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
In the year 417 the Holy See condemned the Pelagian errors; Saint Augustine cried out the famous words, “Rome has spoken: the cause is ended!” The Council of Florence in 1439 called the Pope “the Father and Teacher of Christians.” The Church teaches infallibly through the Pope and bishops when convened in a general (or ecumenical) council.
A General Council is an assembly convened by the Holy See, of all the bishops of the world, and others entitled to vote. It represents the teaching body of the Church, and must be infallible. In the year 50 the Apostles held the first General Council in Jerusalem. Its decisions were proclaimed as coming from God, the final decree beginning with these words: “For the Holy Spirit and we have decided to lay no further burden upon you” (Acts 15:28).
Over a General Council, the Pope or his legate presides; as representative number of bishops and others entitled to vote, such as cardinals, abbots, and generals of certain religious orders, must be present. Upon confirmation by the Pope, a General Council’s decrees are binding on all Christians. It must be understood that the decrees of a General Council have no binding authority until confirmed by the Pope. There is no appeal from the Pope to a General Council.
A unanimous vote is not necessary for an infallible decision of a general council; a great majority is sufficient.
The most notable of the General Councils so far held following the Council of Jerusalem have been: (1) The Council of Nicea, in the year 325, which pronounced against the heresy of Arius; (2) the Council of Ephesus, in the year 425, which declared Mary the Mother of God; (3) the Council of Nicea, in 787, which declared the veneration of images as lawful and profitable; (4) the Council of Trent, 1545-1563), which declared against the heresies of Martin Luther; (5) the Council of the Vatican 1870, which defined as an article of faith the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope.
The question arises about Vatican II and the answer is that all the documents formulated at the Second Vatican Council were in accord with the other ecumenical council guidelines. However, the "spirit of Vatican II" in which individuals and groups took it upon themselves to interpret and change on their own do not fall within those parameters and therefore there have been problems because of satan's clever ploy to confuse the faithful. John Paul II has been extolling the virtues of the Council by publishing and elaborating on all that was decreed at Vatican II and the ones he comes in conflict with are those who spread the "spirit of Vatican II" with no regard or respect for the Church and the Council Fathers.
9. Even when the bishops are not gathered together in one place, they form the teaching body of the Church, united with the Pope. This is called the "Magisterium" of the Church. Therefore their voice must be infallible, otherwise the universal Church would be led into error. For the same reason as above, the daily ordinary uniform teaching of the Church in every place in the whole world is infallibly true.
“Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).
The Catholic Church will endure to the end of time, for it is founded on a rock. The powers of evil will beat in vain against it. They will b break themselves and perish, but the Church will remain, indefectible.
The testimony of almost two thousand years proves the perpetuity of the Church. Nothing that malice and envy could invent; nothing that the world, the flesh, and the devil could do have been lift untried in the past 2000 years. Still the Church is with us, exactly as Christ founded it, and stronger than ever.
Tomorrow: The Indefectibility of the Church part one