Tag Archives: Schism

Letter of Saint Athanasius to His Flock

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The Catholic Church Ravaged in the Fourth Century

Saint Athanasius lived in the fourth century during the time of what used to be considered the greatest crisis of faith ever to befall the Catholic Church, the Arian Heresy. (The Arians denied the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ). The vast majority of Churchmen fell into this heresy, so much so that Saint Jerome wrote of the period, “The whole world groaned and was amazed to find itself Arian”. Athanasius was the Bishop of Alexandria in Egypt for 46 years. He was banned from his diocese at least five times and spent a total of 17 years in exile. He even suffered an unjust excommunication from Pope Liberius (325-366) who was under Arian influence. It is a cold fact of history that Athanasius stood virtually alone against the onslaught of heretical teaching ravaging the Church of his day – begetting the familiar phrase, “Athanasius contra mundum”, that is, “Athanasius against the world”.

The famous convert to the Church, Ven. John Henry Newman, described him as a “principal instrument, after the Apostles, by which the sacred truths of Christianity have been conveyed and secured to the world.” Often referred to as the Champion of Orthodoxy, Saint Athanasius was undoubtedly one of the most courageous defenders of the Faith in the entire history of the Church. If anyone can be singled out as a Saint for our times, surely it is Saint Athanasius. The following letter of his could, almost word for word, have been written yesterday.

“May God console you! … What saddens you … is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises – but you have the Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle – the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way …

“You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.

“Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ.”

Other Patristic Testimony To The Abysmal State of the Church at the Time Of The Arian Heresy

A.D. 360: Saint Gregory Nazianzen says about this date: “Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for excepting a very few, who either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel (the Church. ed.) by the influence of the Spirit, all temporized, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interests, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance.

Cappodocia: Saint Basil says about the year 372: “Religious people keep silence, but every blaspheming tongue is let loose. Sacred things are profaned; those of the laity who are sound in the Faith avoid the places of worship as schools of impiety, and raise their hands in solitude, with groans and tears to the Lord in Heaven.” Four years after he writes: “Matters have come to this pass: the people have left their houses of prayer, and assembled in the deserts, – a pitiable sight; women and children, old men, and men otherwise infirm, wretchedly faring in the open air, amid most profuse rains and snowstorms and winds and frosts of winter; and again in summer under a scorching sun. To this they submit, because they will have no part of the wicked Arian leaven.” Again: “Only one offense is now vigorously punished an accurate observance of our fathers’ traditions. For this cause the pious are driven from their countries and transported into deserts.”

In our time when impious novelties, liberalism and modernism are ravishing the Church under the pretext of “aggiornamento” (update!), and infidelity to Catholic Tradition is the order of the day, the above statements cannot help but strike the reader as a parallel of our time. As it was then so it is today.

Today we see the loss of faith among many Catholics occasioned by compromises in the Faith, both great and small, which have touched on the very essence of our Faith. Recent surveys and polls show that only 15% of Catholics believe that they have to accept all of the Church’s teachings.

The majority of Church leaders have succumbed to the “spirit of the age”, and faithful Catholics now suffer at the hands of those who should be their protectors.

The Catholic Church survived the Arian crisis, and so it will survive the present one. For our part, it is our duty to remain faithful to the unchangeable teaching and Sacred Tradition of our Holy Catholic Church, and to not compromise our Faith in any way with the present trend of liberalism and modernism sweeping the Catholic Church worldwide.

If the Arian crisis proves anything, if this historical lesson of the fourth century teaches us anything in the twentieth century it is this: Falsehood cannot become truth no matter how many accept it but rather the truth of doctrinal teaching is to be judged by its conformity to Tradition and not by the number or even the authority of those teaching it. It shows to us that a pope can err as a private teacher and so much more the bishops. Another point the Arian crisis brings out is that Catholics true to the traditional faith may have to worship outside the official Churches, their parish churches and even to avoid them as schools of impiety. It proves that Catholics may even have to suffer false denunciation and excommunication for their beliefs as St. Athanasius suffered: today as always we must pray for the Church, the clergy and especially the bishops and our Holy Father the Pope. Only the good Lord knows how long this crisis will last but Our Blessed Mother has given us hope in Her prophecy at Fatima. “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph and there will be peace in the world”.

http://www.olrl.org/snt_docs/

God Bless BJS!!

