God is real

There are certain things that we all long for in life—happiness, love, truth, goodness, beauty, and healing. We challenge you to consider the possibility that you can experience these things most fully as a disciple of Jesus Christ in the Catholic Church he founded. God is real, and He desires to fill your heart with lasting peace. The reality is that we are all broken in some way, but regardless of where you’ve been or what you’ve done, you have a chance to live the meaningful life you are searching for and to be accepted by a God who loves you unconditionally. God is the answer to the hole that exists in the human heart, to that longing for “something more.” Find him, and you’ll find the meaning and purpose in your life you are searching for.

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What happens in ordination

In priestly ordination the bishop calls down God’s power upon the candidates for ordination. It imprints upon the souls of these men an indelible seal that can never be lost. As a collaborator with his bishop, the priest will proclaim the Word of God, administer the sacraments, and, above all, celebrate the Holy eucharist.

During the celebration of a Holy Mass, the actual ordination of priests begins when the candidates are called by name. After the bishop’s homily, the future priest promises obedience to the bishop and his successors. The actual ordination takes place through the imposition of the bishop’s hands and his prayer.

In diaconal ordination the candidate is appointed to a special service within the sacrament of Holy Orders. For he represents Christ as the one who came, “not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mt 20:28). In the liturgy of ordination we read: “As a minister of the Word, of the altar, and of charity, [the deacon] will make himself a servant to all.” The original model of the deacon is the martyr St. Stephen. When the apostles in the original Church of Jerusalem saw that they were overwhelmed by their many charitable duties, they appointed seven men “to serve tables”, whom they then ordained. The first mentioned is Stephen: “full of grace and power”, he accomplished much for the new faith and for the poor in the Christian community. Over the centuries the diaconate became merely a degree of Holy Orders on the way to the presbyterate, but today it is once again an independent vocation for both celibates and married men. On the one hand, this is supposed to reemphasize service as a characteristic of the Church; on the other hand, it helps the priests, as in the early Church, by establishing an order of ministers who take on particular pastoral and social duties of the Church. Diaconal ordination, too, makes a lifelong, irrevocable mark on the ordained man.

What is the Holy Eucharist?

The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament in which Jesus Christ gives his Body and Blood himself for us, so that we too might give ourselves to him in love and be united with him in Holy Communion. In this way we are joined with the one Body of Christ, the Church.

After Baptism and Confirmation, the Eucharist is the third sacrament of initiation of the Catholic Church. The Eucharist is the mysterious center of all these sacraments, because the historic sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross is made present during the words of consecration in a hidden, unbloody manner. Thus the celebration of the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen gentium, 11). Everything aims at this; besides this there is nothing greater that one could attain. When we eat the broken Bread, we unite ourselves with the love of Jesus, who gave his body for us on the wood of the Cross; when we drink from the chalice, we unite ourselves with him who even poured out his blood out of love for us. We did not invent this ritual. Jesus himself celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples and therein anticipated his death; he gave himself to his disciples under the signs of bread and wine and commanded them from then on, even after his death, to celebrate the Eucharist. “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Cor 11:24).

The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (CCC 1324)

Is the Pope really infallible?

Yes. But the Pope speaks infallibly only when he defines a dogma in a solemn ecclesiastical act (“ex cathedra”), in other words, makes an authoritative decision in doctrinal questions of faith and morals. Magisterial decisions of the college of bishops in communion with the Pope also possess an infallible character, for example, decisions of an ecumenical council.

The infallibility of the Pope has nothing to do with his moral integrity or his intelligence. What is infallible is actually the Church, for Jesus promised her the Holy Spirit, who keeps her in the truth and leads her ever deeper into it. When a truth of the faith that has been taken for granted is suddenly denied or misinterpreted, the Church must have one final voice that authoritatively says what is true and what is false. This is the voice of the Pope. As the successor of Peter and the first among the bishops, he has the authority to formulate the disputed truth according to the Church’s Tradition of faith in such a way that it is presented to the faithful for all times as something “to be believed with certainty”. We say then that the Pope defines a dogma. Therefore such a dogma can never contain something substantially “new”. Very rarely is a dogma defined. The last time was in 1950.

“The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head.” As such, this college has “supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.” (CCC 883)

“”The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches.” As such, they “exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them,” assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches. The bishops exercise this care first “by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church,” and so contributing “to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches.” They extend it especially to the poor, to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.” (CCC 886)
“Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their first task “to preach the Gospel of God to all men,” in keeping with the Lord’s command. They are “heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers” of the apostolic faith “endowed with the authority of Christ.”” (CCC 888)
“In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility. By a “supernatural sense of faith” the People of God, under the guidance of the Church’s living Magisterium, “unfailingly adheres to this faith.”” (CCC 889)
“The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium’s task to preserve God’s people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church’s shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:” (CCC 890)
“”The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful — who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. … The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter’s successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium,” above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,” and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.” This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.” (CCC 891)
“Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent” which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.” (CCC 892)