The Catholic Church is a single, unified, visible society, instituted by Jesus Christ in order to carry on His saving mission after His Ascension into heaven. Thus, the Church is endowed by Our Lord with everything necessary to accomplish this mission. First, Jesus gave the Church the authority to teach in his name, thus guaranteeing the truth of Her teaching. Second, he gave Her, in the Mass and the Sacraments, the means to sanctify men and draw them closer to God. Third, he gave Her the authority to rule and govern all men in those matters which pertain to salvation.
"And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven." (Douay-Rheims: Mt 16:18-19).
- Hierarchy: The powers of the Church were given by Jesus not to all the members of the Church individually, but rather to certain men, the Apostles, whom He chose especially to rule His Church. The apostles were united under the supreme authority of Simon Peter, whom Jesus chose to be the visible head of the Church on earth. The Apostles and their successors, the bishops, united under Peter and his successors, the Popes, have exercised this authority continuously since the time of Christ... The Church is called Catholic because it is spread throughout the world, from end to end of the earth; also because it teaches universally and completely all the doctrines which man should know concerning things visible and invisible, heavenly and earthly... The Church is apostolic because it goes back to the Twelve Apostles chosen by Christ Himself.
- It is the society of those who have been baptized, and who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome... The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Church suffering means the souls in Purgatory. The Church triumphant is the Church in heaven... Sacred Scripture refers to the Church as the Body of Christ, as a sheepfold, as the kingdom of God, and as the kingdom of heaven.. It is the mystery of the personal union of each human being with the divine Trinity and with the rest of mankind, initiated with the faith, and, having begun as a reality in the Church on earth, is directed toward its eschatological fulfillment in the heavenly Church.
- Salvation, non-Catholics: "They who without their own fault do not know of the Gospel of Christ and His Church, but yet seek God with sincere heart, and try, under the influence of grace, to carry out His will in practice, known to them through the dictate of conscience, can attain eternal salvation" - Lumen gentium.
- "New Age Christianity": A potpourri of beliefs and practices that fall outside the boundaries of traditional Christianity.... A firmly entrenched anti-Christian worldview, many of them harbor a special hatred for the Catholic Church. Many believe that the Fall was really man's ascent into knowledge, assisted by Lucifer -- whom they hail as the bringer of light and wisdom... Traditional morality and traditional families will disappear. Orthodox religions -- especially Christianity and Judaism -- are considered "separative" and "obsolete"; in the New Age, they too will vanish... The Lord is not God; mankind is... Since we are gods, there is no need for Christ to save us... For the sake of the Divine Self, [ ] denounces fidelity and marriage vows.
- "Our Father": "Our Father/Mother God... Which Art In Heaven... Hallowed Be Our Name... Our Kingdom Is Come... Our Will Is Done...," and ending with, "For Ours Is The Kingdom, Ours The Power, Ours The Glory, For Ever And Ever. Amen."
- The children: On a recent CNN iReport, a user named TXBlue08 provides seven reasons why she chooses to raise her children without belief in God. In the past two weeks her essay has been viewed 750,000 times. I suspect this essay is becoming less a mere defense of godless parenting and more a straight-up atheistic evangelization effort.