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It owes this solely and exclusively to its Lord, who enables it to hear and accept His gift. It is 'the Church of pardoned sinners', living wholly and utterly in the world, but not of the world. As the society of sinners summoned by the Lord, the Church has to serve in the world. Its business is not to be like the world, in a false solidarity with it, but to declare to the world the basis of the Church's own life.
Not therefore simply by the inner attention of its members to their Lord, but by the whole conduct of their life. To emphasise this it adds that the Church must perform its service of witness by 'its message and its order 5. The practical ordering of the Church's life must make it clear whether or not the Church itself is subject to its Lord, here on the way, whether its message is only theory, or whether it really summons men in obedience to Christ the Lord.
The order of the congregation of Christ the Lord can never be like a temple of stone, but only like the tabernacle of the children of Israel in the wilderness. It is a witness that here is a company on the move, comforted and guided by its coming Lord and longing for Him. The Barmen Declaration thereby provided a very necessary clarification. The distinction between the visible Church and the invisible Church, which stems from Augustine and was adopted by the Reformers, left Protestantism an easy prey to a dangerous error.
Everything we have said about the Church on the basis of the third Barmen thesis applies, it was said then, to the Church of faith, to the true Church which is invisible". The Church in which we live is not to be confused with this Church of faith. Of course it shares the life of that true Church, but in itself it is a sociological phenomenon in an imperfect world.
The Barmen Declaration affirms however, that it is the Church as the Church of forgiven sinners which is the society in which Jesus Christ 'acts presently'. Precisely in this question- able existence is it the Church of Jesus Christ. In itself it is nothing. It is what it is, in Christ. But it has to confess Him in and with its entire existence. The third Barmen thesis underlines all that when it goes on to reject the doctrine 'that the Church is permitted to form its message or its order according to its own desire or according to prevailing philosophical or political convictions'.
If, that is to say, the content and form of the Church's message are distin- guished so as to suggest that while the content remains un- alterable the form can, if necessary, be altered to fit in with the needs of the hour, that means the substance of the message has been secretly changed into a philosophy and the message is no longer the Christian Gospel at all The Church is certainly l6 REFORMED SYMBOLICS called by Christ into liberty, but that means wholly and com- pletely into His service.
The Church must never forget that everything it says and does in every respect, it says and does as His servant. Because it is a free community it knows no licence. It cannot serve two masters. When we deal with the different denomi- nations we shall have to ask if they know that they are summoned to bear witness in this comprehensive way in utter solidarity with the world to ask if they know they have been made wholly depen- dent on the Lord and could not live even for a moment without His presence? The fourth Barmen thesis develops the statements made in the third in a direction which is very important for our enquiry into the various Church structures.
It points out that by the service to which the Church is summoned, what is meant is usually called 'Ministry 3 c Amt 5. In the various 'ministries' in the Church, what is involved is 'the service Diensf. That accords with the facts. The New Testament does not contain the term c Amt' office. The Reformation Confessions correctly rendered this New Testament word by ministerium.
It certainly no longer reminds us of the revolutionary change which took place when Jesus described His work, indeed His entire mission, as 'service 5 and regarded his disciples' task there- fore as something which could be summed up as a 'serving' Sicueovecv , as for example in the passage quoted in the fourth thesis Matt. We should compare, too, the account of the feet-washing in John Jesus extols as the highest thing what was regarded as the lowest, namely, SiaKwetv, waiting at table, carrying out the menial duties of a slave According to Jesus, the greater is not the one who sits at table but the one who waits.
He is so in the absolute sense, because He served us tc the point of laying down His life for us. Hence, all who are Hi are summoned to serve to the utmost John i2. It is there- fore constitutive of the very essence of the Church that it shoulc be in service, in solidarity with Christ its Head.
This was clearly not of first importance to the members of the Synod. One thing had to be made clear however. If in the Lord's Church it is a matter of service and only of service, then it is not permissible for one ministry in the Church to exercise lordship over another. If it is by her Lord's presence that the Church lives and is distinct from all othei societies, then here it applies : 'You have one teacher and you are all brethren 3 Matt.
A statutory subordination oJ some ministers to others, such as was being demanded at that time in Germany, is never permissible in the Church. If such a subordination and superordination is nevertheless introduced, it is not just a secondary disorder that is caused but the sole sovereignty of Jesus Christ is assailed.
