Annals of the Centuries

From the Early Church

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I hope you will find this website a useful source of information on some of the inexhaustible riches of the Catholic Faith.         

Many of these pages originally appeared on Tradwiki website, which seems to have shut down, and are reprinted here with permission of the authors.  Others are original.

We have not set up this website as a discussion forum as we doubt we have the time for moderation, and there are already many good Catholic Discussion forums.  We recommend  
Fisheaters forum and angelqueen (with a "traditional" viewpoint), and Catholic Answers Forum http://forums.catholic.com/index.php 
which is very comprehensive.  Note that the latter have strict forum rules against comments that reflect badly on the hierarchy or any official Vatican document.  

We do find that it is difficult to find really open discussion:  many moderators have a habit of imposing their own views by expelling individuals or else closing discussion threads in the middle of the debate. 

However, this catholictopics website is featured on the Facebook page Catholic and Irish Topics, with the facility to leave Comments.

Unless otherwise stated, articles are © S. Martin de Porres Homeschool Apostolate.  Articles may be reproduced if accredited to the above or to CatholicTopics Webpage.
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Here, as concisely as we can manage, is our statement on

The Catholic Church

God did not leave us orphans. 
“God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next”. He took upon Himself the punishment for our own sins.  “We were bought at a great price”. (1Cor 6:20).  As a side-effect, He showed us how to live ordered and fulfilled lives on this Earth, while “we wait in joyful hope for the Coming of Our Saviour” and the promise of eternal life with Him.
He did not leave us orphans.  He established the Twelve Apostles to carry on his work, and they ordained their successors by the Laying on of Hands. Thus the Catholic Church was instituted by Christ Himself, as can be shown conclusively from Scripture and historical research, including many ancient documents not re-discovered until after the Reformation.  We have complete records of all the successors of Peter down to the present day.  Pope Benedict is No. 265. 

What is the Church?
When we think of the Catholic Church, we must not think only of our own teachers, parents, priests, especially those who might be in need of our forgiveness. Even in Earthly terms, the Catholic Church is both the largest and the oldest institution in the world today. No Protestant sect is earlier than the 16th Century: a full three quarters of the time since Christ.  
But the Church is very definitely not a mere human organisation.  She is unlike anything else on Earth.  The visible part is only the surface.  Members of the Church are real, but mysterious, members of the Body of Christ.  When in a State of Grace we are Temples of the Holy Spirit.  S. Paul says this is why we must not commit fornication: “I must not join the Body of Christ to a harlot” (1Cor 6: 15). We can pray and merit for each other.
“We bear a treasure in earthen vessels”.  God has allowed Judases in the Church since the very day He called the Twelve.  He even told us why.  “The labourers said, Master, shall we pull up the weeds?  But he replied, No, in case you pull up some of the good grain with them.  But at Harvest time, gather the weeds into bundles to be burned, but the good grain store in my barn”. (Mt 13: 28-30).  God, who sees further than we do, allows evil to flourish for a time, because He knows that a greater good will come of it in the end.  Only one instance: unless every one of our ancestors had lived until their child was born, we would not be here now.  Can we be so sure that they were all good?

Heaven, Hell and Purgatory
There is nothing complicated about living the Catholic life: but we must want to please God and save our soul.  Prayer and the Sacraments are the Key to Heaven.  Here is the Mystery of Grace and Free Will:  "Pray as though everything depends on God:  work as though everything depends on you".  Our Lord said: if you love Me, keep My commandments".  (Jn 14:15). S. Paul adds:  "Do not be deceived.  I have warned you before and I warn you again:  those who do these things (listing various sins, including sexual immorality and avarice) will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven". (1 Cor 6: 9–10).  When we die, we go either to Heaven (Mt 5:3 &c), Purgatory (2Macc 12:46) or Hell (Mt 5:29 &c).

Social Life in the Ages of Faith

Suicide and marriage breakup were practically unknown during the Ages of Faith.  

As Christ warned us, “the poor will always be with you”.  There were poor people, but virtually no destitute.  There were no workhouses. Instead, all over Christendom, there were Alms-houses, run by nuns and Brothers.  Free bed and board were offered to the destitute in the Name of Christ.  At Red Hugh O’Neill’s banquet, the meal opened with food being brought out to the poor.  Hugh declared, “At my table, Christ is served first”.

