August 21, 2019

The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. #3

CATHOLIC CHURCH: 1 of 4 Marks of the True Church:

We have heard from the great Theologian Augustine, and a few of the theologians from that era, but they were NOT ALONE. Now please read Other Church Fathers, whose voices were recorded by Church History, that uniformly sing the message of the One True Catholic Church instituted by Christ, handed down from his very own Apostles. PART 3.

Next up City: St. Ignatius of Antioch, (A.D. 50-107); Capreolus of Carthage; (c. A.D. late 4th century – A.D. 437); St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 – 450), deacon, bishop of Imola and Ravenna, and Doctor of the Church; Salonius, (flourished/wrote A.D. c.445); Arnobius Junior, (flourished in the 5th century, A.D. c.460); & Gelasius of Cyzicus, (unknown- A.D. c.492)

St. Ignatius of Antioch, (A.D. 50-107), Syrian; ecclesiastical writer, bishop, martyr. A disciple of St. John, the Apostle; he was bishop of Antioch, in which see he succeeded St. Peter, or, as others think, Evodius. He is supposed to have governed that church for about forty years. He suffered martyrdom at Rome in the year 107.

You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. [Earliest instant of the word Catholic used for the Church]

Nor is it permitted without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate the agape; but whatever he approves, this too is pleasing to God, so that whatever is done will be secure and valid. {St. Ignatius of Antioch, to the Smyrnaeans 8:1; Chapter 10,138 [ A.D. 107]}

St Ignatius, Of Antioc “Fresco” Icon

It is good to regard God and the bishop. Who so honors the bishop, honors God; but he who does something and hides it from the bishop, worships the devil.{St. Ignatius of Antioch, to the Smyrnaeans [9] / The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 15-16}

Was it EVEN possible that Martin Luther and OTHER Schismatics NOT know these words of Ignatius? Of Course, he did, and was Disobedient regardless.

St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

The Catholic Church possesses one and the same faith throughout the whole world, as we have already said.

{Against Heresies 1:10 [ A.D. 189]}

Since therefore we have such proofs, it is not necessary to seek the truth among others which it is easy to obtain from the Church; since the Apostles, like a rich man [depositing his money] in a bank, lodged in her hands most copiously all things pertaining to the truth: so that every man, whosoever will, can draw from Her the water of life. For She is the entrance to life; all others are thieves and robbers. On this account, we are bound to avoid them, and to make choice of the things pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth.

For how stands the case? Suppose there should arise a dispute relative to some important question among us.

  • Should we not have recourse to the most ancient churches with which the Apostles held constant intercourse, and learn from them what is certain and clear in regard to the present question?
  • For how should it be if the Apostles themselves had not left us writings?
  • Would it not be necessary [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to those to whom they entrusted to the churches? {Against Heresies 3:4}

The Martyrdom of Polycarp, (A.D. 147), one of the works of the Apostolic Fathers, among the first recorded eyewitness writings from the actual age of the Christian persecutions. The work details Polycarp’s death at the age of 86 years old, at the hands of the Romans, in the 2nd century A.D.; author unknown but the story is recorded by Eusebius who claims to have received it through a letter addressed to the Church of Philomelium by the Church of Smyrna.

When finally he concluded his prayer, after remembering all who had at any time come his way — small folk and great folk, distinguished and undistinguished, and the whole Catholic Church throughout the world — the time for departure came. So they placed him on an ass, and brought him into the city on a great Sabbath. {The Martyrdom of Polycarp [ A.D. 110]}

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist’s errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

Tertullian (160-220AD) died Apostate

Where was Marcion then, that shipmaster of Pontus, the zealous student of Stoicism? Where was Valentinus then, the disciple of Platonism?

For it is evident that those men lived not so long ago — in the reign of Antoninus for the most part — and that they at first were believers in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the Church of Rome under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherus, until on account of their ever restless curiosity, with which they even infected the brethren, they were more than once expelled. {The Prescription Against Heretics 22,30 [ A.D. 200] }

“What the Apostles taught, their disciples approve” Turtullian (see Acts2:42)

Capreolus of Carthage; (c. A.D. late 4th century – A.D. 437), succeeded Aurelius as bishop of Carthage who is known principally as the author of three letters: an Epistula ad Ephesinam synodum addressed to the Council of Ephesus in 431, an Epistula ad Vitalem et Constantium, and an Epistula ad Theodosium Augustum, which reports the death of St. Augustine of Hippo to the emperor Theodosius.

“I, therefore, beseech your holiness (though I have the firmest confidence) that, by the help of God, the Catholic faith will be in all respects firmly established by means of so great a synod (Ephesus) of venerable priests, that, the Holy Spirit working within you, which Spirit, I am confident, will be present in your hearts in all that you do, you shake from you with the force of former authority these novel doctrines, unheard, until now, by ecclesiastical ears, and thus withstand new errors of whatsoever kind they may be; lest the same (errors) which the Church vanquished long ago, and which have sprung up again in these days, and which the authority of the apostolic chair, and the concordant judgment of the priesthood repressed, may, under the pretext of a second examination, seem to recover that voice which was long since quelled.

