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 The One True Church 
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New post The One True Church
I think that this useful work, which is a stand alone chapter in The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church is a must read for Catholics living today. It is written in a very comprehensible and simple Q and A format, covering important Catholic teachings on the Church, authorized clergy, the powers of the hierarchy to teach and govern the Church, the Papacy, the infallibillity of the Pope, and the teaching of the Church on "Outside the Church there is no salvation." The following is an exact reproduction of the text, all emphasis in the original.

At the end is biographical information about Rev. McGovern, and a letter from Francis Cardinal Satolli, Prefect of the Congregation of Studies, giving his warm approval of the book.

The One True Church



What is the Church of Christ?
It is the congregation or society of all the true followers of Jesus Christ throughout the whole world united together in one body, under one head; for “we being many,” says St. Paul, “are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another,” Rom. xii.5. “And there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd,” John x. 16.

In what are all the members of the church united together, so as to compose one body in Christ?
First, In one and the same faith, believing and teaching all those divine truths, which Jesus Christ revealed, and his apostles taught, and no other; for there is “but one Lord, one faith, one baptism,” Eph. Iv. 5.; and of the church, in the time of the apostles, it is said, that “they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles,” Acts ii. 42.

Second, in the participation of those sacraments which Jesus Christ ordained for the sanctification of our souls; thus, St. Paul, speaking of the sacrament of baptism, says, “In one spirit were we all baptized into one body,” 1 Cor. xii. 13., and of the holy eucharist he says, “Because the bread is one, all we, being many, are one body, who partake of that one bread,” 1 Cor. x. 17.

Third, In being all governed by one head, and by pastors under him, ordained and authorized by Jesus Christ; for he himself declares that all who belong to him “shall be one fold, and one Shepherd,” John x. 16. – And St. Paul assures us, that all the different orders of pastors, apostles, evangelists, and teachers, were ordained by Jesus Christ himself, “for edifying the body of Christ,” Eph. iv.; that is, for building up and preserving the church in one body.

Q. Of whom is the Church composed?
A. Of pastors teaching, and the people who are taught.

Q. Who are the pastors of the Church?
A. The successors of the Apostles, ordained and authorized by Jesus Christ to teach the people the truths of salvation and to rule the Church.

Q. How to you prove that Jesus Christ authorized the pastors to teach the people?
A. From his own commission to them, laid down in several places of the holy scripture, as follows: First, He declares, that he himself was sent by God his Father, to preach the gospel, Luke iv. 18.; and he says to his apostles, “As my Father has sent me, I also send you,” John xx. 21.

Second, He revealed to his apostles all divine truths: “All things,” says he to them, “whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you,” John xv. 15. And before he left the world, he gave them commission to teach the same to all nations; “Go ye,” says he, “unto the whole world, and preach the Gospel to every creature,” Mark xvi. 15; and again, “Go ye therefore and teach all nations – teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Matth. Xxviii. 19.


Q. Was this commission of teaching to continue with the successors of the Apostles?
A. It was; First, When Christ gave the apostles this commission “to teach all nations,” he immediately added, “And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world,” Matth. xxviii. 20. As the apostles neither did, nor could teach all nations in their own persons, nor were to continue upon earth until the end of the world, it is manifest that this commission was not confined to their own persons, but given to their office, that is, to them and their successors in office, who shall continue to the end of the world, and complete the work of teaching all nations, which the apostles began.

Second, St. Paul was not one of those to whom the above commission was given personally, and yet he declares of himself, “I am appointed a preacher and an apostle, (I say the truth, I lie not,) a doctor of the Gentiles, in faith and truth,” 2 Tim. Ii. 7.; and “that Christ sent me to preach the gospel,” 1 Cor. i. 17.

Third, St. Timothy was ordained by St. Paul to be a pastor of the church, and a successor of the apostles, and St. Paul conjures him faithfully to discharge this duty of teaching: “I charge thee before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom, preach the word, be instant in season, out of season, reprove, entreat, rebuke, with all patience and doctrine.” 2 Tim iv.

Fourth, He also orders the same Timothy to appoint others to succeed him in the same office of teaching; “The things,” says he, “which thou has heard of me, before many witnesses, the same commend to faithful men, who shall be fit to teach others also,” 2 Tim. ii. 2.

Q. In what light do the scriptures represent us the pastors of the church?
A. First, As the ambassadors of Christ, sent by him to declare to us his will, and reconcile us with God. “For Christ, therefore,” says St. Paul, “we are ambassadors, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be reconciled to God,” 2 Cor. v. 20.

Second, As the organs of Christ by whom he speaks to us, “He that hears you,” says Christ, “hears me, and he that despises you despises me,” Luke x. 16.

Third, As the angels of God, from whom we are to know his law; for “the lips of the priest shall keep knowledge, and they shall seek the law at his mouth, because he is the Angel of the Lord of hosts,” Mal. ii. 7. “I preached the gospel to you heretofore,” says St. Paul, “and you received me as the Angel of God, even as Christ Jesus,” Gal. iv. 13. Great indeed, is this dignity: but woe to those priests who vilify it by their conduct!

