A DOCTRINAL CATECHISM 1846; Series on PROTESTANT SCHISM
CHAPTER I. – one true Church established by Christ
Q. Can anyone be saved who is not in the true Church?
A. No; for those who are not in the true Church,—that is, for those who are not joined, at least, to the soul of the Church*—there can be no hope of salvation.
Q. What says Christ upon this subject? (St. Matth., chap. xviii.)(Mt18:17)
A. That he who will not hear the Church, is to be reputed as a heathen.
Q. What says St. Cyprian? (Lib. de Unit. Eccl.)
A. “That he who has not the Church for his mother, cannot have God for his father;” and the Fathers generally say, “that as all who were not in the ark of Noah, perished in the waters of the deluge; so shall all perish, who are without the pale of the true Church.”
Q. What is the meaning of the ninth article of the Creed: “I believe in the holy Catholic Church.”
A. This question, as it regards Pagans and invincibly ignorant Christians will be treated afterwards. A. That every one should firmly believe, that to be a member of the Catholic Church, is necessary in order to salvation.
Q. By what marks can you distinguish the true Church from all other sects?
A. Particularly by two; 1st, Whatever pretends to be the Church of Christ, must have been established, upwards of eighteen hundred years ago, by Christ and his Apostles. 2nd, It must have existed unceasingly in the world from that time to the present.
Q. Why do you say that Christ’s Church must have been established more than eighteen hundred years ago?
A. Because it is Christ who established his own true Church, and it is more than eighteen hundred years since he left the world, to which he has never since visibly returned.
Q. Why do you say that a church, to be the true Church of Christ, must have perpetually existed, without any interruption, since the time Christ established it?
A. Simply, because Christ promised such perpetuity to his Church.
Q. What are the words of Christ on this subject? Matth., xvi. chap., 18 ver.; and Matth. xxviii—20. A. “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build by church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it;” and, “Go, therefore, teach all nations . . . .and lo! I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.”
Q. How does St. Paul speak of the Church of Christ? (1 Tim., iii. chap.)
A. He calls her the pillar and ground of truth.
Q. Were it true that the Church had in reality fallen into idolatry, what inference would you draw from that fact?
A. That Christ was an unskilled architect and a false prophet; because he must then have built his Church, not upon a rock, but upon sand, like that stupid architect of whom he himself speaks—Matth. chap. viii.; and because the gates of hell would then have really prevailed against the Church in spite of his prediction.
Q. What conclusion do you draw from all this?
A. That Christ established a Church; that that Church has existed in every age; that she exists at present; that she never could, and never can, fall into any error dangerous to salvation on matters of faith or morality; that every one, in fine, is bound with a firm and unshaken faith to believe what she teaches, because her doctrines are, like those of her Divine Master, the same yesterday, to-day, and forever.
CHAPTER II. – What Church has two marks of Truth?
Q. In what Church do you find those two certain marks of truth, of which you have spoken?
A . In the Catholic Church, and in no other.
Q. Was she established eighteen hundred years ago?
A. Yes; for no man has ever yet been able to date her origin from any later period.
Q. Has she existed always, without even the least interruption, during that time?
A. Yes; and no one has ever ventured to point out such interruption, or how long, if it took place at all, such interruptions lasted.
Q. How does St. Augustine establish this necessary antiquity and perpetuity of the Church up to his own time? (Epist. a Gener.)
A. He proves it by the uninterrupted succession of Roman Pontiffs, whose names he gives, one after the other, for the complete period, to the number of thirty-nine.
