Category Archives: Protestantism

Traditional Catholic Conference

Bishop Donald J. Sandborn

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​Of those who Continue in Sin, trusting in the Mercy of God 

Taken from the book entitled The Sinner’s Guide by the Venerable Louis of Granada 





Besides those who defer their conversion till the hour of death, there are others who persevere in sin, trusting in the mercy of God and the merits of His Passion. We must now disabuse them of this illusion. You say that God’s mercy is great, since He died on the cross for the salvation of sinners. It is indeed great, and a striking proof of its greatness is the fact that He bears with the blasphemy and malice of those who so presume upon the merits of His death as to make His cross, which was intended to destroy the kingdom of evil, a reason for multiplying sin. Had you a thousand lives you would owe them all to Him, yet you rob Him of that one life which you have and for which He died. 
This crime was more bitter to Our Saviour than death itself. For it He reproaches us by the mouth of His prophet, though He does not complain of His sufferings: “The wicked have wrought upon my back; they have extended their iniquity.” (Ps. 128:3). Who taught you to reason that because God was good you could sin with impunity? Such is not the teaching of the Holy Spirit. On the contrary, those who listen to His voice reason thus: God is good; therefore, I must serve Him, obey Him, and love Him above all things. God is good; therefore, I will turn to Him with all my heart; I will hope for pardon, notwithstanding the number and enormity of my sins. God is good; therefore, I must be good if I would imitate Him. God is good; therefore, it would be base ingratitude in me to offend Him by sin. Thus, the greater you represent God’s goodness the more heinous are your crimes against Him. Nor will these offenses remain unpunished, for God’s justice, which protects His mercy, cannot permit your sinful abuse of it to remain unavenged. This is not a new pretext; the world has long made use of it. In ancient times it distinguished the false from the true prophets. While the latter announced to the people, in God’s name, the justice with which He would punish their iniquities, the former, speaking in their own name, promised them mercy which was but a false peace and security.
You say God’s mercy is great; but if you presume upon it you show that you have never studied the greatness of His justice. Had you done so you would cry out to the Lord with the psalmist: “Who knoweth the power of thy anger, and for thy fear who can number thy wrath?” (Ps. 89:11-12). But to dissipate your illusion, let me ask you to contemplate this justice in the only way in which we may have any knowledge of it – that is, in its effects here below. Besides the result we are seeking, we shall reap another excellent advantage by exciting in our hearts the fear of God, which, in the opinion of the saints, is the treasure and defence of the soul. Without the fear of God the soul is like a ship without ballast; the winds of human or divine favor may sweep it to destruction. Notwithstanding that she may be richly laden with virtue, she is in continual danger of being wrecked on the rocks of temptation, if she be not stayed by this ballast of the fear of God. Therefore, not only those who have just entered God’s service, but those who have long been of His household, should continue in this salutary fear; the former by reason of their past transgressions, the latter on account of their weakness, which exposes them to danger at every moment. This holy fear is the effect of grace, and is preserved in the soul by frequent meditation.

To aid you in this reflection we shall here propose a few of the practical proofs of the greatness of God’s justice. The first work of God’s justice was the reprobation of the angels. “All the ways of God are mercy and justice” (Cf. Ps. 24:10), says David; but until the fall of the angels, divine justice had not been manifested. It had been shut up in the bosom of God like a sword in the scabbard, like that sword of which Ezechiel speaks with alarm, foretelling the ruin it will cause. (Cf. Ezech. 21). This first sin drew the sword of justice from its scabbard, and terrible was the destruction it wrought. Contemplate its effects; raise your eyes and behold one of the most brilliant beings of God’s house, a resplendent image of the divine beauty, flung with lightning-like rapidity from a glorious throne in Heaven to the uttermost depths of Hell, for one thought of pride. (Cf. Lk, 10:18). The prince of heavenly spirits becomes the chief of devils. His beauty and glory are changed into deformity and ignominy. God’s favorite subject is changed into His bitterest enemy, and will continue such for all eternity. With what awe this must have filled the angels, who knew the greatness of his fall! With what astonishment they repeat the words of Isaias: “How art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning”? (Is. 14:12).

Consider also the fall of man, which would have been no less terrible than that of the angels, if it had not been repaired. Behold in it the cause of all the miseries we suffer on earth: original and actual sin, suffering of body and mind, death, and the ruin of numberless souls who have been lost forever. Terrible are the calamities it brought upon us; and even greater would be our misfortunes had not Christ, by His death, bound the power of sin and redeemed us from its slavery. How rigorous, therefore, was the justice of God in thus punishing man’s rebellion; but how great was His goodness in restoring him to His friendship! In addition to the penalties imposed on the human race for the sin of Adam, new and repeated punishments have at different times been inflicted upon mankind for the crimes they have committed. In the time of Noe, the whole world was destroyed by the deluge. (Cf. Gen. 7). Fire and brimstone from Heaven consumed the wicked inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha. (Cf. Gen. 19). The earth opened and swallowed alive into Hell Core, Dathan, and Abiron for resisting the authority of Moses. (Cf. Num. 16). Nadab and Abiu, sons of Aaron, were destroyed by a sudden flame from the sanctuary because they offered strange fire in the sacrifice. (Cf. Lev. 10). Neither their priestly character, nor the sanctity of their father, nor the intimacy with God of their uncle, Moses, could obtain for them any remission for their fault. Recall the example of Ananias and Sapphira, struck dead by God for telling a lie. (Cf. Acts 5). 
But the strongest proof of the rigor of God’s justice was the satisfaction required for sin, which was nothing less than the death of His only-begotten Son. Think of this Price of man’s Redemption, and you will begin to realize what sin is and how the justice of God regards it. Think, too, of the eternity of Hell, and judge of the rigor of that justice which inflicts such punishment. This justice terrifies you, but it is no less certain than the mercy in which you trust. Yes, through endless ages, God will look upon the indescribable torments of the damned, but they will excite in Him no compassion; they will not move Him to limit their sufferings or give them any hope of relief. Oh! Mysterious depths of divine justice! Who can reflect upon them and not tremble? Another subject to which I would call your serious attention is the state of the world. Reflect on this, and you will begin to realize the rigors of God’s justice. As an increase in virtue is the effect and reward of virtue, so likewise an increase in sin is the effect and punishment of sin. Indeed, it is one of the greatest chastisements that can be inflicted on us, when we are permitted, through blindness and passion, to rush headlong down the broad road of vice, adding sin to sin every day and hour of our lives. This is but just; for when man once mortally sins he loses all right to any help from God. It is owing solely to the divine mercy when he is converted.
Look, therefore, over the world, and behold the greatness of its iniquity. Think of the millions who are living in infidelity and heresy. Think how many calling themselves Christians are daily betraying their name by their scandalous lives. Why is this sad condition permitted? Ah! It is owing to man’s crimes. God is disobeyed, insulted, and mocked by the majority of men, and His long-suffering justice, being wearied by their wickedness, permits them to go on in their mad career. St. Augustine is an illustrious example of this. “I was plunged,” he says, “in iniquity, and Thy anger was aroused against me, but I knew it not. I was deaf to the noise which the chains of my sins made. But this ignorance, this deafness, were the punishments of my pride.” Reflect on this. Men act freely when they sin, for no man is forced to do wrong. But when they have fallen they cannot rise without the divine assistance.

