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Reflections: Catholic Basics Sctn. (Catholic Church)

Jesus Speaking From Boat

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"For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another." (Rom. 12:4-5)

"As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit." (1 Cor. 12:12-13)

"Now you are Christ's body, and individually parts of it." (Cor. 12:27)

"Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. 'For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church." (Eph. 5:22-32)

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him were created all things in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church." (Col. 1:15-18)

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church" (Col. 1:24)

"Recognize, O Christian, your dignity, and being made a sharer of the divine nature go not back to your former worthlessness along the way of unseemly conduct. Keep in mind of what Head and of what Body you are a member." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Finally, while by His grace He provides for the continual growth of the Church, He yet refuses to dwell through sanctifying grace in those members that are wholly severed from the Body." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"Moreover, when in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church, all the members are united and flourish, it results, according to St. Paul, that the joy or pain of one member is shared by all the rest, so that if one of the brethren in Christ is suffering in mind or body the others come to his help and succor him as far as in them lies. The members are solicitous in regard of each other, and if one member suffer all the members suffer in sympathy, and if one member rejoice all the others rejoice also." (Pope Leo XIII, "Octobri Mense", 1891 A.D.)

"But a body calls also for a multiplicity of members, which are linked together in such a way as to help one another. And as in the body when one member suffers, all the other members share its pain, and the healthy members come to the assistance of the ailing, so in the Church the individual members do not live for themselves alone, but also help their fellows, and all work in mutual collaboration for the common comfort and for the more perfect building up of the whole Body." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"The Church is not something dead: it is the body of Christ endowed with supernatural life. As Christ, the Head and Exemplar, is not wholly in His visible human nature, which Photinians and Nestorians assert, nor wholly in the invisible divine nature, as the Monophysites hold, but is one, from and in both natures, visible and invisible; so the mystical body of Christ is the true Church, only because its visible parts draw life and power from the supernatural gifts and other things whence spring their very nature and essence." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"[T]he Son of God decreed that the Church should be His mystical body, with which He should be united as the Head, after the manner of the human body which He assumed, to which the natural head is physiologically united. As He took to Himself a mortal body, which He gave to suffering and death in order to pay the price of man's redemption, so also He has one mystical body in which and through which He renders men partakers of holiness and of eternal salvation. God 'hath made Him (Christ) head over all the Church, which is His body' (Eph. i., 22-23)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"As We set out briefly to expound in what sense Christ founded His social Body, the following thought of Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, occurs to Us at once: 'The Church which, already conceived, came forth from the side of the second Adam in His sleep on the Cross, first showed Herself before the eyes of men on the great day of Pentecost.' For the Divine Redeemer began the building of the mystical temple of the Church when by His preaching He made known His precepts; He completed it when He hung glorified on the Cross; and He manifested and proclaimed it when He sent the Holy Ghost as Paraclete in visible form on His disciples." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"Actually only those are to be included as members of the Church who have been baptized and profess the true faith, and who have not been so unfortunate as to separate themselves from the unity of the Body, or been excluded by legitimate authority for grave faults committed. 'For in one spirit' says the Apostle, 'were we all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether bond or free.' As therefore in the true Christian community there is only one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, and one Baptism, so there can be only one faith. And therefore, if a man refuse to hear the Church, let him be considered - so the Lord commands - as a heathen and a publican (Mt. 18:17). It follows that those who are divided in faith or government cannot be living in the unity of such a Body, nor can they be living the life of its one Divine Spirit." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"As the vastness of the charity with which Christ loved His Church is equaled by its constant activity, we all, with the same assiduous and zealous charity must love the Mystical Body of Christ. Now from the moment of His Incarnation, when he laid the first foundations of the Church, even to His last mortal breath, our Redeemer never ceased for an instant, though He was the Son of God, to labor unto weariness in order to establish and strengthen His Church, whether by giving us the shining example of His holiness, or by preaching, or conversing, or gathering and instructing disciples. And so We desire that all who claim the Church as their mother, should seriously consider that not only the clergy and those who have consecrated themselves to God in the religious life, but the other members of the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ as well have, each in his degree, the obligation of working hard and constantly for the building up and increase of this Body." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ - which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church - we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression 'the Mystical Body of Christ' - an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers. That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. 'Christ,' says the Apostle, 'is the Head of the Body of the Church.' If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: 'Though many we are one body in Christ.' But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: 'the Church is visible because she is a body. Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely 'pneumatological' as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.) 

