Unity of the Faith

There are many reasons which show the necessity for an authoritative tribunal if the words of the Apostle ‘One Lord, one faith’ (Eph 4:5) are to be realized in every age and in the uttermost parts of the world.

Human nature is and always will be the same. Man is inclined to be independent in his views and tries to force his ideas on others, until he is shown to be evidently wrong. Nor does he sometimes stop even then. He persists in his error and resists the known truth, thus sinning against the Holy Spirit.

There will always be scandals in the Church, but Christ said ‘Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come, but nevertheless, woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh’ (Matt 18:7). God, however, permits this evil, that the faith of the elect may be strengthened. ‘Power is made perfect in infirmity’ (2 Cor 12:9).

This is especially true of our own times. All manner of literature floods the world. There are too many people who consider themselves the judges of everyone and of everything. Teachers of all kinds raise their chair of pestilence in every corner of our cities and villages. Perhaps the grand old Church is still there, or it has just made its appearance. Its doors are open. But most people pass by and go to hear those who suit their passions and inclinations. New fads are the order of the day. Wind and pride are sown in their hearts. Very little is left of the old and eternal truths, which Christ and the Apostles proclaimed to the world. ‘For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine – but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables’ (2 Tim 4:3).

Thus is Christianity divided and subdivided. The books of Revelation are made the anvil of centuries, on which every Christian is allowed to pound at his own pleasure. Should not such a condition of things open the eyes of all Christians and make them realize the necessity of a living tribunal, to which Christ has committed the sacred right and duty of keeping intact, at any cost, the Deposit of Faith? ‘Preach the word, be instant, in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke, in all patience and doctrine’ (2 Tim 4:2).

But the world does not want Christ. Nations and societies are governed by their own laws. Living judges are appointed to interpret a dead-letter code of laws or by-laws, and their decisions are final and binding. The same treatment is not accorded the Church by those same children of the world. Are not perhaps the Scriptures and the laws made by man equally a dead letter in themselves? The Scriptures are indeed the Word of God but at the same time, they need living interpreters. If the laws of man, made by man and for man, need living and authoritative inter-preters for their enforce-ment, how much more does the Word of God need interpreters to explain it without error and enforce it with authority?

If the Scriptures are clear to understand, why did Martin Luther and his imitators make new catechisms of Christian doctrine? Why are libraries filled with innumerable books of interpretations, explanations and commentaries? Above all, why are there any churches where the Scriptures are explained, if the Scriptures are sufficient? And if there should be a church, why so many churches, of so many denominations, in every city and in every town?

If there is a clear statement in the Scriptures which all Christians should endeavor to put into execution, it is certainly the desire which Christ expressed in His prayer to the Eternal Father on the eve of His Passion and Death, ‘That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee – that they also may be one in us’ (John 17:21).

What else do such words mean than that all Christ’s followers should first of all have the same faith? – ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph 4:5).

Unfortunately, there are too many controversies which agitate and divide Christianity. How are they to be settled? If there must be a judge, can it be the Scriptures? Can the Scriptures speak and pronounce the sentence in such unmistakable terms that both litigants know who is right and who is wrong? Well did the old Roman wisdom proclaim more than 2000 years ago: ‘No one is judge in his own case’. Hence, it was not to the Scriptures, but to Peter and his successors that Christ said ‘confirm thy brethren’ (Like 22:32). Tertullian declared that ‘Religious controversies should not and cannot be settled only by the Scriptures because, not only does the Apostle forbid such disputes among Christians, but also because they bear no fruit. Avoid foolish questions (Titus 3:9) and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. For they are unprofitable and vain. What good will it do if what you will defend shall be denied – or on the contrary, what you will deny shall be defended? You will certainly lose nothing but your voice in the contention – you will gain nothing but bile from the blasphemy ‘ (Tertull. Prescript, XV). And he comes to the following unanswerable conclusion: ‘We must not have recourse to, nor constitute a fight on the Scriptures, in which victory is uncertain or none at all but the order of things required to be first proposed, and what is now only to be disputed: To whom belongs the Faith itself, whose are the Scriptures? By whom, and through whom, and when, and to whom was the authority to teach delivered, by which men are made Christians? For where the true Christian discipline and doctrine are shown to be, there will also be the truth of the Scriptures and of their interpretation and of all Christian Tradition’ (Tertull. C. XIX).

A living, infallible tribunal is therefore essential and necessary to keep intact, not only the Deposit of Faith and to propose it without error, but also to keep everywhere and at all times the Unity of the Faith, which is so essential in the Religion of Christ.