Q. How many Popes have governed the Church from St. Peter to the present Pontiff, Pius IX. inclusively.
A. Two hundred and fifty-seven.
Q. Are the two certain marks of the true Church, of which you have spoken, discoverable in the Protestant Church?
A. No; neither in the Episcopal, nor Calvinistic branch of it
Q. How long is it since the Lutheran Church was established?
A. About three hundred years;—Luther preached the first Protestantism ever known in 1517; and Calvinism was first preached in the year 1537
Q. Where there no Lutheran or Calvinistic Churches before these dates?
A. No; no such doctrines, nor churches, nor pastors, nor sects, were ever known in any country prior to that time.
Q. How do you reason from these facts against your adversaries?
A. Any church, to be the true Church, must have been established eighteen hundred years ago; but the Episcopalian and Presbyterian Churches are only of three hundred years duration; therefore, neither of them can have any pretension to be the Church of Christ.
Q. May not your adversaries reply, that the Church of the first four centuries believed as they do; that, at the end of that time, the Church fell into superstition and idolatry; and that God judged it necessary, after the Church was drowned in error for eleven hundred years, to send Luther and Calvin to reform her?
A. Yes, they may, and do advance many absurdities, and this is one of them, which does not bring them out of their difficulties; for Christ says, his Church cannot fail,—that the gates of hell shall never prevail against her,—that his holy spirit shall teach her all truth FOR EVER,—that he will abide with her ALL DAYS, even to the consummation of the world. Therefore it is an infallible truth, that any Church to be the Church of Christ, must have been established eighteen hundred years ago; therefore, that Church once established, could never fail; therefore the Protestant Church, the mere child of yesterday, cannot be the Church of Christ; therefore her very foundation is nothing but error and blasphemy, for she is built on the supposition, that Christ was either UNWILLING OR UNABLE to keep his promise—a supposition which implies the most aggravated blasphemy, tantamount to a denial of the Divinity of Christ.
Q. What question can you put to a Protestant, to which he can give no satisfactory reply?
A. Ask him where the true Church was before the time of Luther and Calvin.
Q. May he not reply, that the
Church was then invisible, that there were Christians in every age
who held the doctrines of Luther and Calvin, but that they dared not
openly profess their faith?
A. Yes; but this answer will satisfy no man of ordinary understanding; for surely, it must be evident to every one who thinks, that men who believed in their hearts one creed and professed another, like these INVISIBLE Protestants, were only hypocrites, dastardly traitors to their religion, utterly incapable of composing the holy, fearless body of the true Church of Christ.
Q. Was not the Jewish Church for a time invisible, and did not God say to the prophet Elias, that there were seven thousand men concealed who had never bent the knee to Baal?
A. When the Jewish Church was invisible in the kingdom of Israel, it was in a most flourishing state in the land of Judah; but the Protestant Church existed in no kingdom during the years of its invisibility, nor have we the Word of God assuring us, that there were seven thousand invisible Protestants concealed under a cloud anywhere.
Q. Have you any other reply to make?
A. Yes; there is a very great difference be-tween the Christian and the Jewish Church;—God never promised that he would be with the Jewish Church all days, that the gates of hell should not prevail against her.
Q. Have you any other way of proving that the true Church must have been always visible?
A. If the Church had not been always visible, it would have been impossible to obey the command of Christ—that we should hear and obey his Church. The Church is composed of men teaching and men taught, and are these invisible? Are preaching, public prayer, baptism, the administration of the other sacraments, duties that can be performed invisibly? Is not the subterfuge of an invisible Church a mere absurdity? May not any Mormon, Millerite, or madman, declare his nostrums the true religion, hitherto invisible, now at length revealed?
CHAPTER IV. – Hussites & Vaudois?
Q. Have our adversaries any other reply to make to that, for them, annoying question “Where was the Church of God before Luther’s time?
A. Yes; some of them say, that the Church of Christ was that of the Hussites, the Vaudois, and other heretics of the twelfth century, and
that the Protestant Church is only a continuation of it under a different name.
