The Catholic Church’s “Fifth Mark” is Suffering Persecution

There are four Marks of the Catholic Church, by which She is known to be the one true Church: One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic.[1]

These Marks are certain signs by which the True Church is known and distinguishable from all other “churches” – which are all false and all do the devil’s work.[2]

However, besides these four Marks of the Church by which She can be definitely known, there is also another mark or sign by which we can know Christ’s true Church: viz., the persecution which the Church perennially suffers from the world and the devil because She always opposes them.

Here is one way that Our Lord teaches that the world’s hatred and persecution of the Church comes from the Church’s opposition to the world:

If you had been of the world, the world would love its own:  but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.  

St. John’s Gospel, 15:19.

For this reason, The Catechism Explained teaches that persecution is another mark, or sign, by which we know that the Catholic Church is the true Church:

The true Church is that one which is most persecuted by the world ….[3]

The Church must be persecuted, to be Christ-like and because She is Christ-like.

It is inevitable that the Church will be persecuted because She is the Mystical Body of Christ, Her Head.  Because His Body must be like Him, the Church must be persecuted as He was.

Further, the Church is the Spouse of Christ.  Christ ensures that His Spouse will be like Him and so She will be persecuted like Him.

The world hates the Church because it hates Our Lord, as He predicted in these words:

If the world hates you, know ye, that it hath hated Me before you.


St. John’s Gospel, 15:18.

The world’s hatred caused it to persecute Our Lord and similarly to persecute His Church.  Our Lord told his Apostles (who were the Church’s first hierarchy):

If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you ….

St. John’s Gospel, 15:20.

Thus, as Our Lord suffered His Passion, so His Church will suffer Her Passion.  Commenting on St. Matthew’s Gospel where St. Peter, the first pope, followed Our Lord from the Garden of Olives to the court of the High Priest, St. Augustine explains that this event shows:

that the Church will follow, i.e. imitate, the Lord’s Passion, but with a great difference.  For the Church suffers for itself, but Christ [suffered] for the Church.[4] 

Not only the Church as an institution, but individual Catholics also will suffer persecution.  St. Paul declared:

All who will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution ….[5]

The Church and Faithful Catholics benefit from Suffering Persecution.

St. Hilary, Doctor of the Church, teaches that persecutions help the Church.  Here are his words:

It is peculiar to the Church to flourish most when persecuted.[6]

St. Augustine declares that persecutions make Catholics into saints.  Here are St. Augustine’s words:

Persecutions serve to bring forth saints.[7]

Persecution is a type of purging.  Christ describes this purging not only as willed by God but also as brought about by God in some way, for the good of His Church.  Here are Our Lord’s words:

I am the true Vine; and My Father is the Husbandman.  Every branch in Me, that beareth not fruit, He will take away: and every one that beareth fruit, He will purge it, that it may bring forth more fruit.[8]

In our times, Traditional Catholics show they are faithful and belong to the true Church by bearing this Mark of Suffering Persecution.

Faithful Catholics might “second guess” themselves and wonder if they are on the true path, because they are everywhere discredited and marginalized.  Traditional Catholics are continually lied about and condemned.  With St. Paul, they could be called “deceivers, and yet true”.  2 Corinthians 6:8.  Such persecution puts Traditional Catholics in the good company of those who have followed in Our Lord’s Footsteps throughout Church history.

Cardinal Newman was a historian who wrote about Arian times and wrote the book called The Arians of the Fourth Century.  The persecution of faithful Catholics which occurred then presents obvious parallels to the persecutions Traditional Catholics suffer now.  Here is how Cardinal Newman described Arian times:

The body of bishops failed in their confession of the Faith ….  They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing after Nicea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony [for the Faith], for nearly sixty years.  There were untrustworthy Councils, unfaithful bishops; there was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion, hallucination, endless, hopeless, extending into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church.  The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or deceived.[9] 

As in Arian Times, likewise now.  We could paraphrase Cardinal Newman’s words to describe our own times, as follows:

The body of bishops failed in their confession of the Faith ….  The different factions of conciliar revolutionaries spoke one against another; there was nothing, starting with Vatican II, of firm, Traditional Faith, for nearly sixty years.  There were untrustworthy synods, unfaithful bishops; there was weakness, worldliness, fear of consequences, modernism in every corner of the human element of the Catholic Church.  The comparatively few, viz., Traditional Catholics, who remained faithful were discredited and marginalized; the rest were either modernists or deceived by modernists.

In the End Times, Bloody Persecution will especially show the true Church as it especially showed the Church in Her Infancy.

