Catechism Clip: It is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

catechismbook

814     From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church’s members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. “Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions.” The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

815     What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:

  • profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
  • common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
  • apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God’s family.

816     “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. … This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.”

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The Immaculate Conception of Mary was God’s “firewall” against human corruption and sin.

Godfirewall

by Doug Lawrence

For the computer savvy, architects and firemen, nothing more needs to be said.

For everyone else:

fire·wall

/ˈfī(ə)rˌwôl/
Noun
  1. A wall or partition designed to inhibit or prevent the spread of fire.
  2. Any barrier that is intended to thwart the spread of a destructive agent.

For a number of very good reasons, it would not have been fitting for Jesus, the Eternal God and 2nd person of the Holy Trinity, become man, to be conceived in anything less than sinless and holy human flesh … a spotless vessel … set apart and sanctified for service to God, alone.

Due to the existence and the method of propagation of Adam’s Original Sin … absent the Immaculate Conception … where God proactively applied the saving grace and merit of Jesus Christ to the soul of his human mother, even from the moment of her conception … such a thing would have been impossible.

And of course, nothing is impossible with God.

More Lenten Catechesis from Andy P/Doria2: Only One Church!

As a continuation of Lenten reflections, first I had to show the history of the Church. Now there are many who may feel – which Church? Well there is only one that goes back to Jesus the Christ, Himself. That Church is THEE Church. The Catholic Church.

Now, I’m going to show how He built ONE Church – not the thousands of denominations we have today.

Warts and all, there is only one Church. The Catholic Church. Pass this on to your friends for discussion or just plain ol’ education. Catholic are woefully under catechized. Learn the truth. It really is all that matters –

The Church must be one

Mt 16:18-19 – upon this rock I will build my Church (singular) – 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Mt 18:17 – tell it to THE Church; if he refuses to listen even to THE Church… (must be visible) –

17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Jn 10:16 – there will be one fold and one shepherd. – 16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd.

Jn 17:17-23 – I pray that they may be one, as we are one – 17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. 18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. 20 “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.

Jn 17:23 – that they may be brought to perfection as 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.

Rom 12:5 – we, though many, are one body in Christ – 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Rom 15:5 – God grant you to think in harmony with one another – 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 16:17 – I urge that there be no divisions among you – 17 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.

Col 3:15 – the peace into which you were called in one body – 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Eph 4:3-6 – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father – 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.

Eph 4:4 – one body, one Spirit, called to be one hope – 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call,

1Cor 1:10 – I urge that there be no divisions among you – 10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

1Cor 12:13 – in one spirit we are baptized into one body – 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Phil 2:2 – be of same mind, united in heart thinking one thing – 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Editor’s note: For the record … in addition to being One … the Catholic Church is also Holy (of God), Apostolic (established by the men (and their duly ordained successors) who were hand-picked, trained, and empowered by Jesus Christ) … and Universal (for all).

These four “marks” help us to properly identify the Catholic Church, always and everywhere.

One more applicable Bible verse: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)

Lenten catechesis on the Catholic Church from AndyP/Doria2

During Lent, I decided to begin a catechesis, or short lessons on the Catholic faith. This is for you and/or people you know who have questions about our faith. I suggest you start a folder on these teachings and save them for when you are asked about what we believe. And one day, you will be asked. Especially from those who seek to get you to leave this “false Church.”

Also especially important is the truth you pass on to your children, grandchildren, and other family members most of whom are woefully, inadequately educated in the most important facet of their lives. Their eternity.

Only one Church goes back to Jesus The Christ and the Apostles. Sure there were many heresies throughout history but the one that has done and continues to do the most damage are the 25 – 30,000 Protestant groups out there who constantly attack our faith.

There is only one Church. See here why:

First from the Bible:

THE CHURCH

Mt 16:18 And I tell you, you are Peter, * and on this rock * I will build my church, and the powers of death * shall not prevail against it. 19* I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Jesus Christ came to die for us all and yes, to build a Church. The only Church that goes back to the 30’s AD. The Catholic Church.

