Editor’s Pick: I Believe in One ChurchAugust 9, 2012 1 Comment
August 9, 2012 / MariaNews.com
I Believe in One Church
By Deacon Antonio Sandoval
When we proclaim that the Church is one, we mean that there is unity in the Church. There is unity in its government, in its doctrines, and in its liturgy.
It is common sense and common knowledge that a ship has only one captain. The Bark of Peter is no exception. We have only one Pope at any one time. The rest of us sailing in the Bark of Peter across the stormy seas of time give our allegiance to our Captain and his crew, (the Magisterium), because we recall that Jesus said to our first Captain, Peter, “You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16: 18-19).
No matter how ferocious the storms that assail the Bark of Peter may be, we will not abandon ship, because our Captain has the guarantee, from Jesus himself, that, not even the netherworld will prevail against the Bark of Peter. Our Captain and his crew also have the keys, (the doctrines), to reach the Heavenly Kingdom, which is the port that all of us who have boarded the Bark of Peter want to reach.
The doctrines of the Church are the same regardless of where you live in the world. There is only one catechism for the Universal Church. The doctrines of the Church cannot be changed by popular opinion, nor do they lose their veracity with time. They never go out of style. Their validity is not affected by whether individual Catholics follow them or not. Their origin is in Divine Revelation as interpreted by the Magisterium. This is the way it has been since the time of the Apostles. The truth they contain is immutable.
It should be noted that, in addition to doctrines, the Church also has disciplines, such as rules for fasting and abstinence. Disciplines can be changed by the Church. Priestly celibacy is also a discipline. When a married Anglican priest who converts to Catholicism is accepted by his bishop for ordination as a Catholic priest, he is allowed to remain married.
There is also unity in the Liturgy. The rituals used in the administration of the Sacraments are the same all over the world. Although the rituals are celebrated in different languages, an effort is made to make sure that they convey the same meaning.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 1345, there is a description of the Mass as it was celebrated around the year 155. The weekly liturgy was celebrated on Sunday, as we do today, when all Catholics are expected to attend. The liturgy of the word consisted of the “memoirs of the apostles”, (the books of the New Testament had not been canonized at that time), and the writings of the prophets. (Today we say that the liturgy of the word consists of New Testament and Old Testament readings). After the readings there was a homily. After the homily they had the prayers of the faithful. After the prayers of the faithful they had the “exchange of the kiss” (We now call it the sign of peace and have it after the Lord’s Prayer before Communion). They had the presentation of the gifts, bread and a cup of water mixed with wine. Then they had what we now call the Eucharistic prayers. After these prayers, the deacons distributed to those present the “eucharisted” bread and wine mixed with water, the Body and Blood of Christ, and also took them to those who were absent. In its essential parts, the Mass hasn’t changed.
The unity of the Church in the present and with its past gives us the confidence that we are in the Church that Jesus Christ established. It also gives us the responsibility to preserve its doctrinal and liturgical purity intact, so that future generations will also enjoy the blessings that we enjoy. We are One Church that spans all dimensions of time, and even bridges the abyss between time and eternity.
Read more by Deacon Antonio here
Antonio is a retired deacon in the Archdiocese of Denver. Last September his wife, Maud, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of cancer. They were told that she didn’t have long to live. Since she is 83 years old, they decided to refuse the chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Last October they were sent to Hospice. They have now been there for 8 months. Antonio’s wife is not experiencing the symptoms of multiple myeloma other than the fact that she cannot move and has to stay in bed all the time. She is also in the last stages of Alzheimer’s disease. You prayers will be appreciated. Antonio spends the entire day with his wife.
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