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Reflections: Catholic Basics Sctn. (Catholic Church)

Jesus Speaking From Boat

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Note: For information on the term 'church', click here (Church Talk Section: "A Note Regarding the Term 'Church'")


"When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, 'Who do people say that the Son of Man is?' They replied, 'Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.' He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Simon Peter said in reply, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.' Jesus said to him in reply, 'Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld 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.'" (Mt. 16:13-19)

"...If he refuses to listen to them, tell the church. 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)

"Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:28)

"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)

"But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Tm. 3:15)

"[T]he Catholic a kingdom, though not of this world, yet in it." (Benson)

"Whosoever departs from the Church wanders far from Christ." (Pope Leo XIII)

"Christ has founded His Church for the eternal salvation of mankind"

"O holy Church! ... Though art dear to Him, for He bought thee at a great price [His Precious Blood]!" (Dom Gueranger)

"The Church is the Kingdom of God; for it is in and by her that God is to reign upon the earth." (Dom Gueranger)

"The Church owes its survival in a world of enemies to supernatural assistance." {Lunn}

"He cannot have God for his Father who has not the Church for his mother." (St. Cyprian, 3rd century A.D.)

"[The Catholic Church] is the entrance to life; all the others are thieves and robbers." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

"The Church, the spotless Spouse of Jesus Christ the immaculate Lamb, is by God's appointment free, and subject to no earthly power." (Pope Pius VIII)

"[T]he Church is of God, for He Himself built it with His blood." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The essential beauty and comeliness of the Church ought greatly to influence the minds of those who consider it." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"...I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting." (Apostles' Creed)

"[T]he Catholic Church is infallible, and hence those who reject her definitions lose the faith and become heretics." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"The Church shows the way and is the guide and guardian of men with respect to their supernatural end." (Pope Pius XII, "Ad Apostolorum Principis", 1958 A.D.)

"But she [the Church] is Divine and has herself come down from heaven; so she does not guess, or think, or hope - she knows." (Benson)

"Every baptized person should consider that it is in the womb of the Church where he is transformed from a child of Adam to a child of God." (St. Vincent Ferrer)

"[The Church] makes no difference between her children... members of all... nations are equal in the eyes of the Apostolic See." (Pope Benedict XV)

"Supernatural force has never during the flight of ages been found wanting in the Church, nor have Christ's promises failed." (Pope St. Pius X)

"[T]he Catholic Church...[is] powerless in any way to abandon the duties of her office or the defense of her authority" (Pope Leo XIII, "Arcanum", 1880 A.D.)

"When we are called Catholics, it is by this name that our people are kept apart from any heretical name." (St. Pacianus of Barcelona)

"[The Church] alone has been given by God the mandate and the right to teach with authority" (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922 A.D.)

"The Church, for her part, founded on the love of the Redeemer, contributes toward the right of justice and charity within the borders of a nation and between nations." (Second Vatican Council)

"[T]he Catholic Church...alone has been committed the charge of handing down to all ages the benefits purchased for us by Jesus Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Libertas Praestantissimum", 1888 A.D.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius X in "Lamentabili": "The Church shows herself to be hostile to the advances of the natural and theological sciences." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.) 

"The Church can never be brought down. Indeed it grows under persecution, and those who attack it are destroyed." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Did not practically every one of the illustrious and sainted women who hold a place of honor in the Old Testament prefigure the Church, God's Spouse?" (Pope Benedict XV, "Spiritus Paraclitus", 1920 A.D.)

"All, moreover, are bound to love the Church as their common mother, to obey her laws, promote her honor, defend her rights, and to endeavor to make her respected and loved." (Pope Leo XIII)

"[T]he Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, [stands] erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her" (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"[The Church's] special mission is to instruct mankind by the preaching of truths which have been divinely revealed and to sanctify them by means of the grace of God." (Pope Pius XI, "Rerum Omnium Perturbationem", 1923 A.D.)

"The Church is our Mother: a Mother who nourishes and reconciles.. We cannot criticize our mother as if she were a stranger, for we love the person who gave us life." (Pope John Paul II)

"Just as God's creature, the sun, is one and the same the world over, so also does the Church's preaching shine everywhere to enlighten all men who want to come to the knowledge of truth." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons)

"The Church is not susceptible of being reformed in her doctrines. The Church is the work of an Incarnate God. Like all God's works, it is perfect. It is, therefore, incapable of reform." (Gibbons)

"[T]he Catholic Church...alone is destined by God to enrich souls with the light of virtue, without which one of necessity strays from the right path and is driven headlong to imperiling his eternal salvation." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"I will go peaceably and firmly to the Catholic Church: for if Faith is so important to our salvation, I will seek it where true Faith first began, seek it among those who received it from God Himself." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)

"As she now is, the Church is the multitude, without distinction between good and bad; but afterwards - that is, after the resurrection - the good alone will compose the Church, and their number will be for ever fixed." (Liturgical Year)

