Category Archives: Catholic Church

The One Church

Excerpts from a sermon by Archbishop John Hughes, on the laying of the cornerstone of the Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Brooklyn, NY, 1853, wherein he speaks profoundly on unity of Faith in the One Church established by Christ.

MY DEAR BRETHREN— I can have no hope that my voice will be able to reach the boundaries of an assemblage as this which I see before and around me. With silence on your part, the few words which I have to address you may be heard to a certain distance; but should there be the least disturbance, it will be impossible for you to hear me, although I should wish my voice to be trumpet-loud, so that you might know the sentiments which this auspicious occasion has awakened. Who will say henceforth that the love of God, the faith of God’s Church, the zeal for His glory, are diminished on the soil of freedom and liberty? Who will dare to say so, seeing as I see such a multitude of people as now surrounds me? And what, dear brethren, has brought you to this scene? Was it mere curiosity? No doubt some have been attracted even by curiosity to come here, but who knows whether they shall not carry away with them something more solid, something more advantageous to themselves, than the gratification of an appetite for novelty. We have just laid the coner-stone of a Church, not a temple, for the Pagans had temples, but we have none. We have a Church composed of many buildings, if you will, of many multitudes, if you will, but still only one Church, neither more nor less; and therefore this is not the laying of a new temple, or a mere temple of worship. It is that, if you will, but it is more; it is part of the universal and everlasting Church which Jesus Christ founded on earth, and which is called the Catholic Church. It is one Church; the worshippers in that one Church being of various lineage, various climates, various colors and complexions even, but still the people of one divine, universal, and eternal Church. And if there could be, by possibility, an edifice on earth capacious enough to hold them all– one single Church– they would find themselves perfectly in harmony as to every rite of worship, and a second Church would not be necessary.

Such, dearly beloved brethren, is the thought awakened in my mind by the circumstances of this occasion, in which it would seem as if everything cooperated to make it one of the most solemn, one of the most stirring instances of Catholic zeal that has been witnessed, I will not say simply in the city of Brooklyn, but I will say in the Archdiocese of New York.  For though I have been present on many similar occasions – ceremonies of laying cornerstones – I confess I have seen nothing before that has approximated to the ideal of the solemnity of such a ceremony, or to be compared with what I now witness, and with what is around me.  And what, dearly beloved brethren, is the meaning of this?  Oh, I infer from it a glorious meaning; I infer from it that no change of skies, no transition from one place to another, can, by possibility, destroy or diminish in the heart of the Catholic the feeling of love which he has for his God, and the feeling of zeal he has for his religion. The more the religion is persecuted on earth, the dearer it becomes to him; and hence, sometimes the attempt is made to account for Catholic zeal, where Protestant governments attempt to crush and persecute our religion. But there is nothing of the kind here; we are free as all the rest – as free as the Mormons, as free as the Presbyterian, as free as the Methodist, as free as any people who call themselves by any name. And, in the absence of all persecution, why is it that such a multitude, such a sea of upturned faces, present themselves before me today? Why is it? Because of the instinct of Catholic Faith, the divine instinct communicated in its germ in baptism, and which abides in the hearts of those who have been baptized; because, although we, you and I, are but the beings of the day, still we do not separate ourselves from our ancestors in the faith for eighteen hundred years who have passed away, nor are we separated from our ancestors in the faith for eighteen hundred years to come. Who will limit the time? Through all ages of the world in which our successors may still preach the same everlasting doctrines of truth which the Son of God originally communicated to His Apostles, and through them to the whole world.

We, Catholic brethren, live in an age in which there is a tendency abroad to dispute everything, from the existence of God Himself downwards. And those who do not recognize the communion of saints have become stupid dupes of spiritual rappers, and all such things; and you must preserve the faith for them and for their posterity. You are the guardians; you are the depositories of the truth. Though they yield to these astonishing deceptions, let them see by the steadiness, the nobleness, the consistency, the order, and the mind which has influenced the Catholic faith.

