What is The Church?

Yes - the nice, “good feeling” stuff is what is spoken of mostly in our local parishes. The priest does not hardly support the Pro Life group at all, and I think it’s to avoid upsetting the liberal “flock”.

When I look down the street and see the Baptists supporting Church thinking (it’s a conservative Baptist church), both from the pulpit and congregation, better than the Catholic parish (on some issues) it makes one ponder things like this.

Well, it’s a slippery slope. I was an employee of one such parish that didn’t want to talk about the hard issues, mostly because they were terrified people would stop coming and giving. But don’t paint all parishes with the same broad brush.
Other denoms have no problem pushing their people to give, which supports programs, education, music ministries and the like But they still lack EUCHARIST.
So, no matter how lukewarm a Catholic parish may seem…it’s the only place your can receive the Sacraments. That is huge. It is for me anyway. That also doesn’t prevent ME from being staunchly ProLife, participating in ministries that help the poor, the lonely, the sick, the hungry, and the culture of Life. Sometimes I think we Catholic believe that the Church has to do the heavy lifting. WE are called, even those of us in the pews.
Be proud of your Christian brothers and sisters in other churches when they do good work, but also be inspired to bring such fervor to your own community. Sometimes pastors are simply waiting for someone to come forward, as happened in this parish I’m speaking of. A woman wanted to pack daily lunches for children in a nearby trailer park who didn’t eat because of no school lunches in summer. She presented it to the priest he gave the go-ahead, and the parish rallied. This summer, they will feed over 500 children in 3 areas. All from donations of time, $$$, and delivery. This is something that even children can help with.
It’s just one way to revitalize a parish and open discussion about hunger, distribution of wealth, healthcare, immigration etc.
But don’t be fooled into thinking that one church is equal to another. They’re different, on a similar path to heaven, but the tools are there in the Catholic church for the deeper communion with Christ Jesus. The Real Presence is paramount, for me, anyway.
God bless.

It isn’t about people on a message board coming to a consensus.

The word “Church” is extremely important in the Christian faith–so much so that the Church has put great efforts into defining the term.

Here’s a good source

Keep in mind that this is a letter to bishops, so it is intended to be read by experts. It’s not intended to be a sort of “dictionary type definition” of the word Church.

That “consensus Church” sounds like Christian Churches which are not the same as the unique Catholic Church.

One of the reasons that Catholics confuse the Catholic Church with Christian Churches is that Catholics do not always take the time to learn what the Catholic Church is because of its Founder. :o


The Church doesn’t use the term “anathema” anymore but may we all be shunned- or anathematized -if we knowingly stray from the true faith. But few if any Protestants fit that description today.

The Church is the Body of Christ. There’s only one Christ, and so one Church. And, incidentally, few of us may fit into it perfectly if the criteria for judging is for us to have absolutely perfect personal understanding of the faith. But if the Church was nothing more than the “communion of believers”, then there’s no standard for what we should believe in, because the objects of our faith would be determined by ourselves, individually, regardless of how varied our beliefs might be from the next guy’s. God wouldn’t leave us so unguided, our faith so unstructured and unprotected from error. So the Church is both, visible and invisible, consisting of those who consciously know and appreciate the value of the Church as well as many believers who are nonetheless ignorant of that fact.

Hi, G!

…well… yes… and no…

That’s a general definition of the Church… but as with many things in life, the Church is comprised of many more elements than those which can be readily seen on the surface…

…ever spent time by a brook… there are parts of it that are so shallow that you’d think nothing could survive living in it… then there are parts which seem shallow because the water is flowing placidly and almost unmoving… then there are boisterous parts that could be heard from a distance… that single body of water holds a multitude of definitions, each according to the variant element… that’s the Church!

…if we dig past the surface, we find that she is the Mystical Body of Christ, with Christ Himself as her Head… and she is also the Mystical Bride of Christ, conjoined to Christ from earth and into the Parousia… she is also Christ’s Legacy as He Founded her on Cephas to Unfold the Fullness of Truth, through the Holy Spirit… it is the reason why the Church has Taught that there’s no Salvation outside of the Church–the Body of Christ… and because all Believers (in Yahweh God) possess some measure of Divine Grace, even those who have removed themselves from the Fullness of Faith and have chosen to remain in that separated form are deemed as brethren (that is also the reason why the Jews and people in general are seen as capable of Receiving and Accepting God’s Call to Salvation)–even and in spite of their obstinate separation/rejection of the Body of Christ.