"The Catholic Church herself is an historic fact. Like a great mountain-range she bestrides the history of the past two thousand years. Whatever may be the attitude adopted towards her, it is impossible to escape her." (Pope Pius XII)

"The Church, then, is God's only flock; it is like a standard lifted high for the nations to see it: for it serves all mankind through the Gospel of peace as it makes its pilgrim way in hope toward the goal of the fatherland above." (Second Vatican Council)

"...whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by God through Jesus Christ, would refuse to enter her or remain in her could not be saved." (Second Vatican Council)

"That the Church is a divine institution is most clearly proved by the splendor and glory of those gifts and graces with which she is adorned, and whose author and giver is the Holy Ghost." (Pope Leo XIII, "Divinum Illud Munus", 1897 A.D.)

"[T]he Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, for to her safe-keeping alone there has been confided the doctrines and the promise of the assistance of Christ" (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922 A.D.)

"Hope, which is the gaze of the Church turned toward the future, fills her heart, and tells us how it is throbbing in new and loving expectation. The Church is not old, she is ancient.. Time does not subdue her; it rejuvenates her." (Pope Paul VI)

"...Christ and the Church are a necessity for the whole social fabric. If they were not necessary, God would not have imposed them on the world as the means of salvation. If they have a mission to the nations incumbent upon them, the nations have a corresponding obligation to have recourse to them." (Fahey)

"While hanging on the tree of the cross, the God made Man brought her forth from his own side, giving her the blood and water for her dower. That thus was to be formed the holy Church, was prefigured in the first of womankind, our mother Eve, produced from Adam's side." (Sequence)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius X in "Lamentabili": "The organic constitution of the Church is not immutable; but Christian society, just as human society, is subject to perpetual evolution." (Pope St. Pius X, This proposition was condemned in "Lamentabili", 1907 A.D.) 

"[Like our Lord, the Catholic Church is both divine and human:] Treat the Catholic Church as Divine only and you will stumble over her scandals, her failures, and her shortcomings. Treat her as Human only and you will be silenced by her miracles, her sanctity, and her eternal resurrections." (Benson)

"Although there is one [Catholic] Church throughout the world, still each city has its own church; the Church is one in all these, although they are numerous because it is considered to be one in many." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"He who is a member of the Catholic Church and does not put her teaching into practice is a dead member, and hence will not be saved; for towards the salvation of an adult not only Baptism and faith are required, but, furthermore, works in keeping with faith." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"The Church is...universal in time, and those are wrong who allow it a limited span of time, for it began with Abel and will last even to the end of the world." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"The Catholic Church is the Union or Congregation of all the baptized who, still living on earth, profess the same Faith and the same Law of Jesus Christ, participate in the same Sacraments, and obey their lawful Pastors, particularly the Roman Pontiff." (Catechism of Pope St. Pius X)

"That He completed His work on the gibbet of the Cross is the unanimous teaching of the holy Fathers who assert that the Church was born from the side of our Savior on the Cross like a new Eve, mother of all the living." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"It is the peculiar property of the Church that when she is buffeted, she is triumphant; when she is assaulted with argument she proves herself in the right; when she is deserted by her supporters, she holds the field." (St. Hilary of Poitiers, Doctor of the Church)

"[The Church] is not an association of Christians brought together by chance, but is a divinely established and admirably constituted society, having for its direct and proximate purpose to lead the world to peace and holiness." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"In the long run it will be found that either the Catholic religion is verily and indeed the coming in of the unseen world into this, or that there is nothing positive, nothing dogmatic, nothing real in any of our notions as to whence we come and whither we are going." (Cardinal Newman)

"There is one God, and Christ is one, and there is one Church, and one chair founded upon Peter by the word of the Lord. Another altar cannot be constituted nor a new priesthood except the one altar and the one priesthood." (St. Cyprian, 3rd century A.D.)

"For such dignity and authority belong to the Church that she alone is the center of truth and of Catholic unity. It is the Church in which alone religion has been inviolably preserved and from which all other Churches must receive the tradition of the Faith." (Pope Pius IX, "Ineffabilis Deus", 1854 A.D.)

"[The Church is the] ensemble of men united by the profession of the same Christian Faith and the communion of the same sacraments, under the government of the legitimate pastors and principally the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff." (St. Robert Bellarmine, Doctor of the Church)

"The Church's aim is not the domination of peoples or the gaining of temporal dominations; she is eager only to bring the supernatural light of faith to all peoples, and to promote the interests of civilization and culture, and fraternal concord among nations." (Pope Pius XII)

"The true Church is also to be known from her origin, which she derives under the law of grace from the apostles; for her doctrines are neither novel or of recent origin, but were delivered of old by the apostles, and disseminated throughout the world." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"And so that it might walk more confidently to truth, the Truth itself, God, the Son of God, having taken up humanity without destroying His divinity, established and founded this same faith, so that there might be a path for man to man's God through the God-man." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 420 A.D.)

