, or Vatican II 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!
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 the 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" (John 15: 5).
The very fact that the conciliar church has abandoned the missionary effort to convert souls to Catholicism is a resounding indictment against John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II and those bishops and priests who have followed them into apostasy. Clearly the conciliar church has forsaken the apostolic mark in favor of globalization of a one world new order. It cannot possibly be Catholic. The Church has spoken and we pray that those who continue to be deceived by the modernists' ambiguities and fallacies will realize before it is too late.