"But we must not think that He rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. You know, Venerable Brethren, that after He had ruled the 'little flock' Himself during His mortal pilgrimage, Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded. Since He was all wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. Nor against this may one argue that the primacy of jurisdiction established in the Church gives such a Mystical Body two heads. For Peter in virtue of his primacy is only Christ's Vicar; so that there is only one chief Head of this Body, namely Christ, who never ceases Himself to guide the Church invisibly, though at the same time He rules it visibly, through him who is His representative on earth. After His glorious Ascension into heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

Also See: Visible Church | Catholic Church / Catholic Faith / Catholics | The Catholic Church / Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | Vatican View Reflections | Necessity of Being Catholic for Salvation / Combating Religious Indifferentism | No Salvation Outside the Church | Those Outside the Church (Coming Home Reflections) | Classic Encyclicals: "Mystici Corporis Christi" (On The Mystical Body Of Christ)

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 10:16)

"...If he refuses to listen even to the church, then treat him as you would a Gentile or a tax collector." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mt. 18:17)

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved..." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"...a religion out of union with the Chair at Rome is powerless to give salvation to its members" (Gueranger)

"If anyone is outside the Ark of Noe he will perish in the over-whelming flood." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Outside the Church baptism can be put in you but it cannot avail you" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"For unless one preserves the faith entire and uninjured, he will without doubt perish forever." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

"All who wish to reach salvation outside the Church are mistaken as to the way and are engaged in a futile effort." (Pope Leo XIII)

"The Church is like the ark of Noah, outside of which nobody can be saved." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic faith; for unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire he will undoubtedly be lost forever." (Athanasian Creed)

"[E]nsure that the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Nostis et Nobiscum", 1849 A.D.)

"We know that salvation belongs to the Church alone, and that no one can partake of Christ nor be saved outside the Catholic Church and the Catholic Faith." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"The holy universal Church proclaims that God cannot truly be worshiped save within herself and asserts that all they who are without her pale shall never be saved." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church, 6th century A.D.)

"Indeed, as long as you remain outside the Church and severed from the fabric of unity and bond of charity, you would be punished with everlasting chastisement, even if you were burned alive for Christ's sake." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that no person baptized outside the Catholic Church can become a participant of eternal life if, before the end of this life, he has not returned and has been incorporated in the Catholic Church." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"[T]here is no entering into salvation outside the Church, just as in the time of the deluge there was none outside the Ark, which denotes the Church, according to 1 Peter 3:20,21." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"According to the words of Saint Augustine, who takes up an image dear to the ancient Fathers, the ship of the Church must not fear, because it is guided by Christ and by His Vicar. 'Although the ship is tossed about, it is still a ship. It alone carries the disciples and receives Christ. Yes, it is tossed on the sea, but, outside it, one would immediately perish.' Only in the Church is salvation. 'Outside it one perishes.'" (Pope John Paul I, 1978)

"[W]e have to be conscious of and absorb this fundamental and revealed truth, contained in the phrase consecrated by tradition: 'There is no salvation outside the Church'. From her alone there flows surely and fully the life-giving force destined in Christ and in His Spirit to renew the whole of humanity, and therefore directing every human being to become a part of the Mystical Body of Christ." (Pope John Paul II, 1981)

"Anyone who is outside this Church, which received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, is walking a path not to heaven but to hell. He is not approaching the home of eternal life; rather, he is hastening to the torment of eternal death. And this is the case not only if he remains a pagan without Baptism, but even if, after having been baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he continue as a heretic." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"A man cannot have salvation, except in the Catholic Church. Outside the Catholic Church he can have everything except salvation. He can have honor, he can have Sacraments, he can sing alleluia, he can answer amen, he can possess the gospel, he can have and preach faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; but never except in the Catholic Church will he be able to find salvation." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 418 A.D.)

"Urged by faith, we are obliged to believe and to maintain that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We believe in her firmly and we confess with simplicity that outside of her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins, as the Spouse in the Canticles (Sgs. 6:8) proclaims: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. She is the only one, the chosen of her who bore her,' and she represents one sole mystical body whose Head is Christ and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11:3). In her then is one Lord, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5). There had been at the time of the deluge only one ark of Noah, prefiguring the one Church, which ark, having been finished to a single cubit, had only one pilot and guide, i.e., Noah, and we read that, outside of this ark, all that subsisted on the earth was destroyed." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

Also See: Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Coming Home Reflections) | Importance of Being Catholic / Combating Religious Indifferentism | Catholic Church / Catholic Faith / Catholics | The Catholic Church / Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | Vatican View Reflections | Visible Church | Mystical Body | Those Outside the Church (Coming Home Reflections) | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics (Coming Home Reflections) | Truth / Error / Nature of Man 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

Top | Reflections: A-Z | Categ. | Scripture: A-Z | Categ. | Help

"To be Catholic at all a man must be orthodox." (Maynard)

"He cannot be accounted a Catholic who does not agree with the Roman Church." (Pope St. Gregory VII, 11th century A.D.)

