The Catholic Faith Explained Presentation 1Presentation Transcript
Catholic Apologetics: “Yes!” Scriptural Witness Jesus founded only one Church ○ “And on this rock I will build my Church…” (Mt 16) ○ Prayer “that they may all be one” (Jn 17) Historical Continuity Catholic Church still one and the same Church, founded by Jesus Witness of Early Church Fathers «…Our one mother, the Catholic Church, gives birth to all the faithful Christians dispersed throughout the world». --St. Augustine (354-430)
Objections to this View Arrogant and judgmental?
Objections to this View Goes against Vatican II?
Vatican II on Church Membership Not so simple as an all-or-nothing “Elements of sanctification and truth” in these other Christian communities (Lumen Gentium, n. 8) Varying degrees of communion In other words, outside of the Catholic Church is not an “ecclesiological vacuum”
The Underlying Question What is “the Catholic Church”?
Underlying Question #2 What is “the One True Church”?
Catholicity / Universality1) One Church extended universally to allplaces2) One Church extended universally to alltimes3) Holding to the one “catholic” faith (thatis, the “correct” faith)4) The one Church of Christ fully present andactive in each particular Church5) Already in communion with the HeavenlyChurch
1) Extended to All Places In Scripture Taking the Gospel to the ends of the earth ○ “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…” (Mt 28:18) ○ "Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15) ○ (Image of sowing) A universal gathering of all the nations for the Last Judgment ○ Sheep and Goats (Mt 25) ○ Wheat and Chaff (Mt 3) ○ “The harvest is great…” (Mt 9)
1) Extended to All Places In Early Christian Writings The Didache (1st or 2nd Century) The Martyrdom of Polycarp (2nd Century) The Shepherd of Hermas (1st or 2nd Century) Against Early Heretical Groups Contrasting these limited sects with the “Catholic” Church spread throughout the world ○ Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Augustine, etc. A theme that is present through the ages
2) Extended to All Times The “Pre-Existence” of the Church Based on Ephesians and Colossians A common theme in early Church Fathers Ecclesia ab Abel (St. Augustine) The “Universal Church” includes all the true followers of Christ who ever have lived or ever will live ○ From “Abel the just one” all the way to “the last of the elect”
3) Catholicity as Correct Faith Using the adjective “catholic” to contrast the true faith with false ideas Clement / Irenaeus against the Gnostics Pope Leo the Great St. Maximus the Confessor St. Thomas Aquinas Various Ecumenical Councils
4) A “Catholic” Presence of the Whole Church in the “Parts” In Scripture “The Church of God” present at Corinth, Galatia, etc (1 Cor 1:2; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:13) Early Church Fathers “The Church of God sojourning at Rome to the Church of God in sojourn at Corinth” (Clement of Rome – 1st Century) Church unity centered around the bishop ○ Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus, Cyprian Vatican II on “Whole” and “Parts” (LG 13)
Lumen Gentium n. 13“In virtue of this catholicity each individualpart contributes through its special gifts tothe good of the other parts and of thewhole Church. Through the commonsharing of gifts and through the commoneffort to attain fullness in unity, the wholeand each of the parts receive increase.”
