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).
In continuing, the Church must be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. I believe in one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church. (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed).
b. The Church must be holy.
The holiness of the Church is not in that all her members are holy, for it is evident that there are saints and sinners within her bosom. Christ speaks of the wheat and the cockle to express the condition of the Church:
This teaching of His was repeated by Matthew in recording that of the gathering of the fishes (cf. Matthew 13, 47-50), the invitation to the wedding feast (cf. Matthew 22, 1-14), and the wise and foolish virgins (cf. Matthew 25, 1-13). It is applied by Paul who admonishes the Corinthians with these words:
Sanctity is union with God (cf Ott, II, 4, 16; Noort, p. 135 ). Therefore, as a visible Church, this sanctity, or union with God, must be visible to those observing the Church. Matthew quotes Christ as saying: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid." (5:13-14)
Ott sets these signs of holiness:
She is holy in her Founder and Invisible Head of the Church, Christ the Lord; in her inner life-principle, the Holy Ghost; in her purpose which is the glory of God and the sanctification of men, in the means by which she attains her purpose, in the teaching of Christ with its propositions of faith, commandments and counsels concerning morals, in her liturgy especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in her laws, in her institutions, such as the Orders and Congregations, the institutes of education and of charity, in the sacraments, the sacramentals and the liturgical prayers, the gifts of grace and charisma given by the Holy Ghost. Many members of the Church are holy in the ordinary sense of holiness (possession of the state of grace). The Church has never lacked examples of heroic holiness and marvellous manifestations of holiness. Of the kinds of holiness named, however, only the last two, holiness of the means and heroic holiness of the members, are perceptible to the senses, and only these may be regarded as notes of the Church of Christ. (Ott, II, 4, 16)
The Roman Catechism (I, ix) teaches that the holiness of the Church is in her members through baptism in which they are united with God, as in the words of St. Peter (ii.9): "You are a chosen generation, a holy nation."
. . . She is, also, to be called holy, because, as the body, she is united to her head, Christ Jesus, [cf. Ephesians iv.15, 16.] the fountain of all holiness, from whom flow the graces of the Holy Spirit, and the riches of the divine bounty S. Augustine interpreting these words of the prophet : "Preserve my soul because I am holy," [Psalms lxxxv.2.] thus admirably expresses himself: "Let the body of Christ boldly say, let also, that one man, exclaiming from the ends of the earth, boldly say, with Christ his head, and under Christ his head; I am holy: for he received the grace of holiness, the grace of baptism and of remission of sins." [St. Augustine in Psalm lxxxv. 2.] . . . the Church alone has the legitimate worship of sacrifice, and the salutary use of the sacraments, by which, as the efficacious instruments of divine grace, God establishes us in true holiness; so that to possess true holiness we must belong to this Church. . .
Van Noort teaches:
That is, that in every age very many of the Church’s members be brought to a state of ordinary holiness, and at least some be shining examples of outstanding or heroic holiness. This harvest of holiness may be quite abundant at one time, less satisfying at another. . . .
A harvest of even outstanding holiness can never be wanting in the Church.
From Christ's purpose in founding the Church and the aid He promised. He founded the Church that it might lead men to even perfect holiness; besides, He promised it effective and perpetual help (cf. Matthew 28:20) for the attainment of this purpose. Therefore the Church can no more fail in producing holiness than it can in preaching truth . . . .
Christ willed that His Church be holy as to its charisms, that is, that the Church in every age be enriched with certain miraculous gifts through which God manifests its holiness.
Charisms have an essential relationship to holiness, both because they are signs that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Church, and because ordinarily they are enjoyed by those who are outstanding for perfect holiness.
That Christ willed His Church to be favored with charisms in all ages is proved by His unqualified promise:
"Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation. . . . And in the way of proofs of their claims, the following will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will take up serpents in their hands, and if they drink something deadly, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and these will recover" (Mark 16:15-18; see John 14:12; I Corinthians 12:4-11).
This promise is general, restricted by no time limit, and therefore it cannot be confined to the apostolic age. And Christ added nothing about the measure in which the promise (which was made to the Church, not to individual Christians) should be fulfilled. Consequently there can be a profusion of miraculous gifts in one age and a relative scarcity of them in another, in accord with the needs of the Church or with the decrees of divine Providence, but they will never be totally lacking. . . .
Pius XII concludes also that there should be evident holiness visible in the lives of Catholics at all times:
But our Divine Savior governs and guides the Society which He founded directly and personally also. For it is He who reigns within the minds and hearts of men, and bends and subjects their wills to His good pleasure, even when rebellious. "The heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord; whithersoever he will, he shall turn it." [Prov. 21:1.] By this interior guidance He the "Shepherd and Bishop of our souls," [cf. I Peter ii.25.] not only watches over individuals but exercises His providence over the universal Church, whether by enlightening and giving courage to the Church’s rulers for the loyal and effective performance of their respective duties, or by singling out from the body of the Church - especially when times are grave - men and women of conspicuous holiness, who may point the way for the rest of Christendom to the perfecting of His Mystical Body. (Mystici Corporis, par. 38, 39)
The holiness of the Church is seen, therefore, in those members who avail themselves of the means, of which it will be noticeable that these members are living a life of union with God and through those most conspicuous in holiness the Holy Ghost manifests His charisms or works miracles.