Interview With A Faithful Bishop!
February 1, 2016
Exclusive Interview With His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider by Rorate_Caeli
Please take a couple minutes to read this very instructive and informative interview of His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider by Rorate_Caeli , it clears up many misconceptions and questions that the faithful may have regarding the current state of the Church and the Pope.
POST-SYNOD CHURCH & UNBELIEVERS IN THE HIERARCHY
Rorate Caeli: In the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?
H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: “Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism” (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c). The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope. The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.
Rorate Caeli: Speaking of typical Catholics, what will the typical parish priest face now that he didn’t face before the Synod began? What pressures, such as the washing of women’s feet on Maundy Thursday after the example of Francis, will burden the parish priest even more than he is burdened today?
H.E. Schneider: A typical Catholic parish priest should know well the perennial sense of the Catholic faith, the perennial sense as well of the laws of the Catholic liturgy and, knowing this, he should have an interior sureness and firmness. He should always remember the Catholic principle of discernment: “Quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus”, i.e. “What has been always, everywhere and from all” believed and practiced. The categories “always, everywhere, all” are not to be understood in an arithmetical, but in a moral sense. A concrete criterion for discernment is this: “Does this change in a doctrinal affirmation, in a pastoral or in a liturgical practice constitute a rupture with the centuries-old, or even with the millennial past? And does this innovation really make the faith shine clearer and brighter? Does this liturgical innovation bring to us closer the sanctity of God, or manifest deeper and more beautiful the Divine mysteries? Does this disciplinary innovation really increase a greater zeal for the holiness of life?” As concretely to the innovation of washing the feet of women during the Holy Mass of the Last Supper on Holy Thursday: This Holy Mass celebrates the commemoration of the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and the Priesthood. Therefore, the foot washing of women along with the men not only distracts from the main focus on Eucharist and on Priesthood, but generates confusion regarding the historical symbolism of the “twelve” and of the apostles being of male sex. The universal tradition of the Church never allowed the foot washing during the Holy Mass, but instead outside of Mass, in a special ceremony. By the way: the public washing and usually also kissing of the feet of women on the part of a man, in our case, of a priest or a bishop, is considered by every person of common sense in all cultures as being improper and even indecent. Thanks be to God no priest or bishop is obliged to wash publicly the feet of women on Holy Thursday, for there is no binding norm for it, and the foot washing itself is only facultative.
PRIESTLY FRATERNITY OF ST. PIUS X (SSPX)
Rorate Caeli: A non-typical situation in the church is the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Why does Your Excellency think that so many Catholics are afraid of the SSPX or anxious about any association with it? From what Your Excellency has seen, what gifts do you think the SSPX can bring to the mainstream Church?
H.E. Schneider: When someone or something is unimportant and weak, nobody has fear of it. Those who have fear of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X ultimately have fear of the perennial Catholic truths and of its demands in the moral and the liturgical domain. When the SSPX tries to believe, to worship and to live morally the way our fore-fathers and the best-known Saints did during a millennial period, then one has to consider the life and the work of these Catholic priests and faithful of the SSPX as a gift for the Church in our days – even as one of the several instruments which the Divine Providence uses to remedy the enormity of the current general crisis of the faith, of the morals and of the liturgy inside the Church. In some sectors of the SSPX there are, however, as it is the case in every human society some eccentric personalities. They have a method and a mindset which lack justice and charity and consequently the true “sentire cum ecclesia,” and there is the danger of an ecclesial autocephaly and to be the last judicial instance in the Church. However, to my knowledge, the healthier part corresponds to the major part of the SSPX and I consider their General Superior, His Excellency Monsignor Bernard Fellay, as an exemplarily and true Catholic bishop. There is some hope for a canonical recognition of the SPPX.
THE SYNOD AND PAPALOTRY
Rorate Caeli: Back on the Synod, while focusing on tradition, does Your Excellency believe that the changes in the Roman liturgy post-Vatican II contributed to the current crisis in the Church, the crisis of marriage, the family and societal morality in general??
