The Indefectibility of the Catholic Church

          The Catholic faith holds that the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ is Indefectible. This means it cannot fail to carry out its primary mission of saving souls. This dogma is based on Matthew 16:18 in which Jesus Christ states “and I say to the: That thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Much confusion is generated from this passage mostly because it is not read carefully. Some Catholics think that the pope cannot be corrupted and seeing some older pope’s histories as well as some more recent popes pronouncements some leave the catholic faith. The quote reads “. . . shall not prevail against IT”[my emphasis added], it meaning the church not he the pope. Protestants don’t want to become catholics because they claim we think the pope is infallible, he is not, the catholic church is. Why is this important? Christ wanted all men under one church for just this reason, if anyone, even the pope, were to “go bad” the rest of the church could help pull him and the rest of the church back to God’s ways. If instead of fighting to correct something you just tried to leave as the South attempted to do in civil war, things can’t get better in the institution.  What American would think if we had just let the South split we would not be the great country we are today.  One reason the United States is exceptional, a moniker fought against by many liberals, is that we are the only country in the history of the world to fight a civil war to free OUR slaves. The whole reparations thing is frankly an insult that money could pay for the illegitimate life lose, maiming and sexual abuse of slaves. Only life and blood could be made in reparations and that was totally done and more in the civil war. Not only did the guilty pay on the South’s side but the good people on the North paid with their lives and their limbs also. And lest you write this off as racist opinion, I am, myself a man of color who’s great-great-great grandfather was a slave and am proud to be an American for what this country has done on the behalf of me and my ancestors and my decedents.  

         Unfortunately, a detailed exposition is not covered in the recorded words of Jesus Christ but the last line of the gospel of John, John 21:25, the evangelist John relates “But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written.” This of course is why Jesus Christ left us the church, a dedicated institution of men that can trace their teachers all the way back to Jesus Christ’s apostles. Acts 8:26-31 tells of an angel instructing the apostle Philip to travel south, there he found an Ethiopian attempting to understand a passage referring to Jesus Christ in the book of the prophet Isaias, whereupon Philip asked him: “Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest?” upon which time he replied: “And how can I, unless some man shew me?” The purpose of the church is that each succeeding generation make clearer the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ in his love for us to live rightly so as to be happy here and in eternity, building on the past and future generations not attempting to change it to fulfill the admonition in Hebrews 13:7-9 “Remember your prelates who have spoken the word of God to You, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. Jesus Christ, yesterday, and to day, and the same for ever. Be not lead away with various and strange doctrines. For it is best that the heart be established with grace, not with meat, which have not profited those that walk in them.”

         Acts 1:26 the apostles Judas who betrayed Jesus and so choose to leave the apostles, was replaced by the apostle Mathias.  This I think clearly shows that the apostles were meant to find replacements for themselves.  If they found a replacement for the least of their number, the betrayer of Jesus, to help them continue Jesus work would it not make sense for Jesus Christ to want them to find a replacement for their leader, St. Peter, who Christ himself made their leader? Now there have been a few bad popes as can be seen from the fact that Dante in his poem the Inferno describes a couple of popes in hell (not to say he actually knew one way or another or that this was prophetic only that there have been acknowledged bad popes in the past).

          The last two paragraphs point to the fact that the identity of Christ’s church from Matthew 16:18 is linked to St. Peter as its head and his office was evidently meant to be perpetuated. So when he relates that the gates of hell will not prevail against it how will this criterion be measured? Will prevailing against the church consist of? The last valid priest/bishop dying? Corrupting everyone in the church? If these are the criterion then the end of the world will occur just before one or the other of these things happens. I’m bringing this up so that people will not get smug. We must fight evil everyday by striving to make things better for our fellow man and bring the love of Jesus Christ not only to him but even more importantly into our families and fight the evil perversity that is rising in our civilization.

        Another interpretation is that implied in 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 where Christ has “put all his enemies under his feet.” This could mean a triumphant world where Catholics have made the world a paradise by converting everyone to loving one another and helping one another and accepting all of Jesus Christ’s precepts, doctrines and dogmas so that happiness is finally the rule for everyone and everyone is Catholic. But the whole world is just as under his feet if Jesus Christ returns and damns all the miscreants remaining on earth just before the last Catholic would be destined to fall, possibly to torture or apostasy. He or She, the last Catholic, of course would be saved otherwise the devil would have triumphed before the end and the gates of hell would have prevailed against God’s church.         One of the few firm passages from Jesus on the end times is Matthew 24:9-14 which says “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death and you shall be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and seduce many. And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold. But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom, shall be preached in the whole world, for ta testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come.” What we should take out of this is “he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.” What we should take from this is that we should persevere in charity (the most extreme form of love) until the end.

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