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Hierarchy is Good

Hierarchy is Good

Fr. Paul Stein

So often in today’s culture, we presume that hierarchy is bad: it’s oppressive, unfair, etc. Yet, are not parents hierarchically above their children? Is a mom being oppressive when she insists that her children eat their vegetables? Those hierarchically above can indeed abuse, mistreat, or fail those below them; but does that make hierarchy intrinsically bad? If so, scrap the following: families, civic organizations with their “presidents,” armies, and corporations.[1] Effectively, you would scrap society into anarchy.

Hierarchy is built into creation. You can see it in families, you can see it in mammal behavior. It is also how angels are created. A hierarchy as created by God, is a chain or ladder of persons:

A contemporary reader may wonder if an angel in the lower part of the hierarchy is somehow “less” than an angel higher up in the order. In a sense, no. Granted, angels higher up have more power, but that does imply less dignity or less importance. (H)ieros means holy (a hierus was a priest, a holy one) and archia means to rule. The one above you is empowered by God to elevate you toward him, to lift you up. God empowers or capacitates a hierarchy to look after and be responsible for the one(s) below. Thus, while our guardian angels are “above” us, yet they take care of us.

Hierarchy is built into creation.

… hierarchy is not an oppressive thing, but to the contrary, a responsibility to God and others in the hierarchy. Fans of Spiderman may appreciate the idea that: “with great power comes great responsibility.” This applies to any hierarchy: the military, the family, or the Church. When lived authentically, it is a reflection of the God who took on our humanity in Christ and suffered and died on the cross to save us, in service of humanity. The Church, as the Body of Christ, is supposed to be like a human chain that extends from earth up to heaven, with anyone above, a hierarch, lifting up (the chain) the one below him. Hence, one title of the Pope is the servant of the servants of God.[2]

The Church’s hierarchy is meant for sanctification, raising someone up to heaven. It is true, that the structure would place the pope at the “top,” bishops coming next, then priests, deacons, and then laity.[3] But the Pope is serving faithfully when he is lifting the bishops and everyone else “below.” The purpose of the Pope’s authority is to fulfill his responsibility. For example, Papal Infallibility exercised ex-cathedra – which has only been used twice in history – to provide doctrinal clarity for the sake of salvation.

We can ultimately see the Church’s hierarchical structure in what is above the Pope: Christ himself. “He is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he himself might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile all things for him, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:18-20). He is the ultimate “top” of the hierarchy who gave his life to save everyone in the Church. The head of the Church serves all its members.

That is why a bishop’s threefold office to sanctify, teach, and govern – which comes from Christ himself who is priest, prophet, and king – is all aimed at salvation. The bishop is empowered sacramentally through ordination to fulfill these responsibilities. The “power” is not meant for self-service. If the bishop is to be saved, it is through being a faithful shepherd of the flock and father to the people. He cannot even absolve himself from sins, he must go to the sacrament of penance/reconciliation with another bishop or priest!

What This Means For Us

If we spend some time thinking about it, the Church’s hierarchy is ultimately familial. Just as we expect a father to be available to his children even in the middle of the night when they are sick, we expect a priest to be available at all hours of the day to anoint the sick and dying. For a pastor in particular, the responsibility for others and the hierarchical authority as the head of the community are two sides of the same coin. May our family homes be domestic churches where parents exercise their hierarchical authority with great love for their children, being willing to give their lives if necessary for their children.

Footnotes

[1] The Soviet Union, starting in 1918, tried to abolish nuclear families; they had to backtrack, particularly in the Family Code of 1936. The Chinese Communist Party tried abolishing hierarchy in the army (the PLA); in 1988, they wound up reinstituting a system of ranks. Socialism, in essence, is anti-hierarchical; it has never worked out well… and yes, to all those who insist that it hasn’t really been tried: socialism has been tried and it’s a miserable failure.

[2] See the Behold article on The First Hierarchy: Angels.

[3] A clarification: Cardinals are considered clergy of Rome and advisors to the Pope. Most Cardinals are bishops, but not necessarily; the pope has, on occasion, named a priest as a cardinal, though that person is usually beyond voting age for any papal conclave where they elect the next Pope/Bishop of Rome. Religious may be either clergy or laity, depending. A Jesuit priest is both a religious and clergy. A Jesuit brother (not ordained) is religious, but not clergy.

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Church is She. Period.

