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The Early Church Fathers on the Church and the Authority of the Catholic Church.


  • Early Church Fathers
  • From the Scriptures


  1. St. Ignatius of Antioch, (A.D. 50-107)
    Pope St. Clement I of Rome, (A.D. 60-97),
    St. Polycarp of Smyrma, (A.D. 69-169)
    St. Theophilus of Antioch, (unknown - A.D. c.186)
    St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202)
    St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220)
    Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218)
    Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253)
St. Ignatius of Antioch, (A.D. 50-107), Syrian; ecclesiastical writer, bishop, martyr. A disciple of St. John, the Apostle; he was bishop of Antioch, in which see he succeeded St. Peter, or, as others think, Evodius. He is supposed to have governed that church for about forty years. He suffered martyrdom at Rome in the year 107.

From his various epistles:

4. "It becomes you to concur in the mind of your bishop, as also ye do. For your famous presbytery, worthy of God, is knit as closely to the bishop, as strings to a harp."

5. "Let no man deceive you; if a man be not within the altar, he faileth of the bread of God. For if the prayer of one or two have such force, how much more that of the bishop and of the whole Church! He therefore that does not come together into the same place (with it), he is proud already, and hath condemned himself. For it is written, "God resisteth the proud" (James 4) Let us take heed, therefore, that we do not set ourselves against the bishop, that we may be set under God.

6. "And the more any seeth the bishop keep silence, the more let him fear him. For whomsoever the Master of the house sendeth to his own household, we ought so to receive, as (we would) Him that sent him. It is plain, then, that, "We ought to look to the bishop, as to the Lord Himself."

20. "Obeying the bishop and the presbytery with an entire mind; breaking one bread, which is the medicine of immortality; an antidote that we should not die, but live forever in Jesus Christ."

Ep. ad Ephes.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 12-13

3. "It becometh you also not to make free with the youthfulness of your bishop, but, according to the power of God the Father, to concede to him all reverence, as I am aware the holy presbyters do, taking no occasion from his apparent youthful ordination (or state), but, as men wise in God, submitting to him; yet not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the Bishop of all. Meet therefore it is, that, for the honor of Him who favors us, ye should obey without any hypocrisy, since it is not that a man deceives this bishop that is seen, but he trifles with Him who is not seen. And in this way, the question is not with flesh, but with God who seeth the secrets."

6. "I exhort, that ye study to do all things in the unanimity of God; the bishop holding presidency, in the place of God; and the presbyters in the place of the council of the Apostles; and the deacons, most dear to me, entrusted with the service of Jesus Christ. Be ye made one with the bishop, and with those who preside, for an example and lesson of incorruption.

7. "As therefore our Lord, being united (with the Father), did nothing without Him, neither by Himself, nor by his Apostles, so neither do you do anything apart from the bishop and the presbyters. Neither attempt ye anything that seems good to your own judgment, but let there be in the same place one prayer, one supplication, one mind, one hope, in love, in joy undefiled. There is one Jesus Christ, than whom nothing is better. Wherefore, haste ye all together as unto the temple of God; as unto one altar, as unto one Jesus Christ."

Ep. ad Magnesianos.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 13-14

2. "For inasmuch as you are subject to the bishop, as to Jesus Christ? you seem to me to be living not according to man, but according to Jesus Christ, who died for our sake, that believing on His death, ye may escape death. It is therefore necessary, not to do anything apart from the bishop, but to be subject to him and to the presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ, our hope, in whom may we be found living. It is requisite, too, that the deacons of the mysteries of Jesus Christ should please all men in every manner; for they are not deacons (ministers) of meat and drink, but servants of God's church. They must therefore guard against imputations, as against fire.

3. "Likewise, let all men give heed to the deacons, as Jesus Christ, as also the bishop, being the Son of the Father; to the presbyters, as a council of God, and a land of Apostles. Apart from these, it is not called a church."

7. "Guard against such men (heretics). You will be guarded if ye are not puffed up, nor separated from the God Jesus Christ, and from the bishop, and from the regulations of the Apostles. He that is within the altar is pure; but he that is without is not pure: that is, he who does something apart from bishop and presbytery and deacon, he is not clean in conscience."