Why people turn from the Church and actively persecute, malign, and assault her is due to several reasons… some of these being: hubris, autonomy, ignorance, confusion, zealousness, misunderstanding, mistrust, complacency, slothfulness, grievance, misguidance, rebelliousness… interestingly enough Jesus summed it up this way:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]18 ‘If the world hates you, remember that it hated me before you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you do not belong to the world, because my choice withdrew you from the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the words I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you too; if they kept my word, they will keep yours as well. 21 But it will be on my account that they will do all this, because they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come, if I had not spoken to them, they would have been blameless; but as it is they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Anyone who hates me hates my Father.

(St. John 15:18-23)
Maran atha!



Hi, Markie!

I concur!

…but it is one thing to note/identify a problem/lacking and another to actually work to correct/solve it.

…recognizing that I’m an alcoholic (as an example–I don’t even drink beer) is a great first step into correcting a folly… but if I spend one hundred years mulling over the fact that I’m an alcoholic and that I have come to grips with my folly, yet, if I do not take steps to correct it, I would still be an alcoholic–if I survive for so long a time…

The Laity must, with Patience and Love, assist the Clergy and Religious out their slumber and complacency… but action speaks louder than criticism and judgment.

…in the Protestant’s arena when things come to head we often find that the Body suffers yet additional splintering/s; it must not be so. We must, humbly, work in the Body of Christ to resolve all issues–only when we allow the Holy Spirit to Unfold the Truth is the TRUTH able to set us Free!

Maran atha!


Hi, Clare!

…there’s an old expression which you’ve just hit:

…you’ve warmed the kachels of my hearth (or cockles of my heart!).

This is precisely what we must understand and be ready to do for the Body of Christ!

…yes, there are many Christian organizations out there doing “their best” or “their understanding” of Obedience to Christ’s Commands (as well as people who are moved by their natural tendencies to do good), but only the Catholic Church, thorns and all, hold to the Fullness of Faith.

The goal is not to dismantle or remake the Body of Christ but to enable Christ to work through us… we must be His physical body (mind, senses, hands, feet, heart, ears, eyes, mouth…), but we must work to edify the Body… and, as St. James pronounced, be aware that Faith without works is empty! Our commitment to Fellowship in the Body of Christ must reflect this.

We can’t be Salt of the earth or a Light to the world by yearning and complaining and deconstructing!

Maran atha!


I agree - staying together and working together to fix issues has helped me with spiritual growth - the reward for staying and working.

I am planning on talking to our priest about moving the Tabernacle back front and center very soon. It’s currently in a small room in the back corner.

This place is hyper-sensitive about change and offending anyone, but right is right.

Hi, Granny!

…and because they are too complacent and self-involved to accept any responsibility and actively becoming part of the Body of Christ… I liken these “Catholics” to the cartoonish rendering of sloth: a mouse pretends to scurry across the room while moving at the blinding speed of a snail while a cat pretends to give chase by stretching itself while glaring at the mouse and throwing at it a menacing hiss and a showing of its claws while a slumbering dog, lifting only its head, turns to the cat, wags its tail, once or twice, and renders, at a medium slow-mo “bow-wow… bow-wow…”

…it is the “Catholic” version of: ‘Christ did it all so just stick around till the Parousia; don’t worry, be happy (or miserable, if that’s your choice)!’

Maran atha!


Hi, Markie!

…yes… I have noticed that in several parishes that I’ve visited… it seems that the fear of “offending” or “losing financial support” trumps Truth and righteousness… the Clergy has allowed the Laity to run the “House of God” as if it were an entertainment center… people running around across the Altar, making/receiving telephone calls, web searching, eating, playing games, intimate displays of affection, reservation of seats, conversations while Scriptures are being read and even while the Consecration is taking place–and this is not done only by the regular parishioners, it is done from the ushers to the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist!

…yes, the Church, the House of God, is our House, and we all should feel welcomed and should familiarize ourselves with it… but remember Jesus’ warning about throwing pearls at pigs?

…yeah, we have evolved from “kissing the ring” but not all changes produce good outcomes… too much familiarity can evolve to disrespect, apathy, irreverence, and contempt.

