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Table of Contents:

LinksDoes Being Catholic Make a Difference? -- Mormon Bashing? -- Distinctive Beliefs of the Mormon Church -- Search of "the great apostasy" -- Apostolic Succession -- The Authority of the Pope Part 1 -- Origins of Peter as Pope -- Peter's Successors -- Bishop, Priest, and Deacon -- What "Catholic" Means -- Search Catholic Teachings -- Catholic Topics  -- Catholic teachings by paragraph number --  The Inquisition -- Private Revelation Has Never Stopped  -- The Inquisition and Abortion -- Mary -- Myths about Indulgences -- Search Catholic Answers -- Sacred Tradition -- 


The Mormon Church claims it restored the Melchizedek Priesthood

Gospel Principles Chapter 16  "One by one, the Apostles were killed. Because of the persecution, surviving Apostles could not meet to choose and ordain men to replace those who were dead. Eventually, local priesthood leaders were the only ones who had authority to direct the scattered branches of the Church."

Gospel Principles Chapter 17  "Authority from God Was Restored ... John the Baptist came in 1829 to ordain Joseph Smith ... Then Peter, James, and John . . .  came and gave Joseph and Oliver the Melchizedek Priesthood and the keys of the kingdom of God ... the priesthood was returned to the earth."

Gospel Principles Chapter 14  "The priesthood is divided into two parts:  . . .  the Aaronic Priesthood have authority to administer the outward ordinances of repentance and baptism. . .  the Melchizedek Priesthood have the power and authority to lead the Church . ... When the Aaronic Priesthood is conferred on a man or boy, he is ordained to an office in that priesthood. The offices in the Aaronic Priesthood are deacon, teacher, priest, and bishop. ... A bishop is ordained and set apart to preside over the Aaronic Priesthood in a ward. 

Gospel Principles Chapter 13   ". . .  receives the priesthood by the laying on of hands by those who are in authority. . ."  

Gospel Principles Chapter 16  "Jesus had set a pattern for twelve Apostles to govern the Church. It seemed clear that the organization was to continue as he had established it" 

Gospel Principles Chapter 14  "Those who are ordained to the office of Apostle ... is given all the keys of the kingdom of God on earth, but only the senior Apostle, who is President of the Church, actively exercises all of the keys.


Peter's authority is continued in the Apostolic Church through succession
(ETWN)

A convert from Mormonism to the Catholic Church writes "The more I researched, the more flaws I found with the Mormon doctrines I had been taught. I found that the Mormon teaching of a great and total apostasy in the early Church established by Jesus Christ was simply not true. The overwhelming historical evidence available supports the Catholic teaching on Apostolic succession. ... Without a great and total apostasy there is no need for a restoration. Another truth I discovered is that there is only one God. I could no longer accept the Mormon view of a plurality of gods ..." .

Peter and His Successors 
(From Catholic Answers)

Peter's authority is continued in the Church through the succession of the popes. ... Our Lord actually compared his Church to a building erected on the foundation of Peter's authority. ... Christ's own guarantee of permanence to his Church implies that the authority he conferred on Peter will remain with it as the most essential feature, the foundation, the source of unity, strength, and endurance. ... There is an early record that before Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome they together chose Linus as Peter's successor. He ruled the Church for about eleven years from 67. For the next twelve years Cletus was pope and then Clement from 90 to 100. ... the headship of the Church belongs to the bishop of Rome ...  ... The papacy is not handed on by one bishop of Rome to another through the laying on of hands ... A man is pope because the Church recognizes him as bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter.

Successors of the Apostles 
(From Catholic Answers)

The chain of apostolic succession, of course, started with the apostles themselves. But apostles stopped being commissioned in the first century, and so apostolic succession continues with the bishops, the successors of the apostles. ... Christ conferred upon his apostles the original task of shepherding the earthly Church in his absence. As the Church grew, the apostles themselves appointed different kinds of ministers to assist them. Among the apostles there were two groups. The first consisted of the Twelve, who witnessed the whole of Christ's earthly ministry from his baptism to his Ascension (Acts 1:21-26). ... As the apostles died, the task of shepherding the Church fell by default upon the highest-ranking ministers appointed by them. This group is known today as the bishops, who are the successors of the apostles as the highest shepherds of the earthly Church. ... Apostolic succession thus involves in the bishops serving as successors to the apostles, not serving as apostles. The bishops are not simply a continuation of the office of apostle; they received the governance of the Church when that office ceased. Though modern bishops succeed the apostles as the highest shepherds of the Church, and though they belong to unbroken lines of ordination going back to the hands of the apostles themselves, the office of bishop is not identical to the office of apostle. ...  bishop was a distinct office by the late first century, the end of the apostolic age. This is evident because at the beginning of the second century, Ignatius of Antioch wrote a series of letters (A.D. 107) to local churches as he journeyed to Rome for his execution. In these letters, he repeatedly attests that each local church he passes has the three-fold hierarchy of a bishop, several priests, and several deacons.

Does Christ’s Church Have Apostolic Succession? 
(From Catholic Answers)

... the New Testament teaches the concept of apostolic succession ... Apostolic succession means that the authority of the apostles was passed on to the early bishops of the Church. ... One witness to the structure of the early Church is St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose seven authentic letters are dated no later than A.D. 117 or 118, so he must have known some of the apostles themselves, as Antioch was a center of missionary activity frequented by Paul in Acts 11:26–30 and 13:1–3. Ignatius says, "It is fitting in every way . . . that you be knit together in a unified submission, subject to the bishop and presbytery that you may be completely sanctified" (Letter to Ephesians 2:2). Again he says of the Church, "Jesus Christ . . . is the will of the Father, just as the bishops, who are appointed in every land, are the will of Jesus Christ. So it is proper for you to be in harmony with the will of the bishop" (ibid., 3:2–4:1). He also wrote, "It is clear that one should see the bishop as the Lord himself" (ibid., 6:1). These quotes show first that Ignatius considered the bishops of the Church to be the "will of God" (i.e., their office was appointed by God) and second that obedience to the bishop was considered obedience to God himself. In some sense, the bishop represented God in the same way that the apostles did.  ... St. Irenaeus of Lyons (second century): "We can enumerate those who were appointed by the apostles as bishops in the churches as their successors even to our time" (Against Heresies 3.1). And in the next section, Irenaeus begins to list the successors of Peter at Rome with these words: "But since it would be too long, in a work like this, to list the successions in all the churches, we shall take only one of them, the church that is greatest, most ancient, and known to all, founded and set up by the two most glorious apostles Peter and Paul at Rome while showing that the tradition and the faith it proclaims to men comes down through the successions of the bishops even to us" (ibid., 3.2).

