Papal Primacy & Infallibility

The Perennial Baltimore Catechism, in response to Q. 499, explains that The Pope, the Bishop of Rome, is the visible Head of the Church because he is the successor of St. Peter, whom Christ made the chief of the Apostles and the visible Head of the Church.”

The CCC 882 further explicates that The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."

As Catholics we know that people need to know truth (Jn 8:32; Jn 14:6; Jn 18:37) and that The Church is the Pillar of Truth, has authority, is visible, and is one (1 Tm 3:15; Mt 18:15-18; Jn 17:21) We also know, as Divinely revealed, that The the Pope is the Successor of St. Peter (The Church was built on St. Peter) (Mt 16:18 – 19)

In this Bible Study then we will clearly see the Divinely revealed Truth of the Authority of the visible Church, the Primacy of Peter (The first pope), passed on to his successors (successive popes), and the special charism of infallibility given to Peter and to those who eventually sit in his chair.

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CCC 765, 882

Jn 8:32; Jn 14:6; Jn 18:37; 1 Tm 3:15; Mt 18:15-18; Jn 17:21; Mt 16:18 – 19; Luke 22:31-32; Isaiah 22:22; Rev. 1:18; 3:7; 9:1; 20:1; 2 Sam. 7:16; Psalm 89:3-4; 1 Chron.17:12,14 ; Matt. 23:2-4 ; Jer. 33:17

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Painting of Saint Peter by Peter Paul Rubens

'And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us'

On Monday, May 16th, 2011 I had the privilege of teaching at the very first catechetical session for Our Lady of Good Counsel's 'Lifelong Faith Formation' program. The mission of the program is to provide the adults of our Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish with a review of the fundamentals of Catholic Faith.

In this lecture I covered an Introduction to Scripture. Of course, when discussing Scripture as a mode by which we receive God's Word its essential to not only understand Scripture and Sacred Tradition as the Word of God (cf. 2 Tim 3:16-17; 1 Thess 2:13; 1 Pt 1:25; CCC 97), but Christ Himself as the Word of God made flesh. (Jn 1:1,14) This understanding helps us realize that we, as Catholics, have the amazing blessing of having a intimate relationship with the Word of God each time we receive Him body, blood, soul, and Divinity in the Blessed Sacrament!

With that proper context we can start to identify some of it's most essential attributes such as its Divine Inspiration and its complete inerrancy. In this introduction we also identify the role that the Catholic Church in putting the canon of Scripture together and also its vital role as the sole authoritative interpreter of the Word of God (Dei Verbum 10)

CCC 151, 97, 81, 105, Dei Verbum, Providentissimus Deus

Jn 1:1, 14; 1 Pt 1:25; 1 Thess 2:13; 2 Tim 3:16-17; Luke 10:16; 2 Pet 1:20; 2 Pet 3:15-17

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image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons.
Jesus Christ - detil from Deesis mosaic, Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

Mystical Body of Christ: 'The Intercession of the Saints'

We are all made, by means of Baptism, part of the Mystical Body of Christ, which IS the Catholic Church (1 Cor. 12:12,27) And Scripture tells us clearly that not even death separates us from the Mystical communion. (Rom. 8:35-39)

CCC 1475 In the communion of saints, "a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things." In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

With this understanding, and with the call that we have to pray for one another (Jas 5:16), we can start to see the importance and beauty in asking our brother and sisters in heaven to pray for us (Rev 5:8) In this Bible study we will address some of the misunderstandings and objections often brought up when discussing the 'Communion of Saints' and the power of The intercession of the Saints.

CCC 1475 , 1479

Jas 5:16 ; 1 Tim. 2:1-5; 1 Cor. 12:12,27; Rom. 8:35-39; Matt. 5:44-45; Rom. 15:30; 2 Thess. 1:11; Rev. 5:8; Rev. 6:9-11; Rev. 8:3-4

image from the 'Public domain' via wikimedia commons. Saints of the Catholic Church