THE HOLY SPIRIT GUIDES US                  

Picture taken - Webmaster ( R T M ) ) at
Saint Anne-de Beaupre Quebec - Eucharistic Congress 2008

Increase Truth and knowledge in me. So that I may know why I believe what I believe, and make me capable of speaking and defending Truth Sr. Josephine Carney- Honorary Doctorate of Letters -U of B. C.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Jesus promised that He would send the Holy Spirit to be with us always. (John 14:16-17) And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it.

efore ascending to His Father in heaven Jesus said He would send the Holy Spirit and He gave a new commandment: ( John 10:12-13 ) Love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friend.

Prayer Of Pope John Paul II  - To Avoid Grieving The Spirit:  
May [the] Counselor – the "Spirit of truth" – be with us through His holy gifts! May there be with us wisdom and understanding, knowledge and counsel, fortitude, piety, and the holy fear of God, so that we may always know how to discern what comes from You and to distinguish what comes from the "spirit of the world," or even from the "ruler of this world."

Save us from "grieving Your Spirit":  --by our lack of faith and lack of readiness to witness to Your Gospel "in deed and in truth", --by secularism and by wishing at all costs to conform to the mentality of this world; --by a lack of that love which is "patient and kind," which "is not boastful" and which "does not insist on its own way," which "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" – that love which "rejoices in the right" and only in the right. Save us from grieving Your Spirit: --by everything that brings inward sadness and is an obstacle for the soul; --by whatever causes…divisions; --by whatever makes us a fertile soil for all temptations.   [L’Osservatore Romano 4-5,12-82,3] 

A Call for Greater Silence and Prayer
How The Pope Spends His Summer Vacation

ROME, JULY 24, 2004 ( Excerpts)- John Paul II has been giving advice about how to get closer to God during vacation. Fresh from his 12-day break in the Italian Alps, the Pope in his Angelus message last Sunday entrusted the vacation period to Mary, asking her to help us to appreciate it as a "propitious time to rediscover the primacy of the interior life."

"Actually, it is only in silence that human beings can hear in their inmost being the voice of God which truly sets them free," he said. "Holidays can help people rediscover and cultivate this indispensable inner dimension of human life."

"The meaning of rest, in fact, is not just the need to recover from the toil of work" (No. 6). The underlying, and more profound meaning of rest, explains the document, is when we dedicate more of our time to God and to the service of others, especially our family.

The Holy Father called to mind the example of Mary, noting that in his outings he had come across many shrines in the mountains, and asked her to "help us to perceive a reflection of divine glory in the beauty of creation and encourage us to strive with all our might for the spiritual peaks of holiness."

In this way, the guidelines said, holiday time has a Eucharistic dimension "that should make tourism a time of contemplation, encounter and joy shared in the Lord 'in praise of his glory.'"

Suffering From Truth Decay ??    
                                       Brush Up On The Bible

The Catechism Of The Catholic Church
-Apostolic Constitution (Fidei Depositium)

The Catechism of the Catholic Catholic (cf.- C.C.C.) was prepared in collaboration with Bishop's from around the world following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. On Jan.25, 1985, Bishops gathered for a Synod, at which they celebrated the graces and the spiritual fruits of Vatican II and studied the teachings in greater depth.  On that occasion very many Synod Fathers expressed desire for a catechism or compendium of all catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed.

The principal task entrusted to the Council by Pope John XXXII was to guard and present better the precious deposit of Christian doctrine in order to make it more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all people of good will.  The catechism will thus contain both the new and the old (cf. Mt 13:52), because the faith is always the same yet the source of every new light.

The order of arranging  material consists in four parts: the Creed, the Sacred Liturgy, with pride of place given to the sacraments, the Christian way of life, explained beginning with the ten Commandments, and finally Christian prayer. At the same time, however, the contents are often presented in a "new" way in order to respond to the questions of our age. Pope John Paul II, asks all  the Church's Pastors to receive this catechism in a spirit of communion in proclaiming their faith, strengthening bonds of unity and calling people to the Gospel life.(cf.Lk.22:32) It is meant to support ecumenical efforts that are moved by the holy desire for the unity of all Christians, showing carefully the content and harmony of the catholic faith.  It is offered to every individual who asks us to give an account of hope that is in us, ( cf. 1 Pet 3:15 ) and who wants to know what the Catholic Church believes. (cf. Jn 8:32 )  Also that we be made worthy of the name of Jesus Christ under the guidance of the Holy Spirit here below and in the Kingdom of heaven.  ( cf.1 Cor 13:12,  2 Cor 5:6-8 ) 

Given October 11,1992, the thirteenth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. Taken from the introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church: by John Paul, Bishop - Servant of the Servants of God.
Catechism of the Catholic Church.   Taken  from C.C.C.  Excerpts-Page 1- 6                                                         Webmaster ( R.T.M )  

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                                         Obedience To Authorities:   ( Romans -13 )

Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for their  is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. ( Hebrews 13) Obey your leaders and defer to them, for they keep watch over you and will have to give an account, that they may fulfill their task with joy and not with sorrow, for that would be to no advantage.