5) “Universal Church” includes the Heavenly Church In Scripture “The Jerusalem above who is our mother” (Gal 4:26) “Our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20) “You have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” (Heb 12:22) The “Pre-Existence” of the Church The Church is “already but not yet” the Kingdom
“Already” the Kingdom…St. Augustine (354-430) “The Church even now is the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of Heaven” “The Church, which is now a pilgrim, is joined to that heavenly Church, where we have the angels as fellow citizens”St. Gregory the Great (540-604) “The Kingdom of Heaven is the Church of those who are just, for when their hearts center upon nothing earthly, but sigh after the things that are above, the Lord already reigns in them in an almost heavenly way” “The present Church is frequently called the Kingdom of heaven in the holy Gospel”
…But Not Yet(St. Augustine & St. Bede)
…But Not Yet Contrast the Tabernacle in the desert with the Temple in Jerusalem (St. Augustine & St. Bede): The present Church is like the tent in the desert ○ Stretched daily by her labors ○ On a long journey ○ Much fighting The heavenly Church is like the Temple ○ Perfect peace ○ Rest from labors[But it‟s the same divine presence in the sameChurch]
…But Not YetSt. Gregory the Great
…But Not YetThe Church as “The Dawn” (St. Gregory, reflecting on Songof Songs)“The holy Church, striving for the rewards of heavenly life, iscalled „the dawn,‟ for as she leaves behind the darkness ofsin, she shines forth with the light of righteousness. But whilewe live, it is dawn, not perfect day […] For dawn or daybreakindeed announces that the night has passed, but does notmanifest the full splendor of the day. Rather, as it dispels theformer and takes on the latter, it holds a light that is mixedwith darkness […] It is still the dawn, for as long as the law ofthe flesh clashes with the law of the spirit, and the law of thespirit with the law of the flesh, light and darkness will blendtogether. Thus when Paul says, „The night is far gone‟ (Rom13:12), he does not add, „the day has arrived,‟ but rather, „theday is near‟ […] The day shall arrive when no darkness of sintriumphs. Then the Church of the elect will be fully day, whenno shadow of sin is mixed with her.”
To Sum up… “Catholic” suggests a Church: 1) Extended universally to all places 2) Extended universally to all times 3) Holding to the correct faith 4) fully present and active in each authentic local Church 5) In an “already but not yet” communion with the Heavenly Church
Question How to understand all of these dimensions together?
The Church as the “Whole Christ”Christ and the Church as one mystical person In Scripture Christ the Head, we the Members (Ephesians) Christ the Vine, we the Branches (John 15) In the Eastern Fathers “That which is not taken up cannot be saved” (St. Gregory Nazianzen) ○ Christ fully took up our humanity ○ All of humanity (and all of creation) now being taken up into Christ‟s risen flesh “Just as the body and head are one man, so also are the Church and Christ called one” (St. John Chrysostom) We are “con-corporeal” with Christ and with each other in the Eucharist (St. Cyril of Alexandria) St. Augustine
St. Augustine“The body of this head is the Church, notthat which is in this place, but that which isboth in this place and throughout thewhole world, and not only that of this time,but from Abel himself to those who will beborn and will believe in Christ – all the wayto the end of time: the whole people of thesaints belonging to one city. This city is thebody of Christ, whose head is Christ.”
St. Augustine“His body is the Church, not this or thatChurch, but the one that is dispersedthroughout the world, not [only] that whichexists now in the men of the present life, butincludes also those members who existedbefore us and those who will exist after us allthe way to the end of the world. For the wholeChurch, made up of all the faithful (for all thefaithful are members of Christ), has in heaventhat head placed over her that governs hisbody; though separated in vision, she isjoined in charity.”
The Church as the “Whole Christ”Christ and the Church as one mystical person
“The Whole Christ”An understanding of the Church that unites allthe dimensions of catholicity: The present worldwide Church United under the one Head with all those who ever have lived or will live Including the Saints already in Heaven This whole Christ is wholly present in each authentic local Church, especially in the Eucharist “catholic” faith shared by all these members ○ (more on than point later)
Question Is this “whole Christ” a visible body or a mystical reality?
Vatican II- It’s both!“Christ, the one Mediator, established andcontinually sustains here on earth His holyChurch, the community of faith, hope andcharity, as an entity with visible delineationthrough which He communicated truth and graceto all. But, the society structured with hierarchicalorgans and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not tobe considered as two realities, nor are the visibleassembly and the spiritual community, nor theearthly Church and the Church enriched withheavenly things; rather they form one complexreality which coalesces from a divine and ahuman element” (Lumen Gentium, n. 8).