What is then denied is that He, the Head, gives to each member of His body the spiritual gifts needed to perform his ministry and that, in this way, the servant members of His servant body are utterly subordinate to Him. In our examination of the various denominations we shall need therefore to see whether they acknowledge this rule of the Church by Jesus Christ, or, on the contrary, establish within them- selves a rule by man; whether they wish only to be the Church of Jesus Christ, or to leave room for man and man's will to rule.
It becomes clear at this point whether a Church wishes to be governed by her Lord or by sin, for sin is essentially man's desire to be himself the master, and the rejection of the gracious rule of Jesus Christ. The fifth Barmen thesis declares that the State too stands widen God's rule and therefore has no independent authority of its own. If it wishes to perform a helpful service in the still unredeemed 28 Gf.
Marcel Pradervand, Geneva The sixth thesis again defines the Church's task, this time from one special viewpoint. The two biblical passages placed at the beginning of this thesis speak of the living and present Lord and of the royal freedom of His word. It is the freedom of the Lord who means to abide with His Church, and therefore is the exact opposite of despotic licence. It is the freedom of His love.
The Church's task is to proclaim the Word of His free loving- kindness. It is significant that the Barmen Declaration ends as it began by pointing to the Gospel of God's free grace. Quite clearly, the first thesis is being expounded once more. If what is said here in conclusion is not heeded, every- thing which the Barmen Declaration has said about the Church's task in the earlier theses will be misunderstood.
This passage will test whether or not the Church knows the cause entrusted to it. The sixth thesis is therefore of special importance in our enquiry. In the fourth thesis we were told of a service entrusted to and required of the Church. Now we are told that it has a mission. It stands here on earth in Christ's stead. Not that the Church Itself has to accomplish, extend, or complete His work.
It has all been done already by Christ Himself. It is finished. What the Church has to do is to proclaim this news e to all men'.
It is not the will of Jesus Christ to leave us as orphans after His resurrection and ascension. He, the Heavenly King, who lived in our midst and spoke to us as a man like ourselves, condescends to us still further with such humility that now He employs human lips to invite all men to come to Him. This is the service He has committed to the Church as His representative. The Church is allowed to be an instrument of this Lord, His spokes- man. It is the herald of Jesus Christ.
Not in such a way that this task is superimposed on its real self. The Church is not the body of Christ in which particular members are subsequently given the special task of proclaiming Christ. On the contrary, the proclamation and glorification of Christ constitute this body.
On the contrary, the Church is a mission or it is nothing at all. But the Church can announce that this same God has made it known to us that He is our Immanuel, God with us. In inconceivable mercy. He created man to be His partner, reconciled to Him- self this creature who spurns His love, by claiming us for Him- self as His own, in His Son, and now He wills to be glorified in us.
The Church is permitted to glorify the name of this God in the sight of the nations. Its task is not just to impart doctrine. The free grace of God will not let itself be imprisoned in a textbook, not even in one approved by all the Christian councils. Any Church content to do no more than hand on a doctrine set down in some creed or other would be mistaking its mission. A Church making this its aim would have become a synagogue and its ministers rabbis.
Nor is it the Church's task to proclaim a morality. The view that the Church's main business is to teach people the Ten Commandments is questionable. The Church will have to guard against turning God's law into a collection of rules, a sort of Jewish version of the old Saxon law. If it were to do that, it would become like the sect of the Pharisees which Jesus opposed. A Church that thought its main task was to improve morals and manners would be like the opponents of Jesus who 'tithed mint and dill and cummin and neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith' Matt.
The Church's real message concerns Him who fulfilled the Law for us, and has translated us into the liberty of the children of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not presuppose any parti- cular disposition or readiness in the hearts of the hearer. It 29 Cf. Minutes of the Fourth Meeting, pp. The Spirit blows where He wills. Once again we are reminded that the Lord through His Spirit 'acts pre- sently 5 , opening men's hearts to Him where and when He wills. This Gospel of God's free grace is entrusted to the Church, not handed over to it and therefore placed at its disposal. The Gospel is not affected by the circumstances in which the Church finds itself at any given time.
It is not true that the Church only has to order its life aright for it to be able to deliver this message. Even a perfect liturgy is not a prerequisite. On the contrary, all this could even be a hindrance to the free course of this message. Certainly this message is in no way guaranteed by any Church order or liturgy. It is nevertheless true that outside the Church there is no salvation extra ecclesia nulla salus].
