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Pinoy Defensor Fidei – Catholic Christian Brotherhood

Examples of writings from the early Church Fathers (the first Christians in the early centuries after the Apostles) showing they were Catholic, not Protestant:

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The following quotes are taken from “Fathers in the Faith”, the Complete 37 Volume Collection of the Early Church Fathers.

References to the Virgin Mary

bullet EARLY LITURGIES–THE DIVINE LITURGY OF JAMES, THE HOLY APOSTLE AND BROTHER OF THE LORD (1st century): “Commemorating our all-holy, pure, most glorious, blessed Lady, the God-Mother and Ever-Virgin Mary, and all the saints….”
bullet THE LITURGY OF THE BLESSED APOSTLES. COMPOSED BY ST. ADAEUS AND ST. MARIS (3rd century?): “We offer to Thee this reasonable service for those who have fallen asleep in faith, … patriarchs, apostles, evangelists, martyrs, … and every just one made perfect in the faith: especially our all-holy, undefiled, most blessed Lady, Theotokos and ever-virgin Mary,” etc. But she, they tell us, was assumed into glory, like Christ Himself, and reigns with Him as “Queen of Angels,” etc.”
bullet THE TESTAMENTS OF THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS, CONCERNING THE PASSING OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY (2nd century): “And when the Lord’s day came, at the third hour, just as the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles in a cloud, so Christ descended with a multitude of angels, and received the soul of His beloved mother. For there was such splendour and perfume of sweetness, and angels singing the songs of songs, where the Lord says, As a lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters, that all who were there present fell on their faces, as the apostles fell when Christ transfigured Himself before them on Mount Thabor, and for a whole hour and a half no one was able to rise. But when the light went away, and at the same time with the light itself, the soul of the blessed virgin Mary was taken up into heaven with psalms, and hymns, and songs of songs. And as the cloud went up the whole earth shook, and in one moment all the inhabitants of Jerusalem openly saw the departure of St. Mary…..Then the apostles with great honour laid the body in the tomb, weeping and singing through exceeding love and sweetness. And suddenly there shone round them a light from heaven, and they fell to the ground, and the holy body was taken up by angels into heaven.
….Then the blessed Thomas told them how he was singing mass in India – he still had on his sacerdotal robes. He, not knowing the word of God, had been brought to the Mount of Olivet, and saw the most holy body of the blessed Mary going up into heaven.”
bullet A TREATISE ON NATURE AND GRACE, AGAINST PELAGIUS. BY AURELIUS AUGUSTIN, BISHOP OF HIPPO, ADDRESSED TO TIMASIUS AND JACOBUS (A.D. 415): “CH42. THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY MAY HAVE LIVED WITHOUT SIN. NONE OF THE SAINTS BESIDES HER WITHOUT SIN. We must except the holy Virgin Mary, concerning whom I wish to raise no question when it touches the subject of sins, out of honour to the Lord; for from Him we know what abundance of grace for overcoming sin in every particular was conferred upon her who had the merit to conceive and bear Him who undoubtedly had no sin.”


References to Priests, Bishops, and Saying Mass

bullet REGISTER OF THE EPISTLES OF SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT, BOOK V,EPISTLE XXI TO CONSTANTINA AUGUSTA (6th century): “Further, a bishop of the city of Salona has been ordained without the knowledge of me and my responsalis, and a thing has been done which never happened under any former princes. When I heard of this, I at once sent word to that prevaricator, who had been irregularly ordained, that he must not presume by any means to celebrate the solemnities of mass…”
bullet DECREES OF FABIAN (3rd century) FROM THE CODEX OF DECREES IN SIXTEEN BOOKS: “II. That an illiterate presbyter may not venture to celebrate mass. The sacrifice is not to be accepted from the hand of a priest who is not competent to discharge the prayers or actions (actiones) and other observances in the mass according to religious usage.”
bullet SELECTIONS FROM THE LETTERS OF ST. AMBROSE: MEMORIAL OF SYMMACHUS THE PREFECT OF THE CITY, Epistle XX (4th century): “The day after, which was Sunday, after the lessons and the sermon, when the Catechumens were dismissed, I was teaching the creed to certain candidates in the baptistery of the basilica. There it was reported to me that they had sent decani from the palace, and were putting up hangings, and that part of the people were going there. I, however, remained at my ministrations, and began to celebrate mass.”