Q. Are we obliged to hear the pastors of the Church, and to receive the doctrine of our faith from them?
A. Nothing is more strongly or more clearly expressed in scripture, than this obligation: First, The pastors are expressly authorized by Christ to teach us; consequently, we are obliged to be taught by them.

Second, They are instituted by Jesus Christ, on purpose to keep us all in the unity of faith; consequently we are obliged to receive our faith from them.

Third, When Christ gave the commission of teaching to the pastors of his Church, he immediately adds, “He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned, “ Mark xvi. 16; consequently, we are obliged by Jesus Christ himself to believe what the pastors of his Church teach, under pain of damnation.

Fourth, He further declares to the pastors of his Church, “He that hears you hears me, and he that despises you despises me, and he that despises me despises him that sent me,” Luke x. 16.

Fifth, Lastly, he condemns those that “will not hear his Church as heathens and publicans,” Matth. xviii. 17.; that is, as “worshippers of the devil,” for such, were the heathens; and “as people abandoned by God,” and given up “to a reprobate sense,” for such publicans were reputed among the Jews.

Sixth, the Holy Ghost gives the same command to all by the mouth of St. Paul: “Remember your prelates, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow – and be not led away by various or strange doctrines,” Heb. xiii, 7, 9. And

Seventh, St. John, speaking of himself, and the other pastors in his time, gives our submission to them as the sign to distinguish the spirit of truth from the spirit of error, and of our belonging to God: “We are of God,” says He; “he that knoweth God heareth us, he that is not of God heareth not us; in this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error,” 1 Jo. iv. 6.

Q. What are we to think of any doctrine which is contrary to what the Church teaches?
A. As we are undoubtedly assured that Jesus Christ will never permit his Church to fall into error, or teach false doctrine, but will continue to preserve the sacred truths which he revealed to her, and put into her mouth, at the beginning, unchanged and uncorrupted to the end of the world; so it is evident that the doctrine which the Church teaches is infallibly true; consequently, and doctrine which is contrary to this must necessarily be a false doctrine; and if false it cannot be from God, for God is truth, and cannot deny himself, by speaking contrary to the truth.

Q. From whom then does all false doctrine come?
A. Our blessed Savior says to the Jews who oppose his doctrine, “You are of your father the devil – he abode not in truth, because truth is not in him – for he is a liar, and the father thereof,” Jo. viii, 44. St. Paul also assures us, that, “in the last times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrine of devils, speaking lies in hypocrisy,” 1 Tim. iv. 1.; and St. James says, “Be not liars against the truth; for this is not wisdom, descending from above, but earthly, sensual, devilish,” Ja. Iii. 14, 15.


Q. What other powers belong to the pastors of the Church besides that of teaching?
A. They are also commissioned and authorized by Jesus Christ to rule and govern the church, and have received from him all the spiritual powers of the priesthood for this purpose.

Q. How is it proved that the pastors are authorized by Jesus Christ to rule the Church?
A. From the words of St. Paul, who, speaking to the chief pastors of the Church at Ephesus, says, “Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed your bishops, to rule the Church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood,” Acts xx. 28.

Q. In what does this power of ruling the Church consist?
A. It includes the whole of their authority, and is described by St. Paul, Ephes. iv. 12, under three heads; when he declares, that the different orders of pastors were instituted by Jesus Christ, First, “For the perfecting the saints;” that is, for conducting souls in the road of Christian perfection, by prescribing such rules to them, and giving them such advices as are necessary or conducive to that end.

Second, “For the work of ministry;” that is, for the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments.

Third, “For the edifying of the body of Christ;” that is, for regulating all the exterior of religion, by prescribing such rules and ordinances as they judge necessary for the decent performance of all the outward service of the Church, for preventing or punishing all scandals, and for keeping the Christian people in virtuous discipline; so that every thing may contribute to give edification to the whole body, and to promote the honour ot God in his Church.

Q. For what end did Christ give such powers to the pastors of the Church?
A. St. Paul goes on, in the same place to tell us, that all this was done by Christ. First, to bring “all to the unity of the faith.”

Second, To enable us all “to become perfect men.” And,

Third, “To prevent our being tossed to and fro like children, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they like in wait to deceive,” Ephes. iv. 13, 14.

Q. Are the people obliged in conscience to obey the commands of the pastors of the Church in things concerning religion, and subjected to their authority?
A. They are; for St. Paul says expressly, “Let every soul be subjected to higher powers: for there is no power but from God, and those that are ordained of God. Therefore, he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation,” Rom. xiii. 1. If this be the case with all lawful powers, though they be immediately of human institution, and may be changed and altered by man, both as to their form, and the extent of their authority; how much more must it be with regards to the pastors of Christ’s Church, whose power is immediately from Christ himself, instituted expressly by him, and which can be altered by no other whatsoever?

Second, Jesus Christ himself says to the pastors of his Church, in the persons of his apostles, “He that hears you hears me, and he that despises you despises me,” Luke x. 16.

Third, He declares the greatness of the sin of disobeying his church in these strong terms: “He that will not hear the church, let him be to thee as a heathen and a publican,” Matth. xviii. 17.