13. "Subject [yourself] to the bishop, as to the commandment, and likewise to the presbytery."

Ep. ad Trallian.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 14-15

7. "I cried out while I was among you; I spake with a loud voice: "Give heed to the bishop, and to the presbytery, and to deacons." Now some suspected that I spake this as knowing beforehand the division of some. But He is my witness, for whom I am in bonds, that I knew it not from the flesh of man; but from the Spirit proclaimed, saying, "Apart from the bishop do nothing: keep your flesh as the temple of God: love unity: avoid divisions: be ye followers of Jesus Christ, even as He is of His Father."

Ep. ad Philadelph
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 15

7. "Avoid divisions as the beginning of evils."

8. "Follow the bishop all of you, even as Jesus Christ the Father; and the body of presbyters, as the Apostles. Respect the deacons, as a commandment of God. Let no one do any thing pertaining to the church apart from the bishop."

"Let that be esteemed a sure Eucharist, which is either under the bishop, or him to whom he may commit it. Where the bishop is, there let the multitude (of believers) be; even as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. Apart from the bishop it is neither lawful to baptize, nor to hold an agape; a but whatever he judges right, that also is well-pleasing unto God, that all which is done may be safe and sure."

9."It is good to regard God and the bishop. Who so honors the bishop, he is honored of God; but he who does something and hides it from the bishop, worships the devil."

Ep. ad Smyrnaeos.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 15-16

6. "Give heed unto the bishop, that God may also hearken unto you. My soul for the soul of those who are in subjection to the bishop, presbyters, deacons, and may my portion be with them in the Lord."

Ep. ad Polycarpum.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 16

Pope St. Clement I of Rome, (A.D. 60-97), Roman; Pope from A.D. 88-97; martyr. That St. Clement was honored by the friendship of the great Apostle, St. Peter, is not doubted. There are good reasons to believe that he was designated by that Apostle as his successor in the see of Rome. The authenticity and genuineness of St. Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians are acknowledged. We learn from Eusebius and from other writers, that it was publicly read in many churches. This second epistle is the oldest extant Christian homily we have attributed to him, (A.D. 150).

It is shameful, my beloved, it is most shameful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that it should be heard that the most firm and ancient church of the Corinthians, on account of one or two persons, is in a sedition against the priests. . . Who, then, amongst you is generous? who that is compassionate? who that is filled with charity? To those who laid the foundation of this sedition, submit yourselves to the priests, and be instructed unto repentance. Bending the knees of your hearts, learn to be subject, laying aside all proud and arrogant boasting of your tongues; for it is better for you to be found in the sheepfold of Christ, little and approved, than, thinking yourselves above others, to be cast out of His hope."

Eph. i. ad Cor. n. 47, 54, 57.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Pages 11-12

St. Polycarp of Smyrma, (A.D. 69-169), Asia Minor; bishop, defender of orthodoxy, martyr; appointed Bishop of Smyrna by the Apostle St. John.

In like manner, deacons blameless in the sight of His righteousness, as the ministers of God in Christ, and not of men. . . . Wherefore it is necessary that ye abstain from all these things, "being subject to the presbyters and deacons as unto God and Christ."

Ep. ad Philippens.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 16

St. Theophilus of Antioch, (unknown - A.D. c.186), Patriarch of Antioch, born pagan but embraced Christianity by studying the Holy Scriptures, especially the prophetical books. Wrote against idols, made contributions to Christian literature, polemics, exegetics, and apologetics.

"The world, we say, is to us an image of the sea. For as the sea, if it had not the influx and supply of rivers and springs to feed it, would, through its saltness, long since have disappeared; so also the world, if it had not the law of God and the prophets, pouring forth and welling meekness and mercy and righteousness, and the doctrine of the holy commandments of God, would, through the wickedness and sinfulness multiplied within it, have already ceased to be. And as in the sea there are inhabited and well-watered and fruitful islands, with ports and harbors, that they that are tempest-tossed may find shelter in them; so to the world, agitated and tossed by sins, God hath given the synagogues— I mean holy churches— in which, as in harbors, in islands well protected from the sea, are the doctrines of the truth; unto which (churches) they who wish to be saved fly, becoming enamored of the truth, and wishing to flee from the anger and judgment of God. And as, on the other hand, there are other islands rocky and dry and fruitless, tenanted by wild beasts and uninhabited by man— to the destruction of sea men and the tempest-tossed— on which vessels are dashed, and they who come unto them perish; so are there the doctrines of error— I mean of the heresies which utterly destroy those who come unto them. For they are not guided by the word of the truth, but as pirates, when they have filled their vessels, impel them against the aforesaid places in order to destroy them, so too does it befall those who wander from the truth, to be utterly destroyed by error."

