The chief attributes of the Catholic Church are authority, infallibility, and indefectibility.
These attributes are qualities or characteristics perfecting the nature of the Church.
By the authority of the Catholic Church is meant that the Pope and the bishops, as the lawful successors of the Apostles, have power from Jesus Christ Himself to teach, to sanctify, and to govern the faithful in spiritual matters. Authority is the power one person has over another, such that he can exact obedience justly. Thus rulers have authority over subjects; parents over their children; teachers, over pupils, etc.
It is God's will that we should reverence His ministers as Himself. This is why Catholics should pay the greatest reverence to Christ's Vicar on earth, the Pope, our universal father. On this account the title "His Holiness" is given him. Out of respect for his office, the Holy Father is given privileges not granted to other bishops. As a temporal sovereign he has a Court and guards - the vaunted Swiss Guard. He has a standard and seal. He has ambassadors. On solemn occasions he is carried in the papal chair called sedia gestatoria; at least true popes were. While sedevacantists may reject the Modernist 'popes' as imposters, they do not reject the Primacy of Peter and it is because of that that they fully resist the authority of the Modernist imposters over the past 50 years for they have nothing in common with the true purpose of the Primacy as Christ intended.
We know that
St. Peter lived for a short time at Antioch; then he went to Rome and there fixed his official residence permanently. It was there, and as Bishop of Rome, that he died as a martyr some twenty years later in 67 A.D.
It is because Christ did not intend that the special power of chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church should be exercised by Saint Peter alone, but intended that this power should be passed down to his successor, the Pope, Bishop of Rome, who is the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the visible Head of the Church.
The Church was not to die with Peter. Therefore his official rank and dignity and powers were to be handed on to his successors from generation to generation. In the same way, successors to a civil office acquire all the powers attached to the office. Thus the Bishop of Rome, the lawful successor of St. Peter, is what Peter was, Vicar of Christ, and visible head of the Church. Christ is the true and invisible Head of the Church. But its visible head is the Bishop of Rome. This, of course changed with Vatican II and recently the mask totally came off when Joseph Ratzinger as Benedict XVI surrendered the title "Bishop of Rome."
No one but the Bishop of Rome could ever claim supreme authority over the whole Church. Therefore, either he is St. Peter's successor, or St. Peter has no successor, and ergo the promise of Christ has failed. We know the latter is impossible, thus leaving us with the result that if he is an imposter, an antipope, he can have no authority whatsoever. This is not unprecedented for there have been more than 30 antipopes throughout the history of Holy Mother Church. As always, the Church has recovered and emerged stronger. She will again once the conciliar church collapses.
The supremacy of the true Bishop of Rome over all Christendom has always been disputed because of the perversity of men and the power of evil. It has been denied by unruly sons. The very fact that it was disputed shows that it existed. In the same way even the authority of God Himself has been questioned; His very existence has been denied. From the beginning, too, parental authority has been defied. The authority of lawful rulers has ever been attacked. The denials, defiance, and attacks have not destroyed the existence of such authority. Does God die because men deny His existence? "The fool said in his heart, 'There is no God.'" (Psalms 52: 2).
Christ appointed the Church to teach whatever He taught: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (St. Matthew 28:19-20). Just the fact that the Modernist conciliar leaders have abandoned that mandate is proof enough they have abrogated any authority. They have turned their backs on
Christ Who appointed the Church to sanctify the faithful, by administering the means of grace to its members. Christ dispensed the means of grace, as when He forgave Mary Magdalen, gave His flesh and blood at the Last Supper, and blessed little children.
Christ appointed the Church to govern with authority and jurisdiction. Our Lord was the pastor or ruler of men. He gave commandments, sent the disciples on missions, instructed them, reproved the Pharisees.
Christ gave the Church full authority and power, saying, “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (St. John 20:21). As a father who goes away on a journey leaves all his power and authority to the mother, so Christ upon leaving the earth gave to His Church full power and authority to carry on His work. “He who hears you, hears Me; and he who rejects you, rejects Me” (St. Luke 10:16).
The authority of the Church is not restricted to matters of doctrine and belief, but to whatever is necessary for the good of the Church and its members. Thus the Church lays down laws concerning fast and abstinence, Sundays and holy days of obligation, worship, and administration of the sacraments.
The members of the Church must observe whatever laws and regulations it makes as long as they are in concert with what has been passed down. No new doctrines or new formulas may be introduced. Authority in some form is necessary for every organization; without it members could not be directed to their common purpose. Please do not confuse that last sentence with the intent that the "common purpose" changes with the times and therefore the Church must adapt to the world. This is the heresy of Vatican II that opened the floodgates and caused the Great Apostasy where, today, the true Church and true Catholicism is in eclipse.
Every society lays down rules for its members. Those who do not wish to keep them are excluded from it. Without authority the Church could not fulfill its divine purpose. The denominations that broke from the unity of the Church denied its authority. Having no head to obey, they split and re split into hundreds of denominations. Sadly, today, the largest denomination is none other than the conciliar church which still calls itself Catholic, but, as can be seen in what the Church has always taught, cannot possibly be the same for reasons that will continue to be expounded upon on this site.
The Church exercises her authority to teach, to sanctify, and to govern the faithful by various means, among them being:
- Teaching by sermons and by religious classes in schools and parishes.
The Church must carry out this teaching by preaching, by deciding controversies, and by condemning wrong teaching. Parish churches should have sermons in the Masses of Sundays and holy days of obligation. Every Catholic school should mandate the incorporation of Catholic belief in every class. Every parish is obligated to hold catechetical classes.
