The Foundation of the Church |
Christ established His Church with no compromises, no ambiguities and no relativism. He was emphatic that those who did not believe in Him and were not baptized would be condemned. Our Lord did not mince words and neither should we. Compare that to the flip-flopping conciliar church!
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 into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned." Our Lord's uncompromising words to His Apostles as recorded in Mark 16: 15-16.
The Foundation of the Church is the Ninth Article of the Apostles' Creed. From among His disciples Our Lord chose twelve Apostles, and gave them special training. He sent them forth to teach His doctrines, saying, “As the Father has sent me, I also send you.” The Apostles were the foundation of the True Church. Christ gave them all power and authority, saying, “He who hears you hears Me: he who rejects you rejects Me.”
The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the rightful Sovereign Pontiff and the true Bishops in communion with him.
Even considering it only as a visible society, the Church is a perfect religious body. All members are subject to the same religious authority, possess identical religious doctrines, live a common religious life, and make use of the same means of grace, the sacraments, divinely ordained and therefore unchangeable. The fact that the conciliar church. through Paul VI's tampering and desecrations by altering both form and matter of the sacraments to make them more Protestant, makes the sacraments of newChurch very highly questionable, if not totally invalid per Pope Leo XIII's decree on the Anglicans who were at that time much more Catholic in form and matter than the conciliar church today.
The Bible refers to the Church as the Body of Christ, as a sheepfold, as the kingdom of God, as the kingdom of Heaven.
A person becomes a member of the Chuch upon receiving Baptism. During life he belongs to either of the two divisions in the Church: the “teaching Church” or the “hearing Church.”
Validly consecrated priests, with their legitimate bishops and an authentic Pope, compose the “teaching Church,” the body of rulers termed the hierarchy and the Magisterium of the Church. The faithful, who believe and obey, compose the “hearing Church.” On each of these divisions are laid powers and duties. There are two distinctions on the Magisterium - the ordinary Magisterium of current hierarchs living, and the perennial, infallible Magisterium of the Church that trumps the Ordinary Magisterium when any question of doctrine or dogma are raised. Thus, faithful Catholics can confidently rely on the perennial, infallible or Extraordinary Universal Magisterium which has been loyal through nearly two millennium in handing down the Truths and Traditions without change in those things which cannot be changed. Not so the conciliar or post-conciliar church, which has rejected these set-in-stone teachings in favor of placating modern man, thus abdicating all authority of Holy Mother Church just as Martin Luther abdicated his priesthood and any authority as a Catholic for that matter.
All history, religious and non-religious, including the Bible, clearly proves that Jesus Christ founded a Church. After teaching publicly what He required all to believe and practice, thereby announcing the main doctrines of His Church, Christ gathered a number of disciples. From them He chose twelve, to whom He gave special instruction and training. The term “a kingdom,” by which Our Lord used to refer to His Church, implies organized authority. And He said to the special men He had chosen, “You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you” (John 15:16). He did not teach the disciples for themselves alone, but to be the foundation of His Church. God did not come to save only a few disciples, but all men. Because of free will, it is therefore man's choice whether to heed ALL Christ's teachings or veer from them even one iota. By committing the latter, one has rejected Christ and His True Church.
After training the disciples and Apostles to form the organization of His Church, Christ chose Simon Peter, and made him the Chief. Simon, whose name Christ changed to Peter, was the Head of the Church.
On Simon Christ promised to build His Church, saying: “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church” (Matthew 16:18). After the Resurrection He said to Peter: “Feed My lambs…feed My sheep” (John 21: 15:17).
Christ completed the founding of His Church just before His Ascension, when He said to His Apostles, “Go into the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). He sent them to all nations, promising salvation to those that should believe, and threatening condemnation to those refusing to believe.
“He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). God is just; He would not have threatened condemnation to unbelievers unless He had furnished the means whereby they could believe. His Church is this means: all men must join it.
Christ promised to remain for all time in the Church He had founded, saying, “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28: 20)
If the death of Our Lord were to do good only to a few persons then living in Judea, its merits would have been very limited. But it could do good to future generations only if there were an organization with authority to carry on His teachings and preserve them from all change. This is His Church.
After Pentecost Sunday, the Apostles began to carry out their mission - a universal mission in keeping with the four Marks of the Church as we covered in previous installments of this series. Through the Apostles and their successors, this mission of making disciples of all nations continues and will continue to the end of the world.
On the first Pentecost about three thousand were received into the Church after St. Peter’s sermon. They were the first members converted and baptized since the Ascension of Our Lord. As God is one, He established one Church, which He commanded all men to obey and to follow in the way of salvation. God is essentially one. He is Truth itself. How can He say to one group of men that there are three Persons in one God, and to another that there is only one Person? Yet this is exactly what John Paul II has said and done in acknowledging pagan deities whether they be Muslim, Animist, Hindu or Buddhist, or New Age. In his talks and in his books, specifically "Crossing the Threshold of Hope", he has stated that "Christians and Muslims worship the same God" and "Christians and Jews worship the same God." This is not possible since Muslims and Jews do not accept Jesus as the Second Person of the Trinity and therefore reject the One True God. How can Christ say to one body that the Holy Eucharist is Himself, and to another that It is mere bread? God cannot contradict Himself, but an apostate pope can and has for the faithful have been deceived because they truly did not know their Faith. Christ said it, you must believe it, that settles it. “He who hears you hears Me” (Luke 10:16). “There shall be one fold and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
Christ never referred to His Churches, but to His Church. Peter could not have been the Head of conflicting churches. Christ said: “And I say to thee, thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Christ did not say: “Upon this rock I will build My Churches.” It was clearly not His intention to establish various conflicting churches or for one Church - His Church to "subsist" as Cardinal Ratzinger erroneously stated in Dominus Jesus. Christ, even in His prayers, spoke of unity among His followers. There would evidently be no unity if He had founded many different churches.
Immediately before His passion, He prayed: “Yet not for these only do I pray, but for those also who through their word are to believe in Me, that all may be one, even as thou, Father, in Me and I in Thee; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that thou hast sent Me”(John 17:20-21).
You'll note He qualified it, "those who believe in Me." He gathered about Him a group of disciples, and called it His Church. “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). “And you shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth” (Act 1:18).
He promised that this Church of His would last until the end of time.
“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; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:19-20). “For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink of the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).
He declared, as documented above in Mark 16: 15-16 that all men must believe and be baptized (that is, join His Church), in order to be saved.
“Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5).
Next issue: The Mission of the Church