References to the Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist

bullet LEO THE GREAT, LETTER IX, TO DIOSCORUS, BISHOP OF ALEXANDRIA (5th century): “III. The repetition of the Holy Eucharist on the great festivals is not undesirable: “Again, that our usage may coincide at all points, we wish this thing also to be observed, viz. that when any of the greater festivals has brought together a larger congregation than usual, and too great a crowd of the faithful has assembled for one church to hold them all at once, there should be no hesitation about repeating the oblation of the sacrifice…”
bullet LEO THE GREAT, LETTER LIX, TO THE CLERGY AND PEOPLE OF THE CITY OF CONSTANTINOPLE (5th century): II. They are to be rejected who deny the truth of Christ’s flesh, a truth repeated by every recipient at the Holy Eucharist. Let such men be rejected by the holy members of Christ’s Body, and let not catholic liberty suffer the yoke of the unfaithful to be laid upon it. For they are to be reckoned outside the Divine grace, and outside the mystery of man’s salvation, who, denying the nature of our flesh in Christ, gainsay the Gospel and oppose the Creed …..In what density of ignorance, in what utter sloth must they hitherto have lain, not to have learnt from hearing, nor understood from reading, that which in God’s Church is so constantly in men’s mouths, that even the tongues of infants do not keep silence upon the truth of Christ’s Body and Blood at the rite of Holy Communion? For in that mystic distribution of spiritual nourishment, that which is given and taken is of such a kind that receiving the virtue of the celestial food we pass into the flesh of Him, Who became our flesh.”
bullet THE CANONS OF THE 318 HOLY FATHERS ASSEMBLED IN THE CITY OF NICE, IN BITHYNIA, CANONS XVIII (A.D. 325): “It has come to the knowledge of the holy and great Synod that, in some districts and cities, the deacons administer the Eucharist to the presbyters, whereas neither canon nor custom permits that they who have no right to offer should give the Body of Christ to them that do offer. And this also has been made known, that certain deacons now touch the Eucharist even before the bishops. Let all such practices be utterly done away, and let the deacons remain within their own bounds, knowing that they are the ministers of the bishop and the inferiors of the presbyters. Let them receive the Eucharist according to their order, after the presbyters, and let either the bishop or the presbyter administer to them. Furthermore, let not the deacons sit among the presbyters, for that is contrary to canon and order. And if, after this decree, any one shall refuse to obey, let him be deposed from the diaconate.”
bullet REGISTER OF THE EPISTLES OF SAINT GREGORY THE GREAT, BOOK IV, EPISTLE XXVII, TO JANUARIUS, BISHOP (6th century): “We therefore desire thee to search out the authors of the charge against him: and, unless he who sent those same letters be prepared to support his charges by canonical and most strict proofs, let him on no account approach the mystery of holy communion.”
bullet ST. CYRIL OF JERUSALEM, (Cateches. Mystagog. v.(1)), (4th century): “When thou goest to receive communion go not with thy wrists extended, nor with thy fingers separated, but placing thy left hand as a throne for thy right, which is to receive so great a King, and in the hollow of the palm receive the body of Christ, saying, Amen.”
bullet JOHN OF DAMASCUS: AN EXACT EXPOSITION OF THE ORTHODOX FAITH, BOOK IV, CHAPTER XIII (7th century): “Concerning the holy and immaculate Mysteries of the Lord. With all our strength, therefore, let us beware lest we receive communion from or grant it to heretics; Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, saith the Lord, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest we become partakers in their dishonour and condemnation”


References to the Bishop of Rome and the Lineage of Popes

bullet IRENAEUS AGAINST HERESIES — BOOK III (CHAP. I to CHAP. XIV) (2nd century): “The blessed apostles, then, having founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him, in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the bishopric.”
bullet LETTERS OF ST. AUGUSTIN, LETTER LIII, TO GENEROSUS, OUR MOST LOVED AND HONOURABLE BROTHER, FORTUNATUS ALYPIUS AND AUGUSTIN SEND GREETING IN THE LORD (A.D. 400): “For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: “Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!” The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these: Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus, Alexander, Sixtus, Telesphorus, Iginus, Anicetus, Pius, Soter, Eleutherius, Victor, Zephirinus, Calixtus, Urbanus, Pontianus, Antherus, Fabianus, Cornelius, Lucius, Stephanus, Xystus, Dionysius, Felix, Eutychianus, Gaius, Marcellinus, Marcellus, Eusebius, Miltiades, Sylvester, Marcus, Julius, Liberius, Damasus, and Siricius, whose successor is the present Bishop Anastasius.


