He said: “You shall be witnesses for Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the very ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Since it was physically impossible for the Apostles to preach to the whole world, the mission must have been intended also for their successors to the end of time, our Catholic Bishops and Priests.
He said, “And whoever does not receive you, or listen to your words go forth outside that house or town, and shake off the dust from your feet. Amen, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gommorrah in the day of judgment than for that town” (Matthew 10: 14-16).
No Christian denies that the Apostles were infallible. In fact, in the first century, they were the only authority in the Church. The Bible was not completed till the end of that century, not within reach of all. But God loves the Christians of today as much as He did the primitive Christians. We have as much need of unerring teachers as they. The Apostolic Church of the late 20th century must therefore be as infallible as the Church of the Apostles in the first century.
An infallible Bible is no use without an infallible interpreter. History has proved this, in the multiplication of the innumerable denominations that deny the infallibility of the Church. By infallibility, the faithful know exactly what to believe and what to do in order that they may be pleasing to God and save their souls. It is a great blessing that, in the midst of the ever changing views of men and the conflict of human opinion, there is one voice crying out in unerring tones: “Thus saith the Lord.”
It is historical fact that the Catholic Church, from the twentieth century back to the first, has not once ceased to teach a doctrine on faith or morals previously held, and with the same interpretations; the Church has proved itself infallible.
It is also a historical fact that not one Pope, whatever he was in his private life, has ever taught error. “The Scribes and the Pharisees have sat on the chair of Moses. All things, therefore, that they commanded you, observe and do. But do not act according to their works.” By obeying the Pope, every Christian can live as Christ commanded, in any age.
True, some high rulers of the Church have gravely sinned. Nevertheless, enemies of the Church have exaggerated even the lack of impeccability. In the long line of Popes the vast majority led virtuous lives. Many of them are honored as saints and martyrs. The enemies of the Church can bring charges against only five or six Popes. Most of the charges are calumnies or exaggerations. But even if the charges were true, they prove nothing against infallibility.
Of the Sovereign Pontiffs that have succeeded Peter, 84 are canonized Saints, of whom 32 were martyrs. However holy the Pope, he regularly goes to confession to a priest. No Pope ever considers himself above the laws of the Church and of God. In fact, the Pope considers himself the "servant of the God's servants."
The Church cannot change its teachings on faith and morals. But it may restate the doctrines more clearly and completely. Year after year the Church proclaims the same unchanging doctrines. Her doctrines need no reform, for they are of Divine origin, the work of the Incarnate God. No Pope or general Council in almost two thousand years has annulled or revoked a single decree of faith or morals enacted by a previous Pope or Council. This is history.
Fourteen years later and two Popes later Bishop Sales was promoted to Archbishop of Sao Salvador on October 29, 1968. Less than a year later Pope Paul VI named him in his Consistory of April 28, 1969. He received his red-hat and the titular church of the St. Gregory VII. Two years later the 262nd successor of Peter Paul VI named him the new Archbishop of Rio de Janiero on March 13, 1971 where he has been ever since. That same year he was also appointed the Ordinary for Eastern Rite Catholics in Brazil for those Faiths in union with Rome who had no ordinaries of their own in this sprawling country which is South America's largest. Brazil is a great contrast in cultures from the tribes of the rain forest to modern citizens below skyscrapers, from the most remote missions along tributaries of the Amazon to the slums of Recife, where the poverty is some of the saddest, most disheartening in the world. Yet, to all of these, Cardinal Sales has reached his flock like a loving, caring shepherd.
Long a champion of the farm worker and those in poverty, he is renowned for his worksocial initiatives to enhance the dignity of the common man for, as Cardinal Sales insists, no one is common with God but rather very special in His eyes. He has worked tirelessly with civic programs such as UNESCO to foster literacy. Beloved by the people of Brazil, Cardinal Sales developed radio religious lessons for those who could not read or write, for those who could not travel, for those who could not get to school. No matter the age, young and old would huddle around the radio listening attentively to all the cardinal imparted for he was akin to being Brazil's Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.
He has extensive experience in curial matters dating back to serving on the Committee for the Apostolate of the Laity while just an Auxiliary Bishop during Vatican II. He currently serves membership in the Second Section of the Secretariat of State, the Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the Congregation for the Clergy, and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples plus the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Soon to be 79 years-old he is expected to retire soon and it will be a sad day for all his flock when he finally steps down for he has attained hallowed status in Rio de Janiero and other parts of Brazil as well and is well respected in Rome.
Cardinal Niccolo Boccasino, Bishop of Ostia is unanimously elected Blessed Pope Benedict XI as the 194th successor of Peter. Born in Treviso, he settled a difficult dispute with the king of France Philip IV who could not control Benedict like he would his successor Pope Clement V, the first of the Avignon popes. Benedict was bitterly persecuted by a group of conspirators and died after eating a poisoned fig, a fruit of which he was particularly fond.
Death of Cardinal Augustyn Hlond, Polish cardinal shortly after Father Karol Wojtyla returns to Poland to begin parish work in Niegowic. This also opened the door for Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski to be elevated to top prelate of Poland who will be remembered for his staunch stance against communism and a role model for the future Pope.
Pope John Paul II is formally installed as the 264th successor of Peter in ceremonies at St. Peter's in Rome. Even though he was elected on October 16, it was not until the 22nd that he was officially installed.
Pope John Paul II beatifies several future saints which include: the Seven Martyrs of Thailand - Blesseds Cecilia Butsi, Bibiana Khampai, Sister Lucia Khambang, Sister Agnes Phila, Maria Phon, Agatha Phutta, and Philip Sipong as well as Blessed Timothy Giaccardo and Blessed Mother Maria of Jesus Deluil-Martiny.
Death of Saint John of Capistrano, priest, religious and missionary. For more on this saint, see THIS WEEKEND'S LITURGY.
Pope John Paul II beatifies Blessed Nicolaus Steno also known as Niels Stensen.
Death of Saint Anthony Mary Claret, Bishop and Religious Founder. For more on this saint, see THIS WEEKEND'S LITURGY.
Pope Pius XII issues his sixteenth encyclical In multiplicibus curis which deals with praying for peace in Palestine with the establishment of the state of Israel.