Editor:it is a common error, repeated often in homilies/sermons, that the Church was “born” at Pentecost. We need only recall the Petrine verses in the Gospel, and Christ’s final command to his apostles prior to his Ascension into Heaven: “Go out into the whole world and baptize…” to recognise that this claim is false. The apostles were strengthened at Pentecost, their faith renewed so that they had the courage to come out of hiding and obey Christ’s Ascension command to go into the whole world and spread the Faith. The Church, however, was established by Christ Himself during His time on earth, as amply reported in the New Testament.
Below, extracts from a short article on the subject…
Every Christian believes that Jesus Christ established and sustains a community of faith, hope and love for all believers. This community we call His Church. The Church that Christ founded is the Catholic Church which has a formal earthly structure established by Christ and which continues under His authority and protection.
Jesus did three things that established the framework of His Church. First, He chose humans to carry out His work. He appointed Peter to be the visible head of the Church. Jesus said to Peter, “You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16: 18) Jesus said “build,” as in to create a structure. Jesus built His structure on specifically chosen human beings Peter and the apostles.
Second, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the power and authority to carry out His work. “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.”(Matthew 16:19; 18:18) “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.”(John 20:23)
Third, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles commands as to what that work should be. At the last supper, He commanded, “Do this in memory of Me.” (Luke 22:19) He commanded them to “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
The early Church was structured in a hierarchical manner as it is today. We see in Acts, chapter 15 how the apostles and the elders came together under the leadership of St. Peter to decide the question of what was required of Gentiles. We also see how St. Peter was regarded as the head of the Church when St. Paul, “Went up to Jerusalem to confer with Cephas [Peter] and remained with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:18) There is no Scriptural evidence of independent local churches.
The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.
God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. She is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of teachings of Christ. And she accomplishes this under the protection of the Holy Spirit. Source
It is important to note that there was never any time when the Church was known as “Christian Church” – never. From the earliest times, the Church was called the “Catholic Church”. The adjective “Roman” was added during the Reformation period by the Protestant Reformers to push their heresy that the Church is made up of “branches” – of which those who adhere to Rome are but one part. Click here to read more. There is one exception to the writer’s claim that “RC” is not used in official Church documents, and that exception is found in Humani Generis # 27 – click here. However, Pope Pius XII is a recent pontiff, so the facts stand, as detailed in the article How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?
What, if any, difference does it make if priests preach that Pentecost celebrates “the birth of the Church”?
A: It is a ceremony by which a person, group of persons, or thing is set apart as sacred and dedicated to the service of God or another sacred purpose.
2. What is meant by “the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary”? A: At Fatima, on July 13, 1917, Our Lady told Sister Lucy that “God is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the Communions of reparation and for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart … In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
Our Lady’s request is very simple: Russia—the fount of so much evil in the 20th Century—must be set apart and made sacred by its consecration to the Mother of God.
3. Why is it necessary to consecrate Russia in particular? A: Because God wills it. As Our Lady told Sister Lucy at Fatima: “Russia will be the instrument of chastisement chosen by Heaven to punish the whole world if we do not beforehand obtain the conversion of that poor nation …”
And as Sister Lucy disclosed in her published memoirs and letters, Our Lord Himself confided to her that He would not convert Russia unless the consecration were done, “Because I want My whole Church to recognize that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.”
Sister Lucy has explained that because Russia is a well-defined territory, the conversion of Russia after its consecration to the Immaculate Heart would be undeniable proof that the conversion resulted from the consecration and nothing else. The establishment in the world of devotion to the Immaculate Heart would thus be confirmed by God Himself in the most dramatic manner. Read rest of the Frequently Asked Questions about the Consecration of Russia here
Nobody trusts the media today – apparently opinion polls show that journalists and politicians are neck and neck in sharing the public’s dismal opinion about their integrity. Yet, generally speaking Catholics seem to believe whatever they are told, judging by recent high profile controversies. The Catholic hierarchy generally go along with the popular view, as fed to us via the media. Is this naiveté or charity?
V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia. Queen of heaven, rejoice, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia, For he whom you did merit to bear, alleluia,
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia. Has risen as he said, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
From the Editor…
As well as being the usual facility to exchange Easter greetings, we might use this thread to discuss what on earth Pope Francis makes of Easter, since, apparently, according to recent reports, he thinks unrepentant souls just “disappear” – they don’t end up in Hell. What on EARTH is he celebrating this weekend, if there is no Hell? Why Good Friday? Why the need for the Saviour? What IS Christian salvation if not salvation from the eternal punishment of Hell?Read the following report, taken from the Rorate Caeli website which will leave you wishing, as it leaves me wishing that Papa Francis would “disappear” – like, yesterday!
