FROM JESUS IN THE EUCHARIST BY REV. FERREOL GIRARDEY, C.Ss.R.
The history of the Church most clearly proves that no novel doctrine opposed to, or different from, that of Jesus could be broached either in the early ages of the Church or in later times without causing great opposition and horror among the faithful and without being at once condemned. Faith was held dearer than anything else, and worthy of the sacrifice of all goods and life itself for its preservation, as is attested by millions of martyrs who died in its defence. The horror of heresy, of false and novel doctrines, can be seen from numberless examples, a few of which are given here. "If any man come to you and bring this (novel) doctrine, receive him not into the house, nor say to him, God speed you" (2 John 10). It is St. John, the apostle of charity, who says this; and what he said he also practised; for when he was told that the heretic Cerinthus had entered the house he was in, St. John at once left it, for he did not wish to remain under the same roof as a heretic. The heretic Arius was explaining his heresy in an assembly; but the hearers showed their horror by closing their ears and would not listen to the blasphemies. One day the heretic Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, whilst preaching to his own diocesans, said that Mary was not the Mother of God, but only the mother of the man called " Christ," the people were so horrified that they all at once left the church. On another occasion a member of his clergy, by his order, was preaching the same heretical doctrine, to the horror of the people, when a certain Eusebius, a prominent lay man, could no longer stand such heretical preaching, arose and proceeded to protest and to refute him, to the delight and applause of the people.
The charge that the Church of Jesus Christ fell into errors and corrupted His doctrine, is an insult to our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, for He repeatedly asserted that His Church would never in the least swerve from the truth, and would always triumph over error. In the first place, the angel Gabriel, the messenger of God to the virgin Mary, expressly declared to her that the kingdom of the Son, who was to be born of her, would have no end: "And of His kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33). The kingdom of Jesus Christ is His Church, and had His Church fallen into error, it would no longer be His kingdom and the divine prophecy of its lasting forever would have failed of fulfilment; but what God Himself foretells must be fulfilled, for He is Truth itself, and not a liar or a deceiver, as such a charge would make Him!
In the next place Jesus Christ said to Peter: "Thou art Peter (that is, the rock), and on this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against her" (Mat. 16:18). History shows how "the gates of hell,'* that is, errors and earthly power, have fought against her, to subdue her, to enslave her, to crush her, but all in vain. Hence St. Jerome says: " As long as the world shall last, the strength of the Church shall be tested and shall abide the test. This shall be so, because the Lord God almighty, who is the Lord God of the Church, has promised that so it shall be, and His promise is an unchanging law." Had the Church ever fallen into error or into idolatrous practises, as Protestants charge, our divine Savior would have proved a false prophet! To say this is clearly a blasphemy! Moreover, did not our divine Savior also promise to be with His Church until the end of the world, saying: "Behold, I am with you all days until the consummation of ages "? (Mat. 28: 20). Did He not also make this promise to His Church (apostles) on the eve of His death, saying: " I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Paraclete, that He may abide with you forever, The Spirit of truth. . . . The Paraclete the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name; He will teach you all things and bring all things to your minds, whatsoever I shall have said to you" (John 14:16, 17, 26). Had the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, which is the only Church He founded, ever fallen into error and idolatrous practises, or taught any thing different from the doctrine of Christ, He would not have kept all these promises. To assert this is nothing short of blasphemy. Christ made and destined His Church to be " the pillar and ground of truth" (i Tim. 3: 15), and surely kept His promise.
Moreover, let us remember that God does not change, cannot change, for He is infinitely perfect; only that changes and can change, which is imperfect and is liable to grow better, to improve, or to grow worse, to deteriorate. God does not change and " the gifts and the calling of God are without repentance " (that is, unchangeable) (Rom.11: 29). Therefore, the Catholic Church, once founded and established by Jesus Christ as His Church, as assisted by Him, as taught and directed by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of truth, is always to remain so, and is therefore and shall ever be the true and infallible Church of Christ, and her teaching and doctrines shall ever be the teaching and doctrines of Jesus Christ, in which there neither is nor can be any error. To assert the contrary is to charge God with error! No other church can have the least claim to being the Church of Jesus Christ. Listen to the words of St. Paul: " But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. . . . For I give you to understand, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For neither did I receive it of man, nor did I learn it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ" (Gal. i: 8, 9, 11, 12). Here St. Paul anathematises all those who preach a gospel different from that which he had preached to them and which Jesus Christ Himself had specially revealed to him. And his anathema would extend to himself and even to an angel, were he or the angel to preach a gospel differing from that which he had preached to them. This is a terrible condemnation of those pretended
reformers of the sixteenth and other centuries who dared to preach a gospel, that is, doctrines differing from that preached by St. Paul and the other apostles on the Real Presence and other doctrines which the Catholic Church received from Jesus Christ Himself!