The Catechism of the Catholic Church

PROLOGUE

“FATHER,... this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” [1]

“God our Saviour desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” [2]

“There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” [3] - than the name of JESUS.


1 Jn 17 3
2 1 Tim 2:3-4.
3 Acts 4:12

I. The life of man - to know and love God

1 God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Saviour. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: “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, to the close of the age.” [4] Strengthened by this mission, the apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.” [5]

3 Those who with God's help have welcomed Christ's call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world. This treasure, received from the apostles, has been faithfully guarded by their successors. All Christ's faithful are called to hand it on from generation to generation, by professing the faith, by living it in fraternal sharing, and by celebrating it in liturgy and prayer. [6]


4 Mt 28:19-20
5 Mk 16:20
6 Cf. Acts 2:42

II. Handing on the Faith: Catechesis

4 Quite early on, the name catechesis was given to the totality of the Church's efforts to make disciples, to help men believe that Jesus is the Son of God so that believing they might have life in his name, and to educate and instruct them in this life, thus building up the body of Christ. [7]

5 “Catechesis is an education in the faith of children, young people and adults which includes especially the teaching of Christian doctrine imparted, generally speaking, in an organic and systematic way, with a view to initiating the hearers into the fullness of Christian life.” [8]

6 While not being formally identified with them, catechesis is built on a certain number of elements of the Church's pastoral mission which have a catechetical aspect, that prepare for catechesis, or spring from it. They are: the initial proclamation of the Gospel or missionary preaching to arouse faith; examination of the reasons for belief; experience of Christian living; celebration of the sacraments; integration into the ecclesial community; and apostolic and missionary witness. [9]

7 “Catechesis is intimately bound up with the whole of the Church's life. Not only her geographical extension and numerical increase, but even more her inner growth and correspondence with God's plan depend essentially on catechesis.” [10]

8 Periods of renewal in the Church are also intense moments of catechesis. In the great era of the Fathers of the Church, saintly bishops devoted an important part of their ministry to catechesis. St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. John Chrysostom, St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, and many other Fathers wrote catechetical works that remain models for us. [11]

9 “The ministry of catechesis draws ever fresh energy from the councils. the Council of Trent is a noteworthy example of this. It gave catechesis priority in its constitutions and decrees. It lies at the origin of the Roman Catechism, which is also known by the name of that council and which is a work of the first rank as a summary of Christian teaching. . “ [12] The Council of Trent initiated a remarkable organization of the Church's catechesis. Thanks to the work of holy bishops and theologians such as St. Peter Canisius, St. Charles Borromeo, St. Turibius of Mongrovejo or St. Robert Bellarmine, it occasioned the publication of numerous catechisms.

10 It is therefore no surprise that catechesis in the Church has again attracted attention in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, which Pope Paul Vl considered the great catechism of modern times. the General Catechetical Directory (1971) the sessions of the Synod of Bishops devoted to evangelization (1974) and catechesis (1977), the apostolic exhortations Evangelii nuntiandi (1975) and Catechesi tradendae (1979), attest to this. the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in 1985 asked “that a catechism or compendium of all Catholic doctrine regarding both faith and morals be composed” [13] The Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, made the Synod's wish his own, acknowledging that “this desire wholly corresponds to a real need of the universal Church and of the particular Churches.” [14] He set in motion everything needed to carry out the Synod Fathers' wish.


7 Cf. John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Catechesi tradendae 1; 2.
8 CT 18.
9 CT 18.
10 CT 13.
11 Cf. CT 12.
12 CT 13.
13 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops 1985,. Final Report II B a, 4.
14 John Paul II, Discourse at the Closing of the Extraordinary Synod of    Bishops 7 December 1985: AAS 78, (1986).

III. The Aim and Intended Readership of the Catechism

11 This catechism aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals, in the light of the Second Vatican Council and the whole of the Church's Tradition. Its principal sources are the Sacred Scriptures, the Fathers of the Church, the liturgy, and the Church's Magisterium. It is intended to serve “as a point of reference for the catechisms or compendia that are composed in the various countries”. [15]

12 This work is intended primarily for those responsible for catechesis: first of all the bishops, as teachers of the faith and pastors of the Church. It is offered to them as an instrument in fulfilling their responsibility of teaching the People of God. Through the bishops, it is addressed to redactors of catechisms, to priests, and to catechists. It will also be useful reading for all other Christian faithful.


15 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops 1985, Final Report II B a, 4.

IV. Structure of this Catechism

13 The plan of this catechism is inspired by the great tradition of catechisms which build catechesis on four pillars: the baptismal profession of faith (the Creed), the sacraments of faith, the life of faith (the Commandments), and the prayer of the believer (the Lord's Prayer).

Part One: the Profession of Faith

14 Those who belong to Christ through faith and Baptism must confess their baptismal faith before men. [16] First therefore the Catechism expounds revelation, by which God addresses and gives himself to man, and the faith by which man responds to God (Section One). the profession of faith summarizes the gifts that God gives man: as the Author of all that is good; as Redeemer; and as Sanctifier. It develops these in the three chapters on our baptismal faith in the one God: the almighty Father, the Creator; his Son Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour; and the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, in the Holy Church (Section Two).

Part Two: the Sacraments of Faith

15 The second part of the Catechism explains how God's salvation, accomplished once for all through Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is made present in the sacred actions of the Church's liturgy (Section One), especially in the seven sacraments (Section Two).

Part Three: the Life of Faith

16 The third part of the Catechism deals with the final end of man created in the image of God: beatitude, and the ways of reaching it - through right conduct freely chosen, with the help of God's law and grace (Section One), and through conduct that fulfils the twofold commandment of charity, specified in God's Ten Commandments (Section Two).

Part Four: Prayer in the Life of Faith

17 The last part of the Catechism deals with the meaning and importance of prayer in the life of believers (Section One). It concludes with a brief commentary on the seven petitions of the Lord's Prayer (Section Two), for indeed we find in these the sum of all the good things which we must hope for, and which our heavenly Father wants to grant us.


16 Cf. Mt 10:32; Rom 10:9

V. Practical Directions for Using this Catechism

18 This catechism is conceived as an organic presentation of the Catholic faith in its entirety. It should be seen therefore as a unified whole. Numerous cross-references in the margin of the text (numbers found at the end of a sentence referring to other paragraphs that deal with the same theme), as well as the analytical index at the end of the volume, allow the reader to view each theme in its relationship with the entirety of the faith.

19 The texts of Sacred Scripture are often not quoted word for word but are merely indicated by a reference (cf.). For a deeper understanding of such passages, the reader should refer to the Scriptural texts themselves. Such Biblical references are a valuable working-tool in catechesis.

20 The use of small print in certain passages indicates observations of an historical or apologetic nature, or supplementary doctrinal explanations.

21 The quotations, also in small print, from patristic, liturgical, magisterial or hagiographical sources, are intended to enrich the doctrinal presentations. These texts have often been chosen with a view to direct catechetical use.

22 At the end of each thematic unit, a series of brief texts in small italics sums up the essentials of that unit's teaching in condensed formulae. These “IN BRIEF” summaries may suggest to local catechists brief summary formulae that could be memorized.


VI. Necessary Adaptations

23 The Catechism emphasizes the exposition of doctrine. It seeks to help deepen understanding of faith. In this way it is oriented towards the maturing of that faith, its putting down roots in personal life, and its shining forth in personal conduct. [17]

24 By design, this Catechism does not set out to provide the adaptation of doctrinal presentations and catechetical methods required by the differences of culture, age, spiritual maturity, and social and ecclesial condition among all those to whom it is addressed. Such indispensable adaptations are the responsibility of particular catechisms and, even more, of those who instruct the faithful:

Whoever teaches must become “all things to all men” ( I Cor 9:22), to win everyone to Christ. . . Above all, teachers must not imagine that a single kind of soul has been entrusted to them, and that consequently it is lawful to teach and form equally all the faithful in true piety with one and the same method! Let them realize that some are in Christ as newborn babes, others as adolescents, and still others as adults in full command of their powers.... Those who are called to the ministry of preaching must suit their words to the maturity and understanding of their hearers, as they hand on the teaching of the mysteries of faith and the rules of moral conduct. [18]

Above all - Charity

25 To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism:

The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. [19]


17 Cf. CT 20-22; 25.
18 Roman Catechism, Preface II; cf. I Cor 9:22; I Pt 2:2
19 Roman Catechism, Preface 10; cf. I Cor 13 8.

PART ONE:

THE PROFESSION OF FAITH

SECTION ONE

“I BELIEVE” - “WE BELIEVE”

26 We begin our profession of faith by saying: “I believe” or “We believe”. Before expounding the Church's faith, as confessed in the Creed, celebrated in the liturgy and lived in observance of God's commandments and in prayer, we must first ask what “to believe” means. Faith is man's response to God, who reveals himself and gives himself to man, at the same time bringing man a superabundant light as he searches for the ultimate meaning of his life. Thus we shall consider first that search (Chapter One), then the divine Revelation by which God comes to meet man (Chapter Two), and finally the response of faith (Chapter Three).


CHAPTER ONE

MAN'S CAPACITY FOR GOD

I. The Desire for God

27 The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator. [1]

28 In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behaviour: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being:

From one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth, and he allotted the times of their existence and the boundaries of the places where they would live, so that they would search for God and perhaps grope for him and find him - though indeed he is not far from each one of us. For “in him we live and move and have our being.” [2]

29 But this “intimate and vital bond of man to God” (GS 19 # 1) can be forgotten, overlooked, or even explicitly rejected by man. [3] Such attitudes can have different causes: revolt against evil in the world; religious ignorance or indifference; the cares and riches of this world; the scandal of bad example on the part of believers; currents of thought hostile to religion; finally, that attitude of sinful man which makes him hide from God out of fear and flee his call. [4]

30 “Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice.” [5] Although man can forget God or reject him, He never ceases to call every man to seek him, so as to find life and happiness. But this search for God demands of man every effort of intellect, a sound will, “an upright heart”, as well as the witness of others who teach him to seek God.

You are great, O Lord, and greatly to be praised: great is your power and your wisdom is without measure. and man, so small a part of your creation, wants to praise you: this man, though clothed with mortality and bearing the evidence of sin and the proof that you withstand the proud. Despite everything, man, though but a small a part of your creation, wants to praise you. You yourself encourage him to delight in your praise, for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you. [6]


1 Vatican Council II, GS 19 # 1.
2 Acts 17:26-28.
3 GS 19 # 1.
4 Cf. GS 19-21; Mt 13:22; Gen 3:8-10; Jon 1:3.
5 Ps 105:3
6 St. Augustine, Conf. I, I, I: PL 32, 659-661.

II. Ways of Coming to Know God

31 Created in God's image and called to know and love him, the person who seeks God discovers certain ways of coming to know him. These are also called proofs for the existence of God, not in the sense of proofs in the natural sciences, but rather in the sense of “converging and convincing arguments”, which allow us to attain certainty about the truth. These “ways” of approaching God from creation have a twofold point of departure: the physical world, and the human person.

32 The world: starting from movement, becoming, contingency, and the world's order and beauty, one can come to a knowledge of God as the origin and the end of the universe.

As St. Paul says of the Gentiles: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. [7]

 

And St. Augustine issues this challenge: Question the beauty of the earth, question the beauty of the sea, question the beauty of the air distending and diffusing itself, question the beauty of the sky. . . question all these realities. All respond: “See, we are beautiful.” Their beauty is a profession [confessio]. These beauties are subject to change. Who made them if not the Beautiful One [Pulcher] who is not subject to change? [8]

33 The human person: with his openness to truth and beauty, his sense of moral goodness, his freedom and the voice of his conscience, with his longings for the infinite and for happiness, man questions himself about God's existence. In all this he discerns signs of his spiritual soul. the soul, the “seed of eternity we bear in ourselves, irreducible to the merely material”, [9] can have its origin only in God.

34 The world, and man, attest that they contain within themselves neither their first principle nor their final end, but rather that they participate in Being itself, which alone is without origin or end. Thus, in different ways, man can come to know that there exists a reality which is the first cause and final end of all things, a reality “that everyone calls God”. [10]

35 Man's faculties make him capable of coming to a knowledge of the existence of a personal God. But for man to be able to enter into real intimacy with him, God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.


7 Rom 1:19-20; cf., Acts 14:15, 17; 17:27-28; Wis 13:1-9.
8 St. Augustine, Sermo 241, 2: PL 38, 1134,
9 GS 18 # 1; cf. 14 # 2.
10 St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, 2, 3.

III. The Knowledge of God According to the Church

36 “Our holy mother, the Church, holds and teaches that God, the first principle and last end of all things, can be known with certainty from the created world by the natural light of human reason.” [11] Without this capacity, man would not be able to welcome God's revelation. Man has this capacity because he is created “in the image of God”. [12]

37 In the historical conditions in which he finds himself, however, man experiences many difficulties in coming to know God by the light of reason alone:

Though human reason is, strictly speaking, truly capable by its own natural power and light of attaining to a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, who watches over and controls the world by his providence, and of the natural law written in our hearts by the Creator; yet there are many obstacles which prevent reason from the effective and fruitful use of this inborn faculty. For the truths that concern the relations between God and man wholly transcend the visible order of things, and, if they are translated into human action and influence it, they call for self-surrender and abnegation. the human mind, in its turn, is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful. [13]

38 This is why man stands in need of being enlightened by God's revelation, not only about those things that exceed his understanding, but also “about those religious and moral truths which of themselves are not beyond the grasp of human reason, so that even in the present condition of the human race, they can be known by all men with ease, with firm certainty and with no admixture of error”. [14]


11 Vatican Council I, Dei Filius 2: DS 3004 cf. 3026; Vatican Council    II, Dei Verbum 6.
12 Cf. Gen 1:27
13 Pius XII, Humani generis 561: DS 3875.
14 Pius XII, Humani generis 561: DS 3876; cf. Dei Filius 2: DS 3005;    DV 6; St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, I, I.

IV. How Can We Speak about God?

39 In defending the ability of human reason to know God, the Church is expressing her confidence in the possibility of speaking about him to all men and with all men, and therefore of dialogue with other religions, with philosophy and science, as well as with unbelievers and atheists.

40 Since our knowledge of God is limited, our language about him is equally so. We can name God only by taking creatures as our starting point, and in accordance with our limited human ways of knowing and thinking.

41 All creatures bear a certain resemblance to God, most especially man, created in the image and likeness of God. the manifold perfections of creatures - their truth, their goodness, their beauty all reflect the infinite perfection of God. Consequently we can name God by taking his creatures” perfections as our starting point, “for from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator”. [15]

42 God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, imagebound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God --”the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable”-- with our human representations. [16] Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.

43 Admittedly, in speaking about God like this, our language is using human modes of expression; nevertheless it really does attain to God himself, though unable to express him in his infinite simplicity. Likewise, we must recall that “between Creator and creature no similitude can be expressed without implying an even greater dissimilitude”; [17] and that “concerning God, we cannot grasp what he is, but only what he is not, and how other beings stand in relation to him.” [18]


15 Wis 13:5
16 Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Anaphora.
17 Lateran Council IV: DS 806.
18 St. Thomas Aquinas, SCG 1, 30.

IN BRIEF

44 Man is by nature and vocation a religious being. Coming from God, going toward God, man lives a fully human life only if he freely lives by his bond with God.

45 Man is made to live in communion with God in whom he finds happiness: When I am completely united to you, there will be no more sorrow or trials; entirely full of you, my life will be complete (St. Augustine, Conf. 10, 28, 39: PL 32, 795}.

46 When he listens to the message of creation and to the voice of conscience, man can arrive at certainty about the existence of God, the cause and the end of everything.

47 The Church teaches that the one true God, our Creator and Lord, can be known with certainty from his works, by the natural light of human reason (cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 # 1: DS 3026),

48 We really can name God, starting from the manifold perfections of his creatures, which are likenesses of the infinitely perfect God, even if our limited language cannot exhaust the mystery.

49 Without the Creator, the creature vanishes (GS 36). This is the reason why believers know that the love of Christ urges them to bring the light of the living God to those who do not know him or who reject him.


CHAPTER TWO

GOD COMES TO MEET MAN

50 By natural reason man can know God with certainty, on the basis of his works. But there is another order of knowledge, which man cannot possibly arrive at by his own powers: the order of divine Revelation. [1] Through an utterly free decision, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. This he does by revealing the mystery, his plan of loving goodness, formed from all eternity in Christ, for the benefit of all men. God has fully revealed this plan by sending us his beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.