                                                     The Majesterium or Teaching of The Church.  
Fr. William G. Most - Catholic Theologian -

By the Magisterium we mean the teaching office of the Church. It consists of the Pope and Bishops. Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church : "He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects your rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me" (Luke 10. 16). Now of course the promise of Christ cannot fail: hence when the Church presents some doctrine as definitive or final, it comes under this protection, it cannot be in error; in other words, it is infallible. This is true even if the Church does not use the solemn ceremony of definition. The day to day teaching of the Church throughout the world, when the Bishops are in union with each other and with the Pope, and present something as definitive, this is infallible. (Vatican II, Lumen gentium # 25). It was precisely by the use of that authority that Vatican I was able to define that the Pope alone, when speaking as such and making things definitive, is also infallible. Of course this infallibility covers also teaching on what morality requires, for that is needed for salvation.

A "theologian" who would claim he needs to be able to ignore the Magisteriumin order to find the truth is strangely perverse: .....the teaching of the Magisterium is the prime, God-given means of finding the truth.  Nor could he claim academic freedom lets him contradict the Church. In any field of knowledge, academic freedom belongs only to a properly qualified professor teaching in his own field. But one is not properly qualified if he does not use the correct method of working in his field, e.g., a science professor who would want to go back to medieval methods would be laughed off campus, not protected. Now in Catholic theology, the correct method is to study the sources of revelation, but then give the final  word to the Church. He who does not follow that method is not a qualified Catholic theologian. Vatican II taught  (Dei Verbum # 10): "The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition], has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of  Jesus Christ.

Complete  library can be viewed " 
Taken from The Basic Catholic Catechism PART FIVE: The Apostles' Creed IX - XII  
Copyright 1990 by William G. Most.

                                      How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?
                                                                Kenneth D. Whitehead ( Excerpts - three page article:) 
                                                                                       ( View in full )
The Creed which we recite on Sundays and holy days speaks of one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  As everybody knows, however, the Church referred to in his Creed is more commonly called just the Catholic Church.  It is not, by the way,properly called the Roman Catholic Church, but simply the Catholic Church.

As mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles, it is true that the followers of Christ early became known as "Christians" (cf.Acts 11:26). The name Christian, however, was never commonly applied to the Church herself. In the New Testament itself, the Church is simply called "the Church." There was only one. In that early time there were not yet any break-away bodies substantial enough to be rival claimants of the name and from which the Church might ever have to distinguish herself.

Very early in post-apostolic times, however the Church did acquire a proper name--and precisely in order to distinguish herself from rival bodies which by then were already beginning to form. The name that the Church acquired when it became necessary for her to have a proper name was the name by which she has been known ever since-the Catholic Church.

The name appears in Christian literature for the first time around the end of the first century. By the time it was written down, it had certainly already been in use, for the indications are that everybody understood exactly what was meant by the name when it was written.

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                 First Mention of Catholic Church A.D.107

Around the year A.D. 107, a bishop, St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Near East, was arrested, brought to Rome by armed  guards and eventually martyred there in the arena. In a farewell letter which this early bishop and martyr wrote to his fellow Christians in Smyrna (today Izmir in modern Turkey) he made the first written mention in history of "the Catholic Church"

 He wrote,     "Where the bishop is present, there is the Catholic Church"
(To the Smyrnaeans 8:2) Thus, the second century of Christianity had scarcely begun when the name of the Catholic Church was already in use.

We know that St. Polycarp, at the time of his death in 155, had been a Christian for 86 years. He could not, therefore, have been born much later than 69 or 70. Yet it appears to have been a normal part of the vocabulary of a man of this era to be able to speak of "the whole Catholic Church throughout the world."

The name had caught on, and no doubt for good reasons.
The term "catholic" simply means "universal," and when employing it in those early days, St. Ignatius of Antioch and St. Polycarp of Smyrna were referring to the Church that was already "everywhere " as distinguished from whatever sects, schisms or splinter groups might have grown up here and there, in opposition to the Catholic Church.

The term was already understood even then to be an especially fitting name because the Catholic Church was for everyone, not just for adepts, enthusiasts or the specially initiated who might have been attracted to her.

Again, it was already understood that the Church was "catholic" because --to adopt a modern expression -- she possessed the fullness of the means of salvation. She also was destined to be "universal" in time as well as in space, and it was to her that applied the promise of Christ to Peter and the other apostles that "the powers of death shall not prevail" against her.(Mt 16:18).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church in our own day has concisely summed up all the reasons why the name of the Church of Christ has been the Catholic Church: "The Church is catholic," the Catechism teaches, "[because] she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is 'missionary of her very nature'" (# 868).

So the name became attached to her for good. By the time of the first ecumenical council of the Church, held at Nicaea in Asia Minor in the year 325 A.D., the bishops of that council were legislating quite naturally in the name of the universal body they called in the Council of Nicaea's official documents "the Catholic Church." As most people know, it was that same council which formulated the basic Creed in which the term "catholic" was retained as one of the four marks of the true Church of Christ. And it is the same name which is to be found in all 16 documents of the twenty-first
ecumenical  council of the Church, Vatican Council II. 
The Catholic Answer, May/June 1996

(C.C.C. # 1830:  The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
"The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

These are permanent dispositions  which make man docile in following the promptings of the Holy Spirit." "The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David. (Is. 11:1-2) They complete and perfect the virtues of  those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations. Let your good spirit lead me on a level path."

