Our hope, life and salvation – the Catholic Church

Quotes from Pope Leo XIII on the Holy Catholic Church:

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

“Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfillment of prophecies, miracles in great numbers, the rapid spread of the faith in the midst of enemies and in face of overwhelming obstacles, the witness of the martyrs, and the like. From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate. For the only-begotten Son of God established on earth a society which is called the Church, and to it He handed over the exalted and divine office which He had received from His Father, to be continued through the ages to come. ‘As the Father hath sent Me, I also send you.’ ‘Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.’ Consequently, as Jesus Christ came into the world that men ‘might have life and have it more abundantly,’ so also has the Church for its aim and end the eternal salvation of souls, and hence it is so constituted as to open wide its arms to all mankind, unhampered by any limit of either time or place. ‘Preach ye the Gospel to every creature.’ Over this mighty multitude God has Himself set rulers with power to govern, and He has willed that one should be the head of all, and the chief and unerring teacher of truth, to whom He has given ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ ‘Feed My lambs, feed My sheep.’ ‘I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not.'”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“It is so evident from the clear and frequent testimonies of Holy Writ that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian can dare to deny it. But in judging and determining the nature of this unity many have erred in various ways. Not the foundation of the Church alone, but its whole constitution, belongs to the class of things effected by Christ’s free choice. For this reason the entire case must be judged by what was actually done. We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: ‘I believe in one Church.’ ‘The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts… We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence… Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution – a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it’ (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own – ‘I will build my church;’ any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“But he who dissents even in one point from divinely revealed truth absolutely rejects all faith, since he thereby refuses to honor God as the supreme truth and the formal motive of faith. ‘In many things they are with me, in a few things not with me; but in those few things in which they are not with me the many things in which they are will not profit them’ (S. Augustinus in Psal. liv., n. 19). And this indeed most deservedly; for they, who take from Christian doctrine what they please, lean on their own judgments, not on faith; and not ‘bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ’ (2 Cor. x., 5), they more truly obey themselves than God. ‘You, who believe what you like, believe yourselves rather than the gospel’ (S. Augustinus, lib. xvii., Contra Faustum Manichaeum, cap. 3).”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”, 1896 A.D.

“Christian faith reposes not on human but on divine authority, for what God has revealed ‘we believe not on account of the intrinsic evidence of the truth perceived by the natural light of our reason, but on account of the authority of God revealing, who cannot be deceived nor Himself deceive.’ It follows as a consequence that whatever things are manifestly revealed by God we must receive with a similar and equal assent. To refuse to believe any one of them is equivalent to rejecting them all, for those at once destroy the very groundwork of faith who deny that God has spoken to men, or who bring into doubt His infinite truth and wisdom. To determine, however, which are the doctrines divinely revealed belongs to the teaching Church, to whom God has entrusted the safekeeping and interpretation of His utterances. But the supreme teacher in the Church is the Roman Pontiff. Union of minds, therefore, requires, together with a perfect accord in the one faith, complete submission and obedience of will to the Church and to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself. This obedience should, however, be perfect, because it is enjoined by faith itself, and has this in common with faith, that it cannot be given in shreds; nay, were it not absolute and perfect in every particular, it might wear the name of obedience, but its essence would disappear. Christian usage attaches such value to this perfection of obedience that it has been, and will ever be, accounted the distinguishing mark by which we are able to recognize Catholics.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”, 1890 A.D.

“To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”, 1885 A.D.

“Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice – not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion – it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“The organization and constitution of Christian society can in no wise be changed, neither can any one of its members live as he may choose, nor elect that mode of fighting which best pleases him. For, in effect, he scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God.” ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“But the mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place. ‘The Son of Man came that the world might be saved by Him’ (John iii., 17). ‘For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved’ (Acts iv., 12). The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ, and the blessings flowing therefrom. Wherefore, by the will of its Founder, it is necessary that this Church should be one in all lands and at all times. To justify the existence of more than one Church it would be necessary to go outside this world, and to create a new and unheard-of race of men.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“Hence, as it is clear that God absolutely willed that there should be unity in His Church, and as it is evident what kind of unity He willed, and by means of what principle He ordained that this unity should be maintained, we may address the following words of St. Augustine to all who have not deliberately closed their minds to the truth: ‘When we see the great help of God, such manifest progress and such abundant fruit, shall we hesitate to take refuge in the bosom of that Church, which, as is evident to all, possesses the supreme authority of the Apostolic See through the Episcopal succession? In vain do heretics rage round it; they are condemned partly by the judgment of the people themselves, partly by the weight of councils, partly by the splendid evidence of miracles. To refuse to the Church the primacy is most impious and above measure arrogant. And if all learning, no matter how easy and common it may be, in order to be fully understood requires a teacher and master, what can be greater evidence of pride and rashness than to be unwilling to learn about the books of the divine mysteries from the proper interpreter, and to wish to condemn them unknown?’ (De Unitate Credendi, cap. xvii., n. 35). It is then undoubtedly the office of the Church to guard Christian doctrine and to propagate it in its integrity and purity. But this is not all: the object for which the Church has been instituted is not wholly attained by the performance of this duty. For, since Jesus Christ delivered Himself up for the salvation of the human race, and to this end directed all His teaching and commands, so He ordered the Church to strive, by the truth of its doctrine, to sanctify and to save mankind. But faith alone cannot compass so great, excellent, and important an end. There must needs be also the fitting and devout worship of God, which is to be found chiefly in the divine Sacrifice and in the dispensation of the Sacraments, as well as salutary laws and discipline. All these must be found in the Church, since it continues the mission of the Savior for ever. The Church alone offers to the human race that religion – that state of absolute perfection – which He wished, as it were, to be incorporated in it. And it alone supplies those means of salvation which accord with the ordinary counsels of Providence.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“And, since it was necessary that His divine mission should be perpetuated to the end of time, He took to Himself disciples, trained by himself, and made them partakers of His own authority. And, when He had invoked upon them from Heaven the Spirit of Truth, He bade them go through the whole world and faithfully preach to all nations what He had taught and what He had commanded, so that by the profession of His doctrine and the observance of His laws, the human race might attain to holiness on earth and never-ending happiness in Heaven. In this wise, and on this principle, the Church was begotten. If we consider the chief end of His Church and the proximate efficient causes of salvation, it is undoubtedly spiritual; but in regard to those who constitute it, and to the things which lead to these spiritual gifts, it is external and necessarily visible.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“Every one has to regulate his mode of conduct according to this constitution of the Church, which it is not in the power of any man to change.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“No better citizen is there, whether in time of peace or war, than the Christian who is mindful of his duty; but such a one should be ready to suffer all things, even death itself, rather than abandon the cause of God or of the Church.”   ~Pope Leo XIII

“For beyond the mere name of Christian, beyond the mere profession of faith, Christian virtues are necessary for the Christian, and upon this depends, not only the eternal salvation of their souls, but also the peace and prosperity of the human family and brotherhood.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Exeunte Iam Anno”

“In these Our days it is well to revive these examples of Our forefathers. First and foremost, it is the duty of all Catholics worthy of the name and wishful to be known as most loving children of the Church, to reject without swerving whatever is inconsistent with so fair a title; to make use of popular institutions, so far as can honestly be done, for the advancement of truth and righteousness; to strive that liberty of action shall not transgress the bounds marked out by nature and the law of God; to endeavor to bring back all civil society to the pattern and form of Christianity which We have described.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“All, moreover, are bound to love the Church as their common mother, to obey her laws, promote her honor, defend her rights, and to endeavor to make her respected and loved by those over whom they have authority.    ~Pope Leo XIII, “Immortale Dei”

“Whosoever departs from the Church wanders far from Christ.”   ~Pope Leo XIII

“The essential beauty and comeliness of the Church ought greatly to influence the minds of those who consider it.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“The Catholic Church…alone has been committed the charge of handing down to all ages the benefits purchased for us by Jesus Christ.”    ~Pope Leo XIII, “Libertas Praestantissimum”

“That the Church is a divine institution is most clearly proved by the splendor and glory of those gifts and graces with which she is adorned, and whose author and giver is the Holy Ghost.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Divinum Illud Munus”

“The Church is not an association of Christians brought together by chance, but is a divinely established and admirably constituted society, having for its direct and proximate purpose to lead the world to peace and holiness.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

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

“It can never be that the Church committed to the care of Peter shall succumb or in any wise fail. ‘For the Church, as the edifice of Christ who has wisely built ‘His house upon a rock,’ cannot be conquered by the gates of Hell, which may prevail over any man who shall be off the rock and outside the Church, but shall be powerless against it'”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Satis Cognitum”

“No gift of God either to individuals or to nations is greater than to receive by His grace the Catholic faith, and having received it, to keep it with perseverance. This gift contains an abundance of other gifts by means of which individual persons receive both eternal happiness in heaven and greatness and prosperity for their state on earth.”    ~Pope Leo XIII, “Quod Multum”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s