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Fallen Away Catholics / Those Who Leave the Church

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Doing Our Own Will Rather Than God's Will

Fallen Away Catholics

Good Men Cannot Leave the Church

No Just Cause for Catholics Changing or Doubting the Faith

Those Who Leave the Church


Doing Our Own Will Rather Than God's Will

"To receive God's light and recognize what God wants of us and yet not do it is a great offense against the majesty of God. Such a soul deserves to be completely forsaken by God. It resembles Lucifer who had great light, but did not do God's will." (St. Faustina Kowalska)

"Men do their own will, not God's, when they do what displeases God" (St. Prosper/Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

"No man may legitimately do what God has forbidden nor leave undone what God has commanded by claiming that he does so according to his own private understanding of what reverence or devotion requires. For this would be an imprudent devotion, and an irreverent reverence, and not at all a proper humility. It is instead only an unrecognized pride to stand stubbornly against God's will and to disobey His pleasure." (St. Thomas More)

Also See: Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | Loss of the Fear of God | No Peace When We Wander From God | One Who Calls Himself Catholic But is Actually No Longer Catholic | Should Devote Greater Solicitude For Soul Than For Body | Those Who Do Not Wish To See / Hear | Those Who Mention Only Jesus' Clemency | Tough Love in the New Testament | Fear of the Lord (Topical Scripture)

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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Fallen Away Catholics

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' but not do what I command? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when the flood came, the river burst against that house but could not shake it because it had been well built. But the one who listens and does not act is like a person who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, it collapsed at once and was completely destroyed." (Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lk. 6:46-49)

"For it is impossible in the case of those who have once been enlightened and tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit and tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to bring them to repentance again, since they are recrucifying the Son of God for themselves and holding him up to contempt. Ground that has absorbed the rain falling upon it repeatedly and brings forth crops useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is rejected; it will soon be cursed and finally burned. But we are sure in your regard, beloved, of better things related to salvation, even though we speak in this way. For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. We earnestly desire each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of hope until the end, so that you may not become sluggish, but imitators of those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises." (St. Paul, Heb. 6:4-12)

"We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near. If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace? We know the one who said: 'Vengeance is mine; I will repay,' and again: 'The Lord will judge his people.' It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Remember the days past when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a great contest of suffering. At times you were publicly exposed to abuse and affliction; at other times you associated yourselves with those so treated. You even joined in the sufferings of those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, knowing that you had a better and lasting possession. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense. You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised. 'For, after just a brief moment, he who is to come shall come; he shall not delay. But my just one shall live by faith, and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.'" (St. Paul, Heb. 10:25-38)

"For if they, having escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of (our) Lord and savior Jesus Christ, again become entangled and overcome by them, their last condition is worse than their first. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment handed down to them. What is expressed in the true proverb has happened to them, 'The dog returns to its own vomit,' and 'A bathed sow returns to wallowing in the mire.'" (2 Pt. 2:20-22)

"Most Catholics who fall away from the True Faith do so gradually. They do not jettison the precepts of the Church all at once; they usually become progressively lazier in one area and rationalize their behavior. Once they adequately justify a particular sin of omission, it is simple for them to excuse others." (Clowes)

"In almost every case, fallen-away Catholics begin the process of moral disintegration by questioning the need for the Sacrament of Confession." (Clowes)

"It is known that all men of Noah's time perished, except those who merited to be in the Ark, which was a figure of the Church. Likewise, they cannot now be saved who will have turned away from the Apostolic Faith and the Catholic Church." (St. Gaudentius)

