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Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Catechism’

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:(Ephesians 4:11-12)

Pope Benedict XVI leads a consistory to canonize five new saints

 Most non-Catholics  wonder why the Catholic Church is structured the way it is, as they question the clergy’s authority or whether priests and bishops are necessary at all.  Obviously, this is not the view of the majority of traditional Catholics, but it would be foolish to assume that all Catholics understand what are the basis for how the Church is organized. Some people are not sure about the diferences between the structural model adopted by most Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church.     

The Catholic Church has preserved what is called the Fidei Depositum, or the ‘Deposit of Faith’ ( 1 Timothy 2:5-7 and 2 Tim 1:14, NAB) that Jesus passed on orally to his Apostles – as was his command to perpetuate the liturgical ritual brought about this supernatural wonder. Along with his instructions, Jesus imparte to the Twelve his own authority to teach and preach:    

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:18-19).   

Therefore, Apostolic bishops such as Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp of Smyrna were all successors of the chosen Twelve through the laying of hands (1 Tim 4:14). They inherited this same authority to proclaim the Gospel and guard the authentic repository of doctrine after the Apostles had died and which has been passed on to the present days.    

 11Command and teach these things. 12Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. 14Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you (1 Tim 4:10-14).   

Below are some additional Scriptural references that might shed some light onto these questions, and help us understand why the Catholic Church  keeps the tradition of  the Apostolic Succession:     

20“For,” said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms, ” ‘May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,’[b] and,” ‘May another take his place of leadership.[c] 21Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from John’s baptism to the time when Jesus was taken up from us. For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.”     

 23So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24Then they prayed, “Lord, you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen 25to take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs.” 26Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:20-26)     

The above is a reference to the appointment a new apostle to  succeed Judas, who, as we know,  died after he had betrayed Jesus. Then we also have references as to the role of the apostles as careers of the Christian community:     

6We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, 7but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. (1Thessalonians 2:6-7)     

Or     

28Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.[a] Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. ( Acts 20:28)     

 1Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,[a] he desires a noble task. 2Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. 5(If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap. 8Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. (1 Timothy 3:1-8)     

10He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) 11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.  (Ephesians 4:10-12)     

[a] The word overseers is a translation of the lexic Episcopos, the Greek root for Bishops.

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