The great Gothic Cathedrals were built not out of fear, but of love.  What was the cost, in Modern figures, of the building of a typical Gothic Cathedral?  We do know the answer:  Nothing.  All was built by volunteers of every trade, after their normal working day.  And they worked in silence,  “raising mind and heart to God”.  Some of them carved beautiful statues high up where they knew that nobody would ever see them, except for God and the angels.  Cologne Cathedral took 800 years in building.  They didn’t care:  they fully intended it to be standing on the Last Day.  One of the greatest is Chartres Cathedral in France.  But we do not know the name of the architect:  he never bothered to sign any of his blueprints.  The book of traditional Latin Chant has 2000 pages, and there is not a single composer’s name in it. There were sinners in every age, but here in this self-forgetfulness is the true spirit of the Middle Ages.



The Modern Age
The Church has gone through many ages and many trials.  We in the modern age live in the age of “information overload”.  False teaching and bad example abound, sadly both inside and outside the Church.  Rightly or wrongly, the Church in recent decades has taken a lenient approach to many teachers and even clerics who in the past would have been immediately excommunicated for corrupting the Truth which Christ gave us to keep till the End of Time.   Christ said:  'All who are of the Truth hear My Voice.” (John 18: 37).
In the Modern World we must be prepared to seek the Truth with a sincere heart, to find our way past false teachings and disinformation, and indeed to love the Truth.

Catholicism and Modernism.
Modernism is the name of a movement that gained strength in the Nineteenth Century, was strenuously opposed by the Popes and the Church for a full century and more, and which has gained very great ground in the church since the mid-tewntieth century.  It is nothing less than
"the Synthesis of All Heresies", as Pope S. Pius X described it.  It is the most mortal attack on the Faith that has ever been carried out.  Yet it can be presented so attractively, and it fits in so smoothly with the Modern mood, that innumerable people are swept away by it.  See Timeline of the Modernist Attack for a more detailed treatment.

Clerical Abuse
The scale of clerical abuse since the 1960s is a terrible indictment.  The standard rules designed to prevent homosexuality in seminaries were allowed to lapse, and now we have seen the harvest. (The media invariably refers to ‘paedophile priests’ but most offenders were homosexuals). Yet the hard statistical fact is that in any profession dealing with the public, most unfortunately there are offenders of this sort, and priests are far from the most frequent offenders. Yet they are being selectively targeted by the media. 

The Virtue of Purity

The Pagan world wallowed in sensuality, but it did not make people happy, it debased them all.  The Catholic Church taught respect. ‘Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God’. Here is a prayer:  

Lord, keep me always pure of heart, clean of tongue, and chaste of body.  As the world loses the Faith, it has slid back into sensuality – and unhappiness.


Supernatural Life

In Catholic teaching, Heaven is not just free sweeties:  it is more as if our pet cat and dog were given the power to talk and join our human world.  It would be beyond their nature;  supernatural.  In the same way, we have actually been promised that we will be lifted beyond our natural abilities and allowed to participate in the Life of the Holy Trinity:  forever.  That is the promise.  But just as a cat cannot learn to talk by its own efforts, so we cannot make ourselves fit for Heaven by our own efforts alone.  We need the Gift of Supernatural Grace.  This begins at baptism, and is renewed through our lives by prayer, good works offered to God, and especially the Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Sacraments and Sacramentals
These are the ‘normal means’ by which the World of Spirit connects with the Material world, suitable to our own human nature, which is the meeting between the animal nature and the spiritual.  Some religions have taught that the material world is evil, or an illusion. But God, through the Sacramental life of the Catholic, takes all that is good in the material world and raises it to the spiritual.  The greatest of the Sacraments is the
Holy Eucharist, by which Our Lord gives Himself to us whole and entire, under the appearance of bread and wine. This is a gift that the Angels themselves envy. 
During the Middle Ages – the Ages of Faith – the Liturgy had gradually been added to in each individual diocese and Religious Order, mainly by adding pieces to the Ninth Century Missal, which was thought of as sacrosanct.  During the Reformation, various versions of the Liturgy were produced that diverged from the Catholic Faith.  In some cases this was done deliberately by the Protestants.  During the Counter-Reformation the Council of Trent codified Catholic teaching and practice.  The
Tridentine Mass was set as the standard until the end of time, as a sure safeguard against heresy through the liturgy.  We are grateful to Pope Benedict for his affirmation that the Tridentine Liturgy was never abolished, as many had been led to believe.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation
is wonderfully suited to our human nature.  We need to hear God say through a human voice, “Go in peace.  Your sins are forgiven”. Only a Catholic priest has God’s authority for this. And we do need to admit our failings, and that we wish to be free of the burden of the past. Professional psychologists have declared that many states of depression or despair are cured only by Catholic Confession.