(C.C.C. # 1831 "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God ... If children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ." ( Rom. 8:14, 17 ) According the Holy Bible, the fruits of the Holy Spirit are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

"Come, Holy Spirit"

C.C.C.# 2670 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit."  Every time we begin to pray to Jesus it is the Holy Spirit who draws us on the way of prayer by his prevenient grace. Since he teaches us to pray   by recalling Christ, how could we not pray to the Spirit too? That is why the Church invites us to call upon the Holy Spirit every day, especially at the beginning and the end of every important action.

If the Spirit should not be worshiped, how can he divinize me through Baptism? If he should be worshiped, should he not be the object of adoration?

C.C.C.# 2671: The traditional form of petition to the Holy Spirit is to invoke the Father through Christ our Lord to give us the Consoler Spirit.  Jesus insists on this petition to be made in his name at the very moment when he promises the gift of the Spirit of Truth. But the simplest and most direct prayer is also traditional, "Come, Holy Spirit," and every liturgical tradition has developed it in antiphons and hymns.

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love.

Heavenly King, Consoler Spirit, Spirit of Truth, present everywhere and filling all things, treasure of all good and source of all life, come dwell in us, cleanse and save us, you who are All Good.

C.C.C.# 2672: The Holy Spirit, whose anointing permeates our whole being, is the interior Master of Christian prayer.   He is the artisan of the living tradition of prayer. To be sure, there are as many paths of prayer as there are persons who pray, but it is the same Spirit acting in all and with all. It is in the communion of the Holy Spirit that Christian prayer is prayer in the Church. (695)

In communion with the holy Mother of God

C.C.C #2673: In prayer the Holy Spirit unites us to the person of the only Son, in his glorified humanity, through which and in which our filial prayer unites us in the Church with the Mother of Jesus. (Cf. Acts 1:14) (689)

C.C.C. #2674: Mary gave her consent in faith at the Annunciation and maintained it without hesitation at the foot of the Cross.  Ever since, her motherhood has extended to the brothers and sisters of her Son "who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and difficulties." [LG 62] Jesus, the only mediator, is the way of our prayer; Mary, his mother and ours, is wholly transparent to him: she "shows the way" (hodigitria) , and is herself "the Sign" of the way, according to the traditional iconography of East and West. [494]

C.C.C. #2675: Beginning with Mary's unique cooperation with the working of the Holy Spirit, the Churches developed their prayer to the holy Mother of God, centering it on the person of Christ manifested in his mysteries.  In countless hymns and antiphons expressing this prayer, two movements usually alternate with one another:  the first" magnifies" the  Lord for the "great things" he did for his lowly servant and through her for all human beings [Cf. Lk 1:46-55] the second entrusts the supplications and praises of the children of God to the Mother of Jesus, because she now knows the humanity which, in her, the Son of God espoused.

C.C.C.#2679: Mary is the perfect Orans (pray-er), a figure of the Church. When we pray to her, we are adhering with her   to the plan of the Father, who sends his Son to save all men. Like the beloved disciple we welcome Jesus' mother into our homes, [Cf. Jn 19:27] for she has become the mother of all the living. We can pray with and to her. The prayer of the Church is sustained by the prayer of Mary and united with it in hope. (Cf. LG 68-69])

C.C.C #2690: The Holy Spirit gives to certain of the faithful the gifts of wisdom, faith and discernment for the sake of this common good which is prayer ( spiritual direction) Men and women so endowed are true servants of the living tradition of prayer.   

According to St. John of the Cross, the person wishing to advance toward perfection should "take care into whose hands he entrusts himself, for as the master is so will the disciples be and as the father is so will be the son. And further: " In addition to being learned and discreet a director should be experienced. If the spiritual director has no experience of the spiritual life, he will be incapable of leading into it the souls whom God is calling to it, and will not even understand them.

 "AMEN" ( So Be It)  ( Yes )  ( I Believe)  THE CREED -THE PROFESSION OF FAITH.
C. #1061
The Creed, like the last book of the Bible,644 ends with the Hebrew word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. The Church likewise ends her prayers with "Amen."

# 1062   In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word "believe." This root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. And so we can understand why "Amen" may express both God's faithfulness towards us and our trust in him.

# 1063   In the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find the expression "God of truth" (literally "God of the Amen"), that is, the God who is faithful to his promises: "He who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth [amen]."645 Our Lord often used the word "Amen," sometimes repeated,646 to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching, his authority founded on God's truth.

# 1064   Thus the Creed's final "Amen" repeats and confirms its first words: "I believe." To believe is to say "Amen" to God's words, promises and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the "Amen" of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. The Christian's everyday life will then be the "Amen" to the "I believe" of our baptismal profession of faith:

May your Creed be for you as a mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you believe.  And rejoice in your faith each day.647

# 1065 Jesus Christ himself is the "Amen."648 He is the definitive "Amen" of the Father's love for us. He takes up and completes our "Amen" to the Father: "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God":649 Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, almighty Father, God, for ever  and ever.


Truth and Freedom Under Siege,
Says Boston Prelate
Archbishop O'Malley Sees Dual Threat in Today's Culture

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, JAN. 22, 2004 ( Truth and freedom are threatened in "our very hostile culture today," says Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston. The archbishop made this point in a speech he delivered to about 500 faithful at the Communion and Liberation national conference here Monday.

He told his audience that without truth, there can be no freedom, and without freedom, there can be no love.