1 Cf. Dei Filius DS 3015.

Article 1

THE REVELATION OF GOD

I. God Reveals His “Plan of Loving Goodness”

51 “It pleased God, in his goodness and wisdom, to reveal himself and to make known the mystery of his will. His will was that men should have access to the Father, through Christ, the Word made flesh, in the Holy Spirit, and thus become sharers in the divine nature.” [2]

52 God, who “dwells in unapproachable light”, wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son. [3] By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity.

53 The divine plan of Revelation is realized simultaneously “by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other” [4] and shed light on each another. It involves a specific divine pedagogy: God communicates himself to man gradually. He prepares him to welcome by stages the supernatural Revelation that is to culminate in the person and mission of the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.

St. Irenaeus of Lyons repeatedly speaks of this divine pedagogy using the image of God and man becoming accustomed to one another: the Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father's pleasure. [5]

 


2 DV 2; cf. Eph 1:9; 2:18; 2 Pt 1:4
3 I Tim 6:16, cf. Eph 1:4-5.
4 DV 2.
5 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 20, 2: PG 7/1, 944; cf. 3, 17, 1; 4, 12, 4; 4, 21, 3.

II. The Stages of Revelation

In the beginning God makes himself known

54 “God, who creates and conserves all things by his Word, provides men with constant evidence of himself in created realities. and furthermore, wishing to open up the way to heavenly salvation - he manifested himself to our first parents from the very beginning.” [6] He invited them to intimate communion with himself and clothed them with resplendent grace and justice.

55 This revelation was not broken off by our first parents' sin. “After the fall, (God) buoyed them up with the hope of salvation, by promising redemption; and he has never ceased to show his solicitude for the human race. For he wishes to give eternal life to all those who seek salvation by patience in well-doing.” [7]

Even when he disobeyed you and lost your friendship you did not abandon him to the power of death. . . Again and again you offered a covenant to man. [8]

The covenant with Noah

56 After the unity of the human race was shattered by sin God at once sought to save humanity part by part. the covenant with Noah after the flood gives expression to the principle of the divine economy toward the “nations”, in other words, towards men grouped “in their lands, each with (its) own language, by their families, in their nations”. [9]

57 This state of division into many nations, each entrusted by divine providence to the guardianship of angels, is at once cosmic, social and religious. It is intended to limit the pride of fallen humanity [10] united only in its perverse ambition to forge its own unity as at Babel. [11] But, because of sin, both polytheism and the idolatry of the nation and of its rulers constantly threaten this provisional economy with the perversion of paganism. [12]

58 The covenant with Noah remains in force during the times of the Gentiles, until the universal proclamation of the Gospel. [13] The Bible venerates several great figures among the Gentiles: Abel the just, the king-priest Melchisedek - a figure of Christ - and the upright “Noah, Daniel, and Job”. [14] Scripture thus expresses the heights of sanctity that can be reached by those who live according to the covenant of Noah, waiting for Christ to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad”. [15]

God chooses Abraham

59 In order to gather together scattered humanity God calls Abram from his country, his kindred and his father's house, [16] and makes him Abraham, that is, “the father of a multitude of nations”. “In you all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” [17]

60 The people descended from Abraham would be the trustee of the promise made to the patriarchs, the chosen people, called to prepare for that day when God would gather all his children into the unity of the Church. [18] They would be the root on to which the Gentiles would be grafted, once they came to believe. [19]

61 The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament figures have been and always will be honoured as saints in all the Church's liturgical traditions.

God forms his people Israel

62 After the patriarchs, God formed Israel as his people by freeing them from slavery in Egypt. He established with them the covenant of Mount Sinai and, through Moses, gave them his law so that they would recognize him and serve him as the one living and true God, the provident Father and just judge, and so that they would look for the promised Saviour. [20]

63 Israel is the priestly people of God, “called by the name of the LORD”, and “the first to hear the word of God”, [21] The people of “elder brethren” in the faith of Abraham.

64 Through the prophets, God forms his people in the hope of salvation, in the expectation of a new and everlasting Covenant intended for all, to be written on their hearts. [22] The prophets proclaim a radical redemption of the People of God, purification from all their infidelities, a salvation which will include all the nations. [23] Above all, the poor and humble of the Lord will bear this hope. Such holy women as Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Judith and Esther kept alive the hope of Israel's salvation. the purest figure among them is Mary. [24]


6 DV 3; cf. Jn 1:3; Rom 1:19-20
7 DV 3; cf. Gen 3:15; Rom 2:6-7.


8 Roman Missal, Eucharistic Prayer IV, 118.
9 Gen 10:5; cf. 9:9-10, 16; 10:20-31.
10 Cf. Acts 17:26-27; Dt 4:19; Dt (LXX) 32:8.
11 Cf. Wis 10:5; Gen 11:4-6
12 Cf. Rom 1:18-25.
13 Cf. Gen 9:16; Lk 21:24; DV 3.
14 Cf. Gen 14:18; Heb 7:3; Ezek 14:14.
15 Jn 11:52
16 Gen 12:1
17 Gen 17:5; 12:3 (LXX); cf. Gal 3:8
18 Cf. Rom 11:28; Jn 11:52; 10:16.
19 Cf. Rom 11:17-18, 24.
20 Cf. DV 3.
21 Dt 28: 10; Roman Missal, Good i Friday, General Intercession VI;    see also Ex 19:6
22 Cf. Is 2:2-4; Jer 31:31-34; Heb 10:16
23 Cf. Ezek 36; Is 49:5-6; 53:11
24 Cf. Ezek 2:3; Lk 1:38

III. Christ Jesus -- “Mediator and Fullness of All Revelation” [25]

God has said everything in his Word

65 “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son.” [26] Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty. [27]

There will be no further Revelation

66 “The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [28] Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such “revelations”.


25 DV 2.
26 Heb 1:1-2
27 St. John of the Cross, the Ascent of Mount Carmel 2, 22, 3-5 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),    179-180: LH, Advent, week 2, Monday, OR.
28 DV 4; cf. I Tim 6:14; Titus 2:13

IN BRIEF

68 By love, God has revealed himself and given himself to man. He has thus provided the definitive, superabundant answer to the questions that man asks himself about the meaning and purpose of his life.

69 God has revealed himself to man by gradually communicating his own mystery in deeds and in words.

70 Beyond the witness to himself that God gives in created things, he manifested himself to our first parents, spoke to them and, after the fall, promised them salvation (cf Gen 3:15) and offered them his covenant.

71 God made an everlasting covenant with Noah and with all living beings (cf Gen 9:16). It will remain in force as long as the world lasts.

72 God chose Abraham and made a covenant with him and his descendants. By the covenant God formed his people and revealed his law to them through Moses. Through the prophets, he prepared them to accept the salvation destined for all humanity.

73 God has revealed himself fully by sending his own Son, in whom he has established his covenant for ever. the Son is his Father's definitive Word; so there will be no further Revelation after him.


Article 2

THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION

74 God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”: [29] that is, of Christ Jesus. [30] Christ must be proclaimed to all nations and individuals, so that this revelation may reach to the ends of the earth:

God graciously arranged that the things he had once revealed for the salvation of all peoples should remain in their entirety, throughout the ages, and be transmitted to all generations. [31]


29 1 Tim 2:4
30 cf. Jn 14:6
31 DV 7; cf. 2 Cor 1:20; 3:16 - 4:6

I. The Apostolic Tradition

75 “Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.” [32]

In the apostolic preaching. . .

76 In keeping with the Lord's command, the Gospel was handed on in two ways: - orally “by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit”; [33] - in writing “by those apostles and other men associated with the apostles who, under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit, committed the message of salvation to writing”. [34]

. . . continued in apostolic succession

77 “In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them their own position of teaching authority.” [35] Indeed, “the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time.” [36]

78 This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it. Through Tradition, “the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.” [37] “The sayings of the holy Fathers are a witness to the life-giving presence of this Tradition, showing how its riches are poured out in the practice and life of the Church, in her belief and her prayer.” [38]

79 The Father's self-communication made through his Word in the Holy Spirit, remains present and active in the Church: “God, who spoke in the past, continues to converse with the Spouse of his beloved Son. and the Holy Spirit, through whom the living voice of the Gospel rings out in the Church - and through her in the world - leads believers to the full truth, and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them in all its richness.” [39]


32 DV 7; cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15
33 DV 7.
34 DV 7.
35 DV 7 # 2; St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 3, 1: PG 7/1, 848;    Harvey, 2, 9.
36 DV 8 # 1.
37 DV 8 # 1.
38 DV 8 # 3.
39 DV 8 # 3; cf. Col 3:16.

II. The Relationship Between Tradition and Sacred Scripture

One common source. . .

80 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.” [40] Each of them makes present and fruitful in the Church the mystery of Christ, who promised to remain with his own “always, to the close of the age”. [41]

. . . two distinct modes of transmission

81 “Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit.” [42]

“and [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching.” [43]

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, “does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” [44]

Apostolic Tradition and ecclesial traditions

83 The Tradition here in question comes from the apostles and hands on what they received from Jesus' teaching and example and what they learned from the Holy Spirit. the first generation of Christians did not yet have a written New Testament, and the New Testament itself demonstrates the process of living Tradition.

Tradition is to be distinguished from the various theological, disciplinary, liturgical or devotional traditions, born in the local churches over time. These are the particular forms, adapted to different places and times, in which the great Tradition is expressed. In the light of Tradition, these traditions can be retained, modified or even abandoned under the guidance of the Church's Magisterium.


40 DV 9.
41 Mt 28:20
42 DV 9.
43 DV 9.
44 DV 9.

III. The Interpretation of the Heritage of Faith

The heritage of faith entrusted to the whole of the Church

84 The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei), [45] contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. “By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practising and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful.” [46]

The Magisterium of the Church

85 “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” [47] This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.” [48]

87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: “He who hears you, hears me”, [49] The faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.

The dogmas of the faith

88 The Church's Magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes in a definitive way truths having a necessary connection with them.

89 There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith. [50]

90 The mutual connections between dogmas, and their coherence, can be found in the whole of the Revelation of the mystery of Christ. [51] “In Catholic doctrine there exists an order or hierarchy 234 of truths, since they vary in their relation to the foundation of the Christian faith.” [52]

The supernatural sense of faith

91 All the faithful share in understanding and handing on revealed truth. They have received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who instructs them [53] and guides them into all truth. [54]

92 “The whole body of the faithful. . . cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals.” [55]

93 “By this appreciation of the faith, aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth, the People of God, guided by the sacred teaching authority (Magisterium),. . . receives. . . the faith, once for all delivered to the saints. . . the People unfailingly adheres to this faith, penetrates it more deeply with right judgment, and applies it more fully in daily life.” [56]

Growth in understanding the faith

94 Thanks to the assistance of the Holy Spirit, the understanding of both the realities and the words of the heritage of faith is able to grow in the life of the Church: - “through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts”; [57] it is in particular “theological research [which] deepens knowledge of revealed truth”. [58] - “from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which [believers] experience”, [59] The sacred Scriptures “grow with the one who reads them.” [60] - “from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession in the episcopate, the sure charism of truth”. [61]

95 “It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.” [62]


45 DV 10 # 1; cf.I Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:12-14(Vulg.).
46 DV 10 # 1; cf. Acts 2:42 (Greek); Pius XII, Apost. Const.    Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November 1950: AAS 42 (1950), 756, taken along    with the words of St. Cyprian, Epist. 66, 8: CSEL 3/2, 733: “The Church    is the people united to its Priests, the flock adhering to its Shepherd.”
47 DV 10 #  2.
48 DV 10 para 2.
49 Lk 10:16; cf. LG 20.
50 Cf. Jn 8:31-32.
51 Cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3016: nexus mysteriorum; LC 25.
52 UR II.
53 Cf. I Jn 2:20, 27
54 Cf. . Jn 16:13
55 LG 12; cf. St. Augustine, De praed. sanct. 14, 27: PL 44, 980.
56 LG 12; cf. Jude 3.
57 DV 8 #  2; cf. Lk 2:19, 51
58 GS 62 # 7; cf. GS 44 # 2; DV 23; 24; UR 4.
59 DV 8 # 2.
60 DV 8 # 2.
61 St. Gregory the Great, Hom. in Ezek. 1, 7, 8: PL 76, 843D.
62 DV 10 # 3.

IN BRIEF

96 What Christ entrusted to the apostles, they in turn handed on by their preaching and writing, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to all generations, until Christ returns in glory.

97 “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God” (DV 10) in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches.

98 “The Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes” (DV 8 # 1).

99 Thanks to its supernatural sense of faith, the People of God as a whole never ceases to welcome, to penetrate more deeply and to live more fully from the gift of divine Revelation.

100 The task of interpreting the Word of God authentically has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.


Article 3

SACRED SCRIPTURE

I. Christ - The Unique Word of Sacred Scripture

101 In order to reveal himself to men, in the condescension of his goodness God speaks to them in human words: “Indeed the words of God, expressed in the words of men, are in every way like human language, just as the Word of the eternal Father, when he took on himself the flesh of human weakness, became like men.” [63]

102 Through all the words of Sacred Scripture, God speaks only one single Word, his one Utterance in whom he expresses himself completely: [64]

You recall that one and the same Word of God extends throughout Scripture, that it is one and the same Utterance that resounds in the mouths of all the sacred writers, since he who was in the beginning God with God has no need of separate syllables; for he is not subject to time. [65]

103 For this reason, the Church has always venerated the Scriptures as she venerates the Lord's Body. She never ceases to present to the faithful the bread of life, taken from the one table of God's Word and Christ's Body. [66]

104 In Sacred Scripture, the Church constantly finds her nourishment and her strength, for she welcomes it not as a human word, “but as what it really is, the word of God”. [67] “In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet his children, and talks with them.” [68]


63 DV 13.
64 Cf. Heb 1:1-3
65 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103, 4, 1: PL 37, 1378; cf. Ps 104; Jn 1:1
66 Cf. DV 21.
67 Th 2:13; cf. DV 24.
68 DV 21.

II. Inspiration and Truth of Sacred Scripture

105 God is the author of Sacred Scripture. “The divinely revealed realities, which are contained and presented in the text of Sacred Scripture, have been written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” [69]

“For Holy Mother Church, relying on the faith of the apostolic age, accepts as sacred and canonical the books of the Old and the New Testaments, whole and entire, with all their parts, on the grounds that, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they have God as their author, and have been handed on as such to the Church herself.” [70]

106 God inspired the human authors of the sacred books. “To compose the sacred books, God chose certain men who, all the while he employed them in this task, made full use of their own faculties and powers so that, though he acted in them and by them, it was as true authors that they consigned to writing whatever he wanted written, and no more.” [71]

107 The inspired books teach the truth. “Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures.” [72]

108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book”. Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, “not a written and mute word, but incarnate and living”. [73] If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, “open (our) minds to understand the Scriptures.” [74]


69 DV 11;
70 DV 11; cf. Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:16; 2 Pt 1:19-21; 3:15-16
71 DV 11.
72 DV 11.
73 St. Bernard, S. missus est hom. 4, 11: PL 183, 86.
74 Cf. Lk 24:45

III. The Holy Spirit, Interpreter of Scripture

109 In Sacred Scripture, God speaks to man in a human way. To interpret Scripture correctly, the reader must be attentive to what the human authors truly wanted to affirm, and to what God wanted to reveal to us by their words. [75]

110 In order to discover the sacred authors' intention, the reader must take into account the conditions of their time and culture, the literary genres in use at that time, and the modes of feeling, speaking and narrating then current. “For the fact is that truth is differently presented and expressed in the various types of historical writing, in prophetical and poetical texts, and in other forms of literary expression.” [76]

111 But since Sacred Scripture is inspired, there is another and no less important principle of correct interpretation, without which Scripture would remain a dead letter. “Sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted in the light of the same Spirit by whom it was written.” [77]

The Second Vatican Council indicates three criteria for interpreting Scripture in accordance with the Spirit who inspired it. [78]

112 Be especially attentive “to the content and unity of the whole Scripture”. Different as the books which compose it may be, Scripture is a unity by reason of the unity of God's plan, of which Christ Jesus is the center and heart, open since his Passover. [79]

The phrase “heart of Christ” can refer to Sacred Scripture, which makes known his heart, closed before the Passion, as the Scripture was obscure. But the Scripture has been opened since the Passion; since those who from then on have understood it, consider and discern in what way the prophecies must be interpreted. [80]

113 2. Read the Scripture within “the living Tradition of the whole Church”. According to a saying of the Fathers, Sacred Scripture is written principally in the Church's heart rather than in documents and records, for the Church carries in her Tradition the living memorial of God's Word, and it is the Holy Spirit who gives her the spiritual interpretation of the Scripture (“. . . according to the spiritual meaning which the Spirit grants to the Church” [81]).