Q. Can this reply be sustained by argument?
A. No; for, in the first place, though the principles of these heretics differed in some points from the Catholic faith, yet their doctrine generally agreed with the Catholic, and differed widely from that of Luther and Calvin Therefore, inasmuch as they held the Mass, seven sacraments, &c., they must have been idolaters according to Protestants; and inasmuch as they held doctrines opposed to Protestants, they cannot be considered as forming one and the same Church. Besides, even admitting, what is not the fact, for the sake of argument, that the Hussites, &c., were Protestants, this only makes the Protestant sect two or three hundred years older; it leaves still twelve hundred years of non-existence to be accounted for:—this is an awful chasm. Where, still we ask, during this long period, was the Church of Christ? What other prior sect of heretics can Protestants link themselves with, in order to stretch out their existence over all these ages? None; and if not, then still they do not form the Church of Christ; because they cannot connect their Church in any possible way with Christ or his Apostles.
Q. What say you to those who admit that the Catholic Church was the true Church up to Luther’s time, but that many errors and abuses had crept into her, which it was necessary to correct?
A. If the Catholic Church was the Church of Christ before Luther, she must be so still; hence, those have left her are, to say the least, schismatics. Again, either these supposed errors were prejudicial to salvation, or they were not. If they were, then Christ has failed in his word,—then the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church, and this is the very teeth of Christ’s promises and security to the contrary. If these errors were not prejudicial to salvation, then they were only the errors of individuals, not the errors of the Church teaching; and, accordingly, it was merely necessary to correct the individuals, but on every account to cling to the Church, as the pillar and ground of truth; to act otherwise, was to be guilty of the dreadful crime of schism, so awfully denounced by St. Paul.
Q. May not these people say, that it was we who separated from them, not they from us?
A. No; for when there are two bodies—one of which is great, the other small,—one ancient, the other modern,—one teaching the doctrine of a long series of ages, the other teaching a new creed—it is evidently not the great or the ancient, both in existence and doctrine, but the small and modern body which becomes responsible for the separation: a small portion detached from a mountain can never with propriety be called the mountain itself.
CHAPTER V. – Chief Marks of True Church
Q. Are there any other marks of the true Church?
A. Yes; four, enumerated in the Nicene Creed: “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”
Q. Did Christ require unity in his Church?
A. He says, John, chap. x—16, that there is but “ONE fold and ONE shepherd.” St. Paul, Rom. chap, xii—5, says: “We, being many, are ONE BODY in Christ;” and Ephes., chap. iv: that there is but “one body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” The Church, therefore, is one body or fold, having one faith, under one shepherd.
Q. What do you conclude from this?
A. That no Church can be the Church of Christ which has not this oneness or unity.
Q. Is the Protestant Church one?
A. On principle It cannot be one; for its first principle—“private interpretation”—has ever produced, and will ever produce, necessarily, schisms and divisions; each one, learned or ignorant, interprets according to his peculiar light or interest.
Q. Is the Protestant Church one in its government?
A. No; it has for its head, the King in Prussia, the Queen or State in England; and in Scotland, the government is various, according to the whims of the various sects.
Q. Is the Catholic Church one in her government?
A. Yes; all the Catholics in the world are subject to their priests, these priests are subject to their bishops, and these bishops are appointed by, and subject to, Peter’s lawful successor in the See of Rome.
Q. Is the Protestant Church one in her faith?
A. She has one faith in England and another in Scotland, a third in Switzerland, and a fourth in Prussia. The Free Kirk of Scotland holds as damnable, what the Established Kirk believes to be good and true; and the Puseyite believes what the English Church repudiates. In one Protestant Church, bishops, and ordination by bishops, are believed to be necessary; in another they are rejected. One Protestant body believes in the real presence; and another, in a bare and empty memorial. All the minor Protestant sects are in the same melancholy predicament,—they differ from one another on some or many essential points.
Q. Is the Catholic Church one in her faith?
A. All the Catholics in the world have one and the same creed. Amongst Catholics there are no sects—no Church of Scotland, or England, or France: All Catholics believe the same truths, and to reject any one of these truths, is to cut one’s self off from the Catholic communion. The Catholic Church is the Church, not of any nation, but of the world.
