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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. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
    Lactantius, (A.D. 240-c.330)
    St. Methodius of Olympus, (A.D. 250-311)
    St. Alexander of Alexandria, (c. A.D. 250-325)
    Hosius of Cordova, (A.D. 256-358)
    Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338)
    The Apostolic Constitutions (or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles), (A.D. c.270)
    Lucifer of Cagliagi, (unknown-371)
    St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372)
    Pope St. Damasus I, (A.D. 304-384)
    St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378)
    St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375)
    Didymus the Blind, surnamed of Alexandria, (A.D. 313-398)
    Council of Arles, (held in A.D. 314)
    St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367)
    St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (A.D. 315-386)
    St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389)
    St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379)
    St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
    St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394)
    St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
    St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
    St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407)
    St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410)
    St. Paulinus of Nola, (A.D. 353-431)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

"Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, settling the honor of a bishop and the nature of His Church, speaks in the Gospel and says to Peter, "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church," (St. Matthew 16:18, 19) Hence, through the changes of times and of successions, the ordination of bishops and the nature of the Church flows on (runs down), so as that the Church is settled upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is regulated by these same prelates. Since then this has been established by a divine law, I wonder that some should have had the bold temerity so to write to me as to pen their letters in the name of the Church, whereas the Church consisteth of the bishop and clergy, and of all those who have not lapsed."

Ep. xxvii. Lapsis. p. 89.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 31

After citing several passages, both from the Old and New Testament, and amongst the rest St. Luke 10:16, He that heareth you, heareth me, he continues:

"There being these numerous, weighty, and many other such examples as precedents, whereby God has condescended to confirm the sacerdotal authority and power, what kind of men, thinkest them, are they, who, enemies of the priesthood, and rebels against the Catholic Church, are neither scared by the Lord's forewarning threats, nor by the vengeance of a future judgment? For neither have heresies sprung up, nor schisms been engendered, from other source than this, that obedience is not paid to the priest of God, nor attention given to this, that there is but one priest at a time in a church, and who for the time is judge in Christ's stead, whom, if the brotherhood would, according to the divine commands, obey, no one would stir anything in opposition to the college of priests; no one would, after the divine sanction, after the suffrage of the people, after the consent of the fellow-bishops, make himself a judge, not now merely of a bishop, but of God; no one would, by a breach of unity, tear in pieces Christ's Church; no one, pleasing himself and swelling with pride, would found a new heresy apart and without (the Church): unless there be a man of so sacrilegious rashness and abandoned a mind, as to think that a priest is made without the judgment of God."

Ep. Iv. ad Cornelium, pp. 177, 178.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 34-35

"Nor, indeed, because a few rash and wicked men abandon the heavenly and saving ways of the Lord, and not doing what is holy, are forsaken by the Holy Spirit, ought we, therefore, to be so unmindful of the divine tradition, as to account the crimes of these enthusiasts of greater weight than the judgments of the priests, or fancy that human efforts avail more to attack, than the divine guardianship to protect. Is then the dignity of the Catholic Church, and the faithful and uncorrupted majesty of the people within her, and the priestly authority, too, and power, to be laid down for this, that men who are set without the Church may tell us they wish to judge a prelate of the Church? heretics (pass judgment) on a Christian? The wounded on the sound! the maimed on the uninjured! the fallen on him that stands firm! the guilty on the judge! the sacrilegious on a priest!"

Ep. Iv. ad Cornelium, pp. 184, 185.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 35

"Since Novatian, whom this man (Marcianus, Bishop of Aries) follows, has been long ago excommunicated, and judged an enemy to the Church, who, when he sent his agents to us in Africa, desiring to be admitted into communion with us, carried back hence from a numerous council of priests, who were then assembled, this sentence, that he had begun to be without, nor could any of us be in communion with him, who, when Cornelius had been, by the judgment of God, and the suffrage of the clergy and people, ordained bishop in the Catholic Church, had attempted to erect a profane altar, to set up an adulterous chair, and to offer sacrilegious sacrifices in opposition to the true priest, and that, therefore, if he wished to repent, and to return to a wholesome feeling, he should do penitence, and return as a suppliant to the Church, — how idle is it, that after Novatian has been repulsed, and cast back, and excommunicated, throughout the whole world, by the priests of God, still to suffer his flatterers now to mock us, and to pass judgment on the majesty and dignity of the Church. . . . ."For this cause is the numerous body of priests knit together with the glue of mutual concord, and the bond of unity, that if any of our college should attempt to create a heresy, and to rend and lay waste the flock of Christ, the rest may come in aid, and, like useful and merciful shepherds, gather into (one) flock the Lord's sheep " For although we are many shepherds, yet do we feed but one flock; and we ought to gather together and to cherish all the sheep which, with His blood and passion, Christ sought. . . .The Lord declares those men execrable and abominable who please themselves, who, swollen and inflated, arrogantly assume something to themselves. Of which number since Marcianus has begun to be, and, uniting himself to Novatian, stands forth the enemy of mercy and piety, let him not give, but receive sentence; nor so act as if it were he that had judged the college of priests, whereas he himself has been judged by the whole priesthood. The glory and honor of our predecessors, the blessed martyrs Cornelius and Lucius, ought to be guarded; whose memory whilst we honor, much more ought you, by your weight and authority, to honor and guard it, who have been made the vicar and successor of them."

Ep. Ixvii. ad Stephanum,pp. 248-250.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 35-36

"The spouse of Christ cannot become adulterate; she is undefiled and chaste. She owns but one home; with spotless purity, she guards the sanctity of one chamber. She keeps us for God; she appoints unto the kingdom the sons that she has borne. Whosoever, having separated from the Church, is joined to an adulteress, he is cut off from the promises of the Church. Neither shall he come unto the rewards of Christ who leaves the Church of Christ. He is an alien, he is an outcast, he is an enemy. He can no longer have God for a father, who has not the Church for a mother."

De Unitate, p. 397
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 37

Lactantius, (A.D. 240-c.330), was an early Christian author, the goal of his writings was to present Christianity in a form that would be attractive to philosophical pagans.

