Catechism of the Catholic Church / Part One: The Profession of Faith
Section Two - The Creeds
Chapter Three - I Believe in The Holy Spirit
"No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit."1
"God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!
Father!"'2 This knowledge of faith is
possible only in the Holy
Spirit: to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy
Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindles faith in us. By virtue of our Baptism,
the first sacrament of the faith, the Holy Spirit in the Church communicates to
us, intimately and personally, the life that originates in the Father and is
offered to us in the Son.
Baptism gives us the grace of
new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit. For those who
bear God's Spirit are led to the Word, that is, to the Son, and the Son
presents them to the Father, and the Father confers incorruptibility on them.
and it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can
approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the
Son, and the knowledge of God's Son is obtained through the Holy
Through his grace, the Holy Spirit is the first to awaken faith in us and to
communicate to us the new life, which is to "know the Father and the one
whom he has sent, Jesus Christ."4 But the
Spirit is the last of
the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the
Theologian, explains this progression in terms of the pedagogy of divine
The Old Testament proclaimed
the Father clearly, but the Son more obscurely. the New Testament revealed the
Son and gave us a glimpse of the divinity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells
among us and grants us a clearer vision of himself. It was not prudent, when
the divinity of the Father had not yet been confessed, to proclaim the Son
openly and, when the divinity of the Son was not yet admitted, to add the Holy
Spirit as an extra burden, to speak somewhat daringly.... By advancing and
progressing "from glory to glory," the light of the Trinity will
shine in ever more brilliant rays.5
To believe in the Holy Spirit is to profess that the Holy Spirit is one of the
persons of the Holy Trinity, consubstantial with the Father and the Son:
"with the Father and the Son he is worshipped and
glorified."6 For this reason, the divine
mystery of the Holy
Spirit was already treated in the context of Trinitarian "theology."
Here, however, we have to do with the Holy Spirit only in the divine
The Holy Spirit is at work with the Father and the Son from the beginning to
the completion of the plan for our salvation. But in these "end
times," ushered in by the Son's redeeming Incarnation, the Spirit is
revealed and given, recognized and welcomed as a person. Now can this divine
plan, accomplished in Christ, the firstborn and head of the new creation, be
embodied in mankind by the outpouring of the Spirit: as the Church, the communion
of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
"No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."7
Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his
living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. the Spirit who
"has spoken through the prophets" makes us hear the Father's Word,
but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by
which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. the
Spirit of truth who "unveils" Christ to us "will not speak on
his own."8 Such properly divine
self-effacement explains why
"the world cannot receive (him), because it neither sees him nor knows
him," while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells
The Church, a communion living in the faith of the apostles which she transmits,
is the place where we know the Holy Spirit:
- in the Scriptures he inspired;
- in the Tradition, to which the Church Fathers are always timely witnesses;
- in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy
Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues
the work of salvation.
I. The Joint Mission of the Son and the Spirit
The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his Son, is
truly God.10 Consubstantial with the Father
and the Son, the Spirit is
inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of
love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial,
and indivisible, the Church's faith also professes the distinction of persons.
When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint
mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure,
it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the
Spirit who reveals him.
Jesus is Christ, "anointed," because the Spirit is his anointing, and
everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this
fullness.11 When Christ is finally
glorified,12 he can in turn
send the Spirit from his place with the Father to those who believe in him: he
communicates to them his glory,13 that is, the
Holy Spirit who
glorifies him.14 From that time on, this joint
mission will be
manifested in the children adopted by the Father in the Body of his Son: the
mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live
The notion of anointing
suggests . . . that there is no distance between the Son and the Spirit.
Indeed, just as between the surface of the body and the anointing with oil
neither reason nor sensation recognizes any intermediary, so the contact of the
Son with the Spirit is immediate, so that anyone who would make contact with
the Son by faith must first encounter the oil by contact. In fact there is no
part that is not covered by the Holy Spirit. That is why the confession of the
Son's Lordship is made in the Holy Spirit by those who receive him, the Spirit
coming from all sides to those who approach the Son in faith.15
II. The Name, Titles, and Symbols of the Holy
name of the Holy Spirit
"Holy Spirit" is the proper name of the one whom we adore and glorify
with the Father and the Son. the Church has received this name from the Lord
and professes it in the Baptism of her new children.16
The term "Spirit"
translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath,
air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to
Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the
divine Spirit.17 On the other hand, "Spirit"
"Holy" are divine attributes common to the three divine persons. By
joining the two terms, Scripture, liturgy, and theological language designate
the inexpressible person of the Holy Spirit, without any possible equivocation
with other uses of the terms "spirit" and "holy."
the Holy Spirit
When he proclaims and promises the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus calls him
the "Paraclete," literally, "he who is called to one's
side," advocatus.18 "Paraclete"
is commonly translated
by "consoler," and Jesus is the first consoler.19
also called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth."20
Besides the proper name of "Holy Spirit," which is most frequently
used in the Acts of the Apostles and in the Epistles, we also find in St. Paul
the titles: the Spirit of the promise,21 The
adoption,22 The Spirit of Christ,23 The Spirit of the
Lord,24 and the Spirit of God25 - and, in St. Peter, the Spirit
the Holy Spirit
the symbolism of water signifies the Holy Spirit's action in Baptism, since
after the invocation of the Holy Spirit it becomes the efficacious sacramental
sign of new birth: just as the gestation of our first birth took place in
water, so the water of Baptism truly signifies that our birth into the divine
life is given to us in the Holy Spirit. As "by one Spirit we were all
baptized," so we are also "made to drink of one
Spirit."27 Thus the Spirit is also
personally the living water welling
up from Christ crucified28 as its source and
welling up in us to
the symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit,30
to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian
initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called
"chrismation" in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be
grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy
Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one
"anointed" by God's Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the
Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David.31
But Jesus is
God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely
anointed by the Holy Spirit. the Holy Spirit established him as
"Christ."32 The Virgin Mary
conceived Christ by the Holy
Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and
prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord.33
The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his
acts of healing and of saving.34 Finally, it
was the Spirit who raised
Jesus from the dead.35 Now, fully established
as "Christ" in
his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly
until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of
the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ":36 "the whole
Christ," in St.
While water signifies birth and the fruitfulness of life given in the Holy
Spirit, fire symbolizes the transforming energy of the Holy Spirit's actions.
the prayer of the prophet Elijah, who "arose like fire" and whose
"word burned like a torch," brought down fire from heaven on the
sacrifice on Mount Carmel.37 This event was a
"figure" of the
fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who
goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims
Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with
fire."38 Jesus will say of the Spirit:
"I came to cast fire
upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!"39
form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples
on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself40
tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive
images of the Holy Spirit's actions.41 "Do
not quench the
and light. These two images occur together in the manifestations of the Holy
Spirit. In the theophanies of the Old Testament, the cloud, now obscure, now
luminous, reveals the living and saving God, while veiling the transcendence of
his glory - with Moses on Mount Sinai,43 at
the tent of
meeting,44 and during the wandering in the
desert,45 and with
Solomon at the dedication of the Temple.46 In
the Holy Spirit, Christ
fulfills these figures. the Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and
"overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to
Jesus.47 On the mountain of Transfiguration,
the Spirit in the
"cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James
and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my
Chosen; listen to him!'"48 Finally, the
cloud took Jesus out of
the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as
Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.49
seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his
seal" on Christ and also seals us in him.50
Because this seal indicates
the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of
Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has
been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible
"character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.
hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on
them.51 In his name the apostles will do the
same.52 Even more
pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is
given.53 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the
imposition of hands among
the "fundamental elements" of its teaching.54
The Church has
kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its
finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out
demons."55 If God's law was written on
tablets of stone "by
the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to
the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God,
not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."56
hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the
Father's right hand."57
dove. At the end of the flood, whose symbolism refers to Baptism, a dove
released by Noah returns with a fresh olive-tree branch in its beak as a sign
that the earth was again habitable.58 When
Christ comes up from the
water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon
him and remains with him.59 The Spirit comes
down and remains in the
purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved
in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium) suspended above the
altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.
III. God's Spirit and Word in the Time of the
From the beginning until "the fullness of time,"60
mission of the Father's Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work.
God's Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah. Neither is fully revealed
but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation.
So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches
there for what the Spirit, "who has spoken through the prophets,"
wants to tell us about Christ.61
By "prophets" the faith of the Church here understands all
whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the sacred books, both of
the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law
(the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and
prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in
particular the Psalms).62
The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every
It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation,
for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.... Power over life
pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father
through the Son.64
"God fashioned man with his own hands [that is, the Son and the Holy
Spirit] and impressed his own form on the flesh he had fashioned, in such a way
that even what was visible might bear the divine form."65
of the promise
Disfigured by sin and death, man remains "in the image of God," in
the image of the Son, but is deprived "of the glory of
God,"66 of his "likeness." the
promise made to Abraham
inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son
himself will assume that "image"67
and restore it in the
Father's "likeness" by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is
"the giver of life."
Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of
faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.68
In Abraham's progeny all
the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ
himself,69 in whom the outpouring of the Holy
Spirit will "gather
into one the children of God who are scattered abroad."70
commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and "the
promised Holy Spirit . . . [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we
acquire possession of it."71
Theophanies and the Law
Theophanies (manifestations of God) light up the way of the promise, from the
patriarchs to Moses and from Joshua to the visions that inaugurated the
missions of the great prophets. Christian tradition has always recognized that
God's Word allowed himself to be seen and heard in these theophanies, in which
the cloud of the Holy Spirit both revealed him and concealed him in its shadow.
This divine pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law.72
gave the letter of the Law as a "pedagogue" to lead his people
towards Christ.73 But the Law's powerlessness
to save man deprived of
the divine "likeness," along with the growing awareness of sin that
it imparts,74 enkindles a desire for the Holy
Spirit. the lamentations
of the Psalms bear witness to this.
Kingdom and the Exile
The Law, the sign of God's promise and covenant, ought to have governed the
hearts and institutions of that people to whom Abraham's faith gave birth.
"If you will obey my voice and keep my covenant, . . . you shall be to me
a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."75 But
after David, Israel
gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations. the
Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David,76
the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the poor according to the
The forgetting of the Law and the infidelity to the covenant end in death: it is
the Exile, apparently the failure of the promises, which is in fact the
mysterious fidelity of the Savior God and the beginning of a promised
restoration, but according to the Spirit. the People of God had to suffer this
purification.77 In God's plan, the Exile
already stands in the shadow
of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of
the most transparent prefigurations of the Church.
of the Messiah and his Spirit
"Behold, I am doing a new thing."78
Two prophetic lines were
to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing
to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the
people of the poor, who await in hope the "consolation of Israel" and
"the redemption of Jerusalem."79
We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning
himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the
Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly.
The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the "Book of
Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory,"80
speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11:
There shall come forth a shoot
from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of
and the Spirit of the LORD
shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and
the spirit of counsel and
the spirit of knowledge and
the fear of the LORD.
The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant
songs."82 These songs proclaim the
meaning of Jesus' Passion and
show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an
outsider, but by embracing our "form as slave."83
death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.
This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by making his
own the following passage from Isaiah:84
The Spirit of the LORD God is
upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the
afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to
the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim
the year of the LORD'S favor.
The prophetic texts that directly concern the sending of the Holy Spirit are
oracles by which God speaks to the heart of his people in the language of the
promise, with the accents of "love and fidelity."85
will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost.86
According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will
renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile
the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and
God will dwell there with men in peace.
The People of the "poor"87 - those
who, humble and meek, rely
solely on their God's mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but
of the Messiah - are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's
hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's
coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit,
which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready
"a people prepared for the Lord."88
IV. The Spirit of Christ in the Fullness of
precursor, prophet, and baptist
"There was a man sent from God, whose name was John."89
was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's
womb"90 by Christ himself, whom the
Virgin Mary had just conceived
by the Holy Spirit. Mary's visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God
to his people.91
John is "Elijah (who) must come."92
The fire of the Spirit
dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the
precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of "[making] ready a people
prepared for the Lord."93
John the Baptist is "more than a prophet."94
In him, the Holy
Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of
prophets begun by Elijah.95 He proclaims the
imminence of the
consolation of Israel; he is the "voice" of the Consoler who is
coming.96 As the Spirit of truth will also do,
John "came to bear
witness to the light."97 In John's sight,
the Spirit thus brings
to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of
the angels.98 "He on whom you see the
Spirit descend and remain,
this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. and I have seen and have borne
witness that this is the Son of God.... Behold, the Lamb of
Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man
of "the divine likeness," prefiguring what he would achieve with and
in Christ. John's baptism was for repentance; baptism in water and the Spirit
will be a new birth.100
you who are full of grace"
Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission
of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the
plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the
dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this
sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom
in relation to Mary.101 Mary is acclaimed and
represented in the
liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."
In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ
and the Church began to be manifested:
The Holy Spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of
him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily"102
should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived
without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the
inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel
to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion":
"Rejoice."103 It is the thanksgiving
of the whole People of
God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle104
lifts up to
the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.
In Mary, the Holy Spirit fulfills the plan of the Father's loving goodness.
With and through the Holy Spirit, the Virgin conceives and gives birth to the
Son of God. By the Holy Spirit's power and her faith, her virginity became
In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of
the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with
the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is
to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him
Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of
God's merciful love,107 into communion with
Christ. and the humble are
always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and
groom at Cana, and the first disciples.
At the end of this mission of the Spirit, Mary became the Woman, the new Eve
("mother of the living"), the mother of the "whole
Christ."108 As such, she was present with
the Twelve, who "with
one accord devoted themselves to prayer,"109 at
the dawn of the
"end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of
Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.
The entire mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit, in the fullness of time, is
contained in this: that the Son is the one anointed by the Father's Spirit
since his Incarnation - Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah.
Everything in the second chapter of the Creed is to be read in this light.
Christ's whole work is in fact a joint mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit.
Here, we shall mention only what has to do with Jesus' promise of the Holy
Spirit and the gift of him by the glorified Lord.
Jesus does not reveal the Holy Spirit fully, until he himself has been
glorified through his Death and Resurrection. Nevertheless, little by little he
alludes to him even in his teaching of the multitudes, as when he reveals that
his own flesh will be food for the life of the world.110
alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus,111 to
woman,112 and to those who take part in the
Tabernacles.113 To his disciples he speaks
openly of the Spirit in
connection with prayer114 and with the witness
they will have to
Only when the hour has arrived for his glorification does Jesus promise the
coming of the Holy Spirit, since his Death and Resurrection will fulfill the
promise made to the fathers.116 The Spirit of
truth, the other
Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus' prayer; he will be
sent by the Father in Jesus' name; and Jesus will send him from the Father's
side, since he comes from the Father. the Holy Spirit will come and we shall
know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. the Spirit will
teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness
to him. the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He
will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment.
At last Jesus' hour arrives:117 he commends
his spirit into the
Father's hands118 at the very moment when by
his death he conquers
death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father,"119 he might immediately give the
Holy Spirit by
"breathing" on his disciples.120
From this hour onward, the
mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the
Father has sent me, even so I send you."121
V. The Spirit and the Church In the Last Days
On the day of Pentecost when the seven weeks of Easter had come to an end, Christ's
Passover is fulfilled in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, manifested, given,
and communicated as a divine person: of his fullness, Christ, the Lord, pours
out the Spirit in abundance.122
On that day, the Holy Trinity is fully revealed. Since that day, the Kingdom
announced by Christ has been open to those who believe in him: in the humility
of the flesh and in faith, they already share in the communion of the Holy
Trinity. By his coming, which never ceases, the Holy Spirit causes the world to
enter into the "last days," the time of the Church, the Kingdom
already inherited though not yet consummated.