"If anyone holds to a single heresy, he is not a Catholic." (St. Augustine, Doctor of 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." (Baltimore Catechism)

"The very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the apostles and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded, and if anyone departs from this, he neither is, nor any longer ought to be called, a Christian." (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church)

"We may say that a true and genuine Catholic is the man who loves the truth of God, the Church, and the Body of Christ; who does not put anything above divine religion and the Catholic faith - neither the authority, nor the affection, nor the genius, nor the eloquence, nor the philosophy of any other human being. He despises all that and, being firmly founded in the faith, is determined to hold and believe nothing but what the Catholic Church, as he has perceived, has held universally and from ancient times." (St. Vincent of Lerins, 5th century A.D.)

"Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. 'No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to a single one of these he is not a Catholic' (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88). The need of this divinely instituted means for the preservation of unity, about which we speak is urged by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"Union with the Roman See of Peter is to [St. Jerome] always the public criterion of a Catholic. 'I acknowledge everyone who is united with the See of Peter' (Ep. xvi., ad Damasum, n. 2). And for a like reason St. Augustine publicly attests that, 'the primacy of the Apostolic chair always existed in the Roman Church' (Ep. xliii., n. 7); and he denies that anyone who dissents from the Roman faith can be a Catholic. 'You are not to be looked upon as holding the true Catholic faith if you do not teach that the faith of Rome is to be held' (Sermo cxx., n. 13). So, too, St. Cyprian: 'To be in communion with Cornelius [the pope] is to be in communion with the Catholic Church' (Ep. lv., n. 1). In the same way Maximus the Abbot teaches that obedience to the Roman Pontiff is the proof of the true faith and of legitimate communion. 'Therefore if a man does not want to be, or to be called, a heretic, let him not strive to please this or that man...but let him hasten before all things to be in communion with the Roman See. If he be in communion with it, he should be acknowledged by all and everywhere as faithful and orthodox. He speaks in vain who tries to persuade me of the orthodoxy of those who, like himself, refuse obedience to his Holiness the Pope of the most holy Church of Rome: that is to the Apostolic See.' The reason and motive of this he explains to be that 'the Apostolic See has received and hath government, authority, and power of binding and loosing from the Incarnate Word Himself; and, according to all holy synods, sacred canons and decrees, in all things and through all things, in respect of all the holy churches* of God throughout the whole world, since the Word in Heaven who rules the Heavenly powers binds and loosens there' (Defloratio ex Epistola ad Petrum illustrem)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.) [* Note: Although there is only one true Church, founded by Christ - the Catholic Church - the term 'church' (or 'churches') may also be applied properly to various components of the Catholic Church (e.g. church buildings, National Churches, Local Churches, Church authorities, Church Suffering / Militant / Triumphant, etc.). These are not independent churches, but refer to certain parts of the Catholic Church. Non-Catholics often misapply the term 'church' to denominations or sects which are not properly called churches. Remember that Christ established just one Church, the Catholic Church: "(Jesus said,) 'And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.'" (Matt. 16:18-19).] 

Also See: Who Are Truly Numbered Among the Members of the Church (Coming Home Reflections) | Who Really is a Christian / Truly Following & Believing in Christ (Coming Home Reflections) | Those Not United to the Body of the Church Are Not Her Members or in Communion With Christ (Coming Home Reflections) | One Who Calls Himself Catholic But is Actually No Longer Catholic (Coming Home Reflections) | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation (Coming Home Reflections) | No Salvation Outside the Church | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ (Coming Home Reflections) | Importance of Being Catholic / Combating Religious Indifferentism | Catholic Church / Catholic Faith / Catholics | Duties of Catholics | The Catholic Church / Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | Those Outside the Church (Coming Home Reflections) | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics (Coming Home Reflections) | Truth / Error / Nature of ManTough Love in the New Testament

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jn. 17:20-23)

"...one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:5-6)

"The strength of the Church is her unity which nothing is able to break" (Archbishop Goodier) 

"For the whole Church which is throughout the whole world possesses one and the same faith." (St. Irenaeus, 2nd century A.D.)

