Thursday 19th April 2018

Home » Our Catholic Faith » Currently Reading:

The Marvel Of The Catholic Church . . . The Church’s Stability And Endurance

July 10, 2016 Our Catholic Faith No Comments

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA

Part 8

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:19-20).
Jesus’ command to preach the Gospel to every nation would have been humanly impossible to put into practice without the subsequent promise to be with His Church until the end of time. And it was no empty promise. The heresies that erupted in the Church and claimed to be the true “Church” missed the important point that Jesus founded one Church, and only one, and remains in her, protecting her to the end of time.
The stability and endurance of the Catholic Church in history are remarkable indeed. Even her adversaries admit it. Any other human institution would have perished a long time ago, if God’s hand were not protecting her. We’ve had pretty much of everything: schisms, heresies, bad bishops, bad Popes, you name it. And yet the Church has survived everything. When she was sick, she recovered, when there was confusion, she clarified it, when there was decadence she rose up.
Our Lord Jesus Christ described the Church He founded on the Rock of Peter in a parable, when He compared the man-made churches with houses built on sand and His Church as a house built on a rock — Peter: “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the Rock” (Matt. 7:25). The Church has had periods of darkness, crisis, like today, but always a new day dawns with new graces and blessings.
But I am speaking as a Catholic. Let us see what a Protestant historian wrote about this miraculous endurance of the Catholic Church (Lord Macaulay, in his essay on Leopold von Ranke’s History of the Popes, 1840):
“There is not, and there never was on this earth, a work of human policy so deserving of examination as the Roman Catholic Church. The History of that Church joins together the two great ages of human civilization. No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards (giraffes) and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre (the Colosseum).
“The proud royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century, to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth. And far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice comes next in antiquity, but the republic of Venice was modern when compared with the Papacy; and the Republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains.
“The Papacy remains, not in decay, not a mere antique, but full of life and youthful vigor. The Catholic Church is still sending forth to the furthest ends of the world missionaries as zealous as those who landed in Kent with Augustine, and still confronting hostile kings with the same spirit with which She confronted Attila. The number of her children is greater than in any former age.”
It is a much larger quotation, but for the sake of brevity it suffices to say that Lord Macaulay marvels at the fact that powerful kingdoms and empires have come and gone in history, but the papacy remains as strong as ever.
Now, the papacy is an elective monarchy, and, on her human side, is open to dangers, from both within and without. From time to time, especially in the days of the Renaissance, ambitious and worldly ecclesiastics disputed over the elections of Popes and the nominations of bishops, in order to see their minions placed on the papal and/or episcopal chair.
So we have had some — a few, not many — incompetent and even wicked Popes, and truly disastrous schisms have happened a few times. If, during those troublesome times, the Popes were mere temporal rulers, their empire would have collapsed in a little time. But it did not. Why? Jesus’ promise remains true: “I will be with you till the end of time.”
But there were other kinds of troubles: human weakness, stupidity, lack of discernment, inexperience, and so on. At times bishops and even Popes put the Church in jeopardy because of their imprudent actions as leaders but never as teachers of infallible doctrine. Even when they acted in the best intentions, and made wrong moves, Jesus’ promise remained always true. The Church survived not because of the Popes’ abilities but in spite of their lack thereof.
The very first Pope inaugurated the school of mistakes in policy: St. Peter, while bishop of Antioch, adopted a policy of discrimination against the Gentile Christians to favor the Judaizers of Jerusalem. Result: St. Paul resisted him to his face, publicly. And good old St. Peter, who knew very well when he was infallible and when he was not, accepted the public rebuke of St. Paul (Gal. 2:11-12).
The interesting thing to note is that those occasional mistakes made by the Popes actually confirm the divine protection, because more than once those mistakes would have cost them the throne, if they had been temporal rulers.
St. Paul put it beautifully, when he wrote: “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak to shame the strong; God chose the low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human might boast in the presence of God” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).
In the Old Testament, a similar thing happened to Gideon, a judge of Israel, who had put together an army of 32,000 men to fight the Midianites, but God told him to keep only 300 of them, so that, after the promised victory, the Israelites might boast that the victory was due to them and not to God (Judges 7:2).
The first conclusion is evident: The only institution in Europe that survived all revolutions, wars, and political changes since the days of the Roman emperors, is the papacy, the Catholic Church. Moreover, she survived in spite of persecution, internal intrigue and turmoil, heresy, schism, and the incompetence and worldliness of some Popes.
But she did not merely “survive” as a shadow of her previous greatness, but with unparalleled vigor and dynamism. This is a miraculous survival, which can only be explained by God’s assistance. Jesus’ promise remains true, as always.
Next article: A revealing historical example: the Pope and Napoleon.