We have seen the true Light,
we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true faith: we adore
the indivisible Trinity, who has saved us.123
Spirit - God's gift
"God is Love"124 and love is his
first gift, containing all
others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy
Spirit who has been given to us."125
Because we are dead or at least wounded through sin, the first effect of the
gift of love is the forgiveness of our sins. the communion of the Holy
Spirit126 in the Church restores to the
baptized the divine likeness
lost through sin.
He, then, gives us the "pledge" or "first fruits" of our
inheritance: the very life of the Holy Trinity, which is to love as "God
(has) loved us."127 This love (the "charity"
of ⇒ 1
Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible
because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit.128
By this power of the Spirit, God's children can bear much fruit. He who has
grafted us onto the true vine will make us bear "the fruit of the Spirit:
. . . love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,
self-control."129 "We live by the
Spirit"; the more we
renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."130
Through the Holy Spirit we are
restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as
children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in
Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.131
Spirit and the Church
The mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit is brought to completion in the
Church, which is the Body of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. This
joint mission henceforth brings Christ's faithful to share in his communion
with the Father in the Holy Spirit. the Spirit prepares men and goes out to
them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. the Spirit manifests the
risen Lord to them, recalls his word to them and opens their minds to the
understanding of his Death and Resurrection. He makes present the mystery of
Christ, supremely in the Eucharist, in order to reconcile them, to bring them
into communion with God, that they may "bear much fruit."132
Thus the Church's mission is not an addition to that of Christ and the Holy
Spirit, but is its sacrament: in her whole being and in all her members, the
Church is sent to announce, bear witness, make present, and spread the mystery
of the communion of the Holy Trinity (the topic of the next article):
All of us who have received
one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended
together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the
Father's and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many,
still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each
and every one of us, . . . and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the
power of Christ's sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I
think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in
all, leads all into spiritual unity.133
Because the Holy Spirit is the anointing of Christ, it is Christ who, as the
head of the Body, pours out the Spirit among his members to nourish, heal, and
organize them in their mutual functions, to give them life, send them to bear
witness, and associate them to his self-offering to the Father and to his
intercession for the whole world. Through the Church's sacraments, Christ
communicates his Holy and sanctifying Spirit to the members of his Body. (This
will be the topic of Part Two of the Catechism.)
These "mighty works of God," offered to believers in the sacraments
of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the
Spirit. (This will be the topic of Part Three.)
"The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we
ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for
words."134 The Holy Spirit, the artisan
of God's works, is the
master of prayer. (This will be the topic of Part Four.)
742 "Because you are sons,
God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!
Father!"' (⇒ Gal 4:6).
743 From the beginning to the
end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their
mission is conjoined and inseparable.
744 In the fullness of time
the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming
among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father
gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" (⇒ Mt
745 The Son of God was
consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his
Incarnation (cf ⇒ Ps 2:6-7).
746 By his Death and his
Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf
⇒ Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured
out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.
747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ
the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church.
She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"
"Christ is the light of humanity; and it is, accordingly, the heart-felt
desire of this sacred Council, being gathered together in the Holy Spirit,
that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature, it may bring to all men that
light of Christ which shines out visibly from the Church."135
These words open the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the
Church. By choosing this starting point, the Council demonstrates that the
article of faith about the Church depends entirely on the articles concerning
Christ Jesus. the Church has no other light than Christ's; according to a
favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its
light reflected from the sun.
The article concerning the Church also depends entirely on the article about
the Holy Spirit, which immediately precedes it. "Indeed, having shown that
the Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness, we now confess that it is
he who has endowed the Church with holiness."136
The Church is, in
a phrase used by the Fathers, the place "where the Spirit
To believe that the Church is "holy" and "catholic," and
that she is "one" and "apostolic" (as the Nicene Creed
adds), is inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit. In the Apostles' Creed we profess "one Holy Church" (Credo .
. . Ecclesiam), and not to believe in the Church, so as not to confuse God with
his works and to attribute clearly to God's goodness all the gifts he has
bestowed on his Church.138
Paragraph 1. THE CHURCH IN GOD'S PLAN
AND IMAGES OF THE CHURCH
The word "Church" (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to
"call out of") means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the
assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose.139
is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen
People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel
received the Law and was established by God as his holy people.140
calling itself "Church," the first community of Christian believers
recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is "calling
together" his people from all the ends of the earth. the equivalent Greek
term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are
derived, means "what belongs to the Lord."
In Christian usage, the word "church" designates the liturgical
assembly,141 but also the local community142 or the whole
universal community of believers.143 These
three meanings are
inseparable. "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole
world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above
all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of
Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body.
In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which
Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. the images taken
from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God.
In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has
become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body.144
this center are grouped images taken "from the life of the shepherd or
from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and
Church is, accordingly, a sheepfold, the sole and necessary gateway to which is
Christ. It is also the flock of which God himself foretold that he would be the
shepherd, and whose sheep, even though governed by human shepherds, are
unfailingly nourished and led by Christ himself, the Good Shepherd and Prince
of Shepherds, who gave his life for his sheep.146
Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient
olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the
reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought
about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the
heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and
fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in
Christ, without whom we can do nothing.147
too, the Church is called the building of God. the Lord compared himself to the
stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the comer-stone. On
this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church
receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the
house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit;
the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This
temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the
Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City,
the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is
this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God
when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.148
Church, further, which is called 'that Jerusalem which is above' and 'our
mother', is described as the spotless spouse of the spotless lamb. It is she
whom Christ 'loved and for whom he delivered himself up that he might sanctify
her.' It is she whom he unites to himself by an unbreakable alliance, and whom
he constantly 'nourishes and cherishes.'"149
CHURCH'S ORIGIN, FOUNDATION AND MISSION
We begin our investigation of the Church's mystery by meditating on her origin
in the Holy Trinity's plan and her progressive realization in history.
A plan born
in the Father's heart
"The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and
mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and
chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life,"150
which he calls all men in his Son. "The Father . . . determined to call
together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ."151
This "family of God" is gradually formed and takes shape during the
stages of human history, in keeping with the Father's plan. In fact,
"already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was
prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the
old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the
outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end
- foreshadowed from the world's beginning
Christians of the first centuries said, "The world was created for the
sake of the Church."153 God created the
world for the sake of
communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the "convocation"
of men in Christ, and this "convocation" is the Church. the Church is
the goal of all things,154 and God permitted
such painful upheavals as
the angels' fall and man's sin only as occasions and means for displaying all
the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the
Just as God's will is creation
and is called "the world," so his intention is the salvation of men,
and it is called "the Church."155
- prepared for in the Old Covenant
The gathering together of the People of God began at the moment when sin
destroyed the communion of men with God, and that of men among themselves. the
gathering together of the Church is, as it were, God's reaction to the chaos
provoked by sin. This reunification is achieved secretly in the heart of all
peoples: "In every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is
acceptable" to God.156
The remote preparation for this gathering together of the People of God begins
when he calls Abraham and promises that he will become the father of a great
people.157 Its immediate preparation begins
with Israel's election as
the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering
of All nations.158 But the prophets accuse
Israel of breaking the
covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal
covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant."159
- instituted by Christ Jesus
It was the Son's task to accomplish the Father's plan of salvation in the
fullness of time. Its accomplishment was the reason for his being
sent.160 "The Lord Jesus inaugurated his
Church by preaching the
Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in
the scriptures."161 To fulfill the
Father's will, Christ ushered
in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. the Church "is the Reign of Christ
already present in mystery."162
"This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the
presence of Christ."163 To welcome Jesus'
word is to welcome
"the Kingdom itself."164 The seed
and beginning of the
Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather
around him, the flock whose shepherd he is.165
They form Jesus' true
family.166 To those whom he thus gathered
around him, he taught a new
"way of acting" and a prayer of their own.167
The Lord Jesus endowed his community with a structure that will remain until
the Kingdom is fully achieved. Before all else there is the choice of the
Twelve with Peter as their head.168
Representing the twelve tribes of
Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem.169
Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but
also in his lot.170 By all his actions, Christ
prepares and builds his
The Church is born primarily of Christ's total self-giving for our salvation,
anticipated in the institution of the Eucharist and fulfilled on the cross.
"The origin and growth of the Church are symbolized by the blood and water
which flowed from the open side of the crucified Jesus."171
"For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon
the cross that there came forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole
Church.'"172 As Eve was formed from the
sleeping Adam's side, so
the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the
- revealed by the Holy Spirit
"When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was
accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that he
might continually sanctify the Church."174 Then
was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the
nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the
"convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature
is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of
So that she can fulfill her mission, the Holy Spirit "bestows upon [the
Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs
her."177 "Henceforward the Church,
endowed with the gifts of
her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and
self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples
the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the
beginning of that kingdom."178
- perfected in glory
"The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of
heaven,"179 at the time of Christ's
glorious return. Until that
day, "the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world's
persecutions and God's consolations."180 Here
below she knows that
she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom,
when she will "be united in glory with her king."181
Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great
trials. Only then will "all the just from the time of Adam, 'from Abel,
the just one, to the last of the elect,' . . . be gathered together in the
universal Church in the Father's presence."182
MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only
"with the eyes of faith"183 that
one can see her in her
visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of
- both visible and spiritual
"The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his
holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible
organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all
men."184 The Church is at the same
- a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of
- the visible society and the spiritual community;
- the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes
together from a human and a divine element":186
The Church is essentially both
human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in
action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim,
so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the
divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present
world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.187
humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly
dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and
temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of
Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the
labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heaven's beauty
has adorned her.188
- mystery of men's union with God
It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the
purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him."189
Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great
mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she
becomes a mystery in her turn.190
Contemplating this mystery in her,
Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."191
In the Church this communion of men with God, in the "love [that] never
ends," is the purpose which governs everything in her that is a
sacramental means, tied to this passing world.192
"[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's
members. and holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the
Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the
Bridegroom."193 Mary goes before us all
in the holiness that is
the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or
wrinkle."194 This is why the "Marian"
dimension of the
Church precedes the "Petrine."195
universal Sacrament of Salvation
Greek word mysterion was translated into Latin by two terms: mystenum and
sacramentum. In later usage the term sacramentum emphasizes the visible sign of
the hidden reality of salvation which was indicated by the term mystenum. In
this sense, Christ himself is the mystery of salvation: "For there is no
other mystery of God, except Christ."196 The
saving work of his
holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed
and active in the Church's sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call
"the holy mysteries"). the seven sacraments are the signs and
instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head
throughout the Church which is his Body. the Church, then, both contains and
communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense,
that the Church is called a "sacrament."
"The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument, that
is, of communion with God and of unity among all men."197
Church's first purpose is to be the sacrament of the inner union of men with
God. Because men's communion with one another is rooted in that union with God,
the Church is also the sacrament of the unity of the human race. In her, this
unity is already begun, since she gathers men "from every nation, from all
tribes and peoples and tongues";198 at
the same time, the Church
is the "sign and instrument" of the full realization of the unity yet
As sacrament, the Church is Christ's instrument. "She is taken up by him
also as the instrument for the salvation of all," "the universal
sacrament of salvation," by which Christ is "at once manifesting and
actualizing the mystery of God's love for men."199
"is the visible plan of God's love for humanity," because God desires
"that the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body of
Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit."200
777 The word
"Church" means "convocation." It designates the assembly of
those whom God's Word "convokes," i.e., gathers together to form the
People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become
the Body of Christ.
778 The Church is both the
means and the goal of God's plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the
Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by
his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the
mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be
perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the
earth (cf ⇒ Rev 14:4).
779 The Church is both
visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ.
She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her
mystery, which only faith can accept.
780 The Church in this world
is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of
God and men.
Paragraph 2. THE CHURCH - PEOPLE OF GOD, BODY
OF CHRIST, TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
CHURCH - PEOPLE OF GOD
"At all times and in every race, anyone who fears God and does what is
right has been acceptable to him. He has, however, willed to make men holy and
save them, not as individuals without any bond or link between them, but rather
to make them into a people who might acknowledge him and serve him in holiness.
He therefore chose the Israelite race to be his own people and established a
covenant with it. He gradually instructed this people.... All these things,
however, happened as a preparation for and figure of that new and perfect
covenant which was to be ratified in Christ . . . the New Covenant in his
blood; he called together a race made up of Jews and Gentiles which would be
one, not according to the flesh, but in the Spirit."201
of the People of Got
The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from
all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:
- It is the People of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he
acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people:
"a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation."202
- One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being
"born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit,"203
that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.
- This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah).
Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body,
this is "the messianic people."
- "The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the
sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple."
- "Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved
us."204 This is the "new" law
of the Holy Spirit.205
- Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world.206
This people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the
whole human race."
-Its destiny, finally, "is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God
himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought
to perfection by him at the end of time."207
prophetic, and royal people
Jesus Christ is the one whom the Father anointed with the Holy Spirit and
established as priest, prophet, and king. the whole People of God participates
in these three offices of Christ and bears the responsibilities for mission and
service that flow from them.208
On entering the People of God through faith and Baptism, one receives a share
in this people's unique, priestly vocation: "Christ the Lord, high priest
taken from among men, has made this new people 'a kingdom of priests to God,
his Father.' the baptized, by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy
Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy
"The holy People of God shares also in Christ's prophetic office,"
above all in the supernatural sense of faith that belongs to the whole People,
lay and clergy, when it "unfailingly adheres to this faith . . . once for
all delivered to the saints,"210 and
when it deepens its
understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world.
Finally, the People of God shares in the royal office of Christ. He exercises
his kingship by drawing all men to himself through his death and
Resurrection.211 Christ, King and Lord of
the universe, made himself
the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to
give his life as a ransom for many."212
For the Christian,
"to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor
and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering
founder."213 The People of God fulfills
its royal dignity by a
life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.
The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the
anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from
the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians
are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly
office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience
to God? and what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord
and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the
CHURCH - BODY OF CHRIST
is communion with Jesus
From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed
the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy,
and sufferings.215 Jesus spoke of a still
more intimate communion
between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you....
I am the vine, you are the branches."216 and he
mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: "He who eats
my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."217
When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his
disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he
sent them his Spirit.218 As a result
communion with Jesus has become,
in a way, more intense: "By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically
constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from
The comparison of the Church with the body casts light on the intimate bond
between Christ and his Church. Not only is she gathered around him; she is
united in him, in his body. Three aspects of the Church as the Body of Christ
are to be more specifically noted: the unity of all her members with each other
as a result of their union with Christ; Christ as head of the Body; and the
Church as bride of Christ.
Believers who respond to God's word and become members of Christ's Body, become
intimately united with him: "In that body the life of Christ is communicated
to those who believe, and who, through the sacraments, are united in a hidden
and real way to Christ in his Passion and glorification."220
is especially true of Baptism, which unites us to Christ's death and
Resurrection, and the Eucharist, by which "really sharing in the body of
the Lord, . . . we are taken up into communion with him and with one
The body's unity does not do away with the diversity of its members: "In
the building up of Christ's Body there is engaged a diversity of members and
functions. There is only one Spirit who, according to his own richness and the
needs of the ministries, gives his different gifts for the welfare of the
Church."222 The unity of the Mystical
Body produces and stimulates
charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member
suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is
honored, all the members together rejoice."223
Finally, the unity
of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of
you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor
Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for
you are all one in Christ Jesus."224
is the Head of this Body"
Christ "is the head of the body, the Church."225
He is the
principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father's glory, "in
everything he (is) preeminent,"226
especially in the Church,
through whom he extends his reign over all things.
Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble
him, "until Christ be formed" in them.227
reason we . . . are taken up into the mysteries of his life, . . . associated
with his sufferings as the body with its head, suffering with him, that with
him we may be glorified."228
Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our
head,229 he provides in his Body, the
Church, the gifts and assistance
by which we help one another along the way of salvation.
Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ"
(Christus totus). the Church is one with Christ. the saints are acutely aware
of this unity:
Let us rejoice then and give
thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you
understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we
have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we
together are the whole man.... the fullness of Christ then is the head and the
members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the
Our redeemer has shown himself
to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.231
Head and members form as it
were one and the same mystical person.232
A reply of St. Joan of Arc to
her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the
believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just
one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."233
is the Bride of Christ
The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies
the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often
expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. the theme of Christ as
Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John
the Baptist.234 The Lord referred to himself
"bridegroom."235 The Apostle
speaks of the whole Church and
of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed"
to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him.236
Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.237
loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify
her."238 He has joined her with himself
in an everlasting covenant
and never stops caring for her as for his own body:239
This is the whole Christ, head
and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is
Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and
in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two
will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ
and the Church."240 and the Lord
himself says in the Gospel:
"So they are no longer two, but one flesh."241
They are, in
fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, . . . as
head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself
CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
"What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of
Christ, which is the Church."243 "To
this Spirit of Christ,
as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the
body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole
Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole
Spirit is in each of the members."244
The Holy Spirit makes the
Church "the temple of the living God":245
Indeed, it is to the Church
herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted.... In it is in her
that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit,
the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder
of our ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit;
where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace.246
The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action
in each part of the Body."247 He works
in many ways to build up
the whole Body in charity:248 by God's Word
"which is able to
build you up";249 by Baptism, through
which he forms Christ's
Body;250 by the sacraments, which give
growth and healing to Christ's
members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his
gifts";251 by the virtues, which make
us act according to what is
good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by
which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and
offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."252
Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy
Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to
her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.
Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and
by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the
apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided
they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full
conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping
with charity, the true measure of all charisms.253
It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No
charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds.
"Their office (is) not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all
things and hold fast to what is good,"254 so that
all the diverse
and complementary charisms work together "for the common
802 Christ Jesus "gave
himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a
people of his own" (⇒ Titus 2:14).
803 "You are a chosen
race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people"
(⇒ 1 Pet 2:9).
804 One enters into the
People of God by faith and Baptism. "All men are called to belong to the
new People of God" (LG 13), so that, in Christ, "men may form one
family and one People of God" (AG 1).
805 The Church is the Body of
Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the
Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the
community of believers as his own Body.
806 In the unity of this
Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to
one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted.
807 The Church is this Body
of which Christ is the head: she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives
with her and in her.
808 The Church is the Bride
of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by
his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God's children.
809 The Church is the Temple
of the Holy Spirit. the Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body,
the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its
gifts and charisms.
810 "Hence the universal
Church is seen to be 'a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit'" (LG 4 citing St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23:
PL 4, 553).
Paragraph 3. THE CHURCH IS ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC,
"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be
one, holy, catholic and apostolic."256
These four characteristics,
inseparably linked with each other,257
indicate essential features of
the Church and her mission. the Church does not possess them of herself; it is
Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and
apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.
Only faith can recognize that the Church possesses these properties from her
divine source. But their historical manifestations are signs that also speak
clearly to human reason. As the First Vatican Council noted, the "Church
herself, with her marvellous propagation, eminent holiness, and inexhaustible
fruitfulness in everything good, her catholic unity and invincible stability,
is a great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefutable witness of
her divine mission."258
CHURCH IS ONE
mystery of the Church's unity" (UR 2)
The Church is one because of her source: "the highest exemplar and source
of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of one God, the Father
and the Son in the Holy Spirit."259 The
Church is one because of
her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all
men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one
body."260 The Church is one because of
"It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and pervading and
ruling over the entire Church, who brings about that wonderful communion of the
faithful and joins them together so intimately in Christ that he is the
principle of the Church's unity."261
Unity is of the essence of
What an astonishing mystery!
There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one
Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become
mother, and I should like to call her "Church."262
From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which
comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who
receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples
and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are
different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a
rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular
Churches that retain their own traditions."263
The great richness
of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden
of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. and so the Apostle
has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond
What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything
together in perfect harmony."265 But
the unity of the pilgrim
Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
-common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
- apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the
fraternal concord of God's family.266
"The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his
Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the
other apostles to extend and rule it.... This Church, constituted and organized
as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic
Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in
communion with him."267
The Second Vatican Council's
Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church
alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the
means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of
which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings
of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into
which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the
People of God."268
In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings
there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But
in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large
communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for
which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269
ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish
heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not
occur without human sin:
Where there are sins, there
are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue,
however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and
one soul of all believers.271
"However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at
present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation]
and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church
accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been
justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have
a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers
in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272
"Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of
truth"273 are found outside the visible
confines of the Catholic
Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and
charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible
elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses
these Churches and ecclesial
communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of
grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these
blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are
calls to "Catholic unity."276
"Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we
believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and
we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of
time."277 Christ always gives his
Church the gift of unity, but
the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the
unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour
of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his
disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am
in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you
have sent me."278 The desire to recover
the unity of all
Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.279
things are required in order to respond adequately to this call:
- a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation; such
renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;280
- conversion of heart as the faithful "try to live holier lives according
to the Gospel";281 for it is the
unfaithfulness of the members to
Christ's gift which causes divisions;
- prayer in common, because "change of heart and holiness of life, along
with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded
as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name 'spiritual
-fraternal knowledge of each other;283
- ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;284
- dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different
churches and communities;285
- collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to
mankind.286 "Human service" is the
Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and
clergy alike."287 But we must realize
"that this holy
objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and
only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts." That is why we
place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of
the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit."288
CHURCH IS HOLY
"The Church . . . is held, as a matter of faith, to be unfailingly holy.
This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is
hailed as 'alone holy,' loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for
her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her
with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God."289
Church, then, is "the holy People of God,"290
and her members
are called "saints."291
United with Christ, the Church is sanctified by him; through him and with him
she becomes sanctifying. "All the activities of the Church are directed,
as toward their end, to the sanctification of men in Christ and the
glorification of God."292 It is in the
Church that "the
fullness of the means of salvation"293
has been deposited. It is
in her that "by the grace of God we acquire holiness."294
"The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real
though imperfect."295 In her members
perfect holiness is something
yet to be acquired: "Strengthened by so many and such great means of
salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state - though each in
his own way - are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which
the Father himself is perfect."296
Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it "governs,
shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification."297
If the Church was a body
composed of different members, it couldn't lack the noblest of all; it must
have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE.
and I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the
other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles
would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their
LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF
ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE - IT'S ETERNAL!298
"Christ, 'holy, innocent, and undefiled,' knew nothing of sin, but came
only to expiate the sins of the people. the Church, however, clasping sinners
to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows
constantly the path of penance and renewal."299
All members of the
Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are
sinners.300 In everyone, the weeds of sin
will still be mixed with the
good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time.301
Hence the Church
gathers sinners already caught up in Christ's salvation but still on the way to
The Church is therefore holy,
though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but
the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they
move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the
radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those
offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of
Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.302
By canonizing some of the faithful, i.e., by solemnly pro claiming that they
practiced heroic virtue and lived in fidelity to God's grace, the Church
recognizes the power of the Spirit of holiness within her and sustains the hope
of believers by proposing the saints to them as models and
intercessors.303 "The saints have
always been the source and
origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's
history."304 Indeed, "holiness is
the hidden source and
infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary
"But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that
perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still
strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. and so they turn their eyes to
Mary":306 in her, the Church is already
CHURCH IS CATHOLIC
The word "catholic" means "universal," in the sense of
"according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole."
the Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because
Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic
Church."307 In her subsists the
fullness of Christ's body united
with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of
the means of salvation"308 which he has
willed: correct and
complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in
apostolic succession. the Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on
the day of Pentecost309 and will always be
so until the day of the
Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a
mission to the whole of the human race:310
All men are called to belong
to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only
one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the
design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the
beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be
finally gathered together as one.... the character of universality which adorns
the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church
ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its
goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.311
particular Church is "catholic"
"The Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized
local groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are united to their
pastors, are also quite appropriately called Churches in the New Testament....
In them the faithful are gathered together through the preaching of the Gospel
of Christ, and the mystery of the Lord's Supper is celebrated.... In these
communities, though they may often be small and poor, or existing in the
diaspora, Christ is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy,
Catholic, and Apostolic Church is constituted."312
The phrase "particular church," which is the diocese (or eparchy),
refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and
sacraments with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession.313
particular Churches "are constituted after the model of the universal
Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic
Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of
them, the Church of Rome "which presides in charity."315
"For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church,
that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in
accord."316 Indeed, "from the
incarnate Word's descent to us,
all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is
here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the
Savior's promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against
us be very careful not to conceive of the universal Church as the simple sum,
or . . . the more or less anomalous federation of essentially different particular
churches. In the mind of the Lord the Church is universal by vocation and
mission, but when she pub down her roots in a variety of cultural, social, and
human terrains, she takes on different external expressions and appearances in
each part of the world."318 The rich
variety of ecclesiastical
disciplines, liturgical rites, and theological and spiritual heritages proper
to the local churches "unified in a common effort, shows all the more
resplendently the catholicity of the undivided Church."319
to the Catholic Church?
"All men are called to this catholic unity of the People of God.... and to
it, in different ways, belong or are ordered: the Catholic faithful, others who
believe in Christ, and finally all mankind, called by God's grace to
"Fully incorporated into the society of the Church are those who,
possessing the Spirit of Christ, accept all the means of salvation given to the
Church together with her entire organization, and who - by the bonds
constituted by the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical
government, and communion - are joined in the visible structure of the Church
of Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. Even
though incorporated into the Church, one who does not however persevere in
charity is not saved. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but 'in
body' not 'in heart.'"321
"The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are
honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its
entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of
Peter."322 Those "who believe in
Christ and have been
properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the
Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox
Churches, this communion is
so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit
a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324
"Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of
God in various ways."325
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her
own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her
link with the Jewish People,326 "the
first to hear the Word of
God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other
is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews
"belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the
worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race,
according to the flesh, is the Christ",328 "for
the gifts and
the call of God are irrevocable."329
and when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new
People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the
return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and
rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits
the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and
the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of
misunderstanding Christ Jesus.
The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also
includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are
the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us
they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last
The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common
origin and end of the human race:
All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the
one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all
share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and
saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered
together in the holy city. . .331
The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows
and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath
and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all
goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the
Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have
In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors
that disfigure the image of God in them:
Very often, deceived by the
Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the
truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or
else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate
To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed
to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. the Church is the
place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is
"the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail
of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this
world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is
prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.334
the Church there is no salvation"
How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church
Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it
means that all salvation comes
from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and
Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is
necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of
salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself
explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at
the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as
through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic
Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to
enter it or to remain in it.336
This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do
not know Christ and his Church:
Those who, through no fault of
their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless
seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do
his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too
may achieve eternal salvation.337
"Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no
fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it
is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred
right to evangelize all men."338
Mission - a
requirement of the Church's catholicity
The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she
might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to
the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential
universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men":339
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the
name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to
observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the
close of the age."340
The origin and purpose of mission. the Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately
grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on
earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father,
she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy
Spirit."341 The ultimate purpose of
mission is none other than to
make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit
Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in
every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary
dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343
God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the
truth";344 that is, God wills the
salvation of everyone through
the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the
prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the
Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their
desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal
plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.
Missionary paths. the Holy Spirit is the protagonist, "the principal agent
of the whole of the Church's mission."345 It is
he who leads the
Church on her missionary paths. "This mission continues and, in the course
of history, unfolds the mission of Christ, who was sent to evangelize the poor;
so the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ
himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice
even to death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his
resurrection."346 So it is that "the
blood of martyrs is the
seed of Christians."347
pilgrimage, the Church has also experienced the "discrepancy existing
between the message she proclaims and the human weakness of those to whom the
Gospel has been entrusted."348 Only by
taking the "way of
penance and renewal," the "narrow way of the cross," can the
People of God extend Christ's reign.349 For
"just as Christ
carried out the work of redemption in poverty and oppression, so the Church is
called to follow the same path if she is to communicate the fruits of salvation
very mission, "the Church . . . travels the same journey as all humanity
and shares the same earthly lot with the world: she is to be a leaven and, as
it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation
into the family of God."351 Missionary
endeavor requires patience.
It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not
yet believe in Christ,352 continues with the
establishment of Christian
communities that are "a sign of God's presence in the
world,"353 and leads to the foundation
churches.354 It must involve a process of
inculturation if the Gospel
is to take flesh in each people's culture.355 There
will be times of
defeat. "With regard to individuals, groups, and peoples it is only by
degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them and so receives them into
a fullness which is Catholic."356
Church's mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity.357
"divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice
the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though
joined to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her.
Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual
life her full catholicity in all its aspects."358
missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept
the Gospel.359 Believers can profit from
this dialogue by learning to
appreciate better "those elements of truth and grace which are found among
peoples, and which are, as it were, a secret presence of God."360
They proclaim the Good News to those who do not know it, in order to
consolidate, complete, and raise up the truth and the goodness that God has
distributed among men and nations, and to purify them from error and evil
"for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of man."361
CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC
The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:
- she was and remains built on "the foundation of the
Apostles,"362 The witnesses chosen and
sent on mission by Christ
- with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on
the teaching,364 The "good deposit,"
the salutary words she
has heard from the apostles;365
- she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until
Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of
bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the
Church's supreme pastor":366
You are the eternal Shepherd
who never leaves his flock
Through the apostles you watch
over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the
to share in the work of your
Jesus is the Father's Emissary. From the beginning of his ministry, he
"called to him those whom he desired; .... and he appointed twelve, whom
also he named apostles, to be with him, and to be sent out to
preach."368 From then on, they would
also be his "emissaries"
(Greek apostoloi). In them, Christ continues his own mission: "As the
Father has sent me, even so I send you."369 The
is the continuation of his mission; Jesus said to the Twelve: "he who
receives you receives me."370
Jesus unites them to the mission he received from the Father. As "the Son
can do nothing of his own accord," but receives everything from the Father
who sent him, so those whom Jesus sends can do nothing apart from
him,371 from whom they received both the
mandate for their mission and
the power to carry it out. Christ's apostles knew that they were called by God
as "ministers of a new covenant," "servants of God,"
"ambassadors for Christ," "servants of Christ and stewards of
the mysteries of God."372
In the office of the apostles there is one aspect that cannot be transmitted:
to be the chosen witnesses of the Lord's Resurrection and so the foundation
stones of the Church. But their office also has a permanent aspect. Christ
promised to remain with them always. the divine mission entrusted by Jesus to
them "will continue to the end of time, since the Gospel they handed on is
the lasting source of all life for the Church. Therefore, . . . the apostles
took care to appoint successors."373
- successors of the apostles
"In order that the mission entrusted to them might be continued after
their death, [the apostles] consigned, by will and testament, as it were, to
their immediate collaborators the duty of completing and consolidating the work
they had begun, urging them to tend to the whole flock, in which the Holy
Spirit had appointed them to shepherd the Church of God. They accordingly
designated such men and then made the ruling that likewise on their death other
proven men should take over their ministry."374
"Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of
the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one,
so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the
Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred
order of bishops."375 Hence the Church
teaches that "the
bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors
of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ
and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent
The whole Church is apostolic, in that she remains, through the successors of
St. Peter and the other apostles, in communion of faith and life with her
origin: and in that she is "sent out" into the whole world. All
members of the Church share in this mission, though in various ways. "The
Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the apostolate as
well." Indeed, we call an apostolate "every activity of the Mystical
Body" that aims "to spread the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth."377
"Christ, sent by the Father, is the source of the Church's whole
apostolate"; thus the fruitfulness of apostolate for ordained ministers as
well as for lay people clearly depends on their vital union with
Christ.378 In keeping with their vocations,
the demands of the times
and the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, the apostolate assumes the most
varied forms. But charity, drawn from the Eucharist above all, is always
"as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate."379
The Church is ultimately one, holy, catholic, and apostolic in her deepest and
ultimate identity, because it is in her that "the Kingdom of heaven,"
the "Reign of God,"380 already
exists and will be fulfilled
at the end of time. the kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows
mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full
eschatological manifestation. Then all those he has redeemed and made
"holy and blameless before him in love,"381
will be gathered
together as the one People of God, the
"Bride of the Lamb,"382 "the
holy city Jerusalem coming
down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God."383
"the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names
of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."384
866 The Church is one: she
acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only
one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf ⇒ Eph
4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome.