H.E. Schneider: I wouldn’t affirm this in such a way. Indeed the very source of the current crisis in the Church, the crisis of marriage, of the family and of the morality in general is not the liturgical reform, but the defects in faith, the doctrinal relativism, from which flows the moral and liturgical relativism. For, if I believe in a defective manner, I will live a defective moral life and I will worship in a defective, indifferent manner. It is necessary first to restore the clearness and firmness of the doctrine of faith and of morals in all levels and, from there, start to improve the liturgy. The integrity and the beauty of the faith demands the integrity and the beauty of one’s moral life and this demands the integrity and the beauty of the public worship.
Rorate Caeli: Still on the Synod, it is clear to those with eyes to see that Pope Francis caused confusion instead of clarity in the Synod process, and encouraged a turn toward rupture by elevating the role of Cardinals Kaspar and Danneels, Archbishop Cupich, etc. What is the proper attitude a Catholic should have towards the pope in these troubled times? Are Catholics obliged to make their views known and “resist” as Cardinal Burke said in an interview last year with us, even when their views are critical of the pope?
H.E. Schneider: For several past generations until our days there reigns in the life of the Church a kind of “pope-centrism” or a kind of “papolatria” which is undoubtedly excessive compared with the moderate and supernatural vision of the person of the Pope and his due veneration in the past times. Such an excessive attitude towards the person of the Pope generates in the practice an excessive and wrong theological meaning regarding the dogma of the Papal infallibility. If the Pope would tell the entire church to do something, which would directly damage an unchangeable Divine truth or a Divine commandment, every Catholic would have the right to correct him in a due respectful form, moved out of reverence and love for the sacred office, and person of the Pope. The Church is not the private property of the Pope. The Pope can’t say “I am the Church,” as it did the French king Louis XIV, who said: “L’État c’est moi.” The Pope is only the Vicar, not the successor of Christ. The concerns about the purity of the faith is ultimately a matter of all members of the Church, which is one, and a unique living body. In the ancient times before entrusting to someone the office of a priest and of a bishop, the faithful were asked if they can guarantee that the candidate had the right faith, and a high moral conduct. The old Pontificale Romanum says: “The captain of a ship and its passengers alike have reason to feel safe or else in danger on a voyage, therefore they ought to be of one mind in their common interests.” It was the Second Vatican Council, which very much encouraged the lay faithful to contribute to the authentic good of the Church, in strengthening the faith. I think in a time in which a great part of the holders of the office of the Magisterium are negligent in their sacred duty, the Holy Spirit calls today, namely the faithful, to step into the breach and defend courageously with an authentic “sentire cum ecclesia” the Catholic faith.
TRADITION AND ITS ENEMIES FROM WITHIN
Rorate Caeli: Is the pope the measure of tradition, or is he measured by tradition? And should faithful Catholics pray for a traditional pope to arrive soon?
H.E. Schneider: The Pope is surely not the measure of tradition, but on the contrary. We must always bear in mind the following dogmatic teaching of the First Vatican Council: The office of the successors of Peter does not consist in making known some new doctrine, but in guarding and faithfully expounding the deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles (cf. Constitutio dogmatica Pastor aeternus, cap. 4). In fulfilling one of his most important tasks, the Pope has to strive so that “the whole flock of Christ might be kept away from the poisonous food of error” (First Vatican Council, ibd.). The following expression which was in use since the first centuries of the Church, is one of the most striking definitions of the Papal office, and has to be in some sense a second nature of every Pope: “Faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith” (First Vatican Council, ibd.). We must always pray that God provides His Church with traditional-minded Popes. However, we have to believe in these words: “It is not for you to have knowledge of the time and the order of events which the Father has kept in his control” (Acts 1: 7).
Rorate Caeli: We know there are many bishops and cardinals – possibly the majority – who want to change the Church’s doctrinal language and long-standing discipline, under the excuses of “development of doctrine” and “pastoral compassion.” What is wrong with their argument?