Q. Is the Protestant Church one in her moral doctrines?
A. No; one sect of Protestants believes in predestination, in salvation by faith alone; and another sect of Protestants holds the necessity of good works and free will, whilst they denounce the above Calvinistic principles, as leading directly to the most debasing immorality.
Q. Is the Catholic Church one In her moral
A. All Catholics follow the same moral principles,—the same vices are denounced on the one hand, and the same virtues inculcated on the other.
Q. Is the Protestant
discipline everywhere the same?
A. It is different in every country and every sect.
Q. Is the Catholic Church one
on this head?
A. The Catholic Church is strictly uniform on every essential matter of discipline, whether that regard the pastors or the people;—the same great feasts and fasts are everywhere observed.
Q. Is the Protestant Church one in her Liturgy or public service?
A. No; on this she exhibits the most absurd contrariety;—Scotland worships God in one way, England in another, Geneva in a third, Prussia in a fourth, Sweden in a fifth, and wherever a handful of Protestants can be assembled together, they strike out a service for themselves, according to their particular views.
Q. Is the Catholic Liturgy everywhere uniform?
A. The same great sacrifice of the Mass, and essentially in the same words, is everywhere offered; the same seven sacraments are everywhere administered in the same manner; even the forms of the public service are everywhere essentially the same.
Q. What inference do you draw from all this?
A. That the Protestant Church is a house divided against itself,—that it is not one, but manifold; therefore, it is not the Church of Christ:—That the Catholic Church is one strictly in every sense of the word; and, consequently, that as it is the only Church on earth which has perfect unity, it is unquestionably the one true Church of Christ.
Q. Are not Protestants one, because they all follow the Bible?
A. On the contrary, it is the Bible, abused by the principle of private interpretation, which occasions all their errors, heresies, and schisms. The Prussian Mucker teaches his filthy principles from the Bible; the silly Mormon palms his nostrums on the Bible; the execrable Socialist proves his brutalities from the Bible; the Millerite extracts Millerism from the Bible;—in a word, Methodists, Baptists, Quakers, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Presbyterians,— all pervert God’s Word in order to make it support their jarring and contradictory systems and they do this with as much assurance, as if God could teach that black is white, or that a thing may be black and white at the same time. Thus, among the Presbyterians of Scotland, one sect teaches that Church patronage is damnable, whilst another teaches that it is a good thing.
CHAPTER VI – Holiness
Q. What is the second mark of
the true Church?
A. Holiness or sanctity.
Q. Does it appear from Scripture, that Christ’s Church should be holy?
A. The prophet Isaiah calls her,—Isa. chap xxxv, 8,—”a way which shall be called THE HOLY WAY, over which the unclean shall not pass.” David,—Ps xcii, 5,—says: “Holiness becomes thy house, O Lord, for length of days. St. Paul,—Eph. v, 25,—declares, that “Christ loved the Church and delivered himself for it, that he might sanctify it, cleansing it by the laver of water and the word of life, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish.” See also Tit. ii, 14, and I Peter, ii, 9
Q. Is the Protestant Church holy in her pastors?
A. No; to this she call have no pretension; her pastors are mere men of the world, not subjected to the restraints of Apostolic poverty, chastity, mortification. The burden of their religious duty seems to be, the mere preaching of a sermon or two upon Sunday; whilst most of their time must be employed, not in Apostolic duties, but in looking after their own worldly interest, and that of their wives and children.
Q. Is the Catholic Church holy in her pastors?
A. They are all separated from the world and its gratifications, and dedicated entirely to God’s glory and the sanctification of souls;—no worldly cares intrude upon them;—the Church is their spouse, and the people their spiritual children;—they are ever, in a variety of ways, employed in the spiritual improvement of their flock;—they watch with tender care, from the cradle to the grave, those committed to their charge;—and, as they have no wives or families to provide for, their hearts are in their duties; and whatever of this world’s goods they may possess, is employed for the glory of God.
