Catechism of the Catholic Church
Part One: The Profession of Faith
Section Two: The Creeds
Chapter Three: I Believe in the Holy Spirit
683 "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit." "God
has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba!
Father!"' 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.
684 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." 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
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
685 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."
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 "economy."
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.
Article 8: "I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT"
687 "No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God."
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."
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 with them.
688 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
- 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
689 The One whom the Father has sent into our hearts, the Spirit of his
Son, is truly God. 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.
690 Jesus is Christ, "anointed," because the Spirit is his anointing, and
everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this
fullness. When Christ is finally glorified, 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, that is, the Holy Spirit who glorifies
him. 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 in him:
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.
II. THE NAME, TITLES, AND SYMBOLS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
The proper name of the Holy Spirit
691 "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.
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. On the other hand,
"Spirit" and "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
Titles of the Holy Spirit
692 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,"
ad-vocatus. "Paraclete" is commonly translated by "consoler," and
Jesus is the first consoler. The Lord also called the Holy Spirit "the
Spirit of truth."
693 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, the Spirit of
adoption, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Lord, and
the Spirit of God - and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory.
Symbols of the Holy Spirit
694 Water. 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." Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling
up from Christ crucified as its source and welling up in us to eternal
695 Anointing. The symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy
Spirit, 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. 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." 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. The Spirit
filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of
healing and of saving. Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus
from the dead. 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": "the whole Christ," in St. Augustine's expression.
696 Fire. 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. 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." Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the
earth; and would that it were already kindled!" In the form of tongues
"as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of
Pentecost and fills them with himself The spiritual tradition has
retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of
the Holy Spirit's actions. "Do not quench the Spirit."
697 Cloud 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, at
the tent of meeting, and during the wandering in the desert, and
with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple. 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.
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!'" 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.
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. 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
699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying
hands on them. In his name the apostles will do the same. Even
more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy
Spirit is given. The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of
hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching. The Church has
kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its
700 The finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out
demons." 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." The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus
invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."
701 The 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. 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. 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 PROMISES
702 From the beginning until "the fullness of time," the joint 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.
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).
703 The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life
of every creature:
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.
704 "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."
The Spirit of the promise
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," 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" and restore it in the Father's "likeness" by giving it again
its Glory, the Spirit who is "the giver of life."
706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the
fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit. In Abraham's
progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be
Christ himself, in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather
into one the children of God who are scattered abroad." God 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."
In Theophanies and the Law
707 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.
708 This divine pedagogy appears especially in the gift of the Law.
God gave the letter of the Law as a "pedagogue" to lead his people towards
Christ. But the Law's powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine
"likeness," along with the growing awareness of Sin that it imparts,
enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit. The lamentations of the Psalms
bear witness to this.
In the Kingdom and the Exile
709 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." 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, would be the work of the Holy Spirit; it would belong to the
poor according to the Spirit.
710 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. 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.
Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit
711 "Behold, I am doing a new thing." 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."
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.
712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the
"Book of Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory," 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.
713 The Messiah's characteristics are revealed above all in the "Servant
songs." 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." Taking our death upon
himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.
714 This is why Christ inaugurates the proclamation of the Good News by
making his own the following passage from Isaiah:
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.
715 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." St.
Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost.
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.
716 The People of the "poor" - 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."
IV. THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST In the Fullness of Time
John, precursor, prophet, and baptist
717 "There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." John was
"filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb" 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
718 John is "Elijah [who] must come." 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."
719 John the Baptist is "more than a prophet." In him, the Holy Spirit
concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of
prophets begun by Elijah. He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of
Israel; he is the "voice" of the Consoler who is coming. As the Spirit
of truth will also do, John "came to bear witness to the light." In
John's sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of
the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels. "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."
720 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.
"Rejoice, you who are full of Grace"
721 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. 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:
722 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"
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." It is the
thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which
Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while
carrying within her the eternal Son.
723 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 uniquely fruitful.
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.
725 Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the
objects of God's merciful love, 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.
726 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."
As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted
themselves to prayer," at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit
was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of
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.
728 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.
He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus, to the
Samaritan woman, and to those who take part in the feast of
Tabernacles. To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in
connection with prayer and with the witness they will have to
729 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. 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.
730 At last Jesus' hour arrives: he commends his spirit into the
Father's hands at the very moment when by his death he conquers
death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father," he
might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his
disciples. 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."
V. THE SPIRIT AND THE CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS
731 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.
732 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
The Holy Spirit - God's gift
733 "God is Love" 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."
