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The Catechism of the Catholic Church Today on whether the Catholic Church was Roman and centered in Rome.


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The Magisterium of the Church


85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."

This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.


Each particular Church is "catholic"


832 "The Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized local groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are united to their pastors, are also quite appropriately called Churches in the New Testament. . . . In them the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord's Supper is celebrated. . . . In these communities, though they may often be small and poor, or existing in the diaspora, Christ is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is constituted." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 26)


833 The phrase "particular Church," which is first of all the diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession. These particular Churches "are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23)


834 Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome "which presides in charity." (St. Ignatius Of Antioch, Ad Rom. 1,1:Apostolic Fathers,II/2,192; cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 13) "For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord."
(St. Irenæus, Adv. Hæres. 3,3,2:PG 7/1,849; cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3057) Indeed, "from the incarnate Word's descent to us, all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior's promise, the gates of Hell have never prevailed against her." (St. Maximus the Confessor, Opuscula theo.: PG 91:137-140)


Why the ecclesial ministry?

874 Christ is himself the source of ministry in the Church. He instituted the Church. He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal:

In order to shepherd the People of God and to increase its numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up in his Church a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body. The holders of office, who are invested with a sacred power, are, in fact, dedicated to promoting the interests of their brethren, so that all who belong to the People of God . . . may attain to salvation.


Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 18

875 "How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? And how can men preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14:15) No one - no individual and no community - can proclaim the Gospel to himself: "Faith comes from what is heard." (Romans 10:17) No one can give himself the mandate and the mission to proclaim the Gospel. The one sent by the Lord does not speak and act on his own authority, but by virtue of Christ's authority; not as a member of the community, but speaking to it in the name of Christ. No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by Christ. From him, bishops and priests receive the mission and faculty ("the sacred power") to act in persona Christi Capitis; deacons receive the strength to serve the people of God in the diaconia of liturgy, word and charity, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterate. The ministry in which Christ's emissaries do and give by God's grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a "sacrament" by the Church's tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.


876 Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry is its character as service. Entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and authority, ministers are truly "slaves of Christ," (cf. Romans 1:1) in the image of him who freely took "the form of a slave" for us. (Philippians 2:7) Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all.
(cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19)


877 Likewise, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a collegial character. In fact, from the beginning of his ministry, the Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as "the seeds of the new Israel and the beginning of the sacred hierarchy." (Vatican II, Ad Gentes 5) Chosen together, they were also sent out together, and their fraternal unity would be at the service of the fraternal communion of all the faithful: they would reflect and witness to the communion of the divine persons. (cf. John 17:21-23) For this reason every bishop exercises his ministry from within the episcopal college, in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter and head of the college. So also priests exercise their ministry from within the presbyterium of the diocese, under the direction of their bishop.


878 Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a personal character. Although Christ's ministers act in communion with one another, they also always act in a personal way. Each one is called personally: "You, follow me" (John 21:22; cf. Matthew 4:19-21; John 1:4) in order to be a personal witness within the common mission, to bear personal responsibility before him who gives the mission, acting "in his person" and for other persons:
"I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . .";
"I absolve you . . . ."


879 Sacramental ministry in the Church, then, is a service exercised in the name of Christ.
It has a personal character and a collegial form. This is evidenced by the bonds between the episcopal college and its head, the successor of St. Peter, and in the relationship between the bishop's pastoral responsibility for his particular church and the common solicitude of the episcopal college for the universal Church.


The episcopal college and its head, the Pope


880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 19; cf. Luke 6:13; John 21:15-17) Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Code of Canon Law, can. 330)


881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. (cf. Matthew 16:18-19; John 21:15-17) "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22 § 2) This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.


882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23) "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Christus Dominus 2,9)


883 "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22; cf. Code of Canon Law, can 336)


884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council." (Code of Canon Law, can. 337 § 1) But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22)


885 "This college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the People of God; and of the unity of the flock of Christ, in so far as it is assembled under one head." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 22)


886 "The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23) As such, they "exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them," (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23) assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches. (cf. Vatican II, Christus Dominus 3) The bishops exercise this care first "by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church," and so contributing "to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23) They extend it especially to the poor, (cf. Galatians 2:10) to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.


887 Neighboring particular Churches who share the same culture form ecclesiastical provinces or larger groupings called patriarchates or regions. (cf. Apostolic Constitutions 34) The bishops of these groupings can meet in synods or provincial councils. "In a like fashion, the episcopal conferences at the present time are in a position to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegiate spirit." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23 § 3)

The teaching office


888 Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their first task "to preach the Gospel of God to all men," in keeping with the Lord's command. (Vatican II, Presbyterorum ordinis 4; cf. Mark 16:15) They are "heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers" of the apostolic faith "endowed with the authority of Christ." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25)


889 In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a "supernatural sense of faith" the People of God, under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, "unfailingly adheres to this faith." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 12; cf. Dei Verbum 10)


890 The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:


891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25; cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3074) When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," (Vatican II, Dei Verbum 10 § 2) and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25 § 2) This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself. (cf. Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25)


892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious assent" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 25) which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.



