Being Catholic

The Early Church Is the Catholic Church


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“Philip the presbyter and legate of the Apostolic See said: There is no doubt,
and in fact it has been known in all ages, that the holy and most blessed Peter,
prince and head of the Apostles, pillar of the faith, and foundation of the
Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Saviour and Redeemer of the human race, and that to him was given the power
of loosing and binding sins: who down even to to-day and forever both lives and
judges in his successors.”
Council of Ephesus, Session III
(A.D. 431)

“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 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 also be; by the bishop,
or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there
let the multitude also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic
St. Ignatius of Antioch
 Epistle to the Smyrneans, 8:2
(c. A.D. 110)

“But [it has, on the other hand, been shown], that the preaching of the Church is
everywhere consistent, and continues in an even course, and receives testimony
from the prophets, the apostles, and all the disciples…For in the Church,” it is
said, “God hath set apostles, prophets, teachers,’ and all the other means through
which the Spirit works; of which all those are not partakers who do not join
themselves to the Church, but defraud themselves of life through their perverse
opinions and infamous behaviour. For where the Church is, there is the Spirit of
God; and where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and every kind of
grace; but the Spirit is truth.”
St. Irenaeus of Lyons
Against Heresies, 3:24
(A.D. 180)

”Whence you ought to know that the bishop is in the Church, and the Church in
the bishop; and if any onebe not with the bishop, that he is not in the Church, and 
that those flatter themselves in vain who creep in, not having peace with God’s
priests, and think that they communicate secretly with some; while the Church,
which is Catholic and one, is not cut nor divided, but is indeed connected and
bound together by the cement of priests who cohere with one another.”
St. Cyprian of Carthage
To Florentius, Epistle 66/67
(A.D. 254)

“But in learning the Faith and in professing it, acquire and keep that only, which is
now delivered to thee by the Church, and which has been built up strongly out of
all the Scriptures….Take heed then, brethren, and hold fast the traditions which
ye now receive, and write them and the table of your heart.”
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
Catechetical Lectures, 5:12
(A.D. 350)

“But beyond these [Scriptural] sayings, let us look at the very tradition, teaching
and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, the
Apostles preached, and the Fathers kept.”
St. Athanasius of Alexandria
 Four Letters to Serapion of Thmuis, 1:28
(A.D. 360)

“Inasmuch, I repeat, as this is the case, we believe also in the Holy Church
[intending thereby] assuredly the Catholic. For both heretics and schismatics
style their congregations churches. But heretics, in holding false opinions
regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in
wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe
just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church
catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same.”
St. Augustine of Hippo
On Faith and Creed, 10:21
(A.D. 393)

“Wherefore the most holy and blessed Leo, archbishop of the great and elder
Rome, through us, and through this present most holy synod together with the
thrice blessed and all-glorious Peter the Apostle, who is the rock and foundation
of the Catholic Church, and the foundation of the orthodox faith, hath stripped
him of the episcopate, and hath alienated from him all hieratic worthiness.
Therefore let this most holy and great synod sentence the before mentioned
Dioscorus to the canonical penalties.”
Council of Chalcedon, Session III
(A.D. 451)

But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah,
the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, 
"Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed
to you by flesh 
and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock
I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

Matthew 16, 15-18