Oh! that faith in the Catholic Church! Oh! that glorious faith, from the presence of which opinions shrink away like the mists of the morning before the rising sun! Oh! that faith of everlasting truth, one and the same, universal and existing through all time, because it is the Word, the declaration from the lips of God Himself, and therefore cannot be a deception. This is your faith, and this is my explanation for the reason why you have assembled here today. For what purpose? To raise a temple. I have explained the meaning of temple. Call it a wing of the one universal Catholic Church, a mere little sacristy, a portion, an outlet, an enlargement of that one edifice which constitutes the universal Church of our divine Saviour. This is the object for which we have assembled. And there is one circumstance which I will refer to as calculated to inspire still more your zeal, not only at the commencement, but till the crowning stone and the completion of this great work – an it is this. But oh! why may I not require that an angel should touch & purify my lips before I refer to it? It is, that in this country and elsewhere, the divinity of Jesus Christ is denied; and, in proportion as the enemies of the faith multiply their blasphemies against God and against His Church, in the same proportion does the Catholic Church ever stand our firmly and strongly against every approach to such apostasy. Hence it is that we know Jesus Christ to be God and man. He is God from eternity, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He is man born in time, conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin, and that Virgin’s name is Mary. And the Catholic Church has ever taught, and has ever held, that Mary, being the Mother of God, though in one sense the child of Eve – Eve’s daughter – yet, as she was to be the mother of God incarnate, He had preserved her immaculate, untouched by the stain and the defilement of original sin. And hence the Church, from the beginning, has always been accustomed to regard Mary, the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as conceived without sin. And now, so far as I know, these rude foundations are the first that have ever been laid on this continent in attestation of the conviction, and faith, and feeling of the Catholic Church.

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The Catholicity of the Church

The Catholic Church is the most unique institution that has ever existed. Only she claims to be the authentic Bride of Christ.  Through her, we live and have life in sanctifying grace, for it is to her that Our Lord left the means of salvation, which are found through the Sacraments.

“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”, 1896 A.D.

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. This (note of catholicity), therefore, is to be taught as a most reliable criterion, by which to distinguish the true from a false Church.”   ~Catechism of the Council of Trent

Society of St. Pius X saves architectural jewel in the Netherlands

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Despite the decline of Faith in the Netherlands and much of Europe, pockets of Catholics keeping the Faith continue to be a shining beacon, a light of Catholic Truth and tradition, saving and restoring the lost treasures of our ancestors.

The church of St. Willibrord was built in the 1870’s, when the Catholic hierarchy was reestablished in the Netherlands.

Nestled in the historic center of Utrecht, it is one of the city’s hidden treasures and one of the most beautiful neo-Gothic churches in the country. The Society of St. Pius X has just become the owner of this monumental jewel.

Very richly decorated and in perfect condition after a splendid interior restoration, the edifice reproduces in a unique way the spirit of medieval art that preceded Calvinist iconoclasm. The monumental organ built by Michaël Maarschalkerweerd is another of the church’s attractions.

In the ‘60s, this jewel came close to being destroyed, but fortunately it has since been classified as a historical monument and designated as a pilot program for the preservation of the European architectural patrimony.

The Priestly Society of St. Pius X is now the building’s owner and will celebrate Mass there on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. In order to celebrate the event with appropriate pomp, the ceremony of the reconciliation and blessing of the church will take place on November 12, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a Pontifical High Mass celebrated by the Superior General, Bishop Bernard Fellay.

Why a reconciliation ceremony? Because the previous association, in order to cover the operating costs, organized cultural events in the church; some were acceptable, concerts, for example, but others were entirely inappropriate given the dignity of the edifice. The sanctuary must also be blessed, because the church was desacralized when it was put up for sale and then bought by the Society.

By restoring to the true cult an architectural jewel consecrated to St. Willibrord (657-739), first bishop of Utrecht, apostle of Frisia and the Netherlands where his feast is celebrated on November 7, the Society of St. Pius X gives a concrete illustration of its patron saint’s motto: omnia instaurare in Christo.

Treasury of the Church

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Our Lord has made the Church the dispenser of the mysteries of salvation.

“The only begotten Son of God … ‘made unto us from God, wisdom, justice, sanctification and redemption’ [1 Cor. 3], ‘… by His own blood entered once into the holies having obtained eternal redemption’ [Heb. 9:12]. ‘For not with corruptible things as gold or silver, but with the precious blood of His very (Son) … He has redeemed us’ [cf. 1 Pet. 1:18-19], who innocent, immolated on the altar of the Cross is known to have poured out not a little drop of blood, which however on account of union with the Word would have been sufficient for the redemption of the whole human race, but copiously as a kind of flowing stream, so that ‘from the soles of His feet even to the top of His Head no soundness was found in Him’ [Is. 1:6]. Therefore, how great a treasure did the good Father acquire from this for the Church militant, so that the mercy of so great an effusion was not rendered useless, vain or superfluous, wishing to lay up treasures for His sons, so that thus the Church is an infinite treasure to men, so that they who use it, become the friends of God [Wis. 7:14]. Indeed this treasure … through blessed Peter, the keeper of the keys of heaven and his successors, his vicars on earth, He has committed to be dispensed for the good of the faithful, both from proper and reasonable causes, now for the whole, now for partial remission of temporal punishment due to sins, in general as in particular (according as they know to be expedient with God), to be applied mercifully to those who truly repentant have confessed. Indeed, to the mass of this treasure the merits of the Blessed Mother of God and of all the elect from the first just even to the last, are known to give their help; concerning the consumption or the diminution of this there should be no fear at any time, because of the infinite merits of Christ…as well as for the reason that the more are brought to justification by its application, the greater is the increase of the merits themselves.” ~Clement VI, “Unigenitus Dei Filius”, 1343 A.D.)