Mt 18:15* “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18* Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

You see. If all else fails, “tell it to the Church”

Mt 28:18* And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

And He promised to be with us forever. Anyone who believes that His Church failed is calling our lord a liar.

Lk 10:16* “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Our Lord is speaking to the early Church leaders here. Anyone who rejects His Church rejects Him.

Jn 16:13 – Spirit of truth will guide you to all truth. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14* He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Declare to whom? Who is our Lord speaking to? The Apostles. The early church.

1Tim 3:14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, 15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

The Church. The pillar and bulwark or foundation of truth. When did this Church disappear? Who too it’s place? Why did Jesus say He would be with us forever? Did He lie?

ONE CHURCH!!!

Now from the very earliest giants of Catholic thought. Notice the dates after the quotes:

Ignatius of Antioch

“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains [i.e., a presbyter]. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).

Irenaeus

“But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the successions of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul—that church which has the tradition and the faith with which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world. And it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition”. (Against Heresies 3:3:1 [A.D. 189]).

Augustine

“We must hold to the Christian religion and to communication in her Church, which is catholic and which is called catholic not only by her own members but even by all her enemies. For when heretics or the adherents of schisms talk about her, not among themselves but with strangers, willy-nilly they call her nothing else but Catholic. For they will not be understood unless they distinguish her by this name which the whole world employs in her regard” (The True Religion 7:12 [A.D. 390]).

“We believe in the holy Church, that is, the Catholic Church; for heretics and schismatics call their own congregations churches. But heretics violate the faith itself by a false opinion about God; schismatics, however, withdraw from fraternal love by hostile separations, although they believe the same things we do. Consequently, neither heretics nor schismatics belong to the Catholic Church; not heretics, because the Church loves God, and not schismatics, because the Church loves neighbor” (Faith and Creed 10:21 [A.D. 393]).

“If you should find someone who does not yet believe in the gospel, what would you [Mani] answer him when he says, ‘I do not believe’? Indeed, I would not believe in the gospel myself if the authority of the Catholic Church did not move me to do so” (ibid., 5:6).

“There 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]).

Hope you find this useful.

Your brother in Christ,

AndyP/Doria2

A short illustrated study guide

My favorite part of the new Mass translation

by Doug Lawrence

After a number of weeks, people are finally getting used to the new Mass translation.

“And also with you” is being successfully replaced by “And with your spirit” at least four times out of five, and amazingly, no one has yet expired while attempting to pronounce the word “consubstantial”.

I have no quarrel with any part of the new translation, but I’ve already decided which part of it I like the best … and it comes down to the addition of just one, little, four letter word, uttered during the people’s invitation to prayer, near the close of the offertory: HOLY!

May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands
for the praise and glory of his name,
for our good
and the good of all his holy Church.

I don’t know exactly why, but it’s nice (actually, very inspiring) to be reminded that the only church Jesus Christ ever founded for the purpose of our salvation, can still remain holy, in spite of all the corruption and sin in the world.

Seems to me, the word “holy” should have always been there, from the get-go!

Official USCCB Site

How should the Catholic keep Sunday holy, and how does he profane it?

Sunday is kept holy by abstaining from all servile work performed for wages or gain, or not commanded by necessity; by passing the day in works of piety; in hearing Mass devoutly, listening to the word of God in church and spending the day at home in a quiet manner pleasing to God.

If justly prevented from being present at church on Sundays and holy days of obligation, we should unite, in spirit, with the priest and the faithful assembled there, and pray fervently; during the rest of the day we should read books of devotion, and endeavor to perform some work of charity.

Sunday is profaned by being spent either in idleness, or in unnecessary servile work, or in that which is still worse, debauchery, and other sinful actions. It would be better, that is, less sinful, as St. Augustine says, to till the field on such days, than to spend them in frivolous, dangerous, and sinful pleasures.

But it is not forbidden, after having properly attended divine service, to participate on Sundays and holy days in honorable, decorous entertainment of the mind and heart.