734 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 Spirit in the Church restores to the baptized the divine
likeness lost through Sin.
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." 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
736 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." "We live by the Spirit"; the
more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."
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.
The Holy Spirit and the Church
737 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."
738 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
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
739 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
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." 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"
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.
Article 9: "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." 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." The
Church is, in a phrase used by the Fathers, the place "where the Spirit
750 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
Paragraph 1. The Church in God's Plan
I. NAMES AND IMAGES OF THE CHURCH
751 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. Ekklesia 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. By 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."
752 In Christian usage, the word "church" designates the liturgical
assembly, but also the local community or the whole universal
community of believers. 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.
Symbols of the Church
753 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. Around 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 marriage."
754 "The 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
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.
756 "Often, 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
757 "The 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
II. THE CHURCH'S ORIGIN, FOUNDATION AND MISSION
758 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
A plan born in the Father's heart
759 "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," to which
he calls all men in his Son. "The Father . . . determined to call together
in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ." 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 of time."
The Church- foreshadowed from the world's beginning
760 Christians of the first centuries said, "The world was created for the
sake of the Church." 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, 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
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."
The Church - prepared for in the Old Covenant
761 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.
762 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. 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. 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
The Church - instituted by Christ Jesus
763 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. "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." 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."
764 "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in
the presence of Christ." To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the
Kingdom itself." 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. They form Jesus' true family. To those
whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a
prayer of their own.
765 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. Representing the twelve
tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new
Jerusalem. The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's
mission and his power, but also in his lot. By all his actions,
Christ prepares and builds his Church.
766 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." "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.'" 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
The Church - revealed by the Holy Spirit
767 "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." Then "the Church was
openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the
nations, through preaching, was begun." 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 them.
768 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." "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."
The Church - perfected in glory
769 "The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of
heaven," 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." 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." 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
III. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH
770 The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It
is only "with the eyes of faith" that one can see her in her visible
reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of divine
The Church - both visible and spiritual
771 "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." The Church is at the same time:
- 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 riches."
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes
together from a human and a divine element":
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.
O 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.
The Church - mystery of men's union with God
772 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." St. 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. Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul
exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
773 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.
"[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." Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the
Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle." This is why
the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."
The universal Sacrament of Salvation
774 The 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." 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."
775 "The Church, in Christ, is like a sacrament - a sign and instrument,
that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men." The
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"; at the same time,
the Church is the "sign and instrument" of the full realization of the
unity yet to come.
776 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." The Church "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."
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
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
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
I. THE CHURCH - PEOPLE OF GOD
781 "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."
Characteristics of the People of God
782 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."
- One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by
being "born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit," 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." This
is the "new" law of the Holy Spirit.
- Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world. This
people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole
-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."
A priestly, prophetic, and royal people
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.
784 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 priesthood."
785 "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," and when it deepens its
understanding and becomes Christ's witness in the midst of this world.
786 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. 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." 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."
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 heart?
II. THE CHURCH - BODY OF CHRIST
The Church is communion with Jesus
787 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. 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." And he proclaimed a
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."
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. 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
789 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.
790 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." This 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 another."
791 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." 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." 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."
"Christ is the Head of this Body"
792 Christ "is the head of the body, the Church." He is the principle
of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father's glory, "in everything
he [is] preeminent," especially in the Church, through whom he
extends his reign over all things.
793 Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to
resemble him, "until Christ be formed" in them. "For this 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."
794 Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our
head, he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance
by which we help one another along the way of salvation.
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.
Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom
he has taken to himself.
Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.
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 Church is the Bride of Christ
796 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. The Lord referred to himself as the
"bridegroom." 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. The Church is the
spotless bride of the spotless Lamb. "Christ loved the Church and
gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her." He has joined
her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her
as for his own body:
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." And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no
longer two, but one flesh." 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 "bride."
III. THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
797 "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of
Christ, which is the Church." "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." The Holy Spirit
makes the Church "the temple of the living God":
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.
798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving
action in each part of the Body." He works in many ways to build up
the whole Body in charity: by God's Word "which is able to build you
up"; by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body; 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"; 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."
799 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
800 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.
801 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," 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, and Apostolic
811 "This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to
be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." These four characteristics,
inseparably linked with each other, 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
812 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."
I. THE CHURCH IS ONE
"The sacred mystery of the Church's unity" (UR 2)
813 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." 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." The Church is one because of her "soul":
"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." Unity is of the essence of the
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
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."
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."
815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything
together in perfect harmony." 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.
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 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."
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
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." The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we
must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism - do not occur without
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.
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
819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth" 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."