"As many heresies have sprung up, and as, by the instigation of demons, the people of God has been divided, truth is by us briefly to be defined, and at the same time to be placed in its own proper dwelling place; that so if any one desire to draw the water of life, he may not be carried to broken cisterns that hold no water, but become acquainted with the most bountiful fountain of God, watered by which he may possess perennial life. It behooves us, then, first of all, to know that both Himself and His ambassadors foretold that many sects and heresies would have existence, and sever the concord of the holy body, and warned us to use the utmost prudence and care, for fear lest we might at any time fall into the snares and wiles of that adversary with whom it is God's will that we should wrestle. . . . Some of ours there have been, either less settled in faith, or less learned, or less prudent, who have caused a breach in unity, and disunited the Church. . . . Whilst some there have been, not learned enough in the heavenly writings, who, unable to reply to their opponents, when they objected that it was both impossible and unbecoming that God should be enclosed within a woman's womb . . . have been perverted from the right path, and have corrupted the heavenly writings, so far as to fashion for themselves a new doctrine without any root or firmness: whilst some, enticed away by the predictions of false prophets, who have been, both by Him and by the true prophets, foretold, have fallen away from God's doctrine, and abandoned the true tradition. But all these, entangled in demonical wiles which they ought to have foreseen, and to have guarded against, have, by their imprudence, lost the divine name and worship. For whereas they are called Phrygians or Novatians, or Valentinians, or Marcionites, or Anthropians (Arians), or other such, they ceased to be Christians, who, having lost the name of Christ, assumed human and extraneous titles.

The Catholic Church is therefore the only one that retains the true worship. This is the source of truth; this the dwelling-place of faith; this the temple of God, which whosoever enters not, or from which whosoever departs, he is an alien from the hope of life, and eternal salvation. No one ought to flatter himself by means of obstinate disputation; for life and salvation are at stake, which, if not prudently and sedulously looked to, are lost and utterly destroyed.

But, as every sect of heretics thinks itself above every other Christian, the Catholic Church, it is to be known is the true Church wherein are Confession and penitence, which wholesomely heal the wounds and sins to which the weakness of the flesh is subject.
Thus much, in a few words, have I set down by way of admonition, lest any one desirous of avoiding error become entangled in a greater error, whilst ignorant of the shrine of truth."

Divin. Inst. L. iv. c. 30.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 43-44

St. Methodius of Olympus, (A.D. 250-311), Asia Minor; bishop, ecclesiastical writer, martyr.

"The woman that appeared Heaven clothed with the sun, having a crown of twelve stars, at whose feet the moon has her resting place, and who is travailing and in pain to be delivered, she in sooth, in strictness of speech, is our mother, O virgins; a power she of herself, distinct from her children; she whom the prophets have called, according to the scope of what they set before us, at one time, Jerusalem; at another, the spouse; now the mountain of Sion; and again the temple and tabernacle of God. For that power which, as in the prophet, eagerly sought to be illuminated, the Spirit crying to her, "Be enlightened, O Jerusalem, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord shall be seen upon thee," (Isaiah. 55:1-4) is the Church, whose children, after the resurrection, hastening unto her in crowds, from every quarter will press to her: and having received a light that knows no setting, is clothed as with a garment, and gladdened with the brightness of the Word. . . . . . Behold the mighty woman, a pure and spotless and abiding beauty, scattering around her a brightness no wise inferior to that of the rays of light."

Conviv. Virg. Orat. viii. n. 5, p. 717. Galland. T. iii. Bibl. Vet. PP.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 40

St. Alexander of Alexandria, (c.A.D. 250-325), He succeeded to the chair of Alexandria about the year A.D. 312. He was the first to resist the heresy of Arius, whom he condemned, and whose against novelties he wrote numerous letters to the bishops of various churches; only two of these remain.

"These Arians will not condescend to compare any of the ancients with themselves; nor endure that the masters, whom we have used from our childhood, be equaled with them; nay, they do not think that any one of our fellow-ministers throughout the whole world has attained to any measure of wisdom. They alone are the wise, though poor in everything; and declare themselves the discoverers of truths, and that to them alone have been revealed things which have never entered even into the thoughts of anyone else under the sun. Oh, the unhallowed pride and boundless madness, and vain-glory befitting their atrabilious spirit, and the Satanic arrogance, that have hardened into their very souls! Neither the explanation, well-pleasing unto God, of the ancient Scripture, has shamed them, nor the concordant pious doctrine of their fellow-ministers concerning Christ has repressed their audacity against Him, whose unhallowed work not even will the devils endure. ... Of them (Father and Son) we believe as it seems right to the Apostolic Church. . . . (We acknowledge) one and one only Catholic and apostolic Church, ever indeed incapable of being overthrown, even though the whole world should choose to war against it, and which will conquer every most unhallowed opposition of the heterodox, the Master of the household Himself having made us confident, in that He cried out, "Have confidence, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).

[Having explained the Apostles Creed, he adds]

These things we teach, these we proclaim, these are the apostolic doctrines of the Church, for which too we would die."

Ep. de Arian. Hæres. Labbe, t. ii. pp. 19-21, and Galland, t. iv. pp. 447, 448.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 44-45

Hosius of Cordova, (A.D. 256-358), Spanish; Bishop of Cordova, in Spain, foremost Western champion of orthodoxy in the early anti-Arian struggle, suffered for the faith, and was present at the Council of Nicaea.

"When did Constantine your father do anything like this? What bishop did he banish? When did he obtrude himself into the judgments of the Church? . . . Cease, I beseech thee, and remember that thou art a mortal man. Fear the day of judgment; keep thyself clean against that day. Put not thyself forward into ecclesiastical matters, nor be thou the man to charge us in these matters; rather learn them thyself from us. In thy hands God has placed the kingly power; to us He has entrusted the things of the Church; and as he who deprives thee of thy rule, opposes God who has thus ordained, so fear thou lest, drawing to thyself the things of the Church, thou fall under a grievous accusation. "Render", it is written, "unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." It is therefore neither lawful for us to rule over the earth, nor hast thou power to offer incense."

Ep. ad Const, op. Athan. in Hist. Arian. n. 44, t. i. p. 293,
ed. Bened. Patav. 1777, Galland. t.v. pp. 81, 82.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 47-48

Eusebius of Cæsarea, (A.D. c.263-338), appointed Bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 314, Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist, scholar of the Biblical canon who was deeply embroiled in the Arian controversy.

"I will at the same time add to the manifestation of these things, the theology of our Savior; having nothing indeed to say that is freshly discovered, nor any wise thing of my own, and that is my own discovery, but shall put forward the uncorrupted doctrine of the Church of God, which she, having received it from above, from the beginning, from ear and eye witnesses of the Word, still guards."