"Can. 5. Likewise we believe that we must hold most firmly that all the multitude of the faithful, regenerated 'from the water and the Holy Spirit' (John 3:5), and through this truly incorporated in the Church, and according to the apostolic doctrine baptized in the death of Christ (Rom. 6:3), in His blood has been absolved from its sins; that neither for these could there have been true regeneration unless there were true redemption; since in the sacraments of the Church there is nothing false, nothing theatrical, but certainly everything true, dependent upon truth itself and sincerity. Moreover, from this very multitude of the faithful and the redeemed some are preserved in eternal salvation, because through the grace of God they remain faithfully in their redemption, bearing in their hearts the voice of their God Himself: 'Who...perseveres even unto the end, he will be saved' (Matt. 10:22; 24:13); that others, because they were unwilling to remain in the safety of faith, which in the beginning they received, and because they choose by wrong teaching or by a wrong life to make void rather than to preserve the grace of redemption, came in no way to the fullness of salvation and to the reception of eternal beatitude. In both certainly we have the doctrine of the holy Doctor: 'We who are baptized in Christ Jesus, are baptized in His death' (Rom. 6:3), and: 'All you who are baptized in Christ have put on Christ' (Gal. 3:27), and again: 'Let us approach with a true heart in fullness of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with clean water let us hold unwavering the confession of our hope' (Heb. 10:22), and again: 'For to us sinning willfully after the accepted knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins' (Heb. 10:26), and again: 'He who making void the law of Moses, dies without mercy with two or three witnesses. How much more do you think he deserves worse punishments, who has crushed under foot the son of God, and has considered the blood of the testament unclean, by which he was sanctified, and has offered insult to the Spirit of grace?' (Heb. 10:28)." (Council of Valence III, 855 A.D.)

"For I confess that all men from Adam, even to the consummation of the world, having been born and having died with Adam himself and his wife, who were not born of other parents, but were created, the one from the earth, the other...from the rib of the man (cf. Gen. 2:7, 22), will then rise again and stand before the Judgment seat of Christ, that every one may receive the proper things of the body, according as he has done, whether it be good or bad (Rom. 14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10); and indeed by the very bountiful grace of God he will present the just, as vessels of mercy prepared beforehand for glory (Rom. 9:23), with the rewards of eternal life; namely, they will live without end in the society of the angels without any fear now of their own fall; the wicked, however, remaining by choice of their own with vessels of wrath fit for destruction (Rom. 9:22), who either did not know the way of the Lord, or knowing it left it when seized by various transgressions, He will give over by a very just judgment to the punishment of eternal and inextinguishable fire, that they may burn without end. This, then, is my faith and hope, which is in me by the gift of the mercy of God, in defense of which blessed Peter taught (cf. 1 Pet 3:15) that we ought to be especially ready to answer everyone who asks us for an accounting." (Pope Pelagius I, 557 A.D.)

"For since faith is the first foundation of things to be hoped for, and since, without faith it is 'impossible to please God'; when once faith is removed, man retains nothing that may be useful for the obtaining of eternal salvation, for which reason it is written (Proverbs 6:12): 'A man that is an apostate, an unprofitable man': because faith is the life of the soul, according to Romans 1:17: 'The just man liveth by faith.' Therefore, just as when the life of the body is taken away, man's every member and part loses its due disposition, so when the life of justice, which is by faith, is done away, disorder appears in all his members. First, in his mouth, whereby chiefly his mind stands revealed; secondly, in his eyes; thirdly, in the instrument of movement; fourthly, in his will, which tends to evil. The result is that 'he sows discord,' endeavoring to sever others from the faith even as he severed himself." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Apostasy denotes a backsliding from God. This may happen in various ways according to the different kinds of union between man and God. For, in the first place, man is united to God by faith; secondly, by having his will duly submissive in obeying His commandments; thirdly, by certain special things pertaining to supererogation such as the religious life, the clerical state, or Holy Orders. Now if that which follows be removed, that which precedes, remains, but the converse does not hold. Accordingly a man may apostatize from God, by withdrawing from the religious life to which he was bound by profession, or from the Holy Order which he had received: and this is called apostasy from religious life or Orders. A man may also apostatize from God, by rebelling in his mind against the Divine commandments: and though man may apostatize in both the above ways, he may still remain united to God by faith. But if he give up the faith, then he seems to turn away from God altogether: and consequently, apostasy simply and absolutely is that whereby a man withdraws from the faith, and is called apostasy of perfidy. In this way apostasy, simply so called, pertains to unbelief... Now apostasy regards unbelief as the term whereto of the movement of withdrawal from the faith; wherefore apostasy does not imply a special kind of unbelief, but an aggravating circumstance thereof, according to 2 Peter 2:21: 'It had been better for them not to know the truth, than after they had known it, to turn back.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

