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Saint Josemaria
Quotations from Saint Josemaria

Loyalty to the Church

Tags: Church, loyalty, In Love with the Church
"What is the Church? Where is the Church? Bewildered and disoriented, many Christians do not find sure answers to these questions."

Saint Josemaria posed these questions in 1972 in his homily Loyalty to the Church. They are still relevant, and this homily offers some answers: "The Church, which is divine, is also human, for it is made up of men, and men have their defects".

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The Church, which is divine, is also human, for it is made up of men, and men have their defects
"Gens sancta, a holy nation, composed of creatures with infirmities. This apparent contradiction marks an aspect of the mystery of the Church. The Church, which is divine, is also human, for it is made up of men, and men have their defects: Omnes homines terra et cinis, we men are dust and ashes.
Loyalty to the Church, 6

But what is the Church? Where is the Church?
"Bewildered and disoriented, many Christians do not find sure answers to these questions. And they come to believe that perhaps the answers which the Magisterium has formulated for centuries — and which good catechisms have proposed with the necessary precision and simplicity — have now been superseded and must be replaced by new ones. A series of facts and difficulties seem to have come together to darken the bright countenance of the Church. Some maintain that the valid Church can be found only in their personal zeal to accommodate it to what they call modern times. Others cry out: the Church is nothing more than man's desire for solidarity. We ought to change it, they say, in accord with present circumstances."

The same Church Christ founded
"They are wrong. The Church today is the same one Christ founded. It cannot be any other. The Apostles and their successors are the vicars of God with regard to the rule of the Church as instituted through faith and with regard to the sacraments of the faith Hence, just as it is not lawful for them to constitute any other Church, so too it is not lawful for them either to hand down any other faith or to institute any other sacraments."
Loyalty to the Church, 2

Christ did not will sinners to be excluded from the society he had founded
Our Lord Jesus Christ, who founded the holy Church, expects the members of this people to strive continually to acquire sanctity. Not all respond loyally to his call. And in the spouse of Christ, at one and the same time, both the marvel of the way of salvation and the miseries of those who take up that way are visible.

It was one and the same purpose — namely, that of perpetuating on this earth the salutary work of the redemption which caused the divine Redeemer to give the community of human beings, founded by him, the constitution of a society perfect in its own order, provided with all the juridical and social elements... If something is perceived in the Church which points to the infirmity of our human condition, this is not to be attributed to her juridical constitution, but to the lamentable tendency of individuals toward evil, a tendency which her divine Founder suffers to exist even in the higher members of his Mystical Body, for the testing of the virtue of both flock and pastors, and for the greater merit of Christian faith in all.

This is the reality of the Church here and now. For this reason the holiness of the spouse of Christ is compatible with the existence in her bosom of individuals with defects. Christ did not will sinners to be excluded from the society he had founded; if therefore some members are spiritually infirm, this is no reason for lessening our love toward the Church, but rather for increasing our compassion toward her members."
Loyalty to the Church, 6

He will remain at her side always
"It would be a sign of very little maturity if, in view of the defects and miseries in any of those who belong to the Church (no matter how high they may be placed by virtue of their function), anyone should feel his faith in the Church and in Christ lessened. The Church is not governed by Peter, nor by John, nor by Paul; she is governed by the Holy Spirit, and the Lord has promised that he will remain at her side always, to the close of the age."
Loyalty to the Church, 7

"Our Lord founded the Church on the weakness — but also on the fidelity — of a few men, the Apostles, to whom he promised the constant assistance of the Holy Spirit. Let us read again the well-known text, which is ever new and up-to-date. All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the close of the age."
Loyalty to the Church, 12

To find good shepherds, other Christs
"We are moved by the insistence of God our Father, who is determined to remind us that we ought to appeal to his mercy, always, no matter what happens. Now as well, at a time in which confused voices are rending the Church, many souls are going astray because they do not find good shepherds, other Christs, who would guide them to the Lord of Love. They find, instead, thieves and robbers who come to steal and kill and destroy.

Let us not be afraid. The Church, which is the Body of Christ must indefectibly be the path and the sheepfold of the Good Shepherd, the strong foundation and the way open to all men. We have just read in the Gospel: Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled."
Loyalty to the Church, 1