"Now we ought to hold fast and defend this unity - especially we bishops, who preside in the Church, that we may show that the episcopate too is itself one and undivided... The episcopate, of which part is held by each severally and jointly, is one. The Church, likewise, which is spread abroad far and wide into a multitude through the increase of her fruitfulness, is one. Just as the sun has many rays, but one light; and as when many streams flow from one spring, through a multiplicity of waters is seen diffused in bountifulness as they gush forth - still unity is preserved in the source." (St. Cyprian, 3rd century A.D.)

"The unity of the Church is manifested in the mutual connection or communication of its members, and likewise in the relation of all the members of the Church to one head' (St. Thomas, 2a tae, 9, xxxix., a. I). From this it is easy to see that men can fall away from the unity of the Church by schism, as well as by heresy... Wherefore as no heresy can ever be justifiable, so in like manner there can be no justification for schism. 'There is nothing more grievous than the sacrilege of schism... there can be no just necessity for destroying the unity of the Church' (St. Augustine, Contra Epistolam Parmeniani, lib. ii., cap. ii., n. 25)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. 'No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to a single one of these he is not a Catholic' (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88). The need of this divinely instituted means for the preservation of unity, about which we speak is urged by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.) 

"Jesus Christ conferred on His Church the supreme power of administering religion and governing Christian society. This is not subject to the civil authority. In his letter to the Ephesians the apostle teaches that Christ established this ecclesiastical power for the benefit of unity. And what is this unity unless one person is placed in charge of the whole Church who protects it and joins all its members in the one profession of faith and unites them in the one bond of love and communion? The wisdom of the Divine Lawgiver ordered that a visible head be placed over a visible body so that 'once so established, the opportunity for division might be removed.'" (Pope Gregory XVI, "Commissum Divinitus", 1835 A.D.)

"As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same. Neither do the [Catholic] Churches among the Germans believe otherwise or have another tradition, nor do those among the Iberians, nor among the Celts, nor away in the East, nor in Egypt, nor in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world. But just as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere and enlightens all men who desire to come to a knowledge of truth." (St. Irenaeus, 2nd century A.D.)

"We venerate this Church as one, the Lord having said by the mouth of the prophet: 'Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword and my only one from the hand of the dog.' (Ps. 21:20) He has prayed for his soul, that is for himself, heart and body; and this body, that is to say, the Church, He has called one because of the unity of the Spouse, of the faith, of the sacraments, and of the charity of the Church. This is the tunic of the Lord, the seamless tunic, which was not rent but which was cast by lot (Jn. 19:23- 24). Therefore, of the one and only Church there is one body and one head, not two heads like a monster; that is, Christ and the Vicar of Christ, Peter and the successor of Peter, since the Lord speaking to Peter Himself said: 'Feed my sheep' (Jn. 21:17), meaning, My sheep in general, not these, nor those in particular, whence we understand that He entrusted all to [Peter]. Therefore, if the Greeks or others should say that they are not confided to Peter and to his successors, they must confess not being the sheep of Christ, since Our Lord says in John 'there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.'" (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"It is good for us all to remember that when the Lord asked 'who do men say the Son of Man is' and whom the disciples believed He was, they answered that there were various opinions about Him. But St. Peter confessed that He was the son of the living God, not revealed by flesh and blood but by the Father. From this, you can easily see that there is a difference between the sons of light and the sons of the world. The latter disagree among themselves with various and diverse opinions, while the former, initiated into the mysteries of unity, profess the one faith of all by the mouth of one, through the head of all. Therefore, concentrate all your attention on increasing peace among the faithful. Uproars, contentions, rivalries, animosities, and dissensions should be silenced. In this way those who go by the name of Catholic can all be perfect in the same sense, in the same opinion, saying the same thing together, knowing the same thing and understanding it thoroughly. They should understand that if they want to be members of Christ, they cannot have concord with the head if they want to be in disagreement with the members. Nor can those who have not lived in fraternal love be counted as brothers by the Almighty Father." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"It is so evident from the clear and frequent testimonies of Holy Writ that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian can dare to deny it. But in judging and determining the nature of this unity many have erred in various ways. Not the foundation of the Church alone, but its whole constitution, belongs to the class of things effected by Christ's free choice. For this reason the entire case must be judged by what was actually done. We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: 'I believe in one Church.' 'The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts... We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence... Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution - a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it' (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own - 'I will build my church;' any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"God indeed even made the Church a society far more perfect than any other. For the end for which the Church exists is as much higher than the end of other societies as divine grace is above nature, as immortal blessings are above the transitory things on the earth. Therefore the Church is a society divine in its origin, supernatural in its end and in means proximately adapted to the attainment of that end; but it is a human community inasmuch as it is composed of men. For this reason we find it called in Holy Writ by names indicating a perfect society. It is spoken of as the House of God, the city placed upon the mountain to which all nations must come. But it is also the fold presided over by one Shepherd, and into which all Christ's sheep must betake themselves. Yea, it is called the kingdom which God has raised up and which will stand forever. Finally it is the body of Christ - that is, of course, His mystical body, but a body living and duly organized and composed of many members; members indeed which have not all the same functions, but which, united one to the other, are kept bound together by the guidance and authority of the head. Indeed no true and perfect human society can be conceived which is not governed by some supreme authority. Christ therefore must have given to His Church a supreme authority to which all Christians must render obedience. For this reason, as the unity of the faith is of necessity required for the unity of the Church, inasmuch as it is the body of the faithful, so also for this same unity, inasmuch as the Church is a divinely constituted society, unity of government, which effects and involves unity of communion, is necessary jure divino." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