Now, God owes this to no man. It is His gratuitous gift when He restores the sinner to His favor. Hence He but exercises His justice when He permits him to remain in his misery, and even to fall lower. When, therefore, we behold so much iniquity, have we not reason to feel that God’s justice permits men to become so blinded and hardened? I say permits, for man is the cause of his own miseries; God urges him only to what is good. If, then, you perceive in yourself any mark of such divine anger, be not without fear. Remember that you need no help but your own passions and the devil’s temptations to carry you along the broad road to destruction. Stop while you have time. Implore the divine mercy to aid you in retracing your steps till you discover that narrow way which leads to everlasting life. Having found it, walk manfully in it, ever mindful of the justice of God, and of the terrible truth that while thousands throng the road to death, there are few who find the way of life. Tremble for your salvation, and, while always maintaining an unshaken hope, have no less fear of Hell. 
You have no reason to expect that God should treat you differently from other men. Bear in mind the law of His justice, as it has been explained, and so live that you may never expose yourself to its terrible effects here and hereafter. Be not the victim of a vain confidence which you may flatter yourself is hope, while it is naught but presumption. Rather, in the words of the Eternal Wisdom, “Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin. And say not: The mercy of the Lord is great; he will have mercy on the multitude of my sins. For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners.” (Ecclus. 5:5-7). If, then, we must tremble even for sin which has been remitted, how is it that you do not fear to add daily to your crimes? And mark well these words: “His wrath looketh upon sinners”; for as the eyes of His mercy are upon the good, so are the eyes of His anger upon the wicked. And this agrees with what David says in one of the psalms: “The eyes of the Lord are upon the just, and His ears unto their prayers. But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.” (Ps. 33:16-17). “The hand of God,” says the inspired author of the book of Esdras, “is upon all them that seek him in goodness; and his power and strength and wrath upon all them that forsake him.” (1Esd. 8:22). Be reconciled, therefore, with God; amend your life; and then you can confidently hope for the mercy promised to His faithful servants. “Hope in the Lord and do that which is good,” we are told by the psalmist; “offer the sacrifice of justice, and trust in the Lord.” (Ps. 36:3 and 4:6). This is hope; any other confidence is presumption. The ark of the true Church will not save its unworthy members from the deluge of their iniquities, nor can you reap any benefit from the mercy of God if you seek His protection in order to sin with impunity. “Men go to Hell,” says St. Augustine, “through hope, as well as through despair: through a presumptuous hope during life, and through despair at the hour of death.” (De Verbo Dei, Serm. 147).

I entreat you, therefore, O sinner, to abandon your false hope, and let God’s justice inspire you with a fear proportioned to the confidence which His mercy excites in you. For, as St. Bernard tells us, “God has two feet, one of justice and the other of mercy. We must embrace both, lest justice separated from mercy should cause us to despair, or mercy without justice should excite in us presumption.” (In Cantica, Serm. 80)

I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

Signs that a Catholic is tainted with Liberalism

 

Liberalism is the belief that one creed is as good as another, under the false plea of liberty of conscience. It is based on unrestricted exercise of the individual’s reason upon the subject matter of Revelation. The individual or sect interprets as it pleases, rejecting or accepting what it chooses. The origins of Liberalism stem from Protestantism, which rejected the principle of authority in religion. Liberalism leads to the belief that no creed is just as good as any. Religious beliefs or unbelief become mere matters of opinion. Liberalism severs the bond which binds men to God and seeks to build human society on the foundations of man’s absolute independence. Liberalism is basically rationalism; the doctrine of the absolute sovereignty of human reason.

 

In short, Liberalism is the dogmatic affirmation of the absolute independence of the individual and of the social reason. Catholicity is the dogma of the absolute subjection of the individual and of the social order to the revealed law of God. One doctrine is the exact antithesis of the other, so Liberalism and Catholicism are impossible to reconcile in any way.

 

Causes of Liberalism:

  • Corrupt morals due to theater, literature, public education etc
  • Journalism through the secular press, secret societies, literature, arts, science, politics etc
  • General ignorance in matters of religion
  • Secular education that removes God

 

Effects of Liberalism:

  • Removal of religion from society
  • Supremacy of the state
  • Marriage sanctioned and legitimized by the state alone
  • Divorce laws
  • Socialism/Communism
  • Unrestricted immorality

 

Why Liberalism is a mortal sin (if not out of ignorance):

  • Violates all of the 10 Commandments
  • Within it are comprehended all heresies
  • Repudiates dogma altogether and substitutes opinion
  • Refuses to acknowledge the authority of the Pope and jurisdiction of Jesus Christ over society

 

Condemnations:

  • Liberalism of every degree and all forms has been formally condemned by the Church
  • Upon its appearance during the French Revolution, it was condemned by Pius VI (1775-1799)
  • Later, Liberalism infected all the countries of Europe. Gregory XVI (1831-46) explicitly condemned Liberalism
  • Pope Pius IX (1846-78) later condemned Liberalism multiple times, most notably in the Syllabus of Errors (1864)
  • Liberalism was also condemned by Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X, and Pope Pius XI

 

3 Types of Liberals:

  1. Extreme Liberals – easily recognized, they do not attempt to deny or conceal their perversity. They are declared enemies of the Pope, priests, and everything ecclesiastical. They are revolutionists, socialists, and anarchists. They glory in living a life devoid of all religion
  2. Moderate Liberals – just as bad as Extreme Liberals, but take good care not to appear so (making them the most dangerous of the three). Social conventionalities and good manners are everything to them. They do not detest the Pope and may even admire him. They may even admire priests, especially those who have caught the twang of modern progress. They may even go to Church and approach the Sacraments, but their maxim is to live as a Christian in the Church, and to live as the world lives outside the Church. They die with a priest on one side, and infidel literature on the other, and imagine that their Creator will applaud this breadth of mind
  3. Quasi Liberals (Catholics tainted with Liberalism)– generally good people and sincerely pious; but liberal in everything they say or write. They reason, speak and act as Liberals without knowing it. Their strong point is charity. To smother evil under an abundance of good is their favorite principle. From the Gospel they are careful to cite only positive texts. They save the treasures of their tolerance and charity for the sworn enemies of the Faith, and for the most heroic defenders of the Faith, they have only sarcasm and abusive language. They use hit and run tactics rather than debate

 

In summary, the extreme Liberal roars his Liberalism, the moderate Liberal mouths it, and the tainted Catholicwhispers and sighs it.

