98 – In Argentina, we worked together a lot with the pastors. In Buenos Aires, I got together with a group of pastors who were friends, and we prayed together. And that helped those of us who were more serious to work together. So, you see, the word ‘sect’ gets diluted

,

On the way to Damascus, Saul thought of nothing but persecuting the followers of the Messiah. His hatred for the one called Christ was not limited to merely despising him, but also demanded action to eliminate what he considered to be the worst deviation emerging from within Judaism. With this in view, he leaves Jerusalem to carry out a vicious campaign… but shortly afterwards, he was miraculously inflamed with love for the Crucified One, and began to preach in favor of Him whom he had formerly persecuted.

The years passed by, and the situation was inverted: now Paul had to relentlessly defend the true doctrine from the numerous errors arising from within the midst of the Early Church, due to the malice of certain individuals and the whim of others. That is how Paul merited the title Apostle of the Gentiles, not only because he preached the word of God to them, but also for having defended them from the errors that were already brazenly arising among the Christians themselves. Against the sects of his time he explained the doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ; only one flock, one pastor, and one Church, the Spouse of Jesus Christ.

Francis

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Teachings of the Magisterium

Enter the various parts of our study

ContentsAuthors
I – The unicity and unity of the Catholic Church
II – The objective of the sects: to distort the doctrine of the Church
III – The malice of the sects and the necessity of fleeing from them
IV – Papal condemnations of sects throughout History
V – Vatican Council II confirms that the Catholic Church has not renounced its conviction of being the only true Church of Christ


I – The unicity and unity of the Catholic Church


Leo XIII

Jesus Christ did not institute a Church to embrace several distinct communities

Compendium of the Catholic Church

Why is the Church one?

Sacred Scripture

Christ said “My Church” and not “my churches”
That they may be brought to perfection as one
He put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the Church

Leo the Great

Head over all things
The birth of Christ is also the birth of the Church

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

Unity cannot be severed, nor can one body be separated by a division of its structure

Catechism of the Catholic Church

Only faith can recognize that the Church possesses unity, but their historical manifestations are signs that also speak clearly to human reason
The bonds of unity of the Church

Vatican Council II (Ecumenical XXI)

This is the one Church of Christ: the Catholic church
The Trinity is the sacred mystery of the unity of the Church

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ
Christ and the Church constitute a single ‘whole Christ’
The faithful may not imagine that the Church of Christ is a collection of Churches

International Theological Commission

Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the Church

Boniface VIII

The Catholic Church is the one true Church, the ‘seamless tunic’ of the Lord

Pius IX

No other Church is Catholic except the one founded on Peter

Leo XIII

No Christian can dare to deny that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one
By the will of its Founder, it is necessary that this Church should be one in all lands and at all times so as to fulfill her mission
The one Church foretold by Isaiah
The members cannot possibly live unless united to the head and drawing from it their vital force

John XXIII

The faithful cannot be perfectly united with the Divine Redeemer except in the unity of faith
The Catholic Church is the only in the world to be divine and human at the same time

John Paul II

Connected with the uniqueness of Christ’s salvific mediation is the uniqueness of the Church he founded
It is a mistake to regard the Church as a way of salvation along with those constituted by other religions

Benedict XVI

If the Movements are really gifts of the Holy Spirit, they must be inserted into the one Church

II – The objective of the sects: to distort the doctrine of the Church


Code of Canon Law

Heresy, apostasy and schism

Sacred Scripture

God tests his own people with the appearance of false prophets
By fair and flattering speech, heretics deceive the hearts of the innocent
There is no other Gospel
If anyone preaches to you another gospel, let that one be accursed
Heretics handed over to Satan
Who heretics are and what comes forth from them
Teaching that deviates from truth and spreads like gangrene
People of depraved mind, unqualified in the faith
People will not tolerate sound doctrine and will be diverted to myths
Deceivers who teach error for sordid gain

Saint Clement of Alexandria

They strive to cut asunder the one Church into many sects

Saint Augustine of Hippo

The Manichaeans preach a false Christ

Saint Vincent of Lerins

Faced with false apostles, prophets and teachers, what are Catholics and the sons of Mother Church to do?

III – The malice of the sects and the necessity of fleeing from them


Saint Irenaeus of Lyon

How heresies develop
It is an impracticable attempt to mention all those who, in one way or another, have fallen away from the truth

Leo XIII

Whosoever is separated from the Church is united to an adulteress

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

We are to be congratulated when the evil are separated from the Church

Saint Vincent of Lerins

Prefer the soundness of the whole to the corruption of a part

Pius IX

Schisms to be torn out by the roots; care not to be infected with heresy

Benedict XVI

Sects are not stable
The sects have the upper hand because they appear with a few simple certainties and say: ‘This suffices’

John Paul II

Deviations of the syncretistic perspective

Cornelius

Confession of faith of Maximus, Urban, and other Africans before Pope Cornelius

IV – Papal condemnations of sects throughout History


Marcellinus

The impiety and perversity of Arius

Damasus

Condemnation of Apollinarism

Synod of Carthage XV

Condemnation of the Pelagian doctrine

Leo the Great

Against the errors of the Priscillianists

Synod of Arles

Condemnation of theories regarding grace and predestination

Hormisdas

Anathemas for all of the heretics

Council of Florence (Ecumenical XVII)

Diverse anathemas against Christological heresies

Vigilius

Condemnation of the Nestorian theory

Leo XIII

Against false political theories

Pius XI

Catholic people shall never permit themselves to be outdone by the propagators of false beliefs
May the principles of Christian truth be also modified to some degree and be tempered so as to meet Socialism half-way?

V – Vatican Council II confirms: the Catholic Church never renounced its conviction of being the only true Church of Christ


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Second Vatican Council did not change the previously held doctrine on the Church
Regarding the phrase ‘subsistit in’
The Church exists as a unique historical reality - the Catholic Church has not ceased to regard herself as the one true Church of Christ
Regarding the expression ‘sister Churches’

Related studies

  • 152 – “The Catholic Church has acted again and again as a mediator in finding solutions to problems affecting peace, social harmony, the land, the defense of life, human and civil rights”

  • 150 – “Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it”

  • 140 – “Do we love the Church as we love our mothers, also taking into account her defects? All mothers have defects. The Church also has her defects”

  • 138 – “The Church is woman. Women, in the Church, are more important than bishops and priests”

  • 115 – The Council Fathers strongly perceived a need to talk about God to men and women of their time in a more accessible way. The time had come to proclaim the Gospel in a new way

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