Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Church is not defined by numbers

Please read also:
The Church's Sacraments Today
The Little Number of the Saved

Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846, #11: "The faithful who live in every place constitute the whole Church."

Numbers and official titles do not matter,
Only the sound confession of the Catholic Faith;

St. John Chrysostom, Homily XI on the First Epistle to St. Timothy, commenting on verse 3:15: "'That thou mayest know,' he says, 'how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.' Not like that Jewish house. For it is this that maintains the Faith and the preaching of the Word. For the truth is the pillar and the ground of the Church."

St. Basil the Great, Epistle to the Monks Harassed by Arians: "I exhort you, therefore, not to faint in your afflictions, but to be revived by God's love, and to add daily to your zeal knowing that in you ought to be preserved that remnant of true religion which the Lord will find when He cometh on the earth. Even if bishops are driven from their Churches, be not dismayed. If traitors have arisen from among the very clergy themselves, let not this undermine your confidence in God. We are saved not by names, but by mind and purpose, and genuine love toward our Creator. Bethink you how in the attack against our Lord, high priests and scribes and elders devised the plot, and how few of the people were found really receiving the word. Remember that it is not the multitude who are being saved, but the elect of God. Be not then affrighted at the great multitude of the people who are carried hither and thither by winds like the waters of the sea. If but one would be saved, like Lot at Sodom, he ought to abide in right judgment, keeping his hope in Christ unshaken, for the Lord will not forsake His holy ones. Salute all the brethren in Christ from me. Pray earnestly for my miserable soul."

Saint Theodore of Studium: "It is your prerogative to prefer the drowned multitude to Noah who was saved; but as for me, allow me to run to the Ark along with the few." "One who is well-pleasing to God is to be preferred over myriads who are invested with presumption." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1081C; Patrologia Greaca 99, 1084A

Saint Theodore of Studium, Epistle to Abbot Theophilus: "Let us not raise a stumbling-block for the Church of God which, according to the teaching of the Saints, is made up of even three orthodox, so that we may not be condemned according to the Lord's verdict." - Patrologia Greaca 99, 1049C

The Life of Saint Hypatius: "When Saint Hypatius understood what opinions Nestorius held, immediately, in the Church of the Apostles, he erased his name from the diptychs, so that it should no longer be pronounced at the Oblation. [This was before Nestorius' condemnation by the Third Ecumenical Council.] "When Bishop Eulalius learned of this, he was anxious about the outcome of the affair. And seeing that it had been noised abroad, Nestorius also ordered him to reprimand Hypatius. For Nestorius was still powerful in the city. Bishop Eulalius spoke thus to Hypatius: Why have you erased his name without understanding what the consequences would be? Saint Hypatius replied: From the time that I learned that he said unrighteous things about the Lord, I have no longer been in communion with him and I do not commemorate his name; for he is not a bishop. Then the bishop, in anger, said: Be off with you! Make amends for what you have done, for I shall take measures against you. Saint Hypatius replied: Do as you wish. As for me, I have decided to suffer anything, and it is with this in mind that I have done this." - Sources Chretiennes, No.177, pp. 210-214

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 3: "[T]his council has thought good, that the Symbol of faith which the holy Roman Church makes use of,--as being that principle wherein all who profess the faith of Christ necessarily agree, and that firm and alone foundation against which the gates of hell shall never prevail,--be expressed in the very same words in which it is read in all the churches. Which Symbol is as follows: I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages; God of God, light of light, true God of true God; begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made: who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from the heavens, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man: crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, he suffered and was buried; and he rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures; and he ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father ; and again he will come with glory to judge the living and the dead; of whose kingdom there shall be no end: and in the Holy Ghost the Lord, and the giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets and one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen."

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