 

Signs that a Catholic is tainted with Liberalism (false Catholicity)

  • He subjects commands and teachings of the Pope to the scrutiny of his own intellect
  • He considers the Church “out of date”, with the hope that it will catch up with the modern spirit of progress
  • He accepts Revelation based on the “superiority” of his own reason, not on the superiority of God
  • He accepts the magisterium, but not as the sole authorized founder of divine truth, but also of his private judgment
  • He makes excuses or apologizes for the past decisions of the Catholic Church
  • He refuses any involved discussion on the subject of Catholicism, or if he appears interested, he will bow out of the discussion before its conclusion (given that Liberalism is derived of nothing but contradictions)
  • He believes the Church’s infallibility may be determined by human science
  • He believes no one can impose upon him any belief which his individual judgment does not measure as perfectly rational
  • If he doesn’t believe a teaching of the Church, he will say it is “not infallible”. If the teaching appears infallible, he will say it must be taken in a very modified sense
  • Following the principle of toleration, he classifies doctrines of enemies of the Church as being due to differences of temperament, education, etc., and concludes that they should be condoned
  • He forgets the Divine and supernatural character of the Church and instead looks at it as a simple human institution
  • So as not to appear “intolerant”, and to appease both sides, he finds it admirable for the private individual to be subject to the law of God, and at the same time believes the state must stand neutral and impartial; a blatant contradiction
  • His piety is limited to Pietism, often seen in people who seek in their devotions only the sentimental emotions of which they themselves are able to be the source
  • In his desire to appear impartial, he tolerates and even praises books and movies that contain liberal content, or that contain praise of non-Catholic religions or other non-Catholic subjects just because Catholic content may also be included within (books of such a kind would normally go on the Index of Forbidden Books)
  • He keeps company with other people known to be tainted with Liberalism
  • He declares that other Catholics do not have the authority to make a moral judgment of heresy or error against other persons or writings. Note: There is a difference between making a personal moral judgment and the Church making an official declaration. It has always been normal procedure in the Catholic Church for moral judgments of the faithful to first ring the warning bell against errors, which later leads to the Church pronouncing the final, decisive and solemn sentence on the matter
  • Instead of being appreciative of correction, he calls other Catholics “uncharitable” or “of bad will” if they try to point out any of the above liberal traits in another person

This was taken from http://www.faithfulcatholics.com I am not the Author merely the distributor. God Bless BJS!!

​One Body in Christ: Communion of Saints

 

The illustration shows the continuous communication in the three portions of the Church spiritually united in Jesus Christ. The members on earth send up prayers to the angels and saints for themselves and for the poor souls in purgatory. They in turn are helped by the intercession of the saints and angels, and by the graces obtained thereby. The poor souls pray for the members on earth.

    Why is the Catholic Church called the Mystical Body of Christ? –The Catholic Church is called the Mystical Body of Christ, because its members are united by supernatural bonds with one another and with Christ, their Head, thus resembling the members and head of the living human body.

  1. The term “Mystical Body of Christ” is derived from St. Paul’s metaphor: “He is the head of his body, the Church” (Col. 1:18) . Again: “You are the body of Christ, member for member” (1 Cor. 12:27). “We, the many, are one body in Christ” (Rom. 12:5).Jesus Himself used a similar symbol: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for without me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me, he shall be cast outside as the branch and wither” (John 15:5-6). 
  2. In the Mystical Body, Christ as Head wills to be helped by His Body. Thus He rules the Church, but does so indirectly, through the hierarchy, human authority.In a similar manner the human head, to live, has need of the rest of the body. The hierarchy is the material on which is formed the Image of Christ, God. The acts, ceremonies, ritual, liturgy of the Church,-all these are outward signs of the inward reality of the union of the members with one another and with their Head, Christ; they are visible manifestations of a common supernatural life in the Godhead. 
  3. Among the members of the Mystical Body of Christ there exists an interdependence; so that although each one has his own individual function, yet he does not live for himself alone, but for the entire Body. Every good he does perfects the Body, of which he is a part.Similarly, the eye, or the foot, or the arm of a man is useless existing alone and apart from the rest of his body. Here is an example of the interdependence among members of the Church: Suppose a Catholic prays to recover from a grievous illness, and he does not recover; there is no evident answer to his prayers. Yet, do they go to waste? God lets no good work “go to waste”; the merits of the prayers are not lost for the Mystical Body. 
  4. Because of the interdependence among the members, and between members and Head, of the Mystical Body, there follows a continuouscontribution and distribution of merits and graces, profiting all towards eternal life. This supernatural fellowship, this mystical union and interdependence, is presented to us in the Apostles’ Creed in the doctrine of the Communion of Saints.
    What is meant by “the Communion of Saints” in the Apostles’ Creed? –By “the Communion of Saints” is meant the union of the faithful on earth, the blessed in heaven, and the souls in purgatory, with Christ as their Head.There is only one Mystical Body, only one Church. But this Church has three aspects: the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant.

  1. The saints and angels in heaven compose the Church triumphant,because they have gained the crown of victory. The souls in purgatory compose the Church suffering, because they still have to expiate for their sins before they can enter heaven. The faithful on earth compose the Church militant, because they have to struggle ceaselessly against the enemies of their souls.The Church triumphant, the Church suffering and the Church militant compose one Church united in Christ, members of a body whose head is Christ: “So we, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another’ (Rom. 12:5). 
  2. All the members of the Church are of one family, and share in the spiritual treasures of the Church. However, not all members of the Church Militant fully enjoy the benefits of the communion of saints, but only those in a state of grace.“Dead members” do not lose all the benefits of the communion of saints, for the Church prays publicly for them, and particular members in the state of grace often send up petitions for them. Thus they may receive the grace to repent and recover sanctifying grace. Hence a Catholic who still belongs to the Church, although a great sinner, may have more hope of being converted than one who cuts himself off from the Church.
    How do the members of the Communion of Saints help one another? –The members of the Communion of Saints help one another by prayer and intercession, and by the merits of their good works. 