867 The Church is holy: the
Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make
her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes
sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners." Her holiness
shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.
868 The Church is catholic:
she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers
the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She
speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is "missionary of her
very nature" (AG 2).
869 The Church is apostolic.
She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the
Lamb" (⇒ Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf
⇒ Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the
truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present
in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.
870 "The sole Church of
Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,
. . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of
Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of
sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines"(LG 8).
Paragraph 4. CHRIST'S FAITHFUL - HIERARCHY, LAITY,
"The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been
incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of
God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ's priestly,
prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise
the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in
accord with the condition proper to each one."385
"In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all the Christian
faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all
cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each one's
own condition and function."386
The very differences which the Lord has willed to put between the members of
his body serve its unity and mission. For "in the Church there is
diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the apostles and their
successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and
governing in his name and by his power. But the laity are made to share in the
priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the
Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole
People of God."387 Finally, "from
both groups [hierarchy and
laity] there exist Christian faithful who are consecrated to God in their own
special manner and serve the salvific mission of the Church through the profession
of the evangelical counsels."388
HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
Christ is himself the source of ministry in the Church. He instituted the
Church. He gave her authority and mission, orientation and goal:
In order to shepherd the
People of God and to increase its numbers without cease, Christ the Lord set up
in his Church a variety of offices which aim at the good of the whole body. the
holders of office, who are invested with a sacred power, are, in fact,
dedicated to promoting the interests of their brethren, so that all who belong
to the People of God . . . may attain to salvation.389
"How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? and how are
they to hear without a preacher? and how can men preach unless they are
sent?"390 No one - no individual and no
community - can proclaim
the Gospel to himself: "Faith comes from what is heard."391
No one can give himself the mandate and the mission to proclaim the Gospel. the
one sent by the Lord does not speak and act on his own authority, but by virtue
of Christ's authority; not as a member of the community, but speaking to it in
the name of Christ. No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and
offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by
Christ. From him, they receive the mission and faculty ("the sacred
power") to act in persona Christi Capitis. the ministry in which Christ's
emissaries do and give by God's grace what they cannot do and give by their own
powers, is called a "sacrament" by the Church's tradition. Indeed,
the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.
Intrinsically linked to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry is its
character as service. Entirely dependent on Christ who gives mission and
authority, ministers are truly "slaves of Christ,"392
image of him who freely took "the form of a slave" for us.393
Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but
are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the
slaves of all.394
Likewise, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it
have a collegial character. In fact, from the beginning of his ministry, the
Lord Jesus instituted the Twelve as "the seeds of the new Israel and the
beginning of the sacred hierarchy."395
Chosen together, they were
also sent out together, and their fraternal unity would be at the service of
the fraternal communion of all the faithful: they would reflect and witness to
the communion of the divine persons.396 For
this reason every bishop
exercises his ministry from within the episcopal college, in communion with the
bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter and head of the college. So also
priests exercise their ministry from within the presbyterium of the diocese,
under the direction of their bishop.
Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it
have a personal character. Although Chnst's ministers act in communion with one
another, they also always act in a personal way. Each one is called personally:
"You, follow me"397 in order to be
a personal witness within
the common mission, to bear personal responsibility before him who gives the
mission, acting "in his person" and for other persons: "I
baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit
..."; "I absolve you...."
Sacramental ministry in the Church, then, is at once a collegial and a personal
service, exercised in the name of Christ. This is evidenced by the bonds
between the episcopal college and its head, the successor of St. Peter, and in
the relationship between the bishop's pastoral responsibility for his
particular church and the common solicitude of the episcopal college for the
college and its head, the Pope
When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted [them] in the form of a
college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen
from among them."398 Just as "by
the Lord's institution, St.
Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in
like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the
successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one
The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his
Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the
whole flock.400 "The office of binding
and loosing which was given
to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its
head."401 This pastoral office of Peter
and the other apostles
belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under
the primacy of the Pope.
The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and
visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole
company of the faithful."402 "For
the Roman Pontiff, by
reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has
full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can
always exercise unhindered."403
"The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the
Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has
"supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power
cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman
"The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a
solemn manner in an ecumenical council."405 But
is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such
by Peter's successor."406
"This college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the
expression of the variety and universality of the People of God; and of the
unity of the flock of Christ, in so far as it is assembled under one
"The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in
their own particular Churches."408 As
such, they "exercise
their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to
them,"409 assisted by priests and
deacons. But, as a member of the
episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the
Churches.410 The bishops exercise this care
first "by ruling well
their own Churches as portions of the universal Church," and so
contributing "to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from
another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches."411
extend it especially to the poor,412 to
those persecuted for the faith,
as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.
Neighboring particular Churches who share the same culture form ecclesiastical
provinces or larger groupings called patriarchates or regions.413
bishops of these groupings can meet in synods or provincial councils. "In
a like fashion, the episcopal conferences at the present time are in a position
to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the
Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their first task "to preach
the Gospel of God to all men," in keeping with the Lord's
command.415 They are "heralds of faith,
who draw new disciples to
Christ; they are authentic teachers" of the apostolic faith "endowed
with the authority of Christ."416
In order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the
apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own
infallibility. By a "supernatural sense of faith" the People of God,
under the guidance of the Church's living Magisterium, "unfailingly
adheres to this faith."417
The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the
covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's
task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee
them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error.
Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the
People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service,
Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in
matters of faith and morals. the exercise of this charism takes several forms:
"The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this
infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of
all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a
definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.... the infallibility
promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together
with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all
in an Ecumenical Council.418 When the Church
through its supreme
Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely
revealed,"419 and as the teaching of
Christ, the definitions
"must be adhered to with the obedience of faith."420
infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation
Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in
communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop
of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible
definition and without pronouncing in a "definitive manner," they
propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to
better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this
ordinary teaching the faithful "are to adhere to it with religious
assent"422 which, though distinct from
the assent of faith, is
nonetheless an extension of it.
The bishop is "the steward of the grace of the supreme
priesthood,"423 especially in the
Eucharist which he offers
personally or whose offering he assures through the priests, his co-workers.
the Eucharist is the center of the life of the particular Church. the bishop
and priests sanctify the Church by their prayer and work, by their ministry of
the word and of the sacraments. They sanctify her by their example, "not
as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the
flock."424 Thus, "together with
the flock entrusted to them,
they may attain to eternal life."425
"The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular
Churches assigned to them by their counsels, exhortations, and example, but
over and above that also by the authority and sacred power" which indeed
they ought to exercise so as to edify, in the spirit of service which is that
of their Master.426
"The power which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is
proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately controlled
by the supreme authority of the Church."427 But
the bishops should
not be thought of as vicars of the Pope. His ordinary and immediate authority
over the whole Church does not annul, but on the contrary confirms and defends
that of the bishops. Their authority must be exercised in communion with the
whole Church under the guidance of the Pope.
The Good Shepherd ought to be the model and "form" of the bishop's
pastoral office. Conscious of his own weaknesses, "the bishop . . . can
have compassion for those who are ignorant and erring. He should not refuse to
listen to his subjects whose welfare he promotes as of his very own
children.... the faithful ... should be closely attached to the bishop as the
Church is to Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is to the
Let all follow the bishop, as
Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles;
respect the deacons as you do God's law. Let no one do anything concerning the
Church in separation from the bishop.429
II. THE LAY
"The term 'laity' is here understood to mean all the faithful except those
in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the
Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and
integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in
the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part
to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the
vocation of lay people
"By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the
kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to
God's will.... It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order
all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may
always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the
Creator and Redeemer."431
The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter
involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and
economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This
initiative is a normal element of the life of the Church:
Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church
is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular
ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the
Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful
on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops
in communion with him. They are the Church.432
Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the
apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and
duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine
message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth.
This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear
the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so
necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be
fully effective without it.433
The participation of lay people in Christ's priestly office
"Hence the laity, dedicated as they are to Christ and anointed by the Holy
Spirit, are marvellously called and prepared so that even richer fruits of the
Spirit maybe produced in them. For all their works, prayers, and apostolic
undertakings, family and married life, daily work, relaxation of mind and body,
if they are accomplished in the Spirit - indeed even the hardships of life if
patiently born - all these become spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ. In the celebration of the Eucharist these may most
fittingly be offered to the Father along with the body of the Lord. and so,
worshipping everywhere by their holy actions, the laity consecrate the world
itself to God, everywhere offering worship by the holiness of their
In a very
special way, parents share in the office of sanctifying "by leading a
conjugal life in the Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education
of their children."435
Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to
the ministries of lector and acolyte.436
When the necessity of the
Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they
are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely,
to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to
confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the
prescriptions of law."437
in Christ's prophetic office
"Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy .
. . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses
and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of
To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher
and of each believer.439
Lay people also fulfill their prophetic mission by evangelization, "that
is, the proclamation of Christ by word and the testimony of life." For lay
people, "this evangelization . . . acquires a specific property and
peculiar efficacy because it is accomplished in the ordinary circumstances of
This witness of life, however,
is not the sole element in the apostolate; the true apostle is on the lookout
for occasions of announcing Christ by word, either to unbelievers . . . or to
people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical
formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications
accord with the knowledge, competence, and preeminence which they possess, [lay
people] have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred
pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church, and
they have a right to make their opinion known to the other Christian faithful,
with due regard to the integrity of faith and morals and reverence toward their
pastors, and with consideration for the common good and the dignity of
in Christ's kingly office
By his obedience unto death,444 Christ
communicated to his disciples the
gift of royal freedom, so that they might "by the self-abnegation of a
holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves":445
That man is rightly called a
king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with
suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he
exercises a kind of royal power over himself. and because he knows how to rule
his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let
himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness.446
"Moreover, by uniting their forces let the laity so remedy the
institutions and conditions of the world when the latter are an inducement to
sin, that these may be conformed to the norms of justice, favoring rather than
hindering the practice of virtue. By so doing they will impregnate culture and
human works with a moral value."447
"The laity can also feel called, or be in fact called, to cooperate with
their pastors in the service of the ecclesial community, for the sake of its
growth and life. This can be done through the exercise of different kinds of
ministries according to the grace and charisms which the Lord has been pleased
to bestow on them."448
Church, "lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the
exercise of this power [of governance] in accord with the norm of
law."449 and so the Church provides for
their presence at
particular councils, diocesan synods, pastoral councils; the exercise in
solidum of the pastoral care of a parish, collaboration in finance committees,
and participation in ecclesiastical tribunals, etc.450
The faithful should "distinguish carefully between the rights and the
duties which they have as belonging to the Church and those which fall to them
as members of the human society. They will strive to unite the two
harmoniously, remembering that in every temporal affair they are to be guided
by a Christian conscience, since no human activity, even of the temporal order,
can be withdrawn from God's dominion."451
"Thus, every person, through these gifts given to him, is at once the
witness and the living instrument of the mission of the Church itself
'according to the measure of Christ's bestowal."'452
"The state of life which is constituted by the profession of the
evangelical counsels, while not entering into the hierarchical structure of the
Church, belongs undeniably to her life and holiness."453
counsels, consecrated life
Christ proposes the evangelical counsels, in their great variety, to every
disciple. the perfection of charity, to which all the faithful are called,
entails for those who freely follow the call to consecrated life the obligation
of practicing chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty and
obedience. It is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of
life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to
The religious state is thus one way of experiencing a "more intimate"
consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God.455
consecrated life, Christ's faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to
follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all
and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify
and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come.456
tree, with many branches
"From the God-given seed of the counsels a wonderful and wide-spreading
tree has grown up in the field of the Lord, branching out into various forms of
the religious life lived in solitude or in community. Different religious
families have come into existence in which spiritual resources are multiplied
for the progress in holiness of their members and for the good of the entire
Body of Christ."457
the very beginning of the Church there were men and women who set out to follow
Christ with greater liberty, and to imitate him more closely, by practicing the
evangelical counsels. They led lives dedicated to God, each in his own way.
Many of them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, became hermits or
founded religious families. These the Church, by virtue of her authority,
gladly accepted and approved.458
Bishops will always strive to discern new gifts of consecrated life granted to
the Church by the Holy Spirit; the approval of new forms of consecrated life is
reserved to the Apostolic See.459
Without always professing the three evangelical counsels publicly, hermits
"devote their life to the praise of God and salvation of the world through
a stricter separation from the world, the silence of solitude and assiduous
prayer and penance."460
They manifest to everyone the interior aspect of the mystery of the Church,
that is, personal intimacy with Christ. Hidden from the eyes of men, the life
of the hermit is a silent preaching of the Lord, to whom he has surrendered his
life simply because he is everything to him. Here is a particular call to find
in the desert, in the thick of spiritual battle, the glory of the Crucified
From apostolic times Christian virgins, called by the Lord to cling only to him
with greater freedom of heart, body, and spirit, have decided with the Church's
approval to live in a state of virginity "for the sake of the Kingdom of
"Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely,
are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved
liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are
dedicated to the service of the Church."462 By
this solemn rite
(Consecratio virginum), the virgin is "constituted . . . a sacred person,
a transcendent sign of the Church's love for Christ, and an eschatological
image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to
"As with other forms of consecrated life," the order of virgins
establishes the woman living in the world (or the nun) in prayer, penance,
service of her brethren, and apostolic activity, according to the state of life
and spiritual gifts given to her.464
Consecrated virgins can form
themselves into associations to observe their commitment more
Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries of Christianity.
Lived within institutes canonically erected by the Church, it is distinguished
from other forms of consecrated life by its liturgical character, public
profession of the evangelical counsels, fraternal life led in common, and
witness given to the union of Christ with the Church.466
Religious life derives from the mystery of the Church. It is a gift she has
received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable way of life to the
faithful called by God to profess the counsels. Thus, the Church can both show
forth Christ and acknowledge herself to be the Savior's bride. Religious life
in its various forms is called to signify the very charity of God in the
language of our time.