In Eccles. Theol. p. 60, ed. Colon. 1688.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 46

"The Church of God, journeying straight in the right and royal road, has condemned all the rest as by-paths, and she transmits to her votaries the knowledge of the divine grace, teaching, in the very mystery of regeneration, to confess and believe one God the Father Almighty,"

De Ecdes. Theol. 1. i. c. 8, p. 65.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 46

"Into Edom will I stretch out my shoe" (Psalms 107:10). . . . "Again, you will not err if you say that the Apostles are the "shoe", or they who minister the Gospel even unto this day. . . . . .He orders His disciples to evangelize all the nations in His name. Thus, then, even unto this present time, the God of the universe prophesies, that He will dwell in His holy place, and will in it, and through it, speak to men. . . . . "Who will bring me into the fortified city? who will lead me into Edom? And it is very wonderful that God is spoken of as not walking with naked feet, but with "shoes," the word indicating the souls that minister to His will, by means of whom, having completed the vocation of the Gentiles, He established over the whole earth His city, I mean His Catholic Church, and the assembly of God-serving men; of which city it is elsewhere said, "Glorious things are said of thee, city of God." (Psalms 86:3) And, The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful. (Psalms 45:5) This fortified city, therefore, when the prophet desired to behold, he said, "Who will bring me into the fortified city? or, into the city fenced round", for so Symmachus interprets: for the gates and doors and bolts of the divine powers fence it round, that it may not suffer any devastation. Therefore did the Savior say concerning it, "I will build my Church upon a rock, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it."

In Ps. lix. t. l, pp. 282-284. — Nov. Collect. (Montfaucon) Patr. Graec. Paris. 1707.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 46-47

"He alone, having been born in that city, settled and confirmed The city of God, that is, a system according to God, and a God-fearing institution, throughout the whole universe, by means of His Catholic Church, which is settled in every place and country and city, to which we ought to be persuaded that the saying applies, "Glorious things are said of thee, O city of God"; and, "The stream of the river maketh the city of God joyful", and whatever else of this nature is set down in the divine Scriptures."

Comm. in Ps. lxxxvi. t. i. p. 539 (Montfaucon), Nov. Collect. PP. Gr.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 47

The Apostolic Constitutions (or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles), dated A.D.c 270, is a Christian collection of eight treatises which belongs to genre of the Church Orders.

"Endeavor, O bishop, to be pure in thy actions, understanding thy place and dignity: which is that of one sustaining the image of God among men, being set over all men, over priests, kings, rulers, fathers, children, masters, and in general over all those who are subject to thee."

Const. Apostol. l. ii. c. xi.; Galland. t. iii. Bib. Vet. PP. Yenet. 1765.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 39

"Let then the layman honor the good shepherd, love him and fear him as his lord, as his master, as the high-priest of God, as the teacher of piety. For he who hears him, hears Christ, and he who despises him, despises Christ, and he who receives not Christ, receives not his God and Father. For He has said, "He that heareth you, heareth me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth me, and he that despiseth me despiseth Him that sent me."

Const. Apostol. 1. ii. c. xx.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 39

"The bishop; he is the minister of the word, the keeper of knowledge, the mediator between God and you in those things which pertain to His worship; he is the teacher of piety; he is, after God, your father, who has regenerated you by water and the Spirit unto the adoption of sons. He is your ruler, and he is your king and potentate; he is, next after God, your earthly God, who has a right to receive honor from you; for of him, and of such as he, God has said, "I have said ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High." (Psalms 81:6); "and you shall not speak evil of the gods." (Exodus 22:28) For let the bishop preside over you, as one honored with the dignity of God, with which he rules the clergy, and governs all the people."

Const. Apostol. l. ii. c. 26. See also l. ii. c. 29, 30.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 39-40

Lucifer of Cagliagi, (unknown-371), Italian; bishop of Cagliari, distinguished himself as a strenuous opponent of the Arians. He died about the year 371. His works, which consist almost solely of a few pieces addressed to the Emperor Constantius, are given by Gallandius in his sixth volume and from the Tillius edition. He is venerated as a Saint in Sardinia.

"Thou persecutes the house of God, Constantius, and knowest not that in persecuting her, thou art persecuting God Himself: for the Church is God's habitation, in which the Lord dwells, as in the Psalm is written, "The Lord hath chosen Sion, He hath chosen it for His dwelling. This is my rest for ever and ever; here will I dwell for I have chosen it." (Psalm cxxxi.)

Pro St. Athanas. L. i. n. 43, t. vi. Galland, p. 173.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 53

"The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, who was in the prophets, remained also in the Apostles, which same Holy Spirit, the Comforter, since he is in God's Church, and you have been placed without the Church, He abides not in you, who are thereby proved to have the spirit of antichrist, which unclean spirit, for fear lest you should see what we now urge upon you, spreads the blinding darkness of error over your heretical hearts."

De non parcend. in Deum delinq, n. 37, Galland. t. vi. p. 238.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 53

St. Athanasius of Alexandria, (A.D. 296-372), Egyptian; bishop, theologian, and Doctor of the Church. He was present, as an assistant to St. Alexander of Alexandria, at the council of Nicea who he succeeded in A.D. 326. During more than forty years he was the champion of orthodoxy, and suffered much severe persecution from the Arian party.

"But let us nevertheless, in addition to the above, see the tradition which is from the beginning, and the doctrine and faith of the Catholic Church, which the Lord indeed communicated, but the Apostles proclaimed and the fathers guarded; for on this has the Church been founded, and he who falls away from this, would not be, nor would he even be called, Christian."

Ep. i. ad Serapion. n. 28, t. 1, p. 540, ed. Ben. Patav. 1777.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 48-49

"They (the fathers at Nicea) wrote indeed respecting Easter, "It has seemed good, as follows," for it did then seem good that there should be a general compliance; but as regards the faith, they wrote not, "It has seemed good", but, "Thus believes the Catholic Church," and at once confessed how they believed, thereby to show that their sentiment was not novel, but apostolical, and that what they wrote down was not a discovery of their own, but the same as the Apostles had taught."

De Synodis, n. 5, t. i. p. 575.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 49

"It is enough to give this only for answer to these things (asserted by the Arians), and to say, "These things are not of the Catholic Church, neither did the fathers think thus."

Ep. ad Epictet. n. 3, p. 722, t. 1.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 49

Pope St. Damasus I, (A.D. 304-384), Roman; Pope and personal friend of St. Jerome; he succeeded Liberius in the chair of Rome; he defended with vigor the Catholic faith.

Pope St. Damasus receives reports from his clerical colleagues about clerical problems in Gaul.

"We have indeed confidence, that your holiness, grounded on the instruction given by the Apostles, holds fast, and teaches to the people, that faith which in nothing differs from the institutes of our forefathers. For it does not beseem priests of God, whose part it is to instruct others, to hold any other sentiment, yet have we learned from the relation of some of our brethren from Gaul, that there are some who, not from any heretical intention for so great an evil cannot befall God's appointed rulers but from ignorance, or a kind of simplicity, agitated by sinister interpretations, do not discern which is the sentiment of our fore fathers that is in preference to be held, when divers opinions are urged upon their attention. . . . When, in time past, the poison of the heretics began to spread itself, as it does now once more, and when especially the blasphemy of the Arians first shot up, our forefathers, the three hundred and eighteen bishops, and they who were sent from the city of the most holy Bishop of Rome (St. Silvester), assembled in council at Nicea, and raised up this wall against the weapons of the devil, and by this antidote repelled the cup of death. . . . Your uprightness perceives that the faith alone which was settled at Nicea, by the authority of the Apostles, is to be held with unswerving firmness."

