THE REAL PRESENCE
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,
Monday, May 31, 2010
THE ONE TRUE CHURCH
About this Article and its Author:
Father Arnold Damen was born in the province of North Brabant, Holland, on March 20, 1815. He was admitted to the Society of Jesus, November 21, 1837, and was one of the band of young novices brought over to this country by Father DeSmet, renowned Jesuit missionary to the American Indians.
In his illustrious career, which spanned some fifty years of apostolic work before his death on January 1, 1890, Father Damen and his companions conducted missions in nearly every principal city of the United States. He is said to have been more widely known in this country, and at one time to have exercised personally a greater influence than any bishop or priest in the Catholic Church.
Little wonder, for by his majestic presence and force of eloquence, Father Damen as a missionary rose to a success that surpassed anything ever before --- or since --- known in America. The fiery apostolic zeal of this beloved and pious priest can only scarcely be measured by the twelve thousand conversions to Catholicism for which he was responsible, often receiving as many as sixty or seventy souls into the Church in one day. For it must be noted, too, that in the midst of all this remarkable labor, he also managed to found and to organize the great Jesuit institutions of Chicago.
What explains the inspiring achievement of Father Damen? As one writer expressed it, "He cared nothing for applause or criticism. He was working to save souls." In other words, his noble accomplishments were the fruits of immense charity. That is, charity in the truest sense: He loved God and his fellow man so much that he would spare no energy or effort that was necessary to wrest a soul from the spiritual error and darkness which would bring about its eternal loss. And to this saintly Jesuit, such was the certain fate always and everywhere present outside the one true Church.
Father Damen preached in an age quite recent to our own, when Catholics not only still universally believed but lived by the infallibly declared, immutably constant dogma of the Faith, "Outside the Church there is no salvation." This was, in fact, his whole creed and teaching, by which he effectively converted so many.
We are pleased to reprint Father Damen's compelling sermon, "The One True Church," unedited, exactly as it was first published shortly after his death in 1890. In so doing, we have two purposes: One is to recall to our fellow Catholics of whatever rank or dignity within the Church that the unequivocal belief in the doctrine on salvation is not only essential to the recovery of the Faith from the grave errors which now corrupt it, but it is the inseparable mark of the true Church Militant.
The second and all important purpose, of course, is to encourage Catholics to place this imperative message in the hands of non-Catholics. By so doing, all of you who help in such apostolic labors will be continuing the blessed work of the venerable priest, Arnold Damen.
Nihil Obstat: T.L. Kinkead, Censor Deputatus. Imprimatur: Michael Augustine, Archbishop of New York. "The Only Church That Christ Established Is The Catholic Church." "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned." -- Mark XVI, 16.
MY DEARLY BELOVED CHRISTIANS:
From these words of our Divine Saviour, it has already been proved to you, that faith is necessary for salvation, and without faith there is no salvation; without faith there is eternal damnation. Read your own Protestant Bible, 16th verse of St. Mark, and you will find it stronger there than in the Catholic Bible. Now, then, what kind of faith must a man have to be saved? Will any faith do? Why, if any faith will do, the devil himself will be saved, for the Bible says that devils believe and tremble.
It is, therefore, not a matter of indifference what religion a man professes; he must profess the right and true religion, and without that there is no hope of salvation, for it stands to reason, my dear people, that if God reveals a thing or teaches a thing, He wants to be believed. Not to believe is to insult God. Doubting His word, or believing even with doubt and hesitation, is an insult to God, because it is doubting His Sacred Word. We must, therefore, believe without doubting, without hesitating.
I have said, out of the Catholic Church there is no divine faith --- can be no divine faith out of that Church. Some of the Protestant friends will be shocked at this, to hear me say that out of the Catholic Church there is no divine faith, and that without faith there is no salvation, but damnation. I will prove all I have said. I have said that out of the Catholic Church there can be no divine faith. What is divine faith? When we believe a thing upon the authority of God, and believe it without doubt, without hesitating.
Now, all our separated brethren outside of the Catholic Church take the private interpretation of the Bible for their guide; but the private interpretation of the Bible can never give them divine faith. Let me, for instance, suppose for a moment, here is a Presbyterian; he reads his Bible; from the reading of his Bible he comes to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is God. Now, you know this is the most essential of all Christian doctrines --- the foundation of all Christianity.
From the reading of his Bible he comes to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is God; and he is a sensible man, and intelligent man, and not a presumptuous man.
And he says: "Here is my Unitarian neighbor, who is just as reasonable and intelligent as I am, as honest, as learned and as prayerful as I am, and, from the reading of the Bible, he comes to the conclusion that Christ is not God at all. "Now," says he, "to the best of my opinion and judgment, I am right, and my Unitarian neighbor is wrong; but, after all," says he, "I may be mistaken!
Perhaps I have not the right meaning of the text, and if I am wrong, perhaps he is right, after all; but, to the best of my opinion and judgment, I am right and he is wrong." On what does he believe? On what authority? On his own opinion and judgment. And what is that? A human opinion --- human testimony, and, therefore, a human faith. He cannot say positively, "I am sure, positively sure, as sure as there is a God in heaven, that this is the meaning of the text."
Therefore, he has no other authority but his own opinion and judgment, and what his preacher tells him. But the preacher is a smart man. There are many smart Unitarian preachers also, but that proves nothing; it is only human authority, and nothing else, and therefore, only human faith. What is human faith? Believing a thing upon the testimony of man. Divine faith is believing a thing on the testimony of God.
The Catholic has divine faith, and why? Because the Catholic says: "I believe in such and such a thing." Why? "Because the Church teaches me so." And why do you believe the Church? "Because God has commanded me to believe the teaching of the Church; and God has threatened me with damnation if I do not believe the Church, and we are taught by St. Peter, in his epistle, that there is no private prophecy or interpretation of the Scriptures, for the unlearned and unstable wrest the very Scriptures, the Bible, to their own damnation." That is strong language, my dear people, but that is the language of St. Peter, the head of the Apostles.
The unlearned and unstable wrest the Bible to their own damnation! And yet, after all, the Bible is the book of God, the language of inspiration; at least, when we have a true Bible, as we Catholics have, and you Protestants have not. But, my dearly beloved Protestant friends, do not be offended at me for saying that. Your own most learned preachers and bishops tell you that, and some have written whole volumes in order to prove that the English translation, which you have, is a very faulty and false translation.
Now, therefore, I say that the true Bible is as the Catholics have it, the Latin Vulgate; and the most learned among the Protestants themselves have agreed that the Latin Vulgate Bible, which the Catholic Church always makes use of, is the best in existence; and, therefore, it is, as you may have perceived, that when I preach I give the text in Latin, because the Latin text of the Vulgate is the best extant.