Fourth, St. Paul “went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches;” and the means he used to confirm them was, by “commanding them to keep the precepts of the apostles and the ancients,” Acts xv. 41.

Fifth, He expressly requires this obedience and subjection to our pastors, when he says, “Obey your prelates, and be subject to them, for they watch, as being to render an account of your souls,” Heb. xiii. 17.


Q. Who is the chief pastor, or head of the Church?
A. Jesus Christ is the invisible supreme head of the church; for God “hath put all things under his feet, and hath made him head over all the church, which is his body,” Eph. i. 22; and therefore he assures us, that he is “with her all days, even to the consummation of the world,” and that he animates her by his holy spirit, “the spirit of truth, who abides with her forever;” and by this means he communicates to her, and to all her members, the heavenly influence of grace and charity, to preserve them in life, and enable them to bring forth fruit, as the vine communicates the nourishment to the branches, Jo. xv.; for “the charity of God is poured abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us,” Rom. v. 5.

But, though Christ be thus the invisible head of the church himself, yet he has also been pleased to appoint another under him to be his vice regent upon earth, the chief pastor among men, and the visible head of his church.

Q. Whom did Christ appoint for this high office?
A. St. Peter the apostle, and his successors after him.

Q. How does it appear from scripture that Christ made him the visible head of the Church?
A. From these following testimonies, among many others: First, Christ gave him the name of Peter, which signifies a Rock; and declared, that upon him, as “a rock, he would build his church;” Matth. xvi. 18.

Second, Christ gave to him a particular, and to none of the other apostles, “the key of the kingdom of heaven,” Matth. xvi. 19. The power of the keys is the ensign of supreme power and authority, according to that of the prophet, “I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulders, and he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open,” Is. xxii. 22. This was prophesied of Christ himself, who also says on this subject, “Thus saith the Holy One, and the True One, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth and no man shutteth; shutteth and no man openeth,” Rev. iii. 7.; consequently by saying to St. Peter, “to thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” he manifestly communicates to him this supreme power, as to his vice-regent on earth.

Third, After his resurrection, he gave him the formal commission to feed his whole flock, in these express words, “Feed my lambs; feed my sheep,” John xxi.; by which he constituted him the chief pastor of his fold, of which he said before, “There shall be one fold and one shepherd,” Jo. x. 16.

Fourth, when Satan sought to have the apostles in his power, “that he might sift them as wheat,” Christ prayed only for St. Peter, “that his faith should not fail,” and left him as head of the whole, “to confirm his brethren.”

Fifth, In the lists of the apostles given in the gospel, St. Peter is always named first in order, and the rest are named sometimes in one order, sometimes in another; yet it is certain St. Peter was not first called to Christ, for his brother Andrew was called before him, and introduced him to Christ.

Sixth, St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke, in their list of the apostles, take particular notice of the name of Peter, which Christ gave him, for his own name was Simeon, which indicates the particular privilege annexed to that name; and therefore St. Matthew expressly calls him the first.

Seventh, St. Peter acted in his supreme capacity as head of the church, both when he called the brethren to deliberate about choosing one in the place of Judas, Acts i. and also when he gave the definitive sentence in the council of Jerusalem, after “there had been much disputing,” Acts xv. 7.; but when he had spoken, all “the multitude held their peace,” verse 12; and submitted to his decision,, as did also St. James, who assented to, and confirmed what he had said.

Eighth, the writers of Christianity, and holy fathers in every age, have always attested it as a truth revealed by God, that Jesus Christ did constitute St. Peter prince of the apostles, and visible head of his church.

Ninth, It is an undoubted fact, that his successors have always claimed this supreme authority, and have exercised it throughout the whole church, as occasion required, in every age, from the very beginning.

Considering the nature of man it is evidently impossible that any one bishop of the church should have acquired such authority over all the rest, even in the most different nations, and the most distant kingdoms, or that he could have exercised it every where among them, if it had not been given him from the beginning, and ordained by Jesus Christ.

Q. Why did Christ institute one visible head of his church upon earth?
A. Because, as the Church is a visible body, or society of men, it was most becoming they should have a visible supreme head among them, like to the members of whom the body is composed. Besides, as the Church was ordained to be spread over all nations, differing from one another in language, customs, government, and every thing else, except religion, it would have been morally impossible to have kept them all united in one body, if there were not one common visible head or supreme authority among them, to which all must submit. So that this head of the Church is the centre of unity, by which the Church of Christ, throughout the whole world, is joined in one body.

Q. Who are the successors of St. Peter as head of the Church?
A. The bishops of the city of Rome of which St. Peter was the first bishop, and suffered martyrdom in that city for the faith of Christ, leaving his successors there the heirs of all his power and authority.

Q. Wherein consists the power of the bishop of Rome, as head of the Church?
A. As he is appointed by Jesus Christ to be the supreme head and pastor of the Church under him, to be the spiritual father and teacher of all Christians, with full power to feed and govern the whole flock; therefore he is the supreme judge and lawgiver, in all things relating to religion, whether as to faith, manners, or discipline. The primacy both of honor and jurisdiction, over all the other bishops, belong to him; and all the members of the Church are obliged to pay the greatest respect, veneration, and obedience to his decrees and orders in all things belonging to religion.