Ad Autolychum, l. ii. n. 14, p. 359, ed. Bened. S. Justini, Paris. 1742.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 16-17

St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

1. "There being such proofs to look to, we ought not still to seek amongst others for truth which it is easy to receive from the Church, seeing that the Apostles most fully committed unto this Church, as unto a rich repository, all whatsoever is of truth, that everyone that wishes to may draw out of it the drink of life. For this is the gate of life; but all others are thieves and robbers. Therefore we ought to avoid them, but to cling with the utmost care to whatever is of the church, and to hold fast to the tradition of truth. For what? Even if there should be a dispute about any trifling point, ought we not to have recourse to the most ancient churches, in which Apostles resided, and from them to take whatever is certain and really clear on the existing dispute? But what if the Apostles had not left us writings: would it not have been needful to follow the order of that tradition which they delivered to those to whom they committed the churches?"

2. "An ordinance to which many of the barbarous nations who believe in Christ assent, having salvation written, with out paper and ink, by the Spirit, in their hearts, and sedulously guarding the old tradition." (St. Irenæus then gives a brief summary of Christian truths held by those nations, and proceeds as follows:— "They who, without the aid of letters, have believed this faith, are, as far as our language is concerned, untutored (barbarians), but as regards opinion and custom and conversation, they are, through faith, pre-eminently wise, and are well-pleasing unto God, having their conversation in all justice, and chastity, and wisdom. To these, if any one, addressing them in their own language, should have announced the things that have been invented by heretics, they would at once have stopped their ears, and have fled far away, not enduring even to hear the blasphemous address. Thus, through that ancient tradition of the Apostles they admit not even into their minds conception whatever of monstrous assertion proceeds from these men; for amongst them there was, hitherto, no such congregation nor doctrine instituted."

3. "For before Valentinus there were no Valentinians, nor Marcionites before Marcion, nor, in fact, any of the other malignant sentiments enumerated above, before there arose inventors and beginners of each perverse opinion. But the rest, called Gnostics, who derive their origin, as we have shown, from Menander, Simon's disciple, each of them of that opinion which he adopted, of it he was seen to be the parent and high-priest. But all these fell much later into their apostasy, during the mid period of the duration of the Church."

Adv. Hæres. L. iii. c. iv. pp. 178, 179, Ed. Ben. Paris. 1742.
See also Adv. Hæres. L. iii. Praefat. p. 173.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 17-19

1. "Tradition, therefore, which is from the Apostles being thus in the Church, and continuing amongst us, let us return to that proof which is from the writings of those who wrote the Gospels."

Note that Irenæus is not referring to the writings of the Gospels, but to "other" writings pertaining to tradition, that the Gospel writers wrote.

Adv. Hæres. L. iii. c. v. n. i. p. 179.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 19

"In the Church, saith he, God hath placed apostles, prophets, doctors, and every other operation of the Spirit, of which all they are not partakers who do not hasten to the Church, but by their evil sentiment and most flagrant conduct, defraud themselves of life. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God, and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church and every grace; but the Spirit is truth. Wherefore, they who do not partake of it, are neither nourished unto life from the breasts of a mother, nor see the most clear spring which flows from Christ's body, but dig unto themselves broken cisterns out of earthy trenches, and out of the filth drink foul water, fleeing from the faith of the Church, lest they be brought back; but rejecting the Spirit that they may not be instructed."

