Catechism of the Catholic Church Part 1D
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD
"HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER"
663 Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: "By 'the Father's right hand' we understand the glory and honor of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified."546
669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body.552 Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. "The kingdom of Christ [is] already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom".553
557 Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God."559 That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him:560 Marana tha! "Our Lord, come!"561
566 even though "it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority."567. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are "delayed".568
574The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth575 will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.576
580 God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.581
584 Our attitude to our neighbor will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love.585 On the Last Day Jesus will say: "Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."586
! 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 Spirit.3
686 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 everlasting.
1 1 Cor 12:3.
2 Gal 4:6.
3 St. Irenaeus, Dem. ap. 7: SCh 62,41-42.
4 Jn 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.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY 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 eternal life.29
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. Augustine's expression.
698 The 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.
56 The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."57
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 living proclamation and 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
705 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."
74 enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit. The lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this.
In the Kingdom and the Exile
712 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 his roots.
And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.81
719 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 God."99
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:
724 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 known.106
727 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.
735 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
prepares men and goes out to them with his grace, in order to draw them to Christ. The Spiritmanifests 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
740 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.)
741 "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 1:23).
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.
6 Nicene Creed; see above, par. 465.
7 1 Cor 2:11.
8 Jn 16:13.
9 Jn 14:17.
10 Cf. Gal 4:6.
11 Cf. Jn 3:34.
12 Jn 7:39.
13 Cf. Jn 17:22.
14 Cf. Jn 16:14.
15 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De Spiritu Sancto, 16:PG 45,1321A-B.
16 Cf. Mt 28:19.
17 Jn 3:5-8.
18 Jn 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7.
19 Cf. 1 Jn 2:1.
20 Jn 16:13.
21 Cf. Gal 3:14; Eph 1:13.
22 Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.
23 Rom 8:9.
24 2 Cor 3:17.
25 Rom 8:9, 14; 15:19; 1 Cor 6:11; 7:40.
26 1 Pet 4:14.
27 1 Cor 12:13.
28 Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:8.
29 Cf. Jn 4:10-14; 738; Ex 17:1-6; Isa 55:1; Zech 14:8; 1 Cor 10:4; Rev 21:6; 22:17.
30 Cf. 1 Jn 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21.
31 Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13.
32 Cf. Lk 418-19; Isa 61:1.
33 Cf. Lk 2:11,26-27.
34 Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46.
35 Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11.
36 Eph 4:13; cf. Acts 2:36.
37 Sir 48:1; cf. 1 Kings 18:38-39.
38 Lk 1:17; 3:16.
39 Lk 12:49.
40 Acts 2:3-4.
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 Thess 5:1.
43 Cf. Ex 24:15-18.
44 Cf. Ex 33:9-10.
45 Cf. Ex 40:36-38; 1 Cor 10:1-2.
46 Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-12.
47 Lk 1:35.
48 Lk 9:34-35.
49 Cf. Acts 1:9; cf. Lk 21:27.
50 Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:3.
51 Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.
52 Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.
53 Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.
54 Cf. Heb 6:2.
55 Lk 11:20.
56 Ex 31:18; 2 Cor 3:3.
57 LH, Easter Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers: digitus paternae dexterae.
58 Cf. Gen 8:8-12.
59 Cf. Mt 3:16 and parallels.
60 Gal 4:4.
61 Cf. 2 Cor 3:14; Jn 5:39,46.
62 Cf. Lk 24:44.
63 Cf. Pss 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2; 2:7; Eccl 3:20-21; Ezek 37:10.
64 Byzantine liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning Prayer.
65 St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 11:SCh 62,48-49.
66 Rom 3:23.
67 Cf. Jn 1:14; Phil 2:7.
68 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
69 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
70 Cf. Jn 11:52.
71 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
72 Cf. Ex 19-20; Deut 1-11; 29-30.
73 Gal 3:24.
74 Cf. Rom 3:20.
75 Ex 19:5-6; Cf. 1 Pet 2:9.
76 Cf. 2 Sam 7; Ps 89; Lk 1:32-33.
77 Cf. Lk 24:26.
78 Isa 43:19.
79 Cf. Zeph 2:3; Lk 2:25,38.
80 Jn 12:41; cf. Isa 6-12.
81 Isa 11:1-2.
82 Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 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.
