Monday, December 23, 2013

Ten Reasons the Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus




This free leaflet contains the key reasons of the great recent converts to the Catholic Church in one page: Scott Hahn, Peter Kreeft, Steve Ray, Jim Akin, Tim Staples, Marcus Grodi, etc on how they found the real Jesus in his one true Church.

It is a tool for the New Evangelization summoned by Pope Francis.

Download the one-page leaflet here (Dropbox) or here (Scribd).
  
Ten Reasons the Catholic Church is the One True Church of Jesus


while other Christian groups derive their elements of truth from her fullness




A one-page leaflet to support Pope Francis’ call for a New Evangelization that “all may come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)  and to support Jesus’ prayer that “all may be one” (Jn 17:21)

Download the one-page leaflet here (Dropbox) or here (Scribd).


1. The Bible is a Catholic book.  It was Pope Damasus’ Council of Rome in 382 AD which drew up the official list of the books of the Bible. Thus, Luther felt “compelled to concede” that his Protestant Bible was “received” from the Catholic Church. All Christians today trust the authority of the Catholic Church that what they read is the true Word of God and not a false text.

2. The Bible refutes the “Bible alone” principle. The Bible says that the “Word of the Lord” is “spoken(Jer 25:3), not just written. St. Paul urged us to “hold to traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thes 2:15).  The Bible also tells of a Council’s authority, where Peter settled a doctrinal dispute and declared what “we believe” (Acts 15).

The Bible teaches that not the Bible or the Protestant interpreters of the 16th century and of the present, but “the Church is the pillar and the bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). It also warns against “twisted” interpretations of Scriptures (2 Pt 3:16).  While the Church has one teaching, there are now 43,000 evangelical groups with 2.3 added daily. Their views on the Trinity, on gays, etc. contradict each other. Since truth (e.g. Jesus is God) cannot be falsehood at the same time, real falsehoods are sadly being taught among these groups.  

3. Jesus built his Church on a man he named Rock. Jesus said “On this rock, I will build my Church and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven” (Mt 16:18-19). Jesus changed the name of Simon to Petros, Greek for Rock. He gave Petros or Peter, “the keys of the kingdom”, which the Jews knew to be the power of a prime minister of the King and chief teacher (Is 22:22).  Jesus told him alone to “feed my sheep” (Jn 21:15-17).  The Bible shows him leading the Church.

The early Christians referred to Peter’s Roman Church as “presiding” (Ignatius, 1st -2nd c.), “of superior origin” and standard of “true Faith” (Irenaeus, 2nd c.), “Chair of Peter”, “the principal” (Cyprian, 2nd-3rd c.), and “the primacy” (Augustine, 4th-5th c.). While the Catholic Church can give evidence of its unbroken link to Jesus and Peter, other Christian groups began their existence with their founders like Luther (1517), J. Smith (1830), and F. Manalo (1914).


4. Jesus and the Church are one.  It is not true the Catholic Church left the true Faith, since the Church is the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27), and he is inseparable from his body. He promised that “I am with you always(Mt 28:20), evil “shall not prevail” against his Church (Mt 16:18), and his Spirit “will guide you into all the truth (Jn 16:13).   He told his Church: “He who hears you hears me(Lk 10:16).

5. The Bible says we are saved “not by faith alone”.  The Bible used Luther’s phrase “by faith alone” only once: “a man is justified by works and not by faith alone(Jas 2:24).  The Bible also says that “what counts is faith working through love” (Gal 5:6).  While Catholics and Protestants agree that Jesus alone saves us, Luther in the 16th century inserted without basis the word “alone” in his German translation of Rom 3:28 (“a man is justified by faith”) in order to support his personal interpretation that a Christian is incapable of cooperating with God in his salvation.
 
6. The Bible and the early Christians believe in purgatory. As shown in their tombstones, the early Christians followed the Bible: “Pray for the dead that they may be loosed from sins(2 Mc 12:46), for “nothing unclean can enter heaven” (Rev 21:27).   It does not make sense to pray for the dead if they only go, as evangelicals say, either to heaven (with faith in Christ) or to hell (without faith).  The Bible also spoke about forgiveness in the age to come (Mt 12:32) and those judged by God are “saved but as through fire(1 Cor 3:13-15).