References to the Catholic Church being the True Church of Christ

bullet A TREATISE CONCERNING THE CORRECTION OF THE DONATISTS, EPISTLE CLXXXV, A LETTER OF AUGUSTIN TO BONIFACE, Ch 10 (5th century): “Let them therefore feel bitter grief for their detestable error of the past, as Peter did for his fear that led him into falsehood, and let them come to the true Church of Christ, that is, to the Catholic Church our mother; let them be in it clergy, let them be bishops unto its profit, as they have been hitherto in enmity against it.”
bullet THE CHURCH HISTORY OF EUSEBIUS, BOOKS III & IV, (3rd to 4th century): “But the splendor of the Catholic and only true Church, which is always the same, grew in magnitude and power, and reflected its piety and simplicity and freedom, and the modesty and purity of its inspired life and philosophy to every nation both of Greeks and of Barbarians.”


References to the Sacrament of Penance (Confession)

bullet ST. AUGUSTIN, TEN HOMILIES ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF JOHN (5th century): “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to purge us from all iniquity.”
bullet THE LIFE AND WRITINGS OF GREGORY OF NYSSA, BOOK XI (4th century): “For if the confession of the revered and precious Names of the Holy Trinity is useless, and the customs of the Church unprofitable, and if among these customs is the sign of the cross, prayer, baptism, confession of sins, a ready zeal to keep the commandment, right ordering of character, sobriety of life, regard to justice, the effort not to be excited by passion, or enslaved by pleasure, or to fall short in moral excellence…”
bullet THE THIRD PART OF THE CONFERENCES OF JOHN CASSIAN, CONFERENCE OF ABBOT PINUFIUS ON THE END OF PENITENCE AND THE MARKS OF SATISFACTION, CHAPTER VIII (4th century): “Of the various fruits of penitence FOR after that grace of baptism which is common to all, and that most precious gift of martyrdom which is gained by being washed in blood, there are many fruits of penitence by which we can succeed in expiating our sins……Moreover by means of confession of sins, their absolution is granted…”
bullet TWO BOOKS OF ST. AMBROSE, BISHOP OF MILAN CONCERNING REPENTANCE, BOOK II, CHAPTER VII (4th century): “Why do you fear to confess your sins to our good Lord? “Set them forth,” He says, “that thou mayest be justified.” The rewards of justification are set before him who is still guilty of sin, for he is justified who voluntarily confesses his own sin; and lastly, “the just man is his own accuser in the beginning of his speaking.” The Lord knows all things, but He waits for your words, not that He may punish, but that He may pardon.”
bullet SERMONS ON SELECTED LESSONS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, SERMON LXXXV, ON THE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL, JOHN IX. 4 AND 31, “WE MUST WORK THE WORKS OF HIM THAT SENT ME,” ETC. AGAINST THE ARIANS (4th century): “Apply yourselves then earnestly to prayer, ye sinners: confess your sins, pray that they may be blotted out, pray that they may be diminished, pray that as ye increase, they may decrease: yet do not despair, and sinners though ye be, pray. For who hath not sinned? Begin with the priests. To the priests it is said, “First offer sacrifices for your own sins, and so for the people.” The sacrifices convicted the priests that if any one should call himself righteous and without sin, it might be answered him, “I look not at what thou sayest, but at what thou offerest; thine own victim convicteth thee.”
bullet GREGORY NAZIANZEN, ORATION XL, ON THE HOLY LIGHTS AND ON HOLY BAPTISM (4th century): ” Do not disdain to confess your sins, knowing how John baptized, that by present shame you may escape from future shame (for this too is a part of the future punishment); and prove that you really hate sin by making a shew of it openly, and triumphing over it as worthy of contempt.”
bullet ST. AUGUSTIN ON THE PSALMS, PSALM XCV (5th century): “The more therefore thou despairedst of thyself on account of thy iniquities, do thou confess thy sins; for so much greater is the praise of Him who forgiveth, as is the fulness of the penitent’s confession more abundant. Let us not therefore imagine that we have receded from the song of praise, in understanding here that confession by which we acknowledge our transgressions: this is even a part of the song of praise; for when we confess our sins, we praise the glory of God.”
bullet CONSTITUTIONS OF THE HOLY APOSTLES, BOOK VII, CONCERNING HYPOCRISY, AND OBEDIENCE TO THE LAWS, AND CONFESSION OF SINS (4th century): “XIV. Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy; and whatsoever is pleasing to the Lord, that shalt thou do. By no means forsake the commands of the Lord. But thou shalt observe what things thou hast received from Him, neither adding to them nor taking away from them. “For thou shalt not add unto His words, lest He convict thee, and thou becomest a liar.” Thou shalt confess thy sins unto the Lord thy God; and thou shalt not add unto them, that it may be well with thee from the Lord thy God, who willeth not the death of a sinner, but his repentance.”