The Church of the early Fathers
(From Catholic Answers)

Ignatius had been bishop in Antioch for nearly forty years ... It is obvious that the apostles appointed others besides themselves to offices in the Church. ... these appointees were dedicated by means of a religious rite-the laying on of hands-either by those who already had authority conferred on them by Christ (the apostles) or by those on whom they had conferred authority in turn by the laying on of hands. These rites were what today we call sacramental ordinations... In the letters of Ignatius it is clear that leadership in the Christian community is exercised by an order of "bishops, presbyters, and deacons" ...  Ignatius was appointed to head the local church at Antioch while some of the original apostles were still alive ... Jesus chose to perpetuate both his teachings and his divine life in this world by committing them to the care of living men, the apostles. He gave them the power and responsibility of doing both- along with the ability to hand on the power given to them to successors. ... the Apostle teaches us: 'There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism' (Eph. 4:4-5). ... Church unity was guaranteed by the bishop of each local Church. ... Ignatius wrote: "When the bishop is present, there let the congregation gather, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church" (8:2). ... According to the New Testament, it was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus Christ first came to be called "Christians" (Acts 11:26). ...  in the salutation to his letter to the Philadelphians, he spoke of the "appointing" of bishops, presbyters, and deacons-by which term he clearly meant the apostles' handing on of the power of holy orders that they had directly from Christ. ... .. The Church of Ignatius was continuous with that of the apostles. ... Some may prefer another model of the Church, but they are not doing justice to the historical evidence.

About 80, the fourth pope, Clement of Rome wrote to the Corinthians that the apostles of Jesus had "preached in country and city, and appointed their first converts, after testing them by the Spirit, to be bishops and deacons of future believers ... They later added a codicil to the effect that, should these die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (42:4, 2). On the basis of such early testimony, there can be no doubt that the early Church understood herself as "apostolic," as descending directly and organically, in an unbroken line, from the original apostles chosen and commissioned by Jesus Christ while on earth.

Irenaeus, although he was a second-century bishop, had a direct personal link with the generation of the apostles. ...  Irenaeus understood the Church to be holy, catholic, and apostolic from one single passage in Against Heresies. He wrote that "the Church, although scattered over the whole civilized world to the end of the earth ['catholic'], received from the apostles and their disciples its faith ['apostolic']." ...  Irenaeus was especially insistent that this holy Church was also one. He wrote: "Having received this preaching and this faith, as I have said, the Church, although scattered in the whole world, carefully preserves it, as if living in one house. She believes these things everywhere alike, as if she had but one heart and one soul, and preaches them harmoniously, teaches them, and hands them down, as if she had but one mouth. ... For Irenaeus, the Church was necessarily one, as she was catholic, because she was apostolic: She was based on "that tradition which has come down from the apostles and is guarded by the successions of elders" (III:2:2). "The tradition of the apostles," Irenaeus added, "made clear in all the world, can be clearly seen in every Church by those who wish to behold the truth. We can enumerate those who were established by the apostles as bishops in the Churches and their successors down to our time" (III:2:3). As we have noted, Irenaeus had a personal link with the generation of the apostles through his mentor Polycarp. If, toward the end of the second century, he believed that an unbroken succession of bishops was the guarantee of the authenticity of the Church, imagine what he might have thought about an unbroken succession of bishops that has lasted through the twenty centuries!"

Christians R Us 
(From Catholic Answers)

Christian pastors who were left in charge of the churches founded by the apostles wrote letters which have been preserved to this day. ... These documents serve as a direct source of what early Christianity was like. ... Their letters describe church structure, authority, and forms of worship. ... we will focus on two of the earliest writers, both of whom lived in apostolic times. Each of these men knew at least one the apostles personally, and each was a pastor of one of the churches founded by the apostles

The first, Clement, was ordained by Peter. ... His letter as the pastor of the Church of Rome (he would call himself a bishop), written to the Corinthians, has been historically authenticated as a first-century document, and his ordination by Peter was a fact accepted by other early Christians ... In the letter that comes down to us from Clement, he is writing around the year 96 as the bishop of the Church of Rome to restore peace in the Corinthian community. ... Clement writes with firm authority ... a man who learned his faith from the apostles themselves, who was ordained by Peter, that the early Church recognized as a rule of tradition the existence bishops, deacons, and laymen and that the authority of the Church descends from God through Christ by way of the apostles to the bishops. ... Clement sees no conflict between Scripture and Tradition, but rather appeals to both as sources of truth. He puts into practice Paul's admonition, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter" (2 Thess. 2:15). ... This is the earliest written description of the Church in the West. 

The next earliest letters come, perhaps providentially, from the East, written by Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch, in Syria sometime around the year 110. Here too is a man whose life overlapped the lives of the apostles, who is believed to have personally known the apostle John. He is the bishop of a church founded by the apostles, a church where Barnabas, Peter, and Paul preached. ... His primary aim is to keep intact the teachings of historical Christianity as handed down by the apostles, who themselves had received them from Christ. ...  Like Clement, he sees that truth resides in the apostolic succession, from Christ to the apostles and from the apostles to the bishops, and he writes of this to each community, not as something new, but as a reminder that this is the mark of the Church in harmony with God.  .... All this is written by a man who lived in the days of the apostles and who knew John.  ... Among these facts of Christianity, Ignatius includes the fact that the body of Christ is really in the Eucharist. He says that heretics withhold themselves from the Eucharist because "they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ." ... So the Church as described by Ignatius in letters to seven Christian communities is the same hierarchical, sacramental Church as described by Clement. There is one noteworthy difference between the letters of Ignatius and that of Clement, and that is that Clement, as the bishop of the Rome, clearly feels he has the authority to intervene in the affairs of a sister church.