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, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic
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." 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." The desire to recover the unity of
all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.
821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this
- a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation;
such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;
- conversion of heart as the faithful "try to live holier lives according
to the Gospel"; 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
-fraternal knowledge of each other;
- ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;
- dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the
different churches and communities;
- collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to
mankind. "Human service" is the idiomatic phrase.
822 Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and
clergy alike." 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."
II THE CHURCH IS HOLY
823 "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." The Church, then, is "the holy People of God," and her
members are called "saints."
824 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." It is in the Church that "the fullness of
the means of salvation" has been deposited. It is in her that "by the
Grace of God we acquire holiness."
825 "The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real
though imperfect." 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."
826 Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it
"governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification."
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
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." All members of
the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are
Sinners. In everyone, the weeds of Sin will still be mixed with the
good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time. 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 the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the
gift of the Holy Spirit.
828 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. "The saints have always been the source and origin
of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's history."
Indeed, "holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her
apostolic activity and missionary zeal."
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": in her, the Church is already the "all-holy."
III. THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC
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
First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where
there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church." 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" 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 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:
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.
Each particular Church is "catholic"
832 "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
833 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. 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."
834 Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with
one of them, the Church of Rome "which presides in charity." "For
with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is
the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord." 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."
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." 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."
Who belongs to the Catholic Church?
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."
837 "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.'"
838 "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." Those "who believe in Christ and have been
properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with
the Catholic Church." 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."
The Church and non-Christians
839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People
of God in various ways."
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, "the first to hear the
Word of God." The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions,
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", "for the gifts and the
call of God are irrevocable."
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."
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. . .
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."
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.
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.
"Outside the Church there is no salvation"
846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the
Church Fathers? 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.
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
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."
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":
"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."
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." 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
851 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." Indeed,
God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the
truth"; 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.
852 Missionary paths. The Holy Spirit is the protagonist, "the principal
agent of the whole of the Church's mission." 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." So it is that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of
853 On her 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." Only by taking the "way of
penance and renewal," the "narrow way of the cross," can the People of God
extend Christ's reign. 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
854 By her 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." Missionary endeavor
requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to
peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ, continues with
the establishment of Christian communities that are "a sign of God's
presence in the world," and leads to the foundation of local
churches. It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is
to take flesh in each people's culture. 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."
855 The Church's mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity.
Indeed, "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
856 The missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do
not yet accept the Gospel. 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." 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."
IV. THE CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC
857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in
- she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles," the
witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;
- with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands
on the teaching, the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from
- 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":
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....
The Apostles' mission
858 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." 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." The apostles' ministry is the
continuation of his mission; Jesus said to the Twelve: "he who receives
you receives me."
859 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, 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."
860 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."
The bishops - successors of the apostles
861 "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."
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." 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."
863 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."
864 "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. 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."
865 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," 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," will be gathered together as
the one People of God, the
"Bride of the Lamb," "the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of
heaven from God, having the glory of God." For "the wall of the city
had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve
apostles of the Lamb."
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
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, Consecrated Life
871 "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."
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."
873 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." 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."
I. THE HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
Why the ecclesial ministry?
874 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.
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?" No one - no individual and no community - can proclaim the
Gospel to himself: "Faith comes from what is heard." 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
876 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," in the
image of him who freely took "the form of a slave" for us. 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.
877 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." 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. 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
878 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" 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 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 universal Church.
The episcopal college and its head, the Pope
880 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." 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
881 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. "The office of binding and looSing which was given
to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its
head." 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.
882 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." "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."
883 "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 Pontiff."
884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a
solemn manner in an ecumenical council." But "there never is an
ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such
by Peter's successor."
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
886 "The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity
in their own particular Churches." As such, they "exercise their
pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to
them," assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the
episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the
Churches. 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." They extend it especially to the
poor, to 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. 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."
The teaching office
888 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. 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."
889 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."
890 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:
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. When the Church
through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being
divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions
"must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility
extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.
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" which, though distinct from
the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.
The sanctifying office
893 The bishop is "the steward of the Grace of the supreme
priesthood," 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." Thus, "together with the flock entrusted to them, they
may attain to eternal life."
The governing office
894 "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.
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." 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
896 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
II. THE LAY FAITHFUL
897 "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 World."
The vocation of lay people
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."
899 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.
900 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.
The participation of lay people in Christ's priestly office
901 "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 lives."
902 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."
903 Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted
permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte. 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."
Participation in Christ's prophetic office
904 "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 the word"
To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher
and of each believer.
905 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 the world."
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 the faithful.