Deus Vult!

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Deus Vult! “God wills it!” God conquers! The Church triumphs over her enemies!

“As these ages sped, the Church of God, though afflicted by many a disaster and social upheaval, torn by many a heresy and schism, anguished by the treason of her followers and by the disloyalty of her sons, nevertheless, trusting in the promises of her Founder, while human institutions of varying origin that surrounded her fell in ruins, not only stood safe and unharmed, but also in every age glowed with brighter beauty in noble lives of holiness and devotion, while in many Christians she made the fire of charity burn with growing heat. Moreover, thanks to her missionaries and martyrs she brought into her Fold fresh nations, among whom the pristine glory of virginity renews its bloom and the rank of priest and Bishop keeps its vigor. In fine, so deeply has she imbued all peoples with her spirit of charity and justice, that the very men who treat her with indifference or hostility, cannot refrain from borrowing her way of speaking and acting.”  ~Pope Pius XI, “Ad Salutem”, 1930

“Men should realize that all attempts to overthrow the ‘House of God’ are in vain. For this is the Church founded on Peter, ‘Rock,’ not merely in name but in truth. Against this ‘the gates of hell will not prevail’, ‘for it is founded on a rock.’ There has never been an enemy of the Christian religion who was not simultaneously at wicked war with the See of Peter, since while this See remained strong the survival of the Christian religion was assured. As St. Irenaeus proclaims openly to all, ‘by the order and succession of the Roman pontiffs the tradition from the Apostles in the Church and the proclamation of the truth has come down to us. And this is the fullest demonstration that it is the one and the same life-giving faith which has been preserved in the Church until now since the time of the Apostles and has been handed on in truth.'” ~Pope Pius VII, “Diu Satis”, 1800)

 

 

Through Mary, the Church will be restored

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Read here excerpts from a beautiful sermon given by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on August 22, 1987, wherein he speaks of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her role in this crisis, namely to restore the Catholic Faith in the hearts and homes of the world.

~Damsel of the Faith

What else can She wish but to see Her Divine Son reign over the whole earth, over souls, over families, and over societies, as He reigns in heaven? This is why She comes down to earth, to beg us, every one of us: “It is necessary for Jesus to reign over you.” She wishes it, She desires it, and She gives us the means.

They often tell us: do not rend the Church, do not divide the Church, do not cause a schism; yet, my dear brothers and sisters, tell me: where is the unity of the Church? What causes the unity of the Church? Open all the theology books, open all the books by the saints, open all the books by the doctors and theologians: what causes the unity of the Church is the unity of faith. When someone no longer has the Catholic Faith, he separates himself from the Church. There you have it! And every person invested with authority in the Church since Our Lord founded it, every person who has some authority in the Church and particularly all the clergy, and particularly the bishops, and especially the Pope, all of them are at the service of this unity, they are at the service of this faith: “Go teach the Gospel,” not some other Gospel and not just any Gospel: “Go teach the Gospel.” Be at the service of this message that I have given you, but you must not change the message.

Well, then, we keep and cherish the whole faith; not for anything in the world would we want to remove one iota, the least bit of our faith; we want to keep it intact, absolutely intact. And it is because we want to keep this unity of faith that that those who are losing it persecute us.

Ask for the Grace of Fidelity

Let us make the resolution, here at the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and let us ask her for the grace to keep the faith, to remain Catholics until the end of our days, to have this grace of final perseverance in the Catholic faith. Why did all the martyrs shed their blood? In order to keep the faith. If we must be martyrs, if we must be not martyrs by blood but martyrs in our souls, in our hearts, in our minds, well, then, we will be martyrs, and we will be the heirs of those who shed their blood so as not to deny their faith.