Church is She. Period.

Fr. Paul Stein

Did you ever wonder why we have never called the Church, “he?” We most certainly don’t call the Church zie, ze, xe, or one of the other gender-neutral “pronouns.”[1] The Church is She. Period. Full stop.

The reason is that she is the bride of Christ, and he is most definitely a “he.” Our popular culture often imagines heaven as where we hope to sit on clouds and play harps. Yet, the image Christ frequently gives us in the scriptures is that of a wedding banquet: “Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son’” (Matt 22:1-2). If Jesus is the groom, then the Church is the bride: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I also saw the holy city, a new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev 21:1-2).

Part of God’s plan for creation was the human complementarity of male and female, husband and wife, to reflect the close loving union of God with us through Christ. St. Paul describes it in his letter to the Ephesians:

Be subordinate to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives should be subordinate to their husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So [also] husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave [his] father and [his] mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church. (Eph 5:21-32)

Heaven is thus, a mystical marriage.
In Christ, the natural institution of marriage,
built into creation, is elevated to a sacrament.

Heaven is thus, a mystical marriage. In Christ, the natural institution of marriage, built into creation, is elevated to a sacrament. The marriage between a baptized man and a baptized woman embodies and points to the reality of heaven. As Christ and the Church cannot fail to forever love each other, the sacrament of marriage is indissoluble:

Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, saying, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?” He said in reply, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” They said to him, “Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss [her]?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of your hearts Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.” (Matt 19:3-9)[2]

For the Church, the creation of humans as male and female is a gift from God that ultimately finds its fulfillment in heaven.

What This Means For Us

We live in a culture that still celebrates weddings with great fervor. That wedding to which we should ultimately look, however, is heaven. If brides and grooms work feverishly and spend large amounts of money to have a wonderful earthly wedding, then we should be willing to give everything we have to be a part of the heavenly marriage banquet. That is the one marriage in which bride and groom will live happily ever after.

Footnotes

1. This author has used – when an application form requires pronouns – who & what. Abbott and Costello were ahead of their time.
2. Annulments come from the clause “unless the marriage is unlawful” which has to do with the distinction between the Greek words porneia and moicheia.

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The Church Is A Democracy

The Church is a Democracy

Fr. Paul Stein

Now and again, the news will report a survey on what Catholics think about a controversial issue inside the Church: divorce and remarriage, women “priests,” abortion, etc. The mainstream media’s approach to the Catholic Church is the same as its approach to almost every other public institution, it analyzes the Church through a political lens. The problem is that the Church is not a democracy, at least not in the usual sense.

We were founded by Christ to teach the truth he has revealed to us; we are not interested in taking opinion polls to decide what we will believe. We can only call the Church a democracy in the way that G.K. Chesterton did: the Church is a democracy of the dead. That means we are founded on Tradition.

Tradition may be defined as an extension of the franchise. Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about. All democrats object to men being disqualified by the accident of birth; tradition objects to their being disqualified by the accident of death. Democracy tells us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our groom; tradition asks us not to neglect a good man’s opinion, even if he is our father. I, at any rate, cannot separate the two ideas of democracy and tradition; it seems evident to me that they are the same idea. (From Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton)

We were founded
by Christ to
teach the truth he
has revealed
to us

That is why the Church speaks of handing on the Revelation of Jesus Christ in Scripture (i.e. the Bible) and Tradition. Together, they make up what we call the Deposit of Faith. In the end, it is not a revelation of some abstract truths, but rather the self-revelation of God in Jesus Christ. God is the Truth and source of all Truth. Jesus is God incarnate who came that we might know and have life in the Father, through the Son, by the power of their Holy Spirit. It is sharing in the life of God through Jesus Christ. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).

In this way, we can speak of the Tradition or the Faith. It is the Church living the life that Jesus gives her, a life made possible by the truth that he has revealed. Because we know him, we can express things about him and the life he gives us in specific formulations known as doctrine.  As the Church in apostolic times began to grow, people began to live life through hearing the apostles’ preaching. The stories they told can be called the “oral tradition.”

But even the stories they told would never have completely described the life of Christ. For example, how many families have numerous stories about this member or that member, yet a family is more than the stories it has about itself.

A family tradition is more than the stories about the tradition. You can speak for hours about what your family’s Christmas is like, yet the reality is more than what you can say about it. You have to live in the family and be a part of the Christmas celebration to be a part of that tradition, that life. Think of how impossible it is to encapsulate the entire family life throughout the year.

