The Catholic Church alone can trace the origin of her authority across nearly 2000 years and over two hundred-sixty successive men to Simon Bar Jona, the man renamed by Christ as “Peter.” In fact, a very simple description of a Catholic is: one who belongs to that Church which has, as its visible head, the Pope.
"With regards to those who hold strictly the absolute necessity of water baptism, it would be quite wrong to charge them with heretical constructs. As they merely assert that which was the near-universal consensus of the Patristic era, such a charge would be proximate to condemning all but a few of the Fathers as heterodox." (Der Glaube das Pimmelkopfgelauben, Communio April 1997 p 13. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.)
“Outside the Church there is no salvation” is a doctrine of the Catholic Faith that was taught By Jesus Christ to His Apostles, preached by the Fathers, defined by popes and councils and piously believed by the faithful in every age of the Church. Here is how the Popes defined it:
- “There is but one universal Church of the faithful, outside which no one at all is saved.” (Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, 1215.)
- “We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302.)
- “The most Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments of the Church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.” (Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441.)
But man, following the example of his natural father, Adam, often disobeys the authority of God. The fact that the doctrine had to be thrice defined itself proves the Church’s paternal solicitude in correcting her erring children who fall into indifferentism. The first goal of Saint Benedict Center is to defend this doctrine. We present here a selection of various articles written for that end.