From Rorate Caeli…
“THERE IS NO HELL” — new Francis revelation to atheist journalist just in time for Good Friday
In another informal interview with Italian atheist journalist (and founder of liberal newspaper Repubblica) Eugenio Scalfari, published today, Pope Francis reveals that “hell does not exist”.
His exact words below (full interview behind paywall here, most important excerpt below):
Title of the interview: “It is an honor for me to be called revolutionary.”
Excerpt on hell:
[Scalfari:] Your Holiness, in our previous meeting you told me that our species will disappear in a certain moment and that God, still out of his creative force, will create new species. You have never spoken to me about the souls who died in sin and will go to hell to suffer it for eternity. You have however spoken to me of good souls, admitted to the contemplation of God. But what about bad souls? Where are they punished?
[Francis:] “They are not punished, those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.” Source – Rorate Caeli
Was Pope Francis misquoted? Before you answer that, read this Catholic World Report including the following comment underneath: “I can’t believe people have not caught on yet. It is likely that Pope Francis told Scalfari that there was no hell. The fact that he said at other places and times that their IS a hell does not matter. What the Pope says changes from time to time. If Scalfari found it a stumbling block to believe in hell, then the Pope would have no trouble telling him there is no hell. The Pope was “accompanying” Scalfari, trying to move him closer to the church. If this involved the POPE denying or altering doctrine, then so be it. When Scalfari is ready to accept the idea of hell, the Pope will re-introduce it. It will appear again. What we just saw was the Pope’s idea of how to lead someone into the church. You deny or alter doctrine, if necessary. Then, when the person has accepted the fundamentals, you move the goalposts again, hell re-appears, and Voila! Now, the critical thing is that the POPE is endorsing this approach. Truth is situationally relative for the Pope, and he will say whatever he needs to say to get to his goal. He is flexible. Doctrine does not matter. So Germans want to give communion to divorced and remarried and bless gay marriage. Who cares? Not the Pope. So maybe Jesus did not rise from the dead. Who cares? Not the Pope.”
Dear St Joseph, pure and gentle, guardian of the Saviour child, Treading, with the virgin mother, Egypt’s deserts rough and wild. Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary, blest above all saints on high, When the death shades round us gather, teach, O teach us how to die, teach, O teach us how to die.
He who rested on thy bosom is by countless saints adored, Prostrate angels in his presence sing hosannahs to their Lord. Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary, blest above all saints on high, When the death shades round us gather, teach, O teach us how to die, teach, O teach us how to die.
Now to thee, no gift refusing, Jesus stoops to hear thy prayer; Then, dear saint, from thy fair dwelling, give to us a father’s care. Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary, blest above all saints on high, When the death shades round us gather, teach, O teach us how to die, teach, O teach us how to die.
Dear St Joseph, kind and loving, stretch to us a helping hand; guide us through life’s toils and sorrows safely to the distant land. Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary, blest above all saints on high, When the death shades round us gather, teach, O teach us how to die, teach, O teach us how to die.
Comment: St Joseph is a very powerful saint indeed,so if you’ve experienced his powerful intercession, share your story with us, here.
Publish, too, your favourite prayers and hymns to this great saint. Happy Feast of St Joseph, everyone!
ROME, February 22, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — The head of the Vatican department overseeing liturgy is summoning the Catholic faithful to return to receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling.
Cardinal Robert Sarah
In the preface to a new book on the subject, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, writes: “The most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and Lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful.”
“Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host,” he said.
The new book, by Don Federico Bortoli, was released in Italian under the title: ‘The distribution of Communion on the hand: a historical, juridical and pastoral survey’ [La distribuzione della comunione sulla mano. Profili storici, giuridici e pastorali].
Recalling the centenary of the Fatima apparitions, Sarah writes that the Angel of Peace who appeared to the three shepherd children in advance of the Blessed Virgin’s visit “shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ.” His Eminence then identifies the outrages by which Jesus is offended today in the Holy Eucharist, including “so-called ‘intercommunion.’” Sarah goes on to consider how faith in the Real Presence “can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa,” and he proposes Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa as two modern saints whom God has given us to imitate in their reverence and reception of the Holy Eucharist.
“Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand?,” the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship asks. The manner in which the Holy Eucharist is distributed and received, he writes, “is an important question on which the Church today must reflect.”