114 3. Be attentive to the analogy of faith. [82] By “analogy of faith” we mean the coherence of the truths of faith among themselves and within the whole plan of Revelation.

The senses of Scripture

115 According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual, the latter being subdivided into the allegorical, moral and anagogical senses. the profound concordance of the four senses guarantees all its richness to the living reading of Scripture in the Church.

116 The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: “All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.” [83]

117 The spiritual sense. Thanks to the unity of God's plan, not only the text of Scripture but also the realities and events about which it speaks can be signs. 1. the allegorical sense. We can acquire a more profound understanding of events by recognizing their significance in Christ; thus the crossing of the Red Sea is a sign or type of Christ's victory and also of Christian Baptism. [84] 2. the moral sense. the events reported in Scripture ought to lead us to act justly. As St. Paul says, they were written “for our instruction”. [85] 3. the anagogical sense (Greek: anagoge, “leading”). We can view realities and events in terms of their eternal significance, leading us toward our true homeland: thus the Church on earth is a sign of the heavenly Jerusalem. [86]

118 A medieval couplet summarizes the significance of the four senses:

The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith; The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny. [87]

119 “It is the task of exegetes to work, according to these rules, towards a better understanding and explanation of the meaning of Sacred Scripture in order that their research may help the Church to form a firmer judgement. For, of course, all that has been said about the manner of interpreting Scripture is ultimately subject to the judgement of the Church which exercises the divinely conferred commission and ministry of watching over and interpreting the Word of God.” [88]

But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me. [89]


75 Cf. DV 12 # 1.
76 DV 12 # 2.
77 DV 12 # 3.
78 Cf. DV 12 # 4.
79 Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-46
80 St. Thomas Aquinas, Expos. in Ps. 21, 11; cf. Ps 22:14.
81 Origen, Hom. in Lev. 5, 5: PG 12, 454D.
82 Cf. Rom 12:6.
83 St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th I, 1, 10, ad I.
84 Cf. I Cor 10:2.
85 I Cor 10:11; cf. Heb 3:1 - 4:11.
86 Cf. Rev 21:1 - 22:5.
87 Lettera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, moralis quid agas, quo    tendas anagogia.
88 DV 12 # 3.
89 St. Augustine, Contra epistolam Manichaei 5, 6: PL 42, 176.

IV. The Canon of Scripture

120 It was by the apostolic Tradition that the Church discerned which writings are to be included in the list of the sacred books. [90]

This complete list is called the canon of Scripture. It includes 46 books for the Old Testament (45 if we count Jeremiah and Lamentations as one) and 27 for the New. [91]

The Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the Song of Songs, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zachariah and Malachi.

 

The New Testament: the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the Acts of the Apostles, the Letters of St. Paul to the Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, the Letter to the Hebrews, the Letters of James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, and Jude, and Revelation (the Apocalypse).

The Old Testament

121 The Old Testament is an indispensable part of Sacred Scripture. Its books are divinely inspired and retain a permanent value, [92] for the Old Covenant has never been revoked.

122 Indeed, “the economy of the Old Testament was deliberately SO oriented that it should prepare for and declare in prophecy the coming of Christ, redeemer of all men.” [93] “Even though they contain matters imperfect and provisional, [94] The books of the OldTestament bear witness to the whole divine pedagogy of God's saving love: these writings “are a storehouse of sublime teaching on God and of sound wisdom on human life, as well as a wonderful treasury of prayers; in them, too, the mystery of our salvation is present in a hidden way.” [95]

123 Christians venerate the Old Testament as true Word of God. the Church has always vigorously opposed the idea of rejecting the Old Testament under the pretext that the New has rendered it void (Marcionism).

The New Testament

124 “The Word of God, which is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, is set forth and displays its power in a most wonderful way in the writings of the New Testament” [96] which hand on the ultimate truth of God's Revelation. Their central object is Jesus Christ, God's incarnate Son: his acts, teachings, Passion and glorification, and his Church's beginnings under the Spirit's guidance. [97]

125 The Gospels are the heart of all the Scriptures “because they are our principal source for the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word, our Saviour”. [98]

126 We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels: 1. the life and teaching of Jesus. the Church holds firmly that the four Gospels, “whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirms, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day when he was taken up.” [99] 2. the oral tradition. “For, after the ascension of the Lord, the apostles handed on to their hearers what he had said and done, but with that fuller understanding which they, instructed by the glorious events of Christ and enlightened by the Spirit of truth, now enjoyed.” [100] 3. the written Gospels. “The sacred authors, in writing the four Gospels, selected certain of the many elements which had been handed on, either orally or already in written form; others they synthesized or explained with an eye to the situation of the churches, the while sustaining the form of preaching, but always in such a fashion that they have told us the honest truth about Jesus.” [101]

127 The fourfold Gospel holds a unique place in the Church, as is evident both in the veneration which the liturgy accords it and in the surpassing attraction it has exercised on the saints at all times:

There is no doctrine which could be better, more precious and more splendid than the text of the Gospel. Behold and retain what our Lord and Master, Christ, has taught by his words and accomplished by his deeds. [102]

But above all it's the gospels that occupy my mind when I'm at prayer; my poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is the one thing needful. I'm always finding fresh lights there; hidden meanings which had meant nothing to me hitherto. [103]

The unity of the Old and New Testaments

128 The Church, as early as apostolic times, [104] and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God's works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself. [105] Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. [106] As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New. [107]

130 Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfilment of the divine plan when “God [will] be everything to everyone.” [108] Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God's plan, from the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.


90 Cf. DV 8 # 3.
91 Cf. DS 179; 1334-1336; 1501-1504.
92 Cf. DV 14.
93 DV 15.
94 DV 15.
95 DV 15.
96 DV 17; cf. Rom 1:16
97 Cf. DV 20.
98 DV 18.
99 DV 19; cf. Acts 1:1-2
100 DV 19.
101 DV 19.
102 St. Caesaria the Younger to St. Richildis and St. Radegunde: SCh 345, 480.
103 St. Therese of Lisieux, Autobiography of a Saint, tr. Ronald Knox    (London: Collins, 1960), 175.
104 Cf. I Cor 10:6, 11; Heb 10:1; l Pt 3:21.
105 Cf. Mk 12:29-31
106 Cf. I Cor 5:6-8; 10:1-11.
107 Cf. St. Augustine, Quaest. in Hept. 2, 73: PL 34,623; Cf. DU 16.
108 1 Cor 15:28

V. Sacred Scripture in the Life of the Church

131 “and such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigour, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life.” [109] Hence “access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful.” [110]

132 “Therefore, the study of the sacred page should be the very soul of sacred theology. the ministry of the Word, too - pastoral preaching, catechetics and all forms of Christian instruction, among which the liturgical homily should hold pride of place - is healthily nourished and thrives in holiness through the Word of Scripture.” [111]

133 The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful... to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. [112]


109 DV 21.
110 DV 22.
111 DV 24.
112 DV 25; cf. Phil 3:8 and St. Jerome, Commentariorum in Isaiam libri    xviii prol.: PL 24, 17B.

IN BRIEF

134 “All Sacred Scripture is but one book, and that one book is Christ, because all divine Scripture speaks of Christ, and all divine Scripture is fulfilled in Christ” (Hugh of St. Victor, De arca Noe 2, 8: PL 176, 642).

135 “The Sacred Scriptures contain the Word of God and, because they are inspired, they are truly the Word of God” (DV 24).

136 God is the author of Sacred Scripture because he inspired its human authors; he acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error his saving truth (cf DV 11).

137 Interpretation of the inspired Scripture must be attentive above all to what God wants to reveal through the sacred authors for our salvation. What comes from the Spirit is not fully “understood except by the Spirit's action' (cf. Origen, Hom. in Ex. 4, 5: PG 12, 320).

138 The Church accepts and venerates as inspired the 46 books of the Old Testament and the 27 books of the New.

139 The four Gospels occupy a central place because Christ Jesus is their centre.

140 The unity of the two Testaments proceeds from the unity of God's plan and his Revelation. the Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfils the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are true Word of God.

141 “The Church has always venerated the divine Scriptures as she venerated the Body of the Lord” (DV 21): both nourish and govern the whole Christian life. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” ( Ps 119:105; cf. Is 50:4).


CHAPTER THREE

MAN'S RESPONSE TO GOD

142 By his Revelation, “the invisible God, from the fullness of his love, addresses men as his friends, and moves among them, in order to invite and receive them into his own company.” [1] The adequate response to this invitation is faith.

143 By faith, man completely submits his intellect and his will to God. [2] With his whole being man gives his assent to God the revealer. Sacred Scripture calls this human response to God, the author of revelation, “the obedience of faith”. [3]


1 DV 2; cf. Col 1:15; I Tim 1:17; Ex 33:11; Jn 15:14-15; Bar 3:38 (Vulg.).
2 Cf. DV 5.
3 Cf. Rom 1:5; 16:26

Article 1

I BELIEVE

I. The Obedience of Faith

144 To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to “hear or listen to”) in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself. Abraham is the model of such obedience offered us by Sacred Scripture. the Virgin Mary is its most perfect embodiment.

Abraham - “father of all who believe”

145 The Letter to the Hebrews, in its great eulogy of the faith of Israel's ancestors, lays special emphasis on Abraham's faith: “By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go.” [4] By faith, he lived as a stranger and pilgrim in the promised land. [5] By faith, Sarah was given to conceive the son of the promise. and by faith Abraham offered his only son in sacrifice. [6]

146 Abraham thus fulfils the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”: [7] “Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.” [8] Because he was “strong in his faith”, Abraham became the “father of all who believe”. [9]

147 The Old Testament is rich in witnesses to this faith. the Letter to the Hebrews proclaims its eulogy of the exemplary faith of the ancestors who “received divine approval”. [10] Yet “God had foreseen something better for us”: the grace of believing in his Son Jesus, “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith”. [11]

Mary - “Blessed is she who believed”

148 The Virgin Mary most perfectly embodies the obedience of faith. By faith Mary welcomes the tidings and promise brought by the angel Gabriel, believing that “with God nothing will be impossible” and so giving her assent: “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” [12] Elizabeth greeted her: “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” [13] It is for this faith that all generations have called Mary blessed. [14]

149 Throughout her life and until her last ordeal [15] when Jesus her son died on the cross, Mary's faith never wavered. She never ceased to believe in the fulfilment of God's word. and so the Church venerates in Mary the purest realization of faith.


4 Heb 11:8; cf. Gen 12:1-4.
5 Cf. Gen 23:4
6 Cf. Heb 11:17
7 Heb 11:1
8 Rom 4:3; cf. Gen 15:6
9 Rom 4:11, 18; 4:20; cf. Gen 15:5.
10 Heb 11:2, 39
11 Heb 11:40; 12:2
12 Lk 1:37-38; cf. Gen 18:14
13 Lk 1:45
14 Cf. Lk 1:48
15 Cf. Lk 2:35

II. “I Know Whom I Have Believed” [16]

To believe in God alone

150 Faith is first of all a personal adherence of man to God. At the same time, and inseparably, it is a free assent to the whole truth that God has revealed. As personal adherence to God and assent to his truth, Christian faith differs from our faith in any human person. It is right and just to entrust oneself wholly to God and to believe absolutely what he says. It would be futile and false to place such faith in a creature. [17]

To believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God

151 For a Christian, believing in God cannot be separated from believing in the One he sent, his “beloved Son”, in whom the Father is “well pleased”; God tells us to listen to him. [18] The Lord himself said to his disciples: “Believe in God, believe also in me.” [19] We can believe in Jesus Christ because he is himself God, the Word made flesh: “No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.” [20] Because he “has seen the Father”, Jesus Christ is the only one who knows him and can reveal him. [21]

To believe in the Holy Spirit

152 One cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is. For “no one can say “Jesus is Lord”, except by the Holy Spirit”, [22] who “searches everything, even the depths of God. . No one comprehends the thoughts of God, except the Spirit of God.” [23] Only God knows God completely: we believe in the Holy Spirit because he is God.

The Church never ceases to proclaim her faith in one only God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


16 2 Tim 1:12
17 Cf. Jer 17:5-6; Pss 40:5; 146:3-4
18 Mk 1:11; cf. 9:7
19 Jn 14:1
20 Jn 1:18.
21 Jn 6:46; cf. Mt 11:27
22 I Cor 12:3
23 I Cor 2:10-11.

III. The Characteristics of Faith

Faith is a grace

153 When St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, Jesus declared to him that this revelation did not come “from flesh and blood”, but from “my Father who is in heaven”. [24] Faith is a gift of God, a supernatural virtue infused by him. “Before this faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior helps of the Holy Spirit, who moves the heart and converts it to God, who opens the eyes of the mind and 'makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth.'“ [25]

Faith is a human act

154 Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act. Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths he has revealed is contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason. Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions, or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another. If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to “yield by faith the full submission of... intellect and will to God who reveals”, [26] and to share in an interior communion with him.

155 In faith, the human intellect and will co-operate with divine grace: “Believing is an act of the intellect assenting to the divine truth by command of the will moved by God through grace.” [27]

Faith and understanding

156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”. [28] So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.” [29] Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”. [30]

157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but “the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives.” [31] “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.” [32]

158 “Faith seeks understanding”: [33] it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. the grace of faith opens “the eyes of your hearts” [34] to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery. “The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood.” [35] In the words of St. Augustine, “I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe.” [36]

159 Faith and science: “Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth.” [37] “Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. the humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” [38]

The freedom of faith

160 To be human, “man's response to God by faith must be free, and... therefore nobody is to be forced to embrace the faith against his will. the act of faith is of its very nature a free act.” [39] “God calls men to serve him in spirit and in truth. Consequently they are bound to him in conscience, but not coerced. . . This fact received its fullest manifestation in Christ Jesus.” [40] Indeed, Christ invited people to faith and conversion, but never coerced them. “For he bore witness to the truth but refused to use force to impose it on those who spoke against it. His kingdom... grows by the love with which Christ, lifted up on the cross, draws men to himself.” [41]

The necessity of faith

161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation. [42] “Since “without faith it is impossible to please (God) “ and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life 'But he who endures to the end.'“]

Perseverance in faith

162 Faith is an entirely free gift that God makes to man. We can lose this priceless gift, as St. Paul indicated to St. Timothy: “Wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting conscience, certain persons have made shipwreck of their faith.” [44] To live, grow and persevere in the faith until the end we must nourish it with the word of God; we must beg the Lord to increase our faith; [45] it must be “working through charity,” abounding in hope, and rooted in the faith of the Church. [46]

Faith - the beginning of eternal life

163 Faith makes us taste in advance the light of the beatific vision, the goal of our journey here below. Then we shall see God “face to face”, “as he is”. [47] So faith is already the beginning of eternal life: When we contemplate the blessings of faith even now, as if gazing at a reflection in a mirror, it is as if we already possessed the wonderful things which our faith assures us we shall one day enjoy. [48]

164 Now, however, “we walk by faith, not by sight”; [49] we perceive God as “in a mirror, dimly” and only “in part”. [50] Even though enlightened by him in whom it believes, faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test. the world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith. Our experiences of evil and suffering, injustice and death, seem to contradict the Good News; they can shake our faith and become a temptation against it.