This is what we must promise the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and try to make everyone around us understand so that they might not lose the Faith… lest, in losing their faith, they lose their souls. These, my dear brothers and sisters, are the resolutions that we must make today: to pray, to sacrifice ourselves, to make the sacrifice of our life, to offer our life for the redemption of the world, for the salvation of souls, for the salvation of our souls, the salvation of the souls of our families, of the members of our family.

And Ask That the Church may Regain Her Splendor

And finally ask for the renewal of the Holy Catholic Church: that the Church might regain her splendor, that the Church might regain her unity in the faith, that the Church might regain her thousands and thousands of religious vocations as before, that once again novitiates might be filled, that seminaries might be filled so as to keep the Catholic Faith, so as to live the Catholic Faith! This is what we are striving to do, my dear brothers and sisters, together with those whom you see present here, these young priests, these young seminarians. As soon as people want to keep the faith, as soon as people want to keep the Sacrifice of the Mass and the true Eucharist, as soon as people are devoted body and soul to the Church, there are vocations, because we are in the truth. Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to bless our seminaries, to bless our young priests so that they might be apostles; to bless our religious, the Sisters of the Society, all the sisters who devote themselves to Tradition, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Benedictines…all these nuns who want to keep the Catholic faith and want to spread it.

And may the Virgin Mary deign to bless us so that we might continue courageously, despite the trials, to serve the kingdom of Her Divine Son. Adveniat regnum tuum, may Thy kingdom come, yes, O Lord Jesus, may Thy reign extend over persons, over families and over societies, so that this reign may continue in eternity!

Our hope, life and salvation – the Catholic Church (Pt. 2)

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Part II of my previous post, “Our hope, life and salvation – the Catholic Church,” a collection of quotes by Pope Leo XIII. The words of this holy Pope bring forth the glory and beauty of the Catholic Church and her doctrine. Highly recommended reading for any Catholic. I pray that someday soon the Pope who saw the battle between Our Lord and Satan for the soul of the Church will be a canonized Pope-Saint.

“One in unity of doctrine as in unity of government and this Catholic, such is the Church; and since God has established that its center and foundation be in the Chair of Peter, it is rightly called Roman; for ‘where Peter is, there is the Church.’ Therefore, whoever wishes to be called by the name of Catholic, ought truly to heed the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: ‘I who follow no one as first except Christ, associate myself in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock, I know the Church is built [Matt. 16:18]; … whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth’ [Matt. 12:30].”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Testem Benevolentiae”

“The only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, who came on earth to bring salvation and the light of divine wisdom to men, conferred a great and wonderful blessing on the world when, about to ascend again into heaven, He commanded the Apostles to go and teach all nations, and left the Church which He had founded to be the common and supreme teacher of the peoples. For men whom the truth had set free were to be preserved by the truth; nor would the fruits of heavenly doctrines by which salvation comes to men have long remained had not the Lord Christ appointed an unfailing teaching authority to train the minds to faith.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Aeterni Patris”

“The world goes on its laborious way, proud of its riches, of its power, of its arms, of its genius; the Church goes onward along the course of ages with an even step, trusting in God only, to Whom, day and night, she lifts her eyes and her suppliant hands. Even though in her prudence she neglects not the human aid which Providence and the times afford her, not in these does she put her trust, which rests in prayer, in supplication, in the invocation of God. Thus it is that she renews her vital breath; the diligence of her prayer has caused her, in her aloofness from worldly things and in her continual union with the Divine will, to live the tranquil and peaceful life of Our very Lord Jesus Christ; being herself the image of Christ, Whose happy and perpetual joy was hardly marred by the horror of the torments He endured for us. This important doctrine of Christian wisdom has been ever believed and practiced by Christians worthy of the name.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Octobri Mense”

“The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that ‘we being dead to sin, should live to justice’ (1 Peter ii., 24) – that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. ‘The just man liveth by faith’ (Galatians iii., II). ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith.”   ~Pope Leo XIII

“Now, as all salvation comes from Jesus Christ – for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved – Our ardent desire is that the most holy name of Jesus should rapidly pervade and fill every land. And here, indeed, is a duty which the Church, faithful to the divine mission entrusted to her, has never neglected. What has been the object of her labors for more than nineteen centuries? Is there any other work she has undertaken with greater zeal and constancy than that of bringing the nations of the earth to the truth and principles of Christianity? Today, as ever, by Our authority, the heralds of the Gospel constantly cross the seas to reach the farthest corners of the earth; and We pray to God daily that in His goodness He may deign to increase the number of His ministers who are really worthy of this apostolate, and who are ready to sacrifice their convenience, their health, and their very life, if need be, in order to extend the frontiers of the kingdom of Christ.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae”

