St John's Q&A

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Christ and the Church are one

It is really great that we have so many bloggers. I truly appreciate all of your comments and questions. There is a wide range of views and experiences here, and it is very helpful for people to grow in their faith by reading the comments of others. Everyone's view is welcome here, Catholic or not. We have some Catholic comments, and some non-Catholic comments. Let me take just a sec to point out the difference.

When I say 'Catholic comments', I mean those comments or questions that are in union with the mind and heart of the Church. The word "catholic" means universal (literally, one word). When we talk about the mind and heart of the Church, we mean that we are of one mind and heart (really, in the one mind and heart of Christ). This all started with the Apostles, who, filled with the Holy Spirit, were "with one heart" (Acts 2:46) which led to all the faithful early Christians being "one in heart" (Acts 5:12). We say in the Creed every Sunday that we believe in "one, holy, Catholic, and apostolic Church".

When we are in union with the mind and heart of the Church - body, mind, spirit - we are in union with the Truth, who is Christ (see Jn 14:6). Christ and the Church are one: "Christ is the head, the Church is the body" (Col 1:18). How do we know that the Catholic Church is the Church referred to in Sacred Scripture? Well, that would be for another post, but one will find that answer by studying early Church history. Basically, the teachings and practices of the early Church that Christ founded upon Peter and the Apostles and guided by the Holy Spirit are the same teachings and practices of the Catholic Church in 2006. Many Protestant scholars have realized that, and have come into full union with the Church because of their study of the Bible and the early Church.

The first thing I think when I'm reading someone's comment or listening to their position is, 'on what authority do they base their statement / teaching?' Here on this site, I present the teachings of the Catholic Church. The authority on which the Catholic Church bases her teachings is Jesus Christ. That means that it comes from the Truth, and is the Truth. "Anyone who listens to you listens to me" (Lk 10:16). Christ gives Peter and the Apostles the authority to speak the Truth in Mt 16:19 and Mt 18:18, and to go out to "all nations...and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you" (Mt 28:19-20). The teaching authority of the Church is the teaching authority of Christ. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church cannot be in error when teaching about faith and morals. She teaches the Truth.

So, a comment that is "non-Catholic" would be one that is not one with the Truth (mainly regarding religious or philosophical comments). An example would be the comment someone made here that our current Church was created by men. On what authority is this based? Is it in Scripture? Is it the Tradition of the Church? The Catholic comment to that would be similar to what I've written above. My authority for saying that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ and has been guided by the Holy Spirit is Sacred Scripture (mainly, the Acts of the Apostles) and Sacred Tradition (the 2000 year old written and oral tradition of the Church).

We have to be very careful what we say about the Church, the Bride of Christ. What we say about Her, we say about Him. Christ and the Church are one. If the authority on which we base our comments is the Truth, then our comments are objectively true (and truly Catholic). If not, then our comments are merely our own opinions (i.e., "subjectively true" for each one of us).


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