Here below, with the kind permission of La Nuova Bussola where the preface was first published, we offer our readers a LifeSiteNews translation of several key extracts from Cardinal Sarah’s text.
*** Providence, which disposes all thing wisely and sweetly, has offered us book The Distribution of Communion on the hand, by Federico Bortoli, just after having celebrated the centenary of the Fatima apparitions. Before the apparition of the Virgin Mary, in the Spring of 1916, the Angel of Peace appeared to Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco, and said to them: “Do not be afraid, I am the Angel of Peace. Pray with me.” (…) In the Spring of 1916, at the third apparition of the Angel, the children realized that the Angel, who was always the same one, held in his left hand a chalice over which a host was suspended. (…) He gave the holy Host to Lucia, and the Blood of the chalice to Jacinta and Francisco, who remained on their knees, saying: “Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.” The Angel prostrated himself again on the ground, repeating the same prayer three times with Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.
Angel of Peace at Fatima
The Angel of Peace therefore shows us how we should receive the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ. The prayer of reparation dictated by the Angel, unfortunately, is anything but obsolete. But what are the outrages that Jesus receives in the holy Host, for which we need to make reparation? In the first place, there are the outrages against the Sacrament itself: the horrible profanations, of which some ex-Satanist converts have reported and offer gruesome descriptions. Sacrilegious Communions, not received in the state of God’s grace, or not professing the Catholic faith (I refer to certain forms of the so-called “intercommunion”), are also outrages. Secondly, all that could prevent the fruitfulness of the Sacrament, especially the errors sown in the minds of the faithful so that they no longer believe in the Eucharist, is an outrage to Our Lord. The terrible profanations that take place in the so-called ‘black masses’ do not directly wound the One who in the Host is wronged, ending only in the accidents of bread and wine.
Of course, Jesus suffers for the souls of those who profane Him, and for whom He shed the Blood which they so miserably and cruelly despise. But Jesus suffers more when the extraordinary gift of his divine-human Eucharistic Presence cannot bring its potential effects into the souls of believers. And so we can understand that the most insidious diabolical attack consists in trying to extinguish faith in the Eucharist, by sowing errors and fostering an unsuitable way of receiving it. Truly the war between Michael and his Angels on one side, and lucifer on the other, continues in the hearts of the faithful: Satan’s target is the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host. This robbery attempt follows two tracks: the first is the reduction of the concept of ‘real presence.’ Many theologians persist in mocking or snubbing the term ‘transubstantiation’ despite the constant references of the Magisterium (…)
Let us now look at how faith in the real presence can influence the way we receive Communion, and vice versa. Receiving Communion on the hand undoubtedly involves a great scattering of fragments. On the contrary, attention to the smallest crumbs, care in purifying the sacred vessels, not touching the Host with sweaty hands, all become professions of faith in the real presence of Jesus, even in the smallest parts of the consecrated species: if Jesus is the substance of the Eucharistic Bread, and if the dimensions of the fragments are accidents only of the bread, it is of little importance how big or small a piece of the Host is! The substance is the same! It is Him! On the contrary, inattention to the fragments makes us lose sight of the dogma. Little by little the thought may gradually prevail: “If even the parish priest does not pay attention to the fragments, if he administers Communion in such a way that the fragments can be scattered, then it means that Jesus is not in them, or that He is ‘up to a certain point’.”
The second track on which the attack against the Eucharist runs is the attempt to remove the sense of the sacred from the hearts of the faithful. (…) While the term ‘transubstantiation’ points us to the reality of presence, the sense of the sacred enables us to glimpse its absolute uniqueness and holiness. What a misfortune it would be to lose the sense of the sacred precisely in what is most sacred! And how is it possible? By receiving special food in the same way as ordinary food. (…)
The liturgy is made up of many small rituals and gestures — each of them is capable of expressing these attitudes filled with love, filial respect and adoration toward God. That is precisely why it is appropriate to promote the beauty, fittingness and pastoral value of a practice which developed during the long life and tradition of the Church, that is, the act of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue and kneeling. The greatness and nobility of man, as well as the highest expression of his love for his Creator, consists in kneeling before God. Jesus himself prayed on his knees in the presence of the Father. (…)
In this regard I would like to propose the example of two great saints of our time: St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta. Karol Wojtyła’s entire life was marked by a profound respect for the Holy Eucharist. (…) Despite being exhausted and without strength (…) he always knelt before the Blessed Sacrament. He was unable to kneel and stand up alone. He needed others to bend his knees and to get up. Until his last days, he wanted to offer us a great witness of reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Why are we so proud and insensitive to the signs that God himself offers us for our spiritual growth and our intimate relationship with Him? Why do not we kneel down to receive Holy Communion after the example of the saints? Is it really so humiliating to bow down and remain kneeling before the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet, “He, though being in the form of God, […] humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2: 6-8).