Adv. Hæres. L. iii. c. 24, n. I, p. 223.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 19-20

"Wherefore, we ought to obey those presbyters who are in the Church, those who have a succession from the Apostles, as we have shown; who, with the succession of the episcopate, have received, according to the good will of the Father, the sure gift (grace) of truth; but the rest, who depart from the principal succession, and assemble in any place whatever (or, in whatever place they may assemble), we ought to hold suspected, either as heretics, and of an evil opinion, or as schematics and proud, and as men pleasing themselves; or, again, as hypocrites doing this for gain's sake and vain-glory."

Adv. Hæres. L. iv. c. xxvi. n. 2, p. 262.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 20

"And, indeed, the preaching (or, public teaching) of the Church, in which one and the same way of salvation is set forth throughout the whole world, is true and firm. For to this (Church) has been entrusted the light of God, and on this account is the wisdom of God, through which He saves all men, "proclaimed" in the "gates" (outlets); "in the streets she acts confidently". . . . For everywhere the Church preaches the truth; and this is the lamp with seven branches, which bears the light of Christ."

2. "They, therefore, who abandon the teaching of the Church, condemn the holy presbyters of ignorance; not considering how much preferable is a religious, though untutored individual, to a blasphemous and impudent sophist."

Adv. Hæres. L. v. c. xx. n. 1, 2, p. 317.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 20-21

St. Clement of Alexandria, (A.D. 150-220), Greek; theologian, a scholar of Pantaenus, to whom he succeeded as head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria, Egypt. His writings display great acquaintance with the Gentile philosophy. He wrote with the express design of hiding the mysteries of the Christian religion from the Pagans, and the uninitiated, while at the same time, laboring to show the immense practical superiority of the Christian code of morals over that of every Pagan sect and system of philosophy.

Explaining why Christians are called "children" and Christ "a man"; he says:

"The Apostle, writing to the Ephesians, has very clearly manifested what we are seeking after, saying thus— Until we all meet in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ, that henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive. (Ephesians 4:14), saying these things unto the building up of the body of Christ, who is a head and a man, the alone perfect in righteousness; but we children, avoiding the winds of heresies which puff up to swelling pride, "and not believing those who teach otherwise than the fathers", are then perfected, when we are a Church, having received Christ, the head."

[Continuing the explanation of the word "child," he quotes Isaiah 66:12,13:]

"Their children," he saith, "shall be carried upon the shoulders, and upon the knees they shall be comforted. As one whom a mother comforts, so also will I comfort you. The mother brings unto her, her children, and we seek the mother the Church."

Paedag. L. i. c. 5, p. 108- 110.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 21-22

"Oh pupils of a blessed education, let us complete the beautiful person of the Church, and let us run, like children, to the good mother; and if we are hearers of the Word, let us glorify the blessed economy, through which man is instructed, and sanctified as the child of God, and becomes a citizen of Heaven ; his instruction having been carried on below, and he then receives, as a father, Him whom he learns on earth. The Word both does, and teaches, all things, and acts the part of the Paedagogue in all things . . . . And since the Paedagogue, having brought us unto the Church, has united us to Himself, to the Word, the teacher and universal overseer, it would be well for us, being there, to send up to the Lord, as a return of just thanksgiving, praise befitting a good education."

Paedag. L. iii. pp. 310, 311.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 22

"An excellent thing the city and the people. . . governed by law, as, by the Word, the Church; which is a city on earth, impregnable, and free from tyranny; the divine will on earth, as (it is) in Heaven."

Stromat. L. iv. p. 642.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 23

"They who will, may discover the truth. We may learn demonstratively, through the Scriptures themselves, how the heresies have fallen away, and how in the alone truth, and in the ancient Church, there is the most accurate knowledge, and the truly best election."

Strom. L. vii. p. 888.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 23

St. Clement makes various incidental allusions throughout his writings. The priest and author of "The Faith of Catholics", the Right Rev. Thomas Capel has collected a few. Though he gives references for each statement, to save space, I have omitted them from the following list:

— We are perfect when we become a Church.
— We seek the mother, the Church.
— The Church is the spouse of Christ, and to her He has given the firm name, Patience.
— Christ looks upon His only Church.
— And she remains rejoicing unto all ages.
— The will of God is man's salvation, and this will is called the Church, which consists of those whom God called and saved.
— The Church is at once a virgin and a mother; a virgin in purity, a mother in affection.
— The Church is the holy mountain, the Church on high above the clouds, touching the heavens.
— It is called the kingdom of God, the heavenly assembly of love, the holy Church.
— They knew not why the Lord did not marry. But, in the first place, He had His own spouse, the Church.
— The Church on earth is the image of the Church in Heaven.
— The Church is the congregation of the elect.
— The spiritual and holy choir forming the spiritual part of the body of Christ, of which they who only bear the name of Christians, but do not live according to reason, are the flesh.

