Bryan Cross is currently running an excellent series on what it means to be the "True Church" as his blog site1. There he gives the link to a fascinating audio discussion hosted by Covenant Seminary2. The reason for the presentations is to give what it means to be the "True Church" from the respective positions3.
I must admit that I have heard and read Fr. Neuhaus before but the poetic defense of the authenticity of Roman Catholicism left me breathless. Let me quote the pertinent remarks in full,
"In the Creed we confess that we believe in one holy, catholic and apostolic church, this is I would suggest to you in succinct form, the answer to our conference's question "what is the true church." It is not an invisible or platonic church of true believers, it is not a Gnostic church defined by raised consciousness, or heightened religious experience - it is not a theologians church of pure doctrine, it is not a punctiliar church that happens at this point in time or that point in time when certain gospel words are spoken or gospel things are done. No. The one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church is a touchable, palpable, describable, determanent, apostolically ordered community through time. It is the institutional church, institution being but a synonym for endurance through time. It is the teaching, governing, contending, and often contentious Church. Not a theory, but the thing itself. It is the Church of martyrs, confessors, doctors and saints, in communion with bishops who are in communion with one another, a communion sacramentally signed by - hand upon head, from generation to generation. It is true to say that the Church lives by gospel events in time and the ecclesial Christian would want to add it is true to say that the Church is the event of the gospel through time. The reality of the Church is an integral part of the saving gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Church is as definite and determanent a community through time, as is the elect people of Israel, without whom the Church is inexplicable, without whom the Church makes no sense...The Catholic Church says about itself, that it is the Church of Jesus Christ most fully and rightly ordered through time."
1. Cross' blog (Principium Unitatis) - http://principiumunitatis.blogspot.com/.
2. Found at CTS website - http://www.covenantseminary.edu/resource/ResultDetailSaved.asp?a=0&b=0&t=0&f=0&keywords=true%20Church.
3. The presentations were held in 1997 and were entitled the "Francis A. Schaeffer Lectures". The contributors were, (Anglican) J.I Packer, (Eastern Orthodox) Nicholas Triantafilou, (Roman Catholic) Richard John Neuhaus, (Lutheran) Roger Pitellko, (Reformed) Douglas Kelly. An all star lineup and I was hoping for some intense constructive interaction, but the presentations were ecumenical in spirit and rather bland.
R.E. Aguirre, Feast of Corpus Christi, Anno Domini MMVIII.