906 Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in
catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the
907 "In 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 persons."
Participation in Christ's kingly office
908 By his obedience unto death, 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":
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.
909 "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."
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."
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." 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.
912 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."
913 "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."'
III. THE CONSECRATED LIFE
914 "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."
Evangelical counsels, consecrated life
915 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 God.
916 The religious state is thus one way of experiencing a "more intimate"
consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. 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.
One great tree, with many branches
917 "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."
918 From 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.
919 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.
The eremitic life
920 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."
921 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 One.
922 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 heaven."
923 "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." 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
924 "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. Consecrated virgins can form
themselves into associations to observe their commitment more
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
926 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.
927 All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place among the
collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral duty. 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. "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."
928 "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
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." "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
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.
Consecration and mission: proclaiming the King who is corning
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."
932 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 Beatitudes."
933 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.
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.
Paragraph 5. The Communion of Saints
946 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?" The communion of saints is the Church.
947 "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." "As this
Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has
received necessarily become a common fund."
948 The term "communion of saints" therefore has two closely linked
meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)" and "among holy persons
Sancta sancti's! ("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.
I. COMMUNION IN SPIRITUAL GOODS
949 In the primitive community of Jerusalem, the disciples "devoted
themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of
the bread and the prayers."
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 being shared.
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."
951 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. Now, "to each is given the
manifestation of the Spirit for The Common Good."
952 "They had everything in common." "Everything the true 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." A Christian is a steward of the Lord's
953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, "None of us lives to
himself, and none of us dies to himself." "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." "Charity does
not insist on its own way." In this 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
II. THE COMMUNION OF THE CHURCH OF HEAVEN AND EARTH
954 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 is"':
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.
955 "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 spiritual goods."
956 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 helped."
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.
I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth.
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":
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!
958 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." Our prayer for
them is capable not only of helping them, but also of making their
intercession for us effective.
959 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 Church."
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 the Church
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." "Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church."
Wholly united with her Son . . .
964 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"; it is made manifest above all at the
hour of his Passion:
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
965 After her Son's Ascension, Mary "aided the beginnings of the Church by
her prayers." 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."
. . . also in her Assumption
966 "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." 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
. . . she is our Mother in the order of Grace
967 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) of the Church.
968 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
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 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."
970 "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." "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 source."
II. DEVOTION TO THE BLESSED VIRGIN
971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the
Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." 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." 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.
III. MARY - ESCHATOLOGICAL ICON OF THE CHURCH
972 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," 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.
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).
Article 10: "I BELIEVE IN THE FORGIVENESS OF SinS"
976 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."
(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
I. ONE BAPTISM FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SinS
977 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." 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."
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 "
979 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."
980 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 been reborn.
II. THE POWER OF THE KEYS
981 After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance
and forgiveness of Sins should be preached in his name to all
nations." 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:
[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.
982 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. 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.
983 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 successors:
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
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.
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 gift.
984 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.
985 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.
986 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 of Penance.
987 "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).
ARTICLE 11 - "I BELIEVE IN THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY"
988 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.
989 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. Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most
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 you.
990 The term "flesh" refers to man in his state of weakness and
mortality. 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.
991 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."
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.
I. CHRIST'S RESURRECTION AND OURS
The progressive revelation of the Resurrection
992 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 martyrs confessed:
The King of the universe will raise us up to an everlasting renewal of
life, because we have died for his laws. 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.
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?" Faith in the resurrection rests on
faith in God who "is not God of the dead, but of the living."
994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own
person: "I am the Resurrection and the life." 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. Already now in this present life
he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to
life, announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of
another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah,"
the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise
thereafter on the third day.
995 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."
Encounters with the risen Christ characterize the Christian hope of
resurrection. We shall rise like Christ, with him, and through him.
996 From the beginning, Christian faith in the resurrection has met with
incomprehension and opposition. "On no point does the Christian faith
encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body." 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?
997 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.
998 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 judgment."
999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: "See my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself"; 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":
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.
1000 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
1001 When? Definitively "at the last day," "at the end of the world."
Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ's
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.
Risen with Christ
1002 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.
1003 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." The Father has already "raised us up with him, and
made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus."
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
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.
II. DYING IN CHRIST JESUS
1005 To rise with Christ, we must die with Christ: we must "be away from
the body and at home with the Lord." In that "departure" which is
death the soul is separated from the body. It will be reunited with
the body on the day of resurrection of the dead.