  1. The faithful on earth can help one another by practicing supernatural charity and, especially, by performing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.St. Peter was freed from prison by the prayers of the faithful. St. Stephen’s prayer obtained the conversion of St. Paul. The prayers of St. Monica led to the conversion of her son, St. Augustine. This is why today, on all occasions, Catholics ask for each other’s prayers, and pray for those in need. They give the spiritual alms of prayers continually, even when they cannot perform the corporal works. 
  2. The faithful on earth, through the communion of saints, can relieve the sufferings of the souls in purgatory by prayer, fasting, and other good works, by indulgences, and by Masses offered for them.St. Augustine says: “Prayer is the key by which we open the gates of heaven to the suffering souls.” In the Memento after the consecration at every Mass, a special petition is made for the souls of the faithful departed. The poor souls cannot merit anything; they depend upon their brothers in Christ on earth and in heaven to help them attain their eternal home as soon as possible. 
  3. The souls in purgatory pray to the angels and saints, and pray for the living.They cannot merit anything, either for themselves or for the living, but they intercede for us. 
  4. Through the communion of saints, the blessed in heaven can help those in purgatory and on earth by praying for them. The faithful on earth should honor the blessed in heaven and pray to them, because they are worthy of honor and as friends of God will help the faithful on earth.This is why we pray to the saints and angels that they may intercede for us before God, Whom they see face to face. “Rendering thanks to God the Father, who has made us worthy to share the lot of the saints in light” (Col. 1:12). 
  5. The doctrine of the communion of saints is one of the most consolingdogmas of the Church. When our loved ones die, they are not separated from us forever. Whether in heaven or purgatory, they still love us and pray for us.We should be happy to call saints and angels our brothers. We should implore their intercession, not only for ourselves, but also for our other brothers, the poor souls in purgatory.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​The Gates of Hell

 

In the castle of Fontainebleu Napoleon forced the Pope to give up the States of the Church, promising an annual income of two million francs. In the same castle Napoleon was himself later forced to sign an abdication and was promised a yearly income of the same amount. When the Pope excommunicated Napoleon, he answered that the words of an old man would not make the arms drop from the hands of his soldiers. In the Russian campaign, because of the intense cold, this actually happened. He kept Pius VII prisoner for five years; he himself was later a prisoner for seven years. Four days after ordering the union of the States of the Church with France, he lost the battles of Aspern and Erlingen.

    What was the end of the leaders of persecution, schism, and heresy? –Many of the leaders of persecution, schism, and heresy came to a bad end. 

  1. Of the first persecutors, several died violent deaths. The death of Judas is the type for his imitators. It is related that: Herod, the murderer of the Holy Innocents, died in unspeakable tortures. 
    Herod, the murderer of James the Apostle, was devoured by worms.
     
  2. Of the persecutors in Rome, Nero was deposed, and in despair stabbed himself. 
  3. Domitian was assassinated. 
    Hadrian became insane. 
    Marcus Aurelius, despondent over the ingratitude of his only son, starved himself to death. 
    Septimus Severus, whose life had been attempted by his only son, died in despair. 
    Decius died miserably in a swamp, during a battle. 
    Valerian was flayed alive by the Persians. 
    Maxentius was drowned in the Tiber. 
    Diocletian died from a loathsome disease. 
    Julian the Apostate was struck down by a lance on the field of battle, and died crying: “Galilean, Thou hast conquered!”
     
  4. The case of Napoleon is instructive.
    Drunk with power, Napoleon seized Rome in 1808, declaring himself the “successor of Charlemagne”. He banished Cardinals and bishops, and carrying off Pope Pius VII, held him prisoner in Savona. Enemies of the Church exulted: “The Papacy is ended! The Emperor has devoured the Pope!” They forgot the divine promise to Peter: “The gates of hell shall not prevail!”; on that promise was based the ancient saying: “Who eats of the Pope dies like a beast.” On the same day that Napoleon died in exile at St. Helena, Pope Pius VII was celebrating his own feast day in Rome.
     
  5. Heretics and schismatics have shared the same fate. Arius burst asunder during a triumphal procession. Voltaire died in despair. The Greek Schismatics fell under the Turkish yoke in 1453, on Pentecost, the feast of that Holy Ghost about whom they had expressed doubts.Truly history has shown the truth of the words of Holy Scripture; “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).
    Why can no other church except the Catholic Church be the True Church of Christ? –No other church except the Catholic Church can be the True Church of Christ, because no other church possesses the marks of unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity.Truth cannot change; hence the constantly changing doctrines of non-Catholic churches can not be true. They also differ in their government. Some recognize the temporal ruler as their spiritual head. Others have ministers whom they call bishops, deacons, elders. The majority reject such titles.

  1. There are hundreds of churches and Christian denominations, each different from the others; they do not possess the mark of unity. They differ in even the essentials of faith. They cannot agree, and keep dividing and subdividing year by year. Their only similarity appears to be their opposition to the Catholic Church.Such churches are multiplying. In the United States there are over two hundred religious bodies. They arise, then pass away, to give place to other denominations. Realizing the great handicap of disunity, efforts have been made by various groups of churches to organize. General councils and conferences of different bodies have been held; but there is no vital result for unity. This is of course because, though agreement may be general concerning matters such as social work, beneficent societies, and the like, no agreement can be found in the essentials of faith and doctrine. This is the result of free interpretation of the Bible, and the repudiation of Peter’s successor, Vicar of Christ. 
  2. The denominations and their founders are not holy in the same sense or degree as the Catholic Church and its Founder are holy. Many non-Catholics are upright and good because they have retained many doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church.Many founders of non-Catholic churches were far from holy. Luther, the founder of Protestantism was an apostate friar, who married a nun who had left her convent and turned against her vows. During his life he taught contradictory doctrines, some of them immoral. Henry VIII, the founder of Anglicanism, married five women successively, after divorcing his lawful wife; he had two put to death.No denomination is catholic, or universal. These non-Catholic churches are everywhere, but are different everywhere.A regional or national Church cannot be the true Church, since it cannot teach all nations, as Christ commanded.No heretical Christian denomination is apostolic. The Protestant churches are some 1500 years later than the Church founded on the Rock of Peter.Not even their teachings come down from the Apostles. Their ministers cannot trace their succession from the Apostles. Not one teaches all the doctrines of the Apostles. How then could they be the Church founded by Christ?
    What should be the attitude of Catholics towards those who do not belong to the True Church? –Catholics should observe an attitude of understanding towards them, because the majority of those who do not belong to the True Church are in good faith.

