Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Holy and Sacred Institution

The Catholic Church teaches that she is the Church that Jesus was talking about when he said, in Matt. 16:18-19:  “And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.  Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose earth shall be loosed in heaven.” If this is so, then the Catholic Church is an exceedingly holy and sacred institution.  It is a holy and sacred institution that began with Jesus himself, one that is guided by the Holy Spirit, and one that will last until the end of time.  Holy and sacred indeed.

Some people argue against this.  Rather than calling the original group of Christians the Catholic Church, they call it a “body of believers.”  Rather than this group having the protection against the netherworld as stated by Jesus, they believe that this body of believers sunk into the netherworld and got off track sometime after the death of the last apostle.  Rather than having the Holy Spirit to help us institute the apostolic succession and the authority to bind and loose that is evident throughout the history of the Catholic Church, they say that the faith world was totally without true direction until it recovered at the time of the Protestant Reformation.  So now we have tens of thousands of other Christian churches that declare what they want to declare about what is true. 

No, what makes sense to me is a holy and sacred Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ and guided by the Holy Spirit throughout the past, present and future of our earthly life.  Patrick Madrid, in his book “Why be Catholic:  Ten Answers to a Very Important Question” says that the Catholic Church is the ark of salvation because the head of this Church is Christ.  While there are sinful people who are and have been members of this Church, such as abusive priests and corrupt bishops, Christ is there to calm the wind and the waves, as he was in the boat on the Sea of Galilee.  I can hear Him say today:  “Why are you so afraid?  Have you no faith?” 

A Protestant friend of mine claims that Madrid’s comment about the Catholic Church being the ark of salvation is blasphemous.  He says the Christ is the ark of salvation, not the Church.  I prefer to think that Christ founded the Catholic Church as his personal instrument to bring people to salvation, and so calling the Catholic Church the ark of salvation is entirely appropriate.  Yes, Christ founded the Catholic Church and is the head of the Church.  He will never allow his Church to sink into the netherworld or to cease being guided by the Holy Spirit.

Th photo below is of the interior of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

My prayer for today:  Lord, if it is your will, please convince all your people on earth to come to know and embrace your holy and sacred Catholic Church.  Amen.  

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