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, an exceptional religious who no one would dare regard as a traditionalist, fundamentalist or extremist, whose faith, holiness and total gift of self to God and the poor are known to all, had a respect and absolute worship of the divine Body of Jesus Christ. Certainly, she daily touched the “flesh” of Christ in the deteriorated and suffering bodies of the poorest of the poor. And yet, filled with wonder and respectful veneration, Mother Teresa refrained from touching the transubstantiatedBody of Christ. Instead, she adored him and contemplated him silently, she remained at length on her knees and prostrated herself before Jesus in the Eucharist. Moreover, she received Holy Communion in her mouth, like a little child who has humbly allowed herself to be fed by her God.
The saint was saddened and pained when she saw Christians receiving Holy Communion in their hands. In addition, she said that as far as she knew, all of her sisters received Communion only on the tongue. Is this not the exhortation that God himself addresses to us: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it”? (Ps 81:10).
Why do we insist on communicating standing and on the hand? Why this attitude of lack of submission to the signs of God? May no priest dare to impose his authority in this matter by refusing or mistreating those who wish to receive Communion kneeling and on the tongue. Let us come as children and humbly receive the Body of Christ on our knees and on our tongue. The saints give us the example. They are the models to be imitated that God offers us!
But how could the practice of receiving the Eucharist on the hand become so common? The answer is given to us — and is supported by never-before-published documentation that is extraordinary in its quality and volume — by Don Bortoli. It was a process that was anything but clear, a transition from what the instruction Memoriale Domini granted, to what is such a widespread practice today (…) Unfortunately, as with the Latin language, so also with a liturgical reform that should have been homogeneous with the previous rites, a special concession has become the picklock to force and empty the safe of the Church’s liturgical treasures. The Lord leads the just along ‘straight paths’ (cf. Wis. 10:10), not by subterfuge. Therefore, in addition to the theological motivations shown above, also the way in which the practice of Communion on the hand has spread appears to have been imposed not according to the ways of God.
May this book encourage those priests and faithful who, moved also by the example of Benedict XVI — who in the last years of his pontificate wanted to distribute the Eucharist in the mouth and kneeling — wish to administer or receive the Eucharist in this latter manner, which is far more suited to the Sacrament itself. I hope there can be a rediscovery and promotion of the beauty and pastoral value of this method. In my opinion and judgment, this is an important question on which the Church today must reflect. This is a further act of adoration and love that each of us can offer to Jesus Christ. I am very pleased to see so many young people who choose to receive our Lord so reverently on their knees and on their tongues. May Fr. Bortoli’s work foster a general rethinking on the way Holy Communion is distributed. As I said at the beginning of this preface, we have just celebrated the centenary of Fatima and we are encouraged in waiting for the sure triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary that, in the end, the truth about the liturgy will also triumph. [emphases added]. * Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
Surely, no Catholic reading the above could continue to participate in this Satanic attack on the Eucharist? Indeed, could anyone who continues to receive Communion in the hand after reading the above, honestly claim to believe in the Real Presence of Our Lord, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, truly present in every particle of the Sacred Species?
There can sometimes be a failure to understand the true nature of Lent. It’s seen, rightly, as a time of prayer and penance, making atonement for sins, and reflecting on the Passion and Death of Our Lord. However, arguably, the majority of Catholics pay insufficient attention to what should be the outcome of our Lenten prayers and penances – namely, an increase in our love for Our Lord. It’s sometimes striking to reflect on the uncharitable way we behave towards others, sometimes even right after attending Mass or praying a rosary – indications that we are seriously lacking in charity, that charity which isthe love of God, made manifest in our lives…
I am ashamed to admit that I have never – ever – made a good Lent. My attempted penances over the years include the classics; giving up chocolate, crisps, soft drinks – and if I were fond of the less soft drinks, I would have, very likely, sacrificed those as well (pat on the back), but I can’t , without fibbing, claim an increased love of God, manifesting itself in increased charity towards my neighbour, as a result. The truth that no-one can stand still in the spiritual life – we either go forwards or back – terrifies me. I need help, therefore, and I’m hoping that this thread will do the trick…
As we mark the beginning of Lent today, Ash Wednesday, share your ideas for useful penances, and post any meditations, experiences, prayers, hymns and advice that you think will be helpful to us all this Lent, as we seek to grow in the love of God.