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The Authority of the Church, Chapter III: The Catholic Church is one. It is under one visible head
The Authority of the Church ^ | 16th century A.D. | St. Francis de Sales

Posted on 06/14/2010 12:32:47 PM PDT by Pyro7480

I will not dwell long on this point. You know that all we Catholics acknowledge the Pope as Vicar of Our Lord. The universal Church acknowledged him lately at Trent, when she addressed herself to him for confirmation of what she had resolved, and when she received his deputies as the ordinary and legitimate presiding body of 'the Council. I should lose time also [to prove that] you have no visible head; you admit it. You have a supreme Consistory, like those of Berne, Geneva, Zurich and the rest, which depend on no other. You are so far from consenting to recognize a universal head, that you have not even a provincial head. Your ministers are one as good as another, and have no prerogative in the Consistory, yea, are inferior in knowledge and in vote to the president who is no minister. As for your bishops or superintendents, you are not satisfied with lowering them to the rank of ministers, but have made them inferior, so as to leave nothing in its proper place.

The English hold their queen as head of their church, contrary to the pure Word of God. Not that they are mad enough, so far as I know, to consider her head of the Catholic Church, but only of those unhappy countries.

In short, there is no one head over all others in spiritual things, either amongst you or amongst the rest of those who make profession of opposing the Pope.

How many times and in how many places is the Church, as well militant as triumphant, both in Old and New Testament, called house and family! It would seem to me lost time to search this out, since it is so common in the Scriptures that he who has read them will never question it, and he who has not read them will find, as soon as he reads them, this form of speech in a manner everywhere. It is of the Church that S. Paul says to his dear Timothy (I. iii. 15): That thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the Church, the pillar and ground of the truth. It is of her that David says: Blessed are they who dwell in thy house, O Lord (Ps. lxxxiii. 5). It is of her that the angel said: He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever (Luke i. 32). It is of her that Our Lord said: In my Father’s house there are many mansions (John xiv. 2). The kingdom of heaven is like to a master of a family, in Matthew, chapter 20, and in a hundred thousand other places.

Now the Church being a house and a family, the Master thereof can doubtless be but one, Jesus Christ: and so is it called house of God. But this Master and householder ascending to the right hand of God, having left many servants in his house, would leave one of them who should be servant-in-chief, and to whom the others should be responsible; wherefore Christ said: Who (thinkest thou) is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his family (Matt. xxiv. 45). In truth, if there were not a foreman in a shop, think how the business would be done-or if there were not a king in a kingdom, a captain in a ship, a father in a family-in fact it would no longer be a family. But hear Our Lord in S. Matthew (xii.): Every city or house divided. against itself shall not stand. Never can a province be well governed by itself, above all if it be large. I ask you, gentlemen so wise, who will have no head in the Church, can you give me an example of any government of importance in which all the particular governments are not reduced to one? We may pass over the Macedonians, Babylonians, Jews, Medes, Persians, Arabians, Syrians, French, Spaniards, English, and a vast number of eminent states, in regard to which the matter is evident; but let us come to republics. Tell me, where have you ever seen any great province which has governed itself? Nowhere. The chief part of the world was at one time in the Roman Republic, but a single Rome governed; a single Athens, Carthage, and so of the other ancient republics; a single Venice, a single Genoa, a single Lucerne, Fribourg and the rest. You will never find that the single parts of some notable and great province have set to work to govern themselves. But it was, is, and will be necessary that one man alone, or one single body of men residing in one place, or one single town, or some small portion of a province, has governed the province if the rest of the province were large. You, gentlemen, who delight in history, I am assured of your suffrages; you will not let me be contradicted. But supposing (which is most false) that some particular province was self-governed, how can this be said of the Christian Church, which is so universal that it comprehends all the world? How could it be one if it governed itself? And if not, there would be need to have a council of all the bishoprics always standing-and who would convoke it? It would be necessary for all the bishops to be absent; and how could that be ? And if all the bishops were equal, who would call them together? And how great a difficulty would it be, if there were some doubt in a matter of faith, to assemble a council! It cannot then possibly be that the whole Church and each part thereof should govern itself, without dependence of one part on the other.