Future persecutions will be greater and bloodier than those now.  Sacred Scripture narrates these future persecutions by the anti-christ as follows:

It was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them.   And power was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation.  …   And it was given him … that whosoever will not adore the image of the beast, should be slain.

The Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle, 13:7 & 15.

But God is always in charge and those persecutions will work to the good for the elect.  As St. Paul assures us; “All things work together unto the good for those who love God.”  Romans, 8:28.

We should rejoice to be persecuted for the love of Jesus Christ.

Although persecution is not comfortable, it is nothing to fear.  Rather, persecution is a great reason to rejoice.  Here are Our Lord’s words:

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for Justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you untruly, for My sake.  Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven.[10]

However difficult or painful these persecutions are at the time, they are a small price to pay for Christ’s love and for eternal happiness.  As St. Paul tells us: “I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come”.  Romans, 8:18.

The “new” SSPX is not persecuted like the “old” SSPX was.

The “old” SSPX was viciously attacked by the world and by the conciliar church (which is a false “church” which belongs to the world).[11]  But the “new” SSPX has been weakening for years, becoming more like the world and the conciliar church.[12] 

The N-SSPX itself says that it is not attacked like it used to be (although this change is not because the world and the conciliar church are becoming better).  Here are the N-SSPX’s words:

World-wide tradition started out very small.  As soon as it grew, it was attacked.  But now the times changed [sic].[13]


Persecution is (as it were) a “Fifth Mark” by which we can recognize the true Catholic Church.  The Catholic Church and faithful Catholics will face persecution.  

Let us face persecution with a strong heart!  Beware of Compromising to Avoid Persecution!

Let us never weaken through growing tired of the persecutions which come.  We must never compromise our Faith but instead live our Faith boldly and fully.

[1]          Here is how The Catechism of St. Pius X explains this truth:

Q. How can the Church of Jesus Christ be distinguished from the numerous societies or sects founded by men, and calling themselves Christian?

A. From the numerous societies or sects founded by men and calling themselves Christian, the Church of Jesus Christ is easily distinguished by four marks: She is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

Quoted from The Catechism of St. Pius X, section: The Apostle’s Creed, subsection: The Ninth Article of the Creed, part concerning The Church in General, Q.13.

[2]          Here is how the Baltimore Catechism #3, Q.518, explains this truth:

Q. What is a mark?

A. A mark is a given and known sign by which a thing can be distinguished from all others of its kind.  Thus, a trademark is used to distinguish the article bearing it from all imitations of the same article.

[3]          Rev. Francis Spirago, The Catechism Explained, Benzinger Bros., New York, 1921, p.242.

[4]          Catena Aurea on St. Matthew’s Gospel, by St. Thomas Aquinas, ch.26, quoting Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 46 (bracketed word added for clarity).

[5]          2 Timothy 3:12, emphasis added.

[6]          Rev. Francis Spirago, The Catechism Explained, Benzinger Bros., New York, 1921, p.236.  The catechism adds:

The Church comes triumphant out of every persecution.  …  The members of the Church increase under persecution.  The Church is a field, fruitful only when torn up by the plough, or it is a vine, stronger and richer for being pruned. “As fire is spread by the wind, so is the Church increased by persecution,” says St. Rupert.  


[7]          Rev. Francis Spirago, The Catechism Explained, Benzinger Bros., New York, 1921, p.236.

[8]          St. John’s Gospel, 15:1-2.  Here is how The Catechism Explained explains this truth:

Persecution purifies the Church; even if millions fall away, it is not a loss but

a cleansing.

Rev. Francis Spirago, The Catechism Explained, Benzinger Bros., New York, 1921, p.236.

[9]          John Henry Cardinal Newman, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine (Kansas City: Sheed and Ward, ©1961), p.77 (emphasis added).

[10]          St. Matthew’s Gospel, 5:11-13 (emphasis added).

[12]          For evidence of the N-SSPX’s moral decline, read the many Catholic Candle articles on this subject, quoting and analyzing this decline, including this article: 

For evidence of the N-SSPX’s doctrinal decline, read the many Catholic Candle articles on this subject, quoting and analyzing this decline, including this article:,-as-free-of-all-errors-and-ambiguities.html

The value of a Traditional Catholic school depends on it being different than all of the other schools.  The “old” SSPX knew this and made its schools different.  But the N-SSPX now wants its schools to be like all of the other schools.  Read this article:

[13]          Quote from a June 29, 2019 article which included these words of N-SSPX District Superior in the U.S., Fr. Wegner, available at this link: