Source: "THE CATHOLIC DOGMA"
By Michael Müller, C.SS.R
New York, Cincinnati, and Chicago:
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See
Permissu Superiorum, 1888 A.D.
WHAT CATHOLIC FAITH IS.
No one can go to heaven unless he knows the way to heaven. If we wish to go to a certain city, the
first thing we do is to ask the way that leads to it. If we do not know the way, we cannot expect to arrive at that city. So, too, if we wish to go to heaven, we must know the way that leads to it. Now, the way that leads to it is the knowing and doing of God's will. But it is God alone who can teach us his will; that is, what he requires us to believe and to do, in order to be happy with him in heaven.
The end for which man was created—his everlasting union with God—says the Vatican Council, is far above the human understanding. It was, therefore, necessary that God should make himself known to man, and teach him the end for which he was created, and what
he must believe and do in order to become worthy of everlasting happiness.
"If you wish to judge well of a grand edifice, you must study in detail its
form and dimensions; you must examine minutely its style of architecture and strive to comprehend the architect's design. All this will cause you much trouble and impatience, and still your knowledge of the edifice will not be complete.
"But, if the architect himself explains to you his plan, and, in addition to the knowledge you already have of the building, gives you sufficient information of its first cause, then you
will be able to give a full, distinct description of the whole edifice.
"In like manner, a learned man may strive on all occasions, and by all natural
means in his power, to know the first cause of the grand edifice of creation, its plan and object. All this will give him much trouble, and yet his knowledge of the work of creation will be very incomplete so long as he has not learned its first cause, and
plan, and object from the divine Architect himself." (St. Thomas Aquinas.)
Now, God himself, in his infinite mercy, came to tell us why he had created us; he came and taught us the truths which we must believe, the commandments which we must keep, and the means of grace which we must use to work out our salvation.
To know God's will is to know the true religion or the true way to heaven. As God is but one, so his holy will is but one, and therefore his religion is but one and the same.
In order that we might learn, with infallible certainty, this one true religion, Almighty God appointed but one infallible teaching authority—the Roman Catholic Church—and commanded all to hear her and believe her infallible
doctrine, under pain of exclusion from eternal life.
"Almighty God appointed but one infallible
teaching authority—the Roman Catholic Church"
Now, God is infinite truth itself. He knows things only as they are, and can speak them only as he knows them. As sovereign Author and Lord of all things, he has an absolute authority over all men,—an authority
which he can exercise either directly by himself, or through an angel, or a prophet, or one or more of his reasonable creatures. God, therefore, has a right to command, under pain of eternal damnation, the human understanding to believe certain truths; he
has a right to command the human will to perform certain duties, and the senses to make certain sacrifices. Nothing can be more reasonable than to submit to such a command of God. This submission of the understanding and the will to God's revelation is called
faith, which, as St. Paul says, "bringeth into captivity every understanding to the obedience of Christ." (II. Cor. x. 5.) As soon, then, as man hears the voice of his Maker, he is bound to say: Amen, it is so; I believe it, no
matter whether I understand it or not. The Lord of heaven and earth is the Infallible Truth itself. He can neither deceive nor be deceived. He is the wherefore and the why of my belief.
Hence, St. Basil says: "Faith, always powerful and victorious, exercises a greater ascendancy over minds than all the proofs which reason and human science can
furnish, because faith obviates all difficulties, not by the light of manifest evidence, but by the weight of the infallible authority of God, which renders them incapable of admitting any doubt."
"There is," says Thomas
Aquinas, "more certainty in faith than in human science and all the other intellectual virtues. We must consider the certainty of a thing in its cause, or the object that receives it. The cause of our faith is God, the source and
origin of all truth, So, by this principle, no certainty is comparable to that of faith.
"It may be said that he who knows perceives better than he
who believes. Does it hence follow that natural knowledge has more certainty than faith? No; for a thing is to be considered rather by its cause than by the disposition of him who receives it.
"Human science and art are only contingencies, but the object of faith is the knowledge of eternal truths. Prudence and knowledge proceed from reason and experience; but faith comes by the operation of the Holy Ghost. All our sensitive
organs and intellectual faculties are liable to err; but faith is infallible, for it is founded on the word of God: ‘Because you received it from us, not as the word of men, but as the true word of God.'" (Thess. ii. 13.)
The Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas
Now, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has
revealed our religion and invested all the truths of his revelation in an infallible Teaching Body—the Holy Roman Catholic Church, through which he has made it known, and continues to make it known, to all nations, to the end of time, in
a manner most easy and infallible. She is the heir to the rights of Jesus Christ. She is the faithful depository of the spiritual treasures of Jesus Christ. She is the infallible Teacher of the doctrines of Jesus Christ. She wields the authority of Jesus Christ.
She lives by the life and spirit of Jesus Christ. She enjoys the guidance and help of Jesus Christ. She speaks, orders, commands, concedes, prohibits, defines, looses, and binds in the name of Jesus Christ. In the light of divine faith, which the Catholic
has received in baptism, he believes the divine authority of the Church, and therefore he believes and obeys her in all things; and in believing and obeying her, he believes and obeys Almighty God himself, who said to the Apostles and their lawful successors in the Catholic Church: "He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you,
despiseth me." (Luke, x. 16.) The faith of the Catholic, therefore, is divine, because it is based on divine authority: He knows and believes that Jesus Christ speaks to him through his Church, and therefore he believes all the truths she teaches
him, with the utmost firmness and simplicity, with an unwavering conviction of their reality. The fact that Jesus Christ has said it, has done it, has taught it to his infallible Church, and commanded her to teach it to all nations, is for him the weightiest
of all reasons to believe it. The famous word of the Pythagoreans, "The master has said it," was with them a foolish idolatry, believing, as they did, that no one could be deceived. Applied, however, to Jesus Christ, it is a first principle, a sacred axiom
for every Catholic. The heavens and the earth shall pass away, but "the truth of the Lord remaineth forever." (Ps. cxvi. 2.) The good Catholic silences every objection to his faith by saying: "The Son of God, Jesus Christ, has revealed it to us by his Church,
and we have no more questions to ask." Hence St. Thomas Aquinas says:—
"The principles and rule of faith depend on the authority
and doctrine of the one, holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.
