Tag Archives: Reformation

​The Living Church

 

In spite of all kinds of persecutions, the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, has continued to spread all over the world. It has obeyed strictly the command of Our Lord to the Apostles: “Go and make disciples of all nations.” Everywhere men have listened to its voice, believing the warning of Christ, “He that believeth not shall be condemned.”

 

    Give a short summary of the history of the Church for the almost two thousand years of its existence –The following is a brief summary: 

  1. The first 400 years. The Apostles dispersed to different countries in order to carry out Christ’s command to teach. The Apostles baptized, preached, and ruled in various countries to which they were sent. They appointed bishops and priests to rule and minister to the faithful.In spite of sufferings and persecutions they persevered, until finally they sealed their faith by martyrdom. Peter and Paul were especially interested in the conversion of the Roman Empire, the mightiest and also most wicked empire of ancient days.The morals of the Romans were extremely debased; the evil was spreading from the Imperial City of Rome throughout the vast empire. In Rome alone some 30,000 different “gods” and “goddesses” were worshipped, many of them for their very immorality. So close was the union of the pagan religion and the empire that to attack the religion was to be considered a traitor to Rome. For this reason the full force of the empire was set against the new religion of the Christians. But the Fisherman did not falter: Peter battled with all his might. He and Paul were both martyred; but others rose to continue the battle for Christ, which lasted for nearly 300 years.Persecution followed upon persecution, numbering ten unsurpassed in ferocity. The severest were those under Nero (64-68) and Diocletian (303-305). The latter condemned to death some two million Christians. But the more they were persecuted, the faster they increased. Tertullian says: “The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity.”

    At last, in 313 A.D., the banners of Christianity were flung out in victory; peace was granted by the Edict of Milan. Later, Constantine the Great made Christianity the State religion (324 A. D.) He was led to this step when he conquered in battle after seeing in the heavens a luminous cross with the words In hoc signo vinces (In this sign thou shalt conquer). His saintly mother, St. Helena, had also a great influence on his conversion.

     

  2. The second 400 years. Before sixty years had passed after the Edict of Milan, hordes of barbarian Huns, Goths, Vandals, and Visigoths, numbering millions, started moving from the north into the civilized European countries. City after city surrendered until Rome itself was taken, and the darkness of barbarism covered the continent. But the missionaries and teachers of the Church mingled with the barbarians, returned with them to their countries, and brought light once more out of darkness.St. Patrick was sent to Ireland, and converted that nation to Christianity. St. Augustine in England and St. Boniface in Germany changed those nations into followers of the cross of Christ. The idol worshipping Franks followed their king Clovis into the Christian fold. At the end of four centuries, the cruel and savage barbarians of Italy, Spain, France, Germany, England, and Ireland were Christians, civilized, progressive, settled in peaceful cities, building churches, carrying on trade. 
  3. The third 400 years. In the seventh century Mohammed had begun to propagate his doctrines among the Arabian tribes. His was a conversion by the sword: a great part of Asia, North Africa, Spain, and the islands of the Mediterranean were overrun and conquered to Mohammed’s Allah. At last Mohammedanism broke into France.In a memorable nine-day battle in 732 A. D., the French Christians under Charles Martel defeated the Mohammedans at Tours, and thus stopped their incursions into France. But in the next century the Mohammedans entered and sacked Rome itself, even St. Peter’s. However, the Church carried on and finally repelled the invader.The fall of Jerusalem into the hands of the Mohammedans in the eleventh century gave impetus to the Crusades, during which Christian armies went to free the Holy Places from the infidels. There were seven Crusades in all, from 1095 A.D., to 1254 A.D. Among the outstanding leaders we may mention: Godfrey de Bouillon, Frederick Barbarossa, Richard the Lionhearted, and St. Louis of France. 
  4. The fourth 400 years. The Christian rulers of Europe, upon becoming more powerful, began to look with envy on the Pope’s authority, and to encroach upon it. Although the Crusades had had good effects, too much interest in material preparations caused a relaxation in spiritual life; heresy often attacked the Church. Berengarius denied the Real Presence; followed the Greek schism, the Albigensian heresy, and the heresies of Wycliff and Huss, who denied the authority of the Church. Finally, in the sixteenth century, the general laxness and spirit of revolt culminated in open defiance against Church authority, and the Protestant Revolt swept Europe.An Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, in 1517 made an open attack on the doctrine of Indulgences. When he was effectively refuted by Doctor John Eck in a public argument, Luther became enraged, and more active in propagating his errors. Because his doctrines appealed to human vanity and weakness, he attracted many followers. The princes. who envied the papal authority, threw in their lot with Luther. The Bible was declared the only rule of faith, so, that no one would any longer be dependent on Church authority, but could interpret the word of God as he pleased for himself. The vicious were readily won over by the doctrine that man cannot prevent sin on account of natural corruption and the absence of free will.Revolt spread from Germany to other countries. In Switzerland John Calvin followed in Luther’s footsteps, and began Calvinism. In Scotland John Knox was the propagator of Protestantism. In England, Henry VIII’s desire to change wives was the immediate cause for the establishment of the Anglican Church. Denmark, Holland, Norway, and Sweden were all swept into heresy by their rulers.But out of the pains of the Protestant revolt, the Church came forth stronger and purified. In the meantime, newly discovered countries were converted. The Portuguese and Spaniards were the pioneers in this missionary enterprise. The discoveries of new lands, to which Catholic missionaries went, resulted in the gain of more millions for the Church than had been lost in Protestantism.