"Furthermore the church which, together with its apostolic office of teaching, has received the charge of preserving the deposit of faith, has by divine appointment the right and duty of condemning what wrongly passes for knowledge, lest anyone be led astray by philosophy and empty deceit." (First Vatican Council)

"Inspired by the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church from the earliest centuries stressed that just as St. Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ's upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ's Mystical Body, that is, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model." (Pope John Paul II)

"[T]he Catholic Church is a stranger to no people on earth, much less hostile to any. With a mother's anxiety, she embraces all peoples in impartial charity. She seeks no earthly advantage but employs what powers she possesses to attract the souls of all men to seek what is eternal." (Pope Pius XII, "Ad Apostolorum Principis", 1958 A.D.)

"Let us love our Lord God, let us love His Church: Him as a Father, her as a Mother; Him as a Master, her as His Handmaid; for we are the children of the Handmaid herself. But this marriage is held together by a great love; no one offends the one and gains favor with the other." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"But the man who has embraced the Christian faith, as in duty bound, is by that very fact a subject of the Church as one of the children born of her, and becomes a member of that greatest and holiest body, which it is the special charge of the Roman Pontiff to rule with supreme power, under its invisible head, Jesus Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"This [Catholic] Church was founded not by man, but by the immortal God Himself, who built her upon a most solid rock. The Highest himself, says the Prophet, hath founded her. Hence, she is called the inheritance of God, the people of God. The power which she possesses is not from man but from God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent) 

"Inquire not simply where the Lord's house is, for the sects of the profane also make an attempt to call their own dens the houses of the Lord; nor inquire merely where the 'church' is, but where the Catholic Church is. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Body, the mother of all, which is the Spouse of Our Lord Jesus Christ." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church)

"Coming to you from the very time of the apostles, spreading out into all lands, triumphing over a thousand revolutions, exhibiting so awful a unity, glorifying in so mysterious a vitality; so majestic, so imperturbable, so bold, so saintly, so sublime, so beautiful, O ye sons of men can ye doubt that she is the divine messenger for whom you seek?" (Cardinal Newman)

"God has given to His Church a living teaching authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the teaching authority of the Church." (Pope Pius XII)

"Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: 'a single Catholic and apostolic Church" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratified & Approved by Pope John Paul II, 2000 A.D.)

"The most important duty of the Church, and the one most peculiarly her own, is to defend and to propagate throughout the world the Kingdom of the Son of God, and to bring all men to salvation by communicating to them the divine benefits, so much so that her power and authority are chiefly exercised in this one work." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"[I]t can never be that the Church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail. 'For the Church, as the edifice of Christ who has wisely built 'His house upon a rock,' cannot be conquered by the gates of Hell, which may prevail over any man who shall be off the rock and outside the Church, but shall be powerless against it'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"God at the beginning of time endowed man's body with most ample power to subject all creatures to himself, and to increase and multiply and fill the earth, so at the beginning of the Christian era, He supplied the Church with the means necessary to overcome the countless dangers and to fill not only the whole world but the realms of heaven as well." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"[N]o gift of God either to individuals or to nations is greater than to receive by His grace the Catholic faith, and having received it, to keep it with perseverance. This gift contains an abundance of other gifts by means of which individual persons receive both eternal happiness in heaven and greatness and prosperity for their state on earth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Multum", 1886 A.D.)

"Christian is my name, and Catholic my surname. The former qualifies me, the latter manifests me for what I am. The later demonstrates what the former signifies. And, if I finally must explain the word 'Catholic' and translate it from the Greek into the Roman idiom, Catholic means 'one everywhere' or, as the more learned think, 'obedience to all the commandments of God.'" (St. Pacian of Barcelona, 4th century A.D.)

"Although the Catholic faith uniformly and truly teaches that the good and the bad belong to the Church, yet the same faith declares that the condition of both is very different: the wicked are contained in the Church, as the chaff is mingled with the grain on the threshing floor, or as dead member sometimes remain attached to a living body." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"For as [the Church] has been given by God as a teacher and guide to the human race, she can contribute assistance which is peculiarly adapted to direct even the most radical transformations of time to the common good, to solve the most complicated questions, and to promote uprightness and justice, which are the most solid foundations of the commonwealth." (Pope Leo XIII, "Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae", 1894 A.D.)

