"Keep close to the Catholic Church at all times, for the Church alone can give you true peace, since she alone possesses Jesus, the true Prince of Peace, in the Blessed Sacrament." - Padre Pio of Peitrelcina

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Some Basic Truths and Facts that Catholics Must Know

The following article is reproduced from the mostholyfamilymonastery.com and is the intellectual product of Bro. Michael Dimond and Bro. Peter Dimond to whom sole credit belongs:

Since very few still have the faith and even fewer preach it, there is a widespread ignorance of even the basic truths of the Catholic Faith in our day. 

Pope Benedict XIV, Cum Religiosi (# 4), June 26, 1754: “See to it that every minister performs carefully the measures laid down by the holy Council of Trent . . . that confessors should perform this part of their duty whenever anyone stands at their tribunal who does not know what he must by necessity of means know to be saved . . .

We will now review some of them: 

The Trinity and the Incarnation

There is one God in Three Divine Persons (Father, Son and Holy Ghost). The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God; yet they are not three gods, but One God. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Son of God, assumed a human nature and became man from the flesh of the Virgin Mary. Our Lord Jesus Christ is one Divine Person with two natures: divine and human. He is God and man. The Trinity (One God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost) and the Incarnation are the two most essential mysteries of the Catholic Faith which no one above reason can be ignorant of and be saved. 

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica: “After grace had been revealed, both the learned and simple folk are bound to explicit faith in the mysteries of Christ, chiefly as regards those which are observed throughout the Church, and publicly proclaimed, such as the articles which refer to the Incarnation, of which we have spoken above.”

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica: “And consequently, when once grace had been revealed, all were bound to explicit faith in the mystery of the Trinity.”

All who die in mortal sin will go to Hell

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, “Letentur coeli,” Sess. 6, July 6, 1439, ex cathedra: “We define also that  . . . the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go straightaway to Hell, but to undergo punishments of different kinds.”

Catholics must also know that all who die in mortal sin will go to Hell forever. Mortal sins include: murder, fornication (i.e. sexual acts outside of marriage or acts leading up to sex outside of marriage), lying, drunkenness, consenting to impure thoughts, masturbation, looking at pornography, adultery, cheating, taking God’s name in vain, birth control (NFP) or artificial contraception, assisting the propagation of heresy, funding heretics, dishonoring the Sabbath, breaking the commandments, etc. If someone were to commit a mortal sin and then go to Confession, he must have the firm resolution never to commit the sin again. This is called the firm purpose of amendment. If a person commits a mortal sin and doesn’t have the firm purpose of amendment when he goes to Confession, he commits a sacrilege and the Confession is invalid. Most souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh. Those who are committing sins of the flesh need to stop immediately if they don’t want to perish forever in the fires of Hell.

St. Alphonsus on the damnation of the impure: "Continue, O fool, says St. Peter Damian (speaking to the unchaste), continue to gratify the flesh; for the day will come in which thy impurities will become as pitch in thy entrails, to increase and aggravate the torments of the flame which will burn thee in Hell: 'The day will come, yea rather the night, when thy lust shall be turned into pitch, to feed in thy bowels the everlasting fire." (Preparation for Death, abridged version, p. 117)

What is the Papacy?

Many of those who claim to be Catholics also don’t understand the Papacy. We’ve discovered from experience that many of those who even claim to be “traditional” Catholics don’t even know what the Papacy is. The Office of the Papacy is the office that Christ instituted in St. Peter (see Mt. 16:18-20; John 21:15-17). St. Peter was made the chief of the Apostles and visible head of the Church by Jesus Christ. The Office of St. Peter (the Papacy) is occupied by every true and lawful Bishop of Rome, who becomes a successor to St. Peter in the primacy over the universal (Catholic) Church of Jesus Christ. This means and guarantees that every time there is a true and valid occupant of the Office he is endowed by Christ with infallibility (in his authoritative and binding teaching capacity, not in everything he says or teaches); he is endowed with supreme jurisdiction over the universal Church; and he is the visible head of the Church. That remains true for every true and lawful occupant of the Papal Office. Those teachings proclaimed by the popes in history with their binding authority (such as the Council of Trent or the Council of Florence or a solemn Papal Bull on faith, etc.) constitute the deposit of faith – the unchangeable teachings to which Catholics must submit, and on which they base what they believe as the faithful transmission of the teaching of Scripture and Tradition. The Papacy doesn’t mean that the Church will have a true pope at all times, as Church history and more than 200 papal vacancies prove, nor does it mean that antipopes reigning from Rome are an impossibility (such as Antipope Anacletus II, who reigned in Rome from 1130-1138) – as is the case today. 