"That is why the Church is very concerned about freedom," Archbishop O'Malley said. "Our mission in the Church is to lead people to the truth so that they can be free, so that together we can salvage a civilization of love."

Truth and freedom are threatened in our very hostile culture today."

The archbishop's talk was part of a panel discussion with theologian Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete on "The Church's Contribution to the Quest for Freedom," based on the book, "Why the Church?" by Monsignor Luigi Giussani. The latter founded the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation in 1954.

In the discussion of the book, Archbishop O'Malley pointed to possible sources of relativism in society.

"Perhaps the idolatry of freedom has led to the belief that we can choose our own truth because the truth as absolute is rejected as too confining, too demanding of the autonomous self," he said. "But the traditional Catholic approach is faith seeking understanding."

Archbishop O'Malley looked to Church history for role models for today's Catholics. "In past centuries the very ideal of the Catholic faith was martyrdom" he said. "The martyrs, who were witnesses to truth, had such great freedom in their lives that they could lay their lives down in a supreme act of love."

The prelate outlined the modern response necessary to combat the relativistic culture.
"Only in a contemplative framework can the Church achieve all of these things and lead us to that authentic love that will allow us to make a gift of ourselves," Archbishop O'Malley said.

"In so doing," he added, "we become martyrs, witnesses that will invite others to embark on the same path that leads to Christ. In this irrational age, we will only be able to convince people by the martyrdom of self-giving."

The archbishop's statements ended the four-day Communion and Liberation conference, which included Sunday Mass with Bishop Bernard Harrington of  Winona, Minnesota, a video presentation of an interview with Monsignor Giussani and workshops on education and teen-agers, work and the economy, culture and family life.

                                       TRUTH AND AUTHORITY  
                                                JESUS IS TRUTH
(cf. John 14: 6)

There is only one way to stop the disastrous moral and social evils of the twentieth century, and that is for Christians and people of good will to honestly seek the Truth and submit to Her authority.  by John Pacheco.  

Foreword:  Truth has become an anomaly in our modern day culture. For many, it is an irrelevancy. For many others, it is to be understood in a more tolerant and therefore allegedly less dogmatic manner.  It is too rigid, indeed even intolerant and narrow minded, to speak of truth in the traditional absolute and exclusive sense of the word.

Secular humanism has reduced the idea of a transcendent Truth from its overriding, universal nature to a relative and mutable idea, whose substance has been subject to the fantastical whims of modern western culture. The culture of death does not speak of the Truth, but only truths, which may be true for one person, but not necessarily for another, which of course completely saturates the concept of a universal and imperative ideal.  Indeed, it is not difficult to see why the Truth must be subservient to many truths, in order for this culture to survive, since the existence of many truths, tolerates and perpetuates the accepted social evils of this century, whereas the Truth, could never do so.

Christians should not be surprised at this development because, as society has been de-Christianized, it has been less receptive to the Absolute and Transcendent. God is relegated to the deist idea of the Napolianic age, and there is no room for a God that requires obedience and suffering - just the grand watchmaker who winds up the universe and remains aloof from humanity. It is easier that way for today's modern man - avoid the vagaries and absurdities of atheism but remain in control by rejecting the Christian culture responsible for building the foundations of Western civilization.

It is therefore no small coincidence that the abandonment of Christ has left Western civilization without the Truth and its constitutive relationship to its inherent qualities. Hence, there should be no real surprise that not only is the Truth rejected in principle, but also its qualities of universality, immutability, infinity, and unity. Universalism is replaced with provincialism ; immutability is replaced with mutability; infinity is replaced with measurability, and unity is replaced with division. The few believe in the former while the many believe in the latter.

For the latter, Truth is neither palatable nor possible.
This is the reason that Jesus spoke these words: "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice"
(John 18:37) and as if representative of our culture today, Pontius Pilate responded predictably: "What is Truth?" (John 18:38).

Apostolic Authority

All Christians understand and agree in principle with the concept of an absolute Truth because it represents something that exists outside of our own dangerous subjectivism. Without Truth, not only is there is no right or wrong, there is no God either. After all, if one takes away the source (God), how can the consequent (Truth) still exist? But, while all Christians can agree on the concept of the Truth, the instrument of learning that truth is quite another matter. It is this very issue of instrumentality that has divided the Christian Church for the past five hundred years. Hence, the central question for all of
Christianity, and to a lesser extent everyone else, is:  
How does God communicate His truth to us?

In order to learn the Truth, there are two things which are necessary: a belief in God and a belief that God wants to communicate to His creatures. Since God has not chosen to infuse his incorruptible Truth into each individual human, the only and inevitable conclusion which can be inferred, while holding to God's will to communicate, is that He has chosen to communicate to us through certain human intermediaries. The bible provides ample proof of this assertion when one recalls the authority given to the prophets of the Old Testament. God spoke his holy Word through them. These prophets not only wrote God's word, they spoke it as well. Hence, there were two means of communication opened to these prophets, namely, the written word and the oral word.