165 It is then we must turn to the witnesses of faith: to Abraham, who “in hope... believed against hope”; [51] to the Virgin Mary, who, in “her pilgrimage of faith”, walked into the “night of faith” [52] in sharing the darkness of her son's suffering and death; and to so many others: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” [53]


24 Mt 16:17; cf. Gal 1:15; Mt 11:25.
25 DV 5; cf. DS 377; 3010.
26 Dei Filius: 3: DS 3008.
27 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 2, 9; cf Dei Filius 3; DS 3010.
28 Dei Filius: 3 DS 3008.
29 Dei Filius: 3 DS 3009.
30 Dei Filius: 3: DS 3008-3010; Cf. Mk 16 20; Heb 2:4
31 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II 171, 5, obj. 3.
32 John Henry Cardinal Newman, Apologia pro vita sua (London Longman, 1878) 239.
33 St. Anselm, Prosl. prooem. PL 153 225A.
34 Eph 1:18
35 DV 5.
36 St. Augustine, Sermo 43, 7, 9: PL 38, 257-258.
37 Dei Filius 4: DS 3017.
38 GS 36 # 1.
39 DH 10; cf. CIC, can. 748 # 2.
40 DH 11.
41 DH 11; cf. Jn 18:37; 12:32.
42 Cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:36; 6:40 et al.
44 1 Tim 1:18-19
45 Cf. Mk 9:24; Lk 17:5; 22:32
46 Gal 5:6; Rom 15:13; cf. Jas 2:14-26
47 1 Cor 13:12; I Jn 3:2
48 St. Basil De Spiritu Sancto 15, 36: PG 32, 132; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,    STh II-II, 4, 1.
49 2 Cor 5:7.
50 l Cor 13:12.
51 Rom 4:18
52 LG 58; John Paul II, RMat 18.
53 Heb 12:1-2. Article 2

Article 2

WE BELIEVE

166 Faith is a personal act - the free response of the human person to the initiative of God who reveals himself. But faith is not an isolated act. No one can believe alone, just as no one can live alone. You have not given yourself faith as you have not given yourself life. the believer has received faith from others and should hand it on to others. Our love for Jesus and for our neighbour impels us to speak to others about our faith. Each believer is thus a link in the great chain of believers. I cannot believe without being carried by the faith of others, and by my faith I help support others in the faith.

167 “I believe” (Apostles' Creed) is the faith of the Church professed personally by each believer, principally during Baptism. “We believe” (Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed) is the faith of the Church confessed by the bishops assembled in council or more generally by the liturgical assembly of believers. “I believe” is also the Church, our mother, responding to God by faith as she teaches us to say both “I believe” and “We believe”.


I. “Lord, Look Upon the Faith of Your Church”

168 It is the Church that believes first, and so bears, nourishes and sustains my faith. Everywhere, it is the Church that first confesses the Lord: “Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you”, as we sing in the hymn Te Deum; with her and in her, we are won over and brought to confess: “I believe”, “We believe”. It is through the Church that we receive faith and new life in Christ by Baptism. In the Rituale Romanum, the minister of Baptism asks the catechumen: “What do you ask of God's Church?” and the answer is: “Faith.” “What does faith offer you?” “Eternal life.” [54]

169 Salvation comes from God alone; but because we receive the life of faith through the Church, she is our mother: “We believe the Church as the mother of our new birth, and not in the Church as if she were the author of our salvation.” [55] Because she is our mother, she is also our teacher in the faith.


54 Roman Ritual, Rite of Baptism of Adults.
55 Faustus of Riez, De Spiritu Sancto 1, 2: PL 62, II.

II. The Language of Faith

170 We do not believe in formulae, but in those realities they express, which faith allows us to touch. “The believer's act [of faith] does not terminate in the propositions, but in the realities [which they express].” [56] All the same, we do approach these realities with the help of formulations of the faith which permit us to express the faith and to hand it on, to celebrate it in community, to assimilate and live on it more and more.

171 The Church, “the pillar and bulwark of the truth”, faithfully guards “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints”. She guards the memory of Christ's words; it is she who from generation to generation hands on the apostles' confession of faith. [57] As a mother who teaches her children to speak and so to understand and communicate, the Church our Mother teaches us the language of faith in order to introduce us to the understanding and the life of faith.


56 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 1,2, ad 2.
57 I Tim 3:15; Jude 3.

III. Only One Faith

172 Through the centuries, in so many languages, cultures, peoples and nations, the Church has constantly confessed this one faith, received from the one Lord, transmitted by one Baptism, and grounded in the conviction that all people have only one God and Father. [58] St. Irenaeus of Lyons, a witness of this faith, declared:

173 “Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples. . . guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house, and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart, and preaches, teaches and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth.” [59]

174 “For though languages differ throughout the world, the content of the Tradition is one and the same. the Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor do those of the Iberians, nor those of the Celts, nor those of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, nor those established at the centre of the world. . .” [60] The Church's message “is true and solid, in which one and the same way of salvation appears throughout the whole world.” [61]

175 “We guard with care the faith that we have received from the Church, for without ceasing, under the action of God's Spirit, this deposit of great price, as if in an excellent vessel, is constantly being renewed and causes the very vessel that contains it to be renewed.” [62]


58 Cf. Eph 4:4-6
59 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. I, 10, 1-2: PG 7/1, 549-552.
60 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. I, 10, 1-2: PG 7/1, 552-553.
61 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 5, 20, I: PG 7/2, 1177.
62 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 24, I: PG 7/1, 966.

IN BRIEF

176 Faith is a personal adherence of the whole man to God who reveals himself. It involves an assent of the intellect and will to the self-revelation God has made through his deeds and words.

177 “To believe” has thus a twofold reference: to the person, and to the truth: to the truth, by trust in the person who bears witness to it.

178 We must believe in no one but God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

179 Faith is a supernatural gift from God. In order to believe, man needs the interior helps of the Holy Spirit.

180 “Believing” is a human act, conscious and free, corresponding to the dignity of the human person.

181 “Believing” is an ecclesial act. the Church's faith precedes, engenders, supports and nourishes our faith. the Church is the mother of all believers. “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” (St. Cyprian, De unit. 6: PL 4, 519).

182 We believe all “that which is contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church proposes for belief as divinely revealed” (Paul VI, CPG # 20).

183 Faith is necessary for salvation. the Lord himself affirms: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” ( Mk 16:16).

184 “Faith is a foretaste of the knowledge that will make us blessed in the life to come” (St. Thomas Aquinas. Comp. theol. 1, 2).


The Credo

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary Under Pontius Pilate He was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered died and was buried. On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.


SECTION TWO

I. THE CREEDS

185 Whoever says “I believe” says “I pledge myself to what we believe.” Communion in faith needs a common language of faith, normative for all and uniting all in the same confession of faith.

186 From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formulae normative for all. [1] But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:

This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. and just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments. [2]

187 Such syntheses are called “professions of faith” since they summarize the faith that Christians profess. They are called “creeds” on account of what is usually their first word in Latin: credo (“I believe”). They are also called “symbols of faith”.

188 The Greek word symbolon meant half of a broken object, for example, a seal presented as a token of recognition. the broken parts were placed together to verify the bearer's identity. the symbol of faith, then, is a sign of recognition and communion between believers. Symbolon also means a gathering, collection or summary. A symbol of faith is a summary of the principal truths of the faith and therefore serves as the first and fundamental point of reference for catechesis.

189 The first “profession of faith” is made during Baptism. the symbol of faith is first and foremost the baptismal creed. Since Baptism is given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, [3] The truths of faith professed during Baptism are articulated in terms of their reference to the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

190 and so the Creed is divided into three parts: “the first part speaks of the first divine Person and the wonderful work of creation; the next speaks of the second divine Person and the mystery of his redemption of men; the final part speaks of the third divine Person, the origin and source of our sanctification.” [4] These are “the three chapters of our [baptismal] seal”. [5]

191 “These three parts are distinct although connected with one another. According to a comparison often used by the Fathers, we call them articles. Indeed, just as in our bodily members there are certain articulations which distinguish and separate them, so too in this profession of faith, the name “articles” has justly and rightly been given to the truths we must believe particularly and distinctly.” [6] In accordance with an ancient tradition, already attested to by St. Ambrose, it is also customary to reckon the articles of the Creed as twelve, thus symbolizing the fullness of the apostolic faith by the number of the apostles. [7]

192 Through the centuries many professions or symbols of faith have been articulated in response to the needs of the different eras: the creeds of the different apostolic and ancient Churches, [8] e.g., the Quicumque, also called the Athanasian Creed; [9] The professions of faith of certain Councils, such as Toledo, Lateran, Lyons, Trent; [10] or the symbols of certain popes, e.g., the Fides Damasi [11] or the Credo of the People of God of Paul VI. [12]

193 None of the creeds from the different stages in the Church's life can be considered superseded or irrelevant. They help us today to attain and deepen the faith of all times by means of the different summaries made of it. Among all the creeds, two occupy a special place in the Church's life:

194 The Apostles' Creed is so called because it is rightly considered to be a faithful summary of the apostles' faith. It is the ancient baptismal symbol of the Church of Rome. Its great authority arises from this fact: it is “the Creed of the Roman Church, the See of Peter the first of the apostles, to which he brought the common faith”. [13]

195 The Niceno-Constantinopolitan or Nicene Creed draws its great authority from the fact that it stems from the first two ecumenical Councils (in 325 and 381). It remains common to all the great Churches of both East and West to this day.

196 Our presentation of the faith will follow the Apostles' Creed, which constitutes, as it were, “the oldest Roman catechism”. the presentation will be completed however by constant references to the Nicene Creed, which is often more explicit and more detailed.

197 As on the day of our Baptism, when our whole life was entrusted to the “standard of teaching”, [14] let us embrace the Creed of our life-giving faith. To say the Credo with faith is to enter into communion with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and also with the whole Church which transmits the faith to us and in whose midst we believe:

This Creed is the spiritual seal, our heart's meditation and an ever-present guardian; it is, unquestionably, the treasure of our soul. [15]


1 Cf. Rom 10:9; I Cor 15:3-5, etc.
2 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 5, 12: PG 33, 521-524.
3 Mt 28:19
4 Roman Catechism I, 1, 3.
5 St. Irenaeus, Dem. ap. 100: SCh 62, 170.
6 Roman Catechism I, I, 4.
7 Cf. St. Ambrose, Expl. symb. 8: PL 17, 1196.
8 Cf. DS 1-64.
9 Cf. DS 75-76.
10 Cf. DS 525-541; 800-802; 851-861; 1862-1870.
11 Cf. DS 71-72.
12 Paul VI, CPG (1968).
13 St. Ambrose, Expl. symb. 7: PL 17, 1196.
14 Rom 6:17
15 St. Ambrose, Expl. symb. I: PL 17, 1193.

CHAPTER ONE

I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER

198 Our profession of faith begins with God, for God is the First and the Last, [1] The beginning and the end of everything. the Credo begins with God the Father, for the Father is the first divine person of the Most Holy Trinity; our Creed begins with the creation of heaven and earth, for creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God's works.


1 Cf. Is 44:6.

Article 1

“I BELIEVE IN GOD THE FATHER ALMIGHTY, CREATOR OF HEAVEN AND EARTH”

Paragraph 1. I BELIEVE IN GOD

199 “I believe in God”: this first affirmation of the Apostles' Creed is also the most fundamental. the whole Creed speaks of God, and when it also speaks of man and of the world it does so in relation to God. the other articles of the Creed all depend on the first, just as the remaining Commandments make the first explicit. the other articles help us to know God better as he revealed himself progressively to men. “The faithful first profess their belief in God.” [2]

I. “I BELIEVE IN ONE GOD”

200 These are the words with which the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed begins. the confession of God's oneness, which has its roots in the divine revelation of the Old Covenant, is inseparable from the profession of God's existence and is equally fundamental. God is unique; there is only one God: “The Christian faith confesses that God is one in nature, substance and essence.” [3]

201 To Israel, his chosen, God revealed himself as the only One: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD; and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.” [4] Through the prophets, God calls Israel and all nations to turn to him, the one and only God: “Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.. . To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. 'Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength.'“ [5]

202 Jesus himself affirms that God is “the one Lord” whom you must love “with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength”. [6] At the same time Jesus gives us to understand that he himself is “the Lord”. [7] To confess that Jesus is Lord is distinctive of Christian faith. This is not contrary to belief in the One God. Nor does believing in the Holy Spirit as “Lord and giver of life” introduce any division into the One God:

We firmly believe and confess without reservation that there is only one true God, eternal infinite (immensus) and unchangeable, incomprehensible, almighty and ineffable, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit; three persons indeed, but one essence, substance or nature entirely simple.

II. GOD REVEALS HIS NAME

203 God revealed himself to his people Israel by making his name known to them. A name expresses a person's essence and identity and the meaning of this person's life. God has a name; he is not an anonymous force. To disclose one's name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally.

204 God revealed himself progressively and under different names to his people, but the revelation that proved to be the fundamental one for both the Old and the New Covenants was the revelation of the divine name to Moses in the theophany of the burning bush, on the threshold of the Exodus and of the covenant on Sinai.

The living God

205 God calls Moses from the midst of a bush that bums without being consumed: “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” [9] God is the God of the fathers, the One who had called and guided the patriarchs in their wanderings. He is the faithful and compassionate God who remembers them and his promises; he comes to free their descendants from slavery. He is the God who, from beyond space and time, can do this and wills to do it, the God who will put his almighty power to work for this plan.

“I Am who I Am”

Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you', and they ask me, 'What is his name?' what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” and he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'. . . this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” [10]

206 In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH (“I AM HE WHO IS”, “I AM WHO AM” or “I AM WHO I AM”), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the “hidden God”, his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men. [11]

207 By revealing his name God at the same time reveals his faithfulness which is from everlasting to everlasting, valid for the past (“I am the God of your father”), as for the future (“I will be with you”). [12] God, who reveals his name as “I AM”, reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.

208 Faced with God's fascinating and mysterious presence, man discovers his own insignificance. Before the burning bush, Moses takes off his sandals and veils his face in the presence of God's holiness. [13] Before the glory of the thrice-holy God, Isaiah cries out: “Woe is me! I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips.” [14] Before the divine signs wrought by Jesus, Peter exclaims: “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” [15] But because God is holy, he can forgive the man who realizes that he is a sinner before him: “I will not execute my fierce anger. . . for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst.” [16] The apostle John says likewise: “We shall. . . reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” [17]

209 Out of respect for the holiness of God, the people of Israel do not pronounce his name. In the reading of Sacred Scripture, the revealed name (YHWH) is replaced by the divine title “LORD” (in Hebrew Adonai, in Greek Kyrios). It is under this title that the divinity of Jesus will be acclaimed: “Jesus is LORD.”

 

“A God merciful and gracious”

210 After Israel's sin, when the people had turned away from God to worship the golden calf, God hears Moses' prayer of intercession and agrees to walk in the midst of an unfaithful people, thus demonstrating his love. [18] When Moses asks to see his glory, God responds “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name “the LORD” [YHWH].” [19] Then the LORD passes before Moses and proclaims, “YHWH, YHWH, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”; Moses then confesses that the LORD is a forgiving God. [20]

211 The divine name, “I Am” or “He Is”, expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps “steadfast love for thousands”. [21] By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is “rich in mercy”. [22] By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that “I AM”.” [23]

God alone IS

212 Over the centuries, Israel's faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him. [24]

He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: “They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment....but you are the same, and your years have no end.” [25]

In God “there is no variation or shadow due to change.” [26] God is “HE WHO IS”, from everlasting to everlasting, and as such remains ever faithful to himself and to his promises.

213 The revelation of the ineffable name “I AM WHO AM” contains then the truth that God alone IS. the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, and following it the Church's Tradition, understood the divine name in this sense: God is the fullness of Being and of every perfection, without origin and without end. All creatures receive all that they are and have from him; but he alone is his very being, and he is of himself everything that he is.

III. GOD, “HE WHO IS”, IS TRUTH AND LOVE

214 God, “HE WHO IS”, revealed himself to Israel as the one “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”. [27] These two terms express summarily the riches of the divine name. In all his works God displays, not only his kindness, goodness, grace and steadfast love, but also his trustworthiness, constancy, faithfulness and truth. “I give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness.” [28] He is the Truth, for “God is light and in him there is no darkness”; “God is love”, as the apostle John teaches. [29]

God is Truth

215 “The sum of your word is truth; and every one of your righteous ordinances endures forever.” [30] “and now, O LORD God, you are God, and your words are true”; [31] this is why God's promises always come true. [32] God is Truth itself, whose words cannot deceive. This is why one can abandon oneself in full trust to the truth and faithfulness of his word in all things. the beginning of sin and of man's fall was due to a lie of the tempter who induced doubt of God's word, kindness and faithfulness.

216 God's truth is his wisdom, which commands the whole created order and governs the world. [33] God, who alone made heaven and earth, can alone impart true knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself. [34]

217 God is also truthful when he reveals himself - the teaching that comes from God is “true instruction”. [35] When he sends his Son into the world it will be “to bear witness to the truth”: [36] “We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, to know him who is true.” [37]

God is Love

218 In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love. [38] and thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins. [39]

219 God's love for Israel is compared to a father's love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother's for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son.” [40]

220 God's love is “everlasting”: [41] “For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you.” [42] Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.” [43]

221 But St. John goes even further when he affirms that “God is love”: [44] God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret: [45] God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange.