This is true, however, only so far as the Church is the handmaid of the Lord. It is true in virtue of the Gospel which is the vital nerve of the Church. It has pleased God again and again to allow the message of His free grace to shine forth even in the deepest confusions of the Church, That must never be for- gotten. The message entrusted to the Church is the announcement of God's free grace. It is the news that the last shall be first.
It is the message for the woman who was a great sinner, for Zacchaeus the collaborator and quisling, for the thief on the Cross, but not for the strong who have no need of a physician. It is good news to the poor in the land, but not to the Scribes and Pharisees. It is good news for all who hunger and thirst for righteousness, but not for the satisfied and complacent. This Gospel of free grace is addressed to all people. God is no respecter of persons Acts It is addressed to atheists and to religious people, to communists and to capitalists, to the good and the evil, the just and the unjust.
In proclaiming this message the Church demonstrates its own freedom. It is free as the society commissioned by Christ. In serving the Gospel it is free from all philosophies. As it obeys and serves Christ it is free from all other Lords, all other powers, and from the Devil. But it is not so in its own strength. Its obligation ennobles it. Its Lord is its freedom. Enjoying this freedom the Church knows that all licence is excluded.
It will not use the Word entrusted to it to pursue a strategy of self-glorification. As the postscript to the sixth thesis says, the Church will not use it to serve any self-chosen desires, purposes and plans. It did not exist to provide the German people with inner resources for their selfish enterprises. No more is it its task today either to support the Christian West or to prepare the way for a Communist order of society.
The Church's sole concern is the free grace of its free Lord.
Soli Deo gloria. Everything else which is right in God's sight will then be added unto us Matt. That is the decisive question to be put to them. It may be objected that this whole enquiry is superfluous because we are approaching our task with dogmatic prejudice; that we have taken our stand on the Barmen Theological Declaration and are going to look one-sidedly at the different denominations from that standpoint.
We cannot forestall this objection, of course, but anyone raising it should realise that he himself is 'in the same condemnation'. There is no such thing as an impartial study of denominations. Even the attempts made by historians cannot completely conceal the dogmatic or philo- sophical assumptions on which their work rests. It is, moreover, relatively unimportant for the interpretation of other denomina- tions whether the standpoint of an author of a Symbolics is that of orthodoxy or of liberal Protestantism. Why should the con- cerns of the different denominations be better understood from the latter standpoint in particular?
We have deliberately set the Dusseldorf Theses and the Barmen Theological Declaration at the beginning of this en- quiry. In the time of great testing which overtook the Church in Germany at that time, we ourselves were obliged to confess in these words what the Church stands for. Indeed we were then faced with the question and had to confess openly what the basis of our life was.
In return they incurred the shame of being despised by the many. For these statements they suffered persecution at the hands of the Gestapo. They went to prison and to concentration camps. For these statements they had to give up their work, their families, some even life itself. To us these theses are no mere scrap of paper, merely a sentimental memory, one confession of faith among so many others on our library shelves.
In them we confessed our faith in the Word which called us and never forsook us, which upheld and com- forted us. Anyone who imagines that we have thereby established a judicial court from which to pass judgment on the denomina- tions has not understood the Barmen Declaration, which in fact bears witness to the Lord who has reserved final judgment to Himself. But this same Lord summons us to watchfulness.
That is why the Barmen Declaration warns us against the ways which lead away from Him. We shall confront the denomina- tions with this testimony. We shall question them from this standpoint.
Essais historiques, Patrimoines Cerf, Paris , does not devote a separate chapter to the Jewish Christian festival calendar. Washington; George Washington ; Scheel, Dokumente zur Entwicklung Luthers, Otherwise Christ's reconciling work would be called in question. The tradition that he was a God-fearing nonJew from Paul's entourage still seems to fit best. Photographs Collected and Edited by Emanuel Borden. Samtida skinnband.
We shall also have to issue warning signals. How could it possibly be otherwise when we recognise the message of free grace? Ecumenical thinking, far from making everything relative, requires each of us to take seriously the truth which has found him and to speak frankly about it to the others. Such a conversation assumes that the others are ready for it. If not, the necessary conversation can become instead simply a pro- test. Any ecumenical conversation also presupposes that we ourselves are ready to be asked questions by the others and, when necessary, to be instructed by them.
The Barmen Theological Declaration is not itself the Truth. All we did by our words then was to bear witness to that Truth. We must be ready to listen to others if a better testimony to Jesus Christ has been given them. It would not serve our purpose, therefore, to give a purely descriptive account of the denominations, for the im- portant thing is not the form of an ecclesiastical society but what has shaped and moulded this form.
