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