Ep. i. Synod. Orientalibus, Galland. t. vi. p. 321.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 54

St. Ephrem the Syrian, (of Edessa), (A.D. 306-378), Syrian; born in Nisebis, deacon, hymnist, poet. His works were even during his own lifetime almost all translated into Greek, and were, as St. Jerome informs us, held in such high estimation, as to be read in some churches after the Holy Scriptures. We have his life by St. Gregory of Nyssa.

"They again must be reproved, whosoever they are, that go astray out of the highway, and wander along devious and treacherous paths: seeing that the way of salvation presents to us marks, whereby we may perfectly know that this is the road which the messengers of peace trod; which the wise, inspired by the Spirit, foreshowed; and which the prophets and Apostles have left us levelled and made smooth: whose milestones truth has set up, and whose hostelries Christ has fitted up. Come, brethren, let us enter upon this road, by which the Father sent the Son; let us keep to the King's highway, that we may all together journey even to the beholding of the King's Son.

T. ii. Syr. Serm. xxv. Adv. Hæres. p. 495 and 498.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 51-52

"Marcion knew well the authority of the sons of truth, and the signs openly shown by them (miracles), which report has transmitted even to our knowledge; and this too is attested by their own Scriptures, so that should he in any place controvert them, he may be convicted by his own words. If then the apostates from the old religion presume to sow new opinions, and ask to be believed, in return miracles are to be asked at their hands: let this therefore abundantly suffice to confute them, that, whereas diseases are everywhere prevalent, they have never as yet cured one sick person, nor even dispelled the slightest attack of fever."

T. ii. Syr. Serm. 40, Adv. Hæres, p. 530.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 52

"Hither come, O Faith, thou gift bestowed from Heaven on holy Church; in her bosom, I pray thee, fix thine abode, and there rest. If the Jews have driven thee from them, what wonder? they follow fables and their own dreaming; that the heterodox have in this conspired with them, is nothing new, for they are in love with contentions and disputes. See that thou show thyself grateful to Him, who has founded, and united to thee a nation that becomes thee, which bears thee aloft upon its shoulders, in triumph, through the world."

T. iii. Syr. Serm. vi. de Fide (adv. Scrutat.) p. 161.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 52

"Let it not be to you, oh ye disciples of faith, a matter of surprise that the Jewish teachers are even yet in search after the truth: in the same way as it was found by the magi in the city of Bethlehem, will it be met without labor in the bosom of holy Church, by those who seek for it with a pure intention."

T. iii. Syr. Serm. iii. adv. Scrut.p. 201.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 52(1)

St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life. He is also remembered from a phrase from one of his letters: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic.".

"Come, you say, and let us contend with facts and argument." I, for my part, have been free from all anxiety; have been content with the continued existence itself of the Church, and with the peacefulness of the ancient congregation. The arts of discord are unknown to me; I have been no searcher after arguments for disputation. You, after being separated from the rest of the body, and divided from your mother, that you may give a reason for what you have done, have become an assiduous searcher and inquirer into all the hidden recesses of books: what is hidden you explore; what is at rest you disturb. Our fathers, unrequired, entered into no dispute; our very security sought no arms. . . . You state, and rightly indeed, that the Church is a people renewed of water and the Holy Ghost; free from denying the name of Christ; is the temple and the house of God, the pillar and ground of truth; a holy virgin with chastest feelings, the spouse of Christ, of His flesh and of His bones, not having spot or wrinkle; and preserving entire the laws of the Gospels. Who amongst us denies this? None, but let state further, that the Church is the queen "in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety (Psalms 44); the fruitful vine on the sides of the house of the Lord (Psalms 127); the mother of young maidens without number; the one fair and perfect dove of her mother (Canticles, 6); the very mother of all, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone; a great house enriched with every variety of vessels." But this of ours hereafter: and meanwhile let us consider your words. "The Church is a people born again of water and of the Holy Ghost." Well! who has closed up the fountain of God? Who has carried away the Spirit (from me)? Yea, rather, with us is "the living water", which springs from Christ: while you, separated from the everlasting fountain, where did you receive your birth? The Holy Spirit, in like manner, has not departed from the chief mother: whence then came He to thee? Unless it be that He has forsooth followed a dissenter, and having abandoned so many priests, content with an unconsecrated throne (chair), He has preferred the broken cistern of an adulterated fountain. . . . The Church is a people free from denying the name of Christ. Are there then no confessors amongst us, proved by chains and fire and sword? There were, you say, but they perished by receiving sinners. . . .But whom can you persuade that the whole Church, by receiving the lapsed, hath fallen away? That, by the admission of penitents, the people of those who admit them has been made a denier (of the faith)? Nay, supposing that a part of the people was too yielding, did the rest also who approved not of what was done, but followed custom and peace, forfeit the Christian name? Hear the voice of Jeremias: "In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the teeth of the children are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity," (Jeremias 31:29, 30.). . . You bind the whole world with the chains of a few; you condemn the whole Church for the weakness of a small portion. Say, are all, in your eyes, saints, whom Novatus instructed, whom Evaristus chose, whom Nicostratus taught, whom Novatian trained? Hast thou escaped the thorns and briars? In thy "corn" are there no "tares?" Is thy "wheat" already purged? Is the purifier to come to thee without his fan? Wilt thou alone be found without "chaff?" But come, proceed with the rest. "The Church is the body of Christ." The body, mind, not a member; the body framed into one out of many parts and members, according to that of the Apostle, For the body is not one member, but many. Wherefore the Church is the full body; both a body, and a compact body, and a body now spread over the whole world: like a city, I mean, whose parts form one whole; not as you Novatians, an unnatural kind of accumulated excrescence and part, separated from the rest of the body. The Church is the temple of God. Truly, a roomy temple; a great house, having vessels of gold and of silver, and also of wood and of earth, some unto honor, and many magnificent set apart for the manifold uses of various works. The Church is a holy virgin, of chastest feelings, the spouse of Christ. A virgin, no doubt, but a mother too; a spouse, undeniably, but also a wife, taken out of her husband, and therefore bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh. For of her David said, "Thy wife as a fruitful vine, on the sides of thy house. Thy children, as olive plants, round about thy table." This virgin has given birth to many; her offspring is countless; with it the whole world is filled; with it the thronging swarms hum busily within the ever-teeming hives. Great is the mother's care for her children, and tender her affection: the good honored, the haughty punished, the sick healed; not one perishes, not one is despised; the confiding children are governed by the parent's kindness."

