Did I Really Leave the Holy Catholic Church?
1. Karl Keating, Catholicism and Fundamentalism (San Francisco:
Ignatius, 1988), 10.
2. The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York:
Universal Knowledge Foundation, 1912) gives the following background
and definition for the term anathema: ‘To understand the word
anathema…we should first go back to the real meaning of herem
of which it is the equivalent. Herem comes from the word haram,
to cut off, to separate, to curse, and indicates that which is
cursed and condemned to be cut off and exterminated…. In the
New Testament anathema no longer entails death, but the loss of
goods or exclusion from the society of the faithful….But he
who is separated from God is united to the devil, which explains
why St. Paul, instead of anathematizing, sometimes delivers a
person over to Satan (1 Tim. i,20; 1 Cor., v,5)….Anathema remains
a major excommunication which is to be promulgated with great
solemnity….In passing this sentence the pontiff takes his seat
in front of the altar or in some other suitable place, and pronounces
the formula of anathema which ends with these words: “Wherefore
in the name of God the All-powerful, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
of the Blessed Peter, Prince of the Apostles, and of all the Saints,
in virtue of the power which has been given to us of binding and
loosing in Heaven and on earth, we deprive N- himself and all
his accomplices and all his abettors of the Communion of the Body
and Blood of Our Lord, we separate him from the society of all
Christians, we exclude him from the bosom of our Holy Mother the
Church in Heaven and on earth, we declare him excommunicated and
anathematized and we judge him condemned to eternal fire with
Satan and his angels and all the reprobate, so long as he will
not burst the fetters of the demon, do penance and satisfy the
Church; we deliver him to Satan to mortify his body, that his
soul may be saved on the day of judgment.'” (1:455-56)
3. Irenaeus expresses the principle
of universality, antiquity, and consent: (1) Universality: ‘The
universal church, moreover, through the whole world, has received
this tradition from the apostles’ (Against Heresies II.9.1); (2)
Antiquity: ‘True knowledge is that which consists in the doctrine
of the apostles and the ancient constitution of the church throughout
all the world, and the distinctive manifestation of the body of
Christ according to the succession of bishops by which they have
handed down that church which exists in every place, and has come
even unto us, being guarded and preserved without any forging
of Scriptures, by a very complete system of doctrine, and neither
receiving addition, nor suffering curtailment in the truths which
she believes’ (Against Heresies IV.33.8); (3) Consent: ‘The preaching
of the church is everywhere consistent and continues in an even
course and receives testimony from the prophets, the apostles,
and all the disciples’ (Against Heresies III.24.1).
4. Philip Schaff and Henry Wace, Vincent
of Lerins, A Commonitory II.4-III.7, Series Two, vol. XI, of Nicene
and Post-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1955).
5. The Council of Trent states: ‘No
one relying on his own judgment shall, in matters of faith and
morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, distorting
the Holy Scriptures in accordance with his own conceptions, presume
to interpret them contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,
to whom it belongs to judge their true sense and interpretation,
has held and holds, or even contrary to the unanimous consent
of the Fathers, even though such interpretations should never
at any time be published.’ (See The Council of Trent [Rockford:
Tan, 1978], 18-19)
This decree was reaffirmed by Vatican I.
6. Scripture is described as being pure,
perfect, eternal, sure, truth, forever settled in heaven; it sanctifies,
causes spiritual growth, is God-breathed, authoritative, it gives
wisdom unto salvation, makes wise the simple, is living and active,
is a guide, a fire, a hammer, a seed, the sword of the Spirit;
it gives knowledge of God, is a lamp to our feet, a light to our
path, produces reverence for God, heals, makes free, illuminates,
produces faith, regenerates, converts the soul, brings conviction
of sin, restrains from sin, is spiritual food, is infallible,
inerrant, irrevocable, searches the heart and mind, produces life,
defeats Satan, proves truth, refutes error, is holy, equips for
every good work, is the final judge of all tradition, is the Word
of God (Heb. 4:12, Pss. 119: 9-11, 38, 105, 130, 133, 160; 19:7-11;
111:7-8; Is. 40:8; Eph. 5:26; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; Jer. 5:14; 23:29;
Matt. 13:18-23; Eph. 6:17; Ps. 107:20; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 1:23;
2:2; Acts 20:32; John 8:32, 10:35, 17:17; Matt. 15:2-9). Where
are we told these things about tradition?