So, out of the true Church there is no faith or salvation. When the light of faith and grace flashes upon the soul, then man firmly believes all that God has revealed and proposes for our belief by his Church. Hence an act of faith differs from all the other
acts of the human intellect as to what is true or false."
This is the reason why the Church allows none of her children to call into question her divine
mission. The light of faith which shines upon the mind of a Catholic so utterly consumes doubt, that, hereafter he cannot entertain it except by his own great fault.
"Faith," says St. Alphonsus, "is a virtue, or a gift, which God infuses into
our souls in baptism, by which gift we believe the truths which God himself has revealed to the Holy Church, and which she proposes to our belief.
St. Caius stayed *hidden in the Catacombs for 8 years to preserve himself for His flock. The Saint
was eventually captured and martyred (via decapitation). St. Caius' tomb, with the original epitaph, was discovered in the catacomb of Callixtus in Rome.
*"St. Caius encouraged St. Sebastian, and the other martyrs and confessors. However, to preserve himself for his flock, he withdrew for a time, to avoid the fury of the storm." (Source:
"The Lives of the Primitive Fathers, Martyrs, and other Principal Saints", by Rev. Alban Butler, Vol. IV pp. 232-233, Edinburgh, 1799 A.D., Imprimatur) Note: also see the ancient (original) Liber
Pontificalis historical account of the life of Pope & Martyr St. Caius, attributed to the Church Father & Doctor, St. Jerome. -ED
"By the Church is meant the Congregation of all who are baptized and profess the true faith under a *visible Head, that is, the Sovereign Pontiff.
*"visible Head" does not mean a pope is forbade from fleeing persecution via concealment
- as Pope Caius chose for the majority of his reign (see above) - or as Pope Pius IX did during the 1848 masonic persecution in Rome, by fleeing the Roman Papal Palace clandestinely... making himself "invisible" by wearing a disguise, during his dangerous
journey into exile, in Gaetia, Italy. See: https://tinyurl.com/Pexile -ED
"I say, the true faith,
to exclude heretics who, though baptized, are separated from the Church.
"I say, under a
visible head, to exclude schismatics, who do not obey the Pope, and on that account easily pass from schism to heresy. St.
Cyprian well says: 'Heresies and schisms have no other origin than this—the refusal to obey the Priest of God, and the notion that there can be more than one priest at a time presiding over the Church, and
more than one judge at a time filling the office of Vicar of Christ.'
"We have all the revealed truths in the Sacred Scriptures and in the Traditions
gradually communicated by God to his servants. But how should we be able to ascertain what are the true Scriptures and the true Traditions, and what is their true meaning, if we had not the Church to teach us? This Church Jesus Christ
established as the pillar and ground of truth. To this Church our Saviour himself has promised that she shall never be conquered by her enemies. 'The gates of hell shall not prevail against her' (Matt. xvi. 18). The gates of hell are the heresies and heresiarchs that have caused so many deluded souls to wander from the right path. This Church
it is that teaches us, through her pastors, the truths which we must believe. Hence St. Augustine says: 'I would not believe the Gospel were I not moved by the Authority of the Church. The cause, then, which imposes on me the obligation to
believe the truths of faith is, because God, the Infallible Truth, has revealed them, and because the Church proposes them to my belief. Our rule of faith, therefore, is this: My God, because thou who art the Infallible Truth, hast revealed
to the Church the truths of faith, I believe all that the Church proposes to my belief." (First Command. n. 4, 5, 6).
Such is the faith which God prescribes
in the first commandment. It is only by such faith that he is truly honored and worshipped; for, by such faith we acknowledge him as the Sovereign Being of infinite Perfections, made known to us by revelation; and as the Sovereign Truth, who can neither deceive
nor be deceived. ... Without this inestimable gift of grace—the light
of divine faith—it is impossible to be saved... . (END)
The Vatican Council in 1870 infallibly stated that St. Peter HAS (not will have) perpetual successors.
The pertinent quotation is found in Denzinger #1825: Si quis ergo dixerit, non esse ex ipsius Christi domini
institutione seu iure divino, ut beatus Petrus in primatu super universam ecclesiam habeat perpetuos successores; … anathema sit.”
Habeat = he has (present tense—subjunctive because it follows dixerit according to sequence of tenses). Future tense (he will have) = habebit. He must have = debeat habere. Habeat then equals has, not must have or will have.
Perpetuus, a, um:
• Cassell’s Latin-English and English-Latin Dictionary: (peto) continuous, uninterrupted, continual. I. a, of space, munitiones, Caes.; oratio, Cic; carmen, Hor.; b. of time,
unbroken, continuing, lasting, perpetual; ignis Vestae perpetuus ac sempiternus, Cic; questiones, composed of a standing body of judges, Cic; interpetuum, for ever, Cic. II. universal, general; jus, Cic.
• Second Latin, Scanlon and Scanlon: perpetual, everlasting, unfailing; in perpetuum, forever.
"Cornelius a Lapide sums up what may be said to be the common
interpretation of theologians. 'For from Christian it (Rome) shall
again become heathen. It shall cast out the Christian Pontiff, and
who adhere to him. It shall persecute and slay them... ."
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