The Marks of the True Church ONE|
Contrary to what many may think, nothing in Holy Mother Church's teaching has changed and therefore we feel confident that these daily "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!
"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if it were possible) even the elect." Our Lord's words in Matthew 24: 24
Many churches claiming to be Christian have broken away from the One True Church established by Christ. They were founded by men who had no authority from God to found a church.
We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Jesus, 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 Jesus Christ.
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, for Our Lord Himself warned us in Matthew 24: 24, "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if it were possible) even the elect."
Considering the current state of the post-conciliar church we are left with either the answer that all of the hierarchy of the Novus Ordo sect, who are the elect by their very offices, and have to - every man - bought into the deceit and false church lock, stock and barrel, thus being totally deceived or they are part and parcel of the false Christs and false prophets who have endeavored to show great signs and wonders even to fabricating the Messages of Fatima, rewording of Canon Law, and covering their tracks with a new, ambiguous catechism which only confuses the situation all the more! Either way, the current establishment posing as the Roman Catholic Church is not the same Church of the Popes from Saint Peter through Pope Pius XII. We shall see in this extensive catechetical series how far the church of Vatican II has veered, beginning with the marks of the Church.
The chief marks of the Church are four. Today we concentrate on the first mark - ONE.
Christ intended His Church to be One; therefore the True Church must be One. Its members must be united in doctrine, in worship, and in government.
Christ said: "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand" (Mark 3: 24).
He also proclaimed: "There shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10: 16).
Our Lord also confirmed the necessary oneness of His flock with these words in John 17: 11: "Holy Father, keep in Thy name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one even as We also are."
All other Christian churches lack essential unity: they are not one! They differ in doctrine, in worship, in government. There are hundreds 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. The 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.
It is a thrice-proclaimed dogma that Outside the Church there is no salvation (Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus).
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. Take for instance the bishops deciding it is up to each individual bishop to determine faith and morals. That is not Catholic in any sense of the imagination. Thus those who call themselves bishops today and cling desperately to the Novus Ordo are no better than those who followed Martin Luther into rebellion or Henry VIII or John Calvin or John Smith, etc. etc. 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 the 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. Oh they will give lip service to one who calls himself pope, but they will not give credulity to the idea that he is the Vicar of Christ. Some recognize the temporal ruler as their spiritual head; others have ministers whom they call bishops, deacons, or elders. The majority reject such titles. Protestants often deridingly say "Papists" in referring to Traditional Catholics as 'superstitious medieval' followers. In the spirit of aggiornamento the agents of Vatican II and modern 'Catholics' sought and still seek to please their non-Catholic neighbors by compromising their faith in diluting the doctrines and abandoning not only the semblance of the one unifying factor - the Immemorial Propitiatory Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Latin Rite (identified as the 'superstitious medieval' practice as if Trent and the Mass of All ages was medieval!) and the evangelic constituted Traditions in return for an ambiguous Protestant-friendly 'unity of the community' mandate that allows each parish to do their own thing while loosely and supposedly fitting in with the overall Catholic Church.
Just as Protestants call themselves Christian, but reject the authority conferred by the Son of God on the Pope, the direct successor of St. Peter, so also many modern 'Catholics' have felt the same way, clamoring for collegiality which the Modernist and Masonic men, who have attained their miters by hook or crook, are only too willing to accommodate. Conversely, there are also many neo-conservative 'Catholics' who attribute to the modern popes qualities which they cannot possibly possess - such as infallibility on anything the pope says. If that were true, then the gates of hell have definitely triumphed and Christ lied to us.