For, should anything have developed recently, there needs examination, that it may either be approved as rightly spoken, or repudiated as deserving of condemnation; but on matters concerning judgments that have already been passed, if a man calls a teaching into question again, he will simply have seemed to have doubted that faith, which up to now, he had held.

Again, as an example to posterity: that what is now defined relative to Catholic faith may be forever firmly received, those matters which have already been defined by the Fathers, must be preserved inviolate. Since whosoever would declare that what he has defined concerning the right ordering of faith should continue forever, needs his sentiments confirmed, not by his private authority, but also by the judgment of the more ancient (Fathers); so that, in this manner, proving that what he asserts is, both by the decisions of the ancients and of the moderns, the alone truth of the Catholic Church, — a truth descending from the past ages even to the present, or our days, in simple purity and invincible authority, — and that such truth he both utters, and teaches, and holds.”

Cyril of Alexandria said, “Let the epistle that has been read from. . . Capreolus of Carthage, be inserted among the memorials of faith, containing, as it does, a clear opinion; for he wishes the ancient doctrines to be confirmed, but novel and absurd inventions to be condemned and cast aside.” All the bishops exclaimed, “Such are the declarations of us all.”  {Ep. ad Condi. Eph. pp. 490, 491, t. ix. Gallandii. / The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 99-100}

“I believe in the Holy Catholic Church. Because the Church is in Christ, and Christ is in the Church: whosoever, therefore, acknowledges the Church, has confessed that he has believed in the Church.”{Serm. lxii. De Symbolo,p. 97. / The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 110}

Salonius,(flourished/wrote A.D. c.445), the son of St. Eucherius and the disciple of Salvian. It is doubtful whether he was bishop of Vienne or of Geneva. He was present at the Council of Orange in 444.

“Remove not the ancient landmarks which thy fathers set.” (Prv23)

By “the ancient land marks” he means the landmarks of truth and of faith which the Catholic doctors have set from the beginning. This, therefore, does he enjoin, that no one understand (receive) the truth of sacred faith and of evangelic doctrine otherwise than as it has been transmitted by the holy fathers; or, this does he enjoin, that no one interpret the words of the holy Scriptures otherwise than in accordance with the meaning of each (sacred) writer. What are those riches of which he says,

“Lift not up thine eyes to riches which thou canst not have, because they shall make to themselves wings, and shall fly towards Heaven ?” (Prv23)

Those riches are the hidden things of the Godhead, and the secrets of the heavenly mysteries which thou canst not penetrate, nor art able to understand, because these things are patent to the eagles alone, that is, to the heavenly citizens only are they manifested.

“The Heaven above, and the earth beneath, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.”(Prv25)

As the height of Heaven and the depth of earth cannot be comprehended by men, so neither is the capacity of our feebleness able to comprehend, or to penetrate the depths of the knowledge and meaning of the prophets and Apostles.”{Expl. Myst. in Salom. Prov. p. 406, t. viii. Bib. Max. SS. PP./ The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 118-119}

Arnobius Junior,(flourished in the 5th century, A.D. c.460), also known as Arnobius the Younger, Christian priest or bishop in Gaul, author of a mystical and allegorical commentary on the Psalms, first published by Erasmus in 1522, and by him attributed to the elder Arnobius.

“He who came down from Heaven to assume our humanity, never left Heaven, as it is written, “I will fill Heaven and earth” (Jer23)And He who ascended into Heaven from these (terrestrial) things, never abandoned us. For so Himself promised, saying, “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Mt28){Conflict. Arnob. et Serapion. p. 230, t. viii. Bibl. Maxim. SS. PP./ The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 115}

“The seed of the servants of Christ . . . possess the doctrines of the Apostles, and they who shall love the name of the Lord shall dwell therein.” (Ps68) that is, in faith, in doctrine, in the Church, in which our Lord Jesus Christ, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, reigns now and for ages of ages.” Comm. in Ps. lxviii. lb. p. 274./ The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 115}

Applying (Ps103) to Christ, he says:

“It was then He made His angels spirits. Angels are called in the Latin tongue “nuncii”, messengers, and the Gospel is interpreted a good message. He, therefore, then made His angels, that is, the Apostles, spirits, when He said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” And He then made them a burning fire, when the Holy Spirit sat, as fire, on each of them. He then founded the earth on its own firmness, recalling, that is, the earthly minds of the Gentiles, — which, in the building of the tower, had been divided, — unto their own firmness. He strengthens them by that one word, Jesus Christ, and He so founds among them His Church upon this rock, as that it shall not be moved forever and ever.

Let philosophers keep to themselves their fruitless inquiries, and with mighty toil declare that they can discover that the earth has a deep beneath it, wherewith it is clothed as with a garment, but let us turn the point of our discourse to this earth which is founded on the firmness of the Church. For the deep encompasses it. For the depth of the riches of wisdom which encompasses it is fathomless, and above its waters shall the mountains stand. Whosoever has their hearts raised on high are mountains, and above them the waters stand. Above them stands the hallowing of Baptism; they stand in the right faith, they are not driven about by every wind of doctrine. . . . This great sea which stretch wide its arms, etc., — He would have us know that a great and wide sea, is the whole law of the Old and New Testament.