83 Phil 2:7.
84 Isa 61:1-2; cf. Lk 4:18-19.
85 Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36:25-28; 37:1-14; Jer 31:31-34; and cf. Joel 3:1-5.
86 Cf. Acts 2:17-21.
87 Cf. Zeph 2:3; Pss 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1; etc.
88 Lk 1:17.
89 Jn 1:6.
90 Lk 1:15, 41.
91 Cf. Lk 1:68.
92 Mt 17:10-13; cf. Lk 1:78.
93 Lk 1:17.
94 Lk 7:26.
95 Cf. Mt 11:13-14.
96 Jn 1:23; cf. Isa 40:1-3.
97 Jn 1:7; cf. Jn 15:26; 5:35.
98 Cf. 1 Pet 1:10-12.
99 Jn 1:33-36.
100 Cf. Jn 3:5.
101 Cf. Prov 8:1-9:6; Sir 24.
102 Col 2:9.
103 Cf. Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:14.
104 Cf. Lk 1:46-55.
105 Cf. Lk 1:26-38; Rom 4:18-21; Gal 4:26-28.
106 Cf. Lk 1:15-19; Mt 2:11.
107 Cf. Lk 2:14.
108 Cf. Jn 19:25-27.
109 Acts 1:14.
110 Cf. Jn 6:27,51,62-63.
111 Cf. Jn 3:5-8.
112 Cf. Jn 4:10,14,23-24.
113 Cf. Jn 7:37-39.
114 Cf. Lk 11:13.
115 Cf. Mt 10:19-20.
116 Cf. Jn 14:16-17,26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:26.
117 Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
118 Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.
119 Rom 6:4.
120 Cf. Jn 20:22.
121 Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.
122 Cf. Acts 2:33-36.
123 Byzantine liturgy, Pentecost Vespers, Troparion, repeated after communion.
124 1 Jn 4:8,1.
125 Rom 5:5.
126 2 Cor 13:14.
127 1 Jn 4: 12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21.
128 Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13.
129 Gal 5:22-23.
130 Gal 5:25; cf. Mt 16:24-26.
131 St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15,36:PG 32,132.
132 Jn 15:8,16.
133 St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11:PG 74,561.
134 Rom 8:26.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"
748 "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.
749 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 flourishes."137
Symbols of the Church
755 "The 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
building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the corner-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
The Church - prepared for in the Old Covenant
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
The Church - instituted by Christ Jesus
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
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 cross.173
The Church - revealed by the Holy Spirit
769 "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 The 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
III. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
The Church - mystery of men's union with God
194 This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."195
The universal Sacrament of Salvation
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 to come.
783 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
consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood."209
788 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 every nation."219
792 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.
795 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 Church.230
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
The Church is the Bride of Christ
798 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
254 so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good."255
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).
201 LG 9; cf. Acts 10:35; 1 Cor 11:25.
202 1 Pet 2:9.
203 Jn 3:3-5.
204 Cf. Jn 13:34
205 Rom 8:2; Gal 5:25.
206 Cf. Mt 5:13-16.
207 LG 9 § 2.
208 Cf. John Paul II, RH 18-21.
209 LG 10; cf. Heb 5:1-5; Rev 1:6.
210 LG 12; cf. Jude 3.
211 Cf. Jn 12:32.
212 Mt 20:28.
213 LG 8; cf. 36.
214 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4,1:PL 54,149.
215 Cf. Mk 1:16-20; 3:13-19; Mt 13:10-17; Lk 10:17-20; 22:28-30.
216 Jn 15:4-5.
217 Jn 6:56.
218 Cf. Jn 14:18; 20:22; Mt 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.
224 Gal 3:27-28.
225 Col 1:18.
226 Col 1:18.
227 Gal 4:19.
228 LG 7 § 4; cf. Phil 3:21; Rom 8:17.
229 Cf. Col 2:19; Eph 4:11-16.
230 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 21,8:PL 35,1568.