7. The Catechetical Lectures IV.17,
V.12, XII.5, in A Library of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic
Church (Oxford: Parker, 1845).
8. J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines
(San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), 46.
9. ‘See to it that no one takes you
captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends
on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather
than on Christ’ (Col. 2:8); ‘Thus you nullify the word of God
for the sake of your tradition….They worship me in vain; their
teachings are but rules taught by men.’ (Matt. 15:6, 9; cf. Mark
7:3-13; Gal. 1:14; Col. 2:22; 1 Peter 1:18).
10. Irenaeus, Against Heresies III.1.1,
in Alexander Roberts and W. H. Rambaugh, trans., in The Writings
of Irenaeus (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1874).
11. Ellen Flesseman-Van Leer, Tradition
and Scripture in the Early Church (Assen: Van Gorcum, 1953), 133.
12. ‘Now, brothers, I want to remind
you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on
which you have taken your stand.By this gospel you are saved,
you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you
have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you
as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according
to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the
third day according to the Scriptures’ (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
13. Brian Tierney, Origins of Papal
Infallibility 1150-1350 (Leiden: Brill, 1972), 16-17.
14. St. Jerome, Prefaces to Jerome’s
Works, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs, Daniel, Series
Two, vol. VI, of Schaff and Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers,
15. New Catholic Encyclopedia (Washington,
D.C.: Catholic Univ., 1967), III:29.
16. Gregory the Great, Morals on the
Book of Job, vol. II parts III and IV, Book XIX.34, in A Library
of the Fathers of the Holy Catholic Church, 424. The New Catholic
Encyclopedia confirms that Pope Gregory did not accept a canonical
status for the Apocrypha (II:390).
17. Taken from his comments on the final
chapter of Esther, in Commentary on All the Authentic Historical
Books of the Old Testament; cited in William Whitaker, A Disputation
on Holy Scripture (Cambridge: University Press, 1849), 48. Cf.
John Cosin, A Scholastical History of the Canon (Oxford: Parker,
1849),111:257-58, and B.F. Westcott, A General Survey of the Canon
of the New Testament (New York: Macmillan, 1889), 475.
18. New Catholic Encyclopedia, II:390,
19. ‘If anyone does not accept as sacred
and canonical the aforesaid books in their entirety and with all
their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic
Church and as they are contained in the Old Latin Vulgate Edition,
and knowingly and deliberately rejects the aforesaid traditions,
let him be anathema’ (Fourth Session, Decree Concerning the Canonical
Scriptures, of The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent
[Rockford: Tan, 1978], 18).
20. Cited in Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents
of the Christian Church (London: Oxford Univ., 1963), 116. Vatican
I, after affirming that the bishops of Rome are the rightful rulers
over the church to whom all Christians must submit in matters
of faith and morals and discipline states, ‘This is the teaching
of Catholic truth, from which no one can deviate without loss
of faith and salvation’; cited by Philip Schaff, The Creeds of
Christendom (New York: Harper, 1877),11:263.
21. Oscar Cullmann, Peter: Disciple,
Apostle, Martyr (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1953), 207, 236.
22. St. Augustine, Sermon XXVI.1 2,
Series Two, vol. VI, of Schaff and Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene
23. Homilies of S. John Chrysostom on
the Gospel of St. Matthew, Homily 54.3, in A Library of the Fathers
of the Holy Catholic Church.
24. Johann Joseph Ignaz von Dtlinger,
The Pope and the Council (Boston: Roberts, 1869), 74.
