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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Heresy from The Pulpit

Most Catholics would not catch the "new" and dangerous misuse of the word "Church" among some Catholic priests.

The term "church" or ekklesia, specifically refers to the Catholic Church, and, as the Pope Emeritus pointed out, the Orthodox Church. The term "church" does not apply to Protestant denominations, nor does the term "Christian Church". This latter term applies to the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church only. One can read Dominus Iesus on this blog and on the Vatican site found here.

To refer to other denominations, of which there are at least 43,000, all split-offs from the Catholic Church and from each other, as "church" is not only an incorrect use of the term, but heretical.

To use the term "church" to mean only the local church, such as a parish or diocese, is also incorrect, as the Catholic Church is universal. This usage has been heard many times, incorrectly, by priests and lay people in authority. To keep saying, "We are church" implies that "we" are not connected to Rome, and the intent may be creeping Americanist ideas.

But, to actually say that the Christian Church includes Protestants is incorrect. Church indicates the liturgical assembly, the local Church, and the universal Church, but not the separated brethren.

To state further, like some Protestants do, that there is an "invisible" church denies the establishment of the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church by Christ through the apostles. There is no invisible church denying an institution.

When Catholics refer to the invisible Church we mean the Church Suffering in purgatory and the Church Triumphant in heaven, not some sort of vague unseen union.

The Bride of Christ is real and visible. The Church is an institution. The Church in the Catholic Church hoping for complete union of separated Christians, which does not mean some "pan-Christian church", but the conversion of our brothers and sisters in the Protestant denomnations to Catholicism, the only one, true way to God.

817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:
Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271