All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place among the collaborators
of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral duty.467 From
the outset of the
work of evangelization, the missionary "planting" and expansion of
the Church require the presence of the religious life in all its
forms.468 "History witnesses to the
outstanding service rendered
by religious families in the propagation of the faith and in the formation of
new Churches: from the ancient monastic institutions to the medieval orders,
all the way to the more recent congregations."469
"A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the
Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and
work for the sanctification of the world especially from
By a "life perfectly and entirely consecrated to [such]
sanctification," the members of these institutes share in the Church's
task of evangelization, "in the world and from within the world,"
where their presence acts as "leaven in the world."471
"Their witness of a Christian life" aims "to order temporal
things according to God and inform the world with the power of the
gospel." They commit themselves to the evangelical counsels by sacred
bonds and observe among themselves the communion and fellowship appropriate to
their "particular secular way of life."472
of apostolic life
Alongside the different forms of consecrated life are "societies of apostolic
life whose members without religious vows pursue the particular apostolic
purpose of their society, and lead a life as brothers or sisters in common
according to a particular manner of life, strive for the perfection of charity
through the observance of the constitutions. Among these there are societies in
which the members embrace the evangelical counsels" according to their
and mission: proclaiming the King who is corning
Already dedicated to him through Baptism, the person who surrenders himself to
the God he loves above all else thereby consecrates himself more intimately to
God's service and to the good of the Church. By this state of life consecrated
to God, the Church manifests Christ and shows us how the Holy Spirit acts so
wonderfully in her. and so the first mission of those who profess the
evangelical counsels is to live out their consecration. Moreover, "since
members of institutes of consecrated life dedicate themselves through their
consecration to the service of the Church they are obliged in a special manner
to engage in missionary work, in accord with the character of the
In the Church, which is like the sacrament - the sign and instrument - of God's
own life, the consecrated life is seen as a special sign of the mystery of
redemption. To follow and imitate Christ more nearly and to manifest more
clearly his self-emptying is to be more deeply present to one's contemporaries,
in the heart of Christ. For those who are on this "narrower" path
encourage their brethren by their example, and bear striking witness "that
the world cannot be transfigured and offered to God without the spirit of the
Whether their witness is public, as in the religious state, or less public, or
even secret, Christ's coming remains for all those consecrated both the origin
and rising sun of their life:
For the People of God has here no lasting city, . . . [and this state]
reveals more clearly to all believers the heavenly goods which are already
present in this age, witnessing to the new and eternal life which we have
acquired through the redemptive work of Christ and preluding our future
resurrection and the glory of the heavenly kingdom.476
934 "Among the Christian
faithful by divine institution there exist in the Church sacred ministers, who
are also called clerics in law, and other Christian faithful who are also
called laity." In both groups there are those Christian faithful who,
professing the evangelical counsels, are consecrated to God and so serve the
Church's saving mission (cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 207 # 1,
935 To proclaim the faith and
to plant his reign, Christ sends his apostles and their successors. He gives
them a share in his own mission. From him they receive the power to act in his
936 The Lord made St. Peter
the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to
him. the bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter, is "head of
the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church
on earth" (⇒ CIC, can. 331).
937 The Pope enjoys, by
divine institution, "supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the
care of souls" (CD 2).
938 The Bishops, established
by the Holy Spirit, succeed the apostles. They are "the visible source and
foundation of unity in their own particular Churches" (LG 23).
939 Helped by the priests,
their co-workers, and by the deacons, the bishops have the duty of
authentically teaching the faith, celebrating divine worship, above all the
Eucharist, and guiding their Churches as true pastors. Their responsibility
also includes concern for all the Churches, with and under the Pope.
940 "The characteristic
of the lay state being a life led in the midst of the world and of secular affairs,
lay people are called by God to make of their apostolate, through the vigor of
their Christian spirit, a leaven in the world" (AA 2 # 2).
941 Lay people share in
Christ's priesthood: ever more united with him, they exhibit the grace of
Baptism and Confirmation in all dimensions of their personal family, social and
ecclesial lives, and so fulfill the call to holiness addressed to all the
942 By virtue of their
prophetic mission, lay people "are called . . . to be witnesses to Christ
in all circumstances and at the very heart of the community of mankind"
(GS 43 # 4).
943 By virtue of their kingly
mission, lay people have the power to uproot the rule of sin within themselves
and in the world, by their self-denial and holiness of life (cf. LG 36).
944 The life consecrated to
God is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of
poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church.
945 Already destined for him
through Baptism, the person who surrenders himself to the God he loves above
all else thereby consecrates himself more intimately to God's service and to
the good of the whole Church.
Paragraph 5. THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS
After confessing "the holy catholic Church," the Apostles' Creed adds
"the communion of saints." In a certain sense this article is a
further explanation of the preceding: "What is the Church if not the
assembly of all the saints?"477 The
communion of saints is the
"Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to
the others.... We must therefore believe that there exists a communion of goods
in the Church. But the most important member is Christ, since he is the
head.... Therefore, the riches of Christ are communicated to all the members,
through the sacraments."478 "As
this Church is governed by
one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a
The term "communion of saints" therefore has two closely linked
meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)" and "among holy persons
("God's holy gifts for God's holy people") is proclaimed by the
celebrant in most Eastern liturgies during the elevation of the holy Gifts
before the distribution of communion. the faithful (sancta) are fed by Christ's
holy body and blood (sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit
(koinonia) and to communicate it to the world.
COMMUNION IN SPIRITUAL GOODS
In the primitive community of Jerusalem, the disciples "devoted themselves
to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the
Communion in the faith. the faith of the faithful is the faith of the Church,
received from the apostles. Faith is a treasure of life which is enriched by
Communion of the sacraments. "The fruit of all the sacraments belongs to
all the faithful. All the sacraments are sacred links uniting the faithful with
one another and binding them to Jesus Christ, and above all Baptism, the gate
by which we enter into the Church. the communion of saints must be understood
as the communion of the sacraments.... the name 'communion' can be applied to
all of them, for they unite us to God.... But this name is better suited to the
Eucharist than to any other, because it is primarily the Eucharist that brings
this communion about."481
Communion of charisms. Within the communion of the Church, the Holy Spirit
"distributes special graces among the faithful of every rank" for the
building up of the Church.482 Now, "to
each is given the
manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."483
"They had everything in common."484 "Everything
Christian has is to be regarded as a good possessed in common with everyone
else. All Christians should be ready and eager to come to the help of the needy
. . . and of their neighbors in want."485 A
Christian is a steward
of the Lord's goods.486
Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, "None of us lives to
himself, and none of us dies to himself."487
"If one member
suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now
you are the body of Christ and individually members of it."488
"Charity does not insist on its own way."489
solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of
saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all.
Every sin harms this communion.
COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
The three states of the Church. "When the Lord comes in glory, and all his
angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him.
But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others
have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory,
contemplating 'in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he
All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in
the same charity towards God and our neighbours, and we all sing the one hymn
of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit
form one Church and in Christ cleave together.491
"So it is that the union of the wayfarers with the brethren who sleep in
the peace of Christ is in no way interrupted, but on the contrary, according to
the constant faith of the Church, this union is reinforced by an exchange of
The intercession of the saints. "Being more closely united to Christ,
those who dwell in heaven fix the whole Church more firmly in holiness.... They
do not cease to intercede with the Father for us, as they proffer the merits
which they acquired on earth through the one mediator between God and men,
Christ Jesus.... So by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly
Do not weep, for I shall be
more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively
than during my life.494
I want to spend my heaven in
doing good on earth.495
Communion with the saints. "It is not merely by the title of example that
we cherish the memory of those in heaven; we seek, rather, that by this
devotion to the exercise of fraternal charity the union of the whole Church in
the Spirit may be strengthened. Exactly as Christian communion among our fellow
pilgrims brings us closer to Christ, so our communion with the saints joins us
to Christ, from whom as from its fountain and head issues all grace, and the
life of the People of God itself"496:
We worship Christ as God's
Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so
because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also
be their companions and fellow disciples!497
Communion with the dead. "In full consciousness of this communion of the
whole Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, the Church in its pilgrim members, from
the very earliest days of the Christian religion, has honored with great
respect the memory of the dead; and 'because it is a holy and a wholesome
thought to pray for the dead that they may be loosed from their sins' she
offers her suffrages for them."498 Our
prayer for them is capable
not only of helping them, but also of making their intercession for us
In the one family of God. "For if we continue to love one another and to
join in praising the Most Holy Trinity - all of us who are sons of God and form
one family in Christ - we will be faithful to the deepest vocation of the
960 The Church is a
"communion of saints": this expression refers first to the "holy
things" (sancta), above all the Eucharist, by which "the unity of
believers, who form one body in Christ, is both represented and brought
about" (LG 3).
961 The term "communion
of saints" refers also to the communion of "holy persons"
(sancti) in Christ who "died for all," so that what each one does or
suffers in and for Christ bears fruit for all.
962 "We believe in the
communion of all the faithful of Christ, those who are pilgrims on earth, the
dead who are being purified, and the blessed in heaven, all together forming
one Church; and we believe that in this communion, the merciful love of God and
his saints is always [attentive] to our prayers" (Paul VI, CPG # 30).
Paragraph 6. MARY - MOTHER OF CHRIST, MOTHER OF
Since the Virgin Mary's role in the mystery of Christ and the Spirit has been
treated, it is fitting now to consider her place in the mystery of the Church.
"The Virgin Mary . . . is acknowledged and honored as being truly the
Mother of God and of the redeemer.... She is 'clearly the mother of the members
of Christ' ... since she has by her charity joined in bringing about the birth
of believers in the Church, who are members of its head."500
"Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."501
MOTHERHOOD WITH REGARD TO THE CHURCH
united with her Son . . .
Mary's role in the Church is inseparable from her union with Christ and flows
directly from it. "This union of the mother with the Son in the work of
salvation is made manifest from the time of Christ's virginal conception up to
his death";502 it is made manifest
above all at the hour of his
Thus the Blessed Virgin
advanced in her pilgrimage of faith, and faithfully persevered in her union
with her Son unto the cross. There she stood, in keeping with the divine plan,
enduring with her only begotten Son the intensity of his suffering, joining
herself with his sacrifice in her mother's heart, and lovingly consenting to
the immolation of this victim, born of her: to be given, by the same Christ
Jesus dying on the cross, as a mother to his disciple, with these words:
"Woman, behold your son."503
After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by her
prayers."504 In her association with
the apostles and several
women, "we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit,
who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation."505
. . . also
in her Assumption
"Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original
sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and
soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so
that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and
conqueror of sin and death."506 The
Assumption of the Blessed
Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an
anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:
In giving birth you kept your
virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but
were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your
prayers, will deliver our souls from death.507
. . . she
is our Mother in the order of grace
By her complete adherence to the Father's will, to his Son's redemptive work,
and to every prompting of the Holy Spirit, the Virgin Mary is the Church's
model of faith and charity. Thus she is a "preeminent and . . . wholly
unique member of the Church"; indeed, she is the "exemplary realization"
(typus)508 of the Church.
Her role in relation to the Church and to all humanity goes still further.
"In a wholly singular way she cooperated by her obedience, faith, hope,
and burning charity in the Savior's work of restoring supernatural life to
souls. For this reason she is a mother to us in the order of
"This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly
from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she
sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfilment of
all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but
by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal
salvation .... Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the
titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."510
"Mary's function as mother of men in no way obscures or diminishes this
unique mediation of Christ, but rather shows its power. But the Blessed
Virgin's salutary influence on men . . . flows forth from the superabundance of
the merits of Christ, rests on his mediation, depends entirely on it, and draws
all its power from it."511 "No
creature could ever be counted
along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of
Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as
the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so
also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives
rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one
DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
"All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion
to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."513
Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the
most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of
'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and
needs.... This very special devotion ... differs essentially from the adoration
which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy
Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration."514
feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an
"epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin
III. MARY -
ESCHATOLOGICAL ICON OF THE CHURCH
After speaking of the Church, her origin, mission, and destiny, we can find no
better way to conclude than by looking to Mary. In her we contemplate what the
Church already is in her mystery on her own "pilgrimage of faith,"
and what she will be in the homeland at the end of her journey. There, "in
the glory of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," "in the communion
of all the saints,"516 The Church is
awaited by the one she
venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.
In the meantime the Mother of
Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the
image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to
come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come,
a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God.517
973 By pronouncing her
"fiat" at the Annunciation and giving her consent to the Incarnation,
Mary was al ready collaborating with the whole work her Son was to accomplish.
She is mother wherever he is Savior and head of the Mystical Body.
974 The Most Blessed Virgin
Mary, when the course of her earthly life was completed, was taken up body and
soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her
Son's Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body.
975 "We believe that the
Holy Mother of God, the new Eve, Mother of the Church, continues in heaven to
exercise her maternal role on behalf of the members of Christ" (Paul VI,
CPG # 15).
"I BELIEVE IN THE FORGIVENESS OF
The Apostle's Creed associates faith in the forgiveness of sins not only with
faith in the Holy Spirit, but also with faith in the Church and in the
communion of saints. It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that
the risen Christ conferred on them his own divine power to forgive sins:
"Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven;
if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."518
(Part Two of the catechism
will deal explicitly with the forgiveness of sins through Baptism, the
sacrament of Penance, and the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Here
it will suffice to suggest some basic facts briefly.)
I. One Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sins
Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: "Go into all the
world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is
baptized will be saved."519 Baptism is
the first and chief
sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for
our sins and rose for our justification, so that "we too might walk in
newness of life."520
"When we made our first profession of faith while receiving the holy
Baptism that cleansed us, the forgiveness we received then was so full and
complete that there remained in us absolutely nothing left to efface, neither
original sin nor offenses committed by our own will, nor was there left any
penalty to suffer in order to expiate them.... Yet the grace of Baptism
delivers no one from all the weakness of nature. On the contrary, we must still
combat the movements of concupiscence that never cease leading us into evil
In this battle against our inclination towards evil, who could be brave and
watchful enough to escape every wound of sin? "If the Church has the power
to forgive sins, then Baptism cannot be her only means of using the keys of the
Kingdom of heaven received from Jesus Christ. the Church must be able to
forgive all penitents their offenses, even if they should sin until the last
moment of their lives."522
It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with
God and with the Church:
Penance has rightly been
called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of baptism." This
sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after
Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet
II. The Power of the Keys
After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and
forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all
nations."524 The apostles and their
successors carry out this
"ministry of reconciliation," not only by announcing to men God's
forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith;
but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and
reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys,
received from Christ:525
[The Church] has received the
keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through
Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit's action. In this Church, the soul dead
through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has
There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive.
"There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope
for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest.527
Christ who died
for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always
be open to anyone who turns away from sin.528
Catechesis strives to awaken and nourish in the faithful faith in the
incomparable greatness of the risen Christ's gift to his Church: the mission
and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their
The Lord wills that his
disciples possess a tremendous power: that his lowly servants accomplish in his
name all that he did when he was on earth.529
Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor
to archangels .... God above confirms what priests do here below.530
Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life
to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a
The Creed links "the forgiveness of sins" with its profession of
faith in the Holy Spirit, for the risen Christ entrusted to the apostles the
power to forgive sins when he gave them the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of the forgiveness of sins: it unites
us to Christ, who died and rose, and gives us the Holy Spirit.
By Christ's will, the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the
baptized and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament
"In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments
which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation,
wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of
justification" (Roman Catechism, I, 11, 6).
"I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE
The Christian Creed - the profession of our faith in God, the Father, the Son,
and the Holy Spirit, and in God's creative, saving, and sanctifying action -
culminates in the proclamation of the resurrection of the dead on the last day
and in life everlasting.
We firmly believe, and hence we hope that, just as Christ is truly risen from
the dead and lives for ever, so after death the righteous will live for ever
with the risen Christ and he will raise them up on the last day.532
resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity:
If the Spirit of him who
raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the
dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in
The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and
mortality.534 The "resurrection of the
flesh" (the literal
formulation of the Apostles' Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will
live on after death, but that even our "mortal body" will come to
Belief in the resurrection of the dead has been an essential element of the
Christian faith from its beginnings. "The confidence of Christians is the
resurrection of the dead; believing this we live."536
How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there
is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has
not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain....