A Visible Church Jesus left behind a visible Church Governed by the Apostles With Peter presiding in a special way A 3-fold ministry ○ Preaching ○ Sanctifying ○ Shepherding Apostolic Succession This visible Church structure did not die with Peter and the Apostles, but continued through the ages
But Still a Transcendent Mystery “We are the Church”? True to an extent, but the Church is so much more than just us Constant call to conversion and renewal The Mystery of the Whole Christ “looms over us” (Henri de Lubac) As individual disciples and as a Church, we must constantly be renewed in holiness and strive to be conformed to Christ
Underlying Question #2 What is “the One True Church”?
Lumen Gentium n. 2 Describes the One Church of Christ Planned, foreknown, and predestined (but hidden) by the Father for all eternity Foreshadowed in the Old Testament Established in the Present Age Manifested at Pentecost To be gloriously perfected at the end of time, “when, as is read in the Fathers, all the just, from Adam and from Abel the just one, to the last of the elect,‟ will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church”
Observation Two seemingly different senses of “universal Church” 1) The “one true Church” in God‟s plan (as in the quote we just saw) – all things definitively gathered into one in Christ. 2) The present Church spread throughout the world (the more common use of the term)
One Reality: The “Whole Christ” If the Church is indeed “the whole Christ” these two senses are related The present worldwide Catholic Church is “already but not yet” the Whole Christ, the one perfect Heavenly Church. Not two separate realities, but one mystical body, “one complex reality” (Lumen Gentium n. 8)
One in and through the Eucharist Eucharist as “Source and Goal of the whole Christian life” (LG 11) Each time we celebrate the Eucharist, we perpetually “become who we are” By receiving the Body of Christ, we are ever renewed as the Body of Christ… The Eucharist as “the beating heart of the Church” (Fr. Paul McPartlan)
Back to the Original Question Is the CatholicChurch the “One True Church”?A: Yes, properly understood…
More from Lumen Gentium n. 8“This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creedis professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, whichour Savior, after His Resurrection, commissionedPeter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles toextend and direct with authority, which He erected forall ages as "the pillar and mainstay of the truth." ThisChurch constituted and organized in the world as asociety, subsists in the Catholic Church, which isgoverned by the successor of Peter and by the Bishopsin communion with him, although many elements ofsanctification and of truth are found outside of itsvisible structure”
“Subsists in” Pope Pius XII in Mystici Corporis (1943) “The true Church of Christ – which is [est] the holy, catholic, apostolic, and Roman Church…” Lumen Gentium (1964) – how the phrase “subsists in” developed… subsistit est adest in
Recent Debate Side A: Vatican II rejected Pius XII in favor of being more inclusive of the “elements of sanctification and truth” in other Christian bodies Side B: Pius XII and Vatican II teach exactly the same thing “Clearly, therefore, for Lumen Gentium n. 8, the one Church of Christ is none other than the Catholic Church and it is only within this context that the term subsistit can be interpreted” (Karl Becker)
2007 Statement by CDF Vatican II did not change Pius XII‟s teaching, but merely developed it and explained it more deeply Meaning of “Subsists in”: Established by Christ as the one and only Church Visible and uninterrupted historical existence Guaranteed to persist to the end of time Chosen to replace “est” In order to emphasize the “elements of truth and sanctification” found in other Christian bodies These elements allow the one Church of Christ to be present and active in them at least to some degree But “subsists in” applies only to the Catholic Church, which still IS the one Church founded by Christ
A Careful Balancing Act BUT…The Catholic Still the “not Church “is” yet” described the one by the Fathers Mystical (conversion Body of always Christ needed)
A Careful Balancing Act BUT… Only the That one Catholic Church can Church can still be present andclaim to be the active in otherone Church of ecclesial Christ communities
Necessary for Salvation?“He cannot have God as a Father who does not have the Church as a mother” --St. Cyprian (d. 258)Q: Can those who refuse to be in fullcommunion with the Catholic Church still besaved?
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