DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 205

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 INDEFECTIBILITY OF THE CHURCH

part one

        By the indefectibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, as Jesus Christ founded it, will last until the end of time. The Archangel Gabriel announced to the Blessed Virgin Mary that Christ “shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1: 32-33).

        Christ meant His Church to endure to the end of the world. It is to be indestructible and unchanging, - to possess indefectibility. Christ, God Himself, could scarcely have come, and with such incredible pain and labor have founded a Church which would die with the Apostles. He came to save all men. Those to live in future ages needed salvation as much as the people of Apostolic times.

        Christ said too Peter: “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). By the “gates of hell”, He meant all the power of the devil - all kinds of attacks, physical violence as well as false teaching. Christ promises here that the Church would be assailed always, but never overcome. This promise of Our Lord has been proved for almost 2000 years by the facts of history. Not one of the persecutors of the Church has prevailed over it. On the contrary, many of them have come to a fearful end. There will always be Popes, bishops, and laity, to compose the Church; the truths taught by Our Lord will always be found in His Church.

        3. After telling His Apostles to teach all nations, Christ said: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:20). As the Apostles were not to live to the end of the world, Christ must have been addressing them as representatives of a perpetual Church.

        The Apostles themselves understood Christ to mean that His Church should endure. After organizing Christian communities, they appointed successors in their place, to live after them and carry on the Church. The Apostles instructed these successors to ordain in turn other bishops and priests. All these acts were to assure the perpetuity of the Church.

        Christ intended the Church to remain as He founded it, to preserve the whole of what He taught, and the shining marks which He gave it in the beginning. If the Church lost any of the qualities that God gave it, it could not be said to be indefectible, because it would not be the same institution. Indefectibility implies unchangeability. Our Lord promised to abide by the Church, to assist it, and to send the Holy Spirit to remain in it. God does not change: “Behold I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

      Tomorrow: The Indefectibility of the Church part two

October 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 205
GREAT DEPOSIT OF FAITH

DAILY CATHOLIC

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