Also See: No Peace When We Wander From God | Calls to Repentance | Cannot Live as One Chooses | Catholics Not Living Their Faith Will Be Swept Away | Christians Who Do Not Persevere Are Subject To Eternal Punishment | The Church Can Forgive All Sin | Conversion / Repentance | Loss of the Fear of God | No Repentance is Too Late | Our Solicitude & Our Duty to Correct / Rebuke | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Better to Be a Bad Catholic Than a Good Protestant? | Those Not in the State of Grace May Not Receive Holy Communion | Tips for the Conversion of Sinners | Penance (Sacraments/Reflections) | Tough 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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Good Men Cannot Leave the Church

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"Let no one think that good men can leave the Church. The wind doesn't carry away the wheat, nor does the hurricane blow down the tree that is firmly rooted. It's the chaff that's swept away by the tempest, and the weakling trees that are uprooted by the blast of the whirlwind." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

Also See: Cannot Have God For Father Without Church For Mother | Cannot Live Without the Root | The Chair of Peter | The Church | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | No Good Hope of Salvation For Those Outside the True Church | No Just Cause for Catholics Changing or Doubting the Faith | The Spirit of Christ Refuses to Dwell Through Sanctifying Grace in Those Severed From the Church | Those Gathered Outside the Church of Christ | Those Not United to the Body of the Church Are Not Her Members or in Communion With Christ | Those Who Leave the Church | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections)

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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No Just Cause for Catholics Changing or Doubting the Faith

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"For, the most benign God both excites the erring by His grace and aids them so that they can 'come to a knowledge of the truth' (1 Tim. 2:4), and also confirms in His grace those whom 'He has called out of darkness into his marvelous light' (1 Pet. 2:9), so that they may persevere in this same light, not deserting if He be not deserted. Wherefore, not at all equal is the condition of those, who, through the heavenly gift of faith, have adhered to the Catholic truth, and of those, who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for, those who have accepted the faith under the teaching power of the Church can never have a just cause of changing or doubting that faith. Since this is so, 'giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light' (Col. 1:12), let us not neglect such salvation, but 'looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith' (Heb. 12:2), 'let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering' (Heb. 10:23)." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

Also See: Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | Duty to Reject Strange Doctrine | The Church | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | One Should Not Be Open Minded to Error | Those Who Leave the Church | The True Church Can Be Recognized From Her Origin | True Holiness Belongs to the Catholic Church Alone | True vs. False Church | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections) | Infallibility (Vatican View) | Catholic Basics | Why I Love Being Catholic | Feed Your Faith

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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Those Who Leave the Church

Also See: Those Outside the Church (Topic Page)

"[W]hosoever turns his back on the Church cannot be near to Christ." (Pope Leo XIII, "Rerum Novarum", 1891 A.D.)

"...those... have sinned against God by deserting the faith." (Pope St. Leo The Great, Doctor of the Church, 452 A.D.)

"He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church." (St. Cyprian)

"They have not the heritage of Peter who have not the see of Peter, rent by their impious division." [Tertullian ("an excellent early Christian writer" - although he would ultimately fall into heresy), 3rd century A.D.]

"Why, therefore, did you, already dearest in Christ, wander away from your portion, or what hope did you have for your salvation?" (Pope Pelagius I, 560 A.D.)

"For not every sin, however grave and enormous it be, is such as to sever a man automatically from the body of the Church, as does schism or heresy or apostasy." (Pope Pius XII)

"Do they actually think that Christ is with them in their gatherings, when they gather outside the Church of Christ?" (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"Even the heretics appear to have Christ, for none of them denies the name of Christ; yet anyone who does not confess all that pertains to Christ does in fact deny Christ." (St. Ambrose of Milan, Doctor of the Church, c. 389 A.D.)