The Church Before Nicaea 
(From Catholic Answers)

FOR the first centuries of its existence, Christianity was an outlawed religion, persecuted by the state. ... during the three hundred years which followed the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ, the Catholic Church managed to spread throughout the Roman Empire and beyond ... Jesus commanded the apostles to "make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19). To carry out that command, the Church had to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by Constantine and his successors ... 

The Church of Nicaea and Constantinople 
(From Catholic Answers)

The Roman Emperor Constantine convoked the first general (or "ecumenical") council of the Catholic Church, that of Nicaea. He invited the Catholic bishops of the world to assemble in one of his summer palaces in Asia Minor to decide the questions raised by the Alexandrian priest Arius and his followers, who were preaching about Jesus that "there was a time when he was not." The Emperor himself delivered an address in Latin to the convocation, urging the restoration of peace in the Church, upset in many places by the preaching of this novel Arian doctrine. Otherwise Constantine took no part in the deliberations of the Council; it was entirely an affair of the Church’s bishops

But the sentiments of the whole body of bishops at the Council of Nicaea seem never to have been in any real doubt. That Jesus Christ the Savior somehow could not have been fully and truly God was manifestly not the faith that had been handed down in the Church; the faith of the apostles was that Jesus Christ was indeed God. The Council fathers accordingly were obliged to formulate a creed that expressed the true faith of the Church about this.  The creed in question was not something the bishops made up for the occasion. A creed, or profession of faith, had been present in the Church from the beginning. It had to be professed by each convert to Christianity when accepting baptism; it had to be professed for the children of Christian families brought into the Church through infant baptism. In fashioning the original version of what came to be known as the Nicene Creed, the Council took one of the baptismal creeds in common use—probably the one used by the Church of Jerusalem—and added language that would express without ambiguity the true faith of the Church regarding Christ’s nature, as against what Arius and his followers were trying to say it was. ... Just as the apostles at the primitive Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) did not doubt their authority to decide for the Church with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, so the bishops at Nicaea took for granted that they too possessed authority to decide for the whole Church.  ... the Nicene Creed. Catholics know it by heart, even if they know little or nothing of its history. It represents a classic example of what in modern times has been called the "development of doctrine" in the Church. 

The Apostles Creed  

I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.

The Nicene Creed  

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in Being (consubstantial/homoousion) with the Father. Through him all things were made. ... We believe in the Holy Spirit ...

The Athanasian Creed  

we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost is all One, the Glory Equal ... So likewise the Father is Almighty, the Son Almighty, and the Holy Ghost Almighty. And yet they are not Three Almighties but One Almighty ... the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not Three Gods, but One God ... The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten, but proceeding...  in this Trinity none is afore or after Other, None is greater or less than Another, but the whole Three Persons are Co-eternal together, and Co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity is Trinity, and the Trinity is Unity is to be worshipped. ... we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man. ... God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man, of the substance of His mother, born into the world. ... Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His Manhood. ... At whose coming all  men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works.”


After the twelve apostles died, the bishop possesses authority 

The twelve apostles were witnesses who lived with Jesus and witnessed his resurrection. There are false apostles who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ. While the twelve apostles were alive, bishops cared for the church and ordained others. After the twelve apostles died, bishops served as successors to the apostles. After the apostle Peter died, the church at Rome held the presidency. The bishop is one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority. The bishop presides in the place of God. Polycarp, the bishop of the Catholic Church at Smyrna, combined both apostle and prophet in his own person. 

Catholic Church Teachings

861 "In order that the mission entrusted to them might be continued after their death, [the apostles] consigned, by will and testament, as it were, to their immediate collaborators the duty of completing and consolidating the work they had begun, urging them to tend to the whole flock, in which the Holy Spirit had appointed them to shepherd the Church of God. They accordingly designated such men and then made the ruling that likewise on their death other proven men should take over their ministry."

1577 "Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination." The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.

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" (LG 23).

1576 Since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the apostles to hand on the "gift of the Spirit," the "apostolic line." Validly ordained bishops, i.e., those who are in the line of apostolic succession, validly confer the three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders.

1590 St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: "I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands" (2 Tim 1:6), and "If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task." (1 Tim 3:1) To Titus he said: "This is why I left you in Crete, that you amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you" (Titus 1:5).

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." 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."

862 "Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one, so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops." Hence the Church teaches that "the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ."

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" (CIC, can. 331).

1560 As Christ's vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the particular Church entrusted to him, but at the same time he bears collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the solicitude for all the Churches: "Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate successor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, responsible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the Church."

869 The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf. Mt 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.

857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways: - she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles," the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself; - with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching, the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles; - she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor": You are the eternal Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always. You made them shepherds of the flock to share in the work of your Son. . . .

765 The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the Twelve with Peter as their head. Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem. The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot. By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his Church.

553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." The "power of the keys" designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: "Feed my sheep." The power to "bind and loose" connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.

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. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." 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.

Early Church Writings

Clement "Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Letter to the Corinthians 42:4–5, 44:1–3 [A.D. 80]).

Irenaeus " The blessed apostles [Peter and Paul], having founded and built up the church [of Rome] . . . handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus(Against Heresies 3:3:3 [A.D. 189]).

Ignatius of Antioch "Ignatius . . . to the church also which holds the presidency, in the location of the country of the Romans, worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of blessing, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy of sanctification, and, because you hold the presidency in love, named after Christ and named after the Father" (Letter to the Romans 1:1 [A.D. 110]).

Ignatius of Antioch "For what is the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority, so far as it is possible for a man to possess it, who according to his ability has been made an imitator of the Christ Of God? And what is the presbytery but a sacred assembly, the counsellors and assessors of the bishop? And what are the deacons but imitators of the angelic powers, fulfilling a pure and blameless ministry unto him, as ... Anencletus and Clement to Peter?" (To the Trallians,7(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:69) 

The Martyrdom of Polycarp "Polycarp was . . . bishop of the Catholic Church at Smyrna, and a teacher in our own day who combined both apostle and prophet in his own person. For indeed, every word that ever fell from his lips either has had or will have its fulfillment" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 5, 16 [A.D. 155]).