IV. THE IMPLICATIONS OF FAITH IN ONE GOD

222 Believing in God, the only One, and loving him with all our being has enormous consequences for our whole life.

223 It means coming to know God's greatness and majesty: “Behold, God is great, and we know him not.” [46] Therefore, we must “serve God first”. [47]

224 It means living in thanksgiving: if God is the only One, everything we are and have comes from him: “What have you that you did not receive?” [48] “What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?” [49]

225 It means knowing the unity and true dignity of all men: everyone is made in the image and likeness of God. [50]

226 It means making good use of created things: faith in God, the only One, leads us to use everything that is not God only insofar as it brings us closer to him, and to detach ourselves from it insofar as it turns us away from him: My Lord and my God, take from me everything that distances me from you. My Lord and my God, give me everything that brings me closer to you My Lord and my God, detach me from myself to give my all to you. [51]

227 It means trusting God in every circumstance, even in adversity. A prayer of St. Teresa of Jesus wonderfully expresses this trust:

Let nothing trouble you / Let nothing frighten you Everything passes / God never changes Patience / Obtains all Whoever has God / Wants for nothing God alone is enough. [52]

IN BRIEF

228 “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD...” ( Dt 6:4; Mk 12:29). “The supreme being must be unique, without equal. . . If God is not one, he is not God” (Tertullian, Adv. Marc., 1, 3, 5: PL 2, 274).

229 Faith in God leads us to turn to him alone as our first origin and our ultimate goal, and neither to prefer anything to him nor to substitute anything for him.

230 Even when he reveals himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: “If you understood him, it would not be God” (St. Augustine, Sermo 52, 6, 16: PL 38, 360 and Sermo 117, 3, 5: PL 38, 663).

231 The God of our faith has revealed himself as HE WHO IS; and he has made himself known as “abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” ( Ex 34:6). God's very being is Truth and Love.


2 Roman Catechism I, 2, 2.
3 Roman Catechism I, 2, 2.
4 Dt 6:45.
5 Is 45:22-24; cf. Phil 2:10-11.
6 Mk 12:29-30
7 Cf. Mk 12:35-37.
9 EX 3:6
10 EX 3:13-15
11 Cf. Is 45:15; Judg 13:18
12 EX 3:6, 12
13 Cf. EX 3:5-6
14 Is 6:5
15 Lk 5:8
16 Hos 11:9
17 I Jn 3:19-20
18 Cf. Ex 32; 33: 12-17
19 Ex 33:18-19.
20 Ex 34:5-6; cf. 34:9
21 Ex 34:7
22 Eph 2:4
23 Jn 8:28 (Greek).
24 Cf. Is 44:6
25 Ps 102:26-27
26 Jas 1:17
27 Ex 34:6
28 Ps 138:2; cf. Ps 85:11
29 I Jn 1:5; 4:8
30 Ps 119:160
31 2 Sam 7:28


32 Cf. Dt 7:9
33 Cf Wis 13:1-9.
34 Cf Ps 115:15; Wis 7:17-21.
35 Mal 2:6.
36 Jn 18:37.
37 I Jn 5:20; cf. Jn 17:3.
38 Cf. Dt 4:37; 7:8; 10:15.
39 Cf. Is 43:1-7; Hos 2.
40 Jn 3:16; cf. Hos 11:1; Is 49:14-15; 62 :4-5; Ezek 16; Hos 11.
41 Is 54:8.
42 Is 54: 10; cf. 54:8.
43 Jer 31:3.
44 l Jn 4:8, 16
45 Cf. I Cor 2:7-16; Eph 3:9-12.
46 Job 36:26.
47 St. Joan of Arc.
48 I Cor 4:7.
49 Ps 116:12.
50 Gen 1:26.
51 St. Nicholas of Flue; cf. Mt 5:29-30; 16:24-26.
52 St. Teresa of Jesus, Poesias 30 in the Collected Works of St. Teresa of    Avila, vol. III, tr. K. Kavanaugh OCD and O. Rodriguez OCD (Washington DC    Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1985), 386 no. 9. tr. John Wall.

Paragraph 2. THE FATHER

I. “IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”

232 Christians are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” [53] Before receiving the sacrament, they respond to a three-part question when asked to confess the Father, the Son and the Spirit: “I do.” “The faith of all Christians rests on the Trinity.” [54]

233 Christians are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: not in their names, [55] for there is only one God, the almighty Father, his only Son and the Holy Spirit: the Most Holy Trinity.

234 The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of Christian faith and life. It is the mystery of God in himself. It is therefore the source of all the other mysteries of faith, the light that enlightens them. It is the most fundamental and essential teaching in the “hierarchy of the truths of faith”. [56] The whole history of salvation is identical with the history of the way and the means by which the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, reveals himself to men “and reconciles and unites with himself those who turn away from sin”. [57]

235 This paragraph expounds briefly (I) how the mystery of the Blessed Trinity was revealed, (II) how the Church has articulated the doctrine of the faith regarding this mystery, and (III) how, by the divine missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit, God the Father fulfils the “plan of his loving goodness” of creation, redemption and sanctification.

236 The Fathers of the Church distinguish between theology (theologia) and economy (oikonomia). “Theology” refers to the mystery of God's inmost life within the Blessed Trinity and “economy” to all the works by which God reveals himself and communicates his life. Through the oikonomia the theologia is revealed to us; but conversely, the theologia illuminates the whole oikonomia. God's works reveal who he is in himself; the mystery of his inmost being enlightens our understanding of all his works. So it is, analogously, among human persons. A person discloses himself in his actions, and the better we know a person, the better we understand his actions.

237 The Trinity is a mystery of faith in the strict sense, one of the “mysteries that are hidden in God, which can never be known unless they are revealed by God”. [58] To be sure, God has left traces of his Trinitarian being in his work of creation and in his Revelation throughout the Old Testament. But his inmost Being as Holy Trinity is a mystery that is inaccessible to reason alone or even to Israel's faith before the Incarnation of God's Son and the sending of the Holy Spirit.

II. THE REVELATION OF GOD AS TRINITY

The Father revealed by the Son

238 Many religions invoke God as “Father”. the deity is often considered the “father of gods and of men”. In Israel, God is called “Father” inasmuch as he is Creator of the world. [59] Even more, God is Father because of the covenant and the gift of the law to Israel, “his first-born son”. [60] God is also called the Father of the king of Israel. Most especially he is “the Father of the poor”, of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection. [61]

239 By calling God “Father”, the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, [62] which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. the language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: [63] no one is father as God is Father.

240 Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father by his relationship to his only Son who, reciprocally, is Son only in relation to his Father: “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” [64]

241 For this reason the apostles confess Jesus to be the Word: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”; as “the image of the invisible God”; as the “radiance of the glory of God and the very stamp of his nature”. [65]

242 Following this apostolic tradition, the Church confessed at the first ecumenical council at Nicaea (325) that the Son is “consubstantial” with the Father, that is, one only God with him. [66] The second ecumenical council, held at Constantinople in 381, kept this expression in its formulation of the Nicene Creed and confessed “the only-begotten Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, light from light, true God from true God, begotten not made, consubstantial with the Father”. [67]

The Father and the son revealed by the spirit

243 Before his Passover, Jesus announced the sending of “another Paraclete” (Advocate), the Holy Spirit. At work since creation, having previously “spoken through the prophets”, the Spirit will now be with and in the disciples, to teach them and guide them “into all the truth”. [68] The Holy Spirit is thus revealed as another divine person with Jesus and the Father.

244 The eternal origin of the Holy Spirit is revealed in his mission in time. the Spirit is sent to the apostles and to the Church both by the Father in the name of the Son, and by the Son in person, once he had returned to the Father. [69] The sending of the person of the Spirit after Jesus' glorification [70] reveals in its fullness the mystery of the Holy Trinity.

245 The apostolic faith concerning the Spirit was confessed by the second ecumenical council at Constantinople (381): “We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father.” [71] By this confession, the Church recognizes the Father as “the source and origin of the whole divinity”. [72] But the eternal origin of the Spirit is not unconnected with the Son's origin: “The Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, is God, one and equal with the Father and the Son, of the same substance and also of the same nature. . . Yet he is not called the Spirit of the Father alone,. . . but the Spirit of both the Father and the Son.” [73] The Creed of the Church from the Council of Constantinople confesses: “With the Father and the Son, he is worshipped and glorified.” [74]

246 The Latin tradition of the Creed confesses that the Spirit “proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque)”. the Council of Florence in 1438 explains: “The Holy Spirit is eternally from Father and Son; He has his nature and subsistence at once (simul) from the Father and the Son. He proceeds eternally from both as from one principle and through one spiration... And, since the Father has through generation given to the only-begotten Son everything that belongs to the Father, except being Father, the Son has also eternally from the Father, from whom he is eternally born, that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Son.” [75]

247 The affirmation of the filioque does not appear in the Creed confessed in 381 at Constantinople. But Pope St. Leo I, following an ancient Latin and Alexandrian tradition, had already confessed it dogmatically in 447, [76] even before Rome, in 451 at the Council of Chalcedon, came to recognize and receive the Symbol of 381. the use of this formula in the Creed was gradually admitted into the Latin liturgy (between the eighth and eleventh centuries). the introduction of the filioque into the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed by the Latin liturgy constitutes moreover, even today, a point of disagreement with the Orthodox Churches.

248 At the outset the Eastern tradition expresses the Father's character as first origin of the Spirit. By confessing the Spirit as he “who proceeds from the Father”, it affirms that he comes from the Father through the Son. [77] The Western tradition expresses first the consubstantial communion between Father and Son, by saying that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son (filioque). It says this, “legitimately and with good reason”, [78] for the eternal order of the divine persons in their consubstantial communion implies that the Father, as “the principle without principle”, [79] is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that as Father of the only Son, he is, with the Son, the single principle from which the Holy Spirit proceeds. [80] This legitimate complementarity, provided it does not become rigid, does not affect the identity of faith in the reality of the same mystery confessed.

III. THE HOLY TRINITY IN THE TEACHING OF THE FAITH

The formation of the Trinitarian dogma

249 From the beginning, the revealed truth of the Holy Trinity has been at the very root of the Church's living faith, principally by means of Baptism. It finds its expression in the rule of baptismal faith, formulated in the preaching, catechesis and prayer of the Church. Such formulations are already found in the apostolic writings, such as this salutation taken up in the Eucharistic liturgy: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” [81]

250 During the first centuries the Church sought to clarify her Trinitarian faith, both to deepen her own understanding of the faith and to defend it against the errors that were deforming it. This clarification was the work of the early councils, aided by the theological work of the Church Fathers and sustained by the Christian people's sense of the faith.

251 In order to articulate the dogma of the Trinity, the Church had to develop her own terminology with the help of certain notions of philosophical origin: “substance”, “person” or “hypostasis”, “relation” and so on. In doing this, she did not submit the faith to human wisdom, but gave a new and unprecedented meaning to these terms, which from then on would be used to signify an ineffable mystery, “infinitely beyond all that we can humanly understand”. [82]

252 The Church uses (I) the term “substance” (rendered also at times by “essence” or “nature”) to designate the divine being in its unity, (II) the term “person” or “hypostasis” to designate the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the real distinction among them, and (III) the term “relation” to designate the fact that their distinction lies in the relationship of each to the others.

The dogma of the Holy Trinity

253 The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”. [83] The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.” [84] In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.” [85]

254 The divine persons are really distinct from one another. “God is one but not solitary.” [86] “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.” [87] They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.” [88] The divine Unity is Triune.

255 The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: “In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.” [89] Indeed “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.” [90] “Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.” [91]

256 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, also called “the Theologian”, entrusts this summary of Trinitarian faith to the catechumens of Constantinople: Above all guard for me this great deposit of faith for which I live and fight, which I want to take with me as a companion, and which makes me bear all evils and despise all pleasures: I mean the profession of faith in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. I entrust it to you today. By it I am soon going to plunge you into water and raise you up from it. I give it to you as the companion and patron of your whole life. I give you but one divinity and power, existing one in three, and containing the three in a distinct way. Divinity without disparity of substance or nature, without superior degree that raises up or inferior degree that casts down. . . the infinite co-naturality of three infinites. Each person considered in himself is entirely God. . . the three considered together. . . I have not even begun to think of unity when the Trinity bathes me in its splendour. I have not even begun to think of the Trinity when unity grasps me. . [92]

IV. THE DIVINE WORKS AND THE TRINITARIAN MISSIONS

257 “O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!” [93] God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the “plan of his loving kindness”, conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: “He destined us in love to be his sons” and “to be conformed to the image of his Son”, through “the spirit of sonship”. [94] This plan is a “grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began”, stemming immediately from Trinitarian love. [95] It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church. [96]

258 The whole divine economy is the common work of the three divine persons. For as the Trinity has only one and the same natures so too does it have only one and the same operation: “The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three principles of creation but one principle.” [97] However, each divine person performs the common work according to his unique personal property. Thus the Church confesses, following the New Testament, “one God and Father from whom all things are, and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and one Holy Spirit in whom all things are”. [98] It is above all the divine missions of the Son's Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit that show forth the properties of the divine persons.

259 Being a work at once common and personal, the whole divine economy makes known both what is proper to the divine persons, and their one divine nature. Hence the whole Christian life is a communion with each of the divine persons, without in any way separating them. Everyone who glorifies the Father does so through the Son in the Holy Spirit; everyone who follows Christ does so because the Father draws him and the Spirit moves him. [99]

260 The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God's creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity. [100] But even now we are called to be a dwelling for the Most Holy Trinity: “If a man loves me”, says the Lord, “he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him”: [101]

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me forget myself entirely so to establish myself in you, unmovable and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing be able to trouble my peace or make me leave you, O my unchanging God, but may each minute bring me more deeply into your mystery! Grant my soul peace. Make it your heaven, your beloved dwelling and the place of your rest. May I never abandon you there, but may I be there, whole and entire, completely vigilant in my faith, entirely adoring, and wholly given over to your creative action. [102]

IN BRIEF

261 The mystery of the Most Holy Trinity is the central mystery of the Christian faith and of Christian life. God alone can make it known to us by revealing himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

262 The Incarnation of God's Son reveals that God is the eternal Father and that the Son is consubstantial with the Father, which means that, in the Father and with the Father the Son is one and the same God.

263 The mission of the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father in the name of the Son ( Jn 14:26) and by the Son “from the Father” ( Jn 15:26), reveals that, with them, the Spirit is one and the same God. “With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified” (Nicene Creed).

264 “The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father as the first principle and, by the eternal gift of this to the Son, from the communion of both the Father and the Son” (St. Augustine, De Trin. 15, 26, 47: PL 42, 1095).

265 By the grace of Baptism “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, we are called to share in the life of the Blessed Trinity, here on earth in the obscurity of faith, and after death in eternal light (cf. Paul VI, CPG # 9).

266 “Now this is the Catholic faith: We worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity, without either confusing the persons or dividing the substance; for the person of the Father is one, the Son's is another, the Holy Spirit's another; but the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is one, their glory equal, their majesty coeternal” (Athanasian Creed: DS 75; ND 16).

267 Inseparable in what they are, the divine persons are also inseparable in what they do. But within the single divine operation each shows forth what is proper to him in the Trinity, especially in the divine missions of the Son's Incarnation and the gift of the Holy Spirit.


