Lesson VII – The Roman Catholic Church Cannot Be Destroyed
Q. What is the world in which we live?
A. It is the temple of God
Q. What forms the carpeted floor of this temple?
A. The earth, with all its thousands of flowers.
Q. What forms the vaulted dome?
A. The blue sky above, with its millions of twinkling stars.
Q. For whom did God create this temple?
A. For man, that man might worship Him therein.
Q. What, then, is the world?
A. It is only the temple of religion, reared by God to His own honor and glory, and to the benefit of His servant, man.
Q. Does God watch over the world—the temple of His religion.
A. He watches over it with unceasing care, so that not even a grain of sand, not one atom of matter, has as yet been lost ever since the first morning of creation.
Q. Is it not of far greater importance for God to watch over the preservation of His religion?
A. It is.
A. Because the preservation of the true religion, or of the true worship and service of God, is of greater importance than the preservation of the world—the material temple in which He is worshipped.
Q. How do we know this?
A. Because, to create the world God used no effort. He simply said: “Be it done,” and it was done. But to create and establish His Church, the SOn of God sacrificed wealth, honors, pleasure, and everything that man holds dear. He suffered poverty, contempt, persecution. He labored during His whole life, and at last died on a gibbet, and poured out every drop of His sacred blood.
Q. If God, then, preserves with such care the universe—the earthly, material temple, which cost Him nothing—will He not preserve with greater care His heavenly temple, His holy Church, which cost Him His blood and life?
A. He will, indeed, because the temple of this world without religion would be a sad mockery, a worthless encumbrance. It would have failed in the object for which God created it.
Q. What follows from this?
A. That before God allows His religion to be destroyed He must, of necessity, first destroy the world, which is the temple of religion; in other words, sooner shall the sun refuse its light, sooner shall the precious Blood of Jesus Christ lose its atoning power; sooner shall God cease to be God, than the Church of Jesus Christ cease to be the true Church.
Q. But let us suppose the Church of Jesus Christ had ceased to exist, who would be able to restore her to life?
A. God alone.
A. Because to raise a dead person or the Church to life, is a far greater work than to preserve that person or Church in life; it is equal to the work of creation. Even the Apostles themselves could not give life to the Church; they could, with the assistance of God, only preserve that life which Jesus Christ had given her.
Q. How great, then, must be he who could restore that dead Church to life?
A. He must be greater than the Apostles; he must, at least, be equal to Jesus Christ Himself.
Q. But are there not men who tell us that they have raised the dead Church to life and restored her?
A. Yes; very many.
Q. Name some of these wonderful men.
A. Martin Luther, Henry VIII., Calvin.
Q. What did Martin Luther do?
A. He claimed to restore the Church to life; to reestablish and reform her.
Q. How did our Lord Jesus Christ establish His Church?
A. By leading a life of poverty and pain. “He had not where to lay His head.” By renouncing all that the world holds dear. By practising through His whole life the three great virtues of poverty, chastity, and entire obedience—obedience even to the death of the Cross.
Q. How did Luther establish his Church?
A. By doing the exact opposite of all this. By breaking his vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Q. Can the church of Luther, then, be the Church of Christ?
A. No; unless the Son of God were to change His nature, which is impossible.
Q. Is not the Catholic Church the Kingdom of Jesus Christ on earth, which He has acquired with so much toil and labor and suffering?
A. Yes; it is the kingdom which He has purchased with His own blood, and which He has loved more than His own life.
Q. Will any power be able to tear this kingdom from Jesus Christ?
A. It would be blasphemous to think so.
Q. Is not the Catholic Church the sheepfold of which Jesus Christ is the Shepherd?
A. She is.
Q. Will the hellish wolf ever be able to take entire possession of the sheepfold in spite of her Divine Shepherd?
A. Sooner will the heavens and the earth pass away than that this will happen.
Q. Is not the Catholic Church the household of which Jesus Christ is the Master?
A. She is.
Q. Will Satan be able to take possession of this household in spite of its Divine Master?
A. No one can say so without blasphemy.
Q. Is not the Catholic Church the Body of Jesus Christ?
A. The Church, says St. Paul, is the Body of Christ.
Q. What follows from this?
A. That Christ is inseparably united with His Church.
Q. What, then, would it be for one to say that the Church could be destroyed?
A. It would be to say that Christ or God can be overcome, which would be the height of madness and blasphemy.
Q. How long will Christ protect and defend His own Body—the Catholic Church?
A. To the end of the world.
Q. In what words has He given us this assurance?
A. In these words: “Behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world” (Matt. xxviii. 20); and, therefore, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church.”
Q. Is there any other reason why the Catholic Church cannot be destroyed?
A. Yes; the true life of the Catholic Church is the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Truth, who, according to the promise of Jesus Christ, will abide with His Church for ever.
Q. What is meant by this promise?
A. That the Holy Ghost will enlighten the pastors of the Catholic Church to preserve and deliver her holy doctrine to the end of the world uncorrupted, and encourage them and the faithful to live up to it, and even to lay down their lives for it. St. John xiv. 16, and Gal. iv. 6.
Q. What follows from this?
A. It follows that, although the hands of blind or wicked men may rob the Church, may pluck the crown from the Pontiff’s brow, may drive her prelates into exile or death, may destroy and defile her sanctuaries, may persecute her children and massacre them by thousands, yet her faith, planted by the Son of God on earth, will gloriously shine and endure to the end of the world.