7. The Bible and the early Christians believe in the Catholic sacraments. Jesus gave the Apostles the power to “forgive sins(Jn 20:23).   Peter taught that “Baptism now saves you(1 Pt 3:21) and thus is not a mere inciter of faith. The Bible speaks about “anointing the sick with oil(Jas 5:14-15), laying of hands (Acts 8:17; 2 Tim 1:6), and marriage in the Lord (1 Cor 7:39). Jesus repeatedly said that “he who eats my flesh has eternal life”. This is no figure of speech, for he did not give in when “many of his disciples” left due to this “hard saying” (Jn 6:48-68), and St. Paul taught that he who eats the bread unworthily is “guilty of profaning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor 11:28). Ignatius of Antioch said “the Eucharist is the flesh of the Redeemer,” Irenaeus “we receive the bread as our Redeemer”, and Cyprian “Christ is our bread”.

8. The Catholic Church is salt and light. Modern secular historians of science, economics, university education, human rights, international law, hospitals and Western art are showing that Catholic priests, scientists and thinkers were behind the foundation and great achievements in these areas, acting as salt and light as Christ foretold (Mt 5:13-14; Woods 2005).  In his Church, Christ works his miracles: Eucharistic bread turning into blood; appearances of Mary; heroic saints; cures and sacred images that are scientifically unexplained; saints with stigmata, powers of healing, bilocation and prophecy, and incorruptible dead bodies.

9.  The Catholic Church is catholic. Jesus “desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4), thus his real Church is universal, evangelizing in all parts of the world with more than 1.2 billion members today. Compare this with the 2nd biggest Christian group, the Easter Orthodox Churches with only 230M (1/5 of its size) mainly found in Eastern Europe; the Anglicans 85M (1/16); Southern Baptists 16.3M (1/73), Mormons 14.7M (1/81) and Iglesia ni Cristo 6M (1/200).

10. Jesus and the Bible glorify his mother. Catholics do not worship Mary, but follow Jesus’ ways. He obeyed the fourth commandment: Honor your father and mother. Honor in Hebrew is kaboda, which means to glorify. The Bible calls Mary “Mother of my Lord” (Lord = God) and says all generations will call her blessed (Lk 1:43.48). It shows that she is the New Ark of the Covenant, the woman clothed with the sun, crowned in heaven with twelve stars (Rev 11:19-12:1).  To honor his mother, Jesus’ last message to us on the cross is: Behold, your mother (Jn 19:27).

Download the one-page leaflet here (Dropbox) or here (Scribd).

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These one-page leaflets have started going viral around the world. One leaflet was posted in the website of the Archdiocese of Westminster in London ("The Mother Church of England") and  in the Corpus Christi Parish in Canada, in Kenya and in Macau. To get the full collection, please see this:  One Page Leaflets for New Evangelization Starting to Go Viral!

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Notes.

These notes (which I will write little by little) are meant to support the brief arguments in the leaflet.

I invite our brothers in Christ to read with calm and great reverence the Word of God and the writings of the early Christians contained in the leaflet. Let us all exercise the contemplative spirit  and the humility of a creature, so that the accumulation of our subjective biases ("I think", "as I see it", "in my view") and our past readings of Biblical interpretation do not detract from the actual reality Jesus revealed. It is love for the truth that allows us to encounter the real Jesus: "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice" (Jn 18:37). 

Some might say that any claim of a human organization to be the One True Church is arrogant and presumptuous, and that it can lead to imposing doctrines on others. Remember: Jesus said he is the Truth, and he is neither arrogant nor an imposer of beliefs. He also told his Church that the Holy Spirit will lead you to all truth and that they are supposed to love their neighbor as he loves them, i.e. with self-sacrifice unto death. 

Truth and love are not opposites.  As our parents and good teachers showed us with warmth and affection, teaching the truth even if it hurts is a service of love. Moreso, if the truth we teach is the Way of Love itself. This means not judging people, understanding their background, habits, and prejudices.