231 Pope St. Gregory the Great, Moralia in Job, præf.,14:PL 75,525A.
232 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III,48,2.
233 Acts of the Trial of Joan of Arc.
234 Jn 3:29.
235 Mk 2:19.
236 Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2.
237 Cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4; 5:27.
238 Eph 5:25-26.
239 Cf. Eph 5:29.
240 Eph 5:31-32.
241 Mt 19:6.
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. 1 Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:21.
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.
249 Acts 20:32.
250 Cf. 1 Cor 12:13.
251 LG 7 § 2.
252 LG 12 § 2; cf. AA 3.
253 Cf. 1 Cor 13.
254 LG 12; cf. 30; 1 Thess 5:12,19-21; John Paul II, Christifideles Laici,24.
255 1 Cor 12:7.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"
Paragraph 3. The Church Is One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic
subsistit 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
Wounds to unity
275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276
- 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 ecumenism;"'282
- 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 idiomatic phrase.
822 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
II. THE CHURCH IS HOLY
825 "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
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
829 "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 the "all-holy."
III. THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC
What does "catholic" mean?
Each particular Church is "catholic"
833 The phrase "particular Church," which is first of all 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 These 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 Church exists."314
836 "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 salvation."320
328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329
842 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
845 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
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
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 of love.342
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 to men."350
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
857 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 himself;363
- 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 untended.
Through the apostles
you watch over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the flock
to share in the work of your Son. . . .367
The Apostles' mission
862 "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 Christ."376
872 "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
875 "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, bishops and priests receive the mission and faculty ("the sacred power") to act in persona Christi Capitis; deacons receive the strength to serve the people of God in the diaconia of liturgy, word and charity, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterate. 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.
878 Finally, it belongs to the sacramental nature of ecclesial ministry that it have a personal character. Although Christ'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 . . . ."
879 Sacramental ministry in the Church, then, is a service exercised in the name of Christ. It has a personal character and a collegial form. 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 universal Church.
The episcopal college and its head, the Pope
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 Pontiff."404
884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council."405 But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor."406
885 "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 head."407
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 They extend it especially to the poor,412to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.
887 Neighboring particular Churches who share the same culture form ecclesiastical provinces or larger groupings called patriarchates or regions.413 The 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 collegiate spirit."414
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
891 "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 This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.421
892 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 sanctifying office
895 "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.
898 "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
sensus fidei] and the grace of the word"438
To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer.439
910 "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
911 In the 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 of the pastoral care of a parish, collaboration in finance committees, and participation in ecclesiastical tribunals, etc.450
III. THE CONSECRATED LIFE
916 The state of consecrated life is thus one way of experiencing a "more intimate" consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God.455 In the 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
One great tree, with many branches
922 From apostolic times Christian virgins461 and widows,462 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 the respective status of virginity or perpetual chastity "for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven."463
925 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.468
929 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."473 "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."474
Societies of apostolic life
930 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 constitutions.475
Consecration and mission: proclaiming the King who is coming
931 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 institute."476
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.478
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, 2).
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 person.
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 baptized.
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.
385 CIC, Can. 204 para 1; Cf. LG 31.
386 CIC, Can. 208; Cf. LG 32.
387 AA 2.
388 CIC, Can. 207 § 2.
389 LG 18.
390 Rom 10:14:15.
391 Rom 10:17.
392 Cf. Rom 1:1.
393 Phil 2:7.
394 Cf. 1 Cor 9:19.
395 AG 5.
396 Cf. Jn 17:21-23.
397 Jn 21:22; Cf. Mt 4:19-21; Jn 1:4.
398 LG 19; cf. Lk 6:13; Jn 21:15-17.
399 LG 22; cf. CIC, can. 330.
400 Cf. Mt 16:18-19; Jn 21:15-17.
401 LG 22 § 2.
402 LG 23.
403 LG 22; cf. CD 2,9.
404 LG 22; cf. CIC, can 336.
405 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 Constitutions 34.