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​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.
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    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!!

​Powers of the Pope

 

1. Basilica of St. Peter; 2. Plaza of St. Peter; 3. The Vatican (10,246 rooms); 4. Bronze door; 5. Courtyard of Damascus; 6. Vatican Library; 7. Vatican Museum; 8. Courtyard of Belvedere; 9. Courtyard of Pines; 10. Door leading to Libraries; 11. Sistine Chapel; 12. Vatican Gardens; 13. Observatory; 14. Campo Santo; 15. Quarters of the Swiss Guards. In 1929 Pope Pius XI and King Victor Emmanuel III signed a formal agreement, by which the Pope regained temporal sovereignty over the City of the Vatican. That is the smallest independent state in all Christendom. But in it the Roman Pontiff is supreme, free from all human dictation. Catholics from all over the world at any time, in war or at peace, can have free access to their universal Father, because of this independence.

 

    What are the chief powers of the Pope? –The Pope has supreme and complete power and jurisdiction to decide questions of faith and morals and to arrange the discipline of the universal Church. 

  1. The power of the Pope extends over every single church, every single bishop and pastor, every one of the faithful.He may appoint and depose bishops, call councils, make and unmake laws, send missionaries, confer distinctions, privileges, and dispensations, and reserve sins to his own tribunal. 
  2. The Pope is the supreme judge; to him belongs the last appeal in all cases.The Pope is the “teacher of all Christians”, the “chief shepherd of the shepherds and their flocks”. “Peter, standing up with the Eleven, lifted up his voice and spoke out to them …” (Acts 2:14). The word “Pope” is derived from the Latin term papa, which means “Father”. 
  3. The Pope is independent of every temporal sovereign and of every spiritual power. He is responsible only to God.
    What is the temporal power of the Pope? –The temporal power of the Pope is his power to rule an independent state as sovereign, free and independent from other earthly sovereigns.The vastness of the Church and the greatness of its responsibilities towards its millions of members require that it should be able to communicate with them unhampered by any national government, free of foreign interference. 

  1. When Constantine the Great was converted at the beginning of the fourth century, he gave large grants of money and lands to the Church. Emperors who succeeded him added to the grants.In the year 327 Constantine moved the seat of his Empire to Constantinople. Rome was abandoned to itself, and became the prey of successive hordes of barbarians. The Roman people came to look up to the Popes as their only governors and protectors. In fact it was Pope Leo the Great who saved Rome from Attila the “Scourge of God”, and from Genseric the Vandal. Thus abandoned by the emperors, little by little the people of central Italy became bound more strongly to the Popes. 
  2. In 754 the Lombards invaded Italy and threatened Rome. The Pope appealed urgently to the Emperor in Constantinople, but he was indifferent, neglectful, and did nothing.In this emergency, the Pope crossed the Alps and appealed to Pepin, the Frankish king, to protect the people in Italy from the Lombards. Upon defeating the Lombards, King Pepin granted the conquered provinces to the Pope. In 774 Charlemagne, the successor of Pepin, confirmed the grant, and donated additional provinces to the Pope. These possessions, called the States of the Church, the Popes held till 1859. 
  3. In 1859 all the States of the Church, except Rome, were seized by the armies of Victor Emmanuel II, leader of the movement for the unification of Italy.In 1870 Rome itself was taken, and made capital of Italy, and the Pope became virtually a prisoner in his own palace. 
  4. In 1929 the Lateran Treaty signed between the Holy See and the crown of Italy recognized the Pope’s temporal power and his sovereignty over the City of the Vatican, by a formal concordat between the Pope and the crown of Italy.The City of the Vatican is the smallest sovereign state in the world. At the time of the signing of the Lateran Treaty, it had a population of 532, only 250 of whom were resident. It is almost entirely enclosed by high walls, and comprises 110 acres.
    What exclusive privileges does the Bishop of Rome enjoy, to signify his supremacy as Head of the Church? –The Bishop of Rome enjoys the following exclusive privileges: 

