The Church vs. Protestant "Denominations"
|The Catholic Church vs. Protestant
Protestantism is not a valid mode of prolongation of Christ’s Incarnation as His Church or Mystical Body begun on Pentecost.
In the 16th century, there was a break of spiritual continuity in several directions at once from Christ’s true Church, which means that none of the denominations at the time or now can even be called Churches in a true sense. They’re only associations of believers, lacking the essential supernatural elements to be organic supernatural communions in continuity with the Body of Christ as a local Church. They are as a result sort of distorted pre-Churches.
By contrast, consider an undistorted Catholic pre-Church: the first gatherings of Korean Christians, started by lay Korean scholars who were at the Chinese Imperial City converted there to Christ by the first Jesuits in the 17th-18th centuries. They took the True Faith back to their homeland and converted many to the Faith, even baptizing them, gathering for prayer, etc. They asked for priests, but none were able to get there for a long time to bring the Eucharist, which is the foundation of the Church sacramentally. But even with priests they were only a mission and not yet a Church. They did not become a Church until a bishop was permanently among them as their stable pastor, bringing the fullness of the supernatural Christ reality of the Apostolic Church in a supernaturally organic body.
Likewise, earlier there was the formation of the undistorted Catholic pre-Church in Japan founded by St. Francis Xavier with priests after him but no permanent bishop – owing to persecution – until after the rediscovery in the 19th century of the faithful Christian descendants of these 16th century Catholics, who had only the sacramental life of Baptism and Marriage for three centuries and so were incomplete rather than distorted communities as contrasted with communions. They do not become a full local Church until the foundation of the full sacramental life of the Universal Church, which comes with a permanent bishop who as their visible head makes them into a supernatural organic communion of a local Church, united to the universal Church.
But with Luther came a supernatural break in Faith, in Hope and in Charity or Divine Love in the Christian – thus a break with the Holy Spirit, Who was driven out of Christians who broke with the communing with Him in the Catholic Church.
This means that the Protestant Revolution was not from the Holy Spirit, since the Spirit of Christ only says and does what Christ does and wants; and Christ both intended to found One, visible Communion that was built on Peter and the Twelve (Matt. 16:13ff) to be an extension of His personal ascended and resurrected body and accomplished that intention by sending the Holy Spirit upon the community of about 120 gathered around Mary, His Mother, and the Twelve, transforming that gathered community into a supernatural Communion of the Church on Pentecost, a visible body of people organically related visibly among head and members, clergy and laity, and interiorly by the life of grace and charisms.
Protestantism did not supernaturally renew the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church in the West. It viciously destroyed it in Northern Europe. One has only to notice the hatred and violence with which this was done to see that that could not come from the Holy Spirit: there was no Divine Love! Especially the Calvinists were the Taliban of their times, resorting to unprovoked killing and destruction of sacred things and institutions of unbelievable proportions. The Catholic renewal of the Holy Spirit was going on slowly for 150 years before Luther (Spain had a vibrant renewal in the 15th century, continuing into the 16th). It came to fruition in the rise of the new religious orders and the crop of spectacular Saints of all kinds, and through the Council of Trent by 50 years after Luther’s initial salvo of fury and took another 50 years to change society in Catholic territory.
The second sign that the Revolt was not from the Holy spirit was the disunity in every direction, i.e., of doctrine, practice, sectarianism; another sign was the secular domination and concession to the state of power over religion (or in Geneva of theocratic rule over society); another, the popular upsurge in immorality in which both extremes against the mean of virtue were simultaneously or alternately indulged in; another in the complete elimination of the contemplative in church life with the destruction of the Catholic spirit of the Liturgy and monastic life. But above all it is in the spirit of presumptuous and self-righteous pride and self-will of the Reformers that we see the break with the Holy Spirit, and how this was repeated in their converts. Luther towards the end of his life admitted the society was much more moral before than after the Reformation.
Now the descendants of the first rebels are different from their fathers, in that they did not automatically lose the Holy Spirit by their actions and choices. They rather inherited a skewed faith through no fault of their own. Thus among those offspring of the rebelling generation who were baptized and believing in Christ, the Holy Spirit had them invisibly, supernaturally joined by grace to the One Catholic Church (because there is only one valid Baptism which is by definition Catholic, though they did not find that out until they died). But there were imperfectly and incompletely joined to her (and therefore to Christ her Invisible Head), as is the case today. Christ does breathe graces of the Holy Spirit upon them but the direction of those graces is meant to bring them into full supernatural communion with the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and therefore visible, historically continuous Communion of His own Church from the beginning, centered in Rome (because of Peter).
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