H.E. Schneider: Expressions like “development of doctrine” and “pastoral compassion” are in fact usually a pretext to change the teaching of Christ, and against its perennial sense and integrity, as the Apostles had transmitted it to the whole Church, and it was faithfully preserved through the Fathers of the Church, the dogmatic teachings of the Ecumenical Councils and of the Popes. Ultimately, those clerics want another Church, and even another religion: A naturalistic religion, which is adapted to the spirit of the time. Such clerics are really wolves in sheep’s clothing, often flirting with the world. Not courageous shepherds – but rather cowardly rabbits.
ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE CHURCH
Rorate Caeli: We hear a lot about the role of women in the Church today – the so-called “feminine genius.” Women obviously have played a critical role in the Church since the beginning, starting with the Blessed Virgin Mary. But liturgically, Christ made His position crystal clear, as have pre-Conciliar popes. Does Your Excellency believe that female involvement in the liturgy, whether it’s women taking part in the Novus Ordo Mass or girl altar boys, has played a positive or negative role in the Church the last four decades?
H.E. Schneider: There is no doubt about the fact that the female involvement in the liturgical services at the altar (reading the lecture, serving at the altar, distributing Holy Communion) represents a radical rupture with the entire and universal tradition of the Church. Therefore, such a practice is against the Apostolic tradition. Such a practice gave to the liturgy of the Holy Mass a clear Protestant shape and a characteristic of an informal prayer meeting or of a catechetical event. This practice is surely contrary to the intentions of the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council and there is not in the least an indication for it in the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy.
THE TRADITIONAL LATIN MASS
Rorate Caeli: Your Excellency is well known for celebrating the traditional Latin Mass in many places around the world. What does Your Excellency find to be the deepest lessons learned from saying the Latin Mass, as a priest and as a bishop, that other priests and bishops may hope to gain by saying the traditional Mass themselves?
H.E. Schneider: The deepest lessons I learned from celebrating the traditional form of the Mass is this: I am only a poor instrument of a supernatural and utmost sacred action, whose principal celebrant is Christ, the Eternal High Priest. I feel that during the celebration of the Mass I lost in some sense my individual freedom, for the words and the gesture are prescribed even in their smallest details, and I am not able to dispose of them. I feel most deeply in my heart that I am only a servant and a minister who yet with free will, with faith and love, fulfill not my will, but the will of Another. The traditional and more than millennial-old rite of the Holy Mass, which not even the Council of Trent changed, because the Ordo Missae before and after that Council was almost identical, proclaims and powerfully evangelizes the Incarnation and the Epiphany of the ineffably saintly and immense God, who in the liturgy as “God with us,” as “Emmanuel,” becomes so little and so close to us. The traditional rite of the Mass is a highly artfully and, at the same time, a powerful proclamation of the Gospel, realizing the work of our salvation.
Rorate Caeli: If Pope Benedict is correct in saying that the Roman Rite currently (if strangely) exists in two forms rather than one, why has it not yet happened that all seminarians are required to study and learn the traditional Latin Mass, as part of their seminary training? How can a parish priest of the Roman Church not know both forms of the one rite of his Church? And how can so many Catholics still be denied the traditional Mass and sacraments if it is an equal form?
H.E. Schneider: According to the intention of Pope Benedict XVI, and the clear norms of the Instruction “Universae Ecclesiae,” all Catholic seminarians have to know the traditional form of the Mass and be able to celebrate it. The same document says that this form of Mass is a treasure for the entire Church – thus it is for all of the faithful. Pope John Paul II made an urgent appeal to all bishops to accommodate generously the wish of the faithful regarding the celebration of the traditional form of the Mass. When clerics and bishops obstruct or restrict the celebration of the traditional Mass, they don’t obey what the Holy Spirit says to the Church, and they are acting in a very anti-pastoral way. They behave as the possessors of the treasure of the liturgy, which does not belong to them, for they are only administrators. In denying the celebration of the traditional Mass or in obstructing and discriminating against it, they behave like an unfaithful and capricious administrator who – contrary to the instructions of the house-father – keeps the pantry under lock or like a wicked stepmother who gives the children a meager fare. Perhaps such clerics have fear of the great power of the truth irradiating from the celebration of the traditional Mass. One can compare the traditional Mass with a lion: Let him free, and he will defend himself.