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

"It is not lawful for us to introduce (indulge) anything of our own choice, as neither is it to choose that which any one may have introduced of his own choice. We have for our authors the Apostles of the Lord, who did not even themselves choose anything to be introduced of their own will, but faithfully delivered over to the nations the religion (disciplinam) which they had received from Christ."

De Praescrip. Haeret. n. 6, p. 203.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 23-24

"Now what the Apostles preached, that is, what Christ revealed unto them, I will here also rule, must be proved in no other way than by those same churches which the Apostles themselves founded; themselves by preaching to them as well viva voice, as men say, as afterwards by epistles. If these things be so, it becomes forthwith manifest that all doctrine which agrees with those Apostolic churches, the wombs and originals of the faith, must be accounted true, as without doubt containing that which the churches have received from the Apostles, the Apostles from Christ, Christ from God; but that every doctrine must be judged at once to be false, which savors things contrary to the truth of the churches, and of the Apostles, and of Christ, and of God. It remains, therefore, that we show whether this our doctrine, the rule of which we have above declared, be derived from the tradition of the Apostles, and from this very fact, whether the other doctrines come from falsehoods. We have communion with the Apostolic churches, because we have no doctrine differing from them. This is evidence of truth."

De Praescrip. Haeret. n, 21, p. 209.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 24

The following is part of a valuable defense of the genuineness of St. Luke's Gospel, against Marcion:

"To sum up:

    • if it is certain that the truest is the most ancient
    • that most ancient is that which is from the beginning, and
    • that the beginning is that which comes from the Apostles

it will, in like manner, also be certain that, what has been handed down by the Apostles, shall have been held sacred by the churches of the Apostles. Let us see what milk the Corinthians drained from Paul; what the Philippians, the Thessalonians, the Ephesians read; also what the Romans close at hand trumpet forth, to whom both Peter and Paul left the Gospel sealed also with their blood. We have also the churches taught by John. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, nevertheless the succession of bishops, counted up to their origin, will stand by John as the author. Thus also is the noble origin of the other churches recognized. I say, therefore, that the Gospel of Luke which we are principally defending, holds its place, from the first of its publication, amongst the churches, not the apostolic alone, but all which are covenanted with them by the fellowship of religion; whilst that of Marcion is to most not known, and known to none except to be therefore condemned. That Gospel too has churches, but its own; as of later date, as they are false, whose origin if you seek for, you will more easily find it apostate than apostolical; with Marcion, to wit the founder, or some one from Marcion's hive. Wasps, too, form nests; Marcionites, too, form churches. The same authority of the apostolic churches will defend the other Gospels also, which accordingly we have through those churches, and according to those churches, I mean the Gospel of John and Matthew. It is some such compendious arguments as these that we make use of, when we are arguing on the genuineness of the Gospel against heretics, defending both the order of time which rules against the posterior date of the falsifiers, and the authority of the churches which takes under its guardianship the tradition of the Apostles; because the truth must needs precede what is false, and proceed from those by whom it has been handed down."

Adv. Marcion, l. iv. n. 5, pp. 415, 416.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 25-26

Origen of Alexandria, (A.D. 184-253), Alexandrian; born in Egypt, philosopher, theologian, writer.

