Video – No Apologies #50 – Church is Universal

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Ave Maria

The third mark of Jesus' Church is that of being "universal" - existing for all peoples and for all times. Only the Catholic Church can completely fulfill this requirement of universality.

Ave Maria!
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  • Br. Christopher Gaffrey, OFM says:

    Thank you my Franciscan brother for this video explaining the universality of the Church. I would like to point out, however, a small error which might undermine the validiy of your arguement in the eyes of someone listening to it. You stated that the Eastern churches came into existence starting in the 5th century and others of them in the 11th century. This really makes it sound as though it was the schisms of the various times which led to the setting up of their eccliesial community. But this is not the case as their existence and ecclesial structures predated the schisms themselves.

    In Unitatis Redintegratio we hear:
    “For many centuries the Church of the East and that of the West each followed their separate ways though linked in a brotherly union of faith and sacramental life; the Roman See by common consent acted as guide when disagreements arose between them over matters of faith or discipline. Among other matters of great importance, it is a pleasure for this Council to remind everyone that there flourish in the East many particular or local Churches, among which the Patriarchal Churches hold first place, and of these not a few pride themselves in tracing their origins back to the apostles themselves. Hence a matter of primary concern and care among the Easterns, in their local churches, has been, and still is, to preserve the family ties of common faith and charity which ought to exist between sister Churches.

    Similarly it must not be forgotten that from the beginning the Churches of the East have had a treasury from which the Western Church has drawn extensively-in liturgical practice, spiritual tradition, and law. Nor must we undervalue the fact that it was the ecumenical councils held in the East that defined the basic dogmas of the Christian faith, on the Trinity, on the Word of God Who took flesh of the Virgin Mary. To preserve this faith these Churches have suffered and still suffer much.” (14)

    And also: “Already from the earliest times the Eastern Churches followed their own forms of ecclesiastical law and custom, which were sanctioned by the approval of the Fathers of the Church, of synods, and even of ecumenical councils. Far from being an obstacle to the Church’s unity, a certain diversity of customs and observances only adds to her splendor, and is of great help in carrying out her mission, as has already been stated. To remove, then, all shadow of doubt, this holy Council solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, while remembering the necessary unity of the whole Church, have the power to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to them, since these are better suited to the character of their faithful, and more for the good of their souls. The perfect observance of this traditional principle not always indeed carried out in practice, is one of the essential prerequisites for any restoration of unity.” (16)

    These clearly witness to the fact that the eastern Churches were around before the various schisms. Yes, they make up the “catholic” church, and this is why the schism that exists between us is so sad and why we should be working for reunification with our Orthodox brethen.

    Ave Maria.

    Peace and Goodness,
    Br. Christopher Gaffrey, OFM

  • Friar Joseph says:

    Br. Christopher,
    Correction accepted. I do not argue the fact that these Church’s existed prior to the schisms. My point in stating that the Eastern Church’s date only from the 5th and 11th century was to show that there was a definite break from the Catholic Church.

    Perhaps this point is better placed within the mark of “apostolicity.” For though, as you have pointed out, schism doesn’t necessarily forfeit a claim to being “universal in time” it does forfeit a claim to being “apostolic”. This mark requires not only being “apostolic in origin” but also in being governed in an unbroken chain by their lawful successors with Peter as the head. The Eastern Orthodox may be able to claim this first requirement but having now separated themselves from the Holy Father can no longer fulfill this second requirement.

    Thank you for your comment. God bless.
    Friar Joseph

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