Credo – CATHOLIC CHURCH (he katholike ekklesia)

(The following is 100% taken from New Advent.org, the explanation is sufficient, see website at end of article) Please note that St Augustine prior commentary is pivotal in several sections in keeping with the City of God instructional theme).

In confirmation of this, various prophetic utterances of Holy Scripture are quoted, after which the Catechism proceeds: “To this Church, built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets (Eph2:20) belong all the faithful who have existed from Adam to the present day, or shall exist in the profession of the true faith, he end of time, all of whom are founded and raised upon the one cornerstone, Christ, who made both one, and announced peace to them that are near, and to them that are afar. 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, therefore, is to be taught as a most just criterion to distinguish the true from a false church.” {see (Gen8:13-17);(Gen7:9-10); (Heb11:7); (Ezek9:1)}

I History:

The word Catholic  (katholikos from katholou — throughout the whole, i.e., universal) occurs in the Greek classics, e.g., in Aristotle and Polybius, and was freely used by the earlier Christian writers in what we may call its primitive and non-ecclesiastical sense. Thus we meet such phrases as the catholic resurrection (Justin Martyr), “the catholic goodness of God” (Tertullian), “the four catholic winds” (Irenaeus), where we should now speak of “the general resurrection”, “the absolute or universal goodness of God”, “the four principal winds”, etc. The word seems in this usage to be opposed to merikos (partial) or idios (particular), and one familiar example of this conception still survives in the ancient phrase “Catholic Epistles” as applied to those of St. Peter, St. Jude, etc., which were so called as being addressed not to particular local communities, but to the Church at large.

Universal Church Cloaked in Martyr’s Blood

The combination “the Catholic Church” (he katholike ekklesia) is found for the first time in the letter of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans, written about the year 110. The words run: “Wheresoever the Bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church. Even in St. Cyprian (c. 252) it is difficult to determine how far he uses the word Catholic significantly, and how far as a mere name. The title, for instance, of his longest work is “On the Unity of the Catholic Church”, and we frequently meet in his writings such phrases as catholica fides (Ep. xxv; ed. Hartel, II, 538); catholica unitas (Ep. xxv, p. 600); catholica regula (Ep. lxx, p. 767), etc. ” A little later, Clement of Alexandria speaks very clearly. “We say”, he declares, “that both in substance and in seeming, both in origin and in development, the primitive and Catholic Church is the only one, agreeing as it does in the unity of one faith” (Stromata, VII, xvii; P.G., IX, 552). From this and other passages which might be quoted, the technical use seems to have been clearly established by the beginning of the third century. In this sense of the word it implies sound doctrine as opposed to heresy and unity of organization as opposed to schism (Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, Part II, vol. I, 414 sqq. and 621 sqq.; II, 310-312) Among the Greeks it was natural that while Catholic served as the distinctive description of the one Church, the etymological significance of the word was never quite lost sight of.

Thus in the “Catechetical Discourses” of St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 347) he insists on the one hand (sect 26): “And if ever thou art sojourning in any city, inquire not simply where the Lord’s house is–for the sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens, houses of the Lord–nor merely where the church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of the holy body the mother of us all.” On the other hand when discussing the word Catholic, which already appears in his form of the baptismal creed, St. Cyril remarks: ( sect. 23) “Now it the Church is called Catholic because it is throughout the world, from one end of the earth to the other.” There can be no doubt. however, that it was the struggle with the Donatists which first drew out the full theological significance of the epithet Catholic and passed it on to the schoolmen as an abiding possession. When the Donatists claimed to represent the one true Church of Christ, and formulated certain marks of the Church, which they professed to find in their own body, it could not fail to strike their orthodox opponents that the title Catholic, by which the Church of Christ was universally known, afforded a far surer test, and that this was wholly inapplicable to a sect which was confined to one small corner of the world. The Donatist schism in Africa began in 311 and flourished just one hundred years, until the conference at Carthage in 411, after which its importance waned.

II Church Counsel Formalized Name CATHOLIC:

It is adopted, for instance, in the “Catechismus ad Parochos”, which in accordance with a decree of the Council of Trent was drawn up and published in 1566 with the highest official sanction (see Christian Doctrine). In this authoritative document we read:

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 republics of human institution, or the conventicles of heretics she is not circumscribed within the limits of any one kingdom, nor confined to the members of any one society of men, but embraces within the amplitude of her love, all mankind, whether barbarians or Scythians, slaves or freemen, male or female.