In Brief


869 The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the Lamb". (Revelation 21:14) She is indestructible. (cf. Matthew 16:18) She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.


870 "The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines". (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 8)


935 To proclaim the faith and to plant his reign, Christ sends his apostles and their successors. He gives them a share in his own mission. From him they receive the power to act in his person.


936 The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him. The bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter, is "head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church on earth". (Code of Canon Law, canon 331)


937 The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, "supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls". (Vatican II, Christus Dominus 2)


938 The Bishops, established by the Holy Spirit, succeed the apostles. They are "the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches". (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium 23)


939 Helped by the priests, their co-workers, and by the deacons, the bishops have the duty of authentically teaching the faith, celebrating divine worship, above all the Eucharist, and guiding their Churches as true pastors. Their responsibility also includes concern for all the Churches, with and under the Pope.



St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202)
Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218)
St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258)
St. Optatus of Milevis, (unknown - A.D. 384)
— Pope St. Julius I, (unknown- A.D. 352)
St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403)
St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396)
Council of Nicæa, (A.D. 325)
Councils of Sardica, (A.D. 347)
Council of Constantinople, (A.D. 360-754)
— St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420)
Pope St. Innocent I, (A.D. c.350-417)
St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428)
Bacchiarius, (early fifth century)
Paulinus the Deacon, (unknown-c.425)
Pope St. Boniface I, (unknown-A.D. 422)
Pope St. Leo I, ( A.D. c.391-461)
 St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 - 450)
Council of Chalcedon, (held in A.D. 451)
Council of Rome, (held in A.D. 482)
Victor Vitensis, (c.430-490)


St. Irenæus of Lyons, (A.D. 125-202), Asia Minor; bishop, missionary, theologian, defender of orthodoxy. Though by birth a Greek, he was Bishop of Lyons in the second century. He tells us that, in his early youth, he learned the rudiments of religion from St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John the Apostle. He wrote several works, of which only a few fragments are now known, with the exception of his Treatise against Heretics which we have in five books.

But as it would take up too much space, in such a volume as this, to enumerate the successions of all the churches, by pointing out that tradition which the greatest, and most ancient, and universally known, Church of Rome — founded and constituted by the two most glorious Apostles Peter and Paul — holds from the Apostles, and the faith announced to all men, which, through the successions of (her) bishops, has come down to us, we confound all those who in any way, whether through self-complacency or vain-glory, or blindness and evil opinion, assemble otherwise than as behooves them.

For to this Church, on account of more powerful principality, it is necessary that every church, who wishes to remain faithful, resort, in which has been preserved that tradition which is from Apostles.

Adv. Hæres. l. iii. c. iii. n. 2, pp. 176-7
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 308-309

Tertullian, (A.D. 160-218), North African; ecclesiastical writer, Christian apologist and lawyer, son of a centurion and contemporary of St. Irenæus, a native and citizen of Carthage. The zeal and ability with which he defended the Christian cause, and vindicated its faith and discipline, have immortalized his name, though it has suffered by his adoption, around the year A.D. 200, of some of the Montanist's errors, whose cause he is thought to have supported until his death. His works are numerous, and are written with great ability and erudition, but in an harsh style.

"It is agreed that they lived, not so long ago, in the reign, speaking generally, of Antoninus, and that they, at first, believed in the doctrine of the Catholic Church, in the Church of Rome, under the episcopate of the blessed Eleutherius."

De Praescrip. n. 30.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 309

"Come, now . . . run over the apostolic churches, in which the very chairs of the Apostles to this very day preside over their own places. ... If thou art near to Italy, thou hast Rome, whence we also have an authority at hand. That Church, how happy! on which the Apostles poured out all their doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a like Passion with the Lord; where Paul is crowned with an end like the Baptist's; where the Apostle John was plunged into boiling oil, and suffered nothing, and was afterwards banished to an island; let us see what she hath learned, what taught, what fellowship she hath had with the churches of Africa likewise.

De Praescript. n. 36.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 309

St. Cyprian of Carthage, (A.D. 200-258), North African; bishop; biblical scholar, martyr.

"Moreover, after all this, having had a pseudo-bishop set up for themselves by heretics, they dare to sail, and to carry letters, from schismatic and profane men, to the chair of Peter, and to the principal Church whence the unity of the priesthood took its rise; nor do they consider that the Romans are those (whose faith was praised in the preaching of the Apostle) to whom faithlessness cannot have access."