Ignatius of Antioch "See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out[through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." ( Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8:2(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:89)

Ignatius of Antioch "Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place of the assembly of the apostles, along with your deacons, who are most dear to me, and are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father before the beginning of time, and in the end was revealed. Do ye all then, imitating the same divine conduct, pay respect to one another, and let no one look upon his neighbour after the flesh, but do ye continually love each other in Jesus Christ. Let nothing exist among you that may divide you ; but be ye united with your bishop, and those that preside over you, as a type and evidence of your immortality." (Magnesians,6(A.D. 110),in ANF,I:61)

Clement "Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy" (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).

Bible verses from King James

Mark.13 ([34] For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.)

Acts.1 ([8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth [16] Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. [17] For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. [20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take. [21] Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, [22] Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. [23] And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. [24] And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, [25] That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. [26] And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.)

Acts.10 ([39] And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: [40] Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;[41] Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. [42] And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. )

Matt.16 ([18] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. [19] And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.)

Eph.2 ([20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; [21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:)

2Cor.11 ([13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. ) 

Eph.4 ([1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: )

1Tim.3 ([1] This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. [2] A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; [5] (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) [9] Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. [10] And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. )

Tit.1 ([4] To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. [5] For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: [7] For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;)

Acts.20 ([17] And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.[28] Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.)

2Tim.1 ([6] Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.)

1Tim.4 ([14] Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.)


The Father's self-communication remains present and active in the Church 

Private revelation has continued
(From Catholic Answers)

Public revelation is binding on all Christians, but private revelation is binding only on those who receive it. The Catholic Church teaches that public revelation stopped with the death of the last apostle (Vatican II, Dei Verbum 4) but private revelation has continued.  ... the Church Fathers show ...that private revelation has never stopped.  

Catholic Church Teachings

Catholics do not believe that today there are prophets like the Old Testament prophets, in the Old Testament the Holy Spirit spoke through the prophets (65; 719; 243). In the New Testament and today the Holy Spirit is with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them into all the truth (243). Catholics believe that the Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church (79). Catholics believe in private revelation but not in public revelation, private revelation helps us live more fully but it is not part of public revelation which is the faith that once delivered to the saints (67). Catholics cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case of Mormonism which base themselves on such "revelations" (67). Catholics believe in all "that which is contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church proposes for belief as divinely revealed" (182). Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles (892). 

67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.  Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."

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" which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

182 We believe all "that which is contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church proposes for belief as divinely revealed" (Paul VI, CPG § 20).

95 It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ." Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority." Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time."

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."

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. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.

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:

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."

93 "By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),. . . receives. . . the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. . . The People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life."

2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.

88 The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these.

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

186 - From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae normative for all. But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism: This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments 

250. - During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify her Trinitarian faith, both to deepen her own understanding of the faith and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people's sense of the faith 

Early Church Writings

Irenaeus "In like manner we do also hear many brethren in the Church who possess prophetic gifts and who through the Spirit speak all kinds of languages and who bring to light for the general benefit the hidden things of men, and declare the mysteries of God (Against Heresies 5:6:1 [A.D. 189])."

The Martyrdom of Polycarp "Polycarp was . . . bishop of the Catholic Church at Smyrna, and a teacher in our own day who combined both apostle and prophet in his own person. For indeed, every word that ever fell from his lips either has had or will have its fulfillment" (Martyrdom of Polycarp 5, 16 [A.D. 155]).

Clement "Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . . Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . . You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy" (Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80]).

Bible verses from King James

1Cor.14 ([12] Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. [26] How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, everyone of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. [29] Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. [32] And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. [33] For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. [37] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [40] Let all things be done decently and in order.)

1Cor.12 ([1] Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. [10] To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: [28] And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. [29] Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?)

2Pet.1 ([20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

Jude.1 ([3] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints[17] But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; )

Heb.1 ([1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;) 

Eph.4 ([1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, [4] There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; [5] One Lord, one faith, one baptism, [11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; [12] For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: [13] Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: [14] That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;)

Acts.15 ([2] When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. [4] And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. [6] And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. [7] And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. [15] And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, [23] And they wrote letters by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren send greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: [25] It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, [26] Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. [27] We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. [28] For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; [30] So when they were dismissed, they came to Antioch: and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the epistle: [32] And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.) 

2Pet.1 ([18] And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. [19] We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: [20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.)

John.14 ([16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. [18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. [26] But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.)


My testimony is that the Catholic Church is Christ’s Church on earth
(From Catholic Answers)

A convert from Mormonism to the Catholic Church writes "I was born and raised in a Latter-Day Saints family ... As I read and studied ... Mormon teachings were often in direct conflict with the Bible ... it is my testimony that the Catholic Church is Christ's Church on earth. ... It is the Church Christ himself established, and its fundamental doctrines and creeds have not changed in two thousand years. They have remained constant, in harmony with the earliest Fathers of the Church ...." 

Either there was a Great Apostasy, or there wasn’t
  (From mormon2catholic)

How to help someone out of the Mormon church  ... Love them, and let them know that you believe strongly in the authority of the Catholic church and the legitimacy of the apostolic succession of the church, as well as the Tradition of the church which was handed down from Christ to the Apostles to the church. ... It comes down to authority. Either there was a Great Apostasy, or there wasn’t. Either Christ’s authority came down through Peter through all the popes, as the Catholics believe, or it was lost and restored through the Mormon church, like the Mormons believe. So the Catholic church claims that the authority never left, and that most of the Catholic teachings, including most importantly the Sacraments, are the exact same as they were when handed down from Christ to the apostles. Because the authority never left the earth, the teachings are the same. The authority is there." 