The Traditional Latin Mass is a wonderful means of making the Mysteries of the Faith real to our senses: ‘The most beautiful thing this side of Heaven’. Pope Benedict has pointed out that, despite reports to the contrary, it was never abolished.  Indeed, the Church has guaranteed it until the end of Time as a sure means to experience the holiness and the truths of the Faith.


The Holy Rosary has been given particular power in the present age (Our Lady of Fatima, S. Padre Pio, et al.) 

Our Lady gave us the Brown Scapular with the astonishing promise: “Whoever dies wearing this Scapular will not suffer Eternal fire”.  It is a visible pledge that we are on the right road to Heaven. 


The Miraculous Medal, simplest of all devotions, has been the occasion of innumerable miracles, both spiritual and even material.  Just wear it as a sign of fidelity to Our Lady. 


Holy Water is a most powerful tool to dispel evil influences.  It is the will of God the Father that this means will be accompanied by His Power, either directly or through His angels.


Good Spirits and Evil Spirits These are very active in the World.  In the West, the evil spirits try to work in hiding, but in less developed places they operate openly, as missionaries are well aware. Please have nothing to do with Occult or New Age practices.  There are no ‘neutral spirits’. They were all tested, and judged, before Adam and Eve were created. The devil is a liar and can appear to us as a Being of Light.  

Pray every day to God, to thank and praise Him. And to our friends – your Guardian Angel and the Saints for all our needs. It is God’s Will that they help us – if we ask. The Catholic Church gives Grace and complete protection, especially through the Mass and the Rosary.


Science and Religion

There is no conflict between Science and religion.  Many of the greatest scientists and philosophers were priests and monks. The greatest European Universities were founded by the Catholic Church. 

Physics and chemistry are like the study of a Great King’s palace; biology is like the study of His Garden; and theology and prayer are like talking to Him personally.  Many real things cannot be explained by ‘ordinary’ science:  the instantaneous cures at Lourdes and elsewhere, the beautiful incorrupt bodies of saints; the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima that was seen by at least 70,000 witnesses, including those who had come to scoff.  Not to mention Our Lord’s Resurrection on Easter Morning, which was never convincingly denied.

Was the world made in six days of 24 hours? The Catholic Church has kept an open mind on this question. The opening words of the Bible might be a stylized way of presenting the facts of the Ordered Creation of the World. As S. Thomas Aquinas wrote, when the six ‘instants’ of God’s eternal plan were manifested, the world was in existence. The World was created out of nothing.  There was a first man.  We are all descended from him.  He sinned and lost supernatural Grace.  We regain it at baptism.  Christ is the Son of God, true God and true Man.  He died to take on Himself the debt of sin and open the way to Heaven.  We can avail of Salvation by faithful membership of the Catholic Church:  "He who remains faithful to the end will be saved" (Mt 10:22).  The real problem with atheistic Evolution is that it declares (without evidence) that the Creation of the world, and of the human race, was a random event:  this sneaks in a denial of God under the pretence of science.


Original Sin

The devil very cleverly told Adam and Eve:  “You will be like gods”.  If we keep God’s commandments and die in a State of Grace, we will indeed be invited to take part in the Life of the Blessed Trinity:  but we will never get to Heaven by disobeying God, which is what the devil persuaded them to do.  The effects of Original Sin are:  the weakening of the will, the darkening of the intellect, and the strengthening of the passions.  The entire history of the human race shows that again and again a good initiative is ruined, sooner or later, by human foolishness, stupidity and selfishness.  This fatal bent towards The Wrong Way is a sure sign of the reality of Original Sin. That is why God has given special Grace to the Catholic Church – if we avail of her teaching and Sacraments. He said, “I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the World” (Mt 28:20).


The Mother of God
Mary became the Queen of Heaven.  It is God’s Will that we ask God for graces through her.
She told s. Dominic:
“One day through the Rosary and Scapular I will save the world.”






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in JMJ and Patrick

The Editors