Ep. lv. ad Cornel, pp. 182-3.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 309-310

St. Optatus of Milevis, (unknown - A.D. 384), bishop of Milevis, Numidia, in Africa; from Augustine's writings we can assume Optatus was a convert; he is best known for his opposition to the heresy of Donatism.

Having established the primacy of the see of Rome he says:

"But you say that you have a certain share in the city of Rome. This is a branch of your error, shooting forth from falsehood, not from the root of truth. In fact, if Macrobius be asked what chair he fills in that city, can he answer, "Peter's chair?" which I do not know that he even knows by sight, and unto whose memorial, like a schismatic, he has not approached, acting in opposition to the Apostle, who says, "Communicating with the memories of the saints." (Romans 12:13) Lo! there are the memorials of the two Apostles. Say, has he had ingress to them? or has he offered there where it is certain are the memorials of the saints? It remains, therefore, for your colleague, Macrobius, to acknowledge that he sits in the place where once sat Encolpius; and could Encolpius be questioned, he would answer, that he sat where Bonifacius Ballitanus sat before him; and could he be questioned next, he would say, there, where Victor Gabensis sat, he who was sent by your party from Africa, some time back, to a few wanderers. How is this, that your party could not have, in the city of Rome, a bishop that was one of its citizens? How is it that Africans and strangers only are well known to have succeeded each other in that city? Is not the craft apparent? the factiousness, which is the mother of schism? Meanwhile, the cause of Victor's being sent from this country -- I do not say like a stone cast into a spring, for he could not trouble the purity of that Catholic people -- but, because certain Africans chose to fix their residence in that city, and they were known to you to have left this country, they petitioned that some one might be sent to them from this place, to gather them into an assembly. Victor accordingly was sent: there he was a child without a parent ... a pastor without a flock, a bishop with out a people. For the few that, out of forty churches (basilicas) and more, had not a place wherein to meet, were not to be called a flock or a people. Under these circumstances, they fenced round with hurdles a sort of cave outside the city, wherein, at that time, to hold their conventicle, whence they got the name Montenses. Wherefore, as Claudinus is known to have succeeded to Lucianus, Lucianus to Macrobius, Macrobius to Encolpius, Encolpius to Boniface, Boniface to Victor, if Victor had been asked where he sat, he could neither show that any one was there before him, nor point to any chair but the "chair of pestilence". (Psalm 1:1) For pestilence sends its victims, killed by diseases, to Hell, and Hell is known to have its gates, against which gates we read that Peter received the keys of safety, Peter our prince (or, original), to wit, to whom Christ said, "To thee will give the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and the gates of Hell shall not overcome them."

5. Whence then is it that you strive to usurp unto yourselves the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, you who sacrilegiously fight against the chair of Peter, by your presumption and audacity?

[He pursues the argument at some length, showing further that there is no prescription which can justify a continuance in hereditary schism, and concludes his examination of the first mark of the Church as follows:]

Since then it is manifest, and clearer than the light, that we are in connection with so many countless nations, and that so many provinces are in connection with us, you now see that you, who are but a portion of one country, are by your errors separated from the Church, and in vain claim for yourselves the designation of the Church with its marks, which are rather with us than with you; marks which it is evident are so connected together and indivisible, that it is felt that one cannot be separated from the other. For they are, indeed, reckoned by (distinct) names, but they are united in their body (the Church) by a single act of the understanding, as are the fingers in the hand, which we see are kept distinct by the divisions between them. Whence he that holds one, must needs hold all, as each cannot be separated from the rest. Add to this, that we are in possession, not of one (of these marks), but we have them as properly ours. Of the aforesaid marks, then, the chair is, as we have said, the first, which we have proved is ours through Peter, and this first mark carries with it the angel (or jurisdiction)."

De Schism. Donat. l. ii. n. 4, 6.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 310-312

Pope St. Julius I (unknown- A.D. 352), Roman; successor to Pope St. Mark and Pope from A.D. 337-352, chiefly known by the part he took in the Arian controversy.

This letter, it may be remarked, is addressed to several eastern bishops, the opponents of St. Athanasius, by whom it is adduced entire in his " Defense against the Arians." From the same epistle we learn that Pope Julius (in Rome) had cited the Arian bishops who had written to Rome.

"Oh beloved! the judgments of the Church are no longer in accordance with the gospel, but are (by you, Arians) to the inflicting of exile and of death. For even though any transgression had been committed, as you pretend, by these men, the judgment ought to have been in accordance with the ecclesiastical rule (canon), and not thus. It behooved you to write to all of us, that thus what was just might be decreed by all. For they who suffered were bishops, and the churches that suffered no common ones, over which the Apostles ruled in person.