The Mormon "great apostasy" doctrine is a myth
(From Catholic Answers)

The Mormon "great apostasy" doctrine is a myth:  If Mormons want their claim of a complete apostasy to be taken seriously, they must display clearly biblical and historical evidence supporting it.  There never has been--nor will there ever be--a complete apostasy. Jesus Christ promised that his Church, established on the solid rock of Peter, will remain forever. We have his Word on it.  Mormons misconstrue the biblical passages which do refer to a "great apostasy" from the Christian Church. They read into the text a complete apostasy. Scripture mentions an apostasy in Matthew 24:4-12; Mark 13:21-23; Luke 21:7-8; Acts 20:29-30; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-7, 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2:1-3; and Jude 17-19. Most of these verses say "many" will fall away, and not one mentions a complete apostasy of the Church. 


Melchizedek was the priest of the OT, Christ is the priest of the NT 

Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men."  The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek (1544). With the first rays of Divine Revelation appeared the mysterious and venerable personage of Melchisedech (see Gn 14:18), priest and king whom the author of the Letter to the Hebrews sees as a prefiguring of Jesus Christ (see Heb 5:10; 6:20; 7:1-11, 15) ... All these prefigurements of the priesthood in the Old Testament find their fulfillment in Jesus Christ, "the Only Mediator between God and mankind" (1 Tm 2:5) (Vatican).

Gen.14 ([18] And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. )

Pss.110 ([1] The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. [4] The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.)

Heb.5 ([1] For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: [4] And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. [5] So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. [6] As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. [8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [10] Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.)

Heb.6 ([20] Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.)

Heb.7 ([1] For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him; [11] If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? [12] For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. [13] For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. [14] For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. [15] And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, [16] Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. [17] For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. [18] For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. [19] For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. [20] And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: [21] (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) [22] By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. [23] And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: [24] But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. [25] Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. [26] For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; [27] Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. [28] For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.)

The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the "common priesthood of the faithful" (1591). The baptized have become "living stones" to be "built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood." By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light." Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers (1268). Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father." The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation (1546). 

1Tim.2 ([5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;)

Eph.1 ([22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,)

1Pet.2 ([2] As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, is allowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.)

Exod.19 ([6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.)

Rev.1 ([6] And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.)

Heb.13 ([15] By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. [16] But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.)


We can know if the LDS Church is true or false Christianity

LDS Web Site "You can discover for yourself that what you’ve been learning is true by: Sincerely praying to your Heavenly Father and asking Him if what you are learning is true." 

Book of Mormon Moroni 10 "A testimony of the Book of Mormon comes by the power of the Holy Ghost—4 And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." 

LDS Gospel Principles Chapter 17 teaches that the LDS church is "the only true church."  The Book of Mormon student manual says that “The Church of the Devil … is every church except the true church” (1Nephi 14:10). Joseph Smith claimed that the Lord told him not to join any church because they were all wrong and that all their creeds were an abomination (JS--H). The late LDS President Gordon B. Hinckley said that "They say we do not believe in the traditional Christ of Christianity. There is some substance to what they say. Our faith, our knowledge is not based on ancient tradition, the creeds which came of a finite understanding and out of the almost infinite discussions of men trying to arrive at a definition of the risen Christ. Our faith, our knowledge comes of the witness of a prophet in this dispensation who saw before him the great God of the universe and His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ" (LDS 2002 General Conference). The LDS church teaches "... false Christianity ... believed that God was a being without form or substance" (LDS Gospel Principles Chapter 16).

Joseph Smith's King Follett Sermon "I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is ... God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man ... if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form ... God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see ... you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another ..."  

We can know if the LDS Church is true or false Christianity by comparing its teachings with the written and oral traditions of the apostles (Acts.17:1; 2Thes.2:15). The apostolic Church is the pillar and bulwark of the truth and it faithfully guards the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (1Tim.3:15; Jude.1:3).  The apostle's mission was to teach all nations the truth, there is a famine for hearing the word of God (Amos.8:2). God built his church on the rock of Peter (Matt.16:18). The apostolic Church continues in the things which they have learned and have been assured of, knowing whom they learned it (2Tim.3:14).  We are to mark them which cause division and offences contrary to the doctrine which we have learned; and avoid them (Rom.16:17). 

From Catholic Answers - "The first Christians had no doubts about how to determine which was the true Church and which doctrines the true teachings of Christ. The test was simple: Just trace the apostolic succession of the claimants. Apostolic succession is the line of bishops stretching back to the apostles.... The role of apostolic succession in preserving true doctrine is illustrated in the Bible. ... The Church Fathers, who were links in that chain of succession, regularly appealed to apostolic succession as a test for whether Catholics or heretics had correct doctrine. This was necessary because heretics simply put their own interpretations, even bizarre ones, on Scripture. Clearly, something other than Scripture had to be used as an ultimate test of doctrine in these cases. For the early Fathers, "the identity of the oral tradition with the original revelation is guaranteed by the unbroken succession of bishops in the great sees going back lineally to the apostles. . . . [A]n additional safeguard is supplied by the Holy Spirit, for the message committed was to the Church, and the Church is the home of the Spirit. Indeed, the Church’s bishops are . . . Spirit-endowed men who have been vouchsafed ‘an infallible charism of truth’" (ibid.)"

The apostles knew of the apostasy before the second coming of Christ and they taught other faithful men to "stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle" (2Thes.2:15; 2Tim.2:2).  Apostolic tradition comes from the apostle's successors like the following bishops, who are called the Early Church Fathers (ECF)The Early Church Fathers were the leaders and teachers of the early Church. Some were the immediate successors of the Apostles. Three of them were disciples of one or more of the Apostles (see below).  Bishops, the apostle successors, were appointed and ordained by the apostles and are able to ordain others like they were appointed (Tit.1:4,5), they care for the church of God and they were proved (1Tim.3:1), they are made overseers of the Church by the Holy Ghost (Acts.20:17), and they hold fast to the faithful word that the apostles taught them (Tit.1:9). The New Testament demonstrates the process of living tradition.

Mormonism is example of that apostasy predicated in the Bible because Mormonism has departed from the apostolic faith that was once delivered to the saints. The Bible reveals “in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1Tim.4:1; 2Thes.2:3; Rev.2:18-23).  Before the apostles died they choose their successors (see below). After the apostles died, bishops succeeded the apostles and continued the apostle's mission of baptizing and teaching all nations (see below). Bishops are the apostle’s successors who continue with the teachings of the apostles; they are chosen by the HG and are ordained by the apostles and their successors.  Some of the apostle's successors were martyred, Satan was given power to make war with saints and overcome them (Rev.13:73).