Now, since I have sufficiently proved that one part should depend on another, I ask which part it is on which the dependence should be, whether a province, or a city, or an assembly, or a single person? If a province, where is it? It is not England, for when a city, it must be one of the Patriarchal ones: now of the Patriarchal cities there are but five, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and Jerusalem. Which of the five?-all are pagan except Rome. If then it must be a city, it is Rome; if an assembly, it is that at Rome. But no; it is not a province, not a town, not a simple and perpetual assembly; it is a single man, established head over all the Church: A faithful and prudent servant whom the Lord hath appointed. Let us conclude then that Our Lord, when leaving this world, in order to leave all his Church united, left one single governor and lieutenant-general, to whom we are to have recourse in all our necessities.

Which being so, I say to you that this servant general, this dispenser and governor, this chief steward of the house of Our Lord is S. Peter, who on this account can truly say: O Lord, for I am thy servant(Ps. cxx. 16), and not only servant but doubly so: I am thy servant, because they who rule well are worthy of double honor (1. Tim. v. 17). And not only thy servant, but also son of the handmaid. When there is some servant of the family kin he is trusted the more, and the keys of the house are willingly entrusted to him. It is therefore not without cause that I introduce S. Peter saying: O Lord, for I am thy servant, etc. For he is a good and faithful servant, to whom, as to a servant of the same kin, the Master has given the keys: To thee I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. S. Luke shows us clearly that S. Peter is this servant; for after having related that Our Lord had said by way of warning to his disciples (Luke xii.): Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching: Amen I say to you, that he will gird himself , and make them sit down to meat, and passing will minister to them:-. S. Peter alone asked Our Lord Dost thou speak this parable to us, or likewise to all? Our Lord answering S. Peter does not say: Who (thinkest thou) are the faithful servants? -as he had said: Blessed... are those servants,-but: Who (thinkest thou) is the faithful and wise steward whom his Lord setteth over his family to give them their measure of wheat in due season? And in fact Theophylact here says that S. Peter asked this question as having the supreme charge of the Church, and S. Ambrose in the 7th book on S. Luke, says that the first words, blessed, etc. refer to all, but the second, who, thinkest thou, refer to the bishops, and much more properly to the supreme bishop. Our Lord, then, answers S. Peter as meaning to say: what I have said in general applies to all, but to thee particularly: for whom dost thou think to be the prudent and faithful servant?

And truly, if we sift this parable a little, who can be the servant who is to distribute the bread except S. Peter, to whom the charge of feeding the others has been given: feed my sheep? When the master of the house goes out he gives the keys to the chief steward and procurator; and, is it not to S. Peter that Our Lord said: I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Everything has reference to the governor, and the rest of the officers depend on him for their authority, as all the building does upon the foundation; thus S. Peter is called the stone on which the Church is founded: Thou art- Cephas, and upon this rock etc. Now Cephas means a stone in Syriac as well as in Hebrew; but the Latin translator has said Petrus, because in Greek there is petros, which also means stone, like petra. And Our Lord in S. Matthew chapter vii., says that the wise man builds and founds his house on the rock, supra petram(note the pronoun hanc). Whereof the devil, the father of lies, the ape of Our Lord, has wished to make a sort of imitation, founding his miserable heresy principally in a diocese of S. Peter (Geneva), and in a Rochelle (“little rock”).

Further, Our Lord requires that this servant should be prudent and faithful. And St. Peter truly has these two qualities; for how could prudence be wanting to him, since neither flesh nor blood directs him but the heavenly Father? And how could fidelity fail him, since Our Lord said: I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not (Luke xxii. 32)?- and he, we must believe, was heard for his reverence (Heb. v. 7) And that he was heard he gives an excellent testimony when he adds: And thou being converted, confirm thy brethren.. As if he would say : I have prayed for thee, and therefore be the confirmer of the others, because for the others I have only prayed that they may have a secure refuge in thee. Let us then conclude that as Our Lord was one day to quit his Church as regards his corporal and visible being, he left a visible lieutenant and vicar general, namely S. Peter, who could therefore rightly say: O Lord, for I am thy servant.