53 Mt 28:19.
54 St. Caesarius of Arles, Sermo 9, Exp. symb.: CCL 103, 47.
55 Cf. Profession of faith of Pope Vigilius I (552): DS 415.
56 GCD 43.
57 GCD 47.
58 Dei Filius 4: DS 3015.
59 Cf. Dt 32:6; Mal 2:10.
60 Ex 4:22.
61 Cf. 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 68:6.
62 Cf. Is 66:13; Ps 131:2.
63 Cf. Ps 27:10; Eph 3:14; Is 49:15.
64 Mt 11-27.
65 Jn 1:1; Col 1:15; Heb 1:3.
66 The English phrases “of one being” and “one in being” translate the    Greek word homoousios, which was rendered in Latin by consubstantialis.
67 Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed; cf. DS 150.
68 Cf. Gen 1:2; Nicene Creed (DS 150); Jn 14:17, 26; 16:13.
69 Cf. Jn 14:26; 15:26; 16:14.
70 Cf. Jn 7:39.
71 Nicene Creed; cf. DS 150.
72 Council of Toledo VI (638): DS 490.
73 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 527.
74 Nicene Creed; cf. DS 150.
75 Council of Florence (1439): DS 1300-1301.
76 Cf. Leo I, Quam laudabiliter (447): DS 284.
77 Jn 15:26; cf. AG 2.
78 Council of Florence (1439): DS 1302.
79 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1331.
80 Cf. Council of Lyons II(1274): DS 850.
81 2 Cor 13:14; cf. I Cor 12:4 - 6; Eph 4:4-6.
82 Paul VI, CPC # 2.
83 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 421.
84 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 530:26.
85 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 804.
86 Fides Damasi: DS 71.
87 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 530:25.
88 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 804.
89 Council of Toledo XI (675): DS 528.
90 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1330.
91 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1331.
92 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 41: PG 36,417.
93 LH, Hymn for Evening Prayer.
94 Eph 1:4-5, 9; Rom 8:15, 29.
95 2 Tim 1:9-10.
96 Cf. AG 2-9.
97 Council of Florence (1442): DS 1331; cf. Council of Constantinople II    (553): DS 421.
98 Council of Constantinople II: DS 421.
99 Cf. Jn 6:44; Rom 8:14.
100 Cf. Jn 17:21-23.
101 Jn 14:23.
102 Prayer of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Paragraph 3. THE ALMIGHTY

268 of all the divine attributes, only God's omnipotence is named in the Creed: to confess this power has great bearing on our lives. We believe that his might is universal, for God who created everything also rules everything and can do everything. God's power is loving, for he is our Father, and mysterious, for only faith can discern it when it “is made perfect in weakness”. [103]

“He does whatever he pleases” [104]

269 The Holy Scriptures repeatedly confess the universal power of God. He is called the “Mighty One of Jacob”, the “LORD of hosts”, the “strong and mighty” one. If God is almighty “in heaven and on earth”, it is because he made them. [105] Nothing is impossible with God, who disposes his works according to his will. [106] He is the Lord of the universe, whose order he established and which remains wholly subject to him and at his disposal. He is master of history, governing hearts and events in keeping with his will: “It is always in your power to show great strength, and who can withstand the strength of your arm? [107]

“You are merciful to all, for you can do all thing” [108]

270 God is the Father Almighty, whose fatherhood and power shed light on one another: God reveals his fatherly omnipotence by the way he takes care of our needs; by the filial adoption that he gives us (“I will be a father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty”): [109] finally by his infinite mercy, for he displays his power at its height by freely forgiving sins.

271 God's almighty power is in no way arbitrary: “In God, power, essence, will, intellect, wisdom, and justice are all identical. Nothing therefore can be in God's power which could not be in his just will or his wise intellect.” [110]

The mystery of God's apparent powerlessness

272 Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus “the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” [111] It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth “the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe”. [112]

273 Only faith can embrace the mysterious ways of God's almighty power. This faith glories in its weaknesses in order to draw to itself Christ's power. [113] The Virgin Mary is the supreme model of this faith, for she believed that “nothing will be impossible with God”, and was able to magnify the Lord: “For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” [114]

274 “Nothing is more apt to confirm our faith and hope than holding it fixed in our minds that nothing is impossible with God. Once our reason has grasped the idea of God's almighty power, it will easily and without any hesitation admit everything that [the Creed] will afterwards propose for us to believe - even if they be great and marvellous things, far above the ordinary laws of nature.” [115]

IN BRIEF

275 With Job, the just man, we confess: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” ( Job 42:2).

276 Faithful to the witness of Scripture, the Church often addresses her prayer to the “almighty and eternal God” (“omnipotens sempiterne Deus. . .”), believing firmly that “nothing will be impossible with God” ( Gen 18:14; Lk 1:37; Mt 19:26).

277 God shows forth his almighty power by converting us from our sins and restoring us to his friendship by grace. “God, you show your almighty power above all in your mercy and forgiveness. . .” (Roman Missal, 26th Sunday, Opening Prayer).

278 If we do not believe that God's love is almighty, how can we believe that the Father could create us, the Son redeem us and the Holy Spirit sanctify us?


103 Cf. Gen 1:1; Jn 1:3; Mt 6:9; 2 Cor 12:9; cf. I Cor 1:18.
104 Ps 115:3.
105 Gen 49:24; Is 1:24 etc.; Pss 24:8-10; 135 6.
106 Cf. Jer 27:5; 32:17; Lk 1:37
107 Wis 11:21; cf. Esth 4:17b; Prov 21:1; Tob 13:2.
108 Wis 11:23.
109 2 Cor 6:18; cf. Mt 6:32.
110 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 25, 5, ad I.
111 1 Cor 1:24-25.
112 Eph 1:19-22.
113 Cf. 2 Cor 12:9; Phil 4:13.
114 Lk 1:37, 49.
115 Roman Catechism I, 2, 13

Paragraph 4. THE CREATOR

279 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” [116] Holy Scripture begins with these solemn words. the profession of faith takes them up when it confesses that God the Father almighty is “Creator of heaven and earth” (Apostles' Creed), “of all that is, seen and unseen” (Nicene Creed). We shall speak first of the Creator, then of creation and finally of the fall into sin from which Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to raise us up again.

280 Creation is the foundation of “all God's saving plans,” the “beginning of the history of salvation” [117] that culminates in Christ. Conversely, the mystery of Christ casts conclusive light on the mystery of creation and reveals the end for which “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”: from the beginning, God envisaged the glory of the new creation in Christ. [118]

281 And so the readings of the Easter Vigil, the celebration of the new creation in Christ, begin with the creation account; likewise in the Byzantine liturgy, the account of creation always constitutes the first reading at the vigils of the great feasts of the Lord. According to ancient witnesses the instruction of catechumens for Baptism followed the same itinerary. [119]

I. CATECHESIS ON CREATION

282 Catechesis on creation is of major importance. It concerns the very foundations of human and Christian life: for it makes explicit the response of the Christian faith to the basic question that men of all times have asked themselves: [120] “Where do we come from?” “Where are we going?” “What is our origin?” “What is our end?” “Where does everything that exists come from and where is it going?” the two questions, the first about the origin and the second about the end, are inseparable. They are decisive for the meaning and orientation of our life and actions.

283 The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers. With Solomon they can say: “It is he who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements. . . for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.” [121]

284 The great interest accorded to these studies is strongly stimulated by a question of another order, which goes beyond the proper domain of the natural sciences. It is not only a question of knowing when and how the universe arose physically, or when man appeared, but rather of discovering the meaning of such an origin: is the universe governed by chance, blind fate, anonymous necessity, or by a transcendent, intelligent and good Being called “God”? and if the world does come from God's wisdom and goodness, why is there evil? Where does it come from? Who is responsible for it? Is there any liberation from it?

285 Since the beginning the Christian faith has been challenged by responses to the question of origins that differ from its own. Ancient religions and cultures produced many myths concerning origins. Some philosophers have said that everything is God, that the world is God, or that the development of the world is the development of God (Pantheism). Others have said that the world is a necessary emanation arising from God and returning to him. Still others have affirmed the existence of two eternal principles, Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, locked, in permanent conflict (Dualism, Manichaeism). According to some of these conceptions, the world (at least the physical world) is evil, the product of a fall, and is thus to be rejected or left behind (Gnosticism). Some admit that the world was made by God, but as by a watch-maker who, once he has made a watch, abandons it to itself (Deism). Finally, others reject any transcendent origin for the world, but see it as merely the interplay of matter that has always existed (Materialism). All these attempts bear witness to the permanence and universality of the question of origins. This inquiry is distinctively human.

286 Human intelligence is surely already capable of finding a response to the question of origins. the existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason, [122] even if this knowledge is often obscured and disfigured by error. This is why faith comes to confirm and enlighten reason in the correct understanding of this truth: “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.” [123]

287 The truth about creation is so important for all of human life that God in his tenderness wanted to reveal to his People everything that is salutary to know on the subject. Beyond the natural knowledge that every man can have of the Creator, [124] God progressively revealed to Israel the mystery of creation. He who chose the patriarchs, who brought Israel out of Egypt, and who by choosing Israel created and formed it, this same God reveals himself as the One to whom belong all the peoples of the earth, and the whole earth itself; he is the One who alone “made heaven and earth”. [125]

288 Thus the revelation of creation is inseparable from the revelation and forging of the covenant of the one God with his People. Creation is revealed as the first step towards this covenant, the first and universal witness to God's all-powerful love. [126] and so, the truth of creation is also expressed with growing vigour in the message of the prophets, the prayer of the psalms and the liturgy, and in the wisdom sayings of the Chosen People. [127]

289 Among all the Scriptural texts about creation, the first three chapters of Genesis occupy a unique place. From a literary standpoint these texts may have had diverse sources. the inspired authors have placed them at the beginning of Scripture to express in their solemn language the truths of creation - its origin and its end in God, its order and goodness, the vocation of man, and finally the drama of sin and the hope of salvation. Read in the light of Christ, within the unity of Sacred Scripture and in the living Tradition of the Church, these texts remain the principal source for catechesis on the mysteries of the “beginning”: creation, fall, and promise of salvation.

II. CREATION - WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY

290 “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”: [128] three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb “create” - Hebrew bara - always has God for its subject). the totality of what exists (expressed by the formula “the heavens and the earth”) depends on the One who gives it being.

291 “In the beginning was the Word. . . and the Word was God. . . all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” [129] The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him “all things were created, in heaven and on earth.. . all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [130] The Church's faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the “giver of life”, “the Creator Spirit” (Veni, Creator Spiritus), the “source of every good”. [131]

292 The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit, [132] inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative co-operation is clearly affirmed in the Church's rule of faith: “There exists but one God. . . he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom”, “by the Son and the Spirit” who, so to speak, are “his hands”. [133] Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.

III. “THE WORLD WAS CREATED FOR THE GLORY OF GOD”

293 Scripture and Tradition never cease to teach and celebrate this fundamental truth: “The world was made for the glory of God.” [134] St. Bonaventure explains that God created all things “not to increase his glory, but to show it forth and to communicate it”, [135] for God has no other reason for creating than his love and goodness: “Creatures came into existence when the key of love opened his hand.” [136] The First Vatican Council explains:

This one, true God, of his own goodness and “almighty power”, not for increasing his own beatitude, nor for attaining his perfection, but in order to manifest this perfection through the benefits which he bestows on creatures, with absolute freedom of counsel “and from the beginning of time, made out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal. . .” [137]

294 The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us “to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace”, [138] for “the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God.” [139] The ultimate purpose of creation is that God “who is the creator of all things may at last become “all in all”, thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude.” [140]

IV. THE MYSTERY OF CREATION

God creates by wisdom and love

295 We believe that God created the world according to his wisdom. [141] It is not the product of any necessity whatever, nor of blind fate or chance. We believe that it proceeds from God's free will; he wanted to make his creatures share in his being, wisdom and goodness: “For you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” [142] Therefore the Psalmist exclaims: “O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all”; and “The LORD is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” [143] God creates “out of nothing”

296 We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance. [144] God creates freely “out of nothing”: [145]

If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants. [146]

297 Scripture bears witness to faith in creation “out of nothing” as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom:

I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws. . . Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. [147]

298 Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them, [148] and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection. God “gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.” [149] and since God was able to make light shine in darkness by his Word, he can also give the light of faith to those who do not yet know him. [150]

God creates an ordered and good world

299 Because God creates through wisdom, his creation is ordered: “You have arranged all things by measure and number and weight.” [151] The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the “image of the invisible God”, is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the “image of God” and called to a personal relationship with God. [152] Our human understanding, which shares in the light of the divine intellect, can understand what God tells us by means of his creation, though not without great effort and only in a spirit of humility and respect before the Creator and his work. [153] Because creation comes forth from God's goodness, it shares in that goodness - “and God saw that it was good. . . very good” [154]- for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him. On many occasions the Church has had to defend the goodness of creation, including that of the physical world. [155]

God transcends creation and is present to it

300 God is infinitely greater than all his works: “You have set your glory above the heavens.” [156] Indeed, God's “greatness is unsearchable”. [157] But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: “In him we live and move and have our being.” [158] In the words of St. Augustine, God is “higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self”. [159]

God upholds and sustains creation

301 With creation, God does not abandon his creatures to themselves. He not only gives them being and existence, but also, and at every moment, upholds and sustains them in being, enables them to act and brings them to their final end. Recognizing this utter dependence with respect to the Creator is a source of wisdom and freedom, of joy and confidence:

 

For you love all things that exist, and detest none of the things that you have made; for you would not have made anything if you had hated it. How would anything have endured, if you had not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by you have been preserved? You spare all things, for they are yours, O Lord, you who love the living. [160]

V. GOD CARRIES OUT HIS PLAN: DIVINE PROVIDENCE

302 Creation has its own goodness and proper perfection, but it did not spring forth complete from the hands of the Creator. the universe was created “in a state of journeying” (in statu viae) toward an ultimate perfection yet to be attained, to which God has destined it. We call “divine providence” the dispositions by which God guides his creation toward this perfection:

By his providence God protects and governs all things which he has made, “reaching mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and ordering all things well”. For “all are open and laid bare to his eyes”, even those things which are yet to come into existence through the free action of creatures. [161]

303 The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. the sacred books powerfully affirm God's absolute sovereignty over the course of events: “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases.” [162] and so it is with Christ, “who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens”. [163] As the book of Proverbs states: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.” [164]

304 And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a “primitive mode of speech”, but a profound way of recalling God's primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world, [165] and so of educating his people to trust in him. the prayer of the Psalms is the great school of this trust. [166]

305 Jesus asks for childlike abandonment to the providence of our heavenly Father who takes care of his children's smallest needs: “Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?”. . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” [167]

Providence and secondary causes

306 God is the sovereign master of his plan. But to carry it out he also makes use of his creatures' co-operation. This use is not a sign of weakness, but rather a token of almighty God's greatness and goodness. For God grants his creatures not only their existence, but also the dignity of acting on their own, of being causes and principles for each other, and thus of co-operating in the accomplishment of his plan.

307 To human beings God even gives the power of freely sharing in his providence by entrusting them with the responsibility of “subduing” the earth and having dominion over it. [168] God thus enables men to be intelligent and free causes in order to complete the work of creation, to perfect its harmony for their own good and that of their neighbours. Though often unconscious collaborators with God's will, they can also enter deliberately into the divine plan by their actions, their prayers and their sufferings. [169] They then fully become “God's fellow workers” and co-workers for his kingdom. [170]

308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator. God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes: “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” [171] Far from diminishing the creature's dignity, this truth enhances it. Drawn from nothingness by God's power, wisdom and goodness, it can do nothing if it is cut off from its origin, for “without a Creator the creature vanishes.” [172] Still less can a creature attain its ultimate end without the help of God's grace. [173]

Providence and the scandal of evil

309 If God the Father almighty, the Creator of the ordered and good world, cares for all his creatures, why does evil exist? To this question, as pressing as it is unavoidable and as painful as it is mysterious, no quick answer will suffice. Only Christian faith as a whole constitutes the answer to this question: the goodness of creation, the drama of sin and the patient love of God who comes to meet man by his covenants, the redemptive Incarnation of his Son, his gift of the Spirit, his gathering of the Church, the power of the sacraments and his call to a blessed life to which free creatures are invited to consent in advance, but from which, by a terrible mystery, they can also turn away in advance. There is not a single aspect of the Christian message that is not in part an answer to the question of evil.

310 But why did God not create a world so perfect that no evil could exist in it? With infinite power God could always create something better. [174] But with infinite wisdom and goodness God freely willed to create a world “in a state of journeying” towards its ultimate perfection. In God's plan this process of becoming involves the appearance of certain beings and the disappearance of others, the existence of the more perfect alongside the less perfect, both constructive and destructive forces of nature. With physical good there exists also physical evil as long as creation has not reached perfection. [175]

311 Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned. Thus has moral evil, incommensurably more harmful than physical evil, entered the world. God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. [176] He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it:

For almighty God. . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself. [177]

312 In time we can discover that God in his almighty providence can bring a good from the consequences of an evil, even a moral evil, caused by his creatures: “It was not you”, said Joseph to his brothers, “who sent me here, but God. . . You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.” [178] From the greatest moral evil ever committed - the rejection and murder of God's only Son, caused by the sins of all men - God, by his grace that “abounded all the more”, [179] brought the greatest of goods: the glorification of Christ and our redemption. But for all that, evil never becomes a good.