LDS: "Apostles could not … ordain men to replace those who were dead" (GP Chap 16)
ECF: "apostles ... appointed ... bishops ... die ... succeed to their ministry" (Clement)

LDS: "error crept into Church doctrine" (GP Chap 16)
ECF: "bishops ... preaching of the Church is true" (Irenaeus)

Joseph Smith is an example of a false prophet or wolf that enters into the church to draw away disciples after him (Acts.20:29,30).  False prophets can come as sheep. We can know a false prophet because they bring forth heresies. Joseph Smith taught the heresy of “three Gods”.  Jesus and his apostles taught one God. The apostle's successors also taught one God (see below). Mormonism is false Christianity because its teachings are contrary to the written and oral traditions of the apostles. Three Gods is contrary to one God. Joseph Smith claimed that the Lord told him that all creeds were an abomination. Creeds summarize what the Bible reveals, since the beginning the apostolic church has used creeds or "professions of faith" (Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 15:3-5). 

LDS: “these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods" (Joseph Smith)
ECF: "there is one God, who manifested himself through his Son" (Ignatius)

LDS: "Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost …are unified in purpose" (GP Chap 7)
ECF: "God existing in flesh" (Ignatius of Antioch)

LDS: "Our Father ... Our brother, Jesus, who was then called Jehovah" (GP Chap 3)
ECF: "Lord God of Abraham ... the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Irenaeus)

The Savior did not promise to restore his Church before His second coming. The restoration of Israel described in the Old Testament began with the prophet John the Baptist (Isa.24:5; Rom.11). The restitution of all things mentioned in Acts.3:21 occurs after the second coming (Rev.21:1-5), after the second coming comes the new heaven and new earth after the old things have passed away (see below).

LDS: "Savior promised to restore his Church ... its restoration in 1830" (GP Chap 17)
ECF: "when this …passes away ... the new heaven and the new earth" (Irenaeus)

Authority did not need to be restored because authority continued with the apostle’s successors. Authority was not restored as Mormonism teaches because Joseph Smith could not have been ordained through the physical laying on of hands by the apostle Peter. Peter was martyred and he does not have physical hands to lay hands for ordination. Peter does not have incorruptible physical hands till the resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:15) which occurs at the second coming of Christ, at the second coming we shall all be changed (1Cor 15:51). The just who die, like the apostle Peter, are spirits in the heavenly city till the second coming, spirits have not flesh and bones (Heb.12:22,23; Luke.24:39). The apostle Peter was not among the saints that arose and came out of the graves after Christ's resurrection since Peter died after them (Matt.27:52,53) and Peter was not translated like Enoch since Peter saw death (Heb.11:5). The Bible tells us that when Jesus returns to earth, he will physically raise all those who have died, giving them back the bodies they lost at death. We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, he raises up an incorruptible body (1Cor 15:42-44) (CCC1017). The Athanasian Creed says that "At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works." When Christ ascended into heaven he gave authority to his servants. Christ is the head of the church, the church is his body. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and will stand forever even though some in the church shall fall away (Heb 12; Dan 2; Dan 7). After the resurrection, the Lord established his house on Mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb.12:22). 

The Athanasian Creed  “... At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give account for their own works.”

The office of the twelve apostles did not need to be restored because the twelve apostles were special witness who had the requirement of being a witness Jesus’ life and resurrection (Acts.1:8-26; Acts.10:39-41; John.15:16-27)  Neither scripture nor history supports the Mormon teaching of a "great apostasy" where the destruction of the church was complete after the apostles died.  The overwhelming historical evidence (see below) supports the Catholic teaching on Apostolic succession. Apostolic succession is an unbroken line of ordination going back to the hands of the apostles themselves. Peter's authority is continued in the Church through the succession of the bishops of Rome. History shows that before Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome they together chose Linus as Peter's successor. History shows that Clement, as the bishop of the Rome, has the authority to intervene in the affairs of a sister church. Bishops serve as successors to the apostles, not serving as apostles. Apostolic succession means that the authority of the apostles was passed on to the early bishops of the Church. Bishops are not apostles; bishops are the successors of the apostles who have all power and authority (see below).  

LDS: "Peter … came and gave Joseph ... Priesthood and the keys" (GP Chap 17)
ECF: "apostles ... appointed ... if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry" (Clement)
ECF: "If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us" (Clement)
ECF: "Peter and Paul ...  handed over the office of the episcopate to Linus" (Irenaeus)
ECF: "to the church also which holds the presidency ... Romans (Ignatius)
ECF: "the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority" (Ignatius)

Revelation did not need to be restored because there are many prophets in the church (1Cor.14:26-37; 1Cor.12). Prophets are secondary in the church, the early apostolic church used a council whose members were moved by the Holy Ghost to settle a dispute that the apostle Paul could not settle, those who had the vocation of prophet exhorted the brethren (Acts.15; Eph.4:1,11;2Pet.1:19-21; John.14:16-26). The successors of the apostle testify that revelation continued in the Church at Rome and testify that some bishops were both apostle and prophet (see below). The Bible warns us not to believe prophets but to test them, we can test them by comparing their words to the inspired word of God (1John.4:1; Acts.17:2,11; 2Tim.3:16). In the New Testament prophets judged other prophets (1Cor.14:26-37). False prophets are heretics, heretics are blind to the truth and deviate from the right away (see below). While the apostles were alive there were churches like the LDS church who went astray because they followed a false prophet and false apostles who pretended to be apostles of Christ (Rev.2:18-23).