Q. How is the head of the Church commonly called?
A. He is called the Pope, which word signifies Father, and is given to the head of the Church; because, being the vicar of Jesus Christ, he is the common spiritual father of all Christians.

Q. As the power of teaching resides in the pastors of the Church, does the infallibility of the Church preserving the true doctrine, reside only in them?
A. The promises of infallibility, in preserving the true doctrine of Jesus Christ, are of two sorts. Some are made to the Church in general, such as these, “I will build my Church upon a rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her. My words which I have put in his (the Redeemer’s) mouth, shall not depart out of his mouth, nor out of the mouth of his seed, from henceforth and for ever.” The Church is the pillar and ground of truth. By these promises infallibility is secured to the whole church, pastors and people; so that they shall never cease to believe and profess the true faith of Jesus Christ.

But the people are commanded to receive the faith from their pastors, and to believe what they teach; so that the faith of the people depends upon the teaching of the pastors; therefore the second class of promises are made to the pastors in particular; for to the pastors, in the persons of the apostles, our Savior said “Behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world; the Father will send you the Spirit of Truth, to abide with you for ever, and teach you all the truth.” Thus both pastors and people are assured that Jesus Christ, and his holy spirit, will always remain with the pastors of his Church, and so assist them by the continual protection of his overruling providence, in the great work of teaching the people, that they shall never alter nor corrupt the true doctrine of Christ, but teach it whole and undefiled, to the end of time.

Q. In whom does the infallibility properly reside?
A. In the body of the pastors, joined with their head. First, When the pastors of the Church are called together by the chief pastor, in a general council to decide any thing about religion, whether regarding faith or morals, they are then infallible in their decisions, and their decrees are considered dictated by the Holy Ghost, according to the example of the apostles, in their council at Jerusalem, who begin their decree with these words, “It hath seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us,” Acts xv.

Second, When the head of the Church, without calling together the other pastors, publishes any decree concerning faith or morals, and this decree is accepted and received by the body of the pastors, either expressly or tacitly, it then becomes a decree of the whole Church, and of the same infallible authority, as if it had been made in a general council.


Q. When the head of the Church publishes any decree concerning faith or morals, to which he requires submission to all the faithful, is he himself infallible in what he teaches?
A. Yes, the head of the Church is infallible in what he teaches.

Q. What proofs are there in favor of this infallibility?
A. The proofs are taken from scripture, tradition, and reason.

Q. What proofs do they bring from scripture?
A. The following: First: This privilege of the particular direction and assistance of God, in teaching true doctrine, was given to the high priest in the old law; and the synagogue being only a figure of the law of grace, and of the Church of Christ, the same privilege must certainly be given to the high priest of the Church also; otherwise the figure would have been more perfect than the thing figured, the shadow more privileged than the substance. As the high priests were so privileged in the old law, appears from this, that the people were commanded, in all their disputes about religion, to have recourse to them as the supreme judges; and God assured them, that they should declare “to the people, the truth of the judgment,” and commanded them “to do whatsoever they shall say, that preside in the place which the Lord shall choose, and what they shall teach, according to his law, and to follow their sentence; and not to decline to the right hand nor to the left; “and then concludes, “But he that will be proud, and refuse to obey the commandment of the priest, who ministereth at that time to the Lord thy God, and the decree of the judge, that man shall die, and thou shalt take away the evil from Israel. And all the people hearing it shall fear, that no one swell with pride,” Deut. xxii. 8.

Second, Jesus Christ said to St. Peter whom he constituted the head of his Church, “Thou art Peter, (that is, a rock,) and upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her,” Matth. xvi. 18. From this text as we have seen above, the infallibility of the Church, in always teaching the true faith, is most solidly proved; and the grounds of this proof is given by Christ himself, when he says that the firmness and stability of the wise man’s house, against all storms and tempests, winds and rain, was precisely owing to this; “for it was founded on a rock,” Matth. vii. 25.; that is, on a solid and immovable foundation. Seeing then that St. Peter, as head of the Church, is the rock, under Christ, on which she is built, and seeing that she is therefore infallible, because built on a rock, it necessarily follows that the foundation itself must be infallible also.

Third, Our Lord said also to St. Peter, “Simeon, Simeon, behold Satan hath declared to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; but I have prayed for thee, that they faith fail not, and thou, being converted, confirm thy brethren,” Luke xxii. 32. Here our Savior shows the rage of Satan against all his followers; but, to disappoint him, Christ prayed for St. Peter in particular, that is faith should not fail, and then commissions him, as the head, to confirm all the rest. When our Savior prayed to his Father to raise Lazarus from the dead, he said, “Father, I give thee thanks that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always,” John xi. 41. If, therefore, the prayer of Christ was always heard by his Father, the above prayer, that the faith of St. Peter should not fail, was without doubt heard also. Whence it follows, that St. Peter, as head of the Church, and consequently his successors in office, shall never fail in faith, nor teach false doctrine. Our Savior, in the very text itself, shows that this very prayer for Peter was heard by his Father; “I have prayed for thee,” says he, “you have nothing to fear.” In consequence of my prayer, you shall be confirmed in the faith, and when you are so, “strengthen your brethren,” and “confirm them also.” This very commission of confirming others necessarily presupposes that the prayer of Christ was heard, by which Peter was confirmed in the faith himself.

