Friday, June 10, 2016

The One True Church

Google the churches in your town and you will find many.  Try to visit a few and you will quickly hear many differing positions on the questions, you may have, on right and wrong, conditions for salvation and even on who Jesus Christ is.

It is plain to anyone who has read my posts on this blog that I firmly hold to the Holy Roman Catholic Church and have confidence to call Her the One True Church.  I have many reasons to call this church my home, but I would like to illustrate one facet of this church, Her authority; the authority to forgive sins "out loud", to discern what sins are and to discern and teach on questions which arise, following Jesus's ascension back to heaven, which leaves us only His spiritual guidance through the Church.

 Matthew 16-16 : Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but mt Father who is in heaven.  Ans 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.

Matthew 28-16:  And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  And seeing Him they adored: but some doubted.  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.

These two excerpts from Matthew show Jesus passing His authority through to Peter and His church.  In both of these incidents Jesus was talking only to His disciples and not the crowds.  Through Peter the Church is given the grave duty of binding and loosing  sins, which necessitates the judgement of what a sin is, and this applies to all the world and all peoples.

I will ask three questions, which I believe will illustrate the essential necessity for One Church, speaking with One authority in a world that doubts.

First question:  Is it essential for a man to be circumcised in order to receive the graces of Christ?

Today I would be surprised to hear anyone answer "yes" to that question.  Anyone who has read the Acts of the Apostles, has read the story of the first Church council, which settled that issue once and for all.  However, at the time of Peter and Paul, it wasn't so clear; in fact, it was a question of serious import, which threatened to divide the young Church on ideological grounds.  Following the authoritative declaration of the Church there was once again harmony and common understanding.

Second question:  Did God the Father create Jesus the Son, or was the Son always of the Father?

Biblical historians will recognize that question as the Arian heresy.  This heresy spread through Christendom like a bad virus in the early fourth century.  The Catholic Church firmly declared that the Son is consubstantial with the Father and the Holy Ghost, in the First Council of Nicaea.  Though the error has never been fully eradicated, there is no doubt on this issue within the Catholic sphere and in those Protestant denominations which trace their roots to the Catholic Church.  This issue isn't in the bible, as it came up post scriptural times.  However, thanks to the Church, who fought this battle, and many others through the ages, we have the Faith in our day.

Third Question:  Is the use of contraception always a grave evil?

All of the western Christian churches agreed that it was a grave evil before 1930.  The Anglican Church, at the Lambeth Conference of 1930 became the first to so carefully crack open that Pandora's Box, and the resulting error spread throughout the post Protestant churches like wildfire.

The Anglican Resolution 15:
The Life and Witness of the Christian Community - Marriage and Sex Where there is clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, the method must be decided on Christian principles. The primary and obvious method is complete abstinence from intercourse (as far as may be necessary) in a life of discipline and self-control lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles. The Conference records its strong condemnation of the use of any methods of conception control from motives of selfishness, luxury, or mere convenience. (end)

Read that statement of oh-so careful affirmation and consider the use of contraception today.  The total destruction of western society has been almost completed and every Christian church has accepted contraception and many have accepted the horrible step-sisters of abortion, divorce and homo-sexuality.

The Catholic Church now stands alone in the firm and unmistakable declaration that the use of contraception, by anyone, for any reason is truly a grave sin and will always be.  She never lost the way.  However, Her declaration, while binding upon "all nations"  has been nearly universally ignored, even by the people of Her own.  This clearly shows the severe consequences of the Protestant revolt, for it undermined the teaching commandment of Matt 28 and left the world lost in the jungles of sin.