Knowing that is impossible because, as we recite daily in the Act of Faith: "...Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived," then we know God will never abandon His Church. Ergo, what do we make of the modern popes who spout things and promote ideas that many consider heretical and were most certainly and surely condemned by past Pontiffs. First of all, we can be assured that these past pronouncements, all coming before Vatican II, were made with sound doctrine and dogmatic proofs behind every word they pronounced. There was never any ambiguity or doubt. Not so since the death of Pius XII. Because of the grave probability of error and heresy, we are not obliged to follow any Catholic leader - be he priest, bishop or pope - if he veers from the Sacred Deposit of the Faith, the evangelic constituted Traditions of his predecessors, or if he appears to be causing harm to the Church by invading souls and troubling the commonwealth. The last point is reinforced by the holy Jesuit Cardinal Saint Robert Bellarmine in his renowned document De Romano Pontifice. Throughout this series and other features in The Daily Catholic we will be featuring many of St. Bellarmine's wise syllogisms. You will note that no pope since Pius XII has proclaimed anything infallible ex cathedra - from the chair of Peter - and therefore everything coming out of modern Rome whether from John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I or John Paul II are merely their personal opinions! unless they are reinforcing doctrines and dogmas - and that has not happened at a great frequency over the past 40 years. Alas, just the opposite. The Oneness is missing.
On the other hand the Authentic Roman Catholic Church is one because all its members, according to the will of Christ, profess the same faith, have the same sacrifice (the Immemorial Latin Mass) and sacraments, and are united under one and the same visible head, the 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" (Mark 3: 24). That is why we know the post-conciliar church cannot stand, it will disintegrate. The only question is when. This present heresy of Modernism reminds us of the Arian heresy and what Saint Athanasius wrote in a letter to his flock around 370 A.D.
"They (the Arian usurpers) can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? the true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle? the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? Even if Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are one who are the true Church of Jesus Christ."
Just as the Church remained one despite the vast majority signing on to the Arian heresy, the gates of hell did not prevail for Holy Mother Church, even in infinitesly small numbers remained one, never losing the True Marks of the Church. So also today when there are over one billion claiming to be Catholic, just a fraction truly practice their Faith as they should. Those who do are united in doctrine and faithfully following all Holy Mother Church has always taught no matter the times. This unity is evident and admitted by all. Authentic Roman Catholics today hold 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 Galatians 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, even though we may not see it as such from the large contingent in power who claim authority while contradicting that very authority. Paul says in Hebrews 13: 8, "Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today, and the same forever."
The Catholic Church is one in worship. All members make use of the same Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and receive the same sacraments. Although rites vary such as the Maronite, the Byzantine, etc., the essentials of worship laid down by Christ form 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 what was perpetrated on the faithful after Vatican II is no different than the 'Mass of Martin Luther' or Thomas Cromwell. If the Novus Ordo 'Mass' is valid, then what is to prevent the argument that the Lutheran ritual or Anglican ritual are invalid? We know from Sacred Scripture and past specific Papal decrees that they are not valid. Ergo, we must make the conclusion of the same for a ritual which has tinkered with the Divine by concocting a synthetic rite for the specific purpose, as affirmed by Paul VI and the architects of the New Order Eucharistic Celebration, to placate Protestants, thus man rather than God. We know from Galatians 1: 8-11, what St. Paul says to that.
In general the Roman ritual, the one followed by the diocese of Rome, is the one followed. Normally that would be the case where a change of ritual or language does not change the substance of the religious act, which is preserved in its entirety. But it is far more complicated than that and these are times of emergency within the Church where anathema seems to reign in these lunatic times of ecumenism and humanism, all tentacles of Modernism.
Finally, all Catholics should be united in government. Everywhere the faithful obey their pastors, the pastors obey the bishops, and the bishops obey the Pope. This is the ideal model of the Catholic Church when she is running on all orthodox cylinders. Then she is truly "one fold and one Shepherd," its unity standing out unequalled in all history. These times, because the pastors, bishops and even popes have gone astray, we must revert back to what the holy pastors such as Saint Louis de Montfort and Saint John Marie Vianney counseled for example; to what the holy bishops such as Saints Athanasius, Basil the Great, Augustine, Alphonsus Liguori, and St. Bellarmine advised; to what the holy Pontiffs Popes Saints Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, Pius V, Pius X and other certain Popes such as Popes Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius XI and Pius XII decreed. Thus, this series will be generously referring to the sound wisdom of these ecclesial giants of Eternal Rome as opposed to the protestant pabulum generated from Modern Rome today. Only by adhering to all that was taught prior to Vatican II can the Church - and we its obedient members - remain one.
Next issue: The Marks of the True Church HOLY