"And since the Church is founded on faith and the sacraments, the ministers of the Church have no power to publish new articles of faith, or to do away with those which are already published, or to institute new sacraments, or to abolish those that are instituted, for this belongs to the power of excellence, which belongs to Christ alone, Who is the foundation of the Church." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 1322 § 1 Christ the Lord entrusted the deposit of faith to the Church, so that she, with the unfailing assistance of the Holy Spirit, would maintain in a holy way revealed teaching and faithful expound it. § 2 The Church has a right and duty, independent of any civil power, of teaching all peoples evangelical doctrine: and thus, by divine law, all are bound to embrace the Church of God and rightly to heed her truth." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"The Church's understanding of herself is the same as that of her Founder and Head: to serve man in the light of God, who revealed himself in Christ. The proper mission that Christ entrusted to his Church is not of a political, economic and social nature but exclusively religious. Nevertheless, from this religious mission arises the commitment to contribute to building and strengthening the community of man according to the divine law." (Pope John Paul II)

"For nothing more glorious, nothing nobler, nothing surely more honorable can be imagined than to belong to the One, Holy Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church, in which we become members of one Body as venerable as it is unique; are guided by one supreme Head; are filled with one divine Spirit; are nourished during our earthly exile by one doctrine and one heavenly Bread, until at last we enter into the one, unending blessedness of heaven." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"Unlike republics of human institution, or the conventicles of heretics, [the Catholic Church] is not circumscribed within the limits of any one kingdom, nor confided to the members of any one society of men; but embraces within the amplitude of her love all mankind... She is also called universal, because all who desire eternal salvation must cling to and embrace her, like those who entered the ark to escape perishing in the flood." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

Error CONDEMNED by the Council of Constance: "It is not necessary for salvation to believe that the Roman Church is supreme among other churches." (Council of Constance, Condemned errors of John Wycliffe, c. 1418 A.D.) [Note: The term 'churches' herein refers to various parts of the Catholic Church. For more information on the term 'church', click here (Church Talk Section: "A Note Regarding the Term 'Church''")]

"Let me never for an instant forget that thou hast established on earth a kingdom of Thy own, that the Church is Thy work, Thy establishment, Thy instrument; that we are under Thy will, Thy laws and Thy eye - that when the Church speaks Thou dost speak. Let not familiarity with this wonderful truth lead me to be insensitive to it - let not the weakness of Thy human representations lead me to forget that it is Thou Who does speak and act through them." (Cardinal Newman)

"Now the way to reach Christ is not hard to find: it is the Church. Rightly does Chrysostom inculcate: 'The Church is thy hope, the Church is thy salvation, the Church is thy refuge.' (Hom. de capto Euthropio, n. 6.) It was for this that Christ founded it, gaining it at the price of His blood, and made it the depositary of His doctrine and His laws, bestowing upon it at the same time an inexhaustible treasury of graces for the sanctification and salvation of men." (Pope St. Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

"[O]ur Savior Himself sustains in a divine manner the society which He founded... He so sustains the Church, and so in a certain sense lives in the Church, that she is, as it were, another Christ. The Doctor of the Gentiles, in his letter to the Corinthians, affirms this when, without further qualification, he calls the Church 'Christ,' following no doubt the example of his Master who called out to him from on high when he was attacking the Church: 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"There are many other things which rightly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church. The unanimity of peoples and nations keeps me, her authority keeps me, inaugurated by miracles, nourished in hope, augmented by love, and confirmed by her age. The succession of priest keeps me, from the very chair of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord after His resurrection gave charge to feed His sheep, down to the present episcopate, keeps me here." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"The true Church is also to be recognized from her origin, which can be traced back under the law of grace to the Apostles; for her doctrine is the truth not recently given, nor now first heard of, but delivered of old by the Apostles, and disseminated throughout the entire world. Hence no one can doubt that the impious opinions which heresy invents, opposed as they are to the doctrines taught by the Church from the days of the Apostles to the present time, are very different from the faith of the true Church." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"It should not be deemed a matter of surprise that the Church, although numbering amongst her children many sinners is called holy; for as those who profess any art, although they should depart from its rules, are called artists; so the faithful, although offending in many things and violating the engagements to the observance of which they had solemnly pledged themselves, are called holy, because they are made the people of God, and are consecrated to Christ by baptism and faith." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"[T]he Church is a Heavenly society come down from her above - heavenly in her origin and her birth. She is the kingdom of God, first and foremost, and exists for His glory solely and entirely. She seeks, then, first the extension of His kingdom; and compared with this, nothing is of any value in her eyes. Never, then, must she sacrifice God to Mammon; never hesitate for one instant if the choice lies between them. For she considers that eternity is greater than time and the soul of man more value than his body." (Benson)

"Certainly the Church was not given the commission to guide men to an only fleeting and perishable happiness but to that which is eternal. Indeed 'the Church holds that it is unlawful for her to mix without cause in these temporal concerns'; however, she can in no wise renounce the duty God entrusted to her to interpose her authority, not of course in matters of technique for which she is neither suitably equipped nor endowed by office, but in all things that are connected with the moral law." (Pope Pius XI, "Quadragesimo Anno", 1931 A.D.)

