THE CATHOLIC FAITH
THE CATHOLIC FAITH , THE TRUE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST
The Catholic faith can be traced all the way back to the beginning of the Human Race. God revealed Himself to Adam and Eve, the first parents of the Human Race, and He promised them a Redeemer, after they failed the test of the one (and only) law that God gave them in order that they could prove themselves.
Many people strayed away from the faith, and made idols for themselves. Their worship included every abomination imaginable. The family of Juda, a faithful family, of the tribe of Israel, was singled out to be God’s People. This is the origin of the Jewish people. This did not mean that others could not be saved, but the Faith would be revealed to, and held intact by descendants of this family, and they would be in charge of the priesthood, sacrifices, ritual etc.
The prophets were men to whom God gave a knowledge of future events connected with religion, that they might foretell them to His people and thus give proof that the message came from God. Their chief duty was to foretell the time, place and circumstances of Our Savior’s coming into the world, that men might know when and where to look for Him, and might recognize Him when He came. The period of time before the birth of Jesus Christ is known as the Old Testament.
Unfortunately, the Jewish people, as a whole did not perform very well as God’s people. They were very rebellious. But He bore with them, and there was always a certain number of good and devout Jews.
When Jesus Christ came as the long-promised Redeemer, He was clearly recognized as such because of the fulfillment of the prophesies of the Old Testament, as well as the sublime perfection of His life and teaching, which is beyond the ability of an ordinary human being, and also by His miracles. They Jewish people, as a whole, did not accept the Messias, because they wanted Him to restore the earthly kingdom to Israel.
Divine Revelation culminated with the teaching of Jesus Christ. At his completion of His work on earth (His Death and Resurrection), He set up the Church to continue His work of redemption for all time. He gave His teaching to the Apostles, made them the first bishops, and charged them with teaching it to the whole world. He also instituted Mass and the Seven Sacraments. The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ to teach, govern, sanctify, and save all men.
“ And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” – St. Matt. 28: 18-20
He gave the primacy to St. Peter, thus making him the visible head of the Church. (Primacy means holding first place.)
“And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” St. Matt. 16:18-19
The promises made to St. Peter by Our Lord were to be fulfilled in the Church till the end of time, and as Peter was not to live till the end of time, they are fulfilled in his successors. The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible Head of the Church because he is the successor of St. Peter.
Without a head, the Church would be an anarchist institution. Without a head, each bishop would, as time went on produce his own new Church. This is easily seen from the way Protestant “churches” proliferate.
The successors of the other Apostles are the Bishops of the Holy Catholic Church. They continue the work of the Apostles and give proof of the same authority. They have always exercised the rights and powers that belonged to the Apostles in making laws for the Church, in consecrating bishops and ordaining priests. There is an unbroken line, from the Apostles to every validly ordained priest. This is called the Apostolic Succession. The same with the popes, the successors of St. Peter.
THE MARKS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH: ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND APOSTOLIC
The Church is One because all its members agree in one faith, are all in one communion, and are all under one head.
The Church is one in worship be cause all its members make use of the same sacrifice and receive the same Sacraments.
The Church is one in faith because all Catholics throughout the world believe each and every article of faith proposed by the Church. A person who denies even one article of our faith could not be a Catholic; for truth is one and we must accept it whole and entire or not at all.
The Church is Holy because its founder, Jesus Christ, is holy; because it teaches a holy doctrine; invites all to a holy life; and because of the eminent holiness of so many thousands of its children.
The Catholic Faith can be recognized as the True Faith by the perfection of its doctrine and morality. All is based on Charity or love. To love God above all, and our neighbor as one’s self. The lives of the saints bear testimony to the perfection of Catholic teaching, because no where else are similar men, women and even children found.
The Church is Catholic or universal because it subsists in all ages, teaches all nations, and maintains all truth.
The Catholic Church is universal in time, for from the time of the Apostles to the present it has existed, taught and labored in every age;
It is universal in place, for it has taught throughout the whole world
It is universal in doctrine, for it teaches the same everywhere, and its doctrines are suited to all classes. It has converted all the pagan nations that have ever been converted.
The Church is Apostolic because it was founded by Christ on His Apostles, and is governed by their lawful successors, and because it has never ceased, and never will cease, to teach their doctrine.
The Church is made and kept One, Holy, and Catholic by the Holy Ghost, the spirit of love and holiness, who unites and sanctifies its members throughout the world.
THE ATTRIBUTES OF THE CHURCH
Authority is the right and power which the Pope and the Bishops, as the successors of the Apostles, have to teach and to govern the faithful.
The Church cannot err when it teaches a doctrine of faith or morals. Christ promised that the Holy Ghost would remain with it forever and save it from error. If, therefore, the Church has erred, the Holy Ghost must have abandoned it and Christ has failed to keep His promise, which is a thing impossible.
The Church teaches infallibly when it speaks through the Pope and Bishops united in general council, or through the Pope alone when he proclaims to all the faithful a doctrine of faith or morals.
That the Pope may speak infallibly:
1. He must speak on a subject of faith or morals;
2. He must speak as the Vicar of Christ and to the whole Church;
3. He must indicate by certain words, such as, we define, we proclaim, etc., that he intends to speak infallibly.
The Church derives its undying life and infallible authority from the Holy Ghost, the spirit of truth, who abides with it forever. In this way, Catholic doctrine NEVER changes. Catholic doctrine does develop and get clarified, but it never changes into something else or contradicts itself. Truth cannot change.
Indefectability means that the Church, as Christ founded it, will last till the end of time. Infallibility means that it can never teach error while it lasts; but when we say the Church is indefectible, we mean that it will last forever and be infallible forever; that it will always remain as Our Lord founded it and never change the doctrines He taught.