As I have already stressed, our task is essentially a critical one. We must ask the denominations how they respect the Gospel entrusted to them, how they relate themselves to it and how they communicate it. This means we shall keep to the contemporary form and witness of the denominations. Not that we shall not also have to glance at their past, for the denominations regard their understanding of the Gospel as to a great extent formulated in documents of the past.
But it is not our concern to describe the origins of the denominations or the development of their doctrinal positions. Such matters will only be mentioned occasionally as need arises. We renounce any idea of starting our survey of the different Churches from some highest common factor. Loofs says soberly : 'There are no formulae, confessions, or liturgies common to all Christians.
Even the so-called "ecumenical" creeds are not common property. If we choose to deal first with the Roman Church and then with the Orthodox, this is not because like E. Mtiller we find life and movement in the Roman Church but in the Orthodox only static tradition. Visser't Hooft, London We are speaking here, however, of the official Roman Church. Yet the Vatican Council makes the rather strange assertion that it is not because f the present condition of mankind that 'revelation must be -egarded as absolutely necessary', 3 and, as we shall see later, the listinction between natural and supernatural revelation 4 plays i very important part in Roman theology and practice.
Bart- nann is nevertheless right when he says : 'Since, strictly speak- ng, dogma requires supernatural revelation, those doctrines vhich the Church in its preaching does not derive from this ource are not essential dogmas. Church Dogmatics, VOL. Denzinger, Enchiridion symbolorum definitionum de rebus Jidei et mum, henceforth cited as D. Rahner, Freiburg im Breis- au , ; K. Mirbt, Quellen zur Geschichte des Papsttums und des romischert "atholizismus, henceforth cited as M.
Tubingen , Bartmann, Lehrbuch der Dogmatik, 8th edn. The Council supported this by referring to the explanation given at the Council of Trent This spoke of the Gospel 'which, before promised through the prophets in the Holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth and moral discipline', and added 'that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books and the unwritten traditions'.
This list has two significant features : i The Old Testament Apocrypha, i. Here already the Church interposes itself between the biblical message and its hearers. The prophetic and apostolic writings, closely defined even to their linguistic form and including the Old Testament Apo- crypha, are regarded by the Roman Church as canonical, 6 'Hanc veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis ct sine scripto traditionibus' D.
Vatican Sess. Even the recent papal encouragement of textual criticism in no way diminishes the 'juridical authenticity' of the Vulgate for the Latin Church. Biblical Studies, trans. Smith, London , pp. The Vatican Council states: The Church holds these to be sacred and canonical not merely. Offsetting this tremendous assertion about Scripture is the fact that the Church has already shared in the production of this divinely created book, by making the authorised Latin version.
God and the Church have co-operated in this work. It is no surprise then, when the Roman Church assigns equal authority alongside the written Word to the unwritten traditions. Trent is quite explicit about this: 'This truth and discipline are contained in the written books and the unwritten traditions which, received from the mouth of Christ Himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Ghost dictating, have come down to us, transmitted as it were from hand to hand.
Before long this concept of tradition was enlarged by the Professio fidei tridentinae , which put even ecclesiastical tradition on a par with Apostolic tradition. Every Roman priest since then has had to accept and subscribe to both: e l most steadfastly admit and embrace apostolic and ecclesiastical tra- ditions, and all other observances and constitutions of the same 9 'Eos vero Ecclesia pro sacris et canonicis habet non ideo.
As regards Scripture, Trent had already stated 'that no one relying on his own skill, shall,. In the last instance, it is the Church itself which alone determines the true meaning and interpretation of Scripture. In keeping with this dogmatic definition, Karl Adam praises 12 'Apostolicas et ecclesiasticas traditiones reliquasque eiusdem Ecclesiae observationes et constitutiones firmissime admitto et amplector' D. Nevertheless the doctrine 01 fides implicita developed by medieval scholas- ticism, according to which the ordinary Christian need believe personally only the most important doctrines and can trust the Church for all other matters of faith, has never become a dogma.
It is the Church that settles what the orally trans- mitted, unwritten Word of God says to men. The type of biblical exegesis which appealed to Augustine, for example, and which, when used by the Reformers, caused the Roman theo- logians such embarrassment, was henceforth ruled out of order. The 'distant rule of faith 5 oper- ates for him only through the Church as intermediary. The Catholic Christian must believe all that God has revealed and that the Church proposes for his belief, whether it stands in Holy Scripture or not.