The subsequent fall of Peter, in denying his master that very night, does not in any degree weaken this argument, but rather corroborates it; it shows that this promise of our Savior, that Peter’s faith should not fail, was made to him, not as a private person, but as the head of the Church; and, therefore, to stand firm in all his successors; and, like all the other promises made to the Church itself, it was not to take place till the coming of the Holy Ghost, who was sent on purpose to establish the Church, and fulfill all the promises Christ made to her, and for that end to “abide with her forever.”

Q. What proofs of the infallibility of the head of the church do they bring from tradition?
A. From the testimonies of holy fathers, from the very earliest ages, which shows that this was the belief of the Church in their days. Thus Origen, a celebrated writer in the third age, explaining the text, “Thou are Peter,” &c. says, “It is true, though not said expressly, that neither against Peter, nor against the Church, shall the gates of hell ever be able to prevail; for if they could prevail against Peter, in whom the church is founded, they would also prevail against he Church.” St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, in the second age, confutes all heresies, and all false doctrine, from the authority of the Holy See alone; “By declaring,” says he, “the tradition and faith of that church which she received from the apostles, and has handed down to our days,” Adv. Her. 1. 3. cap. 5. And then adds, “To this Church all must have recourse; for in her the apostolical tradition is preserved.” So St. Cyril, Patriarch of Alexandria, from the text, “Thou are Peter,” concludes thus: “According to this promise the apostolical Church of Peter remains immaculate, free from all seduction and heretical circumvention.” Great numbers of others are omitted for brevity’s sake. Only we must add St. Augustine, who, when the Palegian heresy was condemned by the Pope, says, “The answer of Rome is come; the cause is ended,” Serm. 3. de Verb. Apost.

Q. What proofs are brought from reason?
A. The proofs from reason are founded on facts, and on principles received by all members of the Church as divine truths; First, There never was an instance of any Pope who proposed any doctrine to be believed by the Church, that was contrary to the sacred rules of faith revealed by Christ; for though there have been a few, and only a few popes that were bad men in their own practice; yet the most inveterate adversaries of the catholic faith could never yet show that any pope ever taught bad doctrine.

Second, Never yet did any pope issue any decree concerning the truths of faith or sound morality, but it was immediately received by the great body of bishops, as containing the most solid and wholesome doctrine.

Third, Many different heresies that have arisen in different ages in the church have been proscribed and condemned by the authority of the head of the Church alone, both before the first general council was held, and since.

Fourth, In all controversies of moment that have arisen in the Church about points of faith, the bishops have always had recourse to the head of the Church, as the supreme tribunal for settling them; and, if the obstinacy of the party condemned by him, made it adviseable to have recourse to a general council, these councils never were found to do any thing else, after the most mature examination, but to confirm the sentence already passed by the head.

Fifth, It is a truth received by all Catholics, as Tournely, a French divine, who writes upon the infallibility of the Holy See, expresses it. “That as the Roman and apostolical see is the bond of catholic unity and of catholic communion, no man can be held to be a catholic, unless he be joined with that see in the unity of faith and doctrine.” And then, showing that this union is of two sorts, both in the external profession and the internal assent of the mind, he concludes, “To be unified in both ways with the see of Rome, was always necessary, and looked upon in all ages as the most certain sign and proof of true faith, and pure doctrine,” tom. 1. De Eccl. a. 6.

The same truth is handed down from the very beginning in the writings of the holy fathers in every age, in the strongest terms. Thus St. Jerome, writing to the bishop of Rome says, “I am joined in communion with your holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter: Upon that rock I know the Church is built: Whoever eats the lamb out of this house is profane; whoever is not in this ark shall perish in the deluge – whosoever gathereth not with thee scatters; that is, he who is not of Christ belongs to Antichrist.” Epist. 56. and Dama. And St. Augustine, in his psalm against the Donatist schismatics says to them, “Come, brethren, if you have a mind to be ingrafted in the vine. ‘Tis a pity to see you lie in this manner lopped off from the stock. Reckon up the prelates in the very see of Peter; and in that order of Fathers see which has succeeded which. This is the rock over which the proud gates of hell prevail not.”

Sixth, The same celebrated Tournely acknowledges, that, if a division among the bishops should happen about any point of faith, “Without doubt,” says he, “we must adhere to that part which is united with the head, which is always to be esteemed the better and the sounder part.” From all which, the infallibility of the head of the Church naturally flows; for, if Christ obliges all to be united with him in faith and doctrine, he surely is obliged to preserve him from teaching false doctrine. From the command of Christ to hear his Church under pain of being considered as heathens and publicans, it is just inferred that the Church can never go astray. This argument has an equal weight, when applied to the obligation of being united with the Church’s head in faith and doctrine.