"The Church has neither spot nor wrinkle; that is, with out heresies, without Valentinians, without Cataphrygians, without Novatians. In these are certain spotted and wrinkled folds, as if in envy of the ornaments of the precious garments. For the rest, the sinner and the penitent are not a spot on the Church; because, as long as he sins and repents not, he is placed without the Church; when he ceases to sin he is already whole. But the garment of the Lord, that is, the Church of Christ, is by the heretic rent, cut, injured, and crumpled. For whereas, says the Apostle, "there are schisms and contentions among you, are you not carnal, and walk according to man?" (1 Corinthians 3) And "their speech spreadeth like a canker" (2 Timothy 2) This is the "spot" on unity; this the "wrinkle".

Finally, when the Apostle is speaking of these things, he sets before us Christ's love and affection; as Christ loved the Church and delivered Himself up for it, thereby to set aside heretics who know not how to love. But why apply this to the unhappy penitent? Because he wisheth both to love and be loved."

Epist. i. n. 2-6, pp. 262, 263, Galland. t. vii.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 58-61

Didymus the Blind, surnamed of Alexandria, (A.D. 313-398), Alexandrian; though born blind, he amassed a vast knowledge of grammar, rhetoric, logic, music, arithmetic, and geometry, and a perfect familiarity with Holy Scripture. Of his numerous writings but few remain.

"The Spirit, the comforter and the holy, and the spirit too of truth is given by the Father, to abide ever with Christ's disciples, with whom is also the Savior Himself, who says, "Lo, I am with you even to the consummation of the world".

De Spir. Sanc. n. 28, Galland. t. vi. p. 274.
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Explaining 1 St. John, 2:18,19:

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us; but that they may be manifest, that they are not all of us.

This is not written concerning all who hold false doctrine, but regards those only who, after being instructed in the gospel, turn aside to a false sect. . . . For it is a natural consequence that they who have separated themselves from the assembly of the faithful are antichrists. For how can they help but be antichrists, they who hold opinions opposite to those which the Church of Christ confesses?"

De Spir. Sanc. Enarrat. in Epist. i. S. Joannis p. 297.
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Council of Arles, (held in A.D. 314), one of a series of seven Catholic synods held at Arles, it condemned the heresy of Donatism. This is the first instance of an appeal of a Christian party to the secular power, and it turned out unfavorably to the Donatists who afterwards became enemies of the Roman authorities. The Council of Arles was the first called by Constantine.

In the synodal epistle of this council, which was held in A.D. 314, we have the following:

"Bound and adhering together to the Catholic Church by a common bond of love, and by the union of that Church our mother, we have, by the will of the most pious emperor, been gathered together in the city of Aries, whence we, with well-merited reverence, salute you, most illustrious pope (Silvester). Thither we have brought (or, there we have had to endure) men troublesome and pernicious to our law and tradition, and of an unbridled mind; whom both the present authority of our God, and the tradition and rule of truth, have in such wise repudiated, as that there remained not any thing to be said by them, nor any ground of accusation, nor any suitable proof. Wherefore God, and our mother the Church being the judge — she who both knows and approves her own — they were either condemned or repulsed. And would, most beloved brother, that you would have done us so much honor, as to be present at this so great a spectacle; we assuredly believe that a more severe sentence would have been pronounced against them; and, you judging together with us, our assembly would have exulted with greater joy."

Ep. Synod. Silvestro et al. col. 1425, t. ii. Ldbbe.
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St. Hilary of Poitiers, (A.D. 315-367), French; husband, theologian, bishop of Poiters around A.D. 355, and Doctor of the Church. Referred to as the "Hammer of the Arians" and the "Athanasius of the West.". He was obviously a firm supporter of St. Athanasius.

Explaining St. Matthew 13:1, he says:

"The reason why the Lord sat in the ship, and the crowds stood without, is derived from the things that lie under these circumstances. For He was about to speak in parables; and by this kind of action He signifies, that they who are placed without the Church, cannot attain to any understanding of the divine words. For the ship exhibits a type of the Church, the word of life placed and preached within which, they who are without, and lie near like barren and useless sands, cannot understand."

Comm. in Matthew c. xiii. n. 1, t. I, p. 374.
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St. Pacian of Barcelona, (A.D. c.310-375), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life. He is also remembered from a phrase from one of his letters: "My name is Christian, my surname is Catholic.".

The thirty-third section of the fourth Catechetical Instruction is headed, "Of the Holy Scriptures." Having made a remark against a heresy of long standing, he says,

"Learn also diligently, and from the Church, which are the books of the Old Testament, and which of the New, and read not to me anything of the uncertain books. For why shouldest thou, that knowest not those which are acknowledged by all, take useless trouble about those which are questioned? Read the divine Scriptures, those twenty-two books of the Old Testament which were interpreted by the seventy-two interpreters."

[Then follows a well-known account of that translation, which seems to assert a species of divine inspiration in its favor.]

"Read the twenty-two books of these men (or of these Scriptures), but have nothing to do with the uncertain books (non-canonical books). Those only meditate on earnestly, which we read confidently even in the church. Far wiser than thou, and more devout, were the Apostles and the ancient bishops, the rulers (presidents) of the Church, who have handed these down. Thou, therefore, who art a child of the Church, do not falsify what has been settled."

Catech. iv. n. 33,35, pp. 67, 68, ed. Bened. Venet. 1763.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 50-51

"But take thou and hold, as a learner, and in profession, that faith only which is now delivered to thee by the Church, and is fenced round out of all Scripture. For since all can not read the Scriptures, but some as being unlearned, others by business, are hindered from knowledge (of them), in order that the soul may not perish from want of instruction, we comprehend the whole doctrine of the faith in a few sentences. This I wish you to remember in the very phrase, and to rehearse it with all diligence amongst yourselves, not writing it on paper, but graving it by memory on your heart; being on your guard in your exercise, lest haply a catechumen should overhear the things delivered to you. This I wish you to have as a provision by the way during the whole period of life, and besides this never to receive any other."

Catech. v. n. 12
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 51

St. Gregory of Nazianzen, (A.D. 318-389), Cappadocian; archbishop, theologian, Doctor of the Church.