In the Old Testament times, the oral word of a prophet was just as binding as his written word. For instance, the prophet Obadiah has 21 short verses attributed to him, yet this is surely not the extent of his teaching office. His listeners would surely not reject his oral teaching because they were not yet on papyrus. It is evident, therefore, that the relationship between the intermediaries and the instruments is an important one in that any manipulation of one leads to a distortion of Truth in varying degrees. Those who rely on the written word alone have cut off the Truth for themselves since God has chosen to use both instruments in communicating His Truth. After all, He chose people and not methods of communications for speaking His word. He never restricted the means by which they would give His word to only Scripture. In fact, Jesus and His Apostles never restricted their teachings to the Scriptures, but relied on Jewish oral tradition as well (Cf. Matthew 23:2, 2 Timothy 3:8, Titus 1:9). (Nowhere in the Old or New Testament times did the sole source of Truth depend on God's written word alone. This idea of sola scriptura, was a theological presupposition proposed by the Reformers in the sixteenth century.)

The inevitable consequence to sola scriptura, is a loss of truth since there are diametrically opposing positions of what individual Christians think the bible says.  Picture this fascinating scenario: A Seventh Day Adventist, a Mormon, a Jehovah Witness, a Fundamentalist, and everyone else who thinks the Bible is their sole source of truth are all in a room together. All will claim that the Bible is the SOLE authority for their positions, but each group teaches different doctrines. Now, all groups will point to the others and say that the others teach false doctrines. After an hour of endless and useless haggling over the interpretation of biblical passages, one of these people will surely come to the inevitable and inescapable solution to this absurd mess. One of these people will surely realize that the Bible alone cannot be the sole authority by itself since no one can definitely say what the truth is UNLESS there is one group or one person who has the authority to decide which interpretation is the correct one. After all, what good is an infallible Bible if there is no infallible group to say what the infallible Word of God is? This question of truth is therefore really one of authority. The singular quality of authority is, however, that some people have it and others do not. Indeed, if everyone had authority, then the logical consequence is that NO ONE has authority. Yet, SOMEONE (or some group speaking in unity) must have authority in order for humanity to know what the truth is.

It follows, then, that since sola scriptura cannot be the objective avenue to the Truth the question must change from what the bible says to who should interpret it.  Jesus Christ appointed twelve apostles to teach His doctrines and exercise His authority once He ascended into heaven (Cf. Matthew 28:16-20).  He gave them specific authority to speak and teach what He taught (Cf. Ephesians 2:19-20, 1 Thessalonians 4:2, 2 Peter 3:2), and He warned all of His followers of the consequences of private teaching outside of the Church (Cf. Matthew 18:16-17, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 1 Timothy 2:20, 2 Peter 1:20-21). Most importantly, however, Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to guide the Apostles in truth (Cf. John 14:16-17), which would distinguish them from the false prophets who would later introduce false doctrines and heresies (Cf. 2 Peter 2:1).

This is the reason why Saint Paul described the Church as the pillar and foundation of truth, (Cf. 1 Timothy 3:15), and not the Bible which can be twisted by the untaught and unstable lawful justice to interpret the laws, there would be anarchy in society. Likewise, in trying to determine what the sacred writers and apostles meant, there must be a group who has the authority from God to make such interpretations and in the 30,000 Protestant denominations.

Jesus established His Church, and conferred His authority to the Apostolic community to bind and loose, (Cf. Matthew 16:17-19, 18:16-17) The power of binding and loosing, had been a well established Jewish formula used by the rabbinical body of each age to open and shut (Cf. Isaiah 22:22) religious doctrines and moral teachings. Throughout the New Testament, the Apostles, and the Apostles ONLY, exercise this authority. This is the only way that any group can claim to have the truth - they teach what the Apostles taught, either written or oral (Cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:15). When there is a doctrinal dispute in the Church, as was the case at the Council of Jerusalem (Cf. Acts 15), it is not any or every disciple who votes on the question, it was the Apostles, and Peter in particular, who decides the question. In fact, after their decision, they carefully guarded their authority when they warned the early Church in Antioch about those whom they gave no instruction, (Cf. Acts 15:24) to promulgate doctrine.

Again and again, this theme of sovereign apostolic authority is reinforced throughout the New Testament. For instance, Saint Paul rejects another Jesus, that heretics preach, and he warns against being deceived by them (Cf. 2 Corinthians 11:3-4) When the Apostles do encourage people to teach, however, they are to teach what the Apostles teach, and not their own ideas.  Saint Paul wrote to Timothy: "And the things which you heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2:2). Saint Paul encourages other disciples to teach, but not outside of the Church. In fact, the Apostles condemn rebellion against hierarchy (Cf. Jude 1:11, Numbers 16:8 10,19-21), and require obedience to the Church (Cf. Acts 20:28, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 5:5).

Remarkably, there are still those who disregard the requirement for obedience to the Church, and presume they can find salvation without Her. The opponent of the Catholic Church would say that while Hebrews 13:17, for instance, "does require us to be obedient to those taking the lead, Christians do not have to follow any edicts, or rulings, rendered by the Church that do not conform to God's word, the Bible." This is not only an unscriptural assertion, but it is also rather senseless. In the first part of this statement, the individual acknowledges the requirement to be obedient, yet the obedience is essentially optional obedience, because, should he not agree with a teaching, he declares it be unbiblical, and therefore exempts himself from the obedience which he claims to have.

Of course, the ultimate foundation of this idea is based on the belief in himself rather than TRUTH existing apart from himself, which is manifested in the one Church Jesus established, being founded on the Apostles.
Moreover, while he may reject Apostolic authority, he still agrees that one should be obedient to those taking the lead. The problem with this idea is that there may be certain people taking the lead, that have no authority to do so.