Q. These are very strong arguments indeed: but what proofs do the others bring for their opinion, that the head of the Church is not infallible?
A. They bring not one text of scripture to prove it; but only show some objections against the above texts, by which they think that the infallibility of the had of the Church is not proved by them; and all their other arguments from tradition are much of the same nature, and tend rather to invalidate the proofs taken from tradition, of his infallibility, than directly to prove the contrary. However, as this is a question in which faith is not concerned because the Church has never given any decision about it one may believe it or not in his private opinion, according as he thinks the reasons on each side preponderate.

Q. What consequences flow from these scripture truths concerning the Church of Christ?
A. The consequences that necessarily flow from all that has been said in this and the preceding chapter, are chiefly these three: First, That the Church of Christ the sacred rule of faith, and the supreme judge of controversy, instituted and ordained by him to preserve inviolated, to the end of time, all those divine truths which he revealed to man, and on the knowledge and belief of which the salvation of our souls depend; and that she is fully qualified by her divine spouse to discharge this office, so as to pronounce sentence upon every point of revelation, clearly and distinctly, and with infallible certainty.

Second, That this Church of Christ is one body, having all one and the same faith, and governed by one and the same supreme church authority; so that whatever sect is divided from this body, by professing a different faith from her is no part of the Church of Christ, but, at best, a human invention; and the faith they profess, as differing from hers, is all falsehood and error, arising from the father of falsehood and lies.

Third, That the Church of Christ is the only road to salvation; both because it is only in her communion that the true faith of Christ can be found, “without which it is impossible to please God,” Heb. xi. 6; and because Christ has declared, that all who refuse to hear her are condemned by him as heathens and publicans, and that those who despise her pastors despise Christ himself and his Father who sent him.


Q. Are there any other direct proofs from scripture to show that out of the Church of Christ there is no salvation?
A. Yes, these two will be mentioned here: First, Christ, speaking of those who were not yet joined in the communion of his Church, but whom he foreknew would make a good use of the graces he would give them for that purpose, says, “Other sheep I have who are not of this fold, them I MUST BRING, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd,” John x. 16.: where he plainly declares, that all those of his sheep, who are not yet of his fold, must be brought to it, as a necessary condition of their salvation.

Second, In consequence of this settled disposition of the divine providence, no sooner did the apostles begin to preach the gospel, than immediately “the Lord added daily to the Church such as should be saved,” Acts ii. 47. which evidently shows that all who are not added to the Church, are out of the way of salvation.

Q. Is it lawful to have any communication in things of religion with those who are separated from the Church of Christ?
A. By no means; all communion or fellowship in any religious duties, rites or ritual is repeatedly and strictly forbidden by the Church.

Q. How is the Church of Christ known as the true Church?
A. By the marks laid down in the holy scriptures, by which the true Church of Christ can easily be distinguished.

Rev. James J. McGovern, DD., The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church, Chicago, 1906., pgs 137-152. Imprimatur Aug 24, 1906, Most Reverend James Edward Quigley, Archbishop of Chicago.

(All of the below is taken exactly as it appears in preface to the book)

“The whole adapted from the writings of: His Eminence James, Cardinal Gibbons; Right Rev. Bishop Hay; Right Rev. Dr. Challoner; Rev. Arthur Devine, C.P.; Rev. Daniel O’Loan; Right Rev. Joseph Oswald Smith; Mother M. Loyola; Mother Mary Salome; Dom. Morrell, O.S.F.; Rev. D. V. Phalen; Rev. T. B. Scannell, B.D.; Rev. T. F. Galwey; Rev. Joseph Wilhelm, D.D.; and other eminent authorities, by Rev. James J. McGovern, D.D.”

Prefect of the Congregation of Studies,
Written After a Careful Examination of

The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church

The following letter is a translation from the original, written in Italian, and addressed to the author and compiler Rev. James J. McGovern, D.D.:

Rome, Italy, June 6, 1907.
Rev. J.J. McGovern, D.D.:

I received through the courtesy of two reverend priests a copy of a magnificent work, composed in two parts and splendidly bound. It is a work worthy of the highest praise, both for its matter and form; moreover I believe that there does not exist a work equal to it in merit and usefulness. I cordially rejoice and thank you specially on considering that I remember you and knowing that you remember me.
You give a splendid example of study and holy zeal amid the clergy in America where in reality, the love of study in rare, devoting themselves in common to lives of activity.
With sentiments of esteem and respect I take pleasure in saluting your reverence.

Your most humble and affectionate in Xto,

Francis Cardinal Satolli

of the author, editor and compiler of

Rev. James J. McGovern, Doctor of Sacred Theology and Canon Law, the Author, Editor and Compiler of “The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church,” was born in Chicago, March 25, 1839, and attended the first Catholic free school established in Chicago by Bishop Van de Velde. At eleven years of age he entered “The University of St. Mary’s of the Lake,” then occupying a part of the present site of “The Cathedral of the Holy Name,” Chicago. In 1853 he was sent to Rome to study in the Propaganda College, where he received his degrees of “Doctor of Theology” and “Doctor of Canon Law.”