25. Cullmann, Peter: Disciple, Apostle,
26. Karlfried Froehlich, St. Peter,
Papal Primacy and the Exegetical Tradition 1151-1350. Found in
Christopher Ryan, ed., The Religious Roles of the Papacy: Ideals
and Realities 1150-1300 (Toronto: Pontifical Institute, 1989),
27. The Council of Constance (A.D. 1414-1418)
passed the following decree regarding the supreme authority of
General Councils over popes: ‘This holy Council of Constance…declares,
first that it is lawfully assembled in the Holy Spirit, that it
constitutes a General Council, representing the Catholic Church,
and that therefore it has its authority immediately from Christ;
and that all men, of every rank and condition, including the Pope
himself, is bound to obey it in matters concerning the Faith,
the abolition of the schism, and the reformation of the Church
of God in its head and its members. Secondly, it declares that
any one, of any rank or condition, who shall contumaciously refuse
to obey the orders, decrees, statutes or instructions, made or
to be made by this holy Council, or by any other lawfully assembled
council….shall, unless he comes to a right frame of mind, be
subjected to a fitting penance and punished appropriately: and,
if need be, recourse shall be had to the other sanctions of the
law’ (Decree: Sacrosancta [A.D. 1415]; taken from Henry Bettenson,
ed., Documents of the Christian Church [London: Oxford Univ.,
1963], 135). The decrees of this council were officially approved
by Pope Martin V (A.D. 1417-1431) and by Pope Eugenius IV (A.D.
28. Epistles of St. Gregory the Great,
Book VII, Epistle 33, and Book V, Epistle 18, Series Two, vol.
XII, of Schaff and Wace, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 226,
29. Vatican I states: ‘We teach and
define that it is a dogma divinely revealed: that the Roman Pontiff,
when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the
office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his
supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith
and morals to be held by the universal Church, by the divine assistance
promised him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility
with which the divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be
endowed for defining doctrine regarding faith or morals; and that
therefore such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are irreformable
of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church. But if
any one-which may God avert-presume to contradict this our definition:
let him be anathema’ (Dogmatic Decrees of the Vatican Council,
Concerning the Infallible Teaching of the Roman Pontiff, Chapter
IV; cited by Philip Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom [New York:
Harper & Brothers, 1877], 2:270-71).
30. Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility,
31. The exact words of condemnation
by the sixth ecumenical council are as follows:
‘After we had reconsidered .the doctrinal letters of Sergius .to
Honorius some time Pope of Old Rome, as well as the letter of
the latter to the same Sergius, we find that these documents are
quite foreign to the apostolic dogmas, to the declarations of
the holy Councils, and to all the accepted Fathers, and that they
follow the false teachings of the heretics; therefore we entirely
reject them, and execrate them as hurtful to the soul. But the
names of those men whose doctrines we execrate must also be thrust
forth from the holy Church of God….We define that there shall
be expelled from the holy Church of God and anathematized Honorius
who was some time Pope of Old Rome, because of what was written
by him to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and
confirmed his impious doctrines….But as the author of evil…
having found suitable instruments for working out his will (we
mean Theodorus….Sergius….Honorius who was Pope of elder Rune)….has
actively employed them in raising up for the whole Church the
stumbling blocks of one will and one operation in Christ our true
God, one of the Holy Trinity; thus disseminating, in novel terms,
amongst the orthodox people, an heresy similar to the mad and
wicked doctrine of the impious Apollinaris .To Honorius,
the heretic, anathema!’ (The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Second
Series, vol. XIV, of Schaff and Wace, ed., Nicene and Post-Nicene
32. Tierney, Origins of Papal Infallibility,
11. See also Charles Joseph Hefele, A History of the Councils
of the Church (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1896), V:180.
33. These are the words of Pope Pius
IX relative to the teaching of the Immaculate Conception: ‘Therefore,
if some should presume to think in their hearts otherwise than
we have defined (which God forbid), they shall know and thoroughly
understand that they are by their own judgment condemned, have
made shipwreck concerning the faith, and fallen away from the
unity of the Church; and, moreover, that they, by this very act,
subject themselves to the penalties ordained by law if, by word
or writing, or any other external means, they dare to signify
what they think in their heart’ (The Decree of Pope Pius IX on
the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, From the
Bull Ineffabilis Deus [A.D. 1854]. Taken from Schaff, The Creeds
of Christendom, 2:212).
