Given from the Catholic Broadcasting Station 2SM Sydney Australia
Choose a topic from Vol 2:
Correct. The Roman Church is not only One, Holy, and Catholic. She is also Apostolic.
We know that the Apostles were Catholics because Christ not only taught them His doctrine, but told them to go and to teach all nations. The word Catholic means "all." The very commission Christ gave them was a Catholic commission. Again, working backwards, if we take the Catholic Church today, we find that she is the only legitimate successor of the Apostles, and that in virtue of Christ's promise that His Church would never fail, and that He would be with it till the end of the world, the Apostles must have taught then what the Catholic Church teaches now, even as the Catholic Church must teach now what the Apostles taught then. Furthermore, a comparison of the New Testament records of Apostolic teaching with that of the Catholic Church shows perfect conformity, whilst such a comparison with the teachings of other Churches shows departure after departure from the doctrine of the Apostles.
That was not a correct statement. Christ personally established the Christian Church. He said clearly, "I will build my Church." He did not say, "I will see that my Church is established in the fourth century." In the first century St. Paul wrote to the Philippians blaming himself for having persecuted "the Church." How could he have done so, if the Church did not come into existence until three centuries later? Professor C. A. Briggs, a Presbyterian, in his book on "Church Unity," p. 205, writes, "I cannot undertake to give even a sketch of the history of the Papacy. We shall have to admit that the Christian Church from the earliest times recognized the primacy of the Roman Bishop, and that all other great Sees at times recognized the supreme jurisdiction of Rome in matters of doctrine, government, and discipline. . . . When the whole case has been carefully examined and all the evidence sifted, the statement of Irenaeus stands firm: We put to confusion all unauthorized assemblies by indicating the tradition derived from the Apostles of the great, ancient, and universally known Church founded at Rome by the two most glorious Apostles Peter and Paul . . . for it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church on account of its pre-eminent authority." St. Irenaeus wrote that in the second century; and you can be quite sure that the Presbyterian Dr. Briggs would not make the admission he has made in this paragraph unless compelled by the evidence to do so.
Christ Himself was its Founder. He prepared the way for it by declaring the fulfillment of the Old Law, announcing His intention to establish a Church, explaining its nature, privileges, and duties, and calling the Apostles whom He appointed to be rulers of the Church, St. Peter being constituted supreme head of the Church on earth. On Pentecost Sunday, or the fiftieth day after His resurrection, He sent the Holy Spirit upon His newly-founded Church in the person of His Apostles, and they commenced their work officially that day of preaching the Gospel to all nations.
That cannot stand. Christ established a Church, and the Apostles as the first representatives of that Church received the commission to teach the whole of mankind. It is impossible to restrict the commission to the Apostles only, when the commission was to teach all nations till the end of the world. The Apostles themselves could not go to all nations; nor could they live "all days till the end of the world." The authority was to be exercised in every age thenceforth. There must be some body in the world exercising it now. The commission to the Apostles has survived in the Catholic Church so carefully established and guaranteed by Christ.
It is impossible to believe in Christ otherwise. If we believe in Christ at all. we must believe that He did establish a definite Church which would last all days from His time till the end of time. But, if you take any other Church except the Catholic Church, you will find that it has not been in the world all days since the time of Christ; and that it was established, not by Christ, but by some later and merely human individual. Yet where we can point to the moment it began in history, and to its originator's name, in the case of every non-Catholic Church, no man can say who founded the Catholic Church and when, if Christ Himself did not. That is why Cardinal Newman, at one time a Protestant clergyman, said, "If the Roman Catholic Church is not the Church of Christ, there never was a Church established by Him."
Breakaways have occurred right through history, beginning in Apostolic times. Simon Magus, mentioned in the New Testament, was really the forerunner of independent men who set up religions of their own. Christ Himself predicted that men would do this, saying, "There will arise false Christs and false prophets to seduce if possible even the elect." Mk. XIII., 22. But in spite of this, He promised to His true Church, "I will be with you all days even to the end of the world." In the first centuries there were heretical founders of rival Churches--men whose names are found only in textbooks of history--Montanus, Manichaeus, Arius, Donatus, etc. In later centuries we find the founders of the Greek Church, Photius and Michael Cerularius. And later still the founders of the various Protestant Churches--Luther, Henry VIII., John Knox, and a host of others. As the years go on, others will arise, linger for a time, and disappear. But the Catholic and Apostolic Church will go on with continued vitality till the end of time. Ever there will be in the world a Church able to trace itself back in an unbroken line to the Apostles; and that Church is the Catholic Church which is subject to the Pope as the successor of St. Peter, the chief of the Apostles.