"They who have believed, and are persuaded that grace and truth have arisen through Jesus Christ, and that Christ is the truth, derive not the knowledge which impels men to live well and happily, from other source than the very words and teaching of Christ. But that He also, after His assumption into Heaven, spoke in His Apostles, Paul points out thus: "Or do you seek a proof that it is Christ that speaketh in me?" (2 Corinthians 13:3)

2. "Wherefore, since many of those who profess to believe in Christ, differ, not only in small and the most trifling, but also in great and the most important things, to wit, either respecting God, or the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit; and not only on these points, but also respecting the dominations and holy powers; therefore does it seem necessary, in the first place, with respect to each of these matters, to lay down a certain line and a manifest rule, and then, in the next place, to proceed to inquire about other matters. For as, though many of the Greeks and barbarians promise truth, we have ceased to seek for it amongst all those who with false opinions claim it, since we have believed that Christ is the Son of God, and we are convinced that it is to be learned by us from Him; so, there being many who fancy that they think the things of Christ, and some of them think differently from those who have gone before, let there be preserved the ecclesiastical teaching, which, transmitted by the order of succession from the Apostles, remains even to the present day in the churches: that alone is to be believed to be truth, which in nothing differs from the ecclesiastical and apostolical tradition."

De Principiis, t. i. l. 1. n. 1, 2, p. 47, ed. De la Rue, Paris. 1733.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 26-27

"As in the firmament, called Heaven, God commanded that there should be lights to divide night from day, so, too, in us may this take place, if so be that we strive both to be called and to be a Heaven: we shall have in us, as lights to enlighten us, Christ and His Church. For He is the light of the world, who also with His light enlightens the Church. For as the moon is said to derive light from the sun, that by it even the night may be illumined, so also the Church, having received the light of Christ, gives light to all who live in the night of ignorance. As the sun and moon give light to our bodies, so also are our minds enlightened by Christ and the Church."

T. ii. Hom. 1, In Genes, n. 5, 7, pp. 54, 55.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 27

Explaining Proverbs 5:15, 18, he says,

"Wherefore, do thou too try, oh hearer, to have thine own well, and thine own spring, that thou too, when thou shalt take hold of a book of the Scriptures, mayest begin, even from thine own understanding, to produce some meaning; and, according to those things which thou hast learned in the Church, do thou too try to drink from the spring of thine ability."

T. ii. Hom. xii. in Genes, n. $,p. 93.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 27-28

Commenting on the schism of Core and his adherents (Numbers 16), he says:

"Core is the type of those who rise up against the faith of the Church and the doctrine of truth. Therefore is it written concerning Core and his company, that in brazen censers they offered the incense of a strange fire. And the strange fire is indeed commanded by God to be scattered and poured forth; but the censers, because they are sanctified, make them into broad plates, and cover the altar with them, because they were offered before the Lord, and they are sanctified. (verse 38.) This, therefore, seems to me to be shown by this type, that these "censers" which the Scripture says were of "brass," are a type of the divine Scripture. Upon which Scripture, heretics putting "a strange fire", that is, a sense and meaning alien from God, and introducing a meaning contrary to the truth, offer to God an incense not sweet, but execrable. And therefore is a model given to the priests of the churches, that, if ever anything of the kind arise, the things that are alien from the truth be utterly banished from the Church of God: but if there be, even in the words of heretics, some things intermixed with the meanings of Scripture, that they are not to be repudiated together with those which are contrary to faith and truth; for the things that are produced from divine Scripture are hallowed and offered to the Lord."

T. ii. Hom. ix. in Numer. n. 1, pp. 295, 296.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 28

Explaining Matthew 24:23, "Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him."

"These words are fulfilled by pointing out, not Christ, but some imaginary creature of the same name, as, for instance, one after the doctrine of Marcion, or the traditions of Valentinus. There will be many others too who will be ready to say to the disciples, out of the divine Scriptures, adding their own peculiar meaning: "Behold here is Christ". . . . But as often as they bring forward canonical Scriptures, in which every Christian agrees and believes, they seem to say: "Behold in the houses" is the word of truth. But we are not to credit them; nor to go out from the first and the ecclesiastical tradition; nor to believe otherwise than according as the churches of God have by succession transmitted to us."