…ever noticed how many “parishioners” remain seated while the Consecration is done… and how many more do not partake of the Eucharist?.. the numbers keep growing… :crying::crying::crying:

…it seems that “sensibility” is replacing commonsense and religiosity… first Christ has been removed from the Cross and the Altar… now (in many parishes) the Tabernacle is being relegated into a useless and antiquated appendix as the Monstrance, with the Consecrated Eucharist, is hidden away from sensitive eyes and minds.

I commend you for your valor and efforts in Celebrating the Body of Christ through Service and Love and not simply through lip-service!

Maran atha!



Radio talk show host, Dennis Prager, many years ago had a local origination program in Los Angeles called “Religion On The Line,” Sunday eves. He often commented on the large number of people calling that at one time were Catholics but are now Protestants, often evangelicals. I was struck by one reason that so many of them gave for leaving the Church: they did not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years I have thought about this and have come up with some reasons why this is so. Evangelical services are friendly to newcomers (often missing in Catholic masses), highly emotive or visceral (not typical in the liturgical mass except for charismatic ones), long well prepared sermons (short homilies are often boring and ill prepared), and in general many Catholics have been improperly catechized.

Markie Boy: you ask good questions.


…you’re forgetting one important point why they leave… “authority!”

…every non-Catholic is empowered to be his/her own authority–they can determine what is the Word of God; what the Word of God actually means to convey; what is the Church; what is a Sacrament; what is Doctrine; what is Faith, and they gain a direct line to the Holy Spirit (they command the Holy Spirit).

…and not to mention the buffet spirituality… and, with the newer generations, the entertainment centers!

Maran atha!


Here I take offense at your discourse as solidly Catholic as it may otherwise be.

Tradition speaks Gospel in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. What is more traditional catholic than such benefactors it appears you detract?

Remember that when Christ first called His disciples that even then brothers went forward to find brother and tell him there was a guy they know who he had to meet. What greater proof than this to show the time honored value of such a thing?

At this time I do not recall if I may be joking, but truly I say to you, I am a funny guy.

Agree :slight_smile:

Hi, M!

…yeah, I know that I sometimes strike the wrong cords… and that all people want everyone to go to Heaven–well, except for those in their personal “voted out” list!

…I used that example because it is quite hollowoodsy: ‘wait till you can no longer enjoying “xyz” or when at your death bed or dump a load of cash and you’re saved–hollow-lujah!’

…it is not about “good” but about God; robbing St. Peter to pay St. Paul only opens up two offenses… perhaps even three… stealing, deceiving, and making a third party complicit in the theft…

…by the way, thanks for the laugh!

Maran atha!


okay :smiley:

Cutting to the chase,

Jesus started His Church, The Catholic Church, and history shows that truth #27 ]


Jesus, the one who will judge EVERY soul, has already told us in advance what will happen. He gave these answers knowing what was ahead for Him, and what was ahead for all humanity.

**Matthew 7:13-14 , **

13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy,[a] that leads to destruction, ἀπώλεια, ] and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Note: ἀπώλεια, apóleia: = destruction, eternal ruin.

Luke 13:23-28 ,
23 And some one said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us.’ He will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!’ 28 There you will weep and gnash your teeth,


*]Jesus didn’t deny the questioner’s point.

*]Jesus actually validated the point, and expanded on it.

*] to stress the point, (Division, dissension, heresy, schism, sedition, etc. ,διχοστασίαι ) form the Church ( i.e. the Catholic Church, #27 ) has always been condemned. IOW those who do it won’t inherit the kingdom of God.
(ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες βασιλείαν θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν.)

If that point is being blurred or even discounted today, to cause confusion because of misapplied ecumenism, then the ones promoting squishy rather than solid teaching, could find themselves in big trouble.


Here’s a timeless bit of advice from Ezekiel that speaks volumes for all time.

Ez 3:
17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18 If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you will have saved your life. 20 Again, if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die; because you have not warned him, he shall die for his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man not to sin, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and you will have saved your life.”

That advice is as good for Ezekiel in his day, as it is for us today and forever. That advice has no expiration date.

Hi, Steve!

Excellent points!

…as I was reading through the post… it hit me: Narrow Gate: Jesus: One Catholic Church vs. Wide Gate: the world and 38,000+ definitions of the truth.

Maran atha!


That is a totally accurate picture of the Catholic Church I know - sad, but accurate.

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.