RUSSIA NOT YET EXPLICITLY CONSECRATED
Rorate Caeli: There are many Russian Orthodox where Your Excellency lives. Has Alexander of Astana or anyone else in the Moscow Patriarchate asked Your Excellency about the recent Synod or about what is happening to the Church under Francis? Do they even care at this point?
H.E. Schneider: Those Orthodox Prelates, with whom I have contact, generally are not well informed about the internal current disputes in the Catholic Church, or at least they had never spoken with me about such issues. Even though they don’t recognize the jurisdictional primacy of the Pope, they nevertheless look on the Pope as the first hierarchical office in the Church, from a point of view of the order of protocol.
Rorate Caeli: We are just a year away from the 100th anniversary of Fatima. Russia was arguably not consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and certainly not converted. The Church, while ever spotless, is in complete disarray – maybe worse than during the Arian Heresy. Will things get even worse before they get better and how should truly faithful Catholics prepare for what is coming?
H.E. Schneider: We have to believe firmly: The Church is not ours, nor the Pope’s. The Church is Christ’s and He alone holds and leads her indefectibly even through the darkest periods of crisis, as our current situation indeed is. This is a demonstration of the Divine character of the Church. The Church is essentially a mystery, a supernatural mystery, and we cannot approach her as we approach a political party or a pure human society. At the same time, the Church is human and on her human level she is nowadays enduring a sorrowful passion, participating in the Passion of Christ. One can think that the Church in our days is being flagellated as our Lord, is being denuded as was Our Lord, on the tenth Cross station. The Church, our mother, is being bound in cords not only by the enemies of Christ but also by some of their collaborators in the rank of the clergy, even sometimes of the high clergy. All good children of Mother Church as courageous soldiers we have to try to free this mother – with the spiritual weapons of defending and proclaiming the truth, promoting the traditional liturgy, Eucharistic adoration, the crusade of the Holy Rosary, the battle against the sin in one’s private life and striving for holiness. We have to pray that the Pope may soon consecrate explicitly Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, then She will win, as the Church prayed since the old times: “Rejoice O Virgin Mary, for thou alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world” (Gaude, Maria Virgo, cunctas haereses sola interemisti in universo mundo).
The Catholic Church
June 26, 2015
The Catholic Church
The Ninth Article of the Apostles’ Creed continued…
The Catholic Church established by Christ is also known as the “Universal Sacrament of Salvation“. All saving grace makes it way to humanity in and through The Catholic Church as a result of Christ’s passion and death on the Cross. Whoever is saved receives the graces necessary to become holy and reach Heaven through The Catholic Church. Do not be deceived, The Catholic Church is the chosen instrument of God Himself! Do you hear me my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ? Do not be deceived by soul destroying moral relativism that is corrupting our World. There is no second or third way into Heaven, there is only the Catholic way! The Catholic Church has EVERYTHING we need to help us along on our journey to our ETERNAL DESTINY. Eternity is a really long time even though it is outside of time. This is why Jesus left us with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (daily Mass is available to most), prayer (our Father, Hail Mary), His Mother Mary (now our Mother), Confession (I try to go at least every 2 weeks, sometimes more), the Sacrament of Matrimony ( Trinitarian), Baptism (Faith, Hope, Charity), Confirmation (strengthening), and Anointing of the Sick (physical and spiritual healing). Christ and His Church meet us at every step of our lives, from birth to death. As Catholics we have so many tools in order to help us on our way.
The Catholic Church is necessary for salvation! Jesus very clearly declared that no one can be saved except through faith and Baptism. Here is from St Mark’s Gospel in chapter 16: “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” We also read in Lumen Gentium 14 Christ’s affirmation “the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door“.