     

  5. The last 400 years. Many in Europe returned to the Church; more were gained in the Americas. Protestantism has continued to attack the Church; the paganism bred from the spirit of laxity and revolt is another enemy. Open warfare goes on in Russia and satellite countries. Still the Church continues to grow, the greatest single religious body in history.In 1954 missionaries of Mother Church can be found in the most remote portions of the globe, working patiently to bring souls to Christ. They go where no other foreigners would go. At present there are about 30,000 priests, 12,000 lay brothers, and 60,000 Sisters working in the foreign missions. The missions are supervised and supported by the Societies for the Propagation of the Faith and the Holy Childhood.At present the Church has a membership of about 425,000,000 in all parts of the world. They are under the direction of some 420,000 priests, 2,200 Prelates, and one Head, the Pope. They form the greatest body having a single religious faith. The different Protestant denominations number about two hundred million all together. The schismatic Eastern Christians total about 150 millions.

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

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The One True Church

Principal Christian Religious Bodies in the U.S.

 

NAME PLACE OF ORIGIN FOUNDER YEAR
CATHOLIC CHURCH
_____________________________
Eastern Orthodox (19 bodies)
_____________________________
Lutheran (21 bodies)
_____________________________
Mennonite (15 bodies)
_____________________________
Protestant Episcopal
_____________________________
Presbyterian (10 bodies)
_____________________________
Congregational
_____________________________
Bapist (24 bodies)
_____________________________
Unitarian
_____________________________
Friends or Ouakers (4 bodies)
_____________________________
Reformed Churches (4 bodies)
_____________________________
Baptist, German (4 bodies)
_____________________________
Methodist (22 bodies)
_____________________________
Universalists
_____________________________
United Brethren (2 bodies)
_____________________________
Evangelical
_____________________________
Churches of Christ
_____________________________
Latter-Day Saints (7 bodies)
_____________________________
Adventist (5 bodies)
_____________________________
Salvation Army
_____________________________
Christian Scientists
_____________________________
Assemblies of God
_____________________________
Church of the Nazarene
_____________________________
Evangelical, Reformed
 
JERUSALEM
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Near East
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Germany
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Switzerland
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England
_____________
Scotland
_____________
England
_____________
Amsterdam
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London
_____________
England
_____________
Holland
_____________
Germany
_____________
England
_____________
New Jersey
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Maryland
_____________
Pennsylvania
_____________
Kentucky
_____________
New York
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New York
_____________
England
_____________
Massachusetts
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Arkansas
_____________
U.S.
_____________
Ohio
 
JESUS CHRIST
___________________________
Schism from Catholic Church
___________________________
Martin Luther
___________________________
Grebel, Mantz, Blaurock
___________________________
Henry VIII
___________________________
John Knox
___________________________
Robert Browne
___________________________
John Smyth
___________________________
John Biddle
___________________________
George Fox
___________________________
Assembly
___________________________
A. Mack
___________________________
John and Charles Wesley
___________________________
John Murray
___________________________
Otterbein and Boehm
___________________________
Jacob Albright
___________________________
Thos. and Alex. Campbell
___________________________
Joseph Smith
___________________________
William Miller
___________________________
William Booth
___________________________
Mary Baker Eddy
___________________________
General Meeting
___________________________
Union at General Assembly
___________________________
Union at General Assembly
 
33
_______
1054
_______
1517
_______
1525
_______
1534
_______
1560
_______
1583
_______
1600
_______
1645
_______
1647
_______
17th c.
_______
1708
_______
1739
_______
1770
_______
1800
_______
1803
_______
1827
_______
1830
_______
1831
_______
1865
_______
1879
_______
1914
_______
1919
_______
1934
 

 

There are over 200 different Protestant bodies existing in the United States alone. In the above list a few of the best-known are enumerated, in comparison with the Catholic Church. This comparative list indicates this fact: none of these denominations can ever become the True Church founded by Christ, Son of God. It is well known that many heretics, at the hour of death, return to the Catholic Church. But what Catholic at that hour has ever denied his religion to seek admission into a sect? As the heretic Melancthon wrote to his Catholic mother: “The Protestant is the best faith to live in, but the Catholic Faith is the best one to die in.”