Is the Church not to continue the way Jesus established it in its hierarchical structure? It has been established that Jesus gave His Apostles the right  to teach. Is it to be proposed that this structure should be radically altered from the Church of the New Testament once the Apostles have died? Is it the will of Christ to discard this Church for an anarchical democratic church where the Truth is subject to the prejudices and slants of popularism as exists today in the Protestant churches? No. This is not the will of Christ. Church of the New Testament. This is the same Church which continues to exist today -not
because of human construct
but because of Her divine founder who promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against Her (Cf. Matthew 16:18).

If Jesus, words were not meant eternally and were to be understood simply in His time, then the authority of the Apostles which Christ instituted would have died with the last Apostle. This would leave the Church without leadership and in total confusion when serious doctrinal questions and problems occurred, which, inevitably, they did.   There would be no point in relying on Scripture since many of the heretics used, or rather and divinely consistent one, is that the Apostles would choose successors, passing on to them what they learned from the Lord, and in turn giving them not only the authority to teach but also the divine promise to correctly interpret God's written and inspired word. This is what the Scriptures prophesized (Cf. Matthew 16:17-19, 18:17-18), and this is, in fact, what the early church did and has continued to do ever since Her beginning.

Even in Scripture itself there are a number of examples which testify to Apostolic succession. When the time had come to replace Judas Iscariot, Peter asks God to fill the place left vacant due to Judas' betrayal. If Christ had not intended the Apostolic Community to be maintained, then why did He choose Matthias to replace Judas (Cf. Acts 1:20 26)?   The position that Matthias assumed is an office with all the authority and responsibility of that office (Cf. Hebrews 13:17). Moreover, the authority passed on is given to specific people; it is not conferred indiscriminately  (Cf. Titus 2:15, Acts 6:1 6, Acts 13:3, 1 Timothy 5:22).

The case from early church history is even more forceful than the numerous examples from Holy Writer Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch in the first century, said, "Wherever the bishop is, there let the people be, as where Jesus is there is the Catholic Church."

In the second century, we have the case for the apostolic succession stated forcefully and clearly by Irenaeus.  A native of either Syria or Asia Minor, Irenaeus had in his youth seen Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp, he informs us, had been instructed by Saint John and the other Apostles, and had talked with many who had seen Christ. Coming to errors and corruptions of the Gospel which he knew in Gaul and by the headway which he found on a visit to Rome was being made by them, he wrote an extensive treatise, against Heresies, describing them and refuting them by setting forth what he believed to be the true faith. He insisted that the apostles had transmitted faithfully and accurately what had been taught them by Christ. He was emphatic that the apostles had appointed the successors bishops to whom they had committed churches and in doing so Had undoubtedly passed on to them what had been entrusted to the apostolic company of Christ. These bishops had been followed by others in an unbroken line who were also guardians and guarantors of the apostolic teaching. Peter and Paul, so he says, appointed Linus [second Bishop of Rome]. Linus, in turn, so Irenaeus declared, was followed by others in an unbroken line to the twelfth in the succession who was bishop when the book was being composed.

In the middle of the third century, Saint Cyprian defended the Church against the Novatians who advocated the permanent exclusion of all former apostates from the Church by his followers - the first Anti-Pope in history. Cyprian thereupon wrote the beautiful treatise on the Unity of the Catholic Church. In it he compares the Church to the seamless robe of Christ and says: "Outside the Church there is no salvation.  He cannot have God as his Father, who has not the Church as his Mother." Later in his life Cyprian was martyred. Brought before the Proconsul and asked who he was, Cyprian replied: "I am a Christian and a Bishop."


But how can the truth exist through an organization which has permitted some decadent and immoral Popes and Bishops? There is little doubt that some Bishops and some Popes were, admittedly, not the holiest of men, but the real question is:

Does this give individuals within the Church the right to usurp the authority which Christ had established in His Church?

If the criteria is impeccability or perfection in a leader, then no one could lead because impeccability does not exist. It  must be remembered that Jesus picked Peter not because of his human failings, but despite them, which goes to show how Divine wisdom can position as the shepherd of the Christian flock after the betrayal (Cf. John 21:15-17).

Secondly, if impeccability would be a criteria for leadership then --
NO APOSTLE or disciple could claim the leadership role, least of all Judas who was still an Apostle with authority, and who Christ knew would betray Him.

The two arguments for the Catholic view are given by Jesus, Himself. "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed darnel also among the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and bore grain, then the darnel became evident also. And the slaves of does it have darnel? And he said to them, An enemy has done this!, and the slaves said to him, Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up? But he said, No; lest while you are together until the harvest; and in them of the harvest I will say to the reapers, First gather up the darnel and bind them in bundles  to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn." (Matthew 13:24-30). Another compelling evidence for submission is found in the Gospel of Matthew. Although Jesus despised the Pharisees' behaviour and called them hypocrites (Cf. Matthew 23:13), He still recognized their authority, and commanded His disciples to observe what they command even if they were hypocrites. "The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that   they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them" (Matthew 23: 2-3). So, just because Pope Leo X (1513-1521) intended to enjoy his Pontificate, that hardly gives any Christian the right to usurp the teaching of the church and introduce their own doctrines.