Ordinary and Extraordinary Magisterium
The Catholic Church utilizes two ways to teach and safeguard the Truths handed down by Christ to His Apostles’. We have the ordinary Magisterium of the Church which is Her day to day universal, worldwide teachings on faith and morals. These are TRUTHS to believed and laws to be obeyed. These TRUTHS and laws are not optional by the way. Some good examples of the Church’s teachings that fit into the category of ordinary magisterial teachings are the Church’s solid stance on the evils of abortion, contraception, and euthanasia. These TRUTHS have not been solemnly defined, but the content (doctrine) of these TRUTHS is fixed. Our consciences are bound to believe these Truths.
The extraordinary Magisterium is the exercise of the Church’s teachings in a very exceptional and defined way. Not only is the content fixed, but we also have a fixed and defined statement that cannot be changed. Therefore, the content and definition are fixed when we are talking about the teachings from the extraordinary Magisterium. An example of an ordinary teaching becoming a part of the extraordinary Magisterium of the Church is in 1854 when Pope Pius IX solemnly declared our Mother Mary’s Immaculate Conception in the papal bull Ineffabilis Deus . The extraordinary Magisterium’s declarations’ are made in the form of ex cathedra pronouncements, or also known as “from the Chair of Peter“. They can also come from solemn declarations made through Ecumenical Councils (these must be approved and ratified by the Pope). We must note that these DOGMAS/ DOCTRINES are binding on ALL the FAITHFUL. We cannot pick and choose which teachings suit our fancy, or which teachings the World agrees with. We are bound as Catholics to follow, live by, and believe the infallible dogmas of The Catholic Church.
So, in the case of the ordinary Magisterium we understand that the content of the teaching is fixed but it’s language, or definition is still not solemnly defined. In the case of an extraordinary Magisterial teaching, the content and defined language are both fixed and cannot change. Yes, both ordinary and extraordinary teachings must be believed.
We will look at infallibility in the next post
May Almighty God bless us and protect us from the World, the devil, the heretics, and ourselves !
ps The Church needs Saints ; don’t be afraid to be one !
The Catholic Church is Apostolic
June 5, 2015
The Catholic Church is Apostolic
Ninth Article of the Apostles’ Creed continued…
The Catholic Church is Apostolic. What exactly does this mean? This means that the Pope and the Bishops of the Catholic Church can all trace their actual lineage back to St Peter and the Apostles. That’s right, the Pope and Bishops are directly related through the succession of office. This isn’t an opinion, this is a fact, a De fide found in the Nicene Creed : Credo in…apostolicam Ecclesiam (D 86) D 14, 1686. This from Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Dr Ludwig Ott the dogma asserts : In its origin the Church goes back to the Apostles. She has always adhered to the teaching which she received from the Apostles. The pastors of the Church, the Pope and the Bishops are connected with the Apostles by succession of office. The apostolicity of the succession guarantees the unfalsified transmission of doctrine and makes manifest the organic connection between the Church of the present day and the Church of the Apostles.
The Church is apostolic because the ordination at the Last Supper by Christ ( the Sacrament of Holy Orders ) was passed on by the laying on of hands by the Apostles to their successors, the Bishops. Is this actually in the Bible a protestant may ask? Where does this succession take place? We find grounds for succession in the Old Testament, especially in Chapter 22 of the Book of Isaiah. I will summarize : The prefect ( this could be our Pope ) of the High Priest ( typologically this represents Jesus ) was not doing a very good job. In fact, God was displeased with Sobna’s action and wanted his office and his “keys” transferred to Eliacim the son of Helcias. The job of the prefect ( type of Pope ) was also to be responsible for the “keys” to the Temple. The prefect of the High Priest was like the prime minister and had sweeping power and authority. Also take note that God allowed for a time to have a Prefect or Prime Minister ( or Pope ) who was not doing a good job and was a great sinner. Isn’t that interesting? Also, where have we seen these “keys” before? Jesus mentioned “keys” here in Matthew Chapter 16:  And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. This looks really close to what God revealed in Isaiah Chapter 22: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father (or Pope) to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda.  And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut, and none shall open.  And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place, and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father.( Once again, my emphasis added) Here we see an excellent example of the New being hidden in the Old, and the Old Testament (covenant) fulfilled, revealed, and perfected in the New Testament by Jesus Christ !