"Whoever wishes to be saved, needs above all to hold the Catholic faith; unless each one preserves this whole and inviolate, he will without a doubt perish in eternity." ('Athanasian Creed')

"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")

"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"How much they are to be pitied who once knew thee [O Church], and afterwards, in their pride and ingratitude, denied thee! And yet no one ever fell into such misery unless he first voluntarily shut his eyes against the light that was within them." (Gueranger)

"Hold most firmly and never doubt in the least that not only all pagans but also all Jews and heretics and schismatics who end this present life outside the Church are about to go into the eternal fire that was prepared for the Devil and his angels." (St. Fulgence of Ruspe, 6th century A.D.)

"Whosoever shall have separated himself from the Catholic Church, no matter how praiseworthy such a person may fancy his life has been, yet for that one crime of having cut himself off from the unity of Christ he shall not have eternal life, but the wrath of God shall abide with him for ever." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

Error CONDEMNED by Pope Pius IX in the Syllabus of Errors: "We must have at least good hope concerning the eternal salvation of all those who in no wise are in the true Church of Christ." (Bl. Pope Pius IX, This proposition was condemned in the Syllabus of Errors, Dec. 8, 1864 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)

"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.)

"Whoever is led away from the path of the true faith and changed into another faith, his whole journey is an apostasy; and the farther he travels from the Catholic light, the nearer he comes to the darkness of death" (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 17. If anyone in word and mind does not properly and truly confess according to the holy Fathers all even to the last portion that has been handed down and preached in the holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church of God, and likewise by the holy Fathers and the five venerable universal Councils, let him be condemned." (Lateran Council, 649 A.D.)

"[Question:] Whether when material schismatics at the point of death, in good faith seek either absolution or extreme unction, these sacraments can be conferred on them without their renouncing errors? - Reply: In the negative, but that it be required that they reject errors as best they can, and make a profession of faith." (Reply of the Holy Office, 1916 A.D.)

 "Let no one, then, be persuaded otherwise, nor let anyone deceive himself: outside this house, that is, outside the Church, no one is saved. For if anyone go outside, he is guilty of his own death." [Origen ("the greatest scholar of Christian antiquity" - although he would eventually be excommunicated and be regarded as a heretic), 3rd century A.D.]

"He who does not maintain this unity of the Church, does he believe that he retains the faith? He who deserts the chair of Peter on whom the Church has been founded, does he still believe that he is in the Church? Does he who strives against and resists the church, believe that he is in the Church...? (Attr. St. Cyprian, 3rd century A.D.)

"Secede not from the Church: for nothing is stronger than the Church. Thy hope is the Church; thy salvation is the Church; thy refuge is the Church. It is higher than the heavens and wider than the earth. It never grows old, but is ever full of vigor. Wherefore Holy Writ pointing to its strength and stability calls it a mountain" (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"[P]ersist ye in the true faith, and make your life firm on the rock of the Church; that is on the confession of the blessed Peter, Prince of the apostles, lest all those tears of yours and all those good works should come to nothing, if they are found alien from the true faith. For as branches dry up without the virtue of the root, so works, to whatsoever degree they may seem good, are nothing, if they are disjoined from the solidity of the faith." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"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.)

"They who have not peace themselves now offer peace to others. They who have withdrawn from the Church promise to lead back and to recall the lapsed into the Church. There is one God and one Christ, and one Church, and one Chair founded on Peter by the word of the Lord. It is not possible to set up another altar or for there to be another priesthood besides that one altar and that one priesthood. Whoever has gathered elsewhere is scattering." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, 251 A.D.)

"Let them hear Lactantius crying out: 'The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind.'" (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head." (Pope Pius XI, "Mortalium Animos", 1928 A.D.)

"Those, indeed, who belong to God and to Jesus Christ - they are with the bishop. And those who repent and come to the unity of the Church - they too shall be of God, and will be living according to Jesus Christ. Do not err, my brethren: if anyone follow a schismatic, he will not inherit the Kingdom of God. If any man walk with strange doctrine, he cannot lie down with the Passion." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, a hearer of the apostle John, c. 110 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.)