  1. He has precedence of jurisdiction and honor over all other bishops.The Bishop of Rome’s jurisdiction extends over all Christendom. He is first in both authority and honor. 
  2. He enjoys the exclusive titles of: Pope, Sovereign Pontiff, Roman Pontiff, Holy Father, His Holiness, Vicar of Christ, Father of Christendom. But he calls himself the “Servant of the Servants of God.”Because of the words of Our Lord to Peter: “Blessed art thou,” we address the Pope Beatissime Pater (Most Holy Father). The office is called the See of Peter, Holy See, or Apostolic See, or the Chair of Peter. The Pope is called from his see, the Pope of Rome, and the Catholic Church under him is often called the Roman Catholic Church. 
  3. He assumes a new name upon his election, as St. Peter was given a new name by Our Lord. From the tenth century, it has been the custom to choose the name from those of previous Popes, St. Peter’s being excepted out of reverence.He wears the tiara, a triple crown, the symbol of his preeminence in the threefold office of Teacher, Priest, and Pastor. He wears a cassock of white silk, uses white silk shoes, and a crosier mounted by a cross. He issues medals, confers knighthood. He sends ambassadors. He has a gold-and-white standard. 

     

    Consistories

    The College of Cardinals is the Senate of the Pope. As principal advisers and helpers, the cardinals assist the Holy Father in the government of the Church. After the Supreme Pontiff, the cardinals have the highest dignity in our Holy Mother Church.

    Consistories are assemblies of cardinals presided over by the Pope. There are three kinds: (1) secret, with only the Pope and cardinals present; (2) public, attended by other prelates and lay spectators; (3) semipublic, attended by bishops and patriarchs. At the secret consistory, the Pope delivers an allocution on religious and moral conditions throughout the world; sometimes seeks the opinion of the cardinals on the creation of new cardinals, gives the cardinal’s ring, appoints bishops, archbishops and patriarchs, makes ecclesiastical transfers, divides or unites dioceses, and asks for a vote on a proposed canonization. At the public consistory, the Pope bestows the red hat, hears the causes of beatifications and canonizations. At the semi-public consistory the propriety of a proposed canonization is decided.

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

​The Catholic Eastern Church; Rites

 

The essential acts of the Liturgy are three: the prayers of the priesthood in the Divine Office (represented by the first angel), the Mass (represented by the second angel), and the sacraments (represented by the third angel). The term “rite” is sometimes used to refer to the liturgy according to some definite custom and language. “Rite” may also designate in a narrow sense some particular liturgical ceremony; in this way we have the “rite of Baptism”, etc.

 

    What is the Catholic Eastern Church? –It is that part of the Church in the East which, although using liturgies and rites differing from those of the Latin (or Western) Church centered at Rome, subscribe to the same doctrines, and recognize the same Sovereign Pontiff, thus belonging to the same Universal and True Church.The Catholic Eastern Church includes the following: Byzantines, Syrians, Copts, Ethiopians, Chaldeans, Armenians, Malabarese, and Maronites. 