Today, the above is becoming much more difficult to find than a needle in a haystack. Oh, they have sermons, but they are intended to entertain, to assure that congregations will continue to fill the coffers so those giving the sermons tell the people what they want to hear, not what they should hear for the salvation of their souls.
Gone is the strict discipline of the teaching nuns who, prior to Vatican II, were entrusted to teach Catholic students the absolutes of the faith. Today, seemingly anything goes and a true nun is a rare species except in Traditional Catholic schools, which are also, sadly, rare; so devastating the deconstruction of the holy Faith. Wrong teaching today is not only not condemned, but allowed equal footing with truth. That in and of itself is heresy. And catechetical classes? Again, except in Traditional parishes, that is a thing of the past.
- Sanctifying by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, by the sacraments, by blessings, and by special devotions held in the Churches.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, instituted by Our Lord Himself, is the great act of worship of the Church, the source of grace to sanctify the faithful. The sacraments are means of grace by which we obtain help to become more holy children of God.
Here again is the most glaring proof that what poses as the 'Catholic Church' today is not, because the conciliar cabal has managed, with the help of the devil and lukewarmness of the masses, to practically eliminate the true Mass from the face of the global altars that are no longer altars, but masonic tables, often butcher blocks, where Christ has been taken completely out of the picture and the meaning of propitiatory sacrifice has been entirely erased from the conciliar lexicon. By altering the Holy Sacrifice, by mandating a new order service devoid of the sacrificial nature of the Mass, by changing the words of Consecration for confecting the bread and wine into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the great Mystery of the Mass, and by instituting a new 'priesthood' in the late 1960's, satan assured that by 2010 there would be few true priests left and that Christ could not be present in the Blessed Sacrament in the Novus Ordo lodges throughout the world. This is confirmed by numerous previous true Popes, most notably His Holiness Pope Saint Pius V in his landmark infallible decree Quo primum in codifying the dogmatic decrees of the holy Council of Trent, with his words that if anyone, even a Roman Pontiff dared to alter anything they would "incur the wrath of Almighty God and the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul."
Therefore, having incurred the wrath of Almighty God by Paul VI's arrogant act of seeking to please man rather than God by introducing, with the help of his hideous henchman Annibale Bugnini, the Masonic Pagan Protestant service in the vulgar language in lieu of the Catholic Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin and by changing the rite of Ordination and Consecration of Bishops, he automatically abrogated any authority he could have held though that previous authority was greatly in question per another infallible decree, the famous Cum ex Apostolatus Officio by His Holiness Pope Paul IV. That leads to the very next mandate:
- Governing by the commandments of the Church, by other laws ordered from time to time as need arises, and from the general control by bishops in the dioceses.
In her capacity as ruler, the Church makes regulations forbidding what is dangerous or sinful, as when she prohibits the reading of dangerous books and magazines. All members of the Church are under a strict obligation to obey her laws and regulations; disobedience to the Church is disobedience to Him Who authorized her rule, Jesus Christ, God.
The Church exists to safeguard the truths and traditions passed down, to be the conduit for man to achieve eternal salvation won for us by the merits of Jesus Christ through His Passion, Death and Resurrection. He established only One Church for this as we covered in Step Three. He instituted the Sacraments and established that these would be the means of grace. Those who disobeyed His laws, would meet with consequences and He directed His Church through His Apostles and their successors to establish discipline and deterrents to assure there would always be obedience to Christ and His One, True Church.
In fact, to assure the integrity of the faith would always be preserved by the Vicar of Christ, His Holiness Pope Saint Agatho, upon his coronation in June of 678, proclaimed a solemn oath which has been passed down to his successors ever since - that is until it was trashed by Paul VI even after he took it. Many believe it was even taken by several predecessors of St. Agatho, but no proof can be provided. Who composed it is not known. What is known is that at least 185 Supreme Pontiffs took this solemn oath over the past 1300 years. In this oath, the Vicar of Christ vows to never contradict the Deposit of Faith, or change/innovate anything that has been handed down to him. Read the Oath and ask yourself if the conciliar 'popes' have abided by this:
"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;
To the contrary: with glowing affection as her truly faithful student and successor, to safeguard reverently the passed-on good, with my whole strength and utmost effort;
To cleanse all that is in contradiction to the canonical order, should such appear; to guard the Holy Canons and Decrees of our Popes as if they were the divine ordinance of Heaven, because I am conscious of Thee, whose place I take through the Grace of God, whose Vicarship I possess with Thy support, being subject to severest accounting before Thy Divine Tribunal over all that I shall confess;
I swear to God Almighty and the Savior Jesus Christ that I will keep whatever has been revealed through Christ and His Successors and whatever the first councils and my predecessors have defined and declared.
I will keep without sacrifice to itself the discipline and the rite of the Church. I will put outside the Church whoever dares to go against this oath, may it be somebody else or I.
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."
As we know, to aid His Church Jesus promised that the Advocate, the Holy Ghost would be with His Church and, as we covered in Step Two, the Blessed Trinity would be with His Church until the consummation of the world (cf. St. Matthew 28: 20). Yes, the Holy Ghost is still with His True Church today, but the syllogism proves the Sanctifier has withdrawn His guidance and protection from the church of Vatican II which has taught error and therefore cannot possibly be the spotless Mystical Bride of Christ, but rather the very "whore of Babylon" as foretold in the Books of Daniel and the Apocalypse.
How can we say such a thing you say? Ah, that is the rub. And this will be covered in Step Five when we cover the Infallibility of Holy Mother Church.