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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    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 Wounds to unity 817 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 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ s Body here we must distinguish heresy apostasy and schism 270 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 271 818 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 272 819 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 in themselves calls to Catholic unity 276 Toward unity 820 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

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    Christ that he is the principle of the Church s unity 261 Unity is of the essence of the Church 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 262 814 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 of peace 264 815 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 266 816 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

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    unity 817 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 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ s Body here we must distinguish heresy apostasy and schism 270 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 271 818 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 272 819 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

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    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 279 821 Certain 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 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

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    by which the Father himself is perfect 296 826 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 blood 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 298 827 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 holiness 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

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    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 329 840 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 841 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 day 330 842 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 331 843 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 life 332 844 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 despair 333 845 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 846 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 336 847 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 337 848 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 849 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 340 850 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 of love 342 851 Missionary motivation It is from God s love for all men that the Church in

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    eBooks Action Alert SOLIDARITY MONTH 10 is as good as 1 000 Help set a new record for the number of gifts this month Goal 1 000 769 to go Catechism of the Catholic Church What does catholic mean 830 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 Pentecost 309 and will always be so until the day of the Parousia 831 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

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  • Catechism of the Catholic Church | Catholic Culture
    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 312 833 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 314 834 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 her 317 835 Let 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

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