  1. Catholic teachings are not easy to understand at first sight; many Catholic practices require sacrifice. Towards such a religion there is bound to be prejudice.To be obliged to go to Mass every Sunday under pain of mortal sin; to have to confess to a priest, who is another human being like ourselves; to condemn divorce and birth control; to observe fasts and abstinence;-these are not easy doctrines.No wonder in looking for relief, man often, however unconsciously, seeks motives for not accepting the Church that commands its members to obey such precepts, to accept such doctrines.When Our Lord first announced the institution of the Holy Eucharist, many of the disciples said, “This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” (John 6:62). And they no longer went with Jesus. 
  2. Catholics should above all try to give good example; nothing is more effective in the eyes of non-Catholics than the exemplary lives led by good Catholics.“Behave yourselves honorably among the pagans; that, whereas they slander you as evildoers, they may through observing you by reason of your good works glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). Catholics should often pray for the conversion of those outside the Church, praying with the Good Shepherd for only one Fold. 
  3. While avoiding useless discussions that generally end in bitter quarrels, Catholics should try to show the beauty, the truth of the Catholic Church.In our friendly discussions with non-Catholics we should not be always on the defensive, but should try to see whether they can trace the origin of the authority of their ministers to the Apostles, whether their church can be proved the True Church by the possession of the four marks. Often our non-Catholic friends criticise the Catholic Church on account of some devotional practices like holy water, candles, etc., as if such practices belonged to the essentials of faith.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​Protestant Churches

 

Upon Martin Luther’s refusal to retract his declarations on the teachings of the Church, he was excommunicated. But Luther proudly tore up the papal bull of excommunication, and burned it. The fire that incident started has not yet burned down.

    Who are Protestants? –In general, Protestants are adherents of the religious organizations that broke off from the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, or of any religious body formed from them. 

  1. The term “Protestant” was first given to those who protested against the decree of the second Diet of Speyer in 1529. Later the term was applied to all reformers, all opposing the doctrines of the Church.Even today the term is included in the new formula of the Declaration of Faith that the ruler of England must make at the coronation, saying: “I declare that I am a faithful Protestant.” 
  2. In the sixteenth century the Protestant revolt took place, this beginning of a multitude of heresies, this sad event that has divided Christendom for centuries. Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk of Erfurt, taking offense at what he believed was a lack of appreciation for him at Rome, combated the teaching of the Church on indulgences, in the year 1517.The Pope commanded Luther to retract his teachings upon his refusal, he was excommunicated, in 1520. His heretical teachings spread like wildfire over Germany, occasioning religious wars; peace came only with the Peace of Augsburg, in 1555.
    1.  

    2. The Council of Trent met (1545-1563) to set forth in a clear manner the errors of the Protestants, by explaining the true doctrine of the Church on those points. At that time, religious training had relaxed; many did not know the true doctrines.Among the errors of Luther were these: that there is no supreme teaching power in the Church; that temporal rulers have the right to interfere in ecclesiastical matters; that the Bible is the sole guide to faith: that every man should interpret the Bible according to his own mind; that faith is sufficient for salvation; that the priesthood does not imprint a special character on the soul of a man, and that everybody is or can be a priest, as a result; that Penance is not a sacrament, but a mere invention of the Church; that the Mass gives no special grace; that there is no purgatory, etc. 
    3. In the beginning, Protestantism spread rapidly. Whole countries, led by their rulers, adopted its doctrines. In Switzerland Zwingli and Calvin, and in England Henry VIII, about this time increased the defections from the Church. But soon there were other kinds of Protestantism.Today the divisions and subdivisions of Protestantism are too well known to need comment. Great numbers of Protestants are returning to the faith of their fathers. Meanwhile, as the divisions subdivide, the Church continues to grow.

For more on Protestantism and a defense of common errors please visit http://www.protestanterrors.com

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​Schism and Heresy

 

Our Lord said; “Everyone therefore who hears these my words and acts upon them, shall be likened to a wise man who built his house on rock. And the rain fell, and the floods come, and the winds blew and beat against that house, but it did not fall, because it was founded on rock. And everyone who hears these my words and does not act upon them, shall be likened to a foolish man who built his house on sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and was utterly ruined” (Matt. 7:24-27). Non-Catholic churches are the “house upon sand”; they rise up and fall. The Catholic Church is the “house upon rock”; it will last forever.

    What is schism; and what is heresy? –Schism is the refusal to submit to the authority of the Pope; heresy is the formal denial or doubt by a baptized person of any revealed truth of the Catholic Faith.Apostasy is the total rejection of his Faith by a baptized Christian. With heresy and schism, and supported by persecution, it has caused divisions in the True Church, and the rise of other churches. 

  1. Christ predicted divisions in the Church, and the rise of other churches. From the time of the Apostles new denominations have sprung up, and have divided and subdivided, to form other denominations. With other churches that are non-Christian, the Christian denominations have opposed the Apostolic Church.“For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:24) 
  2. After some time, separated as it is from the authority of the Pope,. a schismatical church is led into errors in doctrine. Today schismatical churches deny the infallibility of the Pope.
    What were the most important schisms and heresies that have tried to destroy the Church? –Of the numerous schisms and heresies, the following may be mentioned: 

  1. Arius was a priest of Alexandria who taught that Jesus Christ was not God. The heresy of Arius spread rapidly, and was supported by the Roman emperors. He was condemned by the First General Council of the Church at Nicea, in the year 325; the Council declared the divinity of Christ.In a few centuries the Arian sect was divided and swept away by other errors. Today we know Arius only by name: he has passed on, but the Church he fought still lives, upholding Christ’s divinity.Another heretic of the early days was Macedonius, who denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost. His theories were condemned by the Council of Constantinople in the year 381.In the fifth century Pelagius denied original sin, and declared grace not necessary for salvation. The doctrines were condemned by the synods of Milevi and Carthage, and the decision ratified by the Pope.

    Nestorius, Bishop of Constantinople, in the fifth century taught the doctrine that Jesus Christ was two persons: a man and God the Son; only the man Jesus was born of Mary and died on the cross. As a consequence the Nestorians rejected the title “Mother of God” for the Blessed Virgin. The Third Council in Ephesus, 431, condemned the heresies.

    As a form of extreme reaction from Nestorianism, the Monophysites, held that Jesus Christ had only one nature, his divinity totally engulfing his humanity. Dioscoros, Patriarch of Alexandria, was the chief propagator of the heresy, which was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.