And why were we not written to concerning the Church, especially of Alexandria? or, are you ignorant that this has been the custom first to write to us, and thus what is just be decreed from this place? If, therefore, any such suspicion fell upon the bishop there, it was befitting to write to this Church. But now they who acquainted us not, but did what they themselves chose, proceed to wish us, though unacquainted with facts, to become supporters of their views. Not thus were Paul's ordinances; not thus have the fathers handed down to us; this is another form, and a new institution. Bear with me cheerfully, I beseech you, for what I write is for the common weal. For what we have received from that blessed Apostle Peter, the same do I make known to you; and these things I would not have written to you, deeming them manifest to you all, had not what has been done confounded us."

Ep. ad Eusebian. n. 21, p. 13, t. v. Galland.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 2, Page 67-68

St. Epiphanius of Salamis, (A.D. 332-403), Palestinian; bishop, abbot, scholar.

"There came unto us a certain Marcellina, who had been led astray by these heretics (the Carpocratians), and she corrupted the faith of many during the days of that Anicetus, bishop of Rome, who succeeded Pius and his predecessors.

For, in Rome, Peter and Paul were the first both Apostles and bishops; then came Linus, then Cletus, then Clement, the contemporary of Peter and Paul, of whom Paul makes mention in his epistle to the Romans (Philippians?) And let no one wonder that, though he was the contemporary of Peter and Paul, for he lived at the same time with them, others received that episcopate from the Apostles. Whether it was that while the Apostles were still living he received the imposition of hands as a bishop (of the episcopate) from Peter, and having declined that office he remained unengaged ... or whether, after the succession of the Apostles, he was appointed by bishop Cletus, we do not clearly know. . . . However the succession of the bishops in Rome was in the following order. Peter and Paul, and Cletus, Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Xystus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, Pius, Anicetus, the same named by me above as in the list. And let no one wonder that we have gone through each of these matters; for by means of these the manifest (truth) is forever pointed out."

T. 1, adv. Hæres (27) p. 107.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 274-275

St. Ambrose of Milan, (A.D. 340-396), German; reluctantly made bishop in the A.D. 374., Doctor of the Church. He closed a great and glorious career in A.D. 396. We have his life by Paulinus.

"He who had experienced the protection of the heavenly mystery, whilst folded in the linen cloth, to be so powerful, how great did he not think it would be if he received it with in his mouth, and enclosed it within the inmost recesses of his breast? How much more effectual did he not think that, which had aided him so well when hidden within that cloth, would be when infused within him? But he was not so eager as to cease to be cautious. He called the bishop to him, and not accounting any grace true which was not of the true faith, he inquired of him whether he agreed with (or, assembled with) the Catholic bishops, that is, with the Roman Church. And it happened that in that spot, in the midst of the schism of that country, there was a Church. For Lucifer had then separated himself from our communion, and although he had been banished for his faith, and had left heirs of his own faith, yet Satyrus did not think that faith is (to be found) in schism. For although they might retain their faith towards God, yet did they not retain it towards God's Church, whose members, like limbs, they suffered to be divided and lacerated.

For as Christ suffered for the sake of the Church, and the Church is Christ's body, faith does not seem to be shown to Christ by those, by whom His suffering is made void, and His body is separated."

T. ii. l. 1, De Excessu Fratris, n. 4:7.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 312-313

Council of Nicaea, (A.D. 325), met for two months and twelve days in Nice, (or Nicsea), in Bithynia. Three hundred and eighteen bishops were present. This council gave us the Nicene Creed as a result of Arius' heretical opinions, defining the true Divinity of the Son of God (homoousios). They also fixed of the date for keeping Easter and passed several canons of ecclesiastical discipline.

"Let the ancient customs be preserved, which are in Egypt and Libya, and Pentapolis, by which the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all those places; seeing that this is also customary to the bishop of Rome."

It is well known that the legates of St. Leo quoted this canon as follows:

"The Church of Rome has always had the primacy, therefore also Egypt has it, so that the bishop of Alexandria has authority over all, seeing that this is also customary to the bishop of Rome."

Concil. Nicaen. can. vi. col. 32, Labb. t. ii.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 313

Councils of Sardica, (A.D. 347), was one of the series of councils (or synods) called to adjust the doctrinal and other difficulties of the Arian controversy. The Roman Emperors Constans and Constantius II were called for the council.

In the year 347, this council, which, by some, is considered as an appendix to the council of Nicaea, decreed that:

"If any bishop thinks that he has been in any cause misjudged, and imagines that he has not a bad, but a good cause, in order that the judgment may be renewed, if ft seem good to your love, let us honor the memory of the Apostle Peter, and let those who have judged the cause write to Julius, bishop of Rome, that, by the neighboring bishops of the province, the judgment may be renewed, and he furnish judges."

