Track #8

Intent: For unity among Christians and a universal acceptance of the true Church founded by Jesus Christ

Nearly 2000 years ago, Our Lord Jesus Christ founded His Church when he asked his apostles:

“And you…who do you say that I am?” “You are the Messiah,” Simon Peter answered, “the Son of the living God!” Jesus replied, “Blest are you, Simon son of Jonah! No mere man has revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. I for my part declare to you, you are ‘Rock,’ and on this rock I will build my church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:15-19).

Since then, some have made the argument that Jesus, rather than Peter, is the “rock” to which this passage of scripture refers. However, a careful analysis of the original Aramaic text (the language spoken by Jesus Himself) reveals that Jesus clearly meant that Peter was to be the foundation on which the Lord would build His Church.

At Pentecost, Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to empower the new Church with divine guidance and protection: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. When he [the Holy Spirit] comes, however, being the Spirit of truth he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but will speak only what he hears, and will announce to you the things to come” (Jn 16:12-13). Furthermore, this divine guidance and protection (from doctrinal error) has remained with the Church and will remain with the Church until the end of world:

Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth; go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Baptize them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you. And know that I am with you always, until the end of the world! (Mt 28:18-20).

Our Lord intended for His Church (not the Bible alone, as Protestants claim) to be the means of spreading His redeeming Gospel, in its fullness, to the world. This is supported in the first epistle of Paul to Timothy when Paul describes the Church as “God’s household, the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of truth” (1 Tim 3:15). The Catholic Church is also the source of countless graces that are given through the sacraments. The Catholic Church is the only Christian Church that can trace its foundation and leadership all the way back to Peter the Rock, and it is one of the very few Christian (along with a few not-so-Christian) Churches that is so bold as to claim itself as being the one true Church founded by Jesus Christ Himself.

We pray that all people, by the grace of the Holy Spirit, will come to know and follow the teachings of the one true Church, and therefore possess the fullness of truth required for their salvation. We pray as Jesus prayed, “that all may be one” (Jn 17:21), and that the walls which have separated Christians for centuries will come tumbling down, leaving “one flock then, one shepherd” (Jn 10:16). St. Paul says the following:

Make every effort to preserve the unity which has the Spirit as its origin and peace as its binding force. There is but one body and one Spirit, just as there is but one hope given all of you by your call. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all, and works through all, and is in all (Eph 4:3-6).

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