414 LG 23 § 3.
415 PO 4; cf. Mk 16:15.
416 LG 25.
417 LG 12; cf. DV 10.
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.
424 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/2,309.
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.
435 CIC, can. 835 § 4.
436 Cf. CIC, can. 230 § 1.
437 CIC, can. 230 § 3.
438 LG 35.
439 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh. III,71,4 ad 3.
440 LG 35 § 1, § 2.
441 AA 6 § 3; cf. AG 15.
442 Cf. CIC, cann. 229; 774; 776; 780; 823 § 1.
443 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 73.
449 CIC, can. 129 § 2.
450 Cf. CIC, cann. 443 § 4; 463 §§ 1 and 2; 492 § 1; 511; 517 § 2; 536; 1421 § 2.
451 LG 36 § 4.
452 LG 33 § 2; cf. Eph 4:7.
453 LG 44 § 4.
454 Cf. LG 42-43; PC 1.
455 Cf. PC 5.
456 Cf. CIC, can. 573.
457 LG 43.
458 PC 1.
459 Cf. CIC, can. 605.
460 CIC, can. 603 § 1.
461 Cf. 1 Cor 7:34-36.
462 Cf. John Paul II, Vita consecrata 7. 463 Mt 19:12
464 CIC, can. 604 § 1.
465 Ordo Consecrationis Virginum, Praenotanda 1.
466 Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 1; OCV Praenotanda 2.
467 Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 2.
468 Cf. CIC, cann. 607; 573; UR 15.
469 Cf. CD 33-35; CIC, can. 591.
470 Cf. AG 18; 40.
471 John Paul II, RMiss 69.
472 CIC, can. 710.
473 Pius XII, Provida Mater; cf. PC 11.
474 Cf. CIC, can. 713 § 2.
475 Cf. CIC, can. 731 §§ 1 and 2.
476 CIC, can. 783; cf. RM 69.
477 LG 31 § 2.
478 LG 44 § 3.
THE PROFESSION OF FAITH
THE PROFESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
"I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH"
479 The communion of saints is the Church.
sancta) to grow in the communion of the Holy Spirit (koinonia) and to communicate it to the world.
I. COMMUNION IN SPIRITUAL GOODS
950 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."483
957 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"498:
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!499
963 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."502 "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."503
I. MARY'S MOTHERHOOD WITH REGARD TO THE CHURCH
Wholly united with her Son . . .
965 After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers."506 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."507
. . . also in her Assumption
typus)510 of the Church.
969 "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 fulfillment 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."512
971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship."515 The 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."516 The liturgical 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 Mary.517
III. MARY - ESCHATOLOGICAL ICON OF THE CHURCH
978 "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 "523
981 After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations."526 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:527
[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 saved us.528
529 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.530
990 The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality.536 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 life again.537
993 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?"542 Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who "is not God of the dead, but of the living."543
996 From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with incomprehension and opposition.550 "On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body."551 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 dead rise?
999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself";553 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":554
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.555
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 first.558
Risen with Christ
1004 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.563
II. DYING IN CHRIST JESUS
1007 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.570
574 The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing.575
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.578
1020 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 assurance:
Go forth, Christian soul, from this world
in the name of God the almighty Father,
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 Spirit,
who was poured out upon you.
Go forth, faithful Christian!
May you live in peace this day,
may your home be with God in Zion,
with Mary, the virgin Mother of God,
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. 591
I. THE PARTICULAR JUDGMENT
1023 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:598
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 creature.599
1026 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 into Christ.
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 friends.604
1032 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."609 From the 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.610 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 them.611
1036 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."618
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 teeth."619
626 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."627
1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth."632 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."633
1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men.634 "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."635
1048 "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 men."641
1061 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."