LDS: "Because of apostasy, there was no direct revelation from God." (GP Chap 17)
ECF: "the things which have been said by him [God] through us" (Clement)
ECF: “bishop … combined both apostle and prophet in his own person (Polycarp)  

LDS: "a prophet will never be allowed to lead the Church astray" (GP Chap 9)
ECF: "heretics ... are blind to the truth, and deviate from the [right] way" (Irenaeus)

ECF: "... a false prophet, ruining the minds of the servants of God. It is the doubters, not the faithful, that he ruins... Some true words he does occasionally utter; for the devil fills him with his own spirit, in the hope that he may be able to overcome some of the righteous. ... know which of them is the prophet, and which the false prophet ... the false prophet ... exalts himself, and wishes to have the first seat ...  " (Hermas)

The Bible warns us that an angel can bring a different gospel that the gospel of Christ and that a false prophet can show great signs. An angel brought the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith. For many Mormons, the book of Mormon is a sign that Joseph Smith is a prophet.  The Mormon restored gospel is different than the gospel in the Bible. The Book of Mormon reveals “saved, after all we can do” and the Bible reveals "by grace are ye saved through faith". Like the Bible, the apostle’s successors taught we are justified by faith not by our works (see below).  Revelation 14:6 is not describing the angel Moroni bringing the gospel to Joseph Smith as the LDS church teaches but is describing angels proclaiming imminent judgment on the pagan world, the everlasting gospel is the good news that God's eternal reign is about to begin. Like the Bible, the apostle’s successors did not teach the Mormon concept of “different kingdoms” but taught “the kingdom” and the concept of purgatory or being purified (see below).

LDS: "saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances" (A/F #3)
ECF: "not justified by ourselves ... or works ... but by that faith" (Clement)

LDS: "members of the Church will inherit different kingdoms" (GP Chap 46
ECF: "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom" (Irenaeus)

LDS: "received the gospel ... were not valiant ... visited .. not by … Father" (GP Chap 46)
ECF: "… advance ... in due time the Son will yield up His work to the Father" (Irenaeus)

The Book of Mormon reveals doctrine that is contrary to the written and oral tradition of the apostles. The Book of Mormon reveals that infant baptism is an abomination and that Adam’s fall was a blessing. The apostle’s successors taught the practice of infant baptism and taught that the human race fell because of Adam’s sin. Blessings come from obeying God’s commandment not from disobeying God’s commandment like Adam did. Jesus did not need repentance yet he was baptized. The Book of Mormon does not contain the fullness of the gospel because it lacks the oral traditions of the apostles of Christ to complete the written words.  The oral apostolic traditions of the apostle’s successors make it clear that infant baptism was practiced by the apostles and that the doctrine of original sin is consistent with teachings of the successors of the apostles (see below).

LDS: "it is mockery before God to baptize little children"  (GP Chap 20)
ECF: "through him are reborn in God: infants, and children" (Irenaeus)

LDS: "Adam and Eve … their fall was a ... a great blessing to all of us." (GP Chap 6)
ECF: "human race fell into bondage to death .. the sin of the first created man" (Irenaeus)

Mormonism teaches that false Christianity believed that God was a being without form or substance. The successors of the apostles taught that the Father is without structure and all spirit (see below).  The apostle’s successors taught that the prophets did not actually see God but saw the dispensations of God in part (see below). In a vision those who are of God can see the Father, in a vision the items seen can be representative or symbolic. In a vision Stephen saw the Son of man standing on the right hand of God when the heavens opened, in a vision the apostle John saw Jesus as a lamb standing on the right hand of God when the heavens opened. If God has a right hand, then it is very, very large for God says "my right hand hath spanned the heavens". Man is made in the image of God, God was manifest in the flesh.

LDS: "God has a body that looks like ours"  (GP Chap 1
ECF: "the Father of all ... without structure ... all spirit" (Irenaeus)

LDS: "Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith" (GP Chap 17)
ECF: "prophets saw the dispensations of God in part, but not actually God Himself" (Irenaeus)

Mormonism did not restore the first principles and ordinances of the gospel but changed them (see below).  Mormonism changed the biblical doctrine of being saved by faith to being saved after all we can do. Mormonism changed the apostolic tradition of immersion and pouring to immersion is the only way to be baptized. Mormonism changed the biblical doctrine that the gift of the Holy Ghost can received with and without the laying of hands to the doctrine that the laying of hands is necessary to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Mormonism changed the biblical principle that the bread during the sacrament is the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ to the concept that the bread is bread. Mormonism changed the ordinances so that they can be performed for the dead.  

LDS: “immersion ...  is the only acceptable way of being baptized." (GP Chap 20)
ECF: "If you have neither, pour water three times on the head" (The Didache)  

LDS: "teaches the same principles ... as … in the days of Jesus" (GP Chap 23)
ECF: "the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Ignatius

LDS: "Temple ordinances have been performed for the dead" (GP Chap 40)
ECF: "after we have gone out of the world, no further power of confessing or repenting will there belong to us" (Clement)

The Bible warns of false teachers, Mormonism teaches false doctrines when compared to the teachings of the the apostles and their successors (see below).

LDS: "The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ" (GP Chap 2)
ECF: "Word of God ... coming into being … like that of their own word" (Irenaeus)

LDS: "brothers ... Jesus Christ ... Satan" (GP Chap 3)
ECF: "He created and made all things by His Word ... angels (Irenaeus)

LDS: "we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents" (GP Chap 2)
ECF: "with Him ... Word and Wisdom ... Let Us make man" (Irenaeus)

Mormonism teaches man-made commandments (Col.2:7,22).  Mormonism teaches that marriage is a commandment.  Jesus and his apostles taught marriage and not being married for the kingdom of God, the successors of the apostles taught the same as Jesus (see below). Mormonism teaches that the Lord commands us not to use wine and strong drinks, meaning drinks containing alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea.

LDS: "each of us has been commanded to marry and have children" (GP Chap 36)
ECF: "preserve virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven" (Clement)

LDS: "An eternal marriage should be the goal of every Latter-day Saint" (GP Chap 38)
ECF: "to men and women who marry ... that the marriage may be in our Lord" (Ignatius)

Related Links From Catholic Answers

Apostolic Succession --Peter and His Successors -- Successors of the Apostles -- Does Christ’s Church Have Apostolic Succession? -- The Church of the early Fathers -- Christians R Us -- The Church Before Nicaea -- The Church of Nicaea and Constantinople  

The Authority of the Pope Part 1 -- Origins of Peter as Pope -- Peter's Successors -- Bishop, Priest, and Deacon -- What "Catholic" Means --  The Inquisition -- Private Revelation Has Never Stopped  -- Creation out of Nothing -- 

Does Being Catholic Make a Difference? -- Mormon Bashing? -- Distinctive Beliefs of the Mormon Church -- Search of "the great apostasy"  


Does Being Catholic Make a Difference? 
(From Catholic Answers)

DOES being Catholic make a difference in a person's life? Does it make an eternal difference?