"There was a wedding feast, and the mother of Jesus was there (Jn. 2:1). Mystically the wedding feast means the Church: this is a great sacrament, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32). That marriage began in the Virgin's womb, where the Father espoused the Son to human nature in unity of person... It was solemnized when the Church was joined to Him by faith... It will be consummated when the bride, that is, the Church, shall be brought into the bridal chamber of heavenly glory." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is the grace of God, We say. For as He created us, so is He able, through the treasures of His wisdom and power, to set aflame and fill our hearts wholly with His love. Hence the Church, which from the fountains of the Sacraments turns the stream of grace into our souls, is rightly entitled holy. For by her tireless, ceaseless influence she unites countless souls with God in the close bond of a friendship, in which they abide. What is more, many of these souls she guides and leads to an invincible fortitude, to perfect sanctity of life, to deeds of heroism." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"Can. 750 §1 A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, as it has been written or handed down by tradition, that is, in the single deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and which are at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of Christ's faithful under the guidance of the sacred magisterium. All are therefore bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"By pointing out the tradition which that very great, oldest, and well-known Church - founded and established at Rome by those two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul - received from the apostles, I can put to shame all of those who in any way, either through wicked self-conceit, or thorough vainglory, or through blind and evil opinion, gather together in a way they should not. For every Church must be in harmony with this Church because of its outstanding pre-eminence, that is, the faithful from everywhere, since the apostolic tradition is preserved in it by those from everywhere." (St. Irenaeus of Lyons, c. 125 - c. 203 A.D.)

"But how was this preaching fulfilled by the Apostles, since there are many nations in which it has just begun, and others in which it has not yet begun to be fulfilled? Truly then this precept was not so laid upon the Apostles by our Lord, as though they alone to whom He then spoke were to fulfill so great a charge; in the same way as He says, Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the world, apparently to them alone; but who does not understand that the promise is made to the Catholic Church, which though some are dying, others are born, shall be here to the end of the world?" (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"He has said to her [the Church], 'Go and teach all nations...I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.' These words explain the intentions of Jesus Christ. The Divine Master wants His Church to be in the world the instrument for the salvation of souls. This is so much His desire that to the Church alone, to the exclusion of all other organizations, He has entrusted the care of guiding souls to their final supernatural beatitude. It is certainly His will that His Church should fulfill in the world the office of an organism necessary for the salvation of the world." (Fahey)

"The Church has ever proved indestructible. Her persecutors have failed to destroy her; in fact, it was during times of persecution that the Church grew more and more; while the persecutors themselves, and those whom the Church would destroy, are the very ones who came to nothing... Again, errors have assailed her; but in fact, the greater number of errors that have arisen, the more has the truth been made manifest... Nor has the Church failed before the assaults of demons: for she is like a tower of refuge to all who fight against the devil." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"One in unity of doctrine as in unity of government and this Catholic, such is the Church; and since God has established that its center and foundation be in the Chair of Peter, it is rightly called Roman; for 'where Peter is, there is the Church.' Therefore, whoever wishes to be called by the name of Catholic, ought truly to heed the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: 'I who follow no one as first except Christ, associate myself in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock, I know the Church is built [Matt. 16:18]; ... whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth' [Matt. 12:30]." (Pope Leo XIII, "Testem Benevolentiae", 1899 A.D.)

"Amidst all the aberrations of human thought, infatuated by a false emancipation from every law and curb; and amidst the awful corruptions of human malice, the Church rises up like a bright lighthouse warning by the clearness of its beam every deviation to right or left from the way of truth, and pointing out to one and all the right course that they should follow. Woe if ever this beacon should be - We do not say extinguished, for that is impossible owing to the unfailing promises on which it is founded - but if it should be hindered from shedding far and wide its beneficent light!" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Catholici Sacerdotii", 1935 A.D.)

"[He] has constituted the Church the guardian and the teacher of the whole of the truth concerning religion and moral conduct; to her therefore should the faithful show obedience and subject their minds and hearts so as to be kept unharmed and free from error and moral corruption, and so that they shall not deprive themselves of that assistance given by God with such liberal bounty, they ought to show this due obedience not only when the Church defines something with solemn judgment, but also, in proper proportion, when by the constitutions and decrees of the Holy See, opinions are prescribed and condemned as dangerous or distorted." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"The only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, who came on earth to bring salvation and the light of divine wisdom to men, conferred a great and wonderful blessing on the world when, about to ascend again into heaven, He commanded the Apostles to go and teach all nations, and left the Church which He had founded to be the common and supreme teacher of the peoples. For men whom the truth had set free were to be preserved by the truth; nor would the fruits of heavenly doctrines by which salvation comes to men have long remained had not the Lord Christ appointed an unfailing teaching authority to train the minds to faith." (Pope Leo XIII, "Aeterni Patris", 1879 A.D.)