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who
have fallen asleep.537
I. Christ's Resurrection and Ours
progressive revelation of the Resurrection
God revealed the resurrection of the dead to his people progressively. Hope in
the bodily resurrection of the dead established itself as a consequence
intrinsic to faith in God as creator of the whole man, soul and body. the
creator of heaven and earth is also the one who faithfully maintains his
covenant with Abraham and his posterity. It was in this double perspective that
faith in the resurrection came to be expressed. In their trials, the Maccabean
The King of the universe will
raise us up to an everlasting renewal of life, because we have died for his
laws.538 One cannot but choose to die at the
hands of men and to
cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him.539
The Pharisees and many of the Lord's contemporaries hoped for the resurrection.
Jesus teaches it firmly. To the Sadducees who deny it he answers, "Is not this
why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of
God?"540 Faith in the resurrection
rests on faith in God who
"is not God of the dead, but of the living."541
But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person:
"I am the Resurrection and the life."542
It is Jesus himself
who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have
eaten his body and drunk his blood.543
Already now in this present life
he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to
life,544 announcing thereby his own
Resurrection, though it was to be
of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of
Jonah,"545 The sign of the temple: he
announces that he will be
put to death but rise thereafter on the third day.546
To be a witness to Christ is to be a "witness to his Resurrection,"
to "[have eaten and drunk] with him after he rose from the dead."547
Encounters with the risen Christ characterize the Christian hope of
resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him, and through him.
From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with
incomprehension and opposition.548 "On
no point does the Christian
faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the
body."549 It is very commonly accepted
that the life of the human
person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe
that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?
How do the
What is "rising"? In death, the separation of the soul from the body,
the human body decays and the soul goes to meet God, while awaiting its reunion
with its glorified body. God, in his almighty power, will definitively grant
incorruptible life to our bodies by reuniting them with our souls, through the
power of Jesus' Resurrection.
Who will rise? All the dead will rise, "those who have done good, to the
resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of
How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that
it is I myself";551 but he did not
return to an earthly life. So,
in him, "all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now
bear," but Christ "will change our lowly body to be like his glorious
body," into a "spiritual body":552
But someone will ask,
"How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You
foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. and what you
sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel ....What is sown is
perishable, what is raised is imperishable.... the dead will be raised
imperishable.... For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and
this mortal nature must put on immortality.553
This "how" exceeds our imagination and understanding; it is
accessible only to faith. Yet our participation in the Eucharist already gives
us a foretaste of Christ's transfiguration of our bodies:
Just as bread that comes from
the earth, after God's blessing has been invoked upon it, is no longer ordinary
bread, but Eucharist, formed of two things, the one earthly and the other
heavenly: so too our bodies, which partake of the Eucharist, are no longer
corruptible, but possess the hope of resurrection.554
When? Definitively "at the last day," "at the end of the
world."555 Indeed, the resurrection of
the dead is closely
associated with Christ's Parousia:
For the Lord himself will
descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with
the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise
Christ will raise us up "on the last day"; but it is also true that,
in a certain way, we have already risen with Christ. For, by virtue of the Holy
Spirit, Christian life is already now on earth a participation in the death and
Resurrection of Christ:
And you were buried with him
in Baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working
of God, who raised him from the dead .... If then you have been raised with
Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right
hand of God.557
United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the
heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains "hidden with
Christ in God."558 The Father has
already "raised us up with
him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ
Jesus."559 Nourished with his body in
the Eucharist, we already
belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we "also will
appear with him in glory."560
In expectation of that day, the believer's body and soul already participate in
the dignity of belonging to Christ. This dignity entails the demand that he
should treat with respect his own body, but also the body of every other
person, especially the suffering:
The body [is meant] for the
Lord, and the Lord for the body. and God raised the Lord and will also raise us
up by his power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? ....
You are not your own; .... So glorify God in your body.561
II. Dying in Christ Jesus
To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must "be away from the
body and at home with the Lord."562 In
which is death the soul is separated from the body.563
It will be
reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead.564
"It is in regard to death that man's condition is most shrouded in
doubt."565 In a sense bodily death is
natural, but for faith it is
in fact "the wages of sin."566 For
those who die in Christ's
grace it is a participation in the death of the Lord, so that they can also
share his Resurrection.567
Death is the end of earthly life. Our lives are measured by time, in the course
of which we change, grow old and, as with all living beings on earth, death seems
like the normal end of life. That aspect of death lends urgency to our lives:
remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in
which to bring our lives to fulfillment:
Remember also your Creator in
the days of your youth, . . . before the dust returns to the earth as it was,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it.568
Death is a consequence of sin. the Church's Magisterium, as authentic
interpreter of the affirmations of Scripture and Tradition, teaches that death
entered the world on account of man's sin.569 Even
though man's nature
is mortal God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the
plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin.570
"Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not
sinned" is thus "the last enemy" of man left to be
Death is transformed by Christ. Jesus, the Son of God, also himself suffered
the death that is part of the human condition. Yet, despite his anguish as he
faced death, he accepted it in an act of complete and free submission to his
Father's will.572 The obedience of Jesus has
transformed the curse of
death into a blessing.573
of Christian death
Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: "For to me to
live is Christ, and to die is gain."574
"The saying is sure:
if we have died with him, we will also live with him.575
essentially new about Christian death is this: through Baptism, the Christian
has already "died with Christ" sacramentally, in order to live a new
life; and if we die in Christ's grace, physical death completes this
"dying with Christ" and so completes our incorporation into him in
his redeeming act:
It is better for me to die in
(eis) Christ Jesus than to reign over the ends of the earth. Him it is I seek -
who died for us. Him it is I desire - who rose for us. I am on the point of
giving birth .... Let me receive pure light; when I shall have arrived there,
then shall I be a man.576
In death, God calls man to himself. Therefore the Christian can experience a
desire for death like St. Paul's: "My desire is to depart and be with
Christ. "577 He can transform his own
death into an act of
obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ:578
My earthly desire has been
crucified; . . . there is living water in me, water that murmurs and says
within me: Come to the Father.579
I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die.580
I am not dying; I am entering life.581
The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of
Lord, for your faithful people
life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death
we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven.583
Death is the end of man's earthly pilgrimage, of the time of grace and mercy
which God offers him so as to work out his earthly life in keeping with the
divine plan, and to decide his ultimate destiny. When "the single course
of our earthly life" is completed,584
we shall not return to other
earthly lives: "It is appointed for men to die once."585
There is no "reincarnation" after death.
The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the
litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: "From a sudden and
unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord";586 to ask
the Mother of God
to intercede for us "at the hour of our death" in the Hail Mary; and
to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death.
Every action of yours, every
thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death
would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience .... Then why
not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren't fit to
face death today, it's very unlikely you will be tomorrow ....587
Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death,
from whom no living man can
Woe on those who will die in
Blessed are they who will be
found in your most holy will,
for the second death will not
1015 "The flesh is the
hinge of salvation" (Tertullian, De res. 8, 2: PL 2, 852). We believe in
God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to
redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment
of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.
1016 By death the soul is
separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible
life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen
and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.
1017 "We believe in the
true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess" (Council of Lyons II:
DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an
incorruptible body, a "spiritual body" (cf
⇒ 1 Cor 15:42-44).
1018 As a consequence of original
sin, man must suffer "bodily death, from which man would have been immune
had he not sinned" (GS # 18).
1019 Jesus, the Son of God,
freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of
God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the
possibility of salvation to all men.
"I BELIEVE IN LIFE
The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus views it as a step
towards him and an entrance into everlasting life. When the Church for the last
time speaks Christ's words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian,
seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing, and gives him
Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey, she speaks with gentle
Go forth, Christian soul, from
in the name of God the
who created you,
in the name of Jesus Christ,
the Son of the living God,
who suffered for you,
in the name of the Holy
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in
with Mary, the virgin Mother
with Joseph, and all the
angels and saints....
May you return to [your Creator]
who formed you from the dust
of the earth.
May holy Mary, the angels, and
all the saints
come to meet you as you go
forth from this life....
May you see your Redeemer face to face. 589
I. The Particular Judgment
Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or
rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.590
The New Testament
speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ
in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded
immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. the parable of
the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as
well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -a
destiny which can be different for some and for others.591
Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very
moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ:
either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a
purification592 or immediately,593-or immediate and everlasting
At the evening of life, we
shall be judged on our love.595
Those who die in God's grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for
ever with Christ. They are like God for ever, for they "see him as he
is," face to face:596
By virtue of our apostolic
authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of
God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after
receiving Christ's holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification
when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification,
when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up
their bodies again and before the general judgment - and this since the
Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven - have been, are and
will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ,
joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our
Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an
intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any
This perfect life with the Most Holy Trinity - this communion of life and love
with the Trinity, with the Virgin Mary, the angels and all the blessed - is
called "heaven." Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfillment of the
deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness.
To live in heaven is "to be with Christ." the elect live "in
Christ,"598 but they retain, or rather
find, their true identity,
their own name.599
For life is to be with Christ;
where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom.600
By his death and Resurrection, Jesus Christ has "opened" heaven to
us. the life of the blessed consists in the full and perfect possession of the
fruits of the redemption accomplished by Christ. He makes partners in his
heavenly glorification those who have believed in him and remained faithful to
his will. Heaven is the blessed community of all who are perfectly incorporated
This mystery of blessed communion with God and all who are in Christ is beyond
all understanding and description. Scripture speaks of it in images: life,
light, peace, wedding feast, wine of the kingdom, the Father's house, the
heavenly Jerusalem, paradise: "no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the
heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him."601
Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself
opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the
capacity for it. the Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly
glory "the beatific vision":
How great will your glory and
happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of
salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in
the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God's
In the glory of heaven the blessed continue joyfully to fulfill God's will in
relation to other men and to all creation. Already they reign with Christ; with
him "they shall reign for ever and ever."603
III. The Final Purification, or Purgatory
All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed
assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification,
so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the elect, which
is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.604
formulated her doctrine of faith on Purgatory especially at the Councils of
Florence and Trent. the tradition of the Church, by reference to certain texts
of Scripture, speaks of a cleansing fire:605
As for certain lesser faults,
we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He
who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be
pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we
understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain
others in the age to come.606
This teaching is also based on the practice of prayer for the dead, already mentioned
in Sacred Scripture: "Therefore Judas Maccabeus] made atonement for the
dead, that they might be delivered from their sin."607
beginning the Church has honored the memory of the dead and offered prayers in
suffrage for them, above all the Eucharistic sacrifice, so that, thus purified,
they may attain the beatific vision of God.608 The
Church also commends
almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:
Let us help and commemorate
them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we
doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not
hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for
We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot
love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against
ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother
is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in
him."610 Our Lord warns us that we
shall be separated from him if
we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his
brethren.611 To die in mortal sin without
repenting and accepting God's
merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free
choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the
blessed is called "hell."
Jesus often speaks of "Gehenna" of "the unquenchable fire"
reserved for those who to the end of their lives refuse to believe and be
converted, where both soul and body can be lost.612
proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all
evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,"613
he will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the
The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity.
Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin
descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal
fire."615 The chief punishment of hell
is eternal separation from
God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was
created and for which he longs.
The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the
subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use
of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an
urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide
and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are
many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those
who find it are few."616
Since we know neither the day
nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so
that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to
enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and
not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the
eternal fire, into the outer darkness where "men will weep and gnash their
God predestines no one to go to hell;618 for
this, a willful turning
away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end.
In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church
implores the mercy of God, who does not want "any to perish, but all to
come to repentance":619
Father, accept this offering
from your whole family.
Grant us your peace in this
save us from final damnation,
and count us among those you
V. The Last Judgment
The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the
unjust,"621 will precede the Last
Judgment. This will be "the
hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come
forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who
have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."622
will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him .... Before him will
be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a
shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his
right hand, but the goats at the left.... and they will go away into eternal
punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."623
In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's
relationship with God will be laid bare.624
The Last Judgment will
reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or
failed to do during his earthly life:
All that the wicked do is
recorded, and they do not know. When "our God comes, he does not keep
silence.". . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . "I
placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in
heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering,
my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you
gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were
in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to
bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their
hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence."625
The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows
the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through
his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall
know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire
economy of salvation and understand the marvellous ways by which his Providence
led everything towards its final end. the Last Judgment will reveal that God's
justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that
God's love is stronger than death.626
The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still
giving them "the acceptable time, . . . the day of
salvation."627 It inspires a holy fear
of God and commits them to
the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the "blessed hope" of
the Lord's return, when he will come "to be glorified in his saints, and
to be marvelled at in all who have believed."628
VI. Hope of the New Heaven and the New Earth
At the end of time, the Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. After the universal
judgment, the righteous will reign for ever with Christ, glorified in body and
soul. the universe itself will be renewed:
The Church . . . will receive
her perfection only in the glory of heaven, when will come the time of the
renewal of all things. At that time, together with the human race, the universe
itself, which is so closely related to man and which attains its destiny
through him, will be perfectly re-established in Christ.629
Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity
and the world, "new heavens and a new earth."630
It will be
the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all
things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth."631
In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among
men.632 "He will wipe away every tear
from their eyes, and death
shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more,
for the former things have passed away."633
For man, this consummation will be the final realization of the unity of the
human race, which God willed from creation and of which the pilgrim Church has
been "in the nature of sacrament."634 Those
who are united
with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, "the holy city"
of God, "the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."635
She will not be
wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly
community.636 The beatific vision, in which
God opens himself in an
inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of
happiness, peace, and mutual communion.
For the cosmos, Revelation affirms the profound common destiny of the material
world and man:
For the creation waits with
eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God . . . in hope because the
creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay.... We know that the
whole creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only
the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan
inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our
The visible universe, then, is itself destined to be transformed, "so that
the world itself, restored to its original state, facing no further obstacles,
should be at the service of the just," sharing their glorification in the
risen Jesus Christ.638
"We know neither the moment of the consummation of the earth and of man,
nor the way in which the universe will be transformed. the form of this world,
distorted by sin, is passing away, and we are taught that God is preparing a new
dwelling and a new earth in which righteousness dwells, in which happiness will
fill and surpass all the desires of peace arising in the hearts of
"Far from diminishing our concern to develop this earth, the expectancy of
a new earth should spur us on, for it is here that the body of a new human
family grows, foreshadowing in some way the age which is to come. That is why,
although we must be careful to distinguish earthly progress clearly from the
increase of the kingdom of Christ, such progress is of vital concern to the
kingdom of God, insofar as it can contribute to the better ordering of human
"When we have spread on earth the fruits of our nature and our enterprise
. . . according to the command of the Lord and in his Spirit, we will find them
once again, cleansed this time from the stain of sin, illuminated and
transfigured, when Christ presents to his Father an eternal and universal
kingdom."641 God will then be "all
in all" in eternal
True and subsistent life
consists in this: the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit, pouring
out his heavenly gifts on all things without exception. Thanks to his mercy, we
too, men that we are, have received the inalienable promise of eternal
1051 Every man receives his
eternal recompense in his immortal soul from the moment of his death in a
particular judgment by Christ, the judge of the living and the dead.
1052 "We believe that
the souls of all who die in Christ's grace . . . are the People of God beyond
death. On the day of resurrection, death will be definitively conquered, when
these souls will be reunited with their bodies" (Paul VI, CPG # 28).
1053 "We believe that
the multitude of those gathered around Jesus and Mary in Paradise forms the
Church of heaven, where in eternal blessedness they see God as he is and where
they are also, to various degrees, associated with the holy angels in the
divine governance exercised by Christ in glory, by interceding for us and
helping our weakness by their fraternal concern" (Paul VI, CPG # 29).