There are also instances from the Old Testament. For example, there is the case of King Saul and David. "Then Abishai said to David, Today God has delivered your enemy into our hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear  to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time. But David said to Abishai, Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the Lord's anointed and be without guilt?...The Lord forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the Lord's anointed..." (1 Samuel 26:8-11). Saul did not live up to his vocation to be King, but even David did not reject Saul's authority to lead because Saul, for all of his faults, was God's anointed. And what about King David and Bathsheba? Did King David forfeit his right to rule or write the Psalms because he was guilty of conspiracy to murder and adultery? God did not seem to think so when He used King David to communicate His inspired, inerrant Word.

In fact, evidence of bad Popes actually supports the Catholic position more than it detracts from it.  What is the likelihood that rogue Popes would NOT change doctrine or teach error if they were not protected by divine intervention? Wouldn't it be easier, for instance, for one of the more opulent Popes of the Renaissance to teach against suffering or poverty. Did they? No, they did no such thing. Is this a coincidence? It is NO coincidence. It is the Holy Spirit preserving the truth through sinful and decadent men of the time, and allowing the truth to survive man's fallen nature.

The most compelling evidence, however, is found in the Holy Family itself. In the Holy Family, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God Himself and the maker of the universe, was trying to teach a very important lesson for those who want to link impeccability with authority in an indiscriminate manner. Becoming a mere infant, Christ submitted to the authority and in complete obedience to Mary and Joseph your authority over me? No, He did not. He obeyed His Father's will, and subjected Himself to a finite, imperfect creature - Saint Joseph. The case is clear, is it not? Nowhere is impeccability a requirement for authority.  It is no more true in the bible than it is in everyday life.

NOTE*     Some final words

As the Christian Church heads toward the third millennium, She must look at herself honestly and with sober consideration. The fragmentation and division of the Church is a scandal which has existed five (West) and ten (East) centuries too long. This is not the will of Christ who (Cf. John 17:21-22).
There is only one way to stop the disastrous moral and social evils of the twentieth century, and that is for Christians and people of good will to honestly seek the Truth and submit to Her authority.

Jesus is the truth (Cf. John 14:6), and He promised us the truth if we obey His voice which speaks through the Apostles of today, the bishops of the One Church He established - the Holy Roman Catholic Church -
just as surely as it has spoken through the first Apostles of the first century.

THANK YOU:       More resources available on line.

John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis
(4 March 1979), 19: AAS 71 (1979), 308.123)
"Nobody can make of theology as it were a simple collection of his own personal ideas, but everybody must be aware of being in close union with the mission of teaching truth for which the Church is responsible"

(Scripture - Tradition) is known as the foundation of handing down the faith, known as Catechesis or Teachings.
The term "catholic letter" first appears with reference to 1:John, in writings of Apollonius of Ephesus ' Ecclesiastical History' (cf. St. Joseph Edition of the New American Bible 355 ) for more information -
Click on menu - Holy Spirit Guides Us

Pope John Paul II called for a "Springtime of World Evangelization" 

His  Holiness also said we must first evangelize ourselves as Catholics.
Then we will be in a better position to witness to the world by word and example (Christifideles Laici)  Words of Pope Paul  taken from 'Catechisesi Tradendae'  

" If catechesis is done well, Christians will be eager to bear witness to their faith, to hand it on to their children, to make it known to others, and to serve the human community in every way"  
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Pope John Paul particular focused on families, as they are the first teachers of faith to the children, with the aid of the pastor and teachers. 

Having better knowledge of  the Catholic faith aids the faithful in making moral choices, and enables better response of that knowledge in a time when materialism and relativism are marginalizing Biblical principles.

Every Catholic Is Called to Heal the Split Between 'Gospel and Culture'
Author: Pope John Paul II   New [full text] Larger Work: L'Osservatore Romano
Publisher & Date:
Vatican, June 9, 2004 Description: On June 4, 2004, the Holy Father met with members of a seventh group of the Bishops' Conference of the United States of America coming from the Churches in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona,

Dear Brother Bishops, 1. "We also thank God that when you received the word of God you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God at work in you" (1 Th 2:13). With this passage from Saint Paul I warmly welcome you, the Bishops of the Church in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas on the occasion of your visit ad limina Apostolorum. Developing my reflection on the munus propheticum of the Bishop, I wish to reflect today on the pressing task you face of the evangelization of culture.

Communicating the content of faith to different modern cultures

2. The Church, sure of her competence as the bearer of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (cf. Fides et Ratio, 6), has since Pentecost made her pilgrim way proclaiming: Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6). Her confidence is based on the knowledge that this message has its origin in God himself. In his goodness and wisdom God has entered our human history so that through his Son – the sum total of Revelation – we might be drawn into his own divine life (cf. Dei Verbum, 2). Thus the fundamental dynamic of the Church’s prophetic mission is to mediate the content of faith to different cultures enabling people to be transformed by the power of the Gospel which permeates their way of thinking, standards of judgement, and norms of behaviour (cf. Sapientia Christiana, Foreword I)

The observation of my predecessor, Pope Paul VI, that "the split between the Gospel and culture is undoubtedly the drama of our time" (Evangelii Nuntiandi, 20), is manifest today as a "crisis of meaning" (cf. Fides et Ratio, 81). Ambiguous moral positions, the distortion of reason by particular interest groups, and the absolutization of the subjective, are just some examples of a perspective of life which fails to seek truth itself and abandons the search for the ultimate goal and meaning of human existence (cf. ibid., 47). Against the darkness of this confusion the light of the truth which you openly proclaim (cf. 2 Cor 4:2) will shine forth as a diakonia of hope, guiding men and women to understand the mystery of their own life in a coherent manner (cf. ibid., 15).

