Our Lord intended that all who have been Baptized
are Members of His Mystical Body as
He affirmed in John 10:14-16, I am the Good Shepherd, and I know Mine
and Mine know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for My sheep. And other sheep I have that are
not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear My Voice, and there shall be One Fold and One Shepherd".
This also means Christ came for Sinners
and that Catholic Sinners are still very much
Part of the Mystical Body of Christ. Unless one cuts himself off by
Heresy, Apostasy, or
Excommunication, a Catholic
Sinner continues to be a Member of the Church. Those in
Mortal Sin are called dead members, for their
Soul is dead in Sin.
Indeed the Church is the Church of Saints;
but the greatest part of its Activities has to be for Sinners. Perhaps we may say, without
fear of contradiction, that most of the Members of the Church are
Sinners. We all Fall Away from the
Ideal, at some time, or other; then the Church calls, to bring us back.
Until we attain Heavenly Bliss, there will always be the
Darkness of Sin, the Pain of Evil. Christ
Himself spoke of Bad Fish with the
Good; of Cockle among the Wheat;
of the Sheep in the Fold, one wanders out. But Our Lord longs for the Wanderer; let us help
bring him back.
God gave Catholics the
Grace (Gift) of their Holy Religion.
But He also gave them their Free Will. And
they are Free to Choose; whether to Act in Full Accordance with His Commands and
Counsels, or whether to Practice only a Part, or whether to
Violate those Commands. All who call themselves
Catholic must believe in all the Doctrines entrusted by
Christ to His Church, and Act in accordance
with those Doctrines; but these pertain to the Field of
Faith and Morals, not to other matters. Therefore, there is no question
about thinking and acting alike, among more than a
Billion Catholics in the World.
Each Catholic is an Individual. He or she must believe that
Jesus Christ is God; but with one of their
Catholic friends they may differ concerning the best Political Party to join. They must not
Deny the Church, but they may argue with the Parish Priest about who
should be one's favorite Saint or whether Shrubbery would look good or not in Front of the Church; they cannot argue with the Priest
over matters of Faith and Morals,
Doctrine and Dogma.
The Church is for no particular Class, whether Millionaires, or Laborers, Scientists, or
Children; the Church is Classless, and for all Classes, for all Men.
This is another reason for so Many Centuries, especially in this last of the
Millennium, the Church is seen as the
"Church of the Poor". Yet all cannot Act and Think in one Uniform Pattern. The different
Classes among Catholics arise from Causes apart from the
Church, such as Racial, Cultural, and Social Causes. But anywhere and everywhere one can be a
Good Catholic. Good Catholics believe alike in this: that they are Members
of a Divinely-Established Church, the Well-Being of which it is their Duty to further, by
striving to attain the Perfection indicated by Christ
and promoted by the Sovereign Pontiff and the Appointed Successors of the Apostles - the Bishops who have appointed
His Priests to care for us on a personal basis.
The Church presents us with the Ideal,
and provides the means to reach that Ideal, inviting and urging us, feeding and Shepherding
the Flock. But the Church does not guarantee
Salvation for all the Faithful; because among its
Doctrines the Freedom of the Will is as fundamental as the
Divine Authority of the Church. In other words,
there is no guarantee of Salvation unless Man puts his
Mind, Heart and Soul into it!
Christ has provided the Church as the
best vehicle to obtain Everlasting Life.
TheLaity helps Christ and
His Church in the Care of Souls by leading lives that will reflect credit
on the Church, and by cooperating with their Bishops and Priests, especially through the
Commandments of the Church, and living the Gospel,
as well as remaining in the State of Sanctifying Grace. Even so
let your Light shine before Men, in order that they may see your Good Works and give Glory to your Father in Heaven
A Good Catholic makes serious efforts to Save
his or her Soul. They keep the Commandments of God
and the Church. They receive the Sacraments.
They do all things prescribed by Christ through the
Church. Therefore, they must know their Religion. They must not be Ignorant
of Christian Doctrine, for by it they learn how to
Save their Soul. By it they learn what to believe, and what to do.
A Good Catholic Layperson
Obeys his or her Ecclesiastical Superiors in Spiritual
Matters, and gives them due respect. They see in their Lawful Superiors, Christ's
Representatives on Earth. They are Loyal to the Church in Word and Deed. They do not
Criticize it, or make Derogatory Remarks
about it. Even if their Priests may have Faults, they try their best not to bring them and
the Church into Contempt. If the Faults are
Public and Grievous, then they may bring the matter to the Attention of Lawful Authority, but always with great
According to their means, the Laity contributes towards the Material Support of the
Church. This is a Serious Obligation which too many
Catholics Neglect. The Church
needs Material Support as much as any Civil Government. It cannot subsist on air. Religion makes no progress where
Catholics are so indifferent as to Begrudge their Material Support. Good
Catholics have before them a Wide Scope of Activity if they wish to participate in the Work of the
Church; there are no Barriers between Man and God.
Should a Catholic Layperson be moved by a
Spirit of Reform, he or she need not cut them self off from the Church. They should busy
themselves within the Fold of the Church, taking Active Steps to Attain the Reform
they desire without Disrupting the Teachings,
Doctrines and Dogmas so Solid for 2000
Years. Recently over the past Few Decades numerous commendable
Lay Organizations have risen that contribute much to the
Church while not tearing it down as others do who would change Fundamental
Doctrine. Rome has recognized these new Lay Groups and has not only held
World Conferences for them, but established a special Pontifical Council for the Laity headed by former
Archbishop of Denver, Cardinal Francis J. Stafford.