1054 Those who die in God's
grace and friendship imperfectly purified, although they are assured of their
eternal salvation, undergo a purification after death, so as to achieve the
holiness necessary to enter the joy of God.
1055 By virtue of the
"communion of saints," the Church commends the dead to God's mercy
and offers her prayers, especially the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, on
1056 Following the example of
Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the "sad and lamentable reality
of eternal death" (GCD 69), also called "hell."
1057 Hell's principal
punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have
the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.
1058 The Church prays that no
one should be lost: "Lord, let me never be parted from you." If it is
true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God "desires all
men to be saved" (⇒ 1 Tim 2:4), and that
for him "all things are possible" (⇒ Mt
1059 "The holy Roman
Church firmly believes and confesses that on the Day of Judgment all men will
appear in their own bodies before Christ's tribunal to render an account of
their own deeds" (Council of Lyons II : DS 859; cf. DS 1549).
1060 At the end of time, the
Kingdom of God will come in its fullness. Then the just will reign with Christ
for ever, glorified in body and soul, and the material universe itself will be
transformed. God will then be "all in all"
(⇒ 1 Cor 15:28), in eternal life.
The Creed, like the last book of the Bible,644 ends
with the Hebrew word
amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. the Church
likewise ends her prayers with "Amen."
In Hebrew, amen comes from the same root as the word "believe." This
root expresses solidity, trustworthiness, faithfulness. and so we can
understand why "Amen" may express both God's faithfulness towards us
and our trust in him.
In the book of the prophet Isaiah, we find the expression "God of
truth" (literally "God of the Amen"), that is, the God who is
faithful to his promises: "He who blesses himself in the land shall bless
himself by the God of truth [amen]."645
Our Lord often used the
word "Amen," sometimes repeated,646 to
emphasize the trustworthiness
of his teaching, his authority founded on God's truth.
Thus the Creed's final "Amen" repeats and confirms its first words:
"I believe." To believe is to say "Amen" to God's words,
promises and commandments; to entrust oneself completely to him who is the
"Amen" of infinite love and perfect faithfulness. the Christian's
everyday life will then be the "Amen" to the "I believe" of
our baptismal profession of faith:
May your Creed be for you as a
mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you
believe. and rejoice in your faith each day.647
Jesus Christ himself is the "Amen."648 He is
"Amen" of the Father's love for us. He takes up and completes our
"Amen" to the Father: "For all the promises of God find their
Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of
Through him, with him, in him,
in the unity of the Holy
all glory and honor is yours,
God, for ever and ever.
1 ⇒ 1
⇒ Gal 4:6.
3 St. Irenaeus, Dem.
ap. 7: SCh 62, 41-42.
4 In 17:3.
5 St. Gregory
of Nazianzus, Oratio theol., 5, 26 (= Oratio 31, 26): PG 36, 161-163.
6 Nicene Creed; see
above, par. 465.
7 ⇒ 1 Cor
8 ⇒ Jn
9 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Gal 4:6.
11 Cf. ⇒
12 ⇒ Jn
13 Cf. ⇒
14 Cf. ⇒
15 St. Gregory of
Nyssa, De Spiritu Sancto, 16: PG 45, 1321A-B.
⇒ Mt 28:19.
17 In 3:5-8.
18 In 14:16, 26; 15:26;
19 Cf. I ⇒
20 In 16:13.
21 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Gal 4:6.
23 ⇒ Rom
24 ⇒ 2 Cor
25 ⇒ Rom
⇒ 1 Cor
6:11; ⇒ 7:40.
26 ⇒ 1 Pet
27 ⇒ 1 Cor
28 ⇒ Jn
⇒ 1 Jn 5:8[ETML:C/].
29 Cf. ⇒
Jn 4:10-14; 738;
55:1; ⇒ Zech 14:8;
21:6; ⇒ 22:17.
30 Cf. 1 In
2:20:27; ⇒ 2 Cor 1:21.
31 Cf. ⇒
⇒ 1 Sam 16:13.
32 Cf. ⇒
Lk 4 18-19;
⇒ Isa 61:1.
33 Cf. ⇒
34 Cf. ⇒
35 Cf. ⇒
36 ⇒ Eph
⇒ Acts 2:36.
37 ⇒ 1
38 ⇒ Lk
39 ⇒ Lk
40 ⇒ Acts
41 Cf. St. John of the
Cross, the Living Flame of Love, in the
Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh, OCD, and O.
Rodriguez, OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 577 ff.
42 ⇒ 1
⇒ Ex 24:15-18.
44 Cf. ⇒
45 Cf. ⇒
⇒ 1 Cor 10:1-2.
⇒ 1 Kings 8:10-12.
47 ⇒ Lk
48 ⇒ Lk
50 ⇒ Jn
1:13; ⇒ 4:30.
51 Cf. ⇒
52 Cf. ⇒
53 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Heb 6:2.
55 ⇒ Lk
56 ⇒ Ex
⇒ 2 Cor 3:3.
57 LH, Easter
Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers: digitus paternae dexterae.
58 Cf. ⇒
59 Cf. ⇒
Mt 3:16 and parallels.
60 ⇒ Gal
61 Cf. ⇒ 2
⇒ Jn 5:39,
62 Cf. ⇒
63 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Gen 1:2;
3:20-21; ⇒ Ezek 37:10.
liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning Prayer.
65 St. Irenaeus,
Dem ap. 11: SCh 62, 48-49.
⇒ Rom 3:23.
67 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Phil 2:7.
68 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Lk 1:26-38.
1:12-13; ⇒ Rom 4:16-21.
69 Cf. ⇒
70 Cf. In 11:52.
71 ⇒ Eph
1:73; ⇒ Rom
8:32; ⇒ Gal 3:14.
72 Cf. ⇒
1-11; ⇒ 29-30.
73 ⇒ Gal
74 Cf. ⇒
75 ⇒ 1 Pet
76 Cf. ⇒ 2
77 Cf. ⇒
78 ⇒ Isa
79 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Lk 2:25,
80 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Isa 6-12.
81 ⇒ Isa
82 Cf. ⇒
Isa 42:1-9; cf.
1:32-34; then cf. ⇒ Isa
49:1-6; cf. ⇒ Mt
3:17; ⇒ Lk 2:32; finally cf.
⇒ Isa 50:4-10 and
⇒ Isa 52:13-53:12.
⇒ Phil 2:7.
84 ⇒ Lk
85 Cf. ⇒
31:31-34; and cf. ⇒ Joel
86 Cf. ⇒
87 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Pss 22:27;
⇒ Isa 49:13;
⇒ 61:1; etc.
88 ⇒ Lk
89 ⇒ Jn
90 ⇒ Lk
91 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Lk 1:78.
93 ⇒ Lk
94 ⇒ Lk
95 Cf. ⇒
96 ⇒ Isa
97 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Jn 15:26;
⇒ 1 Pet 1:10-12.
99 ⇒ Jn
100 Cf ⇒
101 Cf. ⇒
102 ⇒ Col
103 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Zech 2:14.
104 Cf. ⇒
105 Cf. ⇒
106 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Mt 2:11.
107 Cf. ⇒
108 Cf. ⇒
109 ⇒ Acts
110 Cf. ⇒
111 Cf. ⇒
112 Cf. ⇒
113 Cf. ⇒
114 Cf. ⇒
115 Cf. ⇒
116 Cf. ⇒
117 Cf. ⇒
118 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Jn 19:30.
⇒ Rom 6:4.
120 Cf. ⇒
121 ⇒ Jn
24:47-48; ⇒ Acts 1:8.
⇒ Acts 2:33-36.
123 Byzantine liturgy,
Pentecost Vespers, Troparion, repeated after communion.
124 1 ⇒ Jn
125 ⇒ Rom
126 2 Cor 13:14.
127 1 ⇒
⇒ 2 Cor 1:21.
128 ⇒ Acts
⇒ 1 Cor 13
129 ⇒ Gal
130 ⇒ Mt
131 St. Basil, De
Spiritu Sancto, 15,36: PG 32,132.
132 ⇒ Jn
133 St. Cyril
of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11: PG 74, 561.
134 ⇒ Rom
135 LG 1; cf. ⇒ Mk 16:15.
136 Roman Catechism I,
137 St. Hippolytus,
Trad. Ap. 35: SCh 11, 118.
138 Roman Catechism I,
139 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Ex 19.
141 Cf. ⇒
1 Cor 11:18;
142 Cf. ⇒
1 Cor 1:2;
143 Cf. ⇒
1 Cor 15:9;
⇒ Phil 3:6.
144 Cf. ⇒
⇒ Col 1:18; LG 9.
145 LG 6.
146 LG 6; Cf. ⇒ Jn 10:1-10;
34:11-31; ⇒ Jn 10:11;
⇒ 1 Pet 5:4; ⇒ Jn 10:11-16.
147 LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 39;
21:32-43 and parallels; ⇒ Isa 51-7; ⇒ Jn 15:1-5.
148 LG 6; Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 3:9;
⇒ Mt 21:42 and parallels;
⇒ 1 Pet
2:7; ⇒ PS 118:22;
⇒ 1 Tim
3:15; ⇒ Eph 2:19-22;
⇒ 1 Pet 2:5;
⇒ Rev 21:1-2.
149 LG 6; Cf. ⇒ Rev
12:17; ⇒ 19:7;
⇒ 21:2, 9;
5:25-26, ⇒ 29.
150 LG 2.
151 LG 2.
152 LG 2.
153 Pastor Hermae,
Vision 2, 4, 1: PG 2,899; cf. Aristides, Apol. 16,
6; St. Justin, Apol. 2,7: PG 6, 456; Tertullian, Apol. 31, 3; 32, 1:
PL 1, 508-509.
154 Cf. St.
Epiphanius, Panarion 1, 1, 5: PG 41, 181C.
155 Clement of Alex.,
Paed. 1, 6, 27: PG 8, 281.
156 ⇒ Acts
10:35; cf. LG 9; 13; 16.
158 Cf. ⇒
2:2-5; ⇒ Mic 4:1-4.
159 LG 9; cf. ⇒ Hos 1;
2; ⇒ Isa
160 Cf. LG 3; AG
161 LG 5.
162 LG 3.
163 LG 5.
164 LG 5.
165 ⇒ Lk
⇒ Mt 10:16;
⇒ 26:31; In 10:1-21.
166 Cf. ⇒
167 Cf. ⇒
168 Cf. ⇒
169 Cf. ⇒
170 Cf. ⇒
10:25; ⇒ Jn 15:20.
171 LG 3; cf. ⇒ Jn 19:34.
172 SC 5.
173 Cf. St. Ambrose, In
Luc. 2, 85-89 PL 15,1666-1668.
174 LG 4; Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:4.
175 AG 4.
176 Cf. ⇒
Mt 28:19-20; AG 2; 5-6.
177 LG 4.
178 LG 5.
179 LG 48.
180 St. Augustine, De
civ. Dei, 18, 51: PL 41, 614; Cf. LG 8.
181 LG 5; Cf. 6; ⇒ 2 Cor 5:6.
182 LG 2.
183 Roman Catechism
1, 10, 20.
184 LG 8 # 1.
185 LG 8.
186 LG 8.
187 SC 2, Cf. ⇒ Heb 13:14.
Bernard of Clairvaux, In Cant. Sermo 27:14 PL 183:920D.
⇒ Col 1:27.
192 ⇒ 1
Cor 13:8; cf. LG 48.
193 John Paul II, MD
⇒ Eph 5:27.
195 Cf. John Paul
II, MD 27.
196 St. Augustine,
Ep. 187,11,34: PL 33, 846.
197 LG 1.
199 LG 9 # 2, 48 # 2;
GS 45 # 1.
200 Paul VI, June
22, 1973; AG 7 # 2; cf. LG 17.
201 LG 9; Cf.
⇒ 1 Pet 2:9.
203 ⇒ Jn
204 Cf. ⇒ Jn 13 34
206 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:13-16.
207 LG 9 # 2.
208 Cf. John Paul II,
209 LG 10; Cf. ⇒ Rev 1:6.
210 LG 12; Cf. Jude
211 Cf. ⇒ Jn 12:32.
⇒ Mt 20:28.
213 LG 8; Cf.
214 St. Leo the
Great, Sermo 4, 1: PL 54, 149.
215 Cf. ⇒ 3:13-19;
10:17-20; ⇒ 22:28-30.
216 ⇒ Jn
217 ⇒ Jn
218 Cf. ⇒ Jn 14:18;
28:20; ⇒ Acts 2:33.
219 LG 7.
220 LG 7.
221 LG 7; cf. ⇒ Rom 6:4-5;
⇒ 1 Cor 12:13.
222 LG 7 # 3.
223 LG 7 # 3; cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 12:26.
⇒ Col 1:18.
228 LG 7 # 4; cf. ⇒ Phil 3:21;
⇒ Rom 8:17.
229 Cf. ⇒ Col 2:19;
⇒ Eph 4:11-16.
Augustine, In Jo. ev, 21, 8: PL 35, 1568.
231 Pope St. Gregory
the Great Moralia in Job, praef., 14: PL 75,
232 St. Thomas
Aquinas, STh III, 48, 2.
233 Acts of the Trial
of Joan of Arc.
234 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Mk 2:19.
236 Cf. ⇒ Mt 22:1-14;
⇒ 1 Cor
6:15-17; ⇒ 2 Cor 11:2.
237 Cf. ⇒ Eph 1:4.
238 ⇒ Eph
239 Cf. ⇒ Eph 5:29.
240 ⇒ Eph
241 ⇒ Mt
242 St. Augustine,
En. in Ps. 74:4: PL 36, 948-949.
243 St. Augustine,
Sermo 267, 4: PL 38, 1231D.
244 Pius XII,
encyclical, Mystici Corporis: DS 3808.
245 ⇒ 2
Cor 6:16; cf.
246 St. Irenaeus,
Adv. haeres. 3, 24, 1: PG 7/1, 966.
247 Pius XII,
encyclical, Mystici Corporis: DS 3808.
248 Cf. ⇒ Eph 4:16.
⇒ 1 Cor 12:13.
251 LG 7 # 2.
252 LG 12 # 2; cf. AA
253 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 13.
254 LG 12;
cf. 30; ⇒ 1 Thess 5:12,
⇒ 19-21; John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 24.
255 ⇒ 1
256 LG 8.
257 Cf. DS
258 Vatican Council
I, DS Filius 3: DS 3013.
259 UR 2 # 5.
260 GS 78 # 3.
261 UR 2 # 2.
262 St. Clement of
Alexandria, Paed. 1, 6, 42: PG 8,300.
263 LG 13 # 2.
⇒ Col 3:14.
266 Cf. UR 2; LG 14;
⇒ CIC, can. 205.
267 LG 8 # 2.
268 UR 3 # 5.
269 UR 3 # 1.
270 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 751.
271 Origen, Hom. in
Ezech. 9, 1: PG 13, 732.
272 UR 3 # 1.
273 LG 8 # 2.
274 UR 3 # 2; cf. LG
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
277 UR 4 # 3.
278 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Heb 7:25.
279 Cf. UR 1.
280 Cf. UR 6.
281 UR 7 # 3.
282 UR 8 # 1.
283 Cf. UR 9.
284 Cf. UR 10.
285 Cf. UR 4; 9;
286 Cf. UR 12.
287 UR 5.
288 UR 24 # 2.
289 LG 39; Cf. ⇒ Eph 5 25-26.
290 LG 12.
291 Acts 913;
1 Cor 61; ⇒ 16
292 SC 10.
293 UR 3 # 5.
294 LG 48.
295 LG 48 # 3.
296 LG 11 # 3.
297 LG 42.
298 St. Therese of
Lisieux, Autobiography of a Saint, tr. Ronald Knox (London: Harvill, 1958) 235.