The Scriptural argument seems first to have been developed by St. Optatus of Milieve against the Donatists, and it was equally employed by St Augustine when he took up the same controversy a few years later. Adducing a large number of passages in the Psalms (e.g. Pss. ii and lxxi), with Daniel (ch. ii), Isaiah (e.g. liv, 3), and other prophetic writers, the Fathers and modern theologians alike draw attention to the picture which is there afforded of the Kingdom of Christ the Messiah as something gloriously and conspicuously spread throughout the world, e.g. “I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession”, “He shall rule from sea to sea”, “All the nations shall serve Him”, etc., etc. Moreover, in combination with these we have to notice our Lord’s instructions and promises: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations”, “You shall be witnesses unto me . . . even to the uttermost part of the earth”(Acts1:8), or St Paul’s words quoting (Ps18), “Yes, verily, their sound went out over all the earth and their words unto the ends of the whole world”(Rom10:18), etc. But the real strength of the argument lies in the patristic evidence, for such words of Scripture as those just quoted are cited and interpreted, not by one or two only, but by a large number of different Fathers, both of the East and of the West, and nearly always in such terms as are consistent only with the actual diffusion over regions which to them represented, morally speaking, the whole world. Thus St Augustine (Epist. cxcix; P.L., XXXIII, 922, 923) explains that the nations which formed no part of the Roman Empire had already joined the Church which was fructifying and increasing throughout the whole world. But he adds that there will be always need and room for it still to grow; and, after quoting Romans 10:14, he adds: In those nations therefore among whom the Church is not yet known, it has still to find a place [ in quibus ergo gentibus nondum est ecclesia, oportet ut sit], not indeed in such a way that all who are there should become believers; for it is all nations that are promised, not all the men of all nations. . . . Otherwise how shall that prophesy be fulfilled, ‘Ye shall be hated by all for my name’s sake’, unless among all nations there are those who hate as well as those who are hated?

III Catechism of the Catholic Church: (Jn17:18) As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. ccc834: Churches are fully Catholic through their communion with One of them the “Church of Rome”, “which presides in Charity” For with this Church by reason of its “per-eminence, the whole church, that is faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord. Indeed since the Incarnate Word decent to us, all christian churches everywhere have held the great church of Rome basis and foundation according to the Savior’s promise. Ccc836: Who belongs to the Catholic Church? All people are called to this Catholic Unity of the People of God, are ordered the catholic faithful and all mankind called by God’s grace to salvation. Although incorporated in the Church, those who don’t persevere in Charity is not saved. He remains in the bosom of the Church in body but not in heart. Those who believe in Christ and are properly baptized in Christ but do not profess the Catholic faith are put in a “certain” but imperfect communion with the Catholic Church. Without the Fullness of the entire faith are unable to participate in the common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist. (Rom11:29) For the gifts and the calling are without repentance. (purely by the Mercy of God.) ccc845: To reunite all his children scattered and led astray by sin, The Father willed to call the whole of humanity in together into his Sons Church. The Church is where humanity is to rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church Is the World Reconciled. According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah’s Ark, which alone saves (humanity) from the flood. (St Augustine Serm,96,7,9:PL38 588)  

ccc846:OUTSIDE THE CHURCH there is NO SALVATION: How are we to understand this affirmation often repeated by the Church Fathers? It means all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is the body. “Hence they could Not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or remain in it. This affirmation is not aimed at those through no fault of their own do not know Christ and his Church “bride.” (Eph5:25-26) Husbands love your wives, as Christ, so loved the church, and delivered himself up for it.

PIETA “Pity” only signed sculpture of Michelangelo

ccc849: Mission requirement of the Church’s catholicity: Having been divinely “sent” to the nations that she might be the ‘universal sacrament of salvation’. The Church in Obedient response to the command of her founder, strives to preach the Gospel to all men. (Mt16:15) He saith unto them, But whom do you say, that I am? (Mt28:19-20) Going, therefore, and teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world. Amen. (Eph1:22-23) And he hath put all
to be the head over all the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filled all in all.

St. Augustine, indeed, in his letter to Vincentius (Ep. xciii, in “Corpus Scrip. Eccles. Lat.”, XXXIV, p. 468) protests that he does not argue merely from the name. I do not maintain, he declares equivalently, that the Church must spread throughout all the world, simply because it is called Catholic. I base my proof of its diffusion upon the promises of God and upon the oracles of Holy Scripture. But the saint at the same time makes it clear that the suggestion, that the Church was called Catholic because it observed all God’s Commandments and administered all the sacraments, originated with the Donatists, (Hostile Witness) and he implies that this was a view in which he did not himself concur. Here again the demonstration of the Unity of the Church as built upon a dogmatic basis is fundamental, and the reader must be referred to the article Church. [http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03449a.htm]

If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema, maranatha!”

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