+ + +

(Raymond de Souza is an EWTN program host; regional coordinator for Portuguese-speaking countries for Human Life International [HLI]; president of the Sacred Heart Institute, and a member of the Sovereign, Military, and Hospitaller Order of the Knights of Malta. His website is: www.RaymonddeSouza.com.)

Share Button

2017 The Wanderer Printing Co.

Priests are performing exorcisms over the phone, cardinal claims

Priests have been carrying out exorcisms over the phone as demand continues to rise, a Cardinal has said. Speaking at the Vatican’s annual exorcist training conference in Rome, Cardinal Ernest Simoni said priests are delivering prayers of liberation, part of…Continue Reading

Twitter suspends right-wing commentator Mark Dice for saying transsexualism is a mental illness

April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Right-wing commentator Mark Dice, famous for YouTube video interviews with random passers-by in public spaces, says that his Twitter account was suspended Thursday of last week after he implied that transgenderism is a mental illness.…Continue Reading

Pope: ‘Troubled’ over Syria, praying for Alfie Evans

At the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis calls for greater commitment from the international community for a joint action for peace in Syria. He also asks that Alfie, who is suffering from a degenerative disease and whom doctors want to deny…Continue Reading

There’s no ‘bridge’ between modernism and faithful Catholicism

April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The Catholic Church today is suffering greatly from a split among the faithful.  This split is evident in matters pertaining to the liturgy, doctrine, social teaching, morality, theology, and even in how the Faithful view…Continue Reading

Trump Unleashes Military Strikes on Syria Over Chemical Attack

President Donald Trump said he had approved military strikes on Syria in retaliation for an apparent chemical attack by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on a rebel town. “A short time ago I ordered the United States armed forces to…Continue Reading

Full text of Pope Francis’ letter to Chilean bishops

Vatican City, Apr 11, 2018 / 04:16 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- In a letter addressed to Chile’s bishops, Pope Francis admitted to making “serious mistakes” in handling the nation’s massive sex abuse crisis and asked for forgiveness. The pope summoned Chile’s…Continue Reading

Citing growing interest in Traditional Latin Mass, Archbishop Chaput creates quasi-parish

Philadelphia, Pa., Apr 12, 2018 / 12:49 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A new quasi-parish for Catholics interested in the Traditional Latin Mass will open in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at a church that had been part of a 2014 parish merger.…Continue Reading

Cecile Richards speaking at Catholic university in SF Archdiocese

Cecile Richards, a national leader for women’s rights and social and economic justice, has been added to the Institute for Leadership Studies (ILS) 2018 Spring Leadership Lecture Series at Dominican University of California. The series is presented by Dominican in…Continue Reading

Pope Francis releases exhortation on holiness

VATICAN CITY — God calls all Christians to be saints — not plastic statues of saints, but real people who make time for prayer and who show loving care for others in the simplest gestures, Pope Francis said in his…Continue Reading

Cuomo Loots A Catholic Charity

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has a disturbing new way to raise revenue: using government muscle to squeeze private organizations into “voluntarily” writing billion-dollar checks. That’s what he did to Fidelis Care, a nonprofit health plan affiliated with the Catholic Church, and…Continue Reading

