an authoritative, infallible church
"I for My part declare to you, you are 'Rock,' and on this rock I will build My Church, and the jaws of death shall not prevail against it. I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." —Matthew 16:18-19
Jesus has decided to give Peter and his successors "the keys of the kingdom of heaven." The keys are a symbol of authority. Thus, the Lord has given authority to Peter, all the popes, and the universal Church. This authority to bind and loose (see Mt 16:19) is in the areas of faith and morals. In fact, the Church and the Pope have infallible authority in faith and morals. This makes the Church "the pillar and bulwark of truth" (1 Tm 3:15). In this way, Jesus fulfills His promise that He would send us the Holy Spirit to guide us to all truth (Jn 16:13).
For centuries, critics and enemies of the Church have searched for contradictions in the Church's teachings on faith and morals. They have pointed out sinful and incompetent Church leaders, who have made terrible blunders in their personal lives and pastoral ministry. Nonetheless, the Church's critics have never been able to prove their accusations of the Church's fallibility in faith and morals. Thus, the enemies of the Church have done the opposite of what they had intended. They have further substantiated the fact that, in giving Peter the keys of the kingdom, Jesus has made an authoritative, infallible Church, led by infallible Popes in the areas of faith and morals.
Therefore, love the Church (Eph 5:25), and love to submit to her authority.
Prayer: Father, may I make the effort to know the most recent papal encyclicals.
Promise: "Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel to rescue me." —Acts 12:11
Praise: "The Lord will continue to rescue me from all attempts to do me harm and will bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen" (2 Tm 4:18).
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, December 4, 2001
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 10, 2001