The One True Church

It is an error to believe that truth is subjective and up to each person. No one has the authority to determine what the truth is for themselves.

 

Religious Truth

When it comes to religion, we seem to forget that truth is not just about our opinion. We tend to treat religious truth the way we treat preferences. It might be my truth that a red car is the best, but your truth is a blue car is by far the best. Likewise, it might be my truth that God exists, but your truth that God does not. However, the question about whether one thing is better than another is much less black and white than the question about whether someone or something exists. Either God exists or God does not exist. There is a truth to the matter. Even if, as agnostics say, we cannot know the truth of whether God exists, there is a truth. God cannot both exist and not exist.

For this reason, just as there is a truth about history and science, there is a truth about religion. To be united in truth, the Church has to be one.

Think about these questions:

Does God exist? Is Jesus fully God? Is the Pope really supposed to be the head of the Church? Are we saved by faith alone? Can priests forgive sins in the sacrament of confession?

All of these questions have answers. There is a truth about God, the Church, salvation, and how grace comes to us. If there is a truth, then there is a wrong answer to each of these questions. The Church welcomes a diversity of opinions about things that are not matters of truth.  For example, your favorite saint or prayer you may like more than others.  But a diversity of opinions about matters of fact weakens the Church’s witness. It is an indication that the community that holds these diverse opinions does not know the truth.

For the Church to be a teacher of truth, it must be one. Because truth is essential to knowing Christ the Church must be one if she is going to carry out Christ’s mission.  A person cannot know someone without knowing the truth about them.

Jesus Prayed for Unity

Before he died, Jesus prayed for his disciples and for those who would come after them: “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one,” (John 17:9-11).

Jesus knew that if his followers were not united they were not with him and, therefore, they could not stand.

Many who attack Catholicism as a false religion point to its central authority as proof of its illegitimacy. Clearly, they think, Catholics don’t follow Christ if they are always listening to the Pope instead. Ironically, it is just the reverse that is true. Following a central authority allows us to be united in truth and in our witness to the world.

That the Catholic Church’s authority binds the flock in certain beliefs is powerful evidence of its authority as a true church. If a doctrine is true, all true believers must accept it. If a doctrine is false, all true believers must reject it.

Because the Father is unified with the Son, then all the true followers of the Father and Son will be united with the Father and Son. If they are united with the Father and Son, they will be, as a consequence, united with each other. This is not only a unity in truth, but also a unity in love. Christians who agree on doctrine but are divided among themselves through jealousy, anger, or resentment are also wounding the unity of the Church.

Unity with Previous Christians

When the Church is one, this does not mean only that Christians on earth are united with other living Christians. The oneness of the Church also includes a union with believers who came before us.

When we look at the evidence of the Church Fathers, we can see that Christians beliefs about the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, the divinity of Christ, the existence of God, and many other issues have not changed over the course of 2,000 years. Our understanding of them may have developed, but the essential truth has not changed. This continuity in doctrine and faith is a sign of the Church’s unity with the earliest Christians, and if the Church is united with those who first knew and followed Christ, the Church is also one with Christ.

Unity is vital in the Church. St. Paul expresses this in his letter to the Ephesians:

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all (4:4-6).

Final Thoughts

The Catholic Church has been and still is attacked for many beliefs.  One is the unity that Catholics have to stand together as one true Church, after all, Catholicism has been around since it was founded by Christ himself some 2,000 years ago.  Sure, there has been some changes but our core beliefs are still the same and we are still here, still united and still teaching the Truth.

About 500 years ago, a man named Luther decided to split from the One True Catholic and Apostolic Church and start his own flavor.  Then someone else spit from Luther to his own flavor, then again someone didn’t like that brand so he split from that one and on and on it goes.  Today, there are almost 40,000 churches that all believe they know the truth and that the Holy Spirit has led them all to where they are.  Not sure about you, but I am not about to leave or split away from the original One True Catholic Church to start my own flavor.  I will remain in the Church that Christ started, the one that is united, the one that has a leader and is infallible, the one that has over 2,000 years of experience.  Catholics don’t make up or change the teachings of this Church, we are blest enough to have the power of the Catholic Church to guide us, not some guy that decided to make up his own flavor of faith.  We are blest to be involved with the one and only united Church.

Like I said at the top of this post:

It is an error to believe that truth is subjective and up to each person. No one has the authority to determine what the truth is for themselves.

 

This is one of my favorites:

The Catholic Faith is like a lion in a cage, you don’t need to defend it, just simply open the cage door.

 

 

 

 

What are your thoughts about the caged lion and unity of Church?  Please comment below.

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