313 “We know that in everything God works for good for those who love him.” [180] The constant witness of the saints confirms this truth:

St. Catherine of Siena said to “those who are scandalized and rebel against what happens to them”: “Everything comes from love, all is ordained for the salvation of man, God does nothing without this goal in mind.” [181] St. Thomas More, shortly before his martyrdom, consoled his daughter: “Nothing can come but that that God wills. and I make me very sure that whatsoever that be, seem it never so bad in sight, it shall indeed be the best.” [182] Dame Julian of Norwich: “Here I was taught by the grace of God that I should steadfastly keep me in the faith... and that at the same time I should take my stand on and earnestly believe in what our Lord shewed in this time - that 'all manner (of) thing shall be well.'“ [183]

314 We firmly believe that God is master of the world and of its history. But the ways of his providence are often unknown to us. Only at the end, when our partial knowledge ceases, when we see God “face to face”, [184] will we fully know the ways by which - even through the dramas of evil and sin - God has guided his creation to that definitive sabbath rest [185] for which he created heaven and earth.

IN BRIEF

315 In the creation of the world and of man, God gave the first and universal witness to his almighty love and his wisdom, the first proclamation of the “plan of his loving goodness”, which finds its goal in the new creation in Christ.

316 Though the work of creation is attributed to the Father in particular, it is equally a truth of faith that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together are the one, indivisible principle of creation.

317 God alone created the universe, freely, directly and without any help.

318 No creature has the infinite power necessary to “create” in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it to call into existence “out of nothing”) (cf  DS 3624).

319 God created the world to show forth and communicate his glory. That his creatures should share in his truth, goodness and beauty - this is the glory for which God created them.

320 God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son “upholding the universe by his word of power” ( Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life.

321 Divine providence consists of the dispositions by which God guides all his creatures with wisdom and love to their ultimate end.

322 Christ invites us to filial trust in the providence of our heavenly Father (cf Mt 6:26-34), and St. Peter the apostle repeats: “Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you” ( I Pt 5:7; cf. Ps 55:23).

323 Divine providence works also through the actions of creatures. To human beings God grants the ability to co-operate freely with his plans.

324 The fact that God permits physical and even moral evil is a mystery that God illuminates by his Son Jesus Christ who died and rose to vanquish evil. Faith gives us the certainty that God would not permit an evil if he did not cause a good to come from that very evil, by ways that we shall fully know only in eternal life.


116 Gen 1:1.
117 GCD 51.
118 Gen 1:1; cf. Rom 8:18-23.
119 Cf. Egeria, Peregrinatio at loca sancta 46: PLS 1, 1047; St. Augustine,    De catechizantis rudibus 3, 5: PL 40, 256.
120 Cf. NA 2.
121 Wis 7: 17-22.
122 Cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 # I: DS 3026.
123 Heb 11:3.
124 Cf. Acts 17:24-29; Rom 1:19-20.
125 Cf. Is 43:1; Pss 115:15; 124:8; 134:3.
126 Cf. Gen 15:5; Jer 33:19-26.
127 Cf. Is 44:24; Ps 104; Prov 8:22-31.
128 Gen 1:1.
129 Jn 1:1-3.
130 Col 1:16-17.
131 Cf. Nicene Creed: DS 150; Hymn Veni, Creator Spiritus; Byzantine    Troparion of Pentecost Vespers, “O heavenly King, Consoler”.
132 Cf. Pss 33 6; 104:30; Gen 1:2-3.
133 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 2, 30, 9; 4, 20, I: PG 7/1, 822, 1032.
134 Dei Filius, can. # 5: DS 3025.
135 St. Bonaventure, In II Sent. I, 2, 2, 1.
136 St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, prol.
137 Dei Filius I: DS 3002; cf Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.
138 Eph 1:5-6.
139 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 20, 7: PG 7/1, 1037.
140 AG 2; cf. I Cor 15:28.
141 Cf. Wis 9:9.
142 Rev 4:11.
143 Pss 104:24; 145:9.
144 Cf. Dei Filius, cann. 2-4: DS 3022-3024.
145 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800; cf. DS 3025.
146 St. Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum II, 4: PG 6, 1052.
147 2 Macc 7:22-21, 28.
148 Cf. Ps 51:12.
149 Rom 4:17.
150 Cf. Gen 1:3; 2 Cor 4:6.
151 Wis 11:20.
152 Col 1:15, Gen 1:26.
153 Cf. Ps 19:2-5; Job 42:3.
154 Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 31.
155 Cf. DS 286; 455-463; 800; 1333; 3002.
156 Ps 8:1; cf. Sir 43:28.
157 Ps 145:3.
158 Acts 17:28.
159 St. Augustine, Conf: 3, 6, 11: PL 32, 688.
160 Wis 11:24-26.
161 Vatican Council I, Dei Filius I: DS 3003; cf. Wis 8:1; Heb 4:13.
162 Ps 115:3.
163 Rev 3:7.
164 Prov 19:21.
165 Cf. Is 10:5-15; 45:51; Dt 32:39; Sir 11:14.
166 Cf. Pss 22; 32; 35; 103; 138; et al.
167 Mt 6:31-33; cf 10:29-31.
168 Cf. Gen 1:26-28.
169 Cf. Col 1:24.
170 I Cor 3:9; I Th 3:2; Col 4:11.
171 Phil 2:13; cf. I Cor 12:6.
172 GS 36 # 3.
173 Cf. Mt 19:26; Jn 15:5; 14:13
174 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 25, 6.
175 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, SCG III, 71.
176 Cf. St. Augustine, De libero arbitrio I, 1, 2: PL 32, 1221- 1223; St.    Thomas Aquinas, STh I-II, 79, 1.
177 St. Augustine, Enchiridion II, 3: PL 40, 236.
178 Gen 45:8; 50:20; cf. Tob 2:12 (Vulgate).
179 Cf. Rom 5:20.
180 Rom 8:28.
181 St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue IV, 138 “On Divine Providence”.
182 The Correspondence of Sir Thomas More, ed. Elizabeth F. Rogers    (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1947), letter 206, lines 661-663.
183 Julian of Norwich, the Revelations of Divine Love, tr. James Walshe    SJ (London: 1961), ch. 32, 99-100.
184 I Cor 13:12.
185 Cf. Gen 2:2.

Paragraph 5. HEAVEN AND EARTH

325 The Apostles' Creed professes that God is “creator of heaven and earth”. the Nicene Creed makes it explicit that this profession includes “all that is, seen and unseen”.

326 The Scriptural expression “heaven and earth” means all that exists, creation in its entirety. It also indicates the bond, deep within creation, that both unites heaven and earth and distinguishes the one from the other: “the earth” is the world of men, while “heaven” or “the heavens” can designate both the firmament and God's own “place” - “our Father in heaven” and consequently the “heaven” too which is eschatological glory. Finally, “heaven” refers to the saints and the “place” of the spiritual creatures, the angels, who surround God. [186]

327 The profession of faith of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) affirms that God “from the beginning of time made at once (simul) out of nothing both orders of creatures, the spiritual and the corporeal, that is, the angelic and the earthly, and then (deinde) the human creature, who as it were shares in both orders, being composed of spirit and body.” [187]

I. THE ANGELS

The existence of angels - a truth of faith

328 The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. the witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition.

Who are they?

329 St. Augustine says: “'Angel' is the name of their office, not of their nature. If you seek the name of their nature, it is 'spirit'; if you seek the name of their office, it is 'angel': from what they are, 'spirit', from what they do, 'angel.'“ [188] With their whole beings the angels are servants and messengers of God. Because they “always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven” they are the “mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word”. [189]

330 As purely spiritual creatures angels have intelligence and will: they are personal and immortal creatures, surpassing in perfection all visible creatures, as the splendour of their glory bears witness. [190]

Christ “with all his angels”

331 Christ is the centre of the angelic world. They are his angels: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. . “ [191] They belong to him because they were created through and for him: “for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him.” [192] They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?” [193]

332 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation, announcing this salvation from afar or near and serving the accomplishment of the divine plan: they closed the earthly paradise; protected Lot; saved Hagar and her child; stayed Abraham's hand; communicated the law by their ministry; led the People of God; announced births and callings; and assisted the prophets, just to cite a few examples. [194] Finally, the angel Gabriel announced the birth of the Precursor and that of Jesus himself. [195]

333 From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God “brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'“ [196] Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: “Glory to God in the highest!” [197] They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been. [198] Again, it is the angels who “evangelize” by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. [199] They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement. [200]

The angels in the life of the Church

334 In the meantime, the whole life of the Church benefits from the mysterious and powerful help of angels. [201]

335 In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the Roman Canon's Supplices te rogamus. . .[“Almighty God, we pray that your angel...”]; in the funeral liturgy's In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .[“May the angels lead you into Paradise. . .”]). Moreover, in the “Cherubic Hymn” of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels).

336 From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. [202] “Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life.” [203] Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

II. THE VISIBLE WORLD

337 God himself created the visible world in all its richness, diversity and order. Scripture presents the work of the Creator symbolically as a succession of six days of divine “work”, concluded by the “rest” of the seventh day. [204] On the subject of creation, the sacred text teaches the truths revealed by God for our salvation, [205] permitting us to “recognize the inner nature, the value and the ordering of the whole of creation to the praise of God.” [206]

338 Nothing exists that does not owe its existence to God the Creator. the world began when God's word drew it out of nothingness; all existent beings, all of nature, and all human history are rooted in this primordial event, the very genesis by which the world was constituted and time begun. [207]

339 Each creature possesses its own particular goodness and perfection. For each one of the works of the “six days” it is said: “and God saw that it was good.” “By the very nature of creation, material being is endowed with its own stability, truth and excellence, its own order and laws.” [208] Each of the various creatures, willed in its own being, reflects in its own way a ray of God's infinite wisdom and goodness. Man must therefore respect the particular goodness of every creature, to avoid any disordered use of things which would be in contempt of the Creator and would bring disastrous consequences for human beings and their environment.

340 God wills the interdependence of creatures. the sun and the moon, the cedar and the little flower, the eagle and the sparrow: the spectacle of their countless diversities and inequalities tells us that no creature is self-sufficient. Creatures exist only in dependence on each other, to complete each other, in the service of each other.

341 The beauty of the universe: the order and harmony of the created world results from the diversity of beings and from the relationships which exist among them. Man discovers them progressively as the laws of nature. They call forth the admiration of scholars. the beauty of creation reflects the infinite beauty of the Creator and ought to inspire the respect and submission of man's intellect and will.

342 The hierarchy of creatures is expressed by the order of the “six days”, from the less perfect to the more perfect. God loves all his creatures [209] and takes care of each one, even the sparrow. Nevertheless, Jesus said: “You are of more value than many sparrows”, or again: “of how much more value is a man than a sheep!” [210]

343 Man is the summit of the Creator's work, as the inspired account expresses by clearly distinguishing the creation of man from that of the other creatures. [211]

344 There is a solidarity among all creatures arising from the fact that all have the same Creator and are all ordered to his glory: May you be praised, O Lord, in all your creatures, especially brother sun, by whom you give us light for the day; he is beautiful, radiating great splendour, and offering us a symbol of you, the Most High. . .

May you be praised, my Lord, for sister water, who is very useful and humble, precious and chaste. May you be praised, my Lord, for sister earth, our mother, who bears and feeds us, and produces the variety of fruits and dappled flowers and grasses. . . Praise and bless my Lord, give thanks and serve him in all humility. [212]

345 The sabbath - the end of the work of the six days. the sacred text says that “on the seventh day God finished his work which he had done”, that the “heavens and the earth were finished”, and that God “rested” on this day and sanctified and blessed it. [213] These inspired words are rich in profitable instruction:

346 In creation God laid a foundation and established laws that remain firm, on which the believer can rely with confidence, for they are the sign and pledge of the unshakeable faithfulness of God's covenant. [214] For his part man must remain faithful to this foundation, and respect the laws which the Creator has written into it.

347 Creation was fashioned with a view to the sabbath and therefore for the worship and adoration of God. Worship is inscribed in the order of creation. [215] As the rule of St. Benedict says, nothing should take precedence over “the work of God”, that is, solemn worship. [216] This indicates the right order of human concerns.

348 The sabbath is at the heart of Israel's law. To keep the commandments is to correspond to the wisdom and the will of God as expressed in his work of creation.

349 The eighth day. But for us a new day has dawned: the day of Christ's Resurrection. the seventh day completes the first creation. the eighth day begins the new creation. Thus, the work of creation culminates in the greater work of redemption. the first creation finds its meaning and its summit in the new creation in Christ, the splendour of which surpasses that of the first creation. [217]

IN BRIEF

350 Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: “The angels work together for the benefit of us all” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh I, 114, 3, ad 3).

351 The angels surround Christ their Lord. They serve him especially in the accomplishment of his saving mission to men.

352 The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being.

353 God willed the diversity of his creatures and their own particular goodness, their interdependence and their order. He destined all material creatures for the good of the human race. Man, and through him all creation, is destined for the glory of God.

354 Respect for laws inscribed in creation and the relations which derive from the nature of things is a principle of wisdom and a foundation for morality.


186 Pss 115:16; 19:2; Mt 5:16.
187 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800; cf. DS 3002 and Paul VI, CPG # 8.
188 St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 103, 1, 15: PL 37, 1348.
189 Mt 18:10; Ps 103:20.
190 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3891; Lk 20:36; Dan 10:9- 12.
191 Mt 25:31.
192 Col 1:16.
193 Heb 1:14.
194 Cf. Job 38:7 (where angels are called “sons of God”); Gen 3:24; 19; 21: 17; 22:11; Acts 7:53; Ex 23:20-23; Judg 13; 6:11-24; Is 6:6; 1 Kings 19:5.
195 Cf. Lk 1:11, 26.
196 Heb 1:6.
197 Lk 2:14.
198 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13, 19; 4:11; 26:53; Mk 1:13; Lk 22:43; Macc 10:29-30; 11:8.
199 Cf. Lk 2:8-14; Mk 16:5-7.
200 Cf. Acts 1:10-11; Mt 13:41; 24:31; Lk 12:8-9. the angels in the life    of the Church
201 Cf. Acts 5:18-20; 8:26-29; 10:3-8; 12:6-11; 27:23-25.
202 Cf. Mt 18:10; Lk 16:22; Pss 34:7; 91:10-13; Job 33:23-24; Zech 1:12;    Tob 12:12.
203 St. Basil, Adv. Eunomium III, I: PG 29, 656B.
204 Gen 1:l - 2:4.
205 Cf. DV 11.
206 LG 36 # 2.
207 Cf. St. Augustine, De Genesi adv. Man 1, 2, 4: PL 34, 175.
208 GS 36 # 1.
209 Cf. Ps 145:9.
210 Lk 12:6-7; Mt 12:12.
211 Cf. Gen 1-26.
212 St. Francis of Assisi, Canticle of the Creatures.
213 Gen 2:1-3.
214 Cf. Heb 4:3-4; Jer 31:35-37; 33:19-26.
215 Cf. Gen 1:14.
216 St. Benedict, Regula 43, 3: PL 66, 675-676.
217 Cf. Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 24, prayer after the first reading.

Paragraph 6. MAN

355 “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” [218] Man occupies a unique place in creation: (I) he is “in the image of God”; (II) in his own nature he unites the spiritual and material worlds; (III) he is created “male and female”; (IV) God established him in his friendship.

I. “IN THE IMAGE OF GOD”

356 of all visible creatures only man is “able to know and love his creator”. [219] He is “the only creature on earth that God has willed for its own sake”, [220] and he alone is called to share, by knowledge and love, in God's own life. It was for this end that he was created, and this is the fundamental reason for his dignity: What made you establish man in so great a dignity? Certainly the incalculable love by which you have looked on your creature in yourself! You are taken with love for her; for by love indeed you created her, by love you have given her a being capable of tasting your eternal Good. [221]

357 Being in the image of God the human individual possesses the dignity of a person, who is not just something, but someone. He is capable of self-knowledge, of self-possession and of freely giving himself and entering into communion with other persons. and he is called by grace to a covenant with his Creator, to offer him a response of faith and love that no other creature can give in his stead.