There are creeping things without number; in the law the Jews; in the law the Samaritans; and in the law the Heretics; and in the law the Catholics; in the law, kings, etc.; in the law, little and great, there the ships go, the alone churches of all the provinces, (churches) which bear their passengers to the kingdom of Heaven, from the cities of earth to the city of Jerusalem, our mother. But he that shall be found without a ship in this great sea, “shall meet with the dragon which has been formed to make sport of them” . . . with those, that is, who repudiate the ships, and deliver themselves up, like animals, to the waves and depths of the law, without a master who is a Catholic, and who derives the tradition of the law from the Apostles.

Wherefore, because that they are without the Church, wandering about among creatures little and great, they meet with a dragon, that so makes sport of them, as that they fancy that they are wiser than the Catholics; and, according to their own fancies, they meet with the destruction of eternal death, when they have sunk into the depths. Let us, therefore, sing unto the Lord our God. . . . Sweet may our praise be unto Him, sweetened with Catholic doctrines, bringing with it nothing from the disease of the Jews, nothing from the disease of the heretics.” {Com. in Psalm ciii. t. viii. Bib. Max. PP. pp. 294, 295. / The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 115-117}

“Why build, ye Jews? why watch, ye heretics? In vain do ye this, because the Lord neither builds, nor watches with you. But, ye orthodox, who love Christ in in-corruptness, fear not; build in security, because the Lord builds with you. “For you are God’s husbandry, you are Gods building.” (1 Cor3): watch, for the Lord not only watches with you, but awakes you when fallen asleep, saying,

“Watch with me; watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.” (Mt26)

Why will the Lord come? That, in the resurrection, “the inheritance of the Lord” may be manifested; in which (resurrection) all the sons of God receive an inheritance, if so be that they shall have been the children of His womb, that is, if they shall have been baptized in the font of Catholic faith; there is the womb of the Church which bears children unto Him.” {In Psalm. cxxvi. p. 314, Ib./ The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 117}

“He that shall be found without a ship in this great sea, “shall meet with the dragon which has been formed to make sport of them.” (Ps30) with those, that is, who repudiate the ships, and deliver themselves up, like animals, to the waves and depths of the law, without a master who is a Catholic, and who derives the tradition of the law from the Apostles. Wherefore, because they are without the Church. {Comm. in Ps. ciii. p. 295 ; t. viii. Bill. Maxim. SS. PP./ The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 386}

Gelasius of Cyzicus, (unknown- A.D. c.492), son of a priest of Cyzicus, he was an ecclesiastical writer who wrote in the Roman province of Bithynia in Asia Minor about A.D. 475 to prove against the Eutychians, that the Nicene Fathers did not teach Monophysitism.

“This is the apostolic and unspotted faith of the Church, which (faith) delivered from Heaven by the Lord Himself through the Apostles, the Church reverences (as) transmitted from Father to Son, and retains it now and for evermore, the Lord saying to His disciples,  ““Going teach all nations.” …

It has seemed good to us all together that the word consubstantial ought to be defined in the Catholic faith, in the same way as our holy fathers, who have lived since the Apostles, have delivered this faith.Hist. Council. Nicaen. l. ii. c. xxiii. xxiv. col. 224, t. ii. Labb./ The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 449}

In all these varying schemes, it may be remarked, the universality of the Church was given a foremost place among her distinctive marks. However, already in the fifteenth century the theologian John Torquemada had set down the notes of the Church as four in number, and this more simple arrangement, founding upon the wording of the familiar Mass Creed (Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam), eventually won universal acceptance.

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.”

So that concludes the discussion of our Early Church Fathers. “On the term Catholic”. So YES Martin Luther knew this, ALL OF IT! His 49000, Apostate christian churches remain in ignorance and disobedience, we can change but a little. As these witnesses have demonstrated from the ages, Catholic is the term that defines the TRUE Church along with One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, our 4 Marks of Authenticity that NO other Church on Earth can Claim, that Jesus instituted from the Father and handed down to the 12, Apostles. While the Fathers are clear, If you’re not Catholic, IF YOU fail to Adhere to the TRUTH of the Apostles Doctrines, (Acts2:42), then you are a SCHISMATIC. It matters NOT, that you think this or that is WRONG, or even IF you hammer, a 95 point Thesis paper on a door post all hallows eve….. For Catholics (you & me) are called to belief, in faith, in God. Whose power exceeds ALL possibilities. As such HE is infallible. Jesus said, ” As the Father sends me, I send you”. He also said, “If they reject you they reject ME, if they reject me they reject my Father who sent me, and Thus DO NOT have the Father.” Can this be MORE CLEAR?

This concludes: City of God’s look into the Early Church Fathers Words for the term Catholic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!