1006 "It is in regard to death that man's condition is most shrouded in
doubt." In a sense bodily death is natural, but for faith it is in
fact "the wages of Sin." 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
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
1008 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. 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. "Bodily death, from which man would have been
immune had he not Sinned" is thus "the last enemy" of man left to be
1009 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. The obedience of Jesus has
transformed the curse of death into a blesSing.
The meaning of Christian death
1010 Because of Christ, Christian death has a positive meaning: "For to me
to live is Christ, and to die is gain." "The saying is sure: if we
have died with him, we will also live with him. What is 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.
1011 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. " He can transform his own death into an act of
obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ:
My earthly desire has been crucified; . . . there is living water in me,
water that murmurs and says within me: Come to the Father.
I Want to See God and, in order to see him, I must die.
I am not dying; I am entering life.
1012 The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the
liturgy of the Church:
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.
1013 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, we shall not
return to other earthly lives: "It is appointed for men to die once."
There is no "reincarnation" after death.
1014 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"; 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 ....
Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death, from whom no living
man can escape. Woe on those who will die in mortal Sin! 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
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.
ARTICLE 12 - "I BELIEVE IN LIFE EVERLASTING"
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
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
1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting
or rejecting the divine Grace manifested in Christ. 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
1022 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
purification or immediately,-or immediate and everlasting
At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love.
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:
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
1024 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.
1025 To live in heaven is "to be with Christ." The elect live "in
Christ," but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their
For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is
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.
1027 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."
1028 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 friends.
1029 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."
III. THE FINAL PURIFICATION, OR PURGATORY
1030 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.
1031 The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification of the
elect, which is entirely different from the punishment of the damned.
The Church 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:
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
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."
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.
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.
1033 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." 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. 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."
1034 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. Jesus solemnly
proclaims that he "will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all
evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire," and that he
will pronounce the condemnation: "Depart from me, you cursed, into the
1035 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." 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.
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."
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."
1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; 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":
Father, accept this offering from your whole family. Grant us your peace
in this life, save us from final damnation, and count us among those you
V. THE LAST JUDGMENT
1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the
unjust," 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." Then Christ
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."
1039 In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each
man's relationship with God will be laid bare. 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."
1040 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
1041 The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is
still giving them "the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation."
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."
VI. THE HOPE OF THE NEW HEAVEN AND THE NEW EARTH
1042 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.
1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform
humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth." 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."
1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his
dwelling among men. "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."
1045 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." 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." She will not be wounded any
longer by Sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly
community. 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.
1046 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 bodies.
1047 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.
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."
1049 "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 society."
1050 "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." God will then be "all in all" in
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 life.
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 their behalf.
1056 Following the example of Christ, the Church warns the faithful of the
"sad and lamentable reality of eternal death" (GCD 69), also called
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 19:26).
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.
1061 The Creed, like the last book of the Bible, ends with the Hebrew
word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament.
The Church likewise ends her prayers with "Amen."
1062 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.
1063 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]." Our Lord often used the word "Amen,"
sometimes repeated, to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching,
his Authority founded on God's truth.
1064 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
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
1065 Jesus Christ himself is the "Amen." He is the definitive "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 God":
Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory
and honor is yours, almighty Father, God, for ever and ever. AMEN.
1 Cor 12:3.
St. Irenaeus, Dem. ap. 7: SCh 62, 41-42.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio theol., 5, 26 (= Oratio 31, 26): PG 36, 161-163.
Nicene Creed; see above, par. 465.
1 Cor 2:11.
Cf. Gal 4:6.
Cf. Jn 3:34.
Cf. Jn 17:22.
Cf. Jn 16:14.
St. Gregory of Nyssa, De Spiritu Sancto, 16: PG 45, 1321A-B.
Cf. Mt 28:19.
In 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7.
Cf. I Jn 2:1.
Cf. Gal 3:14; Eph 1:13.
Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.
2 Cor 3:17.
Rom 8:9, 14; 15:19; 1 Cor 6:11; 7:40.
1 Pet 4:14.
1 Cor 12:13.
Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:8.
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.
Cf. 1 In 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21.
Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13.
Cf. Lk 418-19; Isa 61:1.
Cf. Lk 2:11,26-27.
Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46.
Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11.
Eph 4:13; cf. Acts 2:36.
Sir 48:1; cf. 1 Kings 18:38-39.
Lk 1:17; 3:16.
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.
1 Thess 5:19.
Cf. Ex 24:15-18.
Cf. Ex 33:9-10.
Cf. Ex 40:36-38; 1 Cor 10:1-2.
Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-12.
Cf. Acts 1:9; cf. Lk 21:27.
Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30.
Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.
Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.
Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.
Cf. Heb 6:2.
