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The Church. Carrying on Christ’s Mission. The Seed of the Church. Did Jesus found a Church to carry on His mission? Indeed, Scripture confirms that He did, “And, I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church” Mt. 16:18.

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The church

The Church

Carrying on Christ’s Mission


The seed of the church

The Seed of the Church

  • Did Jesus found a Church to carry on His mission?

  • Indeed, Scripture confirms that He did, “And, I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church” Mt. 16:18.

  • Jesus founded one Church and He set Peter at the head of the Church.

  • But how did the role of Peter form the great position of the Pope that we hold to today?

  • We can also ask if Jesus intended to have a hierarchy (structure) within the Church at all?

  • For this answer we have to look back at Jesus’ Jewish roots and the Old Testament.


The royal court

The Royal Court

  • Remember that a Jewish expectation of the Messiah was for him to be “The King of the End”.

  • A “King” implies a Kingdom and the Jews were expecting the Messiah to restore the glory of the Kingdom of Israel.

  • But, what was the Kingdom of Israel like? How was it structured?

King

Queen Mother

Prime Minister


The absent king

The Absent King

  • The Book of Kings describes the special role of the Queen Mother of Israel, she was enthroned next to her son the King and was very influential in the Kingdom (See I Ks. 11:19, 15:13, 2 Ks. 10:13, etc.).

  • Obviously there is a parallel here with the Blessed Mother, who has a special intercessory role with Christ, her Son and our King.

  • When the King was absent from the Kingdom it was the Prime Minister who ruled the Kingdom in his stead.

  • We see the role of the Prime Minister clearly in the Book of Isaiah 22:20-22, where the Prime Minister is being replaced:

  • “… and I will cloth him with your robe, and bind your girdle upon him, and will commit your authority to his hands … And I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David, he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut and none shall open.


Coincidence or divine providence

Coincidence or Divine Providence?

Matthew 16:18-19

“And, I tell you, you are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the powers of death will not prevail against it. I will give to you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven.”

Isaiah 22:20-22

“…and I will clothe him with your robe, and bind your girdle upon him, and will commit your authority to his hands … And I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David, he shall open and none shall shut; and he shall shut and none shall open.

  • Jesus is very closely quoting the Old Testament and setting up Peter in the very important role of Prime Minister over the Church.


The office of the pope

The Office of the Pope

  • Jesus, in founding the Church and by placing Peter as the head, is re-establishing the role of the Prime Minister, an office.

  • An office (as in a political office) is never meant to be vacant – this is clear from the text in Isaiah.

  • And, this is why the Catholic Church has had an unbroken line of Popes going back to St. Peter.

  • As with political offices, the role of Pope carries with it certain legislative authority.

  • Among these the most misunderstood is Infallibility.


Infallibility authority

Infallibility & Authority

  • Papal Infallibility refers to the power of the Pope to declare an infallible teaching on faith or morals of his own authority.

  • To put it very simply: the role of the Pope is to teach what Christ taught and Christ’s teaching is infallible; therefore, when the Pope teaches what Christ taught, he is infallible because of the promise of Christ to Peter, “the powers of death shall not prevail against it [the Church]” Mt. 16:18.

  • This authority is particular to the Pope, however, the entire episcopal body (all the bishops) have the responsibility to teach what Christ taught.

  • The Pope also has authority over the entire Church in regard to judicial decisions (ex. the Pope can impose a punishment or repeal or add to the Laws of the Church [Canon Law]) and where the Pope has universal authority, the bishops have the same authority in their local diocese or Archdiocese.


Ordained ministry

Ordained Ministry

  • The authority of the bishops is played out in the local life of the Church through the priesthood and diaconate.

  • The priest accomplishes this primarily through the celebration of the Eucharist wherein we meet Christ Personally.

  • He also does this through the celebration of all the other sacraments, in his preaching, teaching, and his example of life.

  • The priest’s example is very important as well, for he lives out the evangelical counsels: poverty, chastity, and obedience. The E.C.s are vows taken by priests and religious in order to more perfectly follow in the footsteps of Christ.

Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

“From the rising of the sun to its setting may the Name of the Lord be blessed.”

Ps. 113:3


Why men alone

Why Men Alone?

  • The Catholic Church is one of the only Christian denominations which maintains an all-male clergy. Some accuse the Church of being sexist by prohibiting women to be ordained.

  • Our task therefore, is to look at the meaning of the Catholic priesthood and its relationship to Christ’s priesthood so as to understand and appreciate the Church’s teaching.


