Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The primacy of Catholocism

So at one time I was facilitating a class on Biblical study and the area being covered was on judges, which ends
In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what he thought best.
This passage can be a reflection of the way in which Protestants view Solo Scriptorum, with the Bible the only source of faith, interpreted by each person themselves.
Sometimes in the modern ecumenical spirit members of the Church forget that the purpose of ecumenism is not just one church or a group of churches which play nice, but the reunification of Christ's Church, that is the separated Protestant communities with the Catholic Church.

Sometimes one will hear from individuals who are well meaning, but have been poorly catechized:
Shouldn't a church be open to anyone who wants to come? It wasn't like Jesus founded the Catholic Church. He founded His Church. If the Catholic church had stayed true to the teachings of Christ and His mission on earth, there never would have been a need for Protestant religions.
This kind of statement shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Catholic doctrine. As it states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

*811 *"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic."
These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other, indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

*817 *In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without human sin:
The Church does not deny that members of the Church, even popes, bishops and lay ministers are sinful. The fact that some in the Church sin does not excuse the sin of heresy practiced by the original Protestant schismatics. The Church has also stated that modern members of Protestant congregations, raised in those traditions, are not guilty of the sin of heresy. This does not apply to those members of the Catholic Church, who for reasons of disagreement with teachings of the Magisterium, have left the Church.
Last year the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released a document, un-named as far as I have been able to find, which was meant to clarify the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium. In that document it states:
"In fact, precisely because the Church willed by Christ actually continues to exist (subsistit in) in the Catholic Church, this continuity of subsistence implies an essential identity between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church. The Council wished to teach that we encounter the Church of Jesus Christ as a concrete historical subject in the Catholic Church. The idea, therefore, that subsistence can somehow be multiplied does not express what was intended by the choice of the term “subsistit”. In choosing the word “subsistit” the Council intended to express the singularity and non “multipliability” of the Church of Christ: the Church exists as a unique historical reality."
The Church's stance on whether the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ is pretty clear.

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