"O sacred unity, O precious faith deposited like a source of eternal youthfulness in our hearts, they indeed know thee not, who turn themselves away from holy Church! Afar from her, they lose also Jesus and all his gifts. 'For where the Church is, there likewise is the Spirit or God; and, where the Spirit of God is, there likewise is the Church, there all grace. Woe to them who alienate themselves from her!' [St. Irenaeus (disciple of St. Polycarp, a disciple of St. John the Apostle), 2nd Century A.D.]." (Liturgical Year)

"Sara said: 'Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of a bondwoman shall not be heir with my son Isaac.' And the Church says: 'Cast out heresies and their children; for heretics shall not be heirs with Catholics.' But why shall they not be heirs? Are they not born off Abraham's seed? And have they not the Church's Baptism? They do have Baptism; and it would make the seed of Abraham an heir, if pride did not exclude them from inheritance. By the same word, by the same Sacrament you were born, but you will not come to the same inheritance of eternal life unless you return to the Catholic Church." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, c. 5th century A.D.)

"And as an incapability of taking food, or of retaining it when taken, is a sure sign of approaching death, so is it a strong argument for their hopelessness of salvation, when men either seek not the Word of God, or, having it, endure it not, but utter against God the impious cry, 'Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.' This is the spiritual folly and mental blindness of those who, disregarding their lawful pastors, the Catholic Bishops and priests, and, abandoning the Holy Roman Church, have transferred themselves to the direction of heretics that corrupt the Word of God." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)

"Thus there are branches in the vine, not that they may bestow anything upon the vine, but that they may receive from it the means by which they may live; so truly the vine is in the branches, that it may furnish vital nourishment to these, not take it from them. And by this it is an advantage to the disciples, not to Christ, that each have Christ abiding in him, and that each abide in Christ. For if the branch is cut off, another can sprout forth from the living root; but that which has been cut off, cannot live without the root (John 15:5 ff.)." (St. Prosper/Council of Orange II, 529 A.D.)

"All who, regarding the sacrament of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, or regarding baptism or the confession of sins, matrimony or the other ecclesiastical sacraments, do not fear to think or to teach otherwise than the most holy Roman Church teaches and observes; and in general, whomsoever the same Roman Church or individual bishops through their dioceses with the advice of the clergy or the clergy themselves, if the episcopal see is vacant, with the advice if it is necessary of neighboring bishops, shall judge as heretics, we bind with a like bond of perpetual anathema." (Council of Verona, 1184 A.D.)

"What the soul is to man's body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church. The Holy Spirit does in the whole Church what the soul does in all the members of one body. But see what you must beware of, see what you must take note of, see what you must fear. It happens that, as in the human body, some member may be cut off - a hand, a finger, a foot. Does the soul follow the amputated member? As long as it was in the body it lived; separated, it forfeits its life. So the Christian is a Catholic as long as he lives in the body: cut off from it he becomes a heretic - the life of the spirit follows not the amputated member." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church, 5th century A.D.)

"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)

"The Bride of Christ cannot be defiled. She is inviolate and chaste. She knows but one home, and with a chaste modesty she guards the sanctity of one bedchamber. It is she that keeps us for God, she that seals for the kingdom the sons whom she bore. Whoever is separated from the Church and is joined to an adulteress is separated from the promises of the Church; nor will he that forsakes the Church of Christ attain to the rewards of Christ. He is an alien, a worldling, and an enemy. He cannot have God for his Father who does not have the Church for his mother. If anyone outside the ark of Noah was able to escape, then perhaps someone outside the pale of the Church may escape" (St. Cyprian of Carthage, c. 251 A.D.)

"We must mention and condemn again that most pernicious error, which has been imbibed by certain Catholics, who are of the opinion that those people who live in error and have not the true faith, and are separated from the Catholic unity, may obtain life everlasting. Now this opinion is contrary to Catholic Faith, as is evident from the plain words of Our Lord (Mt. 18:17; Mk. 16:16; Lk. 10:16) as also from the words of St. Paul (e.g. Acts 20:28-30) and of St. Peter (2 Pt. 2:1). To entertain opinions contrary to this Catholic Faith is to be an impious wretch." (Bl. Pope Pius IX)