You will say to me: Our Lord is not dead, and moreover is always with his Church, why then do you give him a vicar? I answer you that not being dead he has no successor but only a vicar; and moreover that he truly assists his Church in all things and everywhere by his invisible favor, but, in order not to make a visible body without a visible head, he has willed further to assist it in the person of a visible lieutenant, by means of whom, besides invisible favors, he perpetually administers his Church, and in a manner suitable to the sweetness of his providence. You will tell me, again, that there is no other foundation than Our Lord in the Church: N_o one can lay another foundation than that which is laid, which is Christ Jesus (I Cor. iii. 11) I grant you that as well the Church militant as the triumphant is supported and founded on Our Lord, as on the principal foundation but Isaiah has foretold to us that in the Church there were to be two foundations. In chapter xxviii.: Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion, a tried stone, a corner stone, a precious stone, founded in the foundation. I know how a great personage explains it, but it seems to me that that passage of Isaiah ought certainly to be interpreted without going outside chapter xvi of St. Matthew in the Gospel of today [probably S. Peter’s Chair, Jan . or Feb. 1596]. There then Isaiah, complaining of the Jews and of their prophets, in the person of Our Lord, because they would not believe:-Command, command again; expect, expect again, and what follows,-adds: Therefore thus saith the Lord: and hence it was the Lord who said Behold I will lay a stone in the foundations of Sion. He says in the foundations, because although the other Apostles were foundations of the Church: (And the wall of the city, says the Apocalypse (xxi. 14), had twelve foundations, and in them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb:- and elsewhere: Built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone (Eph. ii. 20): -and the Psalmist (lxxvi.): The foundations thereof are in the holy mountains). Yet, amongst all, there is one who by excellence and in the highest sense is called stone and foundation, and it is he to whom Our Lord said: Thou art Cephas, that is, stone, tried stone. Listen to St. Matthew: he declares that Our Lord will lay a tried stone; -what trying would you have other than this: whom do men say that the Son of man is? A hard question, which St. Peter, explaining the secret and difficult mystery of the communication of idioms, answers so much to the point that more could not be, and gives proof that he is truly a stone, saying: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. Isaiah continues and says: a precious stone; hear the esteem in which Our Lord holds St. Peter: Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona :-corner stone; Our Lord does not say that he will build only a wall of the church, but the whole,-My Church; he is then a corner-stone:-founded in the foundation; he shall be a foundation, but not first: for there will be another foundation-Christ himself being the chief corner-stone. See how Isaiah explains St. Matthew, and St. Matthew Isaiah.

I should never end if I would say all that comes to my mind when I have this subject before me. Now let us see the conclusion of it all. The true Church ought to have a visible head in its government and administration ; yours has none, therefore it is not the true church. On the other hand, there is in the world one true Church and lawful, which has a visible head: no one has [but ours], therefore ours is the true Church. Let us pass on.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; History; Theology
KEYWORDS: catholic; francis; francisdesales; protestant
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After being repeatedly rebuffed in his attempts to re-evangelize Calvinist Protestants who would not listen to Catholic preaching for fear of reprisals, St. Francis turned to writing leaflets and inserting them into copies of his sermons, which he then posted on walls, slipped under doors and handing to whomever he could. Four years later, almost 72,000 had returned to the ancient Catholic Faith! These tracts have been compiled into a book and given the title The Catholic Controversy. The works are still as fresh and powerful today as they were then, and give some of the most compelling arguments against Protestantism that have ever been written, presenting a defense of the Catholic Faith that in some respects has never been equalled.
1 posted on 06/14/2010 12:32:47 PM PDT by Pyro7480
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To: Siobhan; Canticle_of_Deborah; NYer; Salvation; american colleen; Desdemona; StAthanasiustheGreat; ..

Catholic ping!

2 posted on 06/14/2010 12:34:38 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: Pyro7480

the truth always wins out over man made ‘sola scriptura’ shams......

3 posted on 06/14/2010 12:36:22 PM PDT by raygunfan
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To: Pyro7480

Interesting. So Catholics deride the Anglicans for having a non-Biblical person at the head of its church, while the Catholics have a non-Biblical person at the head of theirs.

In reality, only Christ is the Head of the Church.

4 posted on 06/14/2010 12:37:19 PM PDT by ConservativeMind (Hypocrisy: "Animal rightists" who eat meat & pen up pets while accusing hog farmers of cruelty.)
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To: ConservativeMind

The key word is “visible.” Of course, Christ is the Head of the Church, but He is in glory in Heaven.

5 posted on 06/14/2010 12:39:14 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: Pyro7480

Where do you get those works? Also, in the first lines of this post, I see a major error. I know a lot of so called Catholics who not only don’t believe the Pope is vicar but believe a lot of other wacky things too... like karma. Whatever. I know the Church can’t make people believe but I do think that a lot of our churches are very sad about teaching doctrine and the Bible.