In the book of Acts we also find that the Holy Spirit did not come to the Apostles until the office of Judas Iscariot was filled! This office of Judas Iscariot, this Bishopric was filled by Matthias here in Acts Chapter 1: For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take. To take the place of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas hath by transgression fallen, that he might go to his own place. And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. ( My emphasis added ) . Let no one dare say that the Catholic Church is not Apostolic in its origin or that it is not in Holy Scripture.
Here we have three great Saints who speak of the Apostolic succession being True Marks of the Catholic Church.
“Far be it from me to speak adversely of any of these clergy who, in succession from the apostles, confect by their sacred word the Body of Christ and through whose efforts also it is that we are Christians” (Letters 14:8 [A.D. 396]).
“[T]here are many other things which most properly can keep me in [the Catholic Church’s] bosom. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me here. Her authority, inaugurated in miracles, nourished by hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age, keeps me here. The succession of priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after his resurrection, gave the charge of feeding his sheep [John 21:15–17], up to the present episcopate, keeps me here. And last, the very name Catholic, which, not without reason, belongs to this Church alone, in the face of so many heretics, so much so that, although all heretics want to be called ‘Catholic,’ when a stranger inquires where the Catholic Church meets, none of the heretics would dare to point out his own basilica or house” (Against the Letter of Mani Called “The Foundation” 4:5 [A.D. 397]).
St Cyprian of Carthage
“[T]he Church is one, and as she is one, cannot be both within and without. For if she is with [the heretic] Novatian, she was not with [Pope] Cornelius. But if she was with Cornelius, who succeeded the bishop [of Rome], Fabian, by lawful ordination, and whom, beside the honor of the priesthood the Lord glorified also with martyrdom, Novatian is not in the Church; nor can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way” (Letters 69:3 [A.D. 253]).
May God Bless us and protect us from the World, the devil, and ourselves
Why is the Church Called Catholic?
May 20, 2015
Why is the Church Called Catholic ?
Ninth Article of the Apostles’ Creed Continued…
Why is the Church called Catholic?
Many people outside and within the Church do not know the answer to the question, ” Why is the Church called Catholic ? “. Catholic simply means Universal. The Catholicity or Universality of the Church is the third mark of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. Remember that the One True Church founded by Jesus Christ must have all four of these marks, and there can only be One !
The Church is called Catholic because it is spread all throughout the World. We even have parishes on all Continents and even in Antarctica ! Here are a couple pics from Antarctica, so cool, lol, literally!
The Church was first called Catholic in in the letter from St Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about 107 AD. In the Catechetical Discourses of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, the name “Catholic Church” is used to distinguish it from other groups that also call themselves the Church.
The main point that needs to be made is that the Catholic Church is God’s chosen instrument to deliver salvation to men and women of the World. The Catholic Church herself is the guardian and protector of the deposit of faith, handed down to the apostles’ from Jesus Christ and in turn protected by the Popes and the Bishops under him. The fullness of Divine Revelation ( Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture ) including the Sacraments all reside within the Catholic Church’s fold. Pay Attention ! Main Point here : Nothing more is needed for our salvation, except of course, for our full participation with the grace that is offered in and through the Church!
All humanity are called to join the Catholic Church. We do not discriminate against race, colour, ethnicity, culture, or sexual orientation …. all are welcome! The Catholic Church is also known as the Universal Sacrament of Salvation.
One more point must be emphasized, there are other denominations that claim the name “Catholic“. These other groups, denominations, or sects may even look and act very Catholic. However, unless these groups are under the Pope and the local Bishop of the diocese in which they reside, they are only “Catholic” in name. Some of these groups or societies may even have valid orders and rites, but they are acting illegally without proper permissions from local authorities under Rome.