1. The Bible is a Catholic book.  In his Commentary On St. John,  Martin Luther said:  "We are compelled to concede to the Papists that they have the Word of God, that we have received It from them, and that without them we should have no knowledge of It at all."

The definition of the word Bible used here, as found in Webster's Dictionary, is the most widespread notion of the Bible: the Christian Scriptures, which contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old was written by Jews and the New by saints like St. Peter and St. Paul, St. Mark and St. James, St. John and St. Jude. The consolidation of the two Testaments into one Christian Scriptures --the Bible -- and the screening out of false, apocryphal "gospels" is the handiwork of the Catholic Church. 

It is this one Church that we trust when we trust the Bible to convey to us the Word of God.  It is through her that we know that the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Thomas are not part of God's Word. We know through her that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are of God's authorship as well.


2. The Bible refutes the “Bible alone” principle. There are many articles refuting Sola Scriptura. A favorite is Dave Armstrong's A Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura.


3. Jesus built his Church on a man he named Rock.  After detailed studies, many protestant Bible scholars have accepted this fact, as shown by Phil Porvasnik

After quoting them, Phil shows that they conclude that  "(a) Peter's name means Rock (petros or petra in Greek, Kepha or Cephas in Aramaic); (b) The slight distinction in meaning for the Greek words for Rock (petros, petra) was largely confined to poetry before the time of Jesus and therefore has no special importance; (c) The Greek words for Rock (petros, petra) by Jesus' day were interchangeable in meaning; (d) The underlying Aramaic Kepha-kepha of Jesus' words makes the Rock-rock identification certain; (e) The Greek word petra, being a feminine noun, could not be used for a man's name, so Petros was used; (f)  Jesus says "and on this rock" not "but on this rock" -- the referent is therefore Peter personally".


Jesus calls Peter “Satan” soon after giving him his new name. Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio explains: “Some have pointed to this as proof that Peter, and his papal successors, are not infallible as Catholics claim. But actually, this illustrates well what the Catholic Church teaches about the subject. For Catholic doctrine does not proclaim that the pope can never make a mistake in personal judgment. It is only when he fully engages his authority as successor of Peter speaking from Peter’s seat of authority (“ex cathedra”) that the Church guarantees him to be acting under the charism of truth given by the Father through the Spirit. When Peter publicly proclaimed “you are the Christ,” Jesus pointed out that this was not from him, but from the Father. When Peter privately said, “God forbid that you should suffer,” Jesus notes that the source of this was himself.”

On Peter's residence in Rome, please see Catholic Answers' Was Peter in Rome?  and Patrick Madrid's Pope Fiction: Answer to Five Myths and Misconceptions about the Papacy.

4. Jesus and the Church are one. Anyone who tries to prove the so-called Great Apostasy of the Catholic Church would have to contend with Jesus' promises of continuous union with his body, the Church. To deny these promises would imply that Jesus is a liar who made false promises, and a powerless leader incapable to unifying his Church in faith and doctrine."It's inconceivable that he would permit his body to disintegrate under the attacks of Satan. The apostle John reminds us that Jesus is greater than Satan. (1 John 4:4)." (Patrick Madrid, In Search of the "Great Apostasy")

Supporters of the Great Apostasy would also need to contend with the Church Fathers who lived during the time of the alleged apostasy: "There is no mention in any of their writings of a great apostasy or any sort of battle for the faith on such a scale. Certainly, there are mentions of individual heretics and certain heretical movements, but there is no mention of any sort of total apostasy. Even if it is assumed that the Church Fathers were part of the apostasy it is likely that they would have mentioned it – even if just to condemn the “true” Christians! But there is no sign in the writings of the Church Fathers of this heresy, nor are there any other writings which support the notion. History is totally silent. History mentions the other great splits and schisms within the Church (such as the split between the Orthodox in 1054 and the Protestant Reformation which began in 1517) but about this alleged schism there is total silence." (Catholic Basic Training)

5. The Bible says we are saved “not by faith alone”. It is important to clarify at the onset that Catholics agree with Protestants that "salvation is a free gift of grace, accepted by faith." As Peter Kreeft explains this is a Catholic doctrine found by a Catholic (Luther) in a Catholic book. And part of the problem of the continued split is that Catholics have not understood this. 



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