 

    What is the Church? –The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him. 

  1. Even considering it only as a visible society, the Church is a perfect religious body.All members are subject to the same religious authority, possess identical religious doctrines, live a common religious life, and use the same means of grace, the sacraments. 
  2. The Church is divided into the “teaching Church” and the “hearing Church”; for each Christ laid down powers and duties.The priests, with their bishops and the Pope, compose the “teaching Church”; the faithful, who believe and obey, and are admitted into membership through the Sacrament of Baptism, compose the “hearing Church”.
    How is the Church enabled to lead men to salvation? –The Church is enabled to lead men to salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, who gives it life. 

  1. God the Father and God the Son sent the Holy Ghost to dwell in the Church. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost enables the Church to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the faithful in the name of Christ.The Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles to enlighten, strengthen, and sanctify them, so that they could preach the Gospel and spread the Church all over the world. On the Feast of Pentecost, in remembrance of God the Holy Ghost, we celebrate a mystery which is forever renewed in the Church and in our souls: the mystery of the indwelling of God, the reign of the law of love which succeeded the law of bondage and fear (Rom. 8: 15). 
  2. The Holy Ghost guides the rulers of the Church, especially the Pope, and helps them in their duties.Before the descent of the Holy Ghost, the Apostles had been timid and afraid. After His coming they went forth to teach, whatever hardships carne; they remembered and understood all the teaching of Christ. 
  3. The Holy Ghost preserves the Church from all error in its teaching; in times of danger, He raises up able defenders of its doctrines.St. Athanasius defended the Church in the time of the Arian heretics; Pope Gregory VII during a period of great disorder; St. Dominic, during the time of the Albigenses; and St. Ignatius of Loyola, after the Protestant outbreak. 
  4. The Holy Ghost raises up Saints in the Church throughout all generations.The members of the Church strive to imitate its Divine Founder, and in all countries and all times it has produced saints, canonized and uncanonized, martyrs, confessors, hidden souls that burn with the love of God and their fellowmen.
    Are not all religions the same? –No for truth and error are not the same; faith and unbelief are not the same. 

  1. God is not divided. He revealed only one religion. We either believe that religion, or do not believe it. There is no middle way. “He who is not with me is against me” (Matt. 12:30)Anything that is not the whole truth is not truth. Christ said: “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6).No one will assert that glass is as good as diamonds, nor that brass is as good as gold. No one claims that an imitation is just as good as the authentic thing. More unreasonable then would it be to claim that a religion established by a man is as good as that founded by the Incarnate God. 
  2. From the very beginning of mankind there has been one true religion. From Adam to the coming of Christ this religion was preserved by the patriarchs, prophets, and others chosen by God to keep the knowledge of the promised Redeemer intact.Before the coming of Christ, this true religion was not universal, but limited to one people, the Jews, the,“chosen people.” All other nations had degenerated and worshipped idols, false gods. In spite of the imperfections of the old religion preserved among the Jews; it was always the true religion, the one true religion. It forshadowed the coming of the perfect religion, that established by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, Who then abrogated the Jewish Faith, the Old Law, in favor of the New Faith, the New Law. 
  3. It is absurd to suppose that God does not care whether men denounce His Son as an impostor and blasphemer, or worship Him as God.Why should Christ, and after Him the Apostles, and after them a long line of believers, have suffered so much and resisted persecution so firmly, if it were of no importance what a man believed? The Apostle said, “There is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12)
    How can we prove that the only true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church? –We can prove that the only true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church, because: 

  1. Only the Catholic Church possesses the marks of the Church established by Christ; that is, Unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. As a matter of fact, only the Catholic Church claims to have all these four marks of the True Church, the marks so evidently set by Christ. 
  2. The history of the Catholic Church gives evidence of miraculous strength, permanence, and unchangeableness, so showing the world that it is under the special protection of God. The Catholic Church has proved itself indestructible for almost two thousand years, against every variety and number of formidable enemies. The Church suffered from persecution and outside attacks, and from schism and heresy within its own ranks, yet still lives.In spite of corruption and persecution, in spite of the combined forces of error and evil, the Catholic Church has continued to live and to carry out its purpose, as its Founder promised. The indestructibility of the Church, as has been proved by history, is alone enough to mark it as divine. God alone could have preserved it so long. The Church is the only institution which has proved itself an exception to the law of decay and death. It has watched the birth and decay of every government on earth for almost 2000 years. After every attack against it, it rises, the Bride of Christ, ever fresh and fair.

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