Also See: Unity / Truth (Vatican View Reflections) | Preservation of Truth / Unity (Vatican View Reflections) | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Popes as Preservers of Tradition / Against New Doctrines (Vatican View Reflections) | Papal Infallibility | Vatican View Reflections | Truth / Error / Nature of Man (Coming Home Reflections) | Doctrine / Dogmas | Unchangeableness of Dogmas (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Reflections) | Against Modernism / Novelty (Latin Mass / Catholic Tradition Reflections) | Must Not Dissent From Any Point of Truth | Mystical Body | Visible Church | Catholic Church / Catholic Faith / Catholics | The Catholic Church / Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | No Salvation Outside the Church 

Note: Categories are subjective and may overlap. For more items related to this topic, please review all applicable categories. For more 'Reflections' and for Scripture topics, see links below.

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"As He hung on the Cross, Christ Jesus not only appeased the justice of the Eternal Father which had been violated, but He also won for us, His brethren, an ineffable flow of graces. It was possible for Him of Himself to impart these graces to mankind directly; but He willed to do so only through a visible Church made up of men, so that through her all might cooperate with Him in dispensing the graces of Redemption. As the Word of God willed to make use of our nature, when in excruciating agony He would redeem mankind, so in the same way throughout the centuries He makes use of the Church that the work begun might endure." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.) 

"[T]hose who arbitrarily conjure up and picture to themselves a hidden and invisible Church are in grievous and pernicious error: as also are those who regard the Church as a human institution which claims a certain obedience in discipline and external duties, but which is without the perennial communication of the gifts of divine grace, and without all that which testifies by constant and undoubted signs to the existence of that life which is drawn from God. It is assuredly as impossible that the Church of Jesus Christ can be the one or the other, as that man should be a body alone or a soul alone. The connection and union of both elements is as absolutely necessary to the true Church as the intimate union of the soul and body is to human nature." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.) 

"Now since its Founder willed this social body of Christ to be visible, the cooperation of all its members must also be externally manifest through their profession the same faith and their sharing the same sacred rites, through participation in the same Sacrifice, and the practical observance of the same laws. Above all, it is absolutely necessary that the Supreme Head, that is, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, be visible to the eyes of all, since it is He who gives effective direction to the work which all do in common in a mutually helpful way towards the attainment of the proposed end. As the Divine Redeemer sent the Paraclete, the Spirit of Truth, who in His name should govern the Church in an invisible way, so, in the same manner, He commissioned Peter and his successors to be His personal representatives on earth and to assume the visible government of the Christian community." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Coporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"If we would define and describe this true Church of Jesus Christ - which is the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church - we shall find nothing more noble, more sublime, or more divine than the expression 'the Mystical Body of Christ' - an expression which springs from and is, as it were, the fair flowering of the repeated teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and the Holy Fathers. That the Church is a body is frequently asserted in the Sacred Scriptures. 'Christ,' says the Apostle, 'is the Head of the Body of the Church.' If the Church is a body, it must be an unbroken unity, according to those words of Paul: 'Though many we are one body in Christ.' But it is not enough that the Body of the Church should be an unbroken unity; it must also be something definite and perceptible to the senses as Our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Satis Cognitum asserts: 'the Church is visible because she is a body. Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely 'pneumatological' as they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.) 