"Order has settled, even in the churches, that some be sheep and others shepherds; some the ruled and others the rulers; that this be as it were the head, this the foot, this the hand, this the eye, and this as some other member of the human body, for the perfect harmony and benefit of the whole, as well of the highest as of the lowest. And as, in our bodies, the members are not severed from each other, but the whole is one body composed of different members ... so is it with us who are the common body of Christ. For all we are one body in Christ, being individually members of Christ and of each other; for one in deed rules and is seated in honor, another is guided and governed, and the employment of both is not the same unless to rule and to be ruled be the same thing yet do they both become one unto one Christ, being built up and joined together by the same Spirit. . . . Let us revere this order, brethren; this let us guard. Let one be the ear, another the tongue, a third the hand, another some other member. Let one teach, another learn, another do good (working) with his own hands, that he may have wherewith to bestow on him that asks, and on the needy. Let not all of us be the tongue, nor all prophets, nor all apostles, nor all expounders. Is it an excellent thing to speak of God? More excellent is it to purify one's self unto God. To teach is excellent, but to learn is free from danger. Why doest thou make thyself a shepherd, though one of the flock? Being the foot, why wilt thou become the head? Why take upon thee to play the general, though enrolled amongst the common soldiers? Why pursue the great, but uncertain gains of the ocean, when, though thou mayest gain less, it is in thy power to till the earth?"

T. i. Or. xxvi. pp. 449, 450.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 56

"If these men (the Apollinarists), equally with those who hold rightly, are permitted to teach as they choose, and to promulgate in public their adopted dogmas, is it not manifest that the doctrine of the Church is thereby condemned, as if the truth were with those men? For it is not in nature that two contrary assertions, on the same subject, can both be true."

T. i. Or. 46, p. 722.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 56

St. Basil the Great, (A.D. 328-379), Cappadocian; bishop of Cæsarea in A.D. 369, theologian, monk. Studied in Palestine, Constantinople, and Athens. Many of the subsequent years of his life were spent in the deserts of Egypt and Libya. His character and works have gained for him the surname of "the great".

Is not the government of the Church clearly and indisputably the work of the Spirit; for He gave, He says, "first Apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers,"

Lib. de Sp. Sanct. c. xvi. t. iii. Pars i.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 57

"As for us, besides this open war of heretics, that, in addition, which has been raised by those who have the appearance of being orthodox, has reduced the churches to the last degree of weakness. For which reason we stand in special need of assistance from you (the bishops of the west), to the end that they who profess the apostolic faith, having done away with the schisms which they have invented, may henceforward be subjected to the authority of the Church; that the body of Christ may become perfect, restored to completeness in all its members; and that we may not only praise the good things found amongst others as we now do, but see our own churches also recover their pristine glory of orthodoxy. For what has been vouchsafed to your godliness by the Lord, is truly worthy of the most exalted praise; that you discriminate, that is, the adulterate from the approved and the pure, and openly teach, without subterfuge whatever, the faith of the fathers, which we also have received, and have recognized as marked with the apostolic characteristics."

T. iii. P. i. Ep. xcii. ad Ital. et Gall. p. 266
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St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

"Oh, the exceeding foolishness of man! — every pretext, be it however slight, has drawn aside from the truth every heresy, and led it into a multitude of evils. For like a man, who, having found a gap in the fence to the highway, makes up his mind to walk through it, and leaving the public road, he turns from it, thinking he has a shorter road, from which, after thus deviating, he shall again come upon the highway, but knows not that there is a very high wall which is built up for a long distance, and he then runs about unable to find an outlet, and passing on for a mile or two, there still remains a further distance, and yet he finds no road, and so, turn where he will, he has before him a greater length of journey; while toiling on thus, finding no path which may lead him to the right road, and perhaps unable even to find one without retracing his steps on that upon which he lately entered; so every heresy, though it has it in its power to find a short road, yet does it wander to and fro over one that is longer, and meets at once with an impregnable wall, the tortuous windings, to wit, of ignorance and of folly, and such cannot find a way to come upon the right road, except by returning to the main road, the king's highway that is. Even as the law of blessed Moses plainly proclaimed, saying to the king of Edom, "Thus saith thy brother Israel, Through thy boundaries will we pass unto the land which the Lord swore to give unto our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey. . . . We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left; we will drink water for silver , and eat our food for silver; we will not turn aside either here or there; we will go on the king's highway." (Numbers 20) For there is a king's highway, and that is the Church of God, and the path way of truth. But each of the heresies having left the king's highway, and turning aside to the right hand or to the left, then giving itself up unreservedly, is dragged forward into error, and the shamelessness of error knows no limits in every heresy. Come, then, ye servants of God, and children of the holy Church of God, ye who are acquainted with the safe rule, and are walking in the way of truth, and who are not dragged from side to side by words, and the summons of each false sect, for slippery are their ways. . . . They boast of great things, and know not the least: they proclaim liberty, though themselves the slaves of error."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (59), pp. 503, 504.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 61-62

"Even as we are the body of Christ, and members of member, and the Church of God, which is the body of Christ. If, then, the body of God, the Church, closely united (glued) to the Spirit, that is, to the Lord, is one spirit, he therefore that strays away from her, having fallen away from the Spirit, becomes carnal, both in soul and body."

T. i. Adv. Hæres. (66), p. 707.
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"The gates of Hell are in truth all the heresies, but they shall not prevail against the rock, against the truth that is. And although some of them should choose to say, "We also confess that faith that was laid down at Nicea: show me from it that the Holy Ghost is reckoned in the Godhead:" they will be found even from it refuted. There was at that time, however, no question concerning the Spirit. For synods create security on the point that falls under notice from time to time."

Adv. litres. Ct),pp. 903, 904.
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"Had no controversy been at first mooted on this subject, it was a very simple matter. For in what has this novelty benefited the world, or profited the Church? Rather has it not caused injury, having given birth to hatred and party-spirit? But as the doctrine sprang up it became formidable: for it was not to the better aiding us to our salvation: it is a denial of the faith, not merely not to confess on this head, but even in the smallest matter. For we ought not, even in the slightest particular, to deviate from the way of truth. Let us then argue against this position of theirs; desirous not to abandon our life, nor to desert the rule of the holy Church of God, and of the confession of faith. For never has this (opinion of theirs) been asserted by any of the ancients, whether prophet, or apostle, or evangelist, or by any of the expositors, even unto these days, never until this sophistical declaration came from this man of much learning."

Adv. Hæres. (77), p, 1018.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 63

"We have on the present occasion made these remarks in a cursory manner only, with the view that God-fearing men may know that whosoever chooses to transgress the boundaries of the holy Church of God, and to go beyond the hope of the tradition, both prophetic and apostolic, and of faith and doctrine, — he whose mind, on account of the brief and slight declaration of one statement, is turned aside to something trivial and ordinary, his understanding will thence forward be perverted to many empty assertions and treacherous conjectures, and unto absurd and strange questions and endless genealogies."