T. iii. Series Comment, (alib. Tr. 29) in Matthew n. 46, p. 864.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 28-29

"The truth is like to the lightning which goeth out from the east, and appears in the west; such is the truth of the Church of God; for from it alone the sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world"

T. iii. Comment, in Matt. (Trac. 30), n. 46, p. 864.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 29

"According, then, to what we have said, they who teach the "Word according to the Church, are the prophets of God. Whilst they who preach the word of Marcion, or of any such, are the prophets of that antichrist that is according to Marcion, that is, of that falsehood which Marcion introduced. . . . The same say also of the preachers of each one of the heresies. . . We are not, therefore, to give heed to those who say "Behold here is Christ", but show Him not in the Church, which is filled with brightness from the east even unto the west, which is filled with true light, is the pillar and ground of truth, in which, as a whole, is the whole advent of the Son of Man, who saith to all men, throughout the universe, "Behold I am with you all the days of life, even unto the consummation of the world."

T. iii. Comment, in Matt. (Trac. 30), n. 46, p. 865, col. 2.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 29



The Catholic Church's authority come directly from Christ Himself who founded His Church on
St. Peter and His human successors. (Acts 1:20-26) The way or means by which we arrive at the knowledge of the divine truths, is attention and submission to the voice of the Pastors of the Church: a Church established by Christ for the instruction, of all, and for all, in the world; visibly continuing in the succession of Pastors and people through all ages. Broader marks of the Church are:

      • Unity (One)
      • Visibility (We can tell with our senses, where the faith is.)
      • Indefectibility (That it cannot fail.)
      • Succession from the Apostles (Apostolic)
      • Universality (Catholic), and
      • Sanctity (Holy)

Some may question this last mark, Sanctity, but the Church is holy because it consist of Jesus' Mystical Body, Him being the Head. The Church is endowed with a sanctity that is real, though imperfect. In her members, perfect holiness is something yet to be acquired and something its members freely choose to grow toward, or not.


The Church's Scriptures that support the Authority of the Church:


Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

Matthew 16:18

Dealing with a Sinning Brother

17 And if he will not hear them, tell it to the church. And if he will not hear them, tell the Church. And if he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican.

Matthew 18:17

The Great Commission

18 "And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in Heaven and in earth. 19 Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; 20 teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: And behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world."

Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus tells His first Apostles and disciples to go everywhere and preach His Saving Gospel.

15 "And He said to them : Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature."

Mark 16:15

Listening to the Apostles and their successors is equal to listening and obeying Christ and His Father.

16 "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me."

Luke 10:16

Jesus Predicts Peter's Denial but prays for his (singular) faith.

31 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you (second person plural pronoun, meaning "all of you") that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee (singular, Peter) that thy faith fail not: and thou being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

Luke 22:31-32

Jesus tells His Apostles that His Father will send them the Holy Spirit, so they will be able to abide with Him forever.

16 "And I will ask the Father, and He shall give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever, 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, nor knoweth Him; but you shall know Him, because He shall abide with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you."

John 14:16-18

The Holy Spirit that the Lord will send His Apostles will teach them the truth.

13 "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself: but whatever He shall hear, He shall speak; and the things that are to come He will show you."

John 16:13

Paul goes to various new Christian churches encouraging them to keep to the commandments and teachings of the Apostles.

28 "For it hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay no farther burden upon you than these necessary things. 41 And he (Paul) went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches: commanding them to keep the precepts of the Apostles and ancients."

Acts 15:28, 41.

Paul tells the new found churches to heed the voice of their bishops and obey them.

28 "Take heed to yourselves and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood."

Acts 20:28

Each member in the Church has their own calling.

28 "And God indeed hath set some in the Church, first Apostles, secondly Prophets, thirdly Doctors: 29 Are all Apostles? Are all Prophets? Are all Doctors?"

1 Corinthians 12:28,29

Our callings in the Church perfect us and help ensure that we will not be persuaded by unbelievers.

11 "And He gave some apostles, and some prophets, and other some evangelists, and other some pastors and doctors: 12 for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 until we all meet in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ: 14 that henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive."

Ephesians 4:11-14

The (Catholic) Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.

14 "These things I write to thee, hoping that I shall come to thee shortly. 15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth."

1 Timothy 3:14-15

The author of Hebrews encourages the faithful to pray and obey their prelates or priests who have spoken the Word of God to us.

7 "Remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to you; whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls."

Hebrews 13:7

Test what you hear from others and compared what they say to what the Church teaches, to see if what they say is true.

1 "Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits if they be of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 6 We are of God. He that knoweth God heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error."

1 John 4:1,6

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