“Wherefore, He willed not only to train disciples in His doctrine, but to unite them into one society, and closely conjoin them in one body, ‘which is the Church,’ whereof He would be the head. The life of Jesus Christ pervades, therefore, the entire framework of this body, cherishes and nourishes its every member, uniting each with each, and making all work together to the same end, albeit the action of each be not the same. Hence it follows that not only is the Church a perfect society far excelling every other, but it is enjoined by her Founder that for the salvation of mankind she is to contend ‘as an army drawn up in battle array.’ 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”

“In truth, Christ our Lord, setting Himself to fulfill the commandment which His Father had given Him, straightway imparted a new form and fresh beauty to all things, taking away the effects of their time-worn age. For He healed the wounds which the sin of our first father had inflicted on the human race; He brought all men, by nature children of wrath, into favor with God; He led to the light of truth men wearied out by longstanding errors; He renewed to every virtue those who were weakened by lawlessness of every kind; and, giving them again an inheritance of never-ending bliss, He added a sure hope that their mortal and perishable bodies should one day be partakers of immortality and of the glory of heaven. In order that these unparalleled benefits might last as long as men should be found on earth, He entrusted to His Church the continuance of His work; and, looking to future times, He commanded her to set in order whatever might have become deranged in human society, and to restore whatever might have fallen into ruin.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Arcanum”

“[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. And since the Church alone has, through the grace of God, received the means necessary to realize such end, she has her fixed laws, special spheres of action, and a certain method, fixed and conformable to her nature, of governing Christian peoples. But the exercise of such governing power is difficult, and leaves room for numberless conflicts, inasmuch as the Church rules peoples scattered through every portion of the earth, differing in race and customs, who, living under the sway of the laws of their respective countries, owe obedience alike to the civil and religious authorities. The duties enjoined are incumbent on the same persons, as already stated, and between them there exists neither contradiction nor confusion; for some of these duties have relation to the prosperity of the State, others refer to the general good of the Church, and both have as their object to train men to perfection.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“As for what concerns the exterior and temporal prosperity of the Church, it is evident that she has to cope with most malicious and powerful adversaries. Too often has she suffered at their hands the abolition of her rights, the diminution and oppression of her liberties, scorn and affronts to her authority, and every conceivable outrage. And if in their wickedness her enemies have not accomplished all the injury they had resolved upon and striven to do, they nevertheless seem to go on unchecked. But, despite them the Church, amidst all these conflicts, will always stand out and increase in greatness and glory. Nor can human reason rightly understand why evil, apparently so dominant, should yet be so restricted as regards its results; whilst the Church, driven into straits, comes forth glorious and triumphant. And she ever remains more steadfast in virtue because she draws men to the acquisition of the ultimate good. And since this is her mission, her prayers must have much power to effect the end and purpose of God’s providential and merciful designs towards men. Thus, when men pray with and through the Church, they at length obtain what Almighty God has designed from all eternity to bestow upon mankind.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Octobri Mense”

“Hence We are not, and cannot be anxious on account of the Church, but We greatly fear for the salvation of very many, who proudly despise the Church, and by every kind of error rush to ruin; We are concerned for those States which We cannot but see are turned from God and sleeping in the midst of danger in dull security and insensibility. ‘Nothing is equal to the Church;’ [says St. John Chrysostom,] ‘how many have opposed the Church and have themselves perished? The Church reaches to the heavens; such is the Church’s greatness. She conquers when attacked; when beset by snares she triumphs; she struggles and is not overthrown, she fights and is not conquered.’ Not only is she not conquered, but she preserves that corrective power over nature, and that effective strength of life that springs from God Himself, and is unchanged by time. And, if by this power she has freed the world grown old in vice and lost in superstition, why should she not again recover it when gone astray? Let strife and suspicion at length cease, let all obstacles be removed, give the possession of all her rights to the Church, whose duty it is to guard and spread abroad the benefits gained by Jesus Christ, then We shall know by experience, where the light of the Gospel is, and what the power of Christ can do.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Exeunte Iam Anno”

ut this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor self-devotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God’s law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men’s salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: ‘He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me’ (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man’s ‘Way’; the Church also is his ‘Way’ – Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus”

“Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.’ To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world.’ Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”