  1. At the beginning of the fourth century there was one Church, one in doctrine as well as in obedience to the Sovereign Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome. Even then, however, there was no uniformity in observances, ceremonies, rites.Our Lord had sent the Apostles to different parts, and their followers had stuck to the doctrines, but had varied the observances and rites, in accordance with the particular inclinations of the people in the region. The languages used were naturally extremely varied; the Mass was the same Sacrifice instituted by Our Lord (in Aramaic), but it must have been said in quite a variety of languages. 
  2. Then political dissension within the Roman Empire led to its division into East and West. Religious organization, following political developments, led to the separation of first the Greek, then the Russian Orthodox Church. These schismatical churches denied the authority of the Pope, who lived in the West as Bishop of Rome. Otherwise they continued to practice the True Religion just as Christ and the Apostles had taught. They administered the sacraments, celebrated Mass, and followed other observances.
  3. Within the Catholic Eastern Church, only the Maronite Church has never been in schism. With the passing of the centuries, those in schism divided and subdivided. Then, chiefly since the 16th and, 17th centuries, most of them returned to the unity of the True Church.The Catholic Eastern Church continues to use different rites and observances, some of which even antedated those of Rome, as having been there, long before the schisms. Thus today the groups in the Eastern Church have their own discipline and customs, the most notable of which is that with them Mass (called “Holy Liturgy”) is said in the language peculiar to the church in which it is being said: whether Slavonic, Rumanian, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Coptic, Ethiopic, or Georgian.Other differences of practice are: administration of the Holy Eucharist to the faithful in both forms of bread and wine, the use of leavened bread for Holy Mass, Baptism by immersion, bowing from the waist with a sweep of the arm instead of a genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament. 
  4. Groups in the Eastern Church are chiefly those under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchs of Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Constantinople. In the fifth century there were five patriarchates: these four composing the Eastern Church, and the Patriarchate of Rome alone in the West.In those days there were clear-cut geographical divisions of patriarchates; an Eastern Catholic was born within the limits of his patriarchate. Today one belongs to his rite wherever he goes, and his children inherit his rite. In the United States there are two dioceses of Eastern Catholics: one of Philadelphia (Ukranian Greek) to which some 316,800 Catholics belong; and another of Pittsburgh (composed of Russians, Hungars, and Croats) , to which some 315,200 Catholics belong. If Canada is included, almost a million among us are of the Eastern Church. 
  5. The Catholic Eastern Church is a living proof of the universality of the Catholic Church. The matter (including the doctrines, faith and morals) is unchanging; but the manner (including rubrics and rites, custom and practice, the externals) may change. The Church organization is malleable; but the fundamentals and essentials, the doctrines, are unchanging anywhere.Thus Catholics under the Patriarchate of Rome in the United States have only six holydays of obligation; the Ukranian Catholic here has to observe twenty holydays of obligation. His Christmas, though also December 25th, falls on our January 7th, because he uses a different calendar. In the Eastern Churches, the married clergy can be found as often as the celibate, because married men can be ordained and retain their wives. If the wife of a married priest dies, he cannot remarry; a bachelor who is ordained cannot marry later. Bishops are required to be either widowers or single.Unity of religion does not mean uniformity of rite. Even in the Latin Church under the Patriarch of Rome, there are variations, all dating no later than the fourteenth century. As Pope Benedict XIV said: “Eastern Christians should be Catholics; they do not need to become Latins.” Externals may vary; but the core is one.
    What is liturgy, and what is rite? –Liturgy comprises a public act intended for the worship of God; rite is the manner of observing the act.At present, however, the two terms are used indiscriminately and interchangeably. Strictly speaking, “liturgy” now refers to the rite of Holy Mass. 

  1. The Roman Rite is for all practical purposes the universal rite used in the Western Church. In it Latin is used.During the period of persecutions, and on account of the difficulty of communication, variety in practices was the natural and common thing. When the Church became better organized, practices became more uniform. In the Latin Church rites practically became uniform in 1570 with the publication of the Roman Missal; even today a few variations remain. 
  2. The Byzantine Rite, after the Roman, is the most widely-used in the Church, being found in Russia, Greece, the Balkans, and south Italy. Greek is the language principally employed, but Georgian, Slavonic, and Roumanian are likewise used.The Orthodox Eastern Church belongs to this rite. Originally, it was of Constantinople; it is based on the rite of St. James of Jerusalem, and was reformed by St. Basil and St. John Chrysostom. Modified for use in Russia, this Rite is termed Ruthenian. 
  3. Other Asian Rites are: the Antiochean, Chaldean, and Armenian; in their entirety or modified, they are employed in the East.The Antiochean Rite is the source of many derived rites; it traces its origin to St. James of Jerusalem. The Syrians, Chaldeans, Malabarese, and Maronites use derivations. The Chaldean Rite is used by the Chaldeans and Malabarese. Syriac is the principal language used in both these rites. The Armenian Rite is in use among Armenians, found in the Levant, Italy, and Austria. The Armenian tongue is used. It is the Greek Liturgy of St. Basil. 
  4. In African Catholic churches, the principal rite used is the Alexandrian. This is called the “Liturgy of St. Mark”; but the original has been greatly modified. The Coptic and Ethiopian Churches use it.The Catholic Copts are under the Patriarch of Alexandria, living in Cairo. Old Coptic and Arabic are the languages used in their liturgy: The EthiopianChurch uses a version of the Liturgy of St. Mark; it is as a whole the same as that of the Copts.The ceremonies of these Rites may indeed seem strange to us of the Latin Rite. But the bishops and priests are real bishops and priests, though vested differently; the Mass and Sacraments are genuine, though performed with an unknown ritual. The Church in the East is the same Church in the West, the same founded by Jesus Christ, the One True Catholic Church.

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