"The third mark of the Church is that she is Catholic; that is, universal. And justly is she called Catholic, because, as St. Augustine says, she is diffused by the splendor of one faith from the rising to the setting sun. Unlike states of human institutions of the sects of heretics, she is not confined to any one country or class of men, but embraces within the amplitude of her love all mankind, whether barbarians or Scythians, slaves or freemen, male or female... Moreover to this Church, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or who shall exist, in the profession of the true faith, to the end of time... 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)

"One indeed is the universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved, in which the priest himself is the sacrifice, Jesus Christ, whose body and blood are truly contained in the sacrament of the altar under the species of bread and wine; the bread (changed) into His body by the divine power of transubstantiation, and the wine into the blood, so that to accomplish the mystery of unity we ourselves receive from His (nature) what He Himself received from ours. And surely no one can accomplish this sacrament except a priest who has been rightly ordained according to the keys of the Church which Jesus Christ Himself conceded to the Apostles and to their successors." (Lateran Council IV, 1215 A.D.)

"[The Holy Roman Catholic Church] firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart 'into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt. 25:41), unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church." (Council of Florence, c. 1441 A.D.) [Denzinger 714]

"They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that 'those who are not with Christ are against Him,' and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore 'without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.' Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: 'He who is for the See of Peter is for me.' A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: 'The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?'" (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari vos arbitramur", 1832 A.D.)

"Finally, We call very lovingly to Ourselves those who had once been enlightened, and had tasted the Heavenly Gift and had been made partakers, nevertheless, then erred most miserably and follow those sects whether they are engaged in their inferior or abide in their superior degrees. For, the one standing in the place of Him Who has professed that He has not come to call the just but sinners, and Who has likened Himself to a Shepherd, Who, when He has left the remaining flock behind, carefully seeks the sheep He has lost, We exhort and implore them to turn back to Christ. For although they have defiled themselves exceedingly with crime, they ought not despair of Mercy and Clemency from God and Jesus Christ Who has suffered for them also, Who will not despise in any way their repentance, but certainly like a most loving Father, who a long time ago was waiting for his prodigal sons, will very gladly receive it." (Pope Leo XII, "Quo Graviora", 1826 A.D.)

"Furthermore We teach and declare that the Roman Church, by the disposition of the Lord, holds the sovereignty of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction on the part of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate; and with respect to this the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both as separate individuals and all together, are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, not only in things which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which pertain to the discipline and government of the Church [which is] spread over the whole world, so that the Church of Christ, protected not only by the Roman Pontiff, but by the unity of communion as well as of the profession of the same faith is one flock under the one highest shepherd. This is the doctrine of Catholic truth from which no one can deviate and keep his faith and salvation." (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

"Can. 20. If anyone according to the wicked heretics in any manner whatsoever, by any word whatsoever, or at any time or place whatsoever illicitly removing the bounds which the holy Fathers of the Catholic Church have rather firmly established (Prov. 22:28), that is, the five holy and universal Synods, in order rashly to seek for novelties and expositions of another faith; or books, or letters, or writings, or subscriptions, or false testimonies, or synods, or records of deeds, or vain ordinations unknown to ecclesiastical rule; or unsuitable and irrational tenures of place; and briefly, if it is customary for the most impious heretics to do anything else, (if anyone) through diabolical operation crookedly and cunningly acts contrary to the pious preachings of the orthodox (teachers) of the Catholic Church, that is to say, its paternal and synodal proclamations, to the destruction of the most sincere confession unto the Lord our God, and persists without repentance unto the end impiously doing these things, let such a person be condemned forever, and let all the people say: so be it, so be it (Ps. 105:48)." (Lateran Council, 649 A.D.)