"It is called Catholic then because it extends over all the world, from one end of the earth to the other; and because it teaches universally and completely one end and all the doctrines which ought to come to men's knowledge, concerning things both invisible and invisible, heavenly and earthly; and because it brings into subjection to godliness the whole race of mankind, governors and governed, learned and unlearned; and because it universally treats and heals the whole class of sins, which are committed by soul and body, and possesses in itself every form of virtue which is named, both in deeds and words, and in every kind of spiritual gifts." (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Doctor of the Church, 4th century A.D.)

"Can. 747 §1 The Church, to which Christ the Lord has entrusted the deposit of faith so that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit it might protect the revealed truth reverently, examine it more closely, and proclaim and expound it faithfully, has the duty and innate right, independent of any human power whatsoever, to preach the gospel to all peoples, also using the means of social communication proper to it. §2 It belongs to the Church always and everywhere to announce moral principles, even about the social order, and to render judgment concerning any human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls requires it." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"That all, therefore, might know which was the Catholic Church, the Fathers, guided by the Spirit of God, added to the Creed the word Apostolic. For the Holy Ghost, who presides over the Church, governs her by no other ministers than those of Apostolic succession. This Spirit, first imparted to the Apostles, has by the infinite goodness of God always continued in the Church. And just as this one Church cannot err in faith or morals, since it is guided by the Holy Ghost; so on the contrary, all other societies abrogating to themselves the name of church, must necessarily because guided by the spirit of the devil, be sunk in the most pernicious errors, both doctrinal and moral." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"For the only-begotten Son of God established on earth a society which is called the Church, and to it He handed over the exalted and divine office which He had received from His Father, to be continued through the ages to come. 'As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you.' 'Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.' Consequently, as Jesus Christ came into the world that men 'might have life and have it more abundantly,' so also has the Church for its aim and end the eternal salvation of souls, and hence it is so constituted as to open wide its arms to all mankind, unhampered by any limit of either time or place. 'Preach ye the Gospel to every creature.'" (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885 A.D.)

"You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.) [Note: The above has been considered the earliest known written use of the term "Catholic Church". St. Ignatius was a hearer of the Apostle St. John, and the third bishop of Antioch.]

"The Catholic Church, that imperishable handiwork of our all-merciful God, has for her immediate and natural purpose the saving of souls and securing our happiness in heaven. Yet, in regard to things temporal, she is the source of benefits as manifold and great as if the chief end of her existence were to ensure the prospering of our earthly life. And, indeed, wherever the Church has set her foot she has straightway changed the face of things, and has attempered the moral tone of the people with a new civilization and with virtues before unknown. All nations which have yielded to her sway have become eminent by their gentleness, their sense of justice, and the glory of their high deeds." (Pope Leo XIII, "Immortale Dei", 1885 A.D.)

"The extent of the Church's mission in the field of education is such as to embrace every nation, without exception, according to the command of Christ: 'Teach ye all nations;' and there is no power on earth that may lawfully oppose her or stand in her way. In the first place, it extends over all the Faithful, of whom she has anxious care as a tender mother. For these she has throughout the centuries created and conducted an immense number of schools and institutions in every branch of learning... All this the Church has been able to do because her mission to educate extends equally to those outside the Fold, seeing that all men are called to enter the kingdom of God and reach eternal salvation." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929 A.D.)

"Nor has [the Church] any desire for violent persecution. She knows what persecution is, for she has suffered it in all times and in all places. Centuries passed in bloodshed give her the right to say with a holy boldness that she does not fear it, and that as often as may be necessary she will be able to meet it. But persecution is in itself an evil, for it is injustice and prevents man from worshipping God in freedom. The Church then cannot desire it, even with a view to the good which Providence in its infinite wisdom ever draws out of it. Besides, persecution is not only evil, it is also suffering, and there we have a fresh reason why the Church, who is the best of mothers, will never seek it." (Pope St. Pius X, "Une Fois Encore", 1907 A.D.)

"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.)

"This is the work of Divine Providence, achieved through the prophecies of the prophets, through the humanity and teaching of Christ, through the journeys of the apostles, through the suffering, the crosses, the blood and the death of the martyrs, through the admirable lives of the saints, and in all these, at opportune times, through miracles worthy of such great deeds and virtues. When, then, we see so much help on God's part, so much progress and such fruit, shall we hesitate to bury ourselves in the bosom of the Church? For starting from the apostolic chair down through successions of bishops, even unto the open confession of all mankind, it has possessed the crown of authority." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)

"Ignatius, also called Theophorus, to the Church endowed with mercy through the Majesty of the Most High Father and of Jesus Christ His only Son, to the Church beloved and enlightened by the will of Him who as willed all things that have being in accordance with the faith and love we bear towards Jesus Christ our God; the same Church that holds its presidency in the territory of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of dignity, worthy of every blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of credit, honored for purity, whose presidency is one of love, fulfilling the law of Christ and bearing the Father's name. This Church do I salute in the name of Jesus Christ, Son of the Father." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, 107 A.D.)