6 posted on 06/14/2010 12:39:42 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: ConservativeMind


7 posted on 06/14/2010 12:40:11 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: Pyro7480

He is right beside me too.

8 posted on 06/14/2010 12:40:29 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: Pyro7480

Why isn’t this labeled Catholic Caucus? Only a Catholic would care about it.

9 posted on 06/14/2010 12:40:57 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Pyro7480

Oh and Pyro, one more thing. You guys have got to start editing down these things. I know there is stuff in there I want to read, but my life isn’t long enough to get through it. Even the Bible breaks things into nice little chunks. How about it?

10 posted on 06/14/2010 12:41:47 PM PDT by Paved Paradise
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To: Pyro7480
The works are still as fresh and powerful today as they were then

And just as wrong.

11 posted on 06/14/2010 12:47:22 PM PDT by roamer_1 (Globalism is just Socialism in a business suit)
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To: Paved Paradise

These were taken from tracts written by St. Francis de Sales himself, and then compiled into book form. I’ve been posting them chapter by chapter.

12 posted on 06/14/2010 12:49:44 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: Pyro7480

Not according to the legal docs filed by the Vatican Legal Consul.

Vatican lawyers say Catholicism is little more than a loosely knit group of like minded Christians.

Papal supremacy is just a myth.

Bishop of Rome only.

13 posted on 06/14/2010 12:51:59 PM PDT by NoLibZone (Liberals are right. The AZ situation is like Nazi Germany. Mexico is Germany and Arizona is Poland)
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To: NoLibZone

Stick to the subject at hand.

14 posted on 06/14/2010 12:56:33 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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To: raygunfan


[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

I have never had a problem not finding truth that is applicable to today that tells me His will.

God doesn’t lie:

The Bible tells us that the only true God is not like man’s concept of a god.

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do?

Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19).

God is not like men. Men might tell lies, but God cannot lie. Even if we determined that every man on earth lied,

God would still be true (Romans 3:4).

God is the God of truth (Deuteronomy 32:4).

He will not lie (I Samuel 15:29).

More importantly, God cannot lie. “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:1-2).

The fact that God is unable to lie is an important concept to every Christian. For one thing, our Bibles come from God. How much trust would you have in its teachings if you knew that God might have lied to man?

Do mere mortals lie?



[10] As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

15 posted on 06/14/2010 12:58:44 PM PDT by nmh (Intelligent people recognize Intelligent Design (God).)
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To: Pyro7480

This is verbatim of st francis or modern english?

16 posted on 06/14/2010 1:01:20 PM PDT by johngrace (God so loved the world so he gave his only son! Praise Jesus and Hail the Virgin Mary!)
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To: nmh

fascinating but utterly meaningless as long as folks assume their pastor has the correct interpretation on doctrinal issues, and the little bible only church down the street disagrees, and the third church of Me and the Bible and HS are all i need church, disagree with the previous two churches about the same doctrines...

all from using the throughly unbiblical man made scripture alone ploy.....

youve made your beds now lie in them..

i will take the historical catholic church that is the ‘pillar and foundation of the truth’ before some pastor out of Whatever Theological Institute starts throwing scripture grenades out left and right, and the next pastor or pastorette starts flinging scripture passages on her own interpretation of what the previous pastor said that disagrees with some other protestant claiming his is the correct version, etc, etc, thru thousands of competing man-made bible only churches arguing that everyone else is wrong...

17 posted on 06/14/2010 1:13:50 PM PDT by raygunfan
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To: Pyro7480
Characteristics of a cult:

1) They claim to be the **true** church.

2) If a person leaves the **true** church they risk eternal damnation in hell.

3) They have an anointed hierarchy.

4) This hierarchy regardless of how corrupt is impervious to reform by action of the common laity.

5) Salvation is through the ministration of the **true** sacraments by their **true** priesthood. Of course if a member leaves the true sacraments and true priesthood he is in danger of eternal damnation.

18 posted on 06/14/2010 1:22:29 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: Pyro7480

I thought it was very pertinent.

19 posted on 06/14/2010 1:34:14 PM PDT by DManA
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To: johngrace

It’s a translation of the original 16th century French.

20 posted on 06/14/2010 1:45:51 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("If you know how not to pray, take Joseph as your master, and you will not go astray." - St. Teresa)
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