References to Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead

bullet ST. AUGUSTIN: THE ENCHIRIDION (ON FAITH, HOPE, AND LOVE), CH69, IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE THAT SOME BELIEVERS MAY PASS THROUGH A PURGATORIAL FIRE IN THE FUTURE LIFE (5th century): “And it is not impossible that something of the same kind may take place even after this life. It is a matter that may be inquired into, and either ascertained or left doubtful, whether some believers shall pass through a kind of purgatorial fire, and in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish, be less or more quickly delivered from it. This cannot, however, be the case of any of those of whom it is said, that they “shall not inherit the kingdom of God,” unless after suitable repentance their sins be forgiven them. When I say “suitable,” I mean that they are not to be unfruitful in almsgiving; for Holy Scripture lays so much stress on this virtue, that our Lord tells us beforehand, that He will ascribe no merit to those on His right hand but that they abound in it, and no defect to those on His left hand but their want of it, when He shall say to the former, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom,” and to the latter, “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.”
bullet Saint Augustine, ON CARE TO BE HAD FOR THE DEAD [DE CURA PRO MORTUIS] (5th century): “Howbeit it is a question which surpasses the strength of my understanding, after what manner the Martyrs aid them who by them, it is certain, are helped; whether themselves by themselves be present at the same time in so different places, and by so great distance lying apart one from another, either where their Memorials are, or beside their Memorials, wheresoever they are felt to be present: or whether, while they themselves, in a place congruous with their merits, are removed from all converse with mortals, and yet do in a general sort pray for the needs of their suppliants, (like as we pray for the dead, to whom however we are not present, nor know where they be or what they be doing)…”
bullet HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ON THE FIRST EPISTLE OF ST. PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS, HOMILY XLI, 1 COR. xv. 35, 36 (4th century): “Let us not then be weary in giving aid to the departed, both by offering on their behalf and obtaining prayers for them: for the common Expiation of the world is even before us. Therefore with boldness do we then intreat for the whole world, and name their names with those of martyrs, of confessors, of priests. For in truth one body are we all, though some members are more glorious than others; and it is possible from every source to gather pardon for them, from our prayers, from our gifts in their behalf, from those whose names are named with theirs. Why therefore dost thou grieve? Why mourn, when it is in thy power to gather so much pardon for the departed?”
bullet HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM, HOMILY XXI, ACTS IX. 26, 27 (4th century): “Knowing these things, let us devise what consolations we can for the departed, instead of tears, instead of laments, instead of tombs, our alms, our prayers, our oblations, that both they and we may attain unto the promised blessings, by the grace and loving-kindness of His only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.”