Very few are Saved and most of the world, including most Catholics, are damned

Catholics must also understand that few are saved. Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed that the road to Heaven is straight and narrow and few find it, while the road to Hell is wide and taken by most (Mt. 7:13). 

Matthew 7:13 - “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life, and few there are that find it!

Luke 13:24 - “Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.”

Scripture also teaches that almost the entire world lies in darkness, so much so that Satan is even called the “prince” (John 12:31) and “god” (2 Cor. 4:3) of this world.

1 John 5:19 - “We know that we are of God, and the whole world is seated in wickedness.”

It is the sad fact of history that most people in the world are of bad will and don’t want the truth.  That is why almost the whole world lies in darkness and on the road to perdition. This has been the case since the beginning. It was the case when only eight souls (Noe and his family) escaped God’s wrath in the deluge that covered the entire earth, and when the Israelites rejected God’s law and fell into idolatry over and over again.

The truth is that for those who truly believe in God, accept His full truth (the Catholic Faith), don’t compromise it and want to do the right thing, it’s not hard to reach Heaven. As Christ said, “My yoke is sweet and My burden light” (Mt. 11:30). The reason that so few make it is not because it’s that hard, but because they refuse to believe the simple and easy things He has revealed, and do the simple and easy things He has commanded. Those who do what God wants and believe what He says realize that they are much happier than they were before.

But the sad truth is that almost all people are of bad will. This is why the saints and Doctors of the Church have consistently taught only a very small percentage of people are saved. In fact, the saints and Doctors of the Church, even during the ages of faith, taught that most adult Catholics are lost.

St. Leonard of Port Maurice [A.D. 1676-1751], on the fewness of the saved: “After consulting all the theologians and making a diligent study of the matter, he [Suarez] wrote, ‘The most common sentiment which is held is that, among Christians [Catholics], there are more damned souls than predestined souls.’  Add the authority of the Greek and Latin Fathers to that of the theologians, and you will find that almost all of them say the same thing. This is the sentiment of Saint Theodore, Saint Basil, Saint Ephrem, Saint John Chrysostom. What is more, according to Baronius it was a common opinion among the Greek Fathers that this truth was expressly revealed to Saint Simeon Stylites and that after this revelation, it was to secure his salvation that he decided to live standing on top of a pillar for forty years, exposed to the weather, a model of penance and holiness for everyone. Now let us consult the Latin Fathers. You will hear Saint Gregory saying clearly, "Many attain to faith, but few to the heavenly kingdom." Saint Anselm declares, "There are few who are saved." Saint Augustine states even more clearly, "Therefore, few are saved in comparison to those who are damned." The most terrifying, however, is Saint Jerome. At the end of his life, in the presence of his disciples, he spoke these dreadful words: "Out of one hundred thousand people whose lives have always been bad, you will find barely one who is worthy of indulgence."

When St. Leonard of Port Maurice uses the term “Christian,” he means Catholics, not heretics. St. Leonard is repeating the consistent teaching of the Fathers and Doctors: most adult Catholics (not even including the non-Catholic world) are lost. If this was the sentiment about the salvation of Catholics in the ages of faith, what would they say today? If you have trouble accepting the truths presented on this website because “it’s just too hard to believe that this many people could be wrong or deceived,” consider the teaching of Our Lord and the saints above. Consider how much more true the teaching on the fewness of the saved is today:

Lucia found Jacinta sitting alone, still and very pensive, gazing at nothing. ‘What are you thinking of, Jacinta?’ ‘Of the war that is going to come. So many people are going to die. And almost all of them are going to Hell.’” (Our Lady of Fatima, p. 94; p. 92 in some versions)

Jacinta of Fatima, who had visions of future events, said that of those who would die in World War II almost all of them would go to Hell.

St. Anselm: “If thou wouldst be certain of being in the number of the elect, strive to be one of the few, not of the many. And if thou wouldst be quite sure of thy salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few . . . Do not follow the great majority of mankind, but follow those who enter upon the narrow way, who renounce the world, who give themselves to prayer, and who never relax their efforts by day or by night, that they may attain everlasting blessedness.” (Fr. Martin Von Cochem, The Four Last Things, p. 221.)

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
And I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell;
But most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

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