Can. iii. Can. Sardic. col. 630, t. ii. Labb.
The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 313-314

Council of Constantinople, (A.D. 360-754), can refer to any one of seven councils held within the patristic age, including three ecumencial councils of the Church held in A.D. 381/383, 553, and 680, the first dealing with the Nicene Creed, the Incarnation of Jesus and defining the Church as "One, holy, Catholic, and apostolical."

"The bishop of Constantinople shall have the primacy of honor after the bishop of Rome, because that Constantinople is new Rome."

The Faith of Catholics, Volume 1, Page 314

St. Jerome, (A.D. 342-420), Dalmatian; born in Strido; priest, hermit, abbot, biblical scholar, translator and Doctor of the Church. In an age distinguished by men of the greatest eloquence and learning, St. Jerome, especially in all matters connected with the Sacred Scriptures, was then preeminent, and has probably never since been equalled.

"I have thought that I ought to consult the chair of Peter, and the faith that was commended by the mouth of the Apostle, seeking now the food of my soul from that place where, in other days, I received the robe of Christ. . . . Following no chief (none first) but Christ, I am joined in communion with your Holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter. Upon that rock I know that the Church is built. Whoever eats the lamb out of this house is profane. If any be not in the ark of Noah, he will perish whilst the deluge prevails. . . . Whosoever gathers not with Thee, scatters, that is, whosoever is not of Christ, is of Antichrist."

T. 1, Ep. xv. ad Damas, n. 1, 2, col. 37-8.
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For your admonition concerning the canons of the Church, we return you thanks; but meanwhile, know that we have had no earlier custom (or, nothing is dearer to us) than to guard the rights of Christ, and not to move the landmarks of the fathers, and ever to bear in mind the Roman faith, commended by the mouth of an Apostle, and of which faith the church of Alexandria boasts that it is a partaker."

T. 1, Ep. lxiii. ad Theopli. n. 2, col. 351.
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"And because I am afraid, yea have by report learnt, that in certain places the venomous plants even yet live and put forth shoots, I think, in the pious affection of my love, that I ought to give you this warning, that you hold fast the faith of holy Innocent, who is both the successor and the son of the afore-named man (Anastasius), and of the apostolic chair; 5 nor, however wise and shrewd you may seem to yourself, receive any strange doctrine."

T. 1, Ep. cxxx. ad Demetri. n. 16, col. 986.
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"Would you know, O Paula and Eustochium, in what way the Apostle distinguished each province by its peculiar characteristics? Even to this day do the same imprints both of virtues and of vices remain. Of the Roman people the faith is commended. Where besides, with such zeal and numbers, does such a concourse flow to the churches, or the tombs of the martyrs? Where does the "Amen" so re-echo like the thunder of Heaven, and the deserted temples of the idols shake, as there? Not that the Romans have any other faith than that which all the churches of Christ have, but that in them is greater devotion, and simple readiness to believe."

T. vii. Proaem. ad l. ii. Comm. ad Galat. col. 427.
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Pope St. Innocent I, (A.D. c.350-417) was pope from (A.D. 401 to 417), he lost no opportunity in maintaining and extending the authority of the Roman See as the ultimate resort for the settlement of all disputes.

"Though, dearest brother, agreeably to the worth and honor of the priesthood, where with you are eminently distinguished, you are acquainted with all the maxims of life and doctrine contained in the ecclesiastical law, neither is there anything which you have not gathered from your sacred reading, . . . yet, seeing that you have earnestly requested to be made acquainted with the pattern, and authority of the Roman Church, I have, from my profound respect for your wish, sent you digested regulations of life, and the approved of customs, whereby the people who compose the churches of your country may perceive, by what things and rules, the life of Christians, each according to his own profession, ought to be restrained; and also what discipline is observed in the Church of the city of Rome.

It will be for your friendliness diligently to make them known throughout the neighboring people, and to communicate to our fellow-priests who preside over their respective churches in those countries, this book of rules, as an instructor and a monitor, that they may both be acquainted with our customs, and, by sedulous teaching, form, in accordance with the faith, the manners of those who flock unto them. Let us, therefore, begin, with the help of the holy Apostle Peter, through whom both the apostleship and the episcopate took their rise in Christ."

Ep. ii. ad Victric. n. 1, 2, Galland. t. viii.p. 546.
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"An exceeding anxiety has often kept me in fear about the dissensions and schism of the churches in Spain, which report loudly declares are daily spreading and advancing with more rapid strides: the needful time has now come wherein it is not possible any longer to defer the much-required correction, and wherein a suitable remedy must be provided.