Ex 31:18; 2 Cor 3:3.
LH, Easter Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers: digitus paternae dexterae.
Cf. Gen 8:8-12.
Cf. Mt 3:16 and parallels.
Cf. 2 Cor 3:14; Jn 5:39, 46.
Cf. Lk 24:44.
Cf. Pss 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2; 2:7; Eccl 3:20-21; Ezek 37:10.
Byzantine liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning Prayer.
St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 11: SCh 62, 48-49.
Cf. Jn 1:14; Phil 2:7.
Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
Cf. In 11:52.
Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
Cf. Ex 19-20; Deut 1-11; 29-30.
Cf. Rom 3:20.
Ex 19:5-6; Cf. 1 Pet 2:9.
Cf. 2 Sam 7; Ps 89; Lk 1:32-33.
Cf. Lk 24:26.
Cf. Zeph 2:3; Lk 2:25, 38.
Jn 12:41; cf. Isa 6-12.
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.
Isa 61:1-2; cf. Lk 4:18-19.
Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36:25-28; 37:1-14; Jer 31:31-34; and cf. Joel 3:1-5.
Cf. Acts 2:17-21.
Cf. Zeph 2:3; Pss 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1; etc.
Lk 1:15, 41.
Cf. Lk 1:68.
Mt 17:10-13; cf. Lk 1:78.
Cf. Mt 11:13-14.
Jn 1:23; cf. Isa 40:1-3.
Jn 1:7; cf. Jn 15:26; 5:35.
Cf. 1 Pet 1:10-12.
Cf Jn 3:5.
Cf. Prov 8:1-9:6; Sir 24.
Cf. Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:14.
Cf. Lk 1:46-55.
Cf. Lk 1:26-38; Rom 4:18-21; Gal 4:26-28.
Cf. Lk 1:15-19; Mt 2:11.
Cf. Lk 2:14.
Cf. Jn 19:25-27.
Cf. Jn 6:27, 51, 62-63.
Cf. Jn 3:5-8.
Cf. Jn 4:10, 14, 23-24.
Cf. Jn 7:37-39.
Cf. Lk 11:13.
Cf. Mt 10:19-20.
Cf. Jn 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:26.
Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.
Cf. Jn 20:22.
Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.
Cf. Acts 2:33-36.
Byzantine liturgy, Pentecost Vespers, Troparion, repeated after communion.
1 Jn 4:8,16.
2 Cor 13:14.
1 Jn 4: 12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21.
Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13.
Gal 5:25; cf. Mt 16:24-26.
St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15,36: PG 32,132.
St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11: PG 74, 561.
LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15.
Roman Catechism I, 10, 1.
St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 35: SCh 11, 118.
Roman Catechism I, 10, 22.
Cf. Acts 19:39.
Cf. Ex 19.
Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19, 28, 34, 35.
Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1.
Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6.
Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9.
LG 6; Cf. Jn 10:1-10; Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:11-31; Jn 10:11; 1 Pet 5:4; Jn 10:11-16.
LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 39; Rom 11:13-26; Mt 21:32-43 and parallels; Isa 51-7; Jn 15:1-5.
LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 3:9; Mt 21:42 and parallels; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:7; PS 118:22; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Tim 3:15; Eph 2:19-22; Rev 21:3; 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 21:1-2.
LG 6; Cf. Gal 4:26; Rev 12:17; 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17; Eph 5:25-26, 29.
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.
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.
157 Cf. Gen 12:2; 15:5-6.
158 Cf. Ex 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; Isa 2:2-5; Mic 4:1-4.
159 LG 9; cf. Hos 1; Isa 1:2-4; Jer 2; 31:31-34; Isa 55:3.
160 Cf. LG 3; AG 3.
161 LG 5.
162 LG 3.
163 LG 5.
164 LG 5.
165 Lk 12:32; cf. Mt 10:16; 26:31; In 10:1-21.
166 Cf. Mt 12:49.
167 Cf. Mt 5-6.
168 Cf. Mk 3:14-15.
169 Cf. Mt 19:28; Lk 22:30; Rev 21:12-14.
170 Cf. Mk 6:7; Lk 10:1-2; Mt 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.
188 St. Bernard of Clairvaux, In Cant. Sermo 27:14 PL 183:920D.
189 Eph 1:10.
190 Eph 5:32; 3:9-11; 5:25-27.
191 Col 1:27.
192 1 Cor 13:8; cf. LG 48.
193 John Paul II, MD 27.
194 Eph 5:27.
195 Cf. John Paul II, MD 27.
196 St. Augustine, Ep. 187,11,34: PL 33, 846.
197 LG 1.
198 Rev 7:9.
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. 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, praef., 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
255 1 Cor 12:7.