    In an effort to call back the Monophysites to the Church, the heresy of Monothelitism arose. The chief doctrine was that Christ had a single will; the heresy was condemned by the Council of Constantinople in 681.

    In the year 727, the Greek emperor Leo forbade all veneration to images on the ground that such veneration was idolatry. The heresy spread, and mobs entered churches to break images, to burn and destroy priceless works of art. Great harm was done to the people and their faith, before this heresy, called Iconoclasm (image-breaking) , died out. The Council of Nicea in 787 defined the true doctrine of the Church.

     

  2. The greatest schism suffered by the Christian Church was that of the East, resulting in the establishment of the Orthodox Eastern Church. The Eastern emperors, desiring more power in the Church, tried to make the patriarchs of Constantinople independent of Rome. Finally, Photius, with the support of the emperor, held a council of Eastern bishops in the year 867, and broke from Rome.The cause of the schism was not doctrinal, but rather political and material,-jealousy between the East and the West. It has resulted in the separation from Rome of 145 million people with valid priesthood and sacraments. In the United States there are a number of schismatical churches, among them the Greek Orthodox, and the Russian Church.
       

    1. After minor schisms and misunderstandings between East and West in 1054 there was a final break by Cerularius, patriarch of Constantinople, continuing today.Today the Orthodox Eastern Church remains in schism, but does not spread. It is a withered branch, having cut itself off from the parent tree. 
    2. The Orthodox Eastern Church denies the Catholic dognia that the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son. It also teaches that the souls of the just will not attain complete happiness till the end of the world, when they will be joined to their bodies; and that the souls of the wicked will not suffer complete torture in hell until that last day. These are heresies against the doctrines of the Church.Thus it can be seen that today the Orthodox Eastern Church is not merely schismatical, but truly heretical; for it holds primary doctrines in a different light. But it has valid orders. 

     

  3. In the 12th century Albigensianism arose in southern France. It upheld dualism: two opposing creative principles, the good creating the spiritual world, and the evil creating the material world.The Albigenses went to excesses, recommending suicide, forbidding marriage, asserting that Our Lord did not have a human body, denying the resurrection of the body. The heresy was condemned by the Fourth Lateran Council, 1215. 
  4. As an offshoot of Albigensianism, Waldensianism spread throughout Spain, Lombardy, Bohemia, and neighboring countries. The heresy continued until the outbreak of Protestantism, when it merged with this.The Waldenses denied the existence of Purgatory, combatted indulgences, asserted that laymen could preach and absolve, oaths were unlawful, sinful priests had no valid power of ministry, etc.But out of evil God has often drawn good. Each schism and heresy has led to profound study in the Church, study of Scholars to discover the correct interpretation of doctrine under dispute. In this way light came from darkness. As wise St. Augustine said: “Those who err in doctrine only serve to show forth more clearly the soundness of those who believe aright.” 
  5. In the fourteenth century, Wycliff in England taught that the Bible was the sole rule of faith, that there was no freedom of the will, that confession was useless, that the Pope had no primacy.Adopting the theories of Wycliff, Huss in Bohemia spread the errors. Political considerations complicated the heresy; fighting broke out, lasting years.Comments by Roger Owen(RMO):NOTE: The greatest schism of the Catholic Church occurred at Vatican II in the 1960s that hijacked almost all those who were once truly Catholic. The primary heresies introduced by Vatican II and afterwards are: false religious freedom/liberty, collegiality, there is salvation outside the Church implying that differences in doctrine do not matter in attaining salvation, false ecumenism, implying with the use of the word “subsists” that separated churches subsist in the Catholic Church and that the Church Christ founded is NOT one and the same as the Catholic Church, but two separa ies, a new definition of the Mass ignoring Christ’s Real Presence and excessively focusing on His mystical presence, natural family planning (NFP) practiced erroneously, and sex education in the schools instead of by the parents in the home.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​Indefectibility of the Church

 

The Catholic Church will endure to the end of time, for it is founded on a rock. The powers of evil will beat in vain against it. They will break themselves and perish, but the Church will remain, indefectible. The testimony of almost two thousand years proves the perpetuity of the Church. Nothing that malice and envy could invent; nothing that the world, the flesh; and the devil could do have been left untried in the past 1900 years. Still the Church is with us, exactly as Christ founded it, and stronger than ever.

 

    What is meant by the indefectibility of the Catholic Church? –By the indefectibility of the Catholic Church is meant that the Church, as Christ founded it, will last until the end of time.The Archangel Gabriel announced to Mary that Christ “shall be king over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33) 

  1. Christ meant His Church to endure to the end of the world. It is to be indestructible and unchanging,-to possess indefectibility. Christ, God Himself, could scarcely have come, and with such incredible pain and labor have founded a Church which would die with the Apostles.He came to save all men. Those to live in future ages needed salvation as much as the people of Apostolic times. 
  2. Christ said to Peter: “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18). By the “gates of hell”, He meant all the power of the devil-all kinds of attacks, physical violence as well as false teaching.Christ promises here that the Church would be assailed always, but never overcome. This promise of Our Lord has been proved for almost 2000 years by the facts of history. Not one of the persecutors of the Church has prevailed over it. On the contrary, many of them have come to a fearful end. There will always be Popes, bishops, and laity, to Compose the Church; the truths taught by Our Lord will always be found in His Church. 
  3. After telling His Apostles to teach, all nations, Christ said: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:20).As the Apostles were not to live to the end of the world, Christ must have been addressing them as representatives of a perpetual Church. 
  4. The Apostles themselves understood Christ to mean that His Church should endure. After organizing Christian communities, they appointed successors in their place, to live after them and carry on the Church.The Apostles instructed these successors to ordain in turn other bishops and priests. All these acts were to assure the perpetuity of the Church. 
  5. Christ intended the Church to remain as He founded it, to preserve the whole of what He taught, and the shining marks which He gave it in the beginning. If the Church lost any of the qualities that God gave it, it could not be said to be indefectible, because it would not be the same institution. Indefectibility implies unchangeability.Our Lord promised to abide by the Church, to assist it, and to send the Holy Ghost to remain in it. God does not change: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matt. 28:20). 
  6. Because of its indefectibility the truths revealed by God will always be taught in the Catholic Church. St. Ambrose said: “The Church is like the moon; it may wane, but never be destroyed; it may be darkened, but it can never disappear.”St. Anselm said that the bark of the Church may be swept by the waves, but it can never sink, because Christ is there. When the Church is in greatest need, Christ comes to its help by miracles, or by raising up saintly men to strengthen and purify it. It is the bark of Peter; when the storm threatens to sink it, the Lord awakens from His sleep, and commands the winds and the waves into calm: “Peace; be still!”
    Has the Catholic Church actually proved itself indefectible? –The Catholic Church has, throughout its long history, proved itself indefectible, against all kinds of attack from within and without, against every persecution and every heresy and schism.As its Founder was persecuted, so the Catholic Church has been and ever will be persecuted. “You will be brought before governors and kings for my sake” (Matt. 10:18). “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22). “No disciple is above his teacher, nor is the servant above his master” (Matt. 10:24).They will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues” (Mark 13:9). “They will arrest you, and persecute you” (Luke 21:12).