"Now, if we look at what was done, Jesus Christ did not arrange and organize such a Church as would embrace several communities similar in kind, but distinct, and not bound together by those bonds that make the Church indivisible and unique after that manner clearly in which we profess in the symbol of faith, 'l believe in one Church.' ... Now, Jesus Christ when He was speaking of such a mystical edifice, spoke only of one Church which He called His own: 'I will build my Church' (Matt. 16:18). Whatever other church is under consideration than this one, since it was not founded by Jesus Christ, cannot be the true Church of Christ... And so the Church is bound to spread among all men the salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, and all the blessings that proceed therefrom, and to propagate them through the ages. Therefore, according to the will of its Author the Church must be alone in all lands in the perpetuity of time... The Church of Christ, therefore, is one and perpetual; whoever go apart (from it) wander away from the will and prescription of Christ the Lord and, leaving the way of salvation, digress to destruction." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", June 29, 1898)

"Consider, most dear ones, that the Truth could not have lied, nor will the faith of Peter be able to be shaken or changed forever. For although the devil desired to sift all the disciples, the Lord testifies that He Himself asked for Peter alone and wished the others to be confirmed by him; and to him also, in consideration of a greater love which he showed the Lord before the rest, was committed the care of feeding the sheep (cf. John 21:15 ff.); and to him also He handed over the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and upon him He promised to build his Church, and He testified that the gates of hell would not prevail against it (cf. Matt. 16:16 ff.). But, because the enemy of the human race even until the end of the world does not abstain from sowing cockle (Matt. 13:25) over the good seed in the Church of the Lord, and therefore, lest perchance anyone with malignant zeal should by the instigation of the devil presume to make some alterations in and to draw conclusions regarding the integrity of the faith - and (lest) by reason of this your minds perhaps may seem to be disturbed, we have judged it necessary through our present epistle to exhort with tears that you should return to the heart of your mother the Church, and to send you satisfaction with regard to the integrity of faith... If anyone, however, either suggests or believes or presumes to teach contrary to this faith, let him know that he is condemned and also anathematized according to the opinion of the same Fathers... Consider (therefore) the fact that whoever has not been in the peace and unity of the Church, cannot have the Lord (Gal. 3:7)" (Pope Pelagius II, c. 585 A.D.)

"With Faith urging us we are forced to believe and to hold the one, holy, Catholic Church and that, apostolic, and we firmly believe and simply confess this (Church) outside which there is no salvation nor remission of sin, the Spouse in the Canticle proclaiming: 'One is my dove, my perfect one. One she is of her mother, the chosen of her that bore her' (Song. 6:8); which represents the one mystical body whose head is Christ, of Christ indeed, as God. And in this, 'one Lord, one faith, one baptism' (Eph. 4:5). Certainly Noah had one ark at the time of the flood, prefiguring one Church which perfect on one cubit had one ruler and guide, namely Noah outside which we read all living things on the earth were destroyed. Moreover this we venerate and this alone, the Lord in the prophet saying: 'Deliver, O God, my soul from the sword; my only one from the hand of the dog' (Ps. 21:21). For in behalf of the soul, that is, in behalf of himself, the head itself and the body he prayed at the same time, which body he called the 'Only one' namely, the Church, because of the unity of the spouse, the faith, the sacraments, and the charity of the Church. This is that 'seamless tunic' of the Lord (John 19:23), which was not cut, but came forth by chance. Therefore, of the one and only Church (there is) one body, one head, not two heads as a monster, namely, Christ and Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the successor of Peter, the Lord Himself saying to Peter: 'Feed my sheep' (John 21:17). He said 'My,' and generally, not individually these or those, through which it is understood that He entrusted all to him. If, therefore, the Greeks or others say that they were not entrusted to Peter and his successors, of necessity let them confess that they are not of the sheep of Christ, since the Lord says in John, 'to be one flock and one Shepherd' (John 10:16)." (Pope Boniface VIII, "Unam Sanctam", 1302 A.D.)