"And, since it was necessary that His divine mission should be perpetuated to the end of time, He took to Himself disciples, trained by himself, and made them partakers of His own authority. And, when He had invoked upon them from Heaven the Spirit of Truth, He bade them go through the whole world and faithfully preach to all nations what He had taught and what He had commanded, so that by the profession of His doctrine and the observance of His laws, the human race might attain to holiness on earth and never-ending happiness in Heaven. In this wise, and on this principle, the Church was begotten. If we consider the chief end of His Church and the proximate efficient causes of salvation, it is undoubtedly spiritual; but in regard to those who constitute it, and to the things which lead to these spiritual gifts, it is external and necessarily visible. The Apostles received a mission to teach by visible and audible signs, and they discharged their mission only by words and acts which certainly appealed to the senses. So that their voices falling upon the ears of those who heard them begot faith in souls - 'Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the words of Christ' (Rom. x., 17). And faith itself - that is assent given to the first and supreme truth - though residing essentially in the intellect, must be manifested by outward profession - 'For with the heart we believe unto justice, but with the mouth confession is made unto salvation' (Rom. x., 10). In the same way in man, nothing is more internal than heavenly grace which begets sanctity, but the ordinary and chief means of obtaining grace are external: that is to say, the sacraments which are administered by men specially chosen for that purpose, by means of certain ordinances. Jesus Christ commanded His Apostles and their successors to the end of time to teach and rule the nations. He ordered the nations to accept their teaching and obey their authority. But his correlation of rights and duties in the Christian commonwealth not only could not have been made permanent, but could not even have been initiated except through the senses, which are of all things the messengers and interpreters. For this reason the Church is so often called in Holy Writ a body, and even the body of Christ - 'Now you are the body of Christ' (I Cor. xii., 27) - and precisely because it is a body is the Church visible: and because it is the body of Christ is it living and energizing, because by the infusion of His power Christ guards and sustains it, just as the vine gives nourishment and renders fruitful the branches united to it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"From what We have thus far written, and explained, Venerable Brethren, it is clear, We think, how grievously they err who arbitrarily claim that the Church is something hidden and invisible, as they also do who look upon her as a mere human institution possessing a certain disciplinary code and external ritual, but lacking power to communicate supernatural life. On the contrary, as Christ, Head and Exemplar of the Church 'is not complete, if only His visible human nature is considered..., or if only His divine, invisible nature..., but He is one through the union of both and one in both ... so is it with His Mystical Body' since the Word of God took unto Himself a human nature liable to sufferings, so that He might consecrate in His blood the visible Society founded by Him and 'lead man back to things invisible under a visible rule.' For this reason We deplore and condemn the pernicious error of those who dream of an imaginary Church, a kind of society that finds its origin and growth in charity, to which, somewhat contemptuously, they oppose another, which they call juridical. But this distinction which they introduce is false: for they fail to understand that the reason which led our Divine Redeemer to give to the community of man He founded the constitution of a Society, perfect of its kind and containing all the juridical and social elements - namely, that He might perpetuate on earth the saving work of Redemption - was also the reason why He willed it to be enriched with the heavenly gifts of the Paraclete. The Eternal Father indeed willed it to be the 'kingdom of the Son of his predilection;' but it was to be a real kingdom in which all believers should make Him the entire offering of their intellect and will, and humbly and obediently model themselves on Him, Who for our sake 'was made obedient unto death.' There can, then, be no real opposition or conflict between the invisible mission of the Holy Spirit and the juridical commission of Ruler and Teacher received from Christ, since they mutually complement and perfect each other - as do the body and soul in man - and proceed from our one Redeemer who not only said as He breathed on the Apostles 'Receive ye the Holy Spirit,' but also clearly commanded: 'As the Father hath sent me, I also send you; 'and again: 'He that heareth you, heareth me.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Coporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

Also See: The Church is Not Invisible (Coming Home Reflections) | The Visible Church (Coming Home Reflections) | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Catholic Church / Catholic Faith / Catholics | The Catholic Church / Religion (Coming Home Reflections) | Mystical Body | Vatican View Reflections | Necessity of Being Catholic for Salvation / No Salvation Outside the Church | No Salvation Outside the Church (Reflections) 

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