Adv. Hæres. (77), p. 1031.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 63-64

"We therefore acknowledge one Church . , . one baptism, one faith. And let these men cease to be against that holy virgin of Christ, and chaste spouse, to wit, the holy Church our mother; for her children have received from the holy fathers, that is, the holy Apostles, to guard the faith, and withal to transmit and preach it to their own children. Amongst whom, most honored brethren, ye also are those children, and transmit this same doctrine to your children. Teaching by word these things, and things like to them; cease not, faithful and orthodox men, to confirm from the divine writings yourselves and your hearers, instructing, guiding, catechizing; (cease not) to guard that holy faith of the Catholic Church, as the alone and holy virgin of God received it from the holy Apostles of the Lord. And not only ought you thus to announce to your children in the Lord to each one of the catechumens about to approach to the holy laver to believe; but you ought also to teach them to say, word by word, as that same mother of us all (teaches to say), "We believe in one God. ... [followed by the rest of the Creed.]" This is that faith transmitted by the Apostles, and in the Church, in that holy city, by all the holy bishops together, in number more than three hundred and ten."

T. ii. Ancor. n. 119, 120, pp. 122, 123.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 65-66

"From the midst of these sects, and after them in order of time, there shone forth the saving Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ — His appearance, that is, in the flesh and at the same time the doctrine of the Gospel, and the preaching of the kingdom; which is the alone source of salvation, and the true faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church; from which all the following, which have but the name of Christ, not the faith, have been cut off and separated.

[He then gives a summary of the heresies listed in his great work, and adds that to the account given of those heresies, he had appended a defensive statement]

In brief, of the orthodox faith and of truth — which is the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. This is the summary and index of the whole treatise against the eighty heresies, and of the one defensive statement relative to the truth, to wit, the one Catholic Church."

T. ii. Anaceph.pp. 127, 130.
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St. Gregory of Nyssa, (A.D. c.335 - c.394), bishop of Nyssa in A.D. 371, an erudite theologian who made significant contributions to the doctrine of the Trinity and the Nicene creed. Gregory's philosophical writings were influenced by Origen. He was the brother of the great St. Basil.

"This seems to me to teach us, that if, during the time of our education, we share in the instructions of those that are without (the pale of the Church), we are not to withdraw ourselves from the milk with which the Church feeds us, that is, both the laws and customs of the Church, wherewith the soul is fed and nurtured to manhood, and from which the soul takes occasion of mounting to what is lofty."

T. i. De Vita Mosis, p. 189, Paris. 1638.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 54-55

"Whoso looketh unto the Church, looketh at once unto Christ, who, through the increase of those who are saved, builds up and increases Himself."

T. i. in Cant. Cantic. Hom. xiii. p. 664.
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"The whole dispute and controversy about dogma, between churchmen and Eunomians [a group of extreme Arians], is, whether we ought to account, as our adversaries assert, the Son and the Spirit, creatures, or, as the Church has believed, of a nature uncreated."

T. ii. l. 1, Contr. Eunom. p. 350 and 386.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 55

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

"The synagogue loved, the Church loves, and never varies in her affection for Christ. "Where feedest Thou?" she says, "Where do you abide in the mid-day?" (Canticle 1:6) I desire to follow Thee as a nurse, who before held Thee as if linked to Thee, and to seek Thy flocks, because I have lost mine. Thou feedest in the mid-day, that is, there where the Church is, where justice shines, and judgment glows as the mid-day sun; where no shadow is seen; where the days are longer, because the sun of justice lingers longer with them, as though in the summer months."

Hexcaem. L. iv. c. 6, n. 22, t. i. p. 71.
See also Hexcaem. L. vi. c. 8, n. 49, p. 132, E.F.
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"Zabulon, it is said, shall dwell near the sea, (Genesis 49:13), that, himself exempt from danger, he may see the shipwrecks of others, and behold others tossed about in the sea of this world, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, whilst he perseveres immovable in (or, by) the root of faith, as is the thrice-hallowed Church rooted and founded in faith, looking on the storm-tossed heretics, and the shipwrecked Jews, because they have repudiated their former pilot. By the waves therefore is her dwelling-place, but by the waves she is not shaken, prepared rather to afford help, than herself obnoxious to danger: so that if there be any who, driven by the fierce tempests, wish to flee to harbor, the Church, as a harbor of safety, may be at hand, and with outstretched arms, invite the imperiled unto her bosom of rest, showing them a place that is a safe haven. The churches, therefore, are in this world placed for the endangered, like maritime harbors scattered along the coast; proclaiming that a place of refuge has been prepared for believers, whither they may withdraw their storm-tossed vessels."

T. i. De Bened. Patr. c. 5, n. 27, p. 521.
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"How should the traveler walk in the dark? His foot soon stumbles in the night, unless the moon, as it were the eye of the world, show the way. Thou also art in the night of the world; let the Church point out the way to thee; let the sun of justice enlighten thee from on high, in order that thou mayest not fear a fall."

T. i. Enarr. in Ps. xxxv. n. 27, p 776.
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"Thou hast wounded my heart with one of thy eyes" (Canticle 4:9) "Most persons understand by this passage the two eyes of the Church; one that sees things mystical, the other things moral; because the holy Church not only holds the knowledge (discipline) of things moral, but also teaches the secrets of the heavenly mystery."

T. i. Enarr. in Ps. cxviii. (Ain) n. 20, p. 1176.
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"Wherefore all other generations are strangers to truth; all the generations of heretics hold not truth: the Church alone, with pious affection, is in possession of the truth."

T. i. in Ps. cxviii. (Lamed) n. 19 p. 1119 and (Tau) n. 33, p. 1255.
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"If by the finger of God devils are cast out, faith likewise by the finger of the Church is discovered."

T. i. Comm. in Luc. L. v. p. 1378
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"To Moses the Lord said, "The place whereon thou standest is holy ground" (Exodus 3), and, "Stand thou here with me" (Deuteronomy 5), that is, thou standest with me, if thou standest in the Church. For that is the holy place; that is the land fruitful in holiness, and rich in harvests of virtues. Stand, therefore, in the Church; stand where I have appeared to thee; there I am with thee. Where the Church is, there is the most secure resting-place (or harbor) for thy mind."

3 T. ii. Ep. lxiii. Eccles. Vercell. n. 41, 42, p. 1032.
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"When didst thou hear, O emperor, of bishops being judged, in a cause regarding faith, by laymen? Are we then so bowed down by a kind of flattery as to be heedless of the sacerdotal right, and shall I fancy that what God bestowed on me, that I may entrust to others? If a bishop is to be taught by a layman, what will follow? Let then the layman argue and the bishop hearken; let the bishop learn from the layman. But, assuredly, whether we look into the series of divine Scriptures, or into the ancient times, who is there that will deny that in a cause regarding faith, in a cause, I repeat, regarding faith, that bishops have been accustomed to judge of Christian emperors, not emperors of bishops? With the blessing of God, you will become of riper years, and then will you have your own opinion, what sort of bishop that is who will fling the sacerdotal right under the feet of laymen. Your father, who was, by God's blessing, of riper years, said, "It belongs not to me to judge between bishops"; and now your clemency says, "It is my place to judge."