In 1862 he was acting secretary to Cardinal Barnabo. Upon returning to his native city he was appointed Vice-President of “The University of St. Mary’s of the Lake,” Rector of the Ecclesiastical Department and Professor of Sacred Theology.

In 1868 he entered the Missionary life and was located at Fulton, Bloomington, Rock Island, Lake Forest and Lockport, Illinois, in each of which Missions he left monuments of his priestly zeal in Church edifices and schools.

He introduced into the Archdiocese of Chicago, the great Teaching order of the Sisters of Providence, Mother House at St. Mary’s of the Woods, near Terre Haute, Indiana, and in addition to his pastoral duties, has always devoted some of his time to literary work. In his connection he was Co-Editor with Bishop McMullen, of “The Catholic Monthly,” published in Chicago in 1865, and later was Editor in Chief of “The Chicago Catholic Home,” published under the auspices of the late Archbishop Feehan, afterwards merged with “The New World.” He has contributed from time to time many articles, not only to Catholic magazines and weeklies, but also to the public press.

As an Author his first book was “The Life of Bishop McMullen.” Then followed “Studies of the Scriptures,” or “The Royal Scroll,” “The History of the Catholic Church in Illinois” (The Souvenir Volume of Archbishop Feehan’s Silver Jubilee), “The History of the Catholic Church in Chicago,” “The Life and Letters of Eliza Starr,” and he also aided in the publication of “The Life of Mother Theodore of the Sisters of Providence” and “The Life of Rev. Mother Frances Mulholland of the Sisters of Mercy.”

In 1902 he wrote “The Life and Work of Pope Leo XIII,” of which over fifty thousand copies were sold in six weeks and which was undertaken by Doctor McGovern upon the receipt of a personal letter from the late Archbishop Corrigan of New York urging him to undertake the work.

The following extract from the Archbishop’s letter is of interest:

“I hope that in the near future you will write a popular Life of Pope Leo XIII and record his magnificent work in behalf of the American people, whom he ardently loves. No one is better gifted to write this than yourself, having been so long a resident of Rome, and meeting as you did the present Holy Father, the Cardinals and Bishops at the Vatican, while acting as secretary to Cardinal Barnabo. Such a work would, I am sure, meet the approval of His Holiness and the entire Catholic world. I leave this to your mature consideration.”

After the completion and publication of “The Life of Pope Leo XIII,” Doctor McGovern saw his way open to undertake and complete another important work which he had in view for many years, the editing and compiling of “The Catholic Dictionary and Cyclopedia,” a much needed work of reference for both Clergy and Laity, which is now ready for publication.

In the meantime Doctor McGovern assumed the greatest work of his literary labors when he delegated to undertake the publication of “The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church” as Author, Editor and Compiler.

The writing and compiling of “The Manual of the Holy Catholic Church,” was an endeavor to obey the call of The Sovereign Pontiff Pius X, promulgated in a letter addressed


The Manual was published with the approval of His Grace, The Most Reverend James Edward Quigley, D.D., Archbishop of Chicago, with the intention to provide the Catholic people with one complete work containing all the Teachings of The Church.

It was decided to publish “The Manual” in two parts, the first, “The Beautiful Teachings of the Holy Catholic Church,” in the form of Questions and Answers; the second, “Light from the Altar, or The True Catholic in the Church of Christ,” to embrace not only chapters on Ceremonies and Devotions, but also “The Religious and Moral Training of Children, or Christian Education in the Catholic Home,” with a “Review of Church History,” and including “A Catholic Home Dictionary and Cyclopedia.” After consulting many authorities and performing literary labors sufficient to tax the powers of a much younger man, “The Manual” was completed by August 14th, 1906,


His Eminence James, Cardinal Gibbons; Right Rev. Bishop Hay; Right Rev. Dr. Challoner; Rev. Arthur Devine, C.P.; Rev. Daniel O’Loan; Right Rev. Joseph Oswald Smith; Mother M. Loyola; Mother Mary Salome; Dom. Morrell, O.S.F.; Rev. D. V. Phalen; Rev. T. B. Scannell, B.D.; Rev. T. F. Galwey; Rev. Joseph Wilhelm, D.D.; and other eminent authorities

Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:19 am
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Great work, Mike. Thanks for making the effort to type all of that up and re-publish it. The more sound doctrine we get out there the better.

In Christ our King.

Fri Jul 20, 2007 1:15 am
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Location: Spokane
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Of course I want to think we have a Pope of the One True Church and a few days ago I read this prayer from an old Catholic Prayer book I have. A Manual of Prayers for the use of the Caholic Laiy dated 1930 *

Pay attention to the first sentence and remember Jesus Christ IS LIVING in our tabernacles on our altars.