299 LG 8 # 3; Cf. UR
3; 6; ⇒ Heb 2:17; 726;
⇒ 2 Cor 5:21.
300 Cf. 1 ⇒ Jn 1:8-10.
301 Cf. ⇒ Mt
302 Paul VI, CPG #
303 Cf. LG 40;
304 John Paul II, CL
305 CL 17, 3.
306 LG 65; Cf. ⇒ Eph 5:26-27.
Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 311.
308 UR 3; AG 6;
⇒ Eph 1:22-23.
309 Cf. AG 4.
310 Cf. ⇒ Mt 28:19.
311 LG 13 ## 1-2; cf.
⇒ Jn 11:52.
312 LG 26.
313 Cf. CD 11; ⇒ CIC, cann. 368-369.
314 LG 23.
315 St. Ignatius of
Antioch, Ad Rom. 1, 1: Apostolic Fathers, II/2,
192; cf. LG 13.
316 St. Irenaeus,
Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 2: PG 7/1, 849; Cf. Vatican
Council I DS 3057.
317 St. Maximus the
Confessor, Opuscula theo.: PG 91 137-140.
318 Paul VI, EN
319 LG 23.
320 LG 13.
321 LG 14.
322 LG 15.
323 UR 3.
324 Paul VI,
Discourse, December 14, 1975; cf. UR 13-18.
325 LG 16.
326 Cf. NA 4.
Missal, Good Friday 13: General Intercessions, VI.
330 LG 16; cf. NA
331 NA 1.
332 LG 16; cf. NA 2;
333 LG 16; cf. ⇒ Rom 1:21,
Augustine, Serm. 96, 7, 9: PL 38, 588; St. Ambrose, De virg. 18, 118: PL 16,
297B; cf. already ⇒ 1 Pet 3:20-21.
335 Cf. Cyprian,
Ep. 73.21: PL 3, 1169; De unit.: PL 4, 509-536.
336 LG 14; cf. ⇒ Mk 16:16;
⇒ Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
337 LG 16; cf. DS
338 AG 7; cf. ⇒ Heb
11:6; ⇒ 1 Cor 9:16.
339 AG 1; cf.
⇒ Mt 16:15.
340 ⇒ Mt
341 AG 2.
342 Cf. John Paul II,
343 ⇒ 2
Cor 5:14; cf. AA 6; RMiss
344 ⇒ 1
345 John Paul II,
346 AG 5.
347 Tertullian, Apol.
50, 13: PL 1, 603.
348 GS 43 # 6.
349 LG 8 # 3; 15; AG
1 # 3; cf. RMiss 12-20.
350 LG 8 # 3.
351 GS 40 # 2.
352 Cf. RMiss 42
353 AG 15 # 1.
354 Cf. RMiss
355 Cf. RMiss
356 AG 6 # 2.
357 Cf. RMiss
358 UR 4 # 8.
359 Cf. RMiss
360 AG 9.
361 AG 9.
363 Cf. ⇒ Mt 28:16-20;
⇒ 1 Cor
9:1; ⇒ Gal
⇒ Acts 2:42.
365 Cf. ⇒ 2 Tim 1:13-14.
366 AG 5.
367 Roman Missal,
Preface of the Apostles I.
368 ⇒ Mk
369 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Lk 10:16.
371 ⇒ Jn
372 ⇒ 2
⇒ 1 Cor 4:1.
373 LG 20; cf.
⇒ Mt 28:20.
374 LG 20;
cf. ⇒ Acts 20:28; St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor.
42, 44: PG 1, 291-300.
375 LG 20 # 2.
376 LG 20 # 2.
377 AA 2.
378 AA 4; cf. ⇒ Jn 15:5.
379 AA 3.
CIC, Can. 204 para 1; Cf. LG 31.
⇒ CIC, Can. 208; Cf. LG 32.
387 AA 2.
CIC, Can. 207 # 2.
389 LG 18.
392 Cf. ⇒ Rom 1:1.
394 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 9:19.
395 AG 5.
396 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:21-23.
397 ⇒ Mt
4:19. ⇒ 21;
⇒ Jn 1:4[ETML:C/].
398 LG 19; cf. ⇒ Lk 6:13;
⇒ Jn 21:15-17.
399 LG 22;
cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 330.
400 Cf. ⇒ Jn
401 LG 22 # 2.
402 LG 23.
403 LG 22; cf. CD
404 LG 22; cf. ⇒ CIC, can 336.
⇒ CIC, can. 337 # 1.
406 LG 22.
407 LG 22.
408 LG 23.
409 LG 23.
410 Cf. CD 3.
411 LG 23.
412 Cf. ⇒ Gal 2:10.
413 Cf. Apostolic
414 LG 23 # 3.
415 PO 4; cf. ⇒ Mk 16:15.
416 LG 25.
417 LG 12; cf. DV
418 LG 25;
cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3074.
419 DV 10 # 2.
420 LG 25 # 2.
421 Cf. LG 25.
422 LG 25.
423 LG 26.
⇒ 1 Pet 5:3.
425 LG 26 # 3.
426 LG 27; cf. ⇒ Lk 22:26-27.
427 LG 27.
428 LG 27 # 2.
429 St. Ignatius of
Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 1: Apostolic Fathers, II/2,
430 LG 31.
431 LG 31 # 2.
432 Pius XII,
Discourse, February 20, 1946: AAS 38 (1946) 149; quoted
by John Paul II, CL 9.
433 Cf. LG 33.
434 LG 34; cf. LG 10,
⇒ 1 Pet 2:5.
CIC, can. 835 # 4.
436 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 230 # 1.
CIC, can. 230 # 3.
438 LG 35.
439 St. Thomas
Aquinas, STh. III, 71, 4 ad 3.
440 LG 35 # 1, #
441 AA 6 # 3; cf. AG
442 Cf. ⇒ CIC, cann. 229;
⇒ 823 # 1.
⇒ CIC, can. 212 # 3.
444 Cf. ⇒ Phil 2:8-9.
445 LG 36.
446 St. Ambrose, Psal
118:14:30: PL 15:1476.
447 LG 36 # 3.
448 Paul VI, EN
CIC, can. 129 # 2.
450 Cf. ⇒ CIC, cann. 443 # 4; ⇒ 463 ## 1 and 2; ⇒ 492 # 1;
⇒ 517 # 2; ⇒ 1421 # 2.
451 LG 36 # 4.
452 LG 33 # 2; cf.
⇒ Eph 4:7.
453 LG 44 # 4.
454 Cf. LG 42-43; PC
455 Cf. PC 5.
456 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 573.
457 LG 43.
458 PC 1.
459 Cf. ⇒ CIC,
CIC, can. 603 # 1.
461 ⇒ Mt
⇒ l Cor 7:34-36.
CIC, can. 604 # 1.
Consecrationis Virginum, Praenotanda 1.
464 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 604 # 1; OCV
465 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 604 # 2.
466 Cf. ⇒ 573;
467 Cf. CD 33-35; ⇒ CIC, can. 591.
468 Cf. AG 18;
469 John Paul II,
CIC, can. 710.
471 Pius XII, Provida
Mater; cf. PC 11.
472 Cf. ⇒ CIC, can. 713 # 2.
473 Cf. ⇒ CIC,
can. 731 ## 1 and 2.
⇒ CIC, can. 783.; cf. RM 69
475 LG 31 # 2.
476 LG 44 # 3.
477 Nicetas, Expl.
Symb., 10: PL 52:871B.
478 St. Thomas
Aquinas, Symb., 10.
479 Roman Catechism
I, 10, 24.
⇒ Acts 2:42.
481 Roman Catechism
1, 10, 24.
482 LG 12 # 2.
483 ⇒ 1
⇒ Acts 4:32.
485 Roman Catechism
1, 10, 27.
486 Cf. ⇒ Lk 16:1,
488 ⇒ 1
490 LG 49; cf. ⇒ Mt 25:31;
⇒ 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence
(1439): DS 1305.
491 LG 49; cf. ⇒ Eph 4:16.
492 LG 49.
493 LG 49; cf. ⇒ 1 Tim 2:5.
494 St. Dominic,
dying, to his brothers.
495 St. Therese of
Lisieux, the Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke (Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.
496 LG 50; cf. ⇒ Eph 4:1-6.
Polycarpi, 17: Apostolic Fathers II/3, 396.
498 LG 50; cf. ⇒ 2 Macc 12:45.
499 LG 51; d. ⇒ Heb 3:6.
500 LG 53; cf. St.
Augustine, De virg. 6: PL 40,399.
501 Paul VI,
Discourse, November 21,1964.
502 LG 57.
503 LG 58; cf. ⇒ Jn 19:26-27.
504 LG 69.
505 LG 59.
506 LG 59; cf. Pius
XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf. ⇒ Rev 19:16.
Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition, August
508 LG 53; 63.
509 LG 61.
510 LG 62.
511 LG 60.
512 LG 62.
513 ⇒ Lk
1:48; Paul VI, MC 56.
514 LG 66.
515 Cf. Paul VI, MC
42; SC 103.
516 LG 69.
517 LG 68; Cf. ⇒ 2 Pet 3 10.
518 ⇒ Jn
⇒ Mk 16:15-16.
521 Roman Catechism
522 Roman Catechism
of Trent (1551): DS 1672; Cf. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 39,17: PG
524 ⇒ Lk
525 ⇒ 2
526 St. Augustine,
Sermo 214, 11: PL 38, 1071-1072.
527 Roman Catechism
I, 11, 5.
528 Cf. ⇒ Mt
529 Cf. St.
Ambrose, De poenit. I, 15: PL 16, 490.
530 John Chrysostom,
De sac. 3, 5: PG 48, 643.
531 St. Augustine,
Sermo 213, 8: PL 38,1064.
532 Cf. ⇒ Jn
⇒ 1 Thess
4:14; ⇒ 1 Cor 6:14;
534 Cf. ⇒ Gen 6:3;
⇒ Isa 40:6.
536 Tertullian, De
res, 1,1: PL 2, 841.
537 ⇒ 1
538 ⇒ 2
539 ⇒ 2
Macc 7:14; cf.
⇒ Mk 12:24; cf. In 11:24;
⇒ Acts 23:6.
⇒ Mk 12:27.
542 ⇒ Jn
543 Cf. ⇒ Jn 5:24-25;
544 Cf. ⇒ Mk 5:21-42;
545 ⇒ Mt
546 Cf. ⇒ Mk 10:34;
⇒ Jn 2:19-22.
1:22; ⇒ 10:41; cf.
548 Cf. ⇒ Acts 17:32;
⇒ 12Cor 15:12-13.
549 St. Augustine,
En. in Ps. 88, 5: PL 37, 1134.
551 ⇒ Lk
552 Lateran Council
IV (1215): DS 801; ⇒ Phil
3:21; 2 Cor 15:44.
553 ⇒ 1
554 St. Irenaeus,
Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 4-5: PG 7/1, 1028-1029.
555 ⇒ Jn
⇒ 11:24; LG 48 # 3.
⇒ 1 Thess 4:16.
2:12; ⇒ 3:1.
⇒ Eph 2:6.
⇒ Col 3:4.
561 ⇒ 1
562 ⇒ 2
563 Cf. ⇒ Phil 1:23.
564 Cf. Paul VI, CPG
565 GS 18.
567 Cf. ⇒ Rom 6:3-9;
⇒ Phil 3:10-11.
569 Cf. ⇒ Gen 2:17;
5:12; ⇒ 6:23; DS 1511.
570 Cf. ⇒ Wis 2:23-24.
571 GS 18 # 2; cf.
⇒ 1 Cor 15:26.
572 Cf. ⇒ Mk 14:33-34;
⇒ Heb 5:7-8.
573 Cf. ⇒ Rom
⇒ Phil 1:21.
⇒ 2 Tim 2:11.
576 St. Ignatius of
Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1-2: Apostolic Fathers,
⇒ Phil 1:23.
578 Cf. ⇒ Lk 23:46.
Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1- 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 223-224.
580 St. Teresa of
Avila, Life, chap. 1.
581 St. Therese of
Lisieux, the Last Conversations.
582 Cf. I Thess
583 Roman Missal,
Preface of Christian Death I.
584 LG 48 # 3.
586 Roman Missal,
Litany of the saints.
587 The Imitation of
Christ, 1, 23, 1.
588 St. Francis of
Assisi Canticle of the Creatures.
589 OCF, Prayer of
590 Cf. ⇒ 2 Tim 1:9-10.
591 Cf. ⇒ Lk 16:22;
16:26; ⇒ 2 Cor 5:8;
592 Cf. Council of
Lyons II (1274): DS 857-858; Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304- 1306; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820.
593 Cf. Benedict XII,
Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000-1001; John
XXII, Ne super his (1334): DS 990.
594 Cf. Benedict XII,
Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1002.
595 St. John of the
Cross, Dichos 64.
596 ⇒ 1
Cor 13:12; ⇒ Rev 22:4.
597 Benedict XII,
Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000; cf. LG 49.
⇒ Jn 14:3;
⇒ 1 Thess 4:17.
599 Cf. ⇒ Rev 2:17.
600 St. Ambrose, In
Luc., 10, 121: PL 15, 1834A.
601 ⇒ 1
602 St. Cyprian, Ep.
58, 10, 1: CSEL 3/2, 665.
Rev 22:5; cf.
⇒ Mt 25:21,
604 Cf. Council of
Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563):
DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.
605 Cf. ⇒ 1 Cor 3:15;
⇒ 1 Pet 1:7.
606 St. Gregory the
Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. ⇒ Mt
⇒ 2 Macc 12:46.
608 Cf. Council of
Lyons II (1274): DS 856.
609 St. John
Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor.
41, 5: PG 61, 361; cf. ⇒ Job 1:5.
610 1 ⇒
611 Cf. ⇒ Mt 25:31-46.
612 Cf. ⇒ Mt 5:22,
⇒ Mt 13:41-42.
614 ⇒ Mt
615 Cf. DS 76; 409;
411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG # 12.
⇒ Mt 7:13-14.
617 LG 48 # 3; ⇒ Mt 22:13; cf.
25:13, ⇒ 26,
Council of Orange II (529): DS 397; Council of Trent (1547):1567.
⇒ 2 Pet 3:9.
620 Roman Missal, EP
I (Roman Canon) 88.
⇒ Acts 24:15.
622 ⇒ Jn
623 ⇒ Mt
624 Cf. ⇒ Jn 12:49.
625 St. Augustine,
Sermo 18, 4: PL 38, 130-131; cf. ⇒ Ps
626 Cf. ⇒ Song 8:6.
627 ⇒ 2
⇒ 2 Thess 1:10.
629 LG 48; Cf. ⇒ Acts 3:21;
⇒ Col 1:20;
⇒ 2 Pet 3:10-13.
⇒ Eph 1:10.
632 Cf. ⇒ Rev 21:5.
634 Cf. LG 1.
⇒ Rev 21:2, 9.
636 Cf. ⇒ Rev 21:27.
638 St. Irenaeus,
Adv. haeres. 5, 32, 1 PG 7/2, 210.
639 GS 39 # 1.
640 GS 39 # 2.
641 GS 39 # 3.
642 1 Cor
643 St. Cyril
of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 18, 29: PG 33, 1049.
644 Cf. ⇒ Rev
646 Cf. ⇒ Mt 6:2,
5, ⇒ 16;
⇒ Jn 5:19.
647 St. Augustine,
Sermo 58, 11, 13: PL 38, 399.
649 ⇒ 2
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