Equally so, the oral preaching of the apostles was not the entire Tradition, it was part of it. The stories about Jesus that they shared were necessary for people living life in Christ; after all, you cannot be in a relationship with Christ if you don’t know who he is. However, life in Christ is more than what you can know about him. That is why people entered the Church through baptism; they entered a community and began living in the family of God, living the life.

As the apostles started to be killed for their faith (martyred), the Christian community became concerned with writing down the stories about Jesus to preserve them for future generations.

This is the origin of the gospels. The remainder of what is in the New Testament comes from letters written to the Church in specific cities (e.g. St. Paul’s letter to the Romans) and certain individuals. The presumption is that the people to whom the letter was addressed were already living the life. The letters of St. Paul, for example, are meant to address certain issues of the community in that city, not to provide an all-encompassing description of what Jesus said and did or a complete description of how to live the Christian life. These letters would not make sense to someone who was not a Christian, because the letters presume that you are already living — although poorly, as St. Paul points out — the life of faith.

As time progressed further, other people began writing stories about Jesus that were not true. An example would be the Gospel of Thomas, which reports: 

Simon Peter said to them: Let Mary go forth from among us, for women are not worthy of the life. Jesus said: Behold, I shall lead her, that I may make her male, in order that she also may become a living spirit like you males. For every woman who makes herself male shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Gospel of Thomas, 114)

Not only were there false gospels, but also false letters attributed to apostles as well. This required the Church to begin deciding which writings were truly reflective of the faith she had received from the apostles, handed down from one generation to the next. The Church accepted as Sacred Scripture, those books which were reported to be from the apostles and reflected the life of faith that the Church was already living.

For example, the Gospel of Thomas claims things that women must become men to enter the kingdom of heaven. That is opposite to what the Church lives and believes. So the Church did not accept the Gospel of Thomas as authentic. The canon, meaning the list of books accepted by the Church as inspired by the Holy Spirit, was decided based on the life the Church was already living. In short, we know the Bible to be the inspired word of God because the Church declares it to be such. Furthermore, the Church teaches us to interpret the Bible because she is a community founded by Jesus and sustained by the Holy Spirit.

While the Tradition is more than the writings about the Tradition, once the writings have been completed and agreed upon as accurate — inspired by the Holy Spirit, without error — they become normative and cannot be edited.

Future generations cannot insist that Scripture does not reflect and communicate the Tradition, particularly since such future generations receive the faith from the prior generations, all the way back to the generation that decided that Scripture is inspired and without error. Only in this way can a person speak of the Sacred Scripture in a way that distinguishes it from Sacred Tradition.

To summarize, there is one source of both Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture: the revelation of Christ entrusted to his apostles as a living reality. The Church is thus hands-on in every age (to every generation) everything that she is: the community of believers living life in Christ, which is only made possible by the truth. She hands on her very life which includes the “what” of belief. Thus the Church hands on Scripture and Tradition. The Tradition is thus everything that is a definitive part of living life in Christ. It includes belief in the Trinity as well as the celebration of the sacraments and the liturgy. Since the Sacred Scriptures are normative, the Church continues to reflect on and interpret them to continually clarify and hand on the Tradition. Yet, since Scripture is not self-interpreting, the Holy Spirit, which upholds and enlivens the Church in the first place, guarantees that the Church will not go astray in interpretation.

What This Means For Us

So if the Church is a democracy, it is a democracy of the dead. The opinions of our current culture notwithstanding. We belong to something so much greater than something we could create on our own. We belong to a living 2000-year Tradition started by God himself in Jesus; we are still living in communion with our ancestors. We are standing on the shoulders of giants, or rather, of the saints of God.

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The Church Is A Democracy

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Now and again, the news will report a survey on what Catholics think about a controversial issue inside the Church: divorce and remarriage, women “priests,” abortion, etc. The mainstream media’s…

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The Church Is Family

The Church is Family

Fr. Paul Stein

St. Paul, in his letters in the New Testament, often refers to his audience as “brothers” or “brothers and sisters.” Is it hyperbole? Was it the first-century equivalent of “bruh”? Quite to the contrary, St. Paul meant it: in Christ Jesus, we are all brothers and sisters. There is an old expression to indicate that the bonds of family are stronger than the bonds of friendship: blood is thicker than water. In the end, the blood of Christ is thicker than anything else.