7 Responses to “Unity of the Faith”


  1. 1 Antonella May 11, 2010 at 12:45

    The Creed or Credo is a beautiful prayer of faith and unity.
    Also the Rosary prayer if prayed daily stops vices and heresies which might come our way……..indeed we are not left powerless but we have the Spirit of God and His Church to see us through and His Word (Bible)

  2. 2 Pyralis May 11, 2010 at 14:26

    You did well, Gabriella, to touch this point. If only people would read each sentence of your post and ponder on it calmly!

    Each Christian has the need to read Holy Scripture, yet each Christian does not also have the authority or ability to teach and interpret the words of Scripture. This privileged authority is reserved for the Church via its Pope and Bishops, men who are instructed in and knowledgeable of the true faith and guided by the Paraclete.

    When we consider how our Savior gave the grace of teaching to His Holy Apostles (Mat. 28:20) and not to the masses it is easy for us to see that the prerogative to teach is held only by the Catholic Church. It was the Apostles who were sent by Christ to teach and to celebrate the Holy Mysteries (Sacraments). Paul says: How shall they preach, except they be sent? (Rom. 10:15).

    Accordingly, the bishops are the lawful successors to the Apostles and those sent for the preaching (κήρυγμα) to the people. Paul entrusts the heavy burden of the instruction of the people to Timothy and not to the faithful. He speaks of this elsewhere: Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? (1 Cor. 12:29) Again he says to Timothy that the clergy must be apt to teach others (1 Tim. 3:2). He does not, however, say the same thing for the faithful. He makes a distinction between shepherd and sheep, between teacher and those taught. Still, the teachers cannot teach whatever they would like, but that which the Catholic Church teaches universally. They teach in the name of the Church and of Christ.

    Not everyone has the intellectual ability and the requisite divine grace necessary to expound Holy Scripture correctly. The Apostle Peter also says this in his second epistle, referring to the epistles of Paul. He says the following: There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures (2 Peter 3:16).

    Διπλουν ὁρῶσιν οἱ μαθόντες γράμματα.
    (Double see those who know the letters)

  3. 3 Karinann May 11, 2010 at 14:51

    Gabriella,
    Your post does well in explaining and defending our need for the Magesterium,and why we have not only Scripture but Sacred Tradition as well. Fr Corapi did a wonderful series called Word of God in which he used Dei Verbum to explain how we should read the Bible. Your post touches many of the points he covers as well.
    Thanks for another excellent and necessary post. And may we see Christ’s prayer come to fruition; may we all be one.
    God Bless!

  4. 4 Cara May 11, 2010 at 18:30

    I love that photo of the Pope ^_^

  5. 5 Mary Nicewarner May 11, 2010 at 21:33

    The Catholic Church has “the fullness of truth in it” and we who are Catholic are blessed to partake of this fullness. I cannot imagine life without all the Sacraments and the Pope. People everywhere are mocking the Church and the Pope not understanding that JESUS HIMSELF established the Church. That there are sinners in the Church takes nothing away from the authority given to her by Christ. The Holy Spirit continues to guide his Church and no unsound doctrine has crept in. I love the picture!

  6. 6 Cinzia May 12, 2010 at 10:00

    Gabriella, what you state is absolutely right and Pyralis is spot on.

    How the myriads and millions of Protestant churches don’t see this is beyond me. I don’t need to wander far, but only need to open various other blogs to read about yet “another protestant preacher who went about the world with his own version of the scriptures.” There are so many protestant churches, sects, religions it is quite mind-boggling!! Even the Anglican church alone has the “high” church and the “low” church .. and then thousands of other “branches” that have stemmed from there …

    If I were a Protestant I would be very very confused indeed. Protestants seem to like shopping around for the church that best suits them, what they like to believe in and how well that particular “church” responds to their needs, whims and lifestyles. Well they certainly have a lot of choice. You name it, they’ve got it.

    How wrong all of that is!!

    The Catholic Church IS the only one that holds Christ’s truths and teachings unchanged and unchangeable throughout all of time – no matter the era – and Catholics simply do not go about trying to change things and instruct others on what they personally believe. If a Catholic does not like what the Church (Christ) teaches, he/she cannot change that … they simply are not a true Catholic … ultimately just another amongst the millions of different-thinking and different-believing protestant.

    In spite of the One, Holy, Apostolic, Catholic and TRUE Church being called “from the dark ages” and old-fashioned, and in spite of all the mockery, the criticisms, offences and the hatred it endures for the sake of TRUTH – it is absolutely evident that therein lies the LIGHT OF TRUTH THAT WILL NEVER EVER BE EXTINGUISHED.

  7. 7 Antonella May 12, 2010 at 13:08

    Well said Cinzia…….hopefully many sects and protestants read this blog !!


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