"The Lord said that to those sinning against the Holy Spirit, it should not be forgiven either here or in the future world (Matt. 12:32). But how many do we know that sin against the Holy Spirit, such as various heretics...who return to the Catholic faith, and here have received the pardon of their blasphemy, and have enjoyed the hope of gaining indulgence in the future? And not on this account is the judgment of the Lord not true, or will it be thought to be in any way weakened, since with respect to such men, if they continue to be thus, the judgment remains never to be relaxed at all; moreover, never because of such effects is it not imposed. Just as consequently is also that of the blessed John the Apostle: There is a sin unto death: I do not say that prayer should be offered for this: and there is a sin not unto death: I do say that prayer should be offered for this (1 John 5:16, 17). It is a sin unto death for those persisting in the same sin; it is not a sin unto death for those withdrawing from the same sin. For there is no sin for whose remission the Church does not pray, or which she cannot forgive those who desist from that same sin, or from which she cannot loose those who repent, since the power has been divinely given to her, to whom it was said: Whatsoever you shall forgive upon earth ...' (cf. John 20:23); 'whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven' (Matt. 18:18). In whatsoever all are [included], howsoever great they may be, and of whatsoever kind they may be, although the judgment of them nevertheless remains true, by which he is denounced [as] never to be loosed who continues in the course of them, but not after he withdraws from this same [course]." (Pope St. Gelasius I, c. 495 A.D.)

"Do not (therefore) because of a love of ostentation, which is always next to pride, remain in the vice of obstinacy; since in the day of judgment no one can excuse himself... For although it is evident from the word of the Lord Himself in the Sacred Gospel (cf. Matt. 16:18) where the Church is established, let us hear nevertheless what the blessed Augustine, mindful of the opinion of the same Lord, has explained. For he says that the Church of God is established among those who are known to preside over the apostolic sees, through the succession of those in charge, and whoever separates himself from the communion or authority of these sees, is shown to be in schism. And following additional remarks (he says): 'If you are put outside, for the name of Christ you will also die. Suffer for Christ among the members of Christ; clinging to the body, fight for the head.' But the blessed Cyprian...among other things, says the following: 'The beginning starts from unity, and the primacy is given to Peter, So that the Church and the chair of Christ may be shown (to be) one: and they are all shepherds, but the flock, which is fed by the Apostles in unanimous agreement, is shown to be one.' And after a few (remarks he adds): 'Does he who does not hold this unity of the Church believe that he has the faith? Does he who deserts and resists the chair of Peter, on which the Church was founded, have confidence that he is in the Church?' Likewise after other remarks (he asserts): 'They can not arrive at the reward of peace, because they disrupt the peace of the Lord by the fury of discord... Those who were not willing to be at agreement in the Church of God, cannot remain with God; although given over to flames and fires, they burn, or thrown to wild beasts, they lay down their lives, there will not be [for them] that crown of faith, but the punishment of faithlessness, not a glorious result (of religious virtue), but the ruin of despair. Such a one can be slain, he cannot be crowned... For the crime of schism is worse than that which they [commit] who have offered sacrifice, who, nevertheless, having been disposed to penance for their sins prayed to God with the fullest satisfaction. In this case the Church is sought and solicited; in the other the Church is opposed. So in this case he who has fallen, has injured only himself; in the other, who attempts to cause a schism deceives many by dragging (them) with himself. In this case there is the loss of one soul; in the other there is danger to many. Certainly the one knows that he has sinned and laments and bewails (it); the other puffed up with pride in his sin and pluming himself on the sins themselves, separates sons from their mother, seduces the sheep from the shepherds, disturbs the sacraments of God, and, whereas the former having stumbled sinned once, the latter sins daily. Lastly although the lapsed, if afterwards he acquired martyrdom, is able to secure the promises of the kingdom; if the other is slain outside of the Church, he cannot attain to the rewards of the Church.'" (Pope Pelagius II, 585 A.D.)

"Return to submission to Mother Church, a submission as honorable as it is salutary, and know that we keener desire than that of your salvation." (Pope Benedict XI)

Also See: Necessity of Being Catholic For Salvation | No Just Cause for Catholics Changing or Doubting the Faith | Non-Association with Heretics / Schismatics | One Cannot Find the Way to Salvation in Just Any Religion | Heresy/Heretics & Schism/Schismatics | Sin / Repentance / Forgiveness | Those Outside the Church | Those Who Reject the Church Reject Christ | True Holiness Belongs to the Catholic Church Alone | True vs. False Church | Truth / Error / Nature of Man | Necessity of Union With the Roman Pontiff (Vatican View Reflections)

Can Catholic Dogma Ever Change?

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