By Modesto P. Sa-onoy
The Catholic Church found by Jesus Christ draws its faith and guidance from the Holy Scriptures and Sacred Traditions that had been taught by the Apostles and their successors. Through the centuries, hundreds of saints, theologians, Doctors of the Church, popes and writers have explained and expounded this Faith that produced saints and holy men and women. Miles of printed words and thousands of hours of homilies and expositions had been made riveting on the same source – the Bible and Tradition.
On the other hand, thousands diverted from these Faith had become outcasts – heretics and apostates, from popes to ordinary men, who founded their own churches and theologies because they refused to accept the Magisterium or teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Thus since time immemorial, there is a maxim “extra Ecclesiam nulla salus est (outside the Church there is no salvation).
That appears very harsh and should be understood in the context of history and tradition. The 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church however explained this in the present context as “all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is His Body.” It is the same thing said in a different way.
If we believe in the Bible indeed Christ gave the “keys to the Kingdom of heaven” only to St. Peter and thus to those who remain in the Church in Apostolic succession.
This is only to present thoughts from the Catholic point of view – dissenters are free to make their own and indeed hundreds have their own opinion or belief, the reason there are hundreds of other churches and cults. As the old saying goes, “iya ulo iya kulo; iya kalag iya bakero.” Each one carry his head; each one takes care of his soul. This places responsibility on each one of us for our eternal life, if one believes there is an eternal life and Divine judgment after death.
True believers of the Catholic Church had undergone indescribable manners of hardships of torture and death but the Faith remained strong, its persecutors receding into infamy and viewing from a Catholic view probably into the pit hell.
But the enemies of the Church are legions and they never cease to seek her destruction believing on a false assumption that by persecuting the Church and its member the Church will collapse and fade into oblivion. Well, they had not succeeded because as Christ promised, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against” His Church.
Several years ago, a story broke out in the international media that the defunct Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as the consolidated countries of the Balkans and Russia were called, had for years sent out agents to infiltrate the Catholic Church in its strongest bastion – the seminaries. The future “priests” would then move into positions of authority within the Church to corrupt her and undermine the tenets of Faith with new definitions and interpretation.
We saw a prelude to the initial success of this operation with the emergence of what was then called Liberation Theology. Hijacking and twisting the Church social teachings, the proponents within the Church – priests and bishops, were able to pit the Church against the establishment. Indeed, the true followers of the social teachings of the Church were overwhelmed to the extent that many considered the Church no longer adapted to the needs of modern man.
Many seminarians left the seminaries and priests gave up their Holy Orders. In Bacolod of about 54 seminarians, only four stayed to complete their studies and were ordained. Several priests joined the communist party knowing fully well that the communist is an atheist ideology.
During the last several years, since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, there had been many reports of priests and bishops undermining the Faith and Tradition. Last week, a bishop in Europe gave Holy Communion to a Protestant and several had given Communion as well to divorced and remarried Catholics.
These acts are clearly forbidden in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that considers this act a sacrilege. Why the authorities of the Church have allowed this is beyond imagination but taking into account what is happening within the Church today, can we wonder still?