Chappaquiddick And Us

Ah, you can always predict The New York Times;  from covering up the crimes of Stalin, courtesy of their Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Walter Duranty, their goal is to ever protect the left.  Thus, it is unsurprising that they published a hit…Continue Reading

Catholic morality has been replaced by a destructive sexuality

During the course of his journalistic and literary career, Cork writer Seán O’Faoláin (1900-1991) was fond of lists, often with a view to lampooning the excessive strictures of his era. He was 20-years-old and a university student before he learned…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for 150 years in our weekly print edition.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to su
bscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 150 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.
 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

Interview With Cardinal Burke . . . Discriminating Mercy: Defending Christ And His Church With True Love

Cburke3

  By DON FIER (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta and Founder of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis., graciously took time out of his busy schedule to grant The Wanderer a wide-ranging interview during a recent visit to the Shrine. Included among the topics…Continue Reading

Developing Lives Of Peace After The Heart Of Mary

By RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE (Editor’s Note: His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke delivered the address below at the 32nd Annual Church Teaches Forum, “The Message of Fatima: Peace for the World,” Galt House, Louisville, Ky., July 22, 2017. The address is reprinted here with the kind permission of Cardinal Burke. All rights reserved. This is part one of the…Continue Reading

Catechism

Today . . .

The surprising reason why LGBT and abortion activists have been close allies from the beginning

CLEVELAND, Ohio, April 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The pro-abortion and LGBT movements are linked spiritually, ideologically and politically, a Christian pro-family advocate says. Because of this, it has become more important than ever before for pro-life and family advocates to unite against these enemies of life and the family. Former abortion volunteer and Christian convert Linda Harvey explained to a recent pro-life conference how the LGBT and abortion movements have the common elements of rejecting God’s…Continue Reading

A plea for mercy: Thomas Evans asks Pope Francis to save little Alfie

ROME, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alfie Evans’ father has said he is knocking “on the Church’s door” asking for help to save his son from being euthanized, and is pleading that his “voice be brought to the Holy Father” so that Alfie can be transferred to “the Pope’s hospital” in Rome. In a letter sent on Sunday to the archbishop of Liverpool, Thomas Evans also confirmed that he and Alfie are both

Syrian patriarchs condemn ‘unjust aggression’ of Friday allied airstrikes, ask for prayers

Damascus, Syria, Apr 15, 2018 / 03:12 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The airstrikes carried out by the United States, the United Kingdom and France against Syria on Friday constituted “unjust” and “brutal” aggression, the patriarchs of the major Christian Churches in Syria have said in a joint statement. President Donald Trump ordered the airstrikes along with the U.K. and France in a joint show of military force following the suspected use of chemical warfare by the…Continue Reading

FULL TEXT: Cardinal Burke’s talk on the limits of papal power

ROME, April 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — What is the extent of papal power? Are there any limits, and if so how is the violation of those limits judged and corrected? These and other questions were addressed by Cardinal Raymond Burke last Saturday, April 7, at a conference in Rome titled ‘Catholic Church: Where are you heading?’ The afternoon symposium, sponsored by the ‘Frie

Trump supporters slam decision to launch strikes against Syria

Prominent supporters of President Trump are expressing skepticism over his decision to launch airstrikes against Syria, slamming the move as overly aggressive and unnecessary. Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham both questioned Trump’s decision Friday to launch strikes in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack last weekend that the U.S. has attributed to the Syrian government. Carlson noted the move was inconsistent with the president’s message during his 2016 campaign, and Ingraham said

Advertisement(2)

A Book Review… Edith Stein’s Love Of Wisdom

By MITCHELL KALPAKGIAN Edith Stein: The Life and Legacy of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, by Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda (Sophia Institute Press: Manchester, NH, 2017), 221 pp.; paperback $15.95. Available from www.SophiaInstitute.com or 1-800-888-9344. An engaging, comprehensive introduction to the life, writings, thought, and martyrdom of a Jewish convert to the Catholic faith beatified…Continue Reading