     

  1. The Church survived three hundred years of incredible persecution under pagan Rome. Of the 33 Popes that ruled before the Edict of Milan, 30 died as martyrs. That mighty Empire, with its colossal strength, before whose standard the nations quailed, could not kill the infant Church or stop its progress. In a short time the Popes were ruling where the imperial Caesars had issued edicts against the Christian Church.The Roman Empire waged ten fierce persecutions against the Church, but could not destroy it. In the year 313 the Emperor Constantine was converted, and granted the Church freedom by the Edict of Milan. 
  2. Then for two centuries hordes of barbarians swept upon civilized Europe, destroying the old Roman Empire. The Church not only survived, but converted and civilized the barbarians.God’s ever-watchful providence brought about the conversion of the Frankish king Clovis, with a great number of his warriors. This was the beginning of the firm establishment of the Church in the Frankish kingdom, although missionaries had gone there from the first century. In the eighth century St. Boniface converted Middle and Northern Germany, until then the home of violent paganism. 
  3. For nine centuries Mohammedanism threatened Christian civilization. It was the Church under the Popes that urged the nations to league against Mohammedanism.In the sixteenth century the Mohammedan menace was removed. 
  4. Not only non-Christians, but its own rebellious children have persecuted the Church. From the beginning heresy has attacked it from within. And still the Church lives, greater than ever, changeless, indefectible.The long history of the Catholic Church is attended by schism and heresy, but each attack has only strengthened it. It has continued to live and spread in spite of everything and everybody. 
  5. The Church is the Bride of Christ, cast into prison, starved, thrown to the beasts, trampled underfoot, hacked, tortured, crucified, and burned. But this fair Bride emerges from it all in the bloom and freshness of youth, serene, calm, immortal.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

The Laity

 

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, even as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd” (John 10:14-16). All those not baptized are sheep of Christ that have not yet heard His voice. They must also be brought into the Church. Protestants are sheep that have left the fold of Christ. They must return to the Church, if they would hear the voice of Christ, the Good Shepherd, Who lovingly calls them to His True Church.

 

    Who are the laity of the Church? –The. laity of the Church are all its members who do not belong to the clerical or to the religious state. 

  1. All members of the Church, whether clerical, religious, or lay, are termed “the faithful.” After Baptism we join the ranks.The laity must remember that they are part of the Church. They must understand that when anyone speaks of the “Church” they are included, as we include the heart and mind of a man with his soul when we speak of him. The Church is you and I. 
  2. The clerical state includes all priests and aspirants to the priesthood who have received tonsure. Students of seminaries are aspirants to the priesthood.“Tonsure” is the rite by which a layman is initiated into the clerical state. The bishop, or any delegated prelate, cuts the candidate’s hair in some prescribed form, and invests him with a surplice. 
  3. The religious state includes those who are members of religious orders or congregations, bound by either temporary or perpetual vows of poverty, chastity, obedience.Aspirants, postulants, and novices are preparing to embrace the religious state.
    Do Catholic Sinners continue to belong to the Church? –Yes. 

  1. Unless one cuts himself off by heresy, apostasy, or excommunication, a Catholic sinner continues to be a member of the Church. Those in mortal sin are called “dead members”, for their soul dead in sin.Indeed the Church is the Church of Saints; but the greatest part of its activities has to be for sinners. Perhaps we may say, without fear of contradiction, that most of the members of the Church are sinners. We all fall away from the ideal, at some time or other; then the Church calls, to bring us back. 
  2. Until we attain heavenly bliss, there will always be the darkness of sin, the pain of evil. Christ Himself spoke of bad fish with the good, of cockle among the wheat.Of the sheep in the fold, one wanders out. But Our Lord longs for the wanderer, let us help bring him back. 
  3. God gave Catholics the grace of their holy religion. But He also gave them their free will. And they are free to choose: whether to act in full accordance with His commands and counsels, or whether to practice only a part, or whether to violate those commands.There is a wide gap between belief and practice; it is that gap that divides Catholics into practical and nominal Catholics.
    Must the faithful think and act alike? –No. 

  1. The faithful must believe in all the doctrines entrusted by Christ to His Church, and act in accordance with those doctrines; but these pertain to the field of faith and morals, not to other matters. Therefore there is no question about “thinking and acting alike,” among the 425,000,000 Catholics in the world.Each Catholic is an individual. He must believe that Jesus Christ is God; but with one of his Catholic friends he may differ concerning the best political party to join. He must not deny his Church, but he may argue with the parish priest about who should be one’s favorite Saints. 
  2. The Church is for no particular class, whether millionaires, or laborers, scientists or children; the Church is classless, and for all classes, for all men. These cannot all act and think in one uniform pattern.The different classes among Catholics arise from causes apart from the Church, such as racial, cultural, and social causes. But anywhere and everywhere one can be a good Catholic. 
  3. Good Catholics believe alike in this: that they are members of a divinely-established Church, the well-being of which it is their duty to further, by striving to attain the perfection indicated by Christ.The Church presents us with the ideal, and provides the means to reach that ideal, inviting and urging us, feeding and shepherding the flock. But the Church does not guarantee salvation for all the faithful; because among its doctrines the freedom of the will is as fundamental as the divine authority of the Church.
    How can the laity help the Church in the care of souls? –The laity can help the Church in the care of souls by leading lives that will reflect credit on the Church, and by cooperating with their bishops and priests, especially through Catholic Action.“Even so, let your light shine before men, in order that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). 