Excerpted from “Explanation of the Epistles and Gospels” by the Rev. Leonard Goffine (1874)

Submitted by Bob Stanley

This week’s Ask Alice: Does the term “holy” rightly apply only to God, alone?



Send A Question To Alice

She’ll answer your Catholic questions
right here, every Thursday.

Email responses will also be provided, as time permits.

Mario asks: My Protestant friend does not think Mary deserves the title “holy”. He states only God is holy and only God can be considered holy. Is the Blessed Virgin Mary truly holy? Why in the Hail Mary prayer does it use the word “holy” (as in “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners…”)?

Alice answers: The “Hail Mary” which Catholics pray, contains the exact words found in every Protestant, i.e., King James Bible!

“Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou among women.”
(Luke 1:28)

The archangel Gabriel’s greeting to Mary is the only time in the Bible that an angel praises a human being. In this Scripture verse, Gabriel proclaims that Mary has been perfected in grace. An angel is a messenger of God. Clearly, Gabriel proclaimed the message that Mary is holy because she was sinless. Also, Mary is holy because she carried, bore, and nurtured the Son of God.

“The power of the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” (Luke 1:35)

Doesn’t your Protestant friend consider saints and angels to be holy? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the word “holy” means, “Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power, sacred. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy man.”

The same dictionary defines “saint” as, ” a person who has died and gone to Heaven.” The definition for “blessed” is, “held in veneration, revered.”

All of the dictionary definitions, when compared, define “holy” as a title that befits the Blessed Virgin. To call Mary, the Mother of God, holy, is not only a Catholic truth, but, also, an example of correct English word usage as well!

In Christ’s Love,

Alice

*****

Doug Lawrence adds: In a Christian context, the word “holy” literally means to be permanently set apart for God’s service.

Leviticus 27:28 Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord.

“Holy” also typically denotes spiritual fidelity, and a complete absence of sin.

Catholics experience holiness in Jesus Christ, through our worthy participation in the sacraments of the church, and by our active participation in the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The Blessed Virgin Mary experienced (and continues to experience) holiness in Jesus Christ, in a much more direct manner!

Like many of her contemporaries, Mary, the Mother of God, took a vow of holy virginity in the Temple, at a very young age. Under the Mosaic Law, Mary would remain a virgin, totally devoted to God, even after a subsequent marriage.

The relevant passages can be found in Numbers, chapter 30, where the Law of Moses specifically authorizes just such a vow.

If a woman vow any thing, and bind herself by an oath, being in her father’s house, and but yet a girl in age: if her father knew the vow that she hath promised, and the oath wherewith she hath bound her soul, and held his peace, she shall be bound by the vow: Whatsoever she promised and swore, she shall fulfil in deed. (Numbers 30:3-4)

While the mere taking of such a vow would not necessarily make a person holy, God’s election of that person, for the purpose of divine maternity, most certainly would. There’s absolutely no doubt that the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of God’s “elect”.

Talk about a “personal relationship” with God!
Of all Christians, Protestants, in particular,
ought to be able to easily understand and appreciate
this aspect of Mary’s holiness!

Divine Transformation:

On Mount Sinai, Moses was (literally) transformed after spending only 40 days with God.

And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights: he neither ate bread nor drank water, and he wrote upon the tables the ten words of the covenant. And when Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was luminous from the conversation of the Lord. And Aaron and the children of Israel seeing the face of Moses, were afraid to come near. And being called by him, they returned, both Aaron and the rulers of the congregation. And after that he spoke to them, And all the children of Israel came to him: and he gave them in commandment all that he had heard of the Lord on Mount Sinai. And having done speaking, he put a veil upon his face.
(Exodus 34:28-33)

For over 30 years, Mary shared her earthly dwelling place with Jesus, who is God, in the flesh. Imagine the effect the Son of God would have on his Blessed Mother, after spending more than 30 years with her?! Note that Mary also is routinely pictured, wearing a veil!

Apostolic Testimony:

The apostles and the disciples knew Mary, and they had no doubt that she was all of these things, and more … according to the power and grace of her son, Jesus, whose human body was divinely fashioned from Mary’s sinless and holy flesh.

