DAILY CATHOLIC    THURSDAY     October 21, 1999     vol. 10, no. 201

APPRECIATING THE PRECIOUS GIFT OF OUR FAITH

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SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO
    INTRODUCTION
      Every day we present a short point that helps bring into focus the treasures of the Roman Catholic Church that comprise the great Deposit of Faith.

      It is no secret that over the past thirty years fewer and fewer know their Faith and it shows with the declining number of vocations, parish participation and attendance at Holy Mass. We have the new Catechism of the Catholic Church but for the common man, the one brought up on sound bites and instant gratification, it is more of a text book and that in itself prompts them to shy away from such a tome. So what's a loyal Catholic to do in evangelizing to fellow Catholics and understand their Faith? Our answer: go back to basics - to the great Deposit of Faith. We have the Baltimore Catechism which, for unknown and ridiculous reasons, was shelved after Vatican II. We have the Holy Bible but there are so many newer versions that the Douay-Rheims and Confraternity Latin Vulgate in English versions, the ones used for so long as the official Scriptural text authorized by the Church, seem lost in a maze of new interpretations that water down the Word. This is further complicated by the fact there are so few Douay-Rheims editions in circulation though it is available on the net at DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE. We have so many Vatican documents available at the Vatican web site and other excellent Catholic resource sites that detail Doctrine, Dogma and Canon Law. We have the traditions, and the means of grace but how do we consolidate all these sources into one where it is succinct and easy to understand? We have the perfect vehicle. It is called "My Catholic Faith", now out of print, that was compiled by Bishop Louis Laravoire Morrow and published by My Mission House. This work ties in Scriptural references, the Sacraments, Dogmas, Doctrines, Traditions, Church documents, Encyclical and Papal decrees to clearly illustrate the Faith in simple, solid and concise terms that all can understand and put into practice. We will quote from this work while adding in more recent events and persons when applicable since the book was written in the late forties during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. We also quote from the Catholic Almanac published by Our Sunday Visitor for the Roman Curial offices.

    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.

THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE CHURCH

part one

        The Church cannot teach error, because it was founded by Jesus Christ, God Himself. He sent forth His Apostles with full powers to preach His Gospel. He said: “As the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21). “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever…But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your mind whatever I have said to you” (John 14:16, 26).

        By the infallibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, by the special assistance of the Holy Ghost, cannot err when it teaches or believes a doctrine of faith or morals.

        Christ promised: “All power in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. God, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…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 28:26). If Christ is with the Church all days, it cannot err in teaching; it cannot lead men away from God.

        “Infallibility” is often distorted by enemies of the Church to mean “impeccability,” and therefore derided. In fallibility is freedom from error; impeccability is freedom from sin. In an institution established by God for the salvation of men, error in doctrine is unthinkable.

        Every teacher in the Church, from the Pope down to the humblest priest, like all of the faithful, is capable of falling into sin. But in the Catholic Church because of the promise of Infallibility, the Holy Ghost cannot permit the purity of a single doctrine to be stained.

        Jesus Christ promised to preserve the Church from error. If His prediction and promises were false, then He would not be God, since God cannot lie. Christ said: “Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” If therefore the Church falls into error, the gates of hell certainly would prevail against it. It hasn't in nearly 2000 years!

        Christ promised: “I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Advocate to dwell with you forever…He will teach you all the truth” (John 14). If the Church can err, then the Holy Spirit cannot abide in it and Christ has failed to keep His promises any thing absolutely impossible.

        A doctrine of faith is something we must believe in order to be saved. A doctrine of morals is something we must do in order to be saved. For example, we must believe the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity; that there are Three Divine Persons in One God. We must believe that Jesus Christ is God. We must believe in the Blessed Virgin Mary’s immaculate conception.

        Of things we must do are these: we must go to Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation: we must fast and abstain when our bishops so order; we must receive Holy Communion at least once a year. We must obey the Ten Commandments.

      Tomorrow: The Infallibility of the Church part two

October 21, 1999       volume 10, no. 201
GREAT DEPOSIT OF FAITH

DAILY CATHOLIC

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