At first thought, maybe not. Vatican II's Constitution on the Church seems to point in that direction. Section 16 names several categories of persons outside the Catholic Church who can (not necessarily will) be saved. The list includes non-Catholic Christians, Jews, Muslims, those who seek the unknown God, even those who have no explicit knowledge of God. Persons such as these can be saved if they earnestly seek to respond to God and to love him on the basis of the best information available to them.

Some people conclude that if it is possible for such people to be saved, there is no point in being a Catholic. Yet there is more to consider. Start with our Lord's command about moral and spiritual growth. "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48, RSV)

"You must be perfect" means each of us must strive to develop his unique potential, under God, to the fullest possible extent. These words are both command and promise. The imperative is laid upon us who follow Christ, but we know that only the grace of God can bring about this process of sanctification.

The level of spiritual maturity we have attained at the moment of death is the level at which we shall be perfected through our experience of purgatory. It is the level at which we shall spend eternity. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or ill, according to what he has done in the body" (2 Cor. 5:10). A proverb has it, "As the tree falls, so it lies."

Our capacity for the Beatific Vision is determined forever at the moment of death. Capacities will vary. Take two containers, one large, one small, and fill each with water. They are equally full, but they hold different amounts of water. So will it be in heaven. There will be varying degrees of blessedness in the lives of the redeemed in heaven; they will be equally full, but with unequal amounts.

"In my Father's house there are many rooms," Jesus assures us (John 14:2). Augustine says the "rooms" or "mansions" refer to different degrees of rewards in heaven (Tract. 67), and Thomas Aquinas concurs (Summa Theologiae, q. 18, a.2). In the following article Thomas adds, "The more one will be united to God the happier will one be."

The Council of Florence in 1439 taught that those who have incurred no sin after baptism, and those who have been cleansed of all stain of sin, will "clearly behold the triune God as he is, yet one person more perfectly than another according to the difference of their merits." The Greek version of the conciliar teaching ends with the words, "according to the worth of their lives."

The Constitution on the Church (section 49) speaks of the life of the redeemed in heaven in these words: "All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways, share in the same charity towards God and our neighbors, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God."

If spouses truly, deeply love one another, they yearn for, they work for, the closest possible union of life. Pity the poor spouses who say, "We don't really work at our marriage any more. After all, we have enough love going to make sure we won't split and divorce." Not only are they denying themselves the deep joy and fulfillment of marriage. They have set a collision course with unhappiness and even the break-up of their marriage.

Consider some of the Church's teaching about itself. Jesus entrusted "all the blessings of the new covenant" to "the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head." "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help towards salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained" (Decree on Ecumenism, 3).

The next section of the Decree contains says "the Catholic Church has been endowed with all divinely revealed truth and with all means of grace. . . ." Does it not follow that anyone not in the communion of the Catholic Church does not have access to all divinely revealed truth and that the non-Catholic does not have access to all the means of grace by which Christ intends to nourish his people?

"Baptism," says the Decree (section 22), "constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn." Immediately it clarifies this statement by adding that baptism in itself "is only a beginning, a point of departure." Baptism is "wholly directed toward the acquiring of fullness of life in Christ." That fullness--and note the recurring adjective--is "a complete profession of faith, a complete incorporation into the system of salvation such as Christ himself willed it to be, and . . . a complete integration into Eucharistic communion."

These words from the Decree on Ecumenism can only mean that sincere non-Catholics have not been, and as non-Catholics cannot be, fully incorporated into "the system of salvation such as Christ himself willed it to be . . . ." Not having full access to all of Christ's gifts to his people necessarily prevents a non-Catholic from attaining to the greatest possible degree of spiritual maturity, the deepest sanctification, in this life. The fact that an individual non-Catholic's sanctity may--and in many instances probably does--greatly exceed that of many Catholics is irrelevant. The point is that the non-Catholic will not have developed in this life, by God's grace, the capacity for the Beatific Vision he could have attained as a Catholic.

Jesus Christ gives his Church incalculable riches for the benefit of all his people. What are non-Catholics to do about much--even most--of this treasure? They simply do without-- and through no particular fault of their own. But someone is at fault. You and I are at fault, for not witnessing more faithfully and zestfully, for making no effort to bring fellow-Christians into the fullness of their rightful heritage

The failure (dare I say "refusal"?) of Catholics to evangelize reminds me of a melancholy passage in Acts 19:1ff. The apostle Paul came to Ephesus and found there some followers of Jesus. He asked if they had received the Holy Spirit when they began believing in Jesus. Their answer was, "No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." They had never heard of the greatest gift God wanted to bestow on them!

For non-Catholic Christians there are countless gifts which are waiting for them and about which they know nothing. One can imagine their responding to a forthright proclamation of the Catholic faith in a manner somewhat like that of those ancient Ephesians:

"We love Jesus, but we have never ever heard we can literally receive him into our bodies, in his full humanity and divinity!"

"We know that on Calvary Jesus offered himself to the Father, but we have never even heard that he commands us to join him in re-presenting himself to the Father in every Eucharistic celebration!"

"We know that Jesus has spoken to us through Scriptures, but we have never even heard that he speaks to us today directly through the successor of Peter!"

On this point the Second Vatican Council speaks to each of us. "All children of the Church should nevertheless remember that their exalted condition results, not from their own merits, but from the grace of Christ." (The phrase "exalted condition" in context means being inheritors of all the riches of Christ in his Church.) In the spirit of Jesus' words, "From him who has been given much, much will be expected," the Council issues a solemn warning. If the children of the Church "fail to respond in thought, word, and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be the more severely judged" (Constitution on the Church, 14)

Being Catholic makes a difference, an eternal difference. But what are we Catholics doing to help others share in our "exalted condition"?