May Almighty God Bless you and protect you from the World, the devil, and ourselves!
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The Catholic Church is Holy
May 10, 2015
The Catholic Church is Holy
The Catholic Church is Holy
We will continue looking at the Ninth Article of the Apostles’ Creed and focus on the Holiness of the Catholic Church. Last post we looked at the first mark of the Church : its Oneness. If we remember correctly from previous posts, the Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, and these we call the Four Marks of the Church.
We will let the late Reverend Monsignor Ronald Knox lead this catechesis on the Holiness of the Catholic Church.
“We must consider the second mark, the holiness of the Church. Here we are in a somewhat more embarrassing position when we start arguing with our friends outside the Church; they’re so apt to expect rather too much, aren’t they? The usual explanation the books give of this second mark is that “holiness” in the Church is proved partly by the continuance of miracles within her fold, and partly by the existence of the religious orders, with their special cult of perfection. The Church (we are told) has her ups and downs, her bad patches here and there, but we’ve still got Lourdes and we’ve still got Carmel. I’ve no quarrel with that explanation, but I think you can put the thing rather more simply in this way–Christians of any other denomination, if they describe that denomination as “holy” at all (which they very seldom do), are referring in fact to the individual holiness of its members. Whereas when we talk about the Holy Catholic Church we aren’t thinking, precisely, of the holiness of its members. We think of the Church as sanctifying its members, rather than being sanctified by its members. Sanctity–what a hard thing it is to define! There is a kind of bouquet of mystery about Catholic ceremonial, there is a kind of familiarity about the attitude of Catholics towards death and what lies beyond death, there is a patient acceptance of little oddnesses and inconveniences about the practice of religion, which you don’t find outside the Church itself, except perhaps among certain High Church people who have been at pains to imitate what is to us a natural attitude. That’s all very vague, and I haven’t time to analyze it more particularly; but I think the reason why atheists usually say, “If I was anything, I’d be a Catholic”, is that there is a something about her; and that something is really her sanctity, a quality which belongs to the institution as such, not to you and me.
And that something is not affected, really, by all the mud-slinging which starts, among the more embittered kind of Protestants, the moment the sanctity of the Church is mentioned. Immoral popes and worldly bishops, and priests in odd parts of the world who aren’t any better than they should be, and the massacre of St Bartholomew and a dozen other incidents which recall to us the dictum “Happy is the nation which has no history”–well, yes. All that we can admit, and regret, and refuse to extenuate, and still say, “Yes, I know, but I’d sooner be a Catholic than anything else, because I’m not much of a chap really, and somehow being a Catholic means feeling that you get something out of it, whereas being any other kind of Christian means feeling that you’ve got to put something into it.” All that’s true, and it’s fine. But, mark you, the real reason why Catholic propaganda doesn’t go down better than it does, is our individual unholiness. I don’t so much mean the way Catholics are always appearing in the police-courts and so on; there’s a lot to be said about that, and it’s not all to our discredit. No, I mean rather our terrible second-rateness, our determination to get to heaven as cheaply as possible, the mechanical way in which we accept our religious duties, our habit of thinking about every problem of conduct in terms of sin and of hell, when we ought to be thinking much more about generosity in our treatment of God. “Nor knowest thou what argument thy life to thy neighbour’s creed hath lent”–it isn’t logic, but that’s the real mark of the Church the world is looking out for, all the time. ”
I have to say this catechesis of the late Monsignor Ronald Knox really hit me square in the chest! It is up to us to be examples of Christ and His Holiness, and we can only do that through Him, with Him, and in Him. That is only possible if we are regularly approaching the Sacraments of confession and Holy Eucharist. Recently I have had time to reflect on the effort that I actually put into life in general. Sometimes I settle for “just doing enough”. Through Christ and His Sacraments I know that I can do much better through Him, and with Him, and for Him. His grace is always there, why do I settle for “good enough”?