Kattenbusch is surely right when he concludes that the Roman Church 'really wants to listen only to itself'. The Spirit of Catholicism, London , pp. Deharbe, Katholischer Katechismus, Regensburg , Q,. Similarly in other catechisms. Herzog, Realenzyklopadiefurprotestantische Theologie undKirche, henceforth cited as R.
Serious difficulties arise, how- ever, when we ask which texts fall within this description. First, there is the problem which Councils are to be reckoned as ecumenical. The general view is that there have been twenty. Last but not least, we must bear in mind that, since the Vatican Council, conciliar decisions are authoritative only in conjunction with the teaching office of the Pope. This latest Ecumenical Council asserted c that the Roman Pontiffs have, according as the needs of the times sug- gested, either summoned a General Council, or explored the mind of the Church throughout its length and breadth, or again used local synods or other means which Providence might offer, and so have come to define as obligatory what, with God's help, they came to recognise as being in harmony with Sacred Scrip- ture and Apostolic Tradition'.
The teaching of a local synod can be just as significant as that of an ecumeni- cal one, if it agrees in substance with Scripture and tradition. Only the Pope, however, can say whether such agreement exists. As regards the authority of the Pope as the occupant of the Church's teaching office, the Vatican Council proclaimed as divinely revealed dogma: c that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra, that is, when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, he defines a doctrine regard- ing faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the divine Redeemer willed that 21 'Sive solemni iudicio sive ordinario et universal!
Of course the Pope only makes a 'solemn judgment 5 when he comes forward explicitly as the teacher of all Christendom, speaks on matters of faith and morals, and states his intention to announce a doctrinal definition. Papal pronouncements which are in- tended simply to exhort or instruct do not fall within this category. But which papal decisions have been spoken ex cathedral It used to be said by some theologians that no Pope had ever used this authority, and that there were therefore no ex cathedra pronouncements. This opinion became untenable, however, after the solemn definition of the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary.
We must notice too, that in announcing the dogma of papal infallibility, the Vatican Council gave it retrospective force. Yet it is still very difficult to say just which papal decisions have this character. In his teaching office, the Pope is not free but controlled. Since, however, he has no real counterpart, this is not a genuine control and the door is wide open to every kind of arbitrariness.
Papal pronouncements and conciliar decrees form only a part of the deposit of faith which the Church proposes for acceptance by believers. The other part is proclaimed by the Church 'ordinario et universali magisterial This 'ordinary and universal magisterium' is the function of the bishops, which they exercise by means of pastoral letters, by the approval of catechisms and religious books, and so on.
They are not infallible in their teaching office, but simply transmit the Christian truth which believers must hold. The 'ordinary and universal magisUriurrf also operates in the life and practice of the Church, above all in the liturgy.
The liturgical books used by the priesthood should therefore be mentioned: the Missale Romanum , containing the Order of Mass; the Rituale Romanum , giving the formularies for the sacraments and other ecclesiastical rites and ceremonies performed by the priests; the Pontificale Romanum , regu- lating the ceremonies performed by the bishops; and the Breviarium Romanum and , compiled from various sources and giving the daily offices for the secular clergy. From all that has been said, it follows that there is no official body of documents setting forth the faith of the Roman Church.
Even Denzinger's collection of conciliar decrees and papal decisions is of quite uncertain status and certainly not infallible in the Roman sense. Unlike the Lutheran Church, with its 26 'Neque enim PETRI successoribus Spiritus Sanctus promissus est, ut eo revelante novam doctrinam patefacercnt, sed ut, eo assistente, traditam per Apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodirent et fideliter expon- erenf D. That would not be in accord with its view of the Church's teaching office.
Various sources of tradition are used by the Church's teaching office. They include, in addition to those already mentioned, 'the unanimous consent of the Fathers' consensus patrum , re- ferred to above but very difficult to define; the Acts of the Martyrs; and, according to Bartmann, 27 even pictures, sculp- tures, monuments, and Christian inscriptions. The Roman Church does not, in fact, maintain a mere dogma formale dogma quoad nos], which it has already formulated, but at the deepest level, the dogma materials dogma quoad se 9 the divine legacy divinum depositum entrusted to the Church which she must faithfully guard and unfailingly teach.