It might surprise you, but adultery was a common image in the Old Testament for Israel’s unfaithfulness to God. When the Israelites sinned and worshipped other gods, prophets such as Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea spoke on God’s behalf, comparing such behavior to adultery. The reason is that God’s relationship to Israel was portrayed as a type of marriage. When God spoke to Abraham and promised to make of him a great nation, he made a covenant, not a contract, with Abraham and his descendants.

A contract is simply a business deal: party A will do this, and party B will do that. If party B doesn’t fulfill its part of the deal, party A is not obligated to fulfill its part. Once each side has completed its part of the deal, the relationship is over; like making the final payment to the contractor who installs new windows in your house. In contrast, a covenant establishes a blood relationship; it establishes a family where there was none previously. Marriage is the covenant we encounter daily.

he made a covenant, not a contract, with Abraham and his descendants

The concept of a covenant is an ancient one that spans ethnic groups, cultures, nations, and time. In times past, groups of unrelated soldiers became “brothers” by the ceremony of (literally) mixing their blood, usually through a cut on the hand or arm; hence the phrase “blood brothers.” In the Old Testament, we see a more Middle Eastern custom of Abraham’s day in chapter 15 of Genesis. God has Abraham cut several animals in half, laying each half apart from each other with a pathway between them. Then in a sacred trance, God manifests his presence “walking” between the halves using a smoking fire pit and flaming torch. In those times, each party to a covenant would walk between the animal’s halves to establish the family relationship, also indicating that should one party violate the covenant, may God (the gods) split the violator in half.[1]

The idea of covenant is found throughout the Old Testament. For example, God made a covenant with Noah; he renewed the covenant he made with Abraham through Moses at Mt. Sinai. Ultimately, these covenants and their renewal prepared the way for Jesus, who established the new and everlasting covenant in himself. Jesus is the Lamb of God whose blood establishes us as God’s adopted children with the promise of living with him forever. At the Last Supper:

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks,* and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, from now on I shall not drink this fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it with you new in the kingdom of my Father.” (Matt 26:26-29)

St. Paul’s entire letter to the Hebrews is an excurses on Christ as the High Priest who inaugurates the new covenant:

For this reason, he is the mediator of a new covenant: since a death has taken place for deliverance from transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance. Now where there is a will, the death of the testator must be established. A will takes effect only at death; it has no force while the testator is alive. Thus not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. (Hebrews 9:15-18, 24)

We, who live 2000 years later, enter that covenant through initiation into the Church. Just as the Jewish people would circumcise their (male) children as a sign of the covenant, Christ gave the Church Baptism to wash away sins and adopt someone into God’s family: 

“Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

The sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist complete that initiation to make someone a full member of the Church, the family of God. For us, like St. Paul, greeting another member of the Church is to greet a brother or sister in the Lord. We have all been adopted into the family of God through Christ Jesus. In ancient times, adoption was not seen as somehow being a “lesser” member of the family. In the Roman Empire, a biological child was not truly considered a son or daughter until the father of the family accepted the child. Hence, in pagan Rome, infants that were not accepted were at times exposed, meaning placed out in nature or “on the hillside” to die from exposure to the elements or wild animals.[2] A Roman father could adopt a slave or anyone else not biologically related and that adopted son or daughter was truly a son or daughter as far as society, religion, and the law were concerned.

This is why certain things at mass seem odd to outsiders, but not to those in Christ. What the priest says and how we respond shows that the “brothers and sisters” include those in heaven and purgatory as well as those on earth: everyone living in Jesus Christ. It is why communion is only given to those initiated and belong to the Church. Intimacy belongs in marriage: a wife should not have sexual relations with a man, not her husband, nor should a husband have sexual relations with a woman who is not his wife.

What This Means For Us

As members of the Church, we have been initiated into a covenant; we have been adopted into the family of God. We couldn’t pay for it if we wanted to do so; there is not enough money in the world that could compensate God for what he has done for us in Christ Jesus. Rather, we have been given a gift, and as brothers and sisters, need to live godly lives as we are now called children of God.

Footnotes

[1] Think of how much more exciting our wedding ceremonies would be if we included something like this…

[2] If that sounds harsh, keep in mind two things: (1) it was the Church in her conversion of the Roman Empire that brought this practice to an end. (2) We are similarly barbaric today in the practice of abortion, directly killing innocent human life at its beginning.