T. ii. Ep. xxi. Valentin, n. 45, pp. 860, 861.
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St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

"My resolution is, to read the ancients, to try everything, to hold fast what is good, and not to recede from the faith of the Catholic Church."

T. i. Ep. ad Minerv. et Alexand. n. xi. col. 810.
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"I might spend the day in such argumentation, and drain utterly dry all the streamlets of their assertions by the sun alone of the Church. But as we have already discoursed at much length, and the prolixness of the dispute has wearied the attention of the hearers, I will lay before you a brief and plain sentiment of my mind, — that we are to abide in that Church, which, founded by the Apostles, endures even unto this day."

T. ii. adv. Luciferi. n. 27, col. 201. For continuation, see " Apostolicity
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 72-73

Commenting on Isaiah 26:18:

"They shall not fall who have their abode in the universe, and their resting-place in the Church, which is the abode of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost."

T. iv. Lib. viii. Comm. in Is. col. 356.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 73

"Look upon Sion, the city of our solemnity (Isaiah 33:20), behold the Church of Christ, wherein there is a true solemnity: Thine eyes shall see a vision of peace, and unhoped-for treasures, which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of man, and a tabernacle that cannot be removed. For the former tabernacle which the Jewish people had was removed, and taken away; neither shall the nails thereof be moved forever, and all the cords thereof shall he firm; so that the Lord shall dwell therein; a place of all the rivers and flowing streams through which none of the adverse party shall be able to sail, nor the great Galley, which signifies the Devil, shall be able to pass through it, because the Lord Himself is our judge, and Prince, and King, and Saviour, and under His protection we shall not fear the snares of any one."

T. iv. L. x. col. 439, 440.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 73

"There stands one in the midst of you whom you know not; and He will dwell there not for a short time, as in the synagogue, but forever, as is verified in the Church of Christ."

T. v. L. xiii. Comm. in Ezech. col. 523.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 73

"About this corn and wine (the Eucharist) heretics are torn in pieces, and build unto themselves divers tabernacles; or in fact they are cut off from the body of the Church, and affect to meditate and to muse on the law of the Lord. But doing this they withdraw from the Lord who taught them in the Church, and gave them strength to fight against the enemy. But they have thought evil against the Lord, raising up most impious heresies, and have retrograded unto the condition of the Gentiles, so as to be without the knowledge and the yoke of God; or they have reverted to nothingness; not that they have ceased to be, ... but that all who are wise against the Lord, are said not to be. . . . For if God is truth, whatsoever is opposed to the truth is a lie, and is called nothingness. This suits heretics, who, taught out of the Holy Scriptures, turn the words of the Law and the Prophets and the Gospel against the Lord."

T. vi. L. ii. Comm. in Osee, col. 80.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, page 73-74

"As lightning comes out of the east, and appears even into the west," — (Matthew 24:27) Go ye not out. Believe not that the Son of Man is either in the desert of the Gentiles, or in the secret chambers of the heretics but that from the East even to the West His faith shines in the Catholic churches."

T. vii. L. iv. Comm. in Matt. 196, 197.
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"And lo! I am with you always, even unto the consummation of the world. He that promises that He will be with the Disciples unto the consummation of the world, both shows that they were to live forever, and that Himself would not withdraw from believers."

T. vii. L. iv. Comm. in Matt, col. 244
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St. John Chrysostom, (A.D. 344 - 407), Syrian; archbishop, Doctor of the Church. Born at Antioch in 344; he was ordained priest in A.D. 383, and raised to the see of Constantinople in the year A.D. 398. His eloquence gained him the title of Chrysostom, or the mouth of gold. His expositions of Scripture, especially the Epistles of St. Paul, are very valuable. This illustrious prelate died on his road to exile, in A.D. 407.

Expounding on Matthew 25 he says,

What, then, did He say, when He beheld them? "All power is given to me in Heaven and on earth." Again, does He address them as men; for as yet they had not received that Spirit which had power to make them elevated: "Going teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." His commands are concerning both dogmas and precepts. . . . Then, whereas he had commanded them great things, raising up their minds, He says, "Lo, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." Seest thou His authority? Seest thou also how, for condescension's sake, He spoke these things? Not with them only did He say He would be, but also with all those who shall believe after them. For truly the Apostles were not going to remain until the consummation of the world; but He addresses Himself to the believers as one body. For tell me not, He says, of the difficulty of these things, for "I am with you;" I, making all things easy. The same also He had frequently said to the prophets in the old law: both to Jeremias, when putting forward his youth, and to Moses and Ezechiel when they drew back; "I," He said, "am with you." That same thing He says to these men.

T. vii. Hom. 90, in Matt, in loco, n. 2, p. 950.
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St. Gaudentius of Brescia, (unknown - A.D. 410), Italian; became bishop around A.D. 387, theologian and author of many letters and sermons, held in high esteem by the people of Brescia.

"Neither did the Father, as we have already said, leave the Son, who was sent; neither, as is proved, was the Holy Ghost, who was to be sent to the Apostles, ever absent from the Father and the Son; yet so, that the Son of God only was incarnate: for the Word was made flesh, as we read, and not the Father, not the Spirit. But in what manner the Son of God accomplished this mystery of the Incarnation, without injury to the unity of the Trinity, Omnipotence itself is the witness; seeing that the same Son of God in such wise ascended into Heaven with the body of man which He had taken on Him, as to continue even unto the end of the world with His disciples. For, "Behold I am, says He, with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28) Even to the consummation of the world", He says, "I am with you"; not only with the Apostles, but with the disciples, to wit, with all believers."

Tr. xiv. De Promiss. Paracl, p. 966, t. v. Bibl. Max. PP.
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St. Paulinus of Nola, (A.D. 353-431), Roman; convert and bishop Of Nola, Born at Bordeaux he was ordained priest in 393, and was appointed bishop of Nola in 409; may have been indirectly responsible for Augustine's Confessions. One who knew St. Paulinus well says he was "meek as Moses, as priestly as Aaron, innocent as Samuel, tender as David, wise as Solomon, apostolic as Peter, loving as John, cautious as Thomas, brilliant as Stephen, fervent as Apollos."

Let Him kiss me with the kiss of His mouth. (Canticles 1)

"This privilege Catholic love alone has a right to claim for itself; she, that is the alone one, and the perfect one to her one bridegroom (Canticles 6:8), takes the kisses of truth from the Word Himself, that she may not be defiled by the venom of heretical deceitfulness, as though by incestuous kisses from a stranger's lips."

Ep. iv. ad Severum, p. 177. T. vi. Bib. Max. SS. PP.
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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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