« Ch. XXIV. Q. 135. What is the Kingly Office of the Church? | Main | Chapter XXV. The Doctrine of Grace »

September 17, 2005

Ch. XXIV. Q. 136. What does the Church possess in the exercise of her Offices?

THE CHURCH possesses authority, infallibility and indefectability in the exercise of her Offices.1

2. The authority of the Church consists in the right and power of her Bishops and other Ministers to govern and teach the faithful and administer the Sacraments. This authority is based upon the mission given to the Apostolic Ministry by Christ, extends over all who are baptized unto her membership, and is incapable of compromise or surrender (cf. Q. 130.2).2

3. The infallibility of the Church signifies the impossibility that she should forsake the true faith, or err ecumenically in the exercise of her dogmatic office. Particular Churches and even general councils may err and teach heresy. The Catholic Church cannot be committed to such errors, however, but will inevitably disavow every heresy, since she is guided by the Holy Ghost into all truth (Q. 125. 4 b).3

4. The indefectibility of the Church is her perpetuity, and the impossibility that the gates of hell should prevail against her. Her Lord has promised to be with her until the end of the world; and the vitality which is imparted to her by the Holy Ghost enables her to live through every peril, and to be the permanent source of life and holiness to the faithful to the end of time.4

5. These attributes make the Church to be the true and only ark of safety for souls (Q. 126. 5. c); and, since her predestination to future glory is absolute (Q. 139. 4), no one can fail to attain to heavenly life who perseveres in faithfulness to her life and doctrine.5

1Schouppe, III. 50-53, 203-214

2 Schouppe, III, 53: Blunt's Theol. Dic., "Authority of the Church."

3 Schouppe, III. 52, 210-214.

4 S. Matt. XVI. 18: XXVIII. 20: Psa. XLVIII. 8. Palmer on the Church, I. i. 2: Vol. I, 150: Pearson on the Creed, 604-606: Schouppe III. 51, 203-209: Hutchings on the Holy Ghost, 161, 162.

5 Staley on the Cath. Church, I. iii.

Posted by Trevor at September 17, 2005 05:44 PM