Q. Are there any means of Holiness in the Protestant Church?
A. No; they have destroyed them all, they have rejected the soul of religion in rejecting the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and five of the sacraments, all abundant sources of grace, as you shall afterwards see, where the subjects are treated; and even the two sacraments which they still retain, are by them reduced to mere empty forms—the mere giving of a name, and partaking of a little bread and wine.
Q. Has the Catholic Church means of holiness?
A. Yes; the most abundant, in the holy sacrifice of the Mass and the seven sacraments, which are all so many channels, through which the graces which flow from the wounds of our redeemer are conveyed to the souls of Catholics of every class, in every condition, and at every period of life, from the time they enter this world, until they render their souls into the hands of God.
Q. Is the Protestant Church holy in her doctrines?
A. The very contradictory nature of the various moral doctrines, taught by the ever varying sects of Protestants, must, of itself, be ruinous to holiness. But what places the unholiness of her doctrines beyond all doubt, is her doctrine on predestination, on free will, her belief that faith alone is necessary, and that good works are useless; for who, believing such absurdities as these, can have any motive to avoid vice or practice virtue? Holiness is incompatible with these immoral principles.
Q. Is the Catholic Church holy in her doctrines?
A. She teaches her children to believe all that God has revealed, and to practice all that he has commanded;—multitudes of Catholics, not content with observing the precepts, practice even the counsels of the Gospel. Fasting, mortification, unremitting prayer, self-denial, and a frequent participation of the sacraments, all of which are so pressingly recommended in the Scripture, are enjoined and practiced by the whole Church, from the sovereign pontiff down to the humblest member of Christ’s mystical body.
Q. Were there, in consequence of these holy means and holy doctrines, many members of the Catholic Church illustrious for sanctity?
A. Yes; multitudes, and of every class, from the king to the mendicant, and from the Pope to the deacon.
Q. Have even adversaries
A. Yes; the Apology for the Confession of Augsburg, Art. 13, declares, that St. Bernard, St. Francis, and St. Bonaventure, were saints; even the Calendar of the Church of England admits others; and almost all our saints are admitted by the Puseyite section of the English Church.
Q. In what Church did these admitted saints live and die?
A. In the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church.
Q. What do you conclude from
A. That as one can be sanctified through Christ in the Catholic Church, so he can certainly be saved in the same Church; and if he can be saved in this Church, it must be the true Church, and he can be saved in no other; for Christ did not establish two Churches. There is only one baptism, one fold, one shepherd, one revelation, containing one true set of doctrines.
Q. Did God ever work miracles
to testify the sanctity of a Catholic?
A. Even enemies admit that he did. That he wrought miracles by the hand of St. Francis Xavier, is allowed by Baldeus, Hackluit, and Tavernier, all rigid Lutherans and Calvinists. Now, St. Francis was a Catholic Priest; and hence the Catholic religion, which, by the aid of these miracles, he taught and propagated, must be the true religion, since God could not give the testimony of his Almighty hand to error.
CHAPTER VII. – – Catholicity
Q. What is the third mark of the true Church?
A. Catholicity or universality.
Q. Is this mark evidently required by Scripture?
A. According to Scripture, the Catholic Church must be universal in three ways,—universal as to time, universal as to place, and universal as to doctrine.
Q. Where do you find that she must be universal as to time?
A. In Isaiah. lxii, 6—”Upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen all the day and all the night, they shall NEVER hold their peace.” Isa. ix, 7—” Of the increase of this government and peace….there SHALL BE NO END.” He shall sit upon the throne of David “to order it, and establish it,….from henceforth EVEN FOR EVER.” In John, xiv, 16 —”I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you for ever.”
Q. Where do you find universality, as to place, laid down in Scripture?
A. In Malachi, i, 11—“From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, my name is great among the Gentiles.” Ps. xxi, 28 —“All the ends of the earth shall remember, and shall be converted to the Lord.” Ps. ii, 8—Ask of me, and I will give the Gentiles for this inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Luke, xxiv, 46—“That penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations.” Acts, i, 8—”And ye shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth.”