The angel Gabriel hailed Mary as “full of grace”. To be “full” means just that … with no room at all in her soul for sin of any kind. God made her that way. He did it for himself … but mainly,
he did it for us.

Jesus Christ … “The holy that was born of thee” … was made of Mary’s own, holy flesh. While there’s no doubt that the power of God alone made that possible, the FACT remains!

The Bible tells us that nothing unholy can enter Heaven. That’s because God dwells in Heaven, with his angels and his saints, and his personal standard of holiness is infinitely high. Would the Father disrespect his son by providing for him (during his nine months in Mary’s womb) anything less than a sinless … and less than holy … human vessel, in which to dwell? Not likely!

Would Jesus accept a woman as his mother that was anything less than holy? Absolutely not! The “mission requirements” of the Messiah demanded a holy mother who would also serve as his most faithful and trusted disciple … one who could not be “turned” by the forces of evil.

For Mary, holiness was absolutely required.
God provided it, Mary willingly cooperated,
and Yahweh’s Salvation (Jesus) was born.
Case closed!

Testimony of the Scriptures:

God makes days holy:

Exodus 12:16 The first day shall be holy and solemn, and the seventh day shall be kept with the like solemnity: you shall do no work in them, except those things that belong to eating.

God makes Israel a holy nation:

Exodus 19:6 And you shall be to me a priestly kingdom, and a holy nation. These are the words thou shalt speak to the children of Israel.

God makes men holy:

Exodus 22:31 You shall be holy men to me: the flesh that beasts have tasted of before, you shall not eat, but shall cast it to the dogs.

God makes priestly vestments holy:

Exodus 28:2 And thou shalt make a holy vesture for Aaron, thy brother, for glory and for beauty.

God makes sacrificial vessels holy (bearing graven images, no less):

Exodus 28:36 Thou shalt make also a plate of the purest gold: wherein thou shalt grave with engraver’s work, Holy to the Lord.

God makes animal sacrifices and the hands of the priests who offer them, holy:

Exodus 29:33 That it may be an atoning sacrifice, and the hands of the offerers may be sanctified. A stranger shall not eat of them, because they are holy.

God makes the altar of sacrifice holy, as well as those who serve there:

Exodus 29:37 Seven days shalt thou expiate the altar and sanctify it, and it shall be most holy. Every one, that shall touch it, shall be holy.

God makes oil holy:

Exodus 30:25 And thou shalt make the holy oil of unction, an ointment compounded after the art of the perfumer,

God makes incense holy:

Exodus 30:35-36 And thou shalt make incense compounded by the work of the perfumer, well tempered together, and pure, and most worthy of sanctification. And when thou hast beaten all into very small powder, thou shalt set of it before the tabernacle of the testimony, in the place where I will appear to thee. Most holy shall this incense be unto you.

Because we are God’s children, and he is our God, he makes us holy, through our faithful observance of his laws and precepts:

Leviticus 11:44 For I am the Lord your God. Be holy because I am holy. Defile not your souls by any creeping thing, that moveth upon the earth.

Leviticus 20:7-8 Sanctify yourselves, and be ye holy: because I am the Lord your God. Keep my precepts, and do them. I am the Lord that sanctify you.

God’s name is holy, simply because it is HIS name. Wouldn’t Mary be similarly holy simply because she is HIS (Jesus’) mother?:

Leviticus 22:32-33 Profane not my holy name, that I may be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel. I am the Lord who sanctify you: And who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. I am the Lord.

Leviticus 27:28 Any thing that is devoted to the Lord, whether it be man, or beast, or field, shall not be sold: neither may it be redeemed. Whatsoever is once consecrated shall be holy of holies to the Lord.

I can quote another 387 instances just like these, from the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, where God makes various people, days, and things “holy”.

When God takes something or someone to himself and deems it “holy” … who can say otherwise?

This chapter from my book might also be of interest (link)

I hope this helps!

May God richly bless you and yours,

Doug

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