34. Pelagius and Celestius used Mary,
the mother of Jesus, as an example of one born free of original
sin. Vincent of Lerins points out the origin of the teaching of
the Immaculate Conception with these words: ‘Who ever originated
a heresy that did not first dissever himself from the consentient
agreement of the universality and antiquity of the Catholic Church?
That this is so is demonstrated in the clearest way by examples.
For who ever before the profane Pelagius attributed so much antecedent
strength to Free-will, as to deny the necessity of God’s grace
to aid it towards every good in every single act? Who ever before
his monstrous disciple Celestius denied that the whole human race
is involved in the guilt of Adam’s sin?’ (Vincent of Lerins, A
Commonitory 24.62, Series Two, vol. XI, of Schaff and Wace, ed.,
Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 149-50).
35. Juniper Carol, ed., Mariology (Milwaukee:
Bruce, 1955), 1:146.
36. ‘For all have sinned and fall short
of the glory of God’ (Rom. 3:23). ‘There is none righteous, not
even one’ (Rom. 3:10).
37. Pope Pius XII affirms this in these
‘We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed
dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary,
having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body
and soul into heavenly glory. Hence, if anyone, which God forbid,
should dare wilfully to deny or call into doubt that which we
have defined, let him know that he has completely fallen from
the divine and Catholic faith .It is forbidden to any man
to change this, Our declaration, pronouncement, and definition
or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should
presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur
the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and
Paul’ (Munificentissimus Deus [A.D. 1950], 44-45, 47; taken from
Selected Documents of Pope Pius XII [Washington: National Catholic
38. This fact is affirmed by the Roman
Catholic historian and Mariologist Juniper Carol (Mariology, 1:149)
in these comments: ‘The first express witness in the West to a
genuine assumption comes to us in an apocryphal Gospel, the Transitus
beatae Mariae of Pseudo-Melito.’
39. In his decree, Decretum de Libris
Canonicis Ecclesiasticis et Apocrypha, which was later affirmed
by Pope Hormisdas, Gelasius lists the Transitus teaching by the
following title: Liber qui apellatur Transitus, id est Assumptio
Sanctae Mariae under the following condemnation: ‘These and writings
similar to these, which….all the heresiarchs and their disciples,
or the schismatics have taught or written….we confess have not
only been rejected but also banished from the whole Roman and
Apostolic Church and with their authors and followers of their
authors have been condemned forever under the indissoluble bond
of anathema’ (St. Gelasius I, Epistle 42; taken from Henry Denzinger,
The Sources of Catholic Dogma [London: Herder, 1954], 69-70).
Cf. Migne P.L., vol. 59, col. 162, 164.
40. Popes Leo XIII and Benedict XV make
these statements: ‘When Mary offered herself completely to God
together with her Son in the temple, she was already sharing with
him the painful atonement on behalf of the human race….(at the
foot of the cross) she was a co-worker with Christ in His expiation
for mankind and she offered up her Son to the divine justice dying
with him in her heart (Jucunda semper)….Thus she (Mary) suffered
and all but died along with her Son suffering and dying-thus for
the salvation of men she abdicated the rights of a mother toward
her son, and insofar as it was hers to do, she immolated the Son
to placate God’s justice, so that she herself may justly be said
to have redeemed together with Christ the human race. (De Corredemptione;
cited by Carol, ed., Mariology, 1:383, 37)
41.’For there is one God, and one mediator
also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Tim. 2:5).
42.’Since explicit testimonies to Mary
as Queen date from the fifth century and are linked closely with
her divine Maternity, the richest source of this doctrine is the
Transitus Mariae literature. In proclaiming the glories of the
Mother of God and in describing her triumphant entrance into paradise,
they hail her as a glorious queen’ (Carol, ed., Mariology, 1:177).
43. Boniface Ramsey, Beginning to Read
the Fathers (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1986), 6.
44. Cited by W. J. Sparrow Simpson,
Roman Catholic Opposition to Papal Infallibility (London: John
Murray, 1909), 324.