Q. Is there any passage of Scripture, in which the above three kinds of universality are clearly laid down, as necessary qualities of the true Church?
A. Yes; in the commission given by Christ to his Apostles—Matth. xxviii, 19, 20—”Going, therefore, teach ye all nations;….teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you; and, behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” Here you have, from the lips of Christ himself, an express attestation, that his Church will be Catholic or universal as to time, place, and doctrine
Q. Is the Protestant Church universal in these these ways?
A. No; nor in any one of them. She is not universal as to time; for a few centuries back she had no existence; she is little more than three hundred years old. A Church is composed of pastors and people, teaching and believing certain doctrines, and no such body holding Protestant doctrines was known in the world for fifteen hundred years after Christ left it. She is not universal either as to numbers or place; even the Greek Church is before her in numbers; and on this head she cannot bear a comparison with the Catholic Church. According to the Scientific Miscellany, the total number of Protestants in the world is 48,985,000; the total number of Greeks is 56,360,000; whilst the number of Catholics is 254,655,000; that is, the Catholics are nearly six to one. But if we take each Protestant Church by itself, and this is the true point of comparison, (for these Protestant Churches all differ from one another,) we will find, then, that Catholics are to Presbyterians as sixty-five to one, and to the Church of England as thirty-six to one. Hence, it is not only incorrect, but ludicrous, to call any of these Protestant sects Catholic or universal. Neither can they be called universal as to place; for Protestants are confined to a small corner of the earth, as will be evident, by the following statistical account, from the above authority.
These statistics are the most decisive proof that the Protestant is not true Church of all nations, she is not even the Church of any one nation, no, nor of even one parish exclusively on the face of the earth. In fine, she is not universal as to doctrine, either as to extent or truth; for she has taught, and does teach, many evident errors, such as predestination, the rejection of free will and good works, and the impossibility of keeping the commandments. And as to the teaching of all truth, she can have no pretension to it, since each Protestant sect has its peculiar doctrines;—scarcely two of them have the same creed. They even rejected, as apocryphal, at one time, whole books of the sacred Scripture, which they now admit—
they reject to-day what they taught yesterday. Indeed, in point of doctrine, whether moral, dogmatical, or disciplinary, they present only one confused and revolting mass of contradictions, contrarieties, and absurdities.
Q. Is the Catholic Church universal in the above three ways?
A. No one will dare to deny that she is the Church of all ages. She is the only Church upon earth that can be visibly traced back through every age to the time of Christ. She is the Church of all nations, as is evident from the above statistical argument,—there is not
a Christian,—nay, scarcely a Pagan—nation that does not attest her actual presence, or, by noble monuments, her former greatness;—her ancient canon law is still, in a great measure, the law of Scotland, as it is the foundation of the law of France, and the whole civil law of Europe and America;—her noble temples and colleges, dedicated to the living God, are still the pride of England;—the ruined monastic establishments and glorious cathedrals, that once adorned every country of Europe, have survived the Vandal hand of barbarous reform, as ever-enduring monuments, to perpetuate the history of Catholic greatness. Protestantism has never converted even one Pagan nation whilst every people that have been brought to the knowledge and worship of the true God, professing that they owe their conversion to the Catholic Church, loudly proclaim her universality;—everywhere her incense ascends;—everywhere her sacraments are administered, everywhere her pure sacrifice is offered. To her alone did the Prophet speak, when he said. “I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession.” In fine, she is universal as to her doctrine;—it is everywhere the same;—it has, like the pure gold, passed through the ordeal of eighteen hundred years’ examination, unchangeable and unchanged; the combined efforts of heresy and infidelity against it have been unavailing. She teaches her children to observe all that God has commanded, and to believe all that he has revealed: her doctrine is, like her Divine founder, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.
