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”?
The Ninth Article of the Apostles’ Creed
April 23, 2015
The Ninth Article of the Apostles Creed
I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints
To begin this post on the Ninth Article of the Apostles Creed , we will be looking at what we call “The Four Marks of the Church“. I have to say that the Four Marks of the Church are absolutely vital to one’s understanding of what the Catholic Church actually is ; they are also the bedrock of the Church’s claim to being the One True Church founded by Christ! If you choose to learn about the Four Marks of the Church, you will be well on your way to being able to defend the Catholic Church and Her “constant and very firm teachings “.
What are the Four Marks of the Church? I am glad you asked ! The Church is : 1. One, 2. Holy, 3. Catholic, and 4. Apostolic. We will focus first on the oneness of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church’s unity is evident in its oneness. The Church is one in Jesus Christ through His mystical body. There is one Jesus and He founded one Church, not many Churches. Jesus never said churches, he said church. Let us look at the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16:” And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. ( my emphasis added)” Notice Jesus’s words, “my church”. “My church” is singular not plural, so this must mean one Church.
The Sacred Scriptures are very explicit concerning the Church’s oneness. I have heard it said before that , ” a text without context is no text at all “. I have to say that I completely agree with that statement. Certain verses of Holy Scripture on their own can be twisted and manipulated to fit a person’s particular agenda or personal belief or wish. On this topic of the One Holy Catholic Church , it is inconceivable that the Holy Scriptures can be read in any other way than to support the Oneness of the Catholic Church. Let us look at just a few of the verses from Holy Scripture, they speak for themselves ; after all it is God’s Word ! In John Chapter 10 verse 16 Jesus speaks “So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.” Jesus again speaks on John Chapter 17 verses 17-23 “ “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.( my emphasis with bold).
Let us move on to St Paul so that we can get some more context concerning the Oneness of the Church. Like I stated earlier, it is very important to read the Holy Scriptures in context of the entire Bible. We cannot pick and choose, or cut and paste the particular verses that may co-sign our personal thoughts or ideas. Like St Augustine states, ” The old is revealed in the new, and the new is hidden in the old “. The Holy Scriptures do not contradict one another ; in fact, they always compliment one another.
Once again, let us read St Paul’s words from the Letter to the Ephesians , Chapter 4 verses 3-6 ” 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. ” (my emphasis added). Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ I urge you to read and re-read these passages, they leave no room for interpretation, especially when read in context with the Bible as a whole. Also I ask that you key in on “ one baptism “. I have run into so-called former Catholics, I call them roaming Catholics, who have actually been ” re-baptized “. This is a serious offence against God. God didn’t make a mistake when you were baptized the first time. Trust Him, He doesn’t make mistakes, ever!
I’ll tell you what, I will list a few more passages you can investigate concerning the Church’s oneness. Here they are :
1 Cor 1:10 – there should be no divisions among you ( over 40,000+ protestant denominations)
Col 3:15 – called in one body
Rom 12:4-5 – though many, we are one body in Christ
Rom 16:17 – avoid those who cause schism ( I wonder how Luther interpreted this verse???)
Mark 3:25 – And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand
Jesus and St Paul make it very clear that unity is the fundamental characteristic of the One True Church. The Catholic Church has stood as one for 2,000 years. The Catholic Church is one in government ; under the Pope and the Bishops. The Catholic Church is One in Faith ; we need only look to the Apostles Creed, Seven Sacraments, the Our Father, and the Ten Commandments. The Catholic Church is One in Worship ; we worship together at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass on all days (especially on Sunday), all continents, all time zones. It doesn’t matter where you may find yourself on this earth, if there is a Catholic Church in the area you will most likely be able to follow along.
May Almighty God bless us and protect us from the World , the devil, and ourselves !