Neither Left Nor Right, But Catholic… The Illusion Of Independent Thinking

By STEPHEN M. KRASON (Editor’s Note: Stephen M. Krason’s “Neither Left nor Right, but Catholic” column appears monthly [sometimes bimonthly]. He is professor of political science and legal studies and associate director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also co-founder and president of the Society…Continue Reading

A Book Review… The Interruption Of A Catholic Renaissance

By JUDE DOUGHERTY Douthat, Ross. To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2018. xvii + 234 pp. Available at Amazon.com. (Editor’s Note: Please also see James K. Fitzpatrick’s review of the Douthat book in The Wanderer, March 1, 2018, p. 1.) + + + The Archdiocese…Continue Reading

The Incredible Enlarging Child

By DONALD DeMARCO Psychologists who study perception tell us that we interpret things against a background. We notice what is called the figure, but we interpret the figure in relation to a background which we do not notice. A candle is holy when set on an altar, romantic on a piano, eerie in a jack-o-lantern,…Continue Reading

Has The War Party Hooked Trump?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN With his Sunday, April 8 tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner. “Many dead, including women and children, in mindless chemical attack in Syria,” tweeted…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Raymond Cardinal Burke… Pope Francis Is “Increasing The Confusion”

(Editor’s Note: Below is the full text of an April 5 interview Raymond Cardinal Burke granted to an Italian Catholic publication, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. LifeSiteNews reprinted that interview with permission of Riccardo Cascioli, La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana’s editor, and we provide it here. All rights reserved. (Diane Montagna did the translation for LifeSiteNews.) + + + ROME (LifeSiteNews) —…Continue Reading

The Sheep Of The Lord’s Flock

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 4:8-12 1 John 3:1-2 John 10:11-18 Our faith is one of mystery and what might appear to some as contradictions. Of course, there are no contradictions; paradox would probably be the better word to describe it. Our readings today describe several paradoxes for our consideration. First, we hear…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Confusion, Straw Men Mar Papal Document

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Pope Francis gets high marks in his latest apostolic exhortation on personal holiness, Gaudete et Exsultate (GE), for defending solid teaching on at least one embattled doctrinal truth: “Jesus wanted us to conclude by asking the Father to ‘deliver us from evil.’ That final word does not refer to evil in the abstract; a more…Continue Reading

The Sacraments Instituted By Christ… Christ Is The Fulfillment Of The Sacrifices Of The Old Law

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 24 In the two previous articles, we considered the three most important ceremonies of the Old Law, namely, the Sacrifice of the Covenant, the Pasch, and the Day of Atonement. In the New Testament, the Sacrifice of Calvary is closely connected to those three central Jewish sacrifices. In this article, we will see how…Continue Reading

Overview Of The Eight Beatitudes

By DON FIER The dignity of the human person, as we saw last week, “is rooted in his creation in the image and likeness of God” (Catechism of the Catholic Church [CCC], n. 1700). Precisely because he is “endowed with a spiritual soul, with intellect and with free will, the human person is from his very conception ordered to God…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Pedro Calungsod

By CAROLE BRESLIN Guam, a small island about 1,600 miles east of the Philippines, is an unincorporated territory of the United States. This small island, which has played an important role in U.S. military activities in Southeast Asia since the early twenty-first century, was recently a pawn in the political chess game with North Korea. The Jesuits first came to…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes… St. Agnes Of Montepulciano

By CAROLE BRESLIN When St. Therese of Lisieux was only 15 years old, she begged her father to let her enter a convent. Her parents, Saints Louis Martin and Marie-Azélie Guérin, were faithful Catholics and raised their children to cherish the religious life. About six hundred years before St. Therese was born, another saint had the same ambition: to join…Continue Reading