It is a Dogma of Faith that, when a Pope proclaims a Dogma of Faith, he does not make a mistake because he has the guaranteed assistance of the Holy Spirit. The Church also exercises Her infallibility in questions of faith and morals in the Ecumenical Councils. All along the 2,000 years of Her History, articles of faith proclaimed by one legitimate Council have never been revoked by a subsequent legitimate Council. The Doctrinal consistency of the Church is the proof of Her infallibility, for the Holy Spirit, the great Scholar of the Church, never contradicts Himself. The Holy Spirit cannot unveil some piece of truth to the Church today that is different in its essence from other pieces of truth granted to the Church in the past.
Jesus affirmed to the Apostles that:
“Amen, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18, 18).
He had already made that same promise to Peter, the visible Head of the Church (Matthew 16, 18), and through Peter this promise extended to the whole Apostolic Collegiate under Peter’s authority and united with him.
Jesus also affirmed to the Apostles that:
“Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (Luke 10, 16).
Listening to this promise, it is impossible not to understand the infallibility of the Church.
Jesus guaranteed that the Words of the Church are His Words. Those who rebuke the Apostles’ Doctrine are also rebuking the Lord and His Father. That is extremely serious! Rejecting the Doctrinal teachings of the Church is equivalent to rejecting Jesus’ teachings and the Father’s teachings; it is equivalent to rejecting Jesus and the Father.
Before returning to His Heavenly Kingdom in His Ascension, Jesus said to His Apostles (and consequently to the Church) that:
“All power 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, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28, 19-20).
The Church was born with the first Apostles and Jesus sent them to the world, to teach His doctrine “to all nations.” We know that God always grants the Graces His servants need to accomplish the mission He entrusts to them. The Grace in that case was the assistance of the Holy Spirit so that the Church could teach the world a pure irreproachable doctrine, a doctrine with no mistakes. It is worth noticing that, before ascending to Heaven, the Lord guarantees that:
“I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28, 20).
That is the final sentence in Saint Matthew Gospel, and it gives us the guarantee that the Lord Himself is in the Heart of His Church through the action of the Holy Spirit; He promised and sent the Holy Spirit to the Church in Pentecost, to prevent that the Church could make mistakes in fundamental issues of human salvation.
Those who consider the idea that the Church could be mistaken in her pathways of Salvation should stop and think: accepting the fact that the Church made mistakes, along these 2,000 years, in questions of Doctrinal articles of faith, implies in affirming that Jesus abandoned His Church and broke His Promise of being with the Church “until the end of the age”. That is simply impossible! Jesus is faithful and He loves His Church as His Bride, with unshakeable Love. He gave His Life for His Church. As Saint Paul said:
“Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her” (The Letter to the Ephesians 5, 25).
Professor Felipe Aquino
Professor Felipe Aquino is a widower, father of five children. On TV Canção Nova he presents the program “Escola da Fé” [School of faith] and “Pergunte e Responderemos” [Ask and respond], on Radio he presents the program “in the heart of the Church”. On weekends he preaches deepening meetings throughout Brazil and abroad. He wrote 73 books of Catholic background by publishers, Loyola and Cleopas and Canção Nova. His teacher’s page:www.cleofas.com.br Twitter: @pfelipeaquino