From it she can bring out whatever she thinks fit. This happens when she defines a dogma. In the last analysis, only the Pope can give reliable information on this point. In a negative and defensive sense this is done by means of the Index librorum prohibitorum which has been continuously published at Rome since In general the criteria of authentic tradition are the three mentioned by Vincent of Lerins in his Commonttorium : 'In the Catholic Church the greatest care is to be taken to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all ; for that is Catholic in the true and strict sense.
H, Bettenson, henceforth cited as Bettenson, Documents, London , p. Vincent's Commonitorium is found in Migne, P. L, pp. A translation is given in VOL. George E. London As we saw, it is impossible to confine ourselves to these sources for, along with them, we have to consider the Church, or, more precisely, the Church's teaching office. There is no access to the sources except through this teaching office.
The Church is the 'immediate rule of faith', to which the believer must adhere. It is, therefore, appropriate to ask now what Rome means by the Church. Roman theologians have said, with some truth, that Rome has no doctrine of the Church. The doctrine of the Church is of course, dealt with in all textbooks on dogmatics, but whereas in other matters Roman Catholic dogmatics is essentially the exposition of dogma, the section devoted to the Church refers to very few propositions representing defined dogma.
Councils and Papal documents have developed no explicit doctrine of the Church. That in itself is very significant. It was obviously enough for the Church to exist and to carry on its work. Any reflexion about itself was regarded as unnecessary. The Church was in fact infallible. It was aware of no position superior to itself from which it could be challenged. Flew, London , pp. Mystici corporis, Heidelberg , p. Either way, it is very important. Yet even without it we would not be groping in the dark. There is a whole series of important statements about the Church setting forth defined dogma.
The statements of the modern Papacy, however, show that it is not the living, and therefore present, Word of the Lord which is here in view, but the Word which He once spoke during his lifetime on earth. In the Anti- Modernist oath , it is asserted that the Church was 'founded immediately and personally by the true and historic Christ during His earthly life', 5 and the immediately following words, about the foundation of the Church on Peter and his successors, show that this appeal to the 'historic Christ' is not intended merely as a safeguard against a modern, unbiblical view of the Church.
The intention is rather to present the Church as a society which began to exist from that point of time onwards and continues to exist in this time of ours. Without this background, the important concept of 'tradition', which we met in Chapter i, would be meaningless. Most papal pro- nouncements speak of the foundation of the Church in this temporal sense. This does not mean that an attempt was made here to speak of the Church in genuinely biblical terms.
On the contrary, in this description of the Church as a body, a particular sociological concept is being employed which is alien to Scripture. In the Encyclical Mystici corporis , Pius XII says: 'We therefore deplore and condemn also the calamitous error which invents an imaginary Church, a society nurtured and shaped by charity, with which it disparagingly contrasts another society which it calls juridical.
Those who make this totally erroneous distinc- tion fail to understand that it was. Individuals are called by Christ as 'united and joined together in truth and conviction, so that instead of a crowd there emerges a people united by law. It was thus equipped 'to bathe men with a rain of Heavenly graces'. Just as the Church, the fruit of Christ's redeeming work, is continually increased and preserved by this stream, so too it owes its existence to it. As we saw earlier, though Christ began to found the Church by His preaching, He completed it on the Cross. It is not only Mohler who has said that the Church is the 'eternally self-rejuvenating Son of God', and to this extent, 'His eternal manifestation'.
The Church founded by Christ and perfected on the Cross can conduct the stream of grace to men because it is authorised to repeat again and again the sacrifice 13 Pius XII, Mystid corporis, Eng. The Council of Trent stated that 'Sacrifice and priesthood are, by God's ordin- ance, in such wise conjoined as that both have existed in every law. Whereas, therefore, in the New Testament, the Catholic Church has received, from the institution of Christ, the holy visible sacrifice of the Eucharist, it must needs also be confessed that there is in that Church a new, visible, and external priest- hood, into which the old has been translated.
And the Sacred Scriptures show, and the tradition of the Catholic Church has always taught, that this priesthood was instituted by the same Lord our Saviour, and that to the Apostles, and their successors in the priesthood, was the power delivered of consecrating, offering, and administering His body and blood, as also of forgiving and retaining sins. The latter ensure the continuation of the priesthood, in virtue of an uninterrupted succession which, it is claimed, links them to the Apostles successio apostolica.
By the sacrament of ordination they are able to make priests and to transmit to these the same power to offer up Christ's sacrifice. Unauthorised returns will not be accepted. Returns must be postmarked within 4 business days of authorisation and must be in resellable condition. Returns are shipped at the customer's risk.
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