Prayer of St. Ambrose

O Great High-Priest, the true Pontiff, Jesus Christ, who didst offer Thyself to God the Father a pure and spotless Victim upon the Altar of the Cross for us miserable sinners, and didst give us Thy Flesh to eat and Thy Blood to drink, and didst ordain this Mystery in the power of Thy Holy Spirit, saying, Do this for the commemoration of Me: I pray Thee, by the same Thy Blood, the great price of our salvation; I pray Thee, by that wonderful and unspeakable love wherewith Thou deignedst so to love us, miserable and unworthy, as to wash us from our sins in Thine own Blood: teach me, Thine unworthy servant, by Thy Holy Spirit, to approach so great a Mystery with that reverence and honor, that devotion and fear, which is due and fitting. Make me, through Thy grace, always so to believe and understand, to conceive and firmly to hold, to think and to speak, of that exceeding Mystery, as shall please Thee and be good for my soul.

Let Thy good Spirit enter my heart, and there be heard without utterance, and without the sound of words speak all truth. For Thy Mysteries ae exceeding deep, and covered with a sacred veil. For Thy great mercy's sake, grant me to approach Thy holy Mysteries with a clean heart and a pure mind. Free my heart from all defiling and unholy, from all vain and hurtful thoughts. Fence me round about with the holy and faithful guard and mighty protection of Thy blessed Angels, that the enemies of all good may go away ashamed. By the virtue of this mighty Mystery, and by the hand of Thy holy Angel, drive away from me and from all Thy servants the hard spirit of pride and vainglory, of envy and blasphemy, of impurity and uncleanness, of doubt and mistrust. Let them be confounded that persecute us; let them perish who are bent upon our ruin.


A wonderful and beautiful prayer to pray just before Holy Communion, so I typed it out for all of you.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and so is His Church.

Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:30 pm

Joined: Sun Jan 28, 2007 3:42 am
Posts: 740
Location: Moscow, Idaho, U.S.A.
New post St. Ambrose Prayer to the Holy Ghost.
Myrna wrote:
Prayer of St. Ambrose

A wonderful and beautiful prayer to pray just before Holy Communion, so I typed it out for all of you.

BLESS you, My Child for doing this. :)

Here is another prayer by St. Ambrose to the Holy Ghost which we and most of our children have been saying for many years.

"O, Holy Ghost, Soul of my soul, I adore thee. Enlighten, guide, strengthen and comfort me. Show me what to do. Command me to do it. I accept all things that Thou permittest to happen to me, only help me to know Thy will."

Kenneth G. Gordon CinC
Moscow, Idaho

Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:40 pm
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New post The One True Church
Myrna and Ken,

Thank you so much for posting those beautiful prayers to the Holy Ghost. I have printed them out and will put them in my missal, to pray every day.

In Jesus and Mary, Pat Beck

Wed Jul 25, 2007 1:13 am

Joined: Tue Oct 17, 2006 5:32 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Spokane
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I have in my possession two very large and beautiful books dated 1864 * Lives of the Saints by
The Rev. Alban Butler within the pages of this book is a copy of a beautiful letter his mother wrote to him and his two brothers just before she died.

I just want to share this letter with you, it is so inspiring to me and hope it will be to you as well.

My Dear Children,
"Since it pleases Almighty God to take me out of this world, as no doubt wisely foreseeing I am no longer a useful parent to you, for no person ought to be thought necessary in this world when God thinks proper to take them out; so I hope you will offer the loss of me with a resignation suitable to the religion you are of, and offer yourselves. He who makes you orphans so young, without a parent to take care of you, will take you into His protection and Fatherly care, if you do love and serve Him who is the author of all goodness. Above all things, prepare yourselves while you are young to suffer patiently what afflictions He shall think proper to lay upon you; for it is by this He trieth His best servants. In the first place, give Him thanks for your education in the true faith, which many thousands want; and then I beg of you earnestly to petition His direction what state of life you shall undertake, whether it be for religion, or to get your livings in the world. No doubt but you may be saved either way, if you do your duty to God, your neighbor, and yourselves. And I beg of you to make constant resolutions rather to die a thousand times, if possible, than quit your faith; and always have in your thoughts what you would think of were you as nigh death as I now think myself. There is no preparation for a good death but a good life. Do not omit your prayers, and to make an act of contrition and examen of conscience every night, and frequent the Blessed Sacrament of the Church. I am so weak I can say no more to you, but I pray God bless and direct you, and your friends to take care of you. Lastly, I beg of you never to forget to pray for your poor father and mother when they are not capable of helping themselves; so I take leave of you, hoping to meet you in heaven, to be happy for all eternity.
"Your affectionate mother, "Ann Butler."

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and so is His Church.

Wed Jul 25, 2007 4:20 pm

Joined: Wed May 17, 2006 3:38 pm
Posts: 483
New post Re: The One True Church
updated for the Bellarmine Forums

Yours in JMJ,

Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:46 pm

Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 3:24 am
Posts: 31
Location: Port Harcourt, Nigeria
New post Re: The One True Church
Much more was written on the infallibility of the so-called papal magisterium, which is just one aspect of the infallibility of the Church, than on the infallibility of the Church herself, in matters of faith, morals and universal laws. Little wonder the little understanding today of the full scope of the Church's infallibility.

Omnia ad Jesum per Mariam!

Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:19 pm
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