Center of Gospel preaching is encounter with Jesus

3. As ministers of truth, with a courage imparted by the Holy Spirit, (cf. Pastores Gregis, 26), your preached and lived testimony to God’s extraordinary "yes" to humanity (cf. 2 Cor 1:20) appears as a sign of strength and trust in the Lord and begets new life in the Spirit. Some today view Christianity as weighed down by structures and failing to respond to people’s spiritual needs. Yet, far from being something merely institutional, the living center of your preaching of the Gospel is the encounter with our Lord himself. In fact, it is only by knowing, loving and imitating Christ that, with him, we can transform history by bringing Gospel values to bear in society and culture.

It is clear then that all your activities must be directed towards the proclamation of Christ. Indeed, your duty of personal integrity renders contradictory any separation between mission and life. Sent in Christ’s name as pastors for the care of particular portions of the People of God, you must grow with them as one mind and body in the Holy Spirit (cf. Pastores Gregis, 43). I urge you therefore to be close to your priests and people: imitate the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and calls each by name. Inspired by the great Pastors who have gone before us, like Saint Charles Borromeo, your visiting and careful listening to your brother priests and the faithful, and your direct contact with the marginalized, will be quasi anima episcopalis regiminis. In this way you prolong your teaching through the concrete example of humble faith and service, encouraging in others the desire to live a life of authentic discipleship.

Prophetic witness of Religious to the 'intellectual charity' mission

4. Central to the new impetus in Christian living, to which I have called the whole Church (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, 29), is the unequivocal prophetic witness on the part of consecrated men and women to the fullness of Christ’s truth. Stemming from the radical nature of their following of Christ, this prophetic witness of Religious is marked by their profound conviction of the primacy with which God and the truths of the Gospel shape Christian life and by their dedication to assisting the Christian community in uplifting all sectors of civic society with those truths.

In the wake of increasing secularism and fragmentation of knowledge (cf. Fides et Ratio, 81), "new forms of poverty" have arisen, particularly in cultures which enjoy material well-being, that reflect a "despair at the lack of meaning in life" (Instruction Starting Afresh From Christ: A Renewed Commitment to Consecrated Life in the Third Millennium, 35). Distrust of the human being’s great capacity for knowledge, the acceptance of "partial and provisional truths" (Fides et Ratio, 5), and the senseless pursuit of novelty, all point to the ever more difficult task of conveying to people – especially the young – an understanding of the very foundation and purpose of human life. Faced with these tragic flaws in social development, the wondrous array of charisms proper to each Religious Institute must be placed at the service of the complete knowledge and realization of the Gospel of Jesus Christ which alone "fully discloses humankind to itself and unfolds its noble calling" (Gaudium et Spes, 22). Particularly important in cultures undermined by secularism is the commitment by Religious to the apostolate of ‘intellectual charity’. Charity "in the service of intelligence" – through promotion of excellence in schools, commitment to scholarship, and articulation of the relationship between faith and culture – will "ensure that the fundamental principles, upon which a civil society worthy of the human person is built, are everywhere respected" (Instruction, op. cit., 38) including the political, juridical and educational arenas.

Fight reducing 'rights' to egotistical demands

5. The rise of the prophetic mission of the laity is one of the great treasures unfolding in the Church of the third millennium. The Second Vatican Council rightly considered in detail the duty of the laity to "seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will" (Lumen Gentium, 31). It is also true however that over the last forty or so years, while political attention to human subjectivity has focused on individual rights, in the public domain there has been a growing reluctance to acknowledge that all men and women receive their essential and common dignity from God and with it the capacity to move towards truth and goodness (cf. Centesimus Anus, 38). Detached from this vision of the fundamental unity and purpose of the whole human family, rights are at times reduced to self-centred demands: the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women’s rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights.

In the face of such erroneous yet pervasive thinking you must do everything possible to encourage the laity in their "special responsibility" for "evangelizing culture ... and promoting Christian values in society and public life" (Pastores Gregis, 51). False secularistic forms of "humanism" which exalt the individual in such a manner that they become a veritable idolatry (cf. Christifideles Laici, 5) can be countered only by the rediscovery of the genuine inviolable dignity of every person. This sublime dignity is manifested in all its radiance when the person’s origin and destiny are considered — created by God and redeemed by Christ, we are all called to be "children in the Son" (cf. ibid., 37). So, again I say to the people of the United Sates, it is the Paschal Mystery of Christ that is the only sure point of reference for all of humanity on its pilgrimage in search of authentic unity and true peace! (cf. Ecclesia in America, 70).

Proclaim truth with the help of Our Blessed Lady

6. Dear Brothers, with affection and fraternal gratitude I offer these reflections to you and encourage you in the sharing of the fruits of the charism of truth which the Spirit has bestowed upon you. United in your proclamation of the Good News of Jesus Christ and guided by the example of the Saints, go forward in hope! Invoking upon you the intercession of Mary, "Star of the New Evangelization", I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing to you and the priests, Religious, and lay faithful of your dioceses.

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