References to St. Peter being Chief of the Apostles

bullet LEO THE GREAT, SERMON LXXXII, ON THE FEAST OF THE APOSTLES PETER AND PAUL (5th century): “III. On the dispersing of the Twelve, St. Peter was sent to Rome. For when the twelve Apostles, after receiving through the Holy Ghost the power of speaking with all tongues, had distributed the world into parts among themselves, and undertaken to instruct it in the Gospel, the most blessed Peter, chief of the Apostolic band, was appointed to the citadel of the Roman empire, that the light of Truth which was being displayed for the salvation of all the nations, might spread itself more effectively throughout the body of the world from the head itself. What nation had not representatives then living in this city; or what peoples did not know what Rome had learnt? Here it was that the tenets of philosophy must be crushed, here that the follies of earthly wisdom must be dispelled, here that the cult of demons must be refuted, here that the blasphemy of all idolatries must be rooted out, here where the most persistent superstition had gathered together all the various errors which had anywhere been devised.”
bullet LEO THE GREAT, SERMON III (5th century): “II. From Christ and through S. Peter the priesthood is handed on in perpetuity For the solidity of that faith which was praised in the chief of the Apostles is perpetual: and as that remains which Peter believed in Christ, so that remains which Christ instituted in Peter.”
bullet THE EPISTLES OF ZEPHYRINUS, SECOND EPISTLE, TO THE BISHOPS OF THE PROVINCE OF EGYPT (3rd century): “ZEPHYRINUS, archbishop of the city of Rome, to the most beloved brethren who serve the Lord in Egypt. So great trust have we received from the Lord, the Founder of this holy seat and of the apostolic church, and from the blessed Peter, chief of the apostles, that we may labour with unwearied affection for the universal Church which has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and aid all who serve the Lord, and give help to all who live piously by apostolic authority…”
bullet THE EPISTLES OF POPE PONTIANUS (3rd century): “and that the blessed Apostle Peter, the chief of the apostles, in whose cause you spend yourselves, may open the gate of that same glory.”
bullet THE EPISTLES OF POPE FABIAN (3rd century): “Whence also the blessed chief of the apostles, Peter, addressing the people at the ordination of Clement…”
bullet HOMILIES OF ST. JOHN CHRYSOSTOM ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN, HOMILY LXXII (JOHN 12, 13 & 14) (4th century): “Again, why did he use these words, not at any other point of time, but only when the chief of the Apostles beckoned? That thou mightest not deem that Peter beckoned to him as being greater, he saith that the thing took place because of the great love (which Jesus bare him).”
bullet THE SEVEN BOOKS OF AUGUSTIN, BISHOP OF HIPPO, ON BAPTISM, AGAINST THE DONATISTS (BOOK VII) (5th century): “It is well, however, that they so constantly bear in mind that it was possible even for Peter, the chief of the apostles, to have been at one time minded otherwise…”


References to the Authority of St. Peter

bullet LEO THE GREAT, LETTER XIV, TO ANASTASIUS, BISHOP OF THESSALONICA (5th century): “Leo, bishop of the City of Rome, to Anastasius, bishop of Thessalonica. I. Prefatory. If with true reasoning you perceived all that has been committed to you, brother, by the blessed apostle Peter’s authority, and what has also been entrusted to you by our favour, and would weigh it fairly, we should be able greatly to rejoice at your zealous discharge of the responsibility imposed on you.”
bullet LEO THE GREAT, LETTER CV, (TO PULCHERIA AUGUSTA ABOUT THE SELF-SEEKING OF ANATOLIUS) (5th century): “Leo the bishop to Pulcheria Augusta. III. Only by imitating his predecessor will he regain Leo’s confidence: the assent of the bishops is declared null and void. But the bishops’ assents, which are opposed to the regulations of the holy canons composed at Nicaea in conjunction with your faithful Grace, we do not recognize, and by the blessed Apostle Peter’s authority we absolutely dis-annul in comprehensive terms, in all ecclesiastical cases obeying those laws which the Holy Ghost set forth by the 318 bishops for the pacific observance of all priests in such sort that even if a much greater number were to pass a different decree to theirs, whatever was opposed to their constitution would have to be held in no respect.”
bullet RECOGNITIONS OF CLEMENT. BOOK X, CH VI, PETER’S AUTHORITY (1st century): “But I should like that one of you, and not Peter, should answer what I have said; for it is not fitting to take words and instruction at his hand, with questions; but when he gives a deliverance on any subject, that should be held without answering again. And therefore let us keep him as an umpire; so that if at any time our discussion does not come to an issue, he may declare what seems good to him, and so give an undoubted end to doubtful matters. And now therefore I could believe, content with his sole opinion, if he expressed any opinion; and this is what I shall do at last. Yet I wish first to see if it is possible by discussion to find what is sought. My wish therefore is, that Clement should begin first, and should show if there is any good or evil in substance or in actions.”

 

 

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