"Christ Jesus...has provided and strengthened His Church with a superb, an immortal constitution which so many [variations] of time and fortune, so many tribulations during the twenty centuries that have passed have been unable to shake, and will never cause to totter even to the day of doom. Why, then, do the rulers, who have at heart the good and welfare of their citizens, hamper the action of the Church? Ought they not rather give her their support, as far as circumstances permit? The State need not fear that the Church will trench on the domain of its aims and its rights. Indeed Christ's followers, obedient to Him who gave them their name, have from the beginning held State rights in loyal reverence" (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"Certainly this teaching authority of the Church, not by any merely human effort but under the protection of the Spirit of Truth, and therefore absolutely without error, carries out the commission entrusted to it, that of preserving the revealed truths pure and entire throughout every age, in such a way that it presents them undefiled, adding nothing to them and taking nothing away from them. For, as the [First] Vatican Council teaches, 'the Holy Spirit was not promised to the successors of Peter in such a way that, by his revelation, they might manifest new doctrine, but so that, by his assistance, they might guard as sacred and might faithfully propose the revelation delivered through the apostles, or the deposit of faith.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Munificentissimus Deus", 1950 A.D.)

"It is the will of Jesus Christ that the whole body of the Church, no less than the individual members, should resemble Him. And we see this realized when, following in the footsteps of her Founder, the Church teaches, governs, and offers the divine Sacrifice. When she embraces the evangelical counsels she reflects the Redeemer's poverty, obedience and virginal purity. Adorned with institutes of many different kinds as with so many precious jewels, she represents Christ deep in prayer on the mountain, or preaching to the people, or healing the sick and wounded and bringing sinners back to the path of virtue - in a word, doing good to all. What wonder then, if, while on this earth she, like Christ, suffer persecutions, insults and sorrows." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"We cannot refrain from again and again exhorting all to love holy Mother Church with a devoted and active love. If we have really at heart the salvation of the whole human family, purchased by the precious Blood, we must offer every day to the Eternal Father our prayers, works and sufferings, for her safety and for her continued and ever more fruitful increase. And while the skies are heavy with storm clouds, and exceeding great dangers threaten the whole of human Society and the Church herself, let us commit ourselves and all that we have to the Father of Mercies, crying out: 'Look down, we beseech Thee, Lord, on this Thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ did not hesitate to be betrayed into the hands of evil men and to undergo the torment of the Cross.'" (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"[T]he rights of the family and of the State, even the rights of individuals regarding a just liberty in the pursuit of science, of methods of science and all sorts of profane culture, not only are not opposed to this pre-eminence of the Church, but are in complete harmony with it. The fundamental reason for this harmony is that the supernatural order, to which the Church owes her rights, not only does not in the least destroy the natural order, to which pertain the other rights mentioned, but elevates the natural and perfects it, each affording mutual aid to the other, and completing it in a manner proportioned to its respective nature and dignity. The reason is because both come from God, who cannot contradict Himself: 'The works of God are perfect and all His ways are judgments.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929 A.D.)

"He is the Head of the Church. The Body belonging to this Head is the Church: not the local Church here, but both the local Church and the Church throughout The world; not the Church which belongs to the present time, but that which exists from the time of Abel himself even to all those who will ever be born, even to the end, and who will believe in Christ, the whole population of the saints who belong to but one city, which city is the Body of Christ, and of which Body Christ is the Head. There the angels too are our fellow citizens; but because we are yet on pilgrimage, we labor: they, however, away our arrival in that city. And from that city to which we journey, letters come to us: those letters are the Scriptures which exhort us to live properly." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"Christ our Lord instituted His Church as a perfect society, external of its nature and perceptible to the senses, which should carry on in the future the work of the salvation of the human race, under the leadership of one head, with an authority teaching by word of mouth, and by the ministry of the sacraments, the founts of heavenly grace; for which reason He attested by comparison the similarity of the Church to a kingdom, to a house, to a sheepfold, and to a flock. This Church, after being so wonderfully instituted, could not, on the removal by death of its Founder and of the Apostles who were the pioneers in propagating it, be entirely extinguished and cease to be, for to it was given the commandment to lead all men, without distinction of time or place, to eternal salvation: 'Going therefore, teach ye all nations.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"God has put into the Church's heart those two deepest and strongest affections which He has created: the tenderness of a mother and the fervent love of a bride. Imagine, then, how great must be hear zeal, and how intense her desire, to win over the whole world to her Jesus, and teach them how to attain union with Him! Like St. Paul, she is jealous with divine jealousy, as she thinks of all those millions of Christians who undervalue the sublime vocation to which they are all created; those children of hers whom she cannot induce to rise above earthly goods; and yet these Christians are her own members by Baptism! She grieves at seeing how her Jesus is treated by the indifference or the half-hearted love of these sluggish members, who yet make up some part of that Body, which she was told to 'present as a chaste virgin to Christ.'" (Liturgical Year)

