A modern dictionary of Catholic terms, both common and obscure. Find accurate definitions of words and phrases.
FIFTEEN MARKS OF THE CHURCH
The fifteen features of the true Church developed by St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), cardinal, Archbishop of Capua, and Doctor of the Church. As a contemporary of the original Protestant Reformers, he expanded the traditional four marks to fifteen, as follows: 1. the Church's name, Catholic, universal, and worldwide, and not confined to any particular nation or people; 2. antiquity in tracing her ancestry directly to Jesus Christ; 3. constant duration in lasting substantially unchanged for so many centuries; 4. extensiveness in the number of her loyal members; 5. episcopal succession of her bishops from the first Apostles at the Last Supper to the present hierarchy; 6. doctrinal agreement of her doctrine with the teaching of the ancient Church; 7. union of her members among themselves and with their visible head the Roman Pontiff; 8. holiness of doctrine in reflecting the sanctity of God; 9. efficacy of doctrine in its power to sanctify believers and inspire t hem to great moral achievement; 10. holiness of life of the Church's representative writers and defenders; 11. the glory of miracles worked in the Church and under the Church's auspices; 12. the gift of prophecy found among the Church's saints and spokesmen; 13. the opposition that the Church arouses among those who attack her on the very grounds that Christ was opposed by his enemies; 14. the unhappy end of those who fight against her; and 15. the temporal peace and earthly happiness of those who live by the Church;s teaching and defend her interests.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.