For our brother, Hilary my fellow-bishop, and Elpidius, presbyter, partly moved by the love of unity, partly influenced, as they ought to be, by the ruinous evils under which your province labors, have journeyed to the apostolic see; and, in the very bosom of faith, have, with sorrow and lamentation, described how peace has been violated within your province."

Ep. iii. ad Victric. n. 1, p. 551.
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"If the priests of the Lord but desired to guard entire the ecclesiastical constitutions transmitted by the blessed Apostles, there would be no diversity, no variety in ordinations and consecrations. But, while each one is of opinion that, not what has been transmitted, but what seems good to himself, is to be held, thence, in different places, or churches, there are seen different (customs) held or observed: and thus scandal is given to the people, who, being ignorant that the ancient traditions have been corrupted by human presumption, either think that the churches do not agree together, or that this contrariety was introduced by the Apostles, or by apostolic men. For who knows not, or notices not, that what was delivered to the Roman Church by Peter, the prince of the Apostles, and is to this day guarded, ought to be observed by all men, and that nothing ought to be superinduced, or introduced which has not (that) authority, or which may seem to derive its precedent elsewhere, clear especially, as it is, that no one has founded churches through out the whole of Italy, the Gauls, Spain, Africa, and Sicily, and the interjacent islands, except those whom the venerable Apostle Peter, or his successors, appointed priests? Let them read whether in those provinces any other of the Apostles is found, or is recorded, to have taught. But if they read of no other, for they never can find any other, they ought to follow what is observed by the Roman Church from which there is no doubt that they derived their origin, lest whilst they court strange assertions, they be seen to set aside the source (head) of their institutions. It is well known that your friendliness has often been at Rome, been present with us in church, and cognizant of the customs which prevailed both in consecrating the mysteries, and in the other secret (offices). We should assuredly consider this sufficient for the information, or the reformation, of your church, should it be that your predecessors have in any respect not held with, or held differently from, us, had you not thought that we were to be consulted on certain matters. On these we send you replies, not as thinking you in any respect ignorant, but that you may regulate your people with greater authority; or, should any have gone aside from the institutions of the Roman Church, that you may either yourself admonish them, or not delay to point them out to us, that we may know who they are who either introduce novelties, or who think that the custom of any other church, but that of Rome, is to be followed."

Ep. xxv. ad Decentium, n. 1-3, Galland, t. viii.p. 586.
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St. Augustine of Hippo, (A.D. 354-428), North African; born in Tagaste in A.D. 354, baptized in Milan in A.D. 387, ordained a priest in A.D. 391 and appointed bishop of Hippo in A.D. 395, Augustine is one of our greatest theologians. His numerous works display genius of the highest order, and have ever had great weight in the Christian churches. He is also a Doctor of the Church.

"The Novatians, Arians, Patripassionists ... do not, as you remark, communicate with us. But wherever they are, there is the Catholic Church, as it is in Africa, where also you (Donatists) are; but not where soever the Catholic Church is, are either you or any other of the various heresies. Whence it is apparent, which is the tree that in its abounding fruitfulness stretches out its branches over the whole earth, and which are the broken branches that have no life from the root, and are lying and withering each on its own ground."

T. ix. l. iv. Contr. Crescen. n. 75, col. 794-5.
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"The Christian religion is to be held by us, and the communion of that Church, which is Catholic, and is called Catholic, not only by its own members, but also by all its adversaries. For in spite of themselves, even the very heretics, and disciples of schisms, when speaking not with their fellows, but with strangers, call the Catholic Church nothing else but the Catholic Church. For they cannot be understood, unless they distinguish her by that name by which she is designated by the whole world."

T. i. De Vera Relig. n. 12 (al. 7), col. 1214.
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"He could afford not to heed the conspiring multitude of his enemies, whereas he saw himself united by letters of communion both with the Roman Church, in which the primacy (principality) of the apostolic chair has always prevailed and with the rest of the world whence also the gospel came to Africa itself, where he would be ready to plead his cause if his adversaries should attempt to alienate those churches from him."

T. ii. Ep. xliii. Glorio et caeteris, n. 7, col. 136.
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Bacchiarius, (early fifth century), a learned monk who flourished in A.D. 420 and whose writings are given by Gallandius, t. ix.

"If, for one man's fault, the population of a whole province is to be anathematized, then will be condemned also that most blessed disciple (of Peter's), Rome to wit, out of which there have sprung up not one, but two or three, or even more heresies, and yet not one of them has been able either to have possession, or to move the chair of Peter, that is, the seat (or see) of faith."

