Has the Church really retained Apostolic Succession?

And has the Church also retained the power to consecrate bread and wine into Flesh and Blood of Christ, the power to forgive sins, to be free from error in faith and morals, etc. or has this been lost at some point?

I ask, because I recall Jesus breathing the Holy Spirit onto the Apostles and giving them the power to drive out demons, the gift of tongues, and the power to heal the sick too. There is nobody in the Chuch today who is capable of doing any such thing, so it appears some gifts/authority/power has been lost along the way.

How do you refute this? Thanks.

My question to you would be this. Why would Jesus only give these gifts to the Apostles knowing fully well that they would eventually die, and therefore the gifts die with them? You would have to say that no one would start a Church on such a temporary Good start. That makes no sense. You have to take it on faith that he knew exactly what he was doing and set it in motion so that it would last until the end of the world.

I came from Protestantism where there is very little belief in miracles. Some even hold as doctrine miracles ceased with the Apostles.

The truth is the miracles of the Catholic faith are still happening.

There are tons of documented miracles. The church has retained it’s apostolic authority and the truth is in the fruit.

People are healed of sickness, exorcisms drive out demons, etc.

I’m not sure where your getting this as there are sooooooo many miracles in the Catholic Church.

Same as above poster–so many miracles!

Although the miracles add up over time, they are still a rarity. Not all priests, not all popes, not all bishops, not all the ordained, etc. have the ability to heal the sick, for example. Whereas, all of the Apostles did and it wasnt as up in the air as it is now. The bible makes it seem like they went all over healing anyone they wished to heal right on the spot. That certainty isnt present today and so many of the sick go unhealed. When was the last time any member of the clergy healed someone on the spot like that? These days it takes a miracle, a maybe, and sometime. The Apostles had direct authority to heal right then and there.

I agree with the previous posters. Those particular signs are still in evidence, but there is so much more to Apostolic Succession than that!

CCC

77 "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority."35 Indeed, **“the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.”**36

78 **This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, **since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, **“the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.”**37 "The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer."38

79 The Father’s self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: "God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness."39

Exorcist Priests. I know one personally.
Lots of charismatics speak tongues.
Some Catholics, particularly consecrated religious, have the charism of healing.

Where on earth (as opposed to heaven) did these allegations come from? Our Lord very clearly said:

Luke 11:13 "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

If there is a deficiency in the Church, it is because we have stopped asking.

The priests who are exorcists have to say many prayers, multiple exorcisms in some cases. The Apostles drove demons out on the spot.

Charismatic Catholics who speak “tongues” really arent, theyre just making noises. The true gift of tongues is being able to speak languages that one has never learned. No one in the Church has this ability today.

Those who have the gift of healing are few and far between. We have the Annointing of the Sick but this is not guaranteed to cure or heal someone of their affliction. The Apostles could cure on the spot with certainty.

Just to let you know that the HOLY SPIRIT gives each of us gifts as HE pleases. Not every Pope or Priest or Deacon or lay person receives these gifts. Please keep in mind that even though the Apostles had many gifts all that they had was from GOD and they were just an instrument, just as our Pope, Priests, Deacons and the laity may have a gift/gifts, these gifts are *powered *( so to speak ) by GOD and not by man. I have seen many miracles and have been part of delivering people from harmful spirits … and so it does continue.

I suggest you research a bit more.

Count the miracles in the Gospels. About 26 if you allow the transfiguration and sending the 72 forth. This was over three years. What do you want Benny Hinn 24/7?

Well, not exactly. Remember Mark 9:28-29? Some demons only come out through prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting are not “on the spot”.

Why do you “need” all the bells and whistles to believe?

I was at an ordination last year. There was a man several rows up from us that collapsed and began to vomit (not much but a bit). The priests that were sitting in front of him annointed him with oil (several of them) and he sat up in the pew until the EMT’s arrived. This gentleman, who couldn’t stand a few moments before walked out on his own 2 feet and was smiling.

A healing??? I think so and it was pretty fast, only a few minutes. Did he have a life threatening problem, hard to tell but he was healed and walked out of the church.

I don’t know, seemed a bit miraculous to all of us that witnessed it :slight_smile:

EXORCISM:
How can we be certain that multiple exorcisms were necessary as opposed to multiple instances of possession suffered by one susceptible person?

SPEAKING IN TONGUES:
Speaking in tongues is not the only or necessarily best way of spreading the Spirit. You can also cooperate with God’s grace in many other ways. The most important thing is building up the Body of Christ using the Spirit’s gifts. Assuming you are right and that no one does this anymore, does the fact that it doesn’t happen mean that it can’t? As far as gibberish is concerned:

Catholic Encyclopedia
Faithful adherence to the text of Sacred Scripture makes it obligatory to reject those opinions which turn the charism of tongues into little more than infantile babbling (Eichhorn, Schmidt, Neander), incoherent exclamations (Meyer), pythonic utterances (Wiseler), or prophetic demonstrations of the archaic kind.

