Catholic Faith: Blog
This Catholic Faith Blog is Maintained by the Catholic Rebuttals Research Team. Here You Will Find Responses to Reader's Questions, Catholic Commentary and Other Resources!
Christ established His Church through His apostles when he commissioned them to go out, do and teach all that He had done. Jesus handed over the keys of heaven to Simon who was then renamed Peter, meaning “Rock". Christ presented Peter as His head, here on earth. The Chair of Peter has been passed in a similar way into the hands of Pope Francis, in Rome.
Each week, Catholics recite the Apostle’s Creed, which describes Jesus’ Church as possessing the following characteristics: one, holy, Catholic, apostolic…
The Church is One…
In Ephesians chapter 4, verse 5 we read, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Furthering this point, in the gospel of Matthew we read the baptismal decree from Jesus, in which He says, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matt 28:18-19).
The Church is Holy…
In Ephesians 5:27 we read, “That she might be holy without blemish.” Here, ‘she’ refers to the bride of Jesus, His church.
The Church is Catholic…
The word Catholic means “universal.” In Acts 2:5-10 we read “Every nation under heaven.” Jesus is the gatherer; calling all people to be a part of His church.
The Church is Apostolic…
In 1Corinthians 12:28 we see, “Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles;* second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues.” Additionally, we read in Ephesians 2:19-20, “So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,r with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.” and in the book of Acts 2:42, “They held steadfastly to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread.”
The Church is also the body of Christ (1Cor 12:12-27, Colossians 1:24) in which nothing can separate the members from the body (Eph 4:25). In particular, nothing can separate heaven’s saints for they are the ones who see God face to face (Rev 22:4). We must remember that He is the head of which we are its members (Eph 5:23). The Catholic Church is also His bride while He is the bridegroom (1Cor 12; Romans 12).
So you might ask, “What is this church exactly and who might be its members?” Great question! The evidence is undeniable; Christ established His Church through His apostles when he commissioned them to go out, do and teach all that He had done (Matt. 28:16-20). Jesus handed over the keys of heaven to Simon who was then renamed Peter, meaning “Rock” (Matt. 16-17-20). Christ presented Peter as His head, here on earth. The Chair of Peter has been passed in a similar way into the hands of Pope Francis, in Rome.
Christ’s Church is a visible one, being seen through the people and all of their charisms, gifts and spiritual appointments (Rev 5:10). To become a member of the Christian Church one must be baptized. One must also repent from their sins, believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe that His Gospel message is truth. Once you are sealed by the spirit through baptism (Eph 4:30) you are forever part of the Christ’s body (His Church).
At the time of one’s death he or she must be in the state of sanctifying grace in order to benefit from rebirth. If this grace is not present; a second type of death is experienced. Let me back up, there are two deaths. The first is death of the mortal body. Thousands of people across the globe experience this type of death each and every day. The second is death of the immortal body (Rev 2:11), which is when the immortal body is casts into everlasting fire. The second death is separation from God and the Church, forever. We commonly call this state “hell.”
Those who die in grace, only die once because their spirit is reborn into everlasting life through Christ. These souls are more alive than us! They are in the midst of God’s throne, praising and worshiping Him with the whole economy of martyrs, angels and saints. These souls are not dormant; they are active members of the Church, both in heaven and on earth. Due to the fact that they are members of Jesus’s Body (The Church) they are in turn concerned for all other members of His Body (that’s us). If one part suffers the whole body suffers with it (1 Cor 12:26). Due to their concern, these active members intercede on our behalf, to the Father (Rev 6:9, Rev 5:8, Rev 8:4).
In Hebrews 12:1, we read that, here on Earth, we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses; the faithful of the Old Testament. These faithful are considered to be “The assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). Listen to the words without preconceptions for they cannot be denied. The book of 1John 1:3 describes the relationship between kingdoms as a “fellowship.” Merriam-Webster defines “fellowship” as a community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience. Wow! All of God’s children who have the Son living in them are heavenly and earthly saints. Together they make up His very own family. According to St. Paul, this family is the mystical Body of Jesus Christ – The Church.
“He too is that head whose body is the Church”, (Colossians 1:18).