De Fide, n. 2; Galland. t. ix. p. 183.
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St. Paulinus the Deacon, (also known as Paulinus of Milan), (unknown-c.425), was the notary of Ambrose of Milan, and his biographer. In Carthage in 411 he had opposed Caelestius, a Pelagian. The formal proceedings were described by Augustine in On Original Sin. Paulinus set up six theses defining Pelagian views as heresy. His work is the only life of Ambrose based on a contemporary account, "Life of St. Ambrose" and was written at the request of Augustine of Hippo; it is dated to 422.

"I appeal to the justice of your holiness, my Lord Zozimus, venerable pope. The true faith is never troubled, and this especially in the Apostolic Church, wherein the teachers of a corrupt faith are as easily detected as they are truly punished . . . that they may have in them that true faith which the Apostles taught, and which is held by the Roman Church, and by all the teachers of the Catholic faith."

Libell. Adv. Caeles. Zozim. Oblatus. n. 1; Galland. t. ix. p. 32.
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Pope St. Boniface I, (unknown-A.D. 422), pope from 418 to 422, he was a contemporary of Saint Augustine of Hippo, who dedicated to him some of his works.

"It is certain that this Church (of Rome) is to the churches spread over the whole world as the head is to its own members; from which Church whoso has cut himself off, has become an alien to Christianity, from the time that he began not to be in this fellowship."

Ep. xiv. Epis. Thess. t. ix. Galland. p. 57.
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Pope St. Leo I, ( A.D. c.391-461), also known as Leo the Great, bishop of Rome (A.D. 440 to 461); an Italian aristocrat, remembered theologically for issuing the Tome of Leo, a document which was foundational to the debates of the Ecumenical Council of Chalcedon.

"You, therefore, beloved of God, and commended by an apostolic testimony, to whom the Apostle Paul, the doctor of the Gentiles, says, "Because your faith is spoken of in the whole world", (Romans 1) preserve amongst you that which you know that so great a preacher thought concerning you. Let none amongst you become a stranger to this praise; that so, those whom, during so many ages, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, no heresy has violated, neither may the defilements of the Eutychian impiety be able to stain."

Serm. xcvi. Tr. i. Contr. Hæres. Eutych. c. iii. p. 374.
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"It behooves your friendliness to see clearly, with all your soul, over the government of what Church the Lord has willed you to preside, and to be mindful of that doctrine which the most blessed Peter, the chief of all the Apostles, established throughout the whole world indeed by a uniform teaching, but by a special instruction in the cities of Antioch and of Rome. ... It behooves you, therefore, to be with the utmost vigilance careful, lest heretical pravity may claim anything unto itself; since it becomes you, by your sacerdotal authority, to resist such, and frequently, by your reports concerning the progress of the churches, to inform us of what is doing. For it is proper that you be a partner with the apostolic chair in this solicitude; and to produce confidence in acting, be conscious of the privileges of the third see, which do not suffer to be lessened in anything by the ambition of any individual; for so great is my reverence for the Nicaean canons, that I neither have permitted, nor will I permit, the things settled by the holy fathers to be violated by any innovation. For although the merits of prelates may sometimes be different, yet do the rights of the chairs continue; against which, although rivals may create some trouble, yet can they not lessen their dignity. Wherefore, when soever your friendliness shall think that something ought to be done in support of the privileges of the church of Antioch, let it be explained to me by a letter from you, that we may be able to reply positively and befittingly."

T. i. Ep. cxix. ad Max. Antioch. c. 3, p. 121.
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St. Peter Chrysologus, (A.D. 406 - 450), deacon, bishop of Imola and Ravenna, and Doctor of the Church, his piety and zeal won for him universal admiration, and his oratory merited for him the name Chrysologus, meaning: golden-worded or golden mouth.

"We exhort you, honored brother, (Eutyches), that in all things you obediently attend to those things which have been written by the most blessed Pope, (Leo), of the city of Rome, because blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, gives, to those who seek, true faith. For we, in our solicitude for truth and faith, cannot, without the consent of the bishop of the Roman Church, hear causes of faith."

Proleg. Observ. Ed. Baochin. Op. S. Petr. Chrys. p. xvi.
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Council of Chalcedon, (held in A.D. 451) was convened to oppose the errors of Eutyches, who was archimandrite of a monastery at Constantinople. In avoiding the errors of Nestorius, he fell into an opposite extreme, and taught that in Christ the human nature was so absorbed by the divine, that in Christ there was really but one nature, and that the nature of God.