HEALING:
You neglect the healing that takes care of the person’s soul. Remember the Gospel passage:

The Healing of a Paralytic.
1 He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town.
2 And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
3 At that, some of the scribes
said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.”
4 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
*
6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he then said to the paralytic, “Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”c
7 He rose and went home.
8 When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.

Why are these three gifts so necessary to your view?

  1. it is recorded in the Bible where they came to the Lord because they were unable to drive out some demons, and Jesus had to do it for them. Driving out demons has never been associated with apostolic succession–disciples of Jesus who were not Apostles were driving out demons. This is recorded in the Gospels.

  2. This is not true. St. Paul talks about praying in tongues, and tongues being used in the Christian meetings, and these people were not apostles. The gift of tongues is listed among the charisms of the Holy Spirit, was a gift given to ordinary laymen. Has nothing to do with apostolic succession. It never says in Scripture that tongues was only for a certain period of time and then it would be withdrawn. Why would not all the other charisms be withdrawn also?

  3. There are plenty of healings going on all the time. Just go visit the Shrine at Lourdes. I witnessed a healing after a priest anointed a person when I was a nurse in the hospital. I witnessed my own husband recover completely from a stroke in hours, not days after he was anointed. Most healings are not reported for investigation, and most people accept them with gratitude. Also, healing has never been associated with Apostolic Succession. Sometimes even Jesus could not heal because people had little faith.

I think that perhaps you do not understand what Apostolic Succession means. Here are a few definitions. None of which have anything to do with healings, tongues, or exorcisms:

dictionary.reference.com/browse/apostolic+succession

And from Catholic answers:

catholic.com/tracts/apostolic-succession

You began your post by asserting that:

There is nobody in the Chuch today who is capable of doing any such thing, so it appears some gifts/authority/power has been lost along the way.

Posts answered you by indicating that these things DO happen. Your reply was:

The priests who are exorcists have to say many prayers, multiple exorcisms in some cases. The Apostles drove demons out on the spot.

Charismatic Catholics who speak “tongues” really aren’t, theyre just making noises. The true gift of tongues is being able to speak languages that one has never learned. No one in the Church has this ability today.

Those who have the gift of healing are few and far between. We have the Annointing of the Sick but this is not guaranteed to cure or heal someone of their affliction. The Apostles could cure on the spot with certainty.

Your argument now seems to declare that the examples given are insufficient. They don’t happen instantly or by all clergy, or every time, etc.

These gifts are not magic. They do not place upon the Holy Spirit any sort of obligation to perform them on the spot, every time they are desired, instantly, and by any clergyman. God’s ways are not our ways. Man can never demand God’s acts. There are no absolute guarantees. God performs them always according to HIS WILL AND DIVINE PLAN.

And again, none of this speaks to a loss of Apostolic Authority.

INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION
CATHOLIC TEACHING ON APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION
(1973)

Thus apostolic succession is that aspect of the nature and life of the Church that shows the dependence of our present-day community on Christ through those whom he has sent. The apostolic ministry is, therefore, the sacrament of the effective presence of Christ and of his Spirit in the midst of the people of God, and this view in no way underestimates the immediate influence of Christ and his Spirit on each believer.

I am thinking perhaps because all of the Apostles were Saints, they were able to perform many miraculous deeds, which has.nothing to do with their Apostleship as much as it had to do with their Sainthood.

Thoughts?

No

First, I think you are far over exaggerating the apostles quantity of healings. In reading the new Testsment we are talking of a period of 20-50 years covered.

Second, God performs the miracles as he sees fit. I imagine in the beginning he felt a need to perform more to acquire a large base of converts to start his church.

This has really nothing to do with men, and everything to do with God.

You need to look harder, my friend. Try Googling a little. :wink:

You will see not only does the Real Presence come to us (Lanciano, Chirattakona), are sins forgiven and doctrine expounded, but demons are driven out (by exorcists), tongues are spoken (do you even know what that means?), and the sick are healed (faith healers, and also in the Sacraments, not to mention modern medicine).

Strictly speaking, they weren’t saints in the official sense until they died. And while they were always saints in the more general sense, so was every other Christian.

If you mean that they were of great sanctity compared to most Christians (that is, they made excellent use of the grace God extended them), then yes, that could be a reason.

And still, even the Apostles themselves did not heal or cast out demons constantly, at their own will. There were still sick people in the early Christian communities who were not miraculously healed. The New Testament itself testifies that there are many gifts, and different Christians receive different ones at the will of the Holy Spirit. Even in the earliest times, the miraculous gifts were given for occasional signs, not as reliable sources of medical care or food or whatever.

Usagi

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.