  1. A good Catholic makes serious efforts to save his soul. He keeps the commandments of God and the Church. He receives the sacraments. He does all things prescribed by Christ through the Church.Therefore, he must know his religion. He must not be ignorant of Christian doctrine, for by it he learns how to save his soul. By it he learns what to believe, and what to do. 
  2. A good Catholic obeys his ecclesiastical superiors in spiritual matters, and gives them due respect. He sees in his lawful superiors Christ’s representatives on earth.He is loyal to the Church in word and deed. He does not criticise it, or make derogatory remark about it. Even if his priests may have faults, he tries his best not to bring them and the Church into contempt. If the faults are public and grievous, he may bring the matter to the attention of lawful authority, but always with great prudence. 
  3. According to his means, he contributes towards the support of the Church.This is a serious obligation which too many Catholics neglect. The Church needs support as much as the civil government. It cannot subsist on air. Religion makes no progress where Catholics are so indifferent as to begrudge their material support. 
  4. A good Catholic has before him a wide scope of activity if he wishes to participate in the work of the Church; there are no barriers between man and God.Should a Catholic be moved by a spirit of reform, he need not cut himself off from the Church by founding a new sect. He busies himself within the Fold of the Church, taking active steps to attain the reform he desires. For always there is need of reform in practices and current conditions, though never in fundamental doctrine.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!

​The Bishop of Rome

 

It is Christ’s will that we should reverence His ministers as Himself. This is why Catholics pay the greatest reverence to Christ’s Vicar, the Pope, their universal Father. On this account the title “His Holiness” is given him. Out of respect for his office, the Holy Father is given privileges not granted to other bishops. As a temporal sovereign he has a Court and guards. He has a standard and sea. He has ambassadors. On solemn occasions he is carried in the papal chair called sedia gestatoria.

 

    Did Christ intend that the special power of chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church should be exercised by Peter alone? –Christ did not intend that the special power of chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church should be exercised by Peter alone, but intended that this power should be passed down to his successor, the Pope, Bishop of Rome, who is the Vicar of Christ on earth, and the visible Head of the Church. 

  1. St. Peter lived for a short time at Antioch; then he went to Rome and there fixed his official residence permanently. It was there, and as Bishop of Rome, that he died as a martyr some twenty years later.The Church was not to die with Peter. Therefore his official rank and dignity and powers were to be handed on to his successors from generation to generation. In the same way, successors to a civil office acquire all the powers attached to the office. 
  2. Thus the Bishop of Rome, the lawful successor of St. Peter, is what Peter was, Vicar of Christ and visible head of the Church. Christ is the true and invisible Head of the Church. But its visible head is the Bishop of Rome, our Holy Father the Pope, because he is the successor of St. Peter.No one but the Bishop of Rome has ever claimed supreme authority over the whole Church. Therefore, either he is St. Peter’s successor, or St. Peter has no successor, and the promise of Christ had failed. 
  3. The supremacy of the Bishop of Rome over all Christendom has been disputed because of the perversity of men and the power of evil. It has been denied by unruly sons. The very fact that it was disputed shows that it existed.In the same way even the authority of God Himself has been questioned; His very existence has been denied. From the beginning, too, parental authority has been defied. The authority of lawful rulers has ever been attacked. The denials, defiance, and attacks have not destroyed the existence of such authority. Does God die because men deny His existence? “The fool said in his heart, There is no God” (Ps. 52).
    Has the Bishop of Rome always been looked upon as the head of the Church? –Yes, the Bishop of Rome has from Apostolic times been looked upon as the universal head of the Church. 

  1. From earliest times the titles “high priest” and “bishop of bishops” have been given to the Bishop of Rome.  Appeals were made to him, and disputes were settled by him.The third successor of St. Peter was Pope St. Clement.  A dispute in the Church at Corinth was referred to him for decision. He wrote letters of remonstrance and admonition to the Corinthians, and they submitted to his correction. At that time, very near Corinth the Apostle John was still living. Why did the Corinthians, instead of appealing to faraway Rome and Clement, not refer their trouble, to the Apostle John, Bishop of Ephesus? Evidently because Rome’s authority was universal, while that of Ephesus was local.There were numerous cases of appeal throughout the long history of the Church; all were referred to Rome.In the fifth century when Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus in the East, was deposed, he appealed to Pope Leo, and the Pope ordered him reinstated. The Pope was everywhere recognized as head of the Church not only in the West, but in the East, up to the great schism of the ninth century. 
  2. With one voice the Fathers of the Church pay homage to the Bishop of Rome as their superior.All of them recognized the Pope as Supreme Head. St. Ambrose said in the fourth century: “Where Peter is, there is the Church.” 
  3. General councils were not held without the presence of the Bishop of Rome or his representative. No council was accepted as universal or general unless its acts received the approval of the Bishop of Rome.At the Council of Chalcedon in the year 451, the Pope’s letter was read to the assemblage of bishops, and they cried with one voice: “Peter has spoken by Leo; let him be anathema who believes otherwise!” As late as the year 1439, in the council of Florence, the Greeks who wished to return to the Church acknowledged the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. 
  4. Every nation converted from paganism has received the faith from missionaries specially sent by the Pope, or by bishops acknowledging the Pope as their Head.St. Patrick was sent by Pope Celestine to Ireland. St. Palladius was sent by the same Pope to Scotland. St. Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to England. St. Remigius went to France under the protection of the See of Rome. St. Boniface was sent by Pope Gregory II to Germany and Bavaria. And so on. 

     

    PONTIFICAL DECORATIONS

    The Holy See confers various titles, orders, decorations, and other honorson certain persons, usually lay people, who in some special manner have distinguished themselves in furthering the well-being of humanity and of the Church. They, are listed here in the order of importance.

    The Supreme Order of Christ was started by Pope John XXII in 1319. Today it is the supreme pontifical Order of knighthood, conferred only on very rare occasions.

    The Order of the Golden Spur follows the Order of Christ as a pontifical decoration. It has one class of 100 knights, and is awarded only to those who have furthered the cause of the Church by outstanding deeds. It is bestowed also to non-Catholics.

    The Order of Pius IX has three classes, Knights of the Grand Cross, Commanders, and Knights. It is awarded also to non-Catholics.

    The Order of St. Gregory the Great was founded by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831. It has two divisions, civil and military, each of which is divided into three classes: Knights of the Grand Cross, Commanders, and Knights.

    The Order of St. Sylvester, instituted in 1841, like the Order of St. Gregory, has three classes of knights.

    The Order of the Holy Sepulchre is considered one of the oldest of pontifical honors; it is today highly prized in Europe. It has been bestowed on kings and nobles, on heads of republics, on persons outstanding in arts, letters, and sciences, on those who in special manner have served the Church. Unlike other orders, this is bestowed besides on clerics and women.

    The medal “Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice” was instituted by Leo XIII, that great “Pope of the Workingman” in 1888. It is awarded in recognition of special services to the Church and the Pope. The “Benemerenti” medal was instituted in 1832 by Gregory XVI, of two classes, civil and military, in recognition of outstanding daring or courage.

This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!