Wednesday, September 28, 2016

" I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH" ON CHRISTIAN UNITY LISTEN TO POPE PIUS XI PART 9

HIS HOLINESS POPE PIUS XI
(PONT. 6.2.1922 to 10.2.1939)
11. Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"?[25] Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind."[26]

The Holy Father here sets the scene to begin closing the Encyclical. He shows how the historical experience of life lived in the Church by Christ's faithful  has always been, and the necessity for those separated to return. His reference to Photius is a reference to the Patriarch of Constantinople who is held responsible for leading the Great Schism of the East from the Catholic Church. He quotes Lactantius Circa A.D. 250 - 325) to show that there is no alternative : 

To follow Christ faithfully is to be a member of the Catholic Church.

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