Unity is one of the Four Marks of the Catholic Faith given to us by Our Lord Himself and contained in The Nicene Creed: I Believe in….One - Holy - Catholic - Apostolic. Each of the Four Marks is an Article of Faith which must be believed by all Catholics. The Four Dogmatic Marks of the Church come directly from Our Lord and appear many times in Holy Scripture.
In the book, The Straight Path, Imprimatur, 1914, by Rev. M.J. Phelan, S.J., “Christ being God foresaw all things to come…The God who longs for the salvation of souls, and Who foresaw the torture of perplexed minds, must have made provisions to relieve and enlighten them. He surely did not leave them to grope without help, He must have flung out a loving hand to guide us, by giving His inspired Volume (Bible) definite character marks by which His true Church could be distinguished…These marks cannot be obscure for if they are to be read by all, they must shine as luminous lamps…” This learned Jesuit teaches those seeking to find the true Church, quote: “Opening the sacred Volume he soon discovers that God actually has left four characteristic marks by which His true Church could be known from the spurious imitations. That she should be One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic…He closes the Bible and surveys the various Churches in order to discover the four divine birth-marks, the four credentials that guarantee a heavenly origin. In one and, only, in one Christian body he discovers them…Inquiry now ends, for he has arrived at truth…Christ being God was bound to leave definite marks to distinguish His true Church from various false claimants…He has done so and one Christian body possesses them. Therefore, that and no other is the true Church. This line of reasoning is so direct and so simple that while it satisfies the most cultured intellect, the untutored can follow it with ease; and so irresistible is the force of the conclusion arrived at that no trick or sophistry can loosen the iron grasp with which conviction holds the mind. Father continues, This conviction is shot home with the force and precision of an iron bolt.” Further, under the chapter heading, “The Unity of the True Church,” Father states, “ Christ and His Apostles when describing the true Church liken it to many things; in each and every comparison the leading, dominant idea is one of unbroken unity…If diversities of faith and contradictory heads were discovered in a Christian body, if it became split into different groups acknowledging various heads, it could not be known as the true Church of Christ…that Church has no claim to be recognized as the Church of Christ.” Moreover, Fr. Phelan tells us that Christ for our edification, “… abandons the figurative for literal language and plainly states, ‘There shall be one sheepfold, and one shepherd’ (Matt. XII. 25) He sets up a picture that rejects even the remotest idea of distinct Churches or discordant faiths or diverse pastors. A sheepfold having but one door and one shepherd…Nowhere do we find Him speaking of churches, ‘Upon this rock I will build My Church,’ Christ never said My Churches.” concludes the learned, Father Phelan. (Emphasis added)
From Monsignor McGuire’s, Baltimore Catechism, Imprimatur 1953, “When Our Lord was on earth, He did exactly what He promised to do. For example, Christ promised that His Church would have certain marks or signs, so that all men can see and know that it belongs to Him….the Catholic Church is the only one that has these Four Marks.” Our Merciful Savior gave us these Marks for our protection so that we could recognize the Church He founded as well as false churches. Remember, anything that is not the whole truth is not truth.
From Holy Scripture, “Until we meet in the unity of faith…that henceforth we be no more children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness by which they lie in wait to deceive.” Douay Rheims - (Eph. 4:11-14)
Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism, by Rev. Thomas L. Kinkaid, Imprimatur 1891, “Our Lord said, ‘My Church will be one; it will be holy; it will be Catholic; it will be apostolic; and if any church has not these four marks, you may be sure it is not my Church.’ Some false churches may seem to have one or two, but never all the marks; so when you find even one of these marks wanting, you will know immediately it is not the true Church established by Christ…only one can be telling the truth, and that one is the religion or Church that can show the four given marks.”
Religion Doctrine and Practice, Imprimatur1931, by Francis Cassilly, S.J., “Marks of the Church…any religious body that lacks only one of them (Marks) is a false or counterfeit Church. Reason tells us that since God is all-truthful He could not establish different churches teaching in His name contradictory doctrines, else He would be responsible for the error in belief.” This Jesuit Father, a Professor of Theology, further teaches us, “What is meant by the Unity of the Church? The meaning is oneness or sameness for all times and the world over.”
My Catholic Faith, (1937) by Bishop LaRavoire Morrow, (pg. 81) Chapter heading, Perpetuity of the Church, “Christ intended the Church to preserve the whole of what he taught and the shining marks which He gave it in the beginning. If the Church lost any of the qualities that God gave it, it could not be said to be perpetual, because it would not be the same institution, Perpetuity implies unchangeability.” (pages 69-73) “The True Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic….Any church that lacks even one of these marks is an imitation, a false church, and not the one founded by Our Lord. The Catholic Church is the only one which possesses all these marks.”
The following quotes are from the chapter Marks of the True Church, by Bishop Morrow.
The Church Is One “The True Church must be ONE. Its members must be united in doctrine, in worship, and in government. ‘If a kingdom is divided against itself that kingdom cannot stand’ (Mark 3:23). ‘There shall be one fold and one shepherd’” (John 10:16).
The Church is Holy “The True Church must be Holy, because it was Divinely founded, ‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves’ ” (Matt.15)
The Church is Catholic “The True Church must be Universal or Catholic. It must be for all peoples of every nation and for all times and teach the same faith everywhere.”
The Church is Apostolic “The True Church must be Apostolic. It must be the Church propagated by the Apostles. Its rulers must derive their office and authority by lawful succession from the Apostles. It must hold intact the doctrine and tradition of the Apostles to whom Christ gave authority to teach.” (Emphasis throughout appear in the original)
How merciful Our Saviour is, who makes it so simple and easy for His children who have a love of the Truth, to find it. It stands out as a beacon and beckons to us.
My Sunday Missal, Confraternity of the Precious Blood, Imprimatur 1938, “Preparation for Confession… Examination of Conscience…My Duties to God…We sin Against Faith by willful doubts concerning any article of the Creed.”
Truth cannot contradict Truth!
The True Church is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. The Church that possesses all the shining marks which our Lord gave is the Church of God, the True Church. Any church that lacks even one of these marks is an imitation, a false church, and not the one founded by our Lord. The Catholic Church is the only Church which possesses all these marks. It is the Church which Christ commanded all to hear and obey. The Catholic Church is the True Church.