Q. What says St. Augustine on the word Catholic?
A. “The very name of Catholic,” he says, “keeps me in the Church. Heretics have done their utmost to obtain that name, yet they have never been able to succeed. If a stranger, on entering any city, were to ask, ‘where is the Catholic Church?’ no heretic would dare to point out his heretical conventicle.” (Tom. vi, Contra. Ep. Fund. chap. 4.)
Q. Give us Saint Jerom’s words, contra Lucif.
A. “When you see any body inherit its name from a particular man, as the Marcionites from Marcion, the Valentinians from Valentinus,” (we may add the Lutherans from Luther, the Calvinists from Calvin,) “you may look on that body, not as the Church of Christ but as the school of Antichrist.”
Q. Give us a good reason why your name of Catholic is the best proof that you are in the true Church.
A. Those who remained in communion with the ancient body of the faithful retained the ancient name, whilst innovators gave to their followers either their own name, or one derived from their peculiarly novel doctrine, or from the country in which this new creed made its first appearance.
Thus the Lutherans, the Calvinists, the Church of England, the Methodists, the Quakers, the Moravians, show, by their very names, the human origin of their religion.
Q. What inference do you draw from all that you have said on this mark of Catholicity?
A. That the Scripture expressly requires, in the true Church, universality as to time, place, and doctrine; that the Protestant Church is not universal in any of these three ways; that the Catholic Church is the only Church upon earth that has this triple universality, and, consequently, that it is the true Church of Christ.
CHAPTER VIII. – Apostolicity
Q. What is the fourth mark of the true Church?
Q. What do you mean by that word?
A. That any Church pretending to he the Church of Christ, must be able to trace her
doctrine, her orders, all her mission, to the Apostles of Christ.
Q. Why should this be the case?
A. Because, during all the time the Church has existed, there must have been true pastors “For the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ,”—Ephes. chap. iv. “Upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen….they shall never hold their peace,”—Isa. lxii, 6. These pastors must have been lawfully sent; for “no man take the honor of the priesthood upon himself, but he that is called by God as Aaron was,”—Heb. v, 4, Thus, Christ sent the Apostles; these Apostles sent others,—for example, Paul and Barnabas; and again, Paul sent Timothy and Titus; and, in this manner, each succeeding generation of pastors was sent by the preceding from Christ to the present time; and the generation of pastors giving their commission to their successors, did it, by the power of Christ originally given, in these words: “As my Father hath sent me, I also send you.” In fine, the pastors of every age must have been ordained, according to that of St. Paul to Titus—Chap. i, 5: “For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou should set in order the things that are wanting, and should ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee.”
Q. May not be said that the Protestant Church is Apostolical in her doctrine, seeing that she adopts the Scripture as her rule?
A. If she were, all Protestants would teach the same truths; and surely no man in his senses will assert, that either the Apostles or the Scripture could teach all the contradictory and absurd creeds of Protestantism. Besides, for fourteen hundred years after the last of the Apostles left this world, Protestant doctrines were unknown among mankind.
Q. Is the Catholic Church Apostolic in her doctrine?
A. Even our adversaries admit this in spite of themselves; for whilst they unwittingly admit that we were the first Church, they as uniformly maintain that Popery is unchangeable. We teach the same doctrine now which was taught in every century and country since the time of Christ; our doctrines cannot be traced to any man or set of men, to any particular country or date, posterior to the time of the Apostles, we defy our adversaries to trace it to any but Apostolic authority. Besides, we are the only Church that has existed in every age, since the Apostolic times.
Q. Is not the Protestant Church Apostolic as to mission?
A. Certainly not; Luther was the first Protestant minister the world ever saw. By whom was he sent? Not by God; for he never wrought one miracle to prove it, and his life was such as to prove that he was sent by an opposite authority. Not by the Apostles; for he came fifteen hundred years too late to have any connection with them. Not by the Catholic Church; for she cut him off from her communion, and she could not give a commission to teach error directly opposed to her own creed. No Protestant Church existed prior to his time from which he could receive a commission; therefore he had no mission; therefore all his followers, in the heretical and schismatical body to which he gave being, are mission less intruders, who pay no regard to the words of St. Paul; “How shall they preach unless they be sent?”—Rom. x. Of such as they, the Almighty says,—Jer, xxiii, 21:—”I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.”