Christ priesthood sexuality

Christ, Priesthood & Sexuality

  • To understand Christ, priesthood and sexuality properly we have to correct a modern misconception about sexuality.

  • Many in the modern world believe that sexuality is something you do; they reduce sexuality to the physical act of sexual intercourse.

  • This attitude is completely wrong! Sexuality is not something you do, it is who you are!

  • Your masculinity impacts every word you speak, every thought you have, and every action you perform.

  • So too Jesus’ masculinity impacted everything that He did including His priesthood.

  • As we have seen, Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross was His supreme priestly work.

  • In reality, Jesus is the only priest because it was He Who offered the only acceptable sacrifice to God.


In persona christi

In Persona Christi

  • All priests share their priesthood through Christ’s priesthood.

  • The priest stands “In Persona Christi”/”In the Person of Christ” when celebrating the sacraments. Christ makes His priesthood visible through the priest.

  • Because the priest stands in the Person of Christ and because of the consistent Tradition of the Church; a priest need be a man to be a priest.

  • Jesus as God-Man & High Priest (See Heb. 14:14) intimately bound His priesthood to His masculinity and chose of His own free will 12 men to carry on His priestly ministry.

  • This is the unchangeable teaching of Christ and the Church.


Why celibacy

Why Celibacy?

  • Because of the modern world’s misperceptions concerning sexuality they often do not understand the Church’s teaching on priesthood and celibacy.

  • Celibacy among the clergy of the Church is an ancient practice going back to the Gospels and Christ’s own teaching, “… there are those who make themselves eunuchs (abstinence from sex and marriage) for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” Mt. 19:12

  • Christ Himself taught that there are those who are called by God to a life of sexual abstinence so as to totally focus on the work of God.

  • Therefore, the early Church highly prized its unmarried and celibate clergy. This tradition was so influential in building up the early Church that it became a required discipline of the Western Church in the 4th century.


Sacraments privileged encounters with christ

Sacraments: Privileged Encounters with Christ

  • Since the teaching of Christ is primarily handed on in and through the sacraments, we must now discuss the 7 sacraments.

  • The sacraments are visible and efficacious signs of God’s invisible grace, instituted by Christ to bring about holiness and virtue in His people – the Church.

  • In the sacraments we receive God’s grace, which is a free gift from God of His own Divine Life dwelling within us. This grace is not earned by us, rather God makes His grace freely available through the sacraments.


Sacraments signs

Sacraments & Signs

  • Everything we do as human beings is physical, so it should be no surprise that God works through the sacraments in physical signs and symbols.

  • Let’s look at the physical elements that accompany each sacrament:

Confirmation – laying on of hands, anointing with Chrism, and the words, “Be sealed…”

Matrimony – the mutual consent of the couple through the exchange of vows.

Baptism = water & the words, “I baptize you in the Name of the Father …”

Reconciliation – the words of absolution, “I absolve you of your sins …”

Holy Orders – laying on of hands and the prayer of consecration.

Eucharist – wheat bread, grape wine and the words of consecration.

Anointing of the Sick – anointing w/ the oil of the sick and the prayer of the priest.


The unity of the sacraments

The Unity of the Sacraments

  • The sacraments draw the Church into communion/common union.

  • The Church as “one” is one of the four “marks of the Church”.

  • The unity of the Church is reflected in several ways:

    • Worship

    • Teaching

    • Hierarchy

    • Sacraments

    • Social Action (charitable programs)


Holy and catholic

Holy and Catholic

  • Another mark of the Church, is that the Church is “holy”.

  • The Church is holy, that is, “set apart”, only because of the constant Presence of the Holy Spirit and the headship of Christ.

  • The holiness of the Church in Christ and the Holy Spirit is meant be constantly call the members of the Church to constant conversion and holiness. The Church is not holy because of us but because of God.

  • The Church is “Catholic” or “universal”.

  • This is for two reasons:

    • The teachings and mission of Christ are for all peoples and all ages.

    • The mission of the Church is a universal mission to all peoples and ages.

    • The purpose of the Church is to brings the Gospel of Christ to the entire world.


Apostolic

Apostolic

  • The last mark of the Church is “apostolic”.

  • The Church was founded upon the apostles and carried on by their successors, the bishops.

  • The apostolic foundations of the Church and the unbroken apostolic succession ensure the accurate handing on of the teachings of Christ.

  • No other major Christian denomination (besides Eastern Orthodoxy) can claim apostolic origins and teaching.

The 1st Ecumenical Council of Nicaea


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