The early Church Fathers are an irreplaceable link to early Christianity. Not only are they indispensable witnesses for the teachings of the apostolic Church, but they are also indispensable witnesses for the authorship and authenticity of the Scriptures.
They testified that the Apostles preached what they preached, and wrote what they wrote. Some were eyewitnesses to the lives and teachings of the Apostles.
Without the witness of those who knew the Apostles firsthand and who preserved and guaranteed their teachings, we wouldn’t have a Bible. We wouldn’t know that Matthew wrote Matthew or that John wrote John, since their names aren’t included in the text. We wouldn’t know that St. Paul really existed and actually wrote the letters ascribed to him. Ignoring or denying the testimony of the early Church Fathers destroys the credibility of the Bible itself. It is only through these faithful witnesses to the Apostles that we have received the Gospel.
The early Church Fathers are our only bridge to Christ and His Apostles. That bridge is unmistakably, undeniably Catholic. Virtually every distinctively Catholic doctrine is clearly found in the writings of the early Fathers of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th centuries. This includes the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Mass as a sacrifice, apostolic succession, the primacy of Peter, intercessory pray to the saints, devotion to Mary, purgatory, and confession to a priest. (7:29)