256 LG 8.
257 Cf. DS 2888.
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.
264 Eph 4:3.
265 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 15.
275 Cf. UR 3.
276 Cf. LG 8.
277 UR 4 # 3.
278 Jn 17:21; cf. 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; 11.
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 1.
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 13:24-30.
302 Paul VI, CPG # 19.
303 Cf. LG 40; 48-51.
304 John Paul II, CL 16, 3.
305 CL 17, 3.
306 LG 65; Cf. Eph 5:26-27.
307 St. 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
317 St. Maximus the Confessor, Opuscula theo.: PG 91 137-140.
318 Paul VI, EN 62.
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.
327 Roman Missal, Good Friday 13: General Intercessions, VI.
328 Rom 9:4-5.
329 Rom 11:29.
330 LG 16; cf. NA 3.
331 NA 1.
332 LG 16; cf. NA 2; EN 53.
333 LG 16; cf. Rom 1:21, 25.
334 St. 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.
337 LG 16; cf. DS 3866-3872.
338 AG 7; cf. Heb 11:6; 1 Cor 9:16.
339 AG 1; cf. Mt 16:15.
340 Mt 28:19-20.
341 AG 2.
342 Cf. John Paul II, RMiss 23.
343 2 Cor 5:14; cf. AA 6; RMiss 11.
344 1 Tim 2:4.
345 John Paul II, RMiss 21.
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 47.
353 AG 15 # 1.
354 Cf. RMiss 48-49.
355 Cf. RMiss 52-54.
356 AG 6 # 2.
357 Cf. RMiss 50.
358 UR 4 # 8.
359 Cf. RMiss 55.
360 AG 9.
361 AG 9.
362 Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14.
363 Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.
364 Cf. Acts 2:42.
365 Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14.
366 AG 5.
367 Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I.
368 Mk 3:13-14.
369 Jn 20:21; cf. 13:20; 17:18.
370 Mt 10:40; cf. Lk 10:16.
371 Jn 5:19, 30; cf. Jn 15:5.
372 2 Cor 3:6; 6:4; 5:20; 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,
375 LG 20 # 2.
376 LG 20 # 2.
377 AA 2.
378 AA 4; cf. Jn 15:5.
379 AA 3.
380 Rev 19:6.
381 Eph 1:4.
382 Rev 21:9.
383 Rev 21:10-11.
384 Rev 21:14.
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 Mt 19:12; cf. l Cor 7:34-36.
462 CIC, can. 604 # 1.
463 Ordo Consecrationis Virginum, Praenotanda 1.
464 Cf. CIC, can. 604 # 1; OCV Praenotanda 2.
465 Cf. CIC, can. 604 # 2.
466 Cf. CIC, cann. 607; 573; UR 15.
467 Cf. CD 33-35; CIC, can. 591.
468 Cf. AG 18; 40.
469 John Paul II, RMiss 69.
470 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.
474 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.
480 Acts 2:42.
481 Roman Catechism 1, 10, 24.
482 LG 12 # 2.
483 1 cor 12:7.
484 Acts 4:32.
485 Roman Catechism 1, 10, 27.
486 Cf. Lk 16:1, 3.
487 Rom 14:7.
488 1 Cor 12:26-27.
489 1 Cor 13:5; cf. 10:24.
490 LG 49; cf. Mt 25:31; 1 Cor 15:26-27; Council of Florence (1439): DS
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.
497 Martyrium 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
507 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion, Feast of the Dormition, August 15th.
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 20:22-23.
519 Mk 16:15-16.
520 Rom 6:4; Cf. 4:25.
521 Roman Catechism I, 11,3.
522 Roman Catechism I, 11,4.
523 Council Of Trent (1551): DS 1672; Cf. St. Gregory Of Nazianzus, Oratio
39,17: PG 36,356.
524 Lk 24:47.
525 2 Cor 5:18.
526 St. Augustine, Sermo 214, 11: PL 38, 1071-1072.
527 Roman Catechism I, 11, 5.
528 Cf. Mt 18:21-22.
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 6:39-40.
533 Rom 8:11; cf. 1 Thess 4:14; 1 Cor 6:14; 2 Cor 4:14; Phil 3:10-11.
534 Cf. Gen 6:3; Ps 56:5; Isa 40:6.
535 Rom 8:11.
536 Tertullian, De res, 1,1: PL 2, 841.
537 1 Cor 15:12-14.
538 2 Macc 7:9.
539 2 Macc 7:14; cf. 7:29; Dan 12:1-13.
540 Mk 12:24; cf. In 11:24; Acts 23:6.
541 Mk 12:27.
542 Jn 11:25.
543 Cf. Jn 5:24-25; 6:40, 54.
544 Cf. Mk 5:21-42; Lk 7:11-17; Jn 11.
545 Mt 12:39.
546 Cf. Mk 10:34; Jn 2:19-22.
547 Acts 1:22; 10:41; cf. 4:33.
548 Cf. Acts 17:32; 1 Cor 15:12-13.
549 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 88, 5: PL 37, 1134.
550 Jn 5:29; cf. Dan 12:2.
551 Lk 24:39.
552 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 801; Phil 3:21; 2 Cor 15:44.
553 1 Cor 15:35-37, 42, 52, 53.
554 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 4-5: PG 7/1, 1028-1029.
555 Jn 6: 39-40, 44, 54; 11:24; LG 48 # 3.
556 1 Thess 4:16.
557 Col 2:12; 3:1.
558 Col 3:3; cf. Phil 3:20.
559 Eph 2:6.
560 Col 3:4.
561 1 Cor 6:13-15, 19-20.
562 2 cor 5:8.
563 Cf. Phil 1:23.
564 Cf. Paul VI, CPG # 28.
565 GS 18.
566 Rom 6:23; cf. Gen 2:17.
567 Cf. Rom 6:3-9; Phil 3:10-11.
568 Eccl 12:1, 7.
569 Cf. Gen 2:17; 3:3; 3:19; Wis 1:13; Rom 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 5:19-21.
574 Phil 1:21.
575 2 Tim 2:11.
576 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1-2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2,
577 Phil 1:23.
578 Cf. Lk 23:46.
579 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1- 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2,
580 St. Teresa of Avila, Life, chap. 1.
581 St. Therese of Lisieux, The Last Conversations.
582 Cf. I Thess 4:13-14.
583 Roman Missal, Preface of Christian Death I.
584 LG 48 # 3.
585 Heb 9:27.
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 Commendation.
590 Cf. 2 Tim 1:9-10.
591 Cf. Lk 16:22; 23:43; Mt 16:26; 2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23; Heb 9:27; 12:23.
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, 8enedictus Deus (1336): DS 1002.
595 St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64.
596 1 Jn 3:2; cf. 1 Cor 13:12; Rev 22:4.
597 Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000; cf. LG 49.
598 Phil 1:23; cf. Jn 14:3; 1 Thess 4:17.
599 Cf. Rev 2:17.
600 St. Ambrose, In Luc., 10, 121: PL 15, 1834A.
601 1 Cor 2:9.
602 St. Cyprian, Ep. 58, 10, 1: CSEL 3/2, 665.
603 Rev 22:5; cf. Mt 25:21, 23.
604 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS
1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS
605 Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.
606 St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 12:31.
607 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 Jn 3:14-15.
611 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
612 Cf. Mt 5:22, 29; 10:28; 13:42, 50; Mk 9:43-48.
613 Mt 13:41-42.
614 Mt 25:41.
615 Cf. DS 76; 409; 411; 801; 858; 1002; 1351; 1575; Paul VI, CPG # 12.
616 Mt 7:13-14.
617 LG 48 # 3; Mt 22:13; cf. Heb 9:27; Mt 25:13, 26, 30, 31 46.
618 Cf. Council of Orange II (529): DS 397; Council of Trent
619 2 Pet 3:9.
620 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.
621 Acts 24:15.
622 Jn 5:28-29.
623 Mt 25:31, 32, 46.
624 Cf. Jn 12:49.
625 St. Augustine, Sermo 18, 4: PL 38, 130-131; cf. Ps 50:3.
626 Cf. Song 8:6.
627 2 Cor 6:2.
628 Titus 2:13; 2 Thess 1:10.
629 LG 48; Cf. Acts 3:21; Eph 1:10; Col 1:20; 2 Pet 3:10-13.
630 2 Pet 3:13; Cf. Rev 21:1.
631 Eph 1:10.
632 Cf. Rev 21:5.
633 Rev 21:4.
634 Cf. LG 1.
635 Rev 21:2, 9.
636 Cf. Rev 21:27.
637 Rom 8:19-23.
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 5:28.
643 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 18, 29: PG 33, 1049.
644 Cf. Rev 22:21.
645 Isa 65:16.
646 Cf. Mt 6:2, 5, 16; Jn 5:19.
647 St. Augustine, Sermo 58, 11, 13: PL 38, 399.
648 Rev 3:14.
649 2 Cor 1:20.