For Further Reading On This Topic

Can I Start My Own Church?

| Behold-The Church | No Comments
It seems like anybody and everybody is starting their own “church.” You can find them in storefronts and sometimes using a public school gym before they can afford to construct…

The Church Is Family

| Behold-The Church | No Comments
St. Paul, in his letters in the New Testament, often refers to his audience as “brothers” or “brothers and sisters.” Is it hyperbole? Was it the first-century equivalent of “bruh”?…

The Church Is A Democracy

| Behold-The Church | No Comments
Now and again, the news will report a survey on what Catholics think about a controversial issue inside the Church: divorce and remarriage, women “priests,” abortion, etc. The mainstream media’s…

Church is She. Period.

| Behold-The Church | No Comments
Did you ever wonder why we have never called the Church, “he?” We most certainly don’t call the Church zie, ze, xe, or one of the other gender-neutral “pronouns.” The…

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Can I Start My Own Church?

Can I start my
own Church?

Fr. Paul Stein

It seems like anybody and everybody is starting their own “church.” You can find them in storefronts and sometimes using a public school gym before they can afford to construct a proper “church” building.[1] Years ago, when a well-known Chicago priest threatened to leave the Catholic Church and start his own “church,” Cardinal George said something like this: he (the priest) can start his own church when he rises from the dead.

The word “church” is a translation of the Greek New Testament word ekklesia. It means a called out, or summoned, assembly of people. In ancient Athens, for example, it was the assembly of male citizens who qualified to participate in the governance of the city-state. In the Bible, Jesus clearly establishes not “a” church, but “the” church.

Beginning in the Old Testament, we see that God “elects” or selects Abram and promises to make of him a great nation: “The Lord said to Abram: Go forth from your land, your relatives, and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” (Gen 12:1-2).

The Jewish people were and are God’s chosen people, his elect. Abram was renamed Abraham and had a son named Isaac. Isaac’s son, Jacob, would receive a new name from God: Israel *Gen 32:29. Jacob/Israel had twelve sons, from whom came the twelve tribes of Israel. When they wound up in slavery in Egypt, he called them out,[2] passing through the Red Sea under the leadership of Moses; the eventual destination was the promised land.

In the New Testament, we read of how Jesus established the Church as the new People of God, extending God’s elect beyond the Jewish people to include the Gentiles, or non-Jews. When he began his public ministry, it states:

He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled: “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles, the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death light has arisen.” From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt 4:13-17)

He then goes on to call his first disciples (Matt 4:18-22). Of them, he chose twelve to be his apostles. He would explicitly form the twelve to lead the people he called, choosing Simon to be the first among the twelve, renaming him Peter: “Jesus said to him in reply, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.” (Matt 16:17-18).

Then, after his passion, death, and resurrection, Jesus would commission them to go and call others to be a part of God’s people in the Church, starting with the waters of baptism and ending, if the person responds to God’s grace, in the promised land of heaven:

Jesus didn’t
found “a” church,
but “the” Church

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matt 28:18-20).

Jesus didn’t found “a” church, but “the” Church, the people called out of sin and death into light and life. A people God has elected or chosen to be his own forever if they but respond to his power working in them. These people are no longer limited to the Jewish people, but now also include the Gentiles, hence it is katholikos, which is Greek for “universal.” The first time in history it was called the Catholic Church was in 107 AD, in a letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the church located at Smyrna:

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution 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; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

So, no, you can’t start your own church… unless you rise from the dead on your own power.

What This Means For Us

It is exciting to know that the “project” we are working on, as members of the Church, is ultimately not our project. It is a divine project. We are on a mission – which in Latin means “to be sent” – to which God calls us and, therefore, has an incredible depth of meaning. We didn’t join a club that some random human started, we were initiated into the Church, which the God-man started.

Footnotes

[1] Which begs a question: what should a church look like? A theatre… a stadium… or a lecture hall? For a Catholic, a church building should look like heaven. See the book of Revelation, chapters 4-8.

[2] “When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1). This is also considered a Messianic prophecy to be fulfilled when Mary and Joseph left Egypt, after fleeing there to protect Jesus from the murderous intent of King Herod (Matt 2:15). Jesus relived the history of Israel, but did so perfectly, whereas the Israelites frequently sinned and failed to obey the Father’s commands.

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