When this council, held in 451, had closed during the celebration of which Pope Leo had, by his delegates, and in many previous transactions, maintained a conspicuous part, and upheld the jurisdiction of the Roman see -- the eastern prelates there assembled addressed an epistle to him, wherein, after extolling him as "the interpreter of Peter," who had "nourished them by his writings," and declaring that he, by his legates, "had presided over them, as a head over the members," and that to him "the guardianship of the vineyard had been entrusted by the Lord;" they add,

"We signify (to you) that we have also decreed certain other things for the sake of the good ordering of affairs, and for the stability of the ecclesiastical laws, being persuaded that your holiness also, when informed thereof, would both receive and confirm the same. . . . We have confirmed the canon promulgated by the hundred and fifty fathers who assembled at Constantinople ... that after your most blessed and apostolic (throne), that of Constantinople should have the primacy. Being persuaded that, as the apostolic ray shines (rules) with you, you will often extend it to this city of Constantinople, having care (of it) as usual, through your bestowing (without envy) the participation of your own good things upon those who are related to you. The things, therefore, which we have decreed, for the removal of all confusion, and for the confirmation of the good ordering of the Church, vouchsafe, most holy and most blessed father, to embrace them, as both your own and beloved by you, and tending unto decorum. For they who filled the place of your holiness, the most holy bishops, Paschasinus and Lucentius, and the most reverend priest, Boniface, tried to resist exceedingly these things thus arranged, wishing without doubt that this good thing also should be originated by your forethought, that as the happy establishment of the faith, so also of this good order, should be accounted yours. For we, both reverencing the most religious and most Christian sovereigns who were pleased with this, and the illustrious senate, and the whole royal city, so to speak, thought it befitting that the confirmation of the honor of this city should proceed from the ecumenical synod. . . . We therefore call upon you to honor also with your sanction our judgment; even as we have brought our harmonious agreement unto the head in (all) good things, so also let the head fulfil what is befitting for the children. For thus also will the religious sovereigns be reverenced who have confirmed the decision of your holiness as a law; and the throne of Constantinople will make you a return, as it has ever fully exhibited all zeal towards the things disposed by you in the cause of true religion, and has zealously united itself with you in oneness of sentiment."

Ep. Synod. Leoni, col. 836-8; T. iv. Labb. Concil.
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Council of Rome (held in A.D. 482) where bishops assembled to finally affirm and canonize the canon of both the Old and New Testament Scripture; Pope St. Damasus I presiding.

In an epistle from the fourth council of Rome, held in A.D. 494, we have the following:

"We have also thought that it ought to be noticed, that although the Catholic churches, spread over the world, be the one bridal chamber as it were of Christ, yet has the Roman Church been, by certain synodal constitutions, raised above the rest of the churches; yea, also, by the evangelical voice of the Lord our Savior did it obtain the primacy. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church." (Matthew 16) There has been also added the dwelling there of the most blessed Apostle Paul, the vessel of election; who, not at a different time, as heretics mutter, but at the same time, and on one and the same day, was crowned, together with Peter, by a glorious death in the city of Rome, suffering under Nero; and together did they consecrate the above-named Roman Church to Christ the Lord, and by their precious and venerable triumph have raised it above all other churches in the whole world. The first see, therefore, of the Apostle Peter, is the Roman Church, which has "no spot or wrinkle, or any such thing." (Ephesians 5:27)

Labb. t. ii. col. 1013.
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Victor Vitensis, (c.430-490), also known as Victor of Vite, an African bishop of the province of Byzacena (called Vitensis from his See of Vita); he wrote "The history of persecution of the African province, and Hunirici Geiserici times of the kings of the Vandals". This is mainly a contemporary narrative of the cruelties practised against the orthodox Christians of Northern Africa by the Arian Vandals.

"If the king wish to know our faith, which is the one, true faith, let him send to his friends, and I too will write to my brethren, that my fellow-bishops may come -- men who may be able, with me, to demonstrate to you our common faith; and especially the Roman Church, which is the head of all the churches. . . . If he wish to know the true faith, let him write to his friends that they may direct our Catholic bishops, and I will write to my fellow bishops, because the cause of the whole Catholic Church is one."

De Persec. Afric. l. iii. p. 682; t. viii. Bibl. Max. SS. PP.
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The Church which has the marks of:

      • Unity (One)
      • Visibility (We can tell with our senses, where the faith is.)
      • Indefectibility (That it cannot fail.)
      • Succession from the Apostles (Apostolic)
      • Universality (Catholic), and
      • Sanctity (Holy)

is termed the Roman Catholic Church and are evidently applicable to her.


The Church's Scriptures that support the Roman Catholic Church:


Our Lord speaks to Paul after the Jewish Council

11 The following night the Lord stood by him and said, "Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome."


Acts 23:11

Saluation from the beginning of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans

1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3 the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; 7 To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Romans 1:1-7

Thanksgiving and Encouragement

16 May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me — 18 may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day — and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.


2 Timothy 1:16-18

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