"[M]en should realize that all attempts to overthrow the 'House of God' are in vain. For this is the Church founded on Peter, 'Rock,' not merely in name but in truth. Against this 'the gates of hell will not prevail', 'for it is founded on a rock.' There has never been an enemy of the Christian religion who was not simultaneously at wicked war with the See of Peter, since while this See remained strong the survival of the Christian religion was assured. As St. Irenaeus proclaims openly to all, 'by the order and succession of the Roman pontiffs the tradition from the Apostles in the Church and the proclamation of the truth has come down to us. And this is the fullest demonstration that it is the one and the same life-giving faith which has been preserved in the Church until now since the time of the Apostles and has been handed on in truth.'" (Pope Pius VII, "Diu Satis", 1800 A.D.)

"In like manner, reason declares that the doctrine of the Gospel has even from its very beginning been made manifest by certain wonderful signs, the established proofs, as it were, of unshaken truth; and that all, therefore, who set faith in the Gospel do not believe rashly as though following cunningly devised fables, but, by a most reasonable consent, subject their intelligence and judgment to an authority which is divine. And of no less importance is it that reason most clearly sets forth that the Church instituted by Christ (as laid down in the [First] Vatican Council), on account of its wonderful spread, its marvelous sanctity, and its inexhaustible fecundity in all places, as well as of its Catholic unity and unshaken stability, is in itself a great and perpetual motive of belief and an irrefragable testimony of its own divine mission." (Pope Leo XIII, "Aeterni Patris", 1879 A.D.)

"Christ reigns where the position in society which He Himself has assigned to His Church is recognized, for He bestowed on the Church the status and the constitution of a society which, by reason of the perfect ends which it is called upon to attain, must be held to be supreme in its own sphere; He also made her the depository and interpreter of His divine teachings, and, by consequence, the teacher and guide of every other society whatsoever, not of course in the sense that she should abstract in the least from their authority, each in its own sphere supreme, but that she should really perfect their authority, just as divine grace perfects human nature, and should give to them the assistance necessary for men to attain their true final end, eternal happiness, and by that very fact make them the more deserving and certain promoters of their happiness here below." (Pope Pius XI, "Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio", 1922 A.D.)

"The world goes on its laborious way, proud of its riches, of its power, of its arms, of its genius; the Church goes onward along the course of ages with an even step, trusting in God only, to Whom, day and night, she lifts her eyes and her suppliant hands. Even though in her prudence she neglects not the human aid which Providence and the times afford her, not in these does she put her trust, which rests in prayer, in supplication, in the invocation of God. Thus it is that she renews her vital breath; the diligence of her prayer has caused her, in her aloofness from worldly things and in her continual union with the Divine will, to live the tranquil and peaceful life of Our very Lord Jesus Christ; being herself the image of Christ, Whose happy and perpetual joy was hardly marred by the horror of the torments He endured for us. This important doctrine of Christian wisdom has been ever believed and practiced by Christians worthy of the name." (Pope Leo XIII, "Octobri Mense", 1891 A.D.)

"The Church which He founded by His Blood, He strengthened on the day of Pentecost by a special power, given from heaven. For, having solemnly installed in his exalted office him whom He had already nominated as His Vicar, He had ascended into Heaven; and sitting now at the right hand of the Father He wished to make known and proclaim His Spouse through the visible coming of the Holy Spirit with the sound of a mighty wind and tongues of fire. For just as He Himself when He began to preach was made known by His Eternal Father through the Holy Spirit descending and remaining on Him in the form of a dove, so likewise, as the Apostles were about to enter upon their ministry of preaching, Christ our Lord sent the Holy Spirit down from Heaven, to touch them with tongues of fire and to point out, as by the finger of God, the supernatural mission and office of the Church." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis Christi", 1943 A.D.)

"The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that 'we being dead to sin, should live to justice' (1 Peter ii., 24) - that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. 'The just man liveth by faith' (Galatians iii., II). 'Without faith it is impossible to please God' (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith." (Pope Leo XIII, "Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus", 1900 A.D.)

"And with no less deceit certainly, Venerable Brothers, those enemies of divine revelation, exalting human progress with the highest praise, with a rash and sacrilegious daring would wish to introduce it into the Catholic religion, just as if religion itself were not the work of God but of men, or were some philosophical discovery which can be perfected by human means. Against such unhappily raving men applies very conveniently, indeed, what Tertullian deservedly made a matter of reproach to the philosophers of his own time: 'Who have produced a stoic and platonic and dialectic Christianity.' And since, indeed, our most holy religion has not been invented by human reason but has been mercifully disclosed to men by God, thus everyone easily understands that religion itself acquires all its force from the authority of the same God speaking, and cannot ever be drawn from or be perfected by human reason." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, "Qui pluribus", 1846 A.D.)

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