It is incumbent upon them to show that they are not the thieves and robbers mentioned by St. John, chap, x.
Q. Is the Catholic Church Apostolic as to mission?
A. The Catholic Church alone, has, beyond all doubt, existed in every age, from the present till the Apostolic age. Hence, her pastors are the only pastors on earth, who can trace their mission from priest to bishop, and from bishop to Pope, back through every century, until they trace that mission to the Apostles, who were commissioned by Christ himself. We have a complete list of an uninterrupted chain of Roman Pontiffs, reaching from the present Pontiff, Pius the 9th, to St. Peter. We have lists of all the Catholic sees in the world, and the names of the bishops who, in every age, occupied them; so that we have an unbroken succession of bishops ruling, teaching, and adorning every age and clime, all these in strict communion with the chief see, that of Rome.
Q. Is the Protestant Church Apostolic as to orders?
A. The fact is, they have no orders at all, nor do many of them even pretend to have orders. The ministers of the various Calvinistic sects, as well as those of all other reformed sects not Lutheran, are mere laymen. The Lutherans, generally, can have no orders; because they have never had a regular succession of validly ordained bishops from whom they could receive orders. As to the orders of the Church of England, they are, to say the least, extremely doubtful; because it has never been proved, that the first Protestant bishop of the
Church of England was himself validly ordained or consecrated, and because the true form or ordination was not in use in the Church of England during one hundred and twelve years. But granting that they really are validly ordained, they nave no mission, and hence they can be reputed only as so many suspended, schismatical, and heretical priests. In fine, as the whole fabric of Protestantism is only three hundred and thirty-two years old, it is manifest, that her ministers cannot trace their Orders to the Apostolic times.
Q. Are the orders of the Catholic priesthood Apostolic?
A. They can be traced from priest to bishop, and from bishop to Pope, through every century back to the time of the Apostles. Indeed, a perpetual succession of Catholic pastors has always existed; and hence, so little doubt is there even among Protestants on this subject, that the Church of England, by claiming her orders from us, clearly and unequivocally admits the Apostolicity of the orders of the Catholic Church.
Q. What inference do you draw from all this?
A. That the Protestant Church is not, and the Catholic Church is, the
true Church of Christ.
Q. Why this conclusion?
A. According to Scripture, the true Church must derive, by a perpetual and uninterrupted succession from the Apostles, her doctrines, her mission, and her orders; but the Protestant Church is not Apostolical in any of these ways —therefore she cannot be the true Church. The Catholic Church, on the contrary, is evidently Apostolical in her doctrines, her orders, and her mission, —therefore she is the true Church of Christ.
Q. What general inference do
you draw from all we have said on the marks of the Church?
A. That the Protestant Church has not even one of these Scriptural marks of truth; hence, her claim to be the Church of Christ, is ludicrous in the extreme; that, on the other hand, as we have seen, the Catholic Church evidently possesses them all,—therefore she is the one, holy Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
A DOCTRINAL CATECHISM;
WHEREIN DIVERS POINTS OF
CATHOLIC FAITH AND PRACTICE ASSAILED BY
MODERN HERETICS ARE SUSTAINED BY AN APPEAL TO THE
HOLY SCRIPTURES, THE TESTIMONY OF THE ANCIENT
FATHERS, AND THE DICTATES OF REASON
BY THE R E V. S T E P H E N K E E N A N.
THIRD AMERICAN EDITION, REVISED AND
ABLY TO THE DECREES OF THE COUNCIL OF THE VATICAN.
“Try all things, and hold fast that which is good.”—THESS. V. 21
+ JOHN CARDINAL McCLOSKEY , ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK
REFUTING PROTESTANTISM WITH DOCTRINAL CATECHISM 1846 continues next with... #4 RULE OF FAITH 1846