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Saturday, 20 August 2016

The Catholic Church and her book, the Bible!



Image result for The Bible, Images 


To sum up what has been said: In the order of time, the Catholic
Church precedes the Scripture. There was no time when a visible
and speaking divine authority did not exist, to which submission
was not due. Before the coming of Jesus Christ, that authority
among the Jews was in the synagogue. When the synagogue
was on the point of failing, Jesus Christ himself appeared; when
this divine personage withdrew, he left his authority to his
Church, and with her his Holy Spirit. All the truths which we
believe to be divine, and which are the objects of our faith, were
taught by the Church, and believed by millions of Christians, long
before they were committed to writing, and formed what is
called the New Testament. 




And those truths would have
remained to the end of the world, pure and unaltered, had that
primitive state continued; that is, had it never seemed good to
any of the apostolic men, as it did to St. Luke, to commit to
writing what they had learned from Christ. He did it, he says,
that Theophilus, to whom he writes, might know the verity of these
words in which he had been instructed.



A Catholic, therefore, never forms his faith by reading the
Scriptures; his faith is already formed before he begins to read;
his reading serves only to confirm what he always believed; that
is, it confirms the doctrine which the Church had already taught
him. Consequently, if these books had not existed, the belief in
the facts and truths of Christianity would have been the same;
and it would not be weakened if those books were no longer to
exist.



As the Catholic Church made known to the Christians those
facts and truths long before they were recorded in writing, she
alone could afterward rightly decide, and infallibly state, what
books did, and what did not, contain the pure doctrine of Christ
and his apostles; she alone could and did know what books
were, and what were not, divinely inspired; she alone could and
did make that inspiration an object of faith; she alone can, with
infallible authority, give the true meaning, and determine the
legitimate use of the Holy Scriptures. 




Although the Scripture, the
true word of God, is not to us a rule of faith, taken independently
of the teaching authority of the pastors of the Church, the
successors of the apostles, yet it is not inferior to the Church in
excellence and dignity. It is inspired, holy, and divine. Hence, it is
the custom of the Church to erect a throne in the middle of
councils, on which she places the Sacred Books as presiding
over the assembly, occupying, as it were, the first place, and
deciding with supreme authority. When celebrating Mass, she
wishes that the faithful, during the reading of the Gospel, should
all rise, and remain standing, to show their reverence for the
sacred truths. 




We venerate the Scriptures as a sacred deposit
bequeathed to us by the kindest of parents, containing truths of
the highest moment, practical lessons of saving morality, and
facts of history relating to the life of our divine Saviour, and the
conduct of his disciples, eminently interesting and instructive.
For all this we are very grateful.



Besides, the Scriptures come forward with a powerful aid, to
support, by the evidence of the contents, both the divine
authority of the Church, and the divine truths of the faith which
we have received from her, applying that aid to each article, and
giving a lustre to the whole. So Theophilus, when he read that
admirable narration which St. Luke compiled for him, was more
and more confirmed in the verity of things in which he had been
instructed. (St. Luke, 1: 1-4)



For those, however, who reject the divine authority of the
Church, the holy Scriptures can no longer be authentic and
inspired writings— they are for them no longer the word of God;
for they have no one who can tell them, with divine certainty,
what books are, and what are not, divinely inspired; they have
no one who, in the name of God, can command them to believe
in the divine inspiration of the writers of those books. Explaining
them, as they do, according to their fancy, and translating them
in a way favorable to their errors, they have, in the Scriptures,
not the Gospel of Christ, but that of man or the devil, calculated
only to confirm the ignorant in their errors, and the learned in
their pride and self-sufficiency. 




We read, in the Gospel of St.
Matthew and of St. Luke, that Satan hid himself under the shade
of the Scripture when he tempted our divine Saviour. He quoted
passages from holy Scripture, in order to tempt him to ambition
and presumption. But he is answered: "Begone, Satan; it is
written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." Satan, being
overcome, left for a time. But not long after, under the mask of
Arius, Nestorius, Pelagius, Luther, Calvin, John Knox, Henry VIII.,
and a host of other heresiarchs, he renewed his attacks on
Jesus Christ, in the person of the Catholic Church. This demon is
heresy, which hides itself under the shade of Scripture. 



Were Satan to utter blasphemies, he would be known at once, and men
would flee from him in horror. So he deceives them under the
appearance of good; he repeats passages from holy Scripture,
and men naturally listen to him, and are apt to believe and follow
him. But the good Catholic answers him: “Begone, Satan! It is
written, he that will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as a
heathen and the publican.” (Matt. 28:16.) This is the great, the
infallible, and the only rule of faith, that leads to him who gave it,
—Jesus Christ.

Culled from The Catholic Dogma: Extra Ecclesiam Nullus Omnino Salvatur
 Seen at:  https://en.m.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Catholic_Dogma:_Extra_Ecclesiam_Nullus_Omnino_Salvatur#Preface

Presented by Malachy Mary Igwilo, on the feast Day of St. Bernard, within the Holy Octave of Asumption 20th August 2016


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