This series is to address the present situation of the Roman Catholic Church. Some introductory points are necessary to state and these are: first, there is no Papal authority to impose one’s conclusions as placing those who disagree under any ecclesiastical censure or penalty; secondly, there cannot be a rejection of Catholics in good faith who are misled by the Conciliar Church—we all came to the conclusion that the Conciliar Church is not the Roman Catholic Church after prayer and careful reflection by the grace of God and no one 50 years of age and older can say they were not participants of their local parish post-Vatican II (though many can say they left once the Novus Ordo Missae was introduced) and yet each held oneself as Catholic—I am not looking at refusing those who hold they are true Catholics the sacraments and this is based on the model of the Western Schism; thirdly, the recognition of validity of sacraments cannot simply be based on a complete rejection of the Conciliar Church and therefore a complete rejection of their administration of sacraments, but it must be based upon the Sacramental teaching of the Roman Catholic Church; fourthly, the preservation of the faith is absolutely necessary for the constitution of the Church as Christ founded and the faith is not an end in itself, but necessary to obtain the end for which the Church was founded, which is the salvation of souls.
It is the cessation of seeking the salvation of souls that has caused a recognition that the Conciliar (Vatican II) Church as not Roman Catholic and the leader of the Conciliar Church as not the visible head of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the removal of the center or heart of Catholic faith, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, that shocked Catholics and caused them to abandon the temple where the abomination of desolation was taking place. As Catholics stayed home, prayed the Rosary and continued to wear their Brown Scapulars they were soon able to hear of Roman Catholic clergy who retained the faith and administered the Sacraments and celebrated Holy Mass. These clergy and laity together started Mass Centers (as they would be labeled) throughout the world and so the Catholic Church continues as promised: I will be with you, all days, even to the consummation of the world (Matt. 28: 20). It has been a test of faith, a time of tribulation, of son against father and daughter against mother (cf. Luke 12:53); but one knows we ought to obey God, rather than men (Acts 5:29).
The Catholic Church is:
Catechism of the Council of Trent:
...in ordinary Scripture-phrase, the word was afterwards used to designate the Christian commonwealth only, and the assemblies of the faithful; that is of those who were called by faith to the light of truth, and the knowledge of God; who, forsaking the darkness of ignorance and error, worship the living and true God in piety and holiness, and serve him from their whole hearts. In a word, "the Church," says St. Augustine, "consists of the faithful dispersed throughout the world." [St. Aug. in Ps. cxlix. 1.]
The Church is the society of those who accept redemption, of those whom Christ "has chosen out of the world" (John 15:19). Thus it is the Church alone which He "hath purchased with His Own blood" (Acts 20:28). Of the members of the Church, the Apostle can say that "God hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love" (Colossians 1:13). St. Augustine terms the Church "mundus salvatus" - the redeemed world - and speaking of the enmity borne towards the Church by those who reject her, says: "The world of perdition hates the world of salvation" (Tractate 80 on the Gospel of John, no. 2). To the Church Christ has given the means of grace He merited by His life and death. She communicates them to her members; and those who are outside her fold she bids to enter that they too may participate in them. By these means of grace - the light of revealed truth, the sacraments, the perpetual renewal of the Sacrifice of Calvary - the Church carries on the work of sanctifying the elect. Through their instrumentality each individual soul is perfected, and conformed to the likeness of the Son of God. (Joyce, G. (1908). The Church. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.)
Leo XIII (Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896): ...it is the body of Christ endowed with supernatural life.
And Pope Pius XII (Mystici Corporis Christi, June 29, 1943):
The Church was founded by Christ for the salvation of its members.
Gregory the Great (Bk 5, letter 18):
Again, Leo XIII:
And, since it was necessary that His divine mission should be perpetuated to the end of time, He took to Himself Disciples, trained by Himself, and made them partakers of His own authority. And, when He had invoked upon them from Heaven the Spirit of Truth, He bade them go through the whole world and faithfully preach to all nations, what He had taught and what He had commanded, so that by the profession of His doctrine, and the observance of His laws, the human race might attain to holiness on earth and neverending happiness in Heaven. In this wise, and on this principle, the Church was begotten. If we consider the chief end of His Church and the proximate efficient causes of salvation, it is undoubtedly spiritual; but in regard to those who constitute it, and to the things which lead to these spiritual gifts, it is external and necessarily visible. The Apostles received a mission to teach by visible and audible signs, and they discharged their mission only by words and acts which certainly appealed to the senses. So that their voices falling upon the ears of those who heard them begot faith in souls - "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the words of Christ" (Rom. x., 17). And faith itself - that is assent given to the first and supreme truth - though residing essentially in the intellect, must be manifested by outward profession - "For with the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. x., 10). In the same way in man, nothing is more internal than heavenly grace which begets sanctity, but the ordinary and chief means of obtaining grace are external: that is to say, the sacraments which are administered by men specially chosen for that purpose, by means of certain ordinances. Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles and their successors to the end of time to teach and rule the nations. He ordered the nations to accept their teaching and obey their authority. But his correlation of rights and duties in the Christian commonwealth not only could not have been made permanent, but could not even have been initiated except through the senses, which are of all things the messengers and interpreters.
For this reason the Church is so often called in Holy Writ a body, and even the body of Christ - "Now you are the body of Christ" (I Cor. 12:, 27) - and precisely because it is a body is the Church visible: and because it is the body of Christ is it living and energizing, because by the infusion of His power Christ guards and sustains it, just as the vine gives nourishment and renders fruitful the branches united to it. And as in animals the vital principle is unseen and invisible, and is evidenced and manifested by the movements and action of the members, so the principle of supernatural life in the Church is clearly shown in that which is done by it. (Satis Cognitum)
The Church was instituted by Christ for the sole reason of the salvation of mankind. Salvation means the forgiveness of sin and the possession of eternal life. The Church was not given any other reason (mission):
And He said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned... But they going forth preached everywhere: the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed. (Mark 16:15-16, 20)
Therefore Paul gives this admonition: Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation. (Philip. 2:12) To the Ephesians: That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. Eph. 5:27
And Leo XIII, in the Encyclical cited, teaches:
But the mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place. "The Son of Man came that the world might be saved by Him" (John iii. 17). "For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved" (Acts iv., 12). The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ, and the blessings flowing there from... (Satis Cognitum, par. 4)
The members of the Church are:
Gregory the Great (Bk 5, letter 18):
Pope Pius XII (Mystici Corporis Christi, June 29, 1943):
And, in Humani Generis (August 12, 1950), Pius XII again stated:
St. Robert Bellarmine's well-known definition:
Monsignor G. Van Noort, in his Dogmatic Theology, (Volume II, Christ’s Church, 1957; cf. also Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, part II, chapt. 5, §19)
Presently the argument is not over the Church in the broad sense (all who have obtained salvation or possess sanctifying grace including and since Adam and Eve), but the Roman Catholic Church in her visible constitution here on earth, the Church Militant. Again, bear with this exposé as certain terms are defined. A statement ought not be made unless it is true; but it is also necessary to show at times, through proper argumentation, that the statement is true - yet if the terminology used by one side is understood differently than on the other side, there then becomes merely an argument over words, not statements.