358 God created everything for man, [222] but man in turn was created to serve and love God and to offer all creation back to him: What is it that is about to be created, that enjoys such honour? It is man that great and wonderful living creature, more precious in the eyes of God than all other creatures! For him the heavens and the earth, the sea and all the rest of creation exist. God attached so much importance to his salvation that he did not spare his own Son for the sake of man. Nor does he ever cease to work, trying every possible means, until he has raised man up to himself and made him sit at his right hand. [223]

359 “In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear.” [224]

St. Paul tells us that the human race takes its origin from two men: Adam and Christ. . . the first man, Adam, he says, became a living soul, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. the first Adam was made by the last Adam, from whom he also received his soul, to give him life... the second Adam stamped his image on the first Adam when he created him. That is why he took on himself the role and the name of the first Adam, in order that he might not lose what he had made in his own image. the first Adam, the last Adam: the first had a beginning, the last knows no end. the last Adam is indeed the first; as he himself says: “I am the first and the last.” [225]

360 Because of its common origin the human race forms a unity, for “from one ancestor (God) made all nations to inhabit the whole earth”: [226]

O wondrous vision, which makes us contemplate the human race in the unity of its origin in God. . . in the unity of its nature, composed equally in all men of a material body and a spiritual soul; in the unity of its immediate end and its mission in the world; in the unity of its dwelling, the earth, whose benefits all men, by right of nature, may use to sustain and develop life; in the unity of its supernatural end: God himself, to whom all ought to tend; in the unity of the means for attaining this end;. . . in the unity of the redemption wrought by Christ for all. [227]

361 “This law of human solidarity and charity”, [228] without excluding the rich variety of persons, cultures and peoples, assures us that all men are truly brethren.

II. “BODY AND SOUL BUT TRULY ONE”

362 The human person, created in the image of God, is a being at once corporeal and spiritual. the biblical account expresses this reality in symbolic language when it affirms that “then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” [229] Man, whole and entire, is therefore willed by God.

363 In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human life or the entire human person. [230] But “soul” also refers to the innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him, [231] that by which he is most especially in God's image: “soul” signifies the spiritual principle in man.

364 The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit: [232]

Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of the material world. Through him they are thus brought to their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honour since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day [233]

365 The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to consider the soul to be the “form” of the body: [234] i.e., it is because of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living, human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united, but rather their union forms a single nature.

366 The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God - it is not “produced” by the parents - and also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final Resurrection. [235]

367 Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly”, with “spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord's coming. [236] The Church teaches that this distinction does not introduce a duality into the soul. [237] “Spirit” signifies that from creation man is ordered to a supernatural end and that his soul can gratuitously be raised beyond all it deserves to communion with God. [238]

368 The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depths of one's being, where the person decides for or against God. [239]

III. “MALE AND FEMALE HE CREATED THEM”

Equality and difference willed by God

369 Man and woman have been created, which is to say, willed by God: on the one hand, in perfect equality as human persons; on the other, in their respective beings as man and woman. “Being man” or “being woman” is a reality which is good and willed by God: man and woman possess an inalienable dignity which comes to them immediately from God their Creator. [240] Man and woman are both with one and the same dignity “in the image of God”. In their “being-man” and “being-woman”, they reflect the Creator's wisdom and goodness.

370 In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective “perfections” of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband. [241]

“Each for the other” - “A unity in two”

371 God created man and woman together and willed each for the other. the Word of God gives us to understand this through various features of the sacred text. “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a helper fit for him.” [242] None of the animals can be man's partner. [243] The woman God “fashions” from the man's rib and brings to him elicits on the man's part a cry of wonder, an exclamation of love and communion: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” [244] Man discovers woman as another “I”, sharing the same humanity.

372 Man and woman were made “for each other” - not that God left them half-made and incomplete: he created them to be a communion of persons, in which each can be “helpmate” to the other, for they are equal as persons (“bone of my bones. . .”) and complementary as masculine and feminine. In marriage God unites them in such a way that, by forming “one flesh”, [245] they can transmit human life: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.” [246] By transmitting human life to their descendants, man and woman as spouses and parents co-operate in a unique way in the Creator's work. [247]

373 In God's plan man and woman have the vocation of “subduing” the earth [248] as stewards of God. This sovereignty is not to be an arbitrary and destructive domination. God calls man and woman, made in the image of the Creator “who loves everything that exists”, [249] to share in his providence toward other creatures; hence their responsibility for the world God has entrusted to them.

IV. MAN IN PARADISE

374 The first man was not only created good, but was also established in friendship with his Creator and in harmony with himself and with the creation around him, in a state that would be surpassed only by the glory of the new creation in Christ.

375 The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were constituted in an original “state of holiness and justice”. [250] This grace of original holiness was “to share in. . .divine life”. [251]

376 By the radiance of this grace all dimensions of man's life were confirmed. As long as he remained in the divine intimacy, man would not have to suffer or die. [252] The inner harmony of the human person, the harmony between man and woman, [253] and finally the harmony between the first couple and all creation, comprised the state called “original justice”.

377 The “mastery” over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. the first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence [254] that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.

378 The sign of man's familiarity with God is that God places him in the garden. [255] There he lives “to till it and keep it”. Work is not yet a burden, [256] but rather the collaboration of man and woman with God in perfecting the visible creation.

379 This entire harmony of original justice, foreseen for man in God's plan, will be lost by the sin of our first parents.

IN BRIEF

380 “Father,. . . you formed man in your own likeness and set him over the whole world to serve you, his creator, and to rule over all creatures” (Roman Missal, EP IV, 118).

381 Man is predestined to reproduce the image of God's Son made man, the “image of the invisible God” ( Col 1:15), so that Christ shall be the first-born of a multitude of brothers and sisters (cf Eph 1:3-6; Rom 8:29).

382 “Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity” (GS 14 # 1). the doctrine of the faith affirms that the spiritual and immortal soul is created immediately by God.

383 “God did not create man a solitary being. From the beginning, “male and female he created them” ( Gen 1:27). This partnership of man and woman constitutes the first form of communion between persons” (GS 12 # 4).

384 Revelation makes known to us the state of original holiness and justice of man and woman before sin: from their friendship with God flowed the happiness of their existence in paradise.


218 Gen 1:27.
219 GS 12 # 3.
220 GS 24 # 3.
221 St. Catherine of Siena, Dialogue IV, 13 “On Divine Providence”: LH,    Sunday, week 19, OR.
222 Cf. GS 12 # 1; 24 # 3; 39 # 1.
223 St. John Chrysostom, In Gen. sermo 2, 1: PG 54, 587D-588A.
224 GS 22 # 1.
225 St. Peter Chrysologus, Sermo 117: PL 52, 520-521.
226 Acts 17:26; cf. Tob 8:6.
227 Pius XII. Enc. Summi pontificatus 3; cf. NA 1.
228 Pius XII Summi pontificatus 3.
229 Gen 2:7.
230 Cf. Mt 16:25-26; Jn 15:13; Acts 2:41
231 Cf. Mt 10:28; 26:38; Jn 12:27; 2 Macc 6 30.
232 Cf. I Cor 6:19-20; 15:44-45.
233 GS 14 # 1; cf. Dan 3:57-80.
234 Cf. Council of Vienne (1312): DS 902.
235 Cf. Pius XII, Humani generis: DS 3896; Paul VI, CPC # 8; Lateran    Council V (1513): DS 1440.
236 1 Th 5:23.
237 Cf. Council of Constantinople IV (870): DS 657.
238 Cf. Vatican Council I, Dei Filius: DS 3005; GS 22 # 5; Humani generis:    DS 3891.
239 Cf. Jer 31:33; Dt 6:5; 29:3; Is 29:13; Ezek 36:26; Mt 6:21; Lk 8:15; Rom 5:5.
240 Cf. Gen 2:7, 22.
241 Cf. Is 49:14-15; 66: 13; Ps 131:2-3; ] Hos 11:1-4; Jer 3:4- 19.
242 Gen 2:18.
243 ] Gen 2:19-20.
244 Gen 2:23
245 Gen 2:24
246 Gen 1:28.
247 Cf. GS 50 # 1.
248 Gen 1:28.
249 Wis 11:24.
250 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511.
251 Cf. LG 2.
252 Cf. Gen 2:17; 3:16, 19.
253 Cf. Gen 2:25.
254 Cf. I Jn 2:16.
255 Cf. Gen 2:8.
256 Gen 2:15; cf. 3:17-19

Paragraph 7. THE FALL

385 God is infinitely good and all his works are good. Yet no one can escape the experience of suffering or the evils in nature which seem to be linked to the limitations proper to creatures: and above all to the question of moral evil. Where does evil come from? “I sought whence evil comes and there was no solution”, said St. Augustine, [257] and his own painful quest would only be resolved by his conversion to the living God. For “the mystery of lawlessness” is clarified only in the light of the “mystery of our religion”. [258] The revelation of divine love in Christ manifested at the same time the extent of evil and the superabundance of grace. [259] We must therefore approach the question of the origin of evil by fixing the eyes of our faith on him who alone is its conqueror. [260]

I. WHERE SIN ABOUNDED, GRACE ABOUNDED ALL THE MORE

The reality of sin

386 Sin is present in human history; any attempt to ignore it or to give this dark reality other names would be futile. To try to understand what sin is, one must first recognize the profound relation of man to God, for only in this relationship is the evil of sin unmasked in its true identity as humanity's rejection of God and opposition to him, even as it continues to weigh heavy on human life and history.

387 Only the light of divine Revelation clarifies the reality of sin and particularly of the sin committed at mankind's origins. Without the knowledge Revelation gives of God we cannot recognize sin clearly and are tempted to explain it as merely a developmental flaw, a psychological weakness, a mistake, or the necessary consequence of an inadequate social structure, etc. Only in the knowledge of God's plan for man can we grasp that sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another.

Original sin - an essential truth of the faith

388 With the progress of Revelation, the reality of sin is also illuminated. Although to some extent the People of God in the Old Testament had tried to understand the pathos of the human condition in the light of the history of the fall narrated in Genesis, they could not grasp this story's ultimate meaning, which is revealed only in the light of the death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. [261] We must know Christ as the source of grace in order to know Adam as the source of sin. the Spirit-Paraclete, sent by the risen Christ, came to “convict the world concerning sin”, [262] by revealing him who is its Redeemer.

389 The doctrine of original sin is, so to speak, the “reverse side” of the Good News that Jesus is the Saviour of all men, that all need salvation and that salvation is offered to all through Christ. the Church, which has the mind of Christ, [263] knows very well that we cannot tamper with the revelation of original sin without undermining the mystery of Christ.

How to read the account of the fall

390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. [264] Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents. [265]

II. THE FALL OF THE ANGELS

391 Behind the disobedient choice of our first parents lurks a seductive voice, opposed to God, which makes them fall into death out of envy. [266] Scripture and the Church's Tradition see in this being a fallen angel, called “Satan” or the “devil”. [267] The Church teaches that Satan was at first a good angel, made by God: “The devil and the other demons were indeed created naturally good by God, but they became evil by their own doing.” [268]

392 Scripture speaks of a sin of these angels. [269] This “fall” consists in the free choice of these created spirits, who radically and irrevocably rejected God and his reign. We find a reflection of that rebellion in the tempter's words to our first parents: “You will be like God.” [270] The devil “has sinned from the beginning”; he is “a liar and the father of lies”. [271]

393 It is the irrevocable character of their choice, and not a defect in the infinite divine mercy, that makes the angels' sin unforgivable. “There is no repentance for the angels after their fall, just as there is no repentance for men after death.” [272]

394 Scripture witnesses to the disastrous influence of the one Jesus calls “a murderer from the beginning”, who would even try to divert Jesus from the mission received from his Father. [273] “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” [274] In its consequences the gravest of these works was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God.

395 The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that he is pure spirit, but still a creature. He cannot prevent the building up of God's reign. Although Satan may act in the world out of hatred for God and his kingdom in Christ Jesus, and although his action may cause grave injuries - of a spiritual nature and, indirectly, even of a physical nature - to each man and to society, the action is permitted by divine providence which with strength and gentleness guides human and cosmic history. It is a great mystery that providence should permit diabolical activity, but “we know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.” [275]

III. ORIGINAL SIN

Freedom put to the test

396 God created man in his image and established him in his friendship. A spiritual creature, man can live this friendship only in free submission to God. the prohibition against eating “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” spells this out: “for in the day that you eat of it, you shall die.” [276] The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” [277] symbolically evokes the insurmountable limits that man, being a creature, must freely recognize and respect with trust. Man is dependent on his Creator, and subject to the laws of creation and to the moral norms that govern the use of freedom.

Man's first sin

397 Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. [278] All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.

398 In that sin man preferred himself to God and by that very act scorned him. He chose himself over and against God, against the requirements of his creaturely status and therefore against his own good. Created in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully “divinized” by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to “be like God”, but “without God, before God, and not in accordance with God”. [279]

399 Scripture portrays the tragic consequences of this first disobedience. Adam and Eve immediately lose the grace of original holiness. [280] They become afraid of the God of whom they have conceived a distorted image - that of a God jealous of his prerogatives. [281]

400 The harmony in which they had found themselves, thanks to original justice, is now destroyed: the control of the soul's spiritual faculties over the body is shattered; the union of man and woman becomes subject to tensions, their relations henceforth marked by lust and domination. [282] Harmony with creation is broken: visible creation has become alien and hostile to man. [283] Because of man, creation is now subject “to its bondage to decay”. [284] Finally, the consequence explicitly foretold for this disobedience will come true: man will “return to the ground”, [285] for out of it he was taken. Death makes its entrance into human history. [286]

401 After that first sin, the world is virtually inundated by sin There is Cain's murder of his brother Abel and the universal corruption which follows in the wake of sin. Likewise, sin frequently manifests itself in the history of Israel, especially as infidelity to the God of the Covenant and as transgression of the Law of Moses. and even after Christ's atonement, sin raises its head in countless ways among Christians. [287] Scripture and the Church's Tradition continually recall the presence and universality of sin in man's history:

What Revelation makes known to us is confirmed by our own experience. For when man looks into his own heart he finds that he is drawn towards what is wrong and sunk in many evils which cannot come from his good creator. Often refusing to acknowledge God as his source, man has also upset the relationship which should link him to his last end, and at the same time he has broken the right order that should reign within himself as well as between himself and other men and all creatures. [288]

The consequences of Adam's sin for humanity

402 All men are implicated in Adam's sin, as St. Paul affirms: “By one man's disobedience many (that is, all men) were made sinners”: “sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.” [289] The Apostle contrasts the universality of sin and death with the universality of salvation in Christ. “Then as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man's act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.” [290]

403 Following St. Paul, the Church has always taught that the overwhelming misery which oppresses men and their inclination towards evil and death cannot be understood apart from their connection with Adam's sin and the fact that he has transmitted to us a sin with which we are all born afflicted, a sin which is the “death of the soul”. [291] Because of this certainty of faith, the Church baptizes for the remission of sins even tiny infants who have not committed personal sin. [292]

404 How did the sin of Adam become the sin of all his descendants? the whole human race is in Adam “as one body of one man”. [293] By this “unity of the human race” all men are implicated in Adam's sin, as all are implicated in Christ's justice. Still, the transmission of original sin is a mystery that we cannot fully understand. But we do know by Revelation that Adam had received original holiness and justice not for himself alone, but for all human nature. By yielding to the tempter, Adam and Eve committed a personal sin, but this sin affected the human nature that they would then transmit in a fallen state. [294] It is a sin which will be transmitted by propagation to all mankind, that is, by the transmission of a human nature deprived of original holiness and justice. and that is why original sin is called “sin” only in an analogical sense: it is a sin “contracted” and not “committed” - a state and not an act.

405 Although it is proper to each individual, [295] original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence”. Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.

406 The Church's teaching on the transmission of original sin was articulated more precisely in the fifth century, especially under the impulse of St. Augustine's reflections against Pelagianism, and in the sixteenth century, in opposition to the Protestant Reformation. Pelagius held that man could, by the natural power of free will and without the necessary help of God's grace, lead a morally good life; he thus reduced the influence of Adam's fault to bad example. the first Protestant reformers, on the contrary, taught that original sin has radically perverted man and destroyed his freedom; they identified the sin inherited by each man with the tendency to evil (concupiscentia), which would be insurmountable. the Church pronounced on the meaning of the data of Revelation on original sin especially at the second Council of Orange (529) [296] and at the Council of Trent (1546). [297]

A hard battle. . .

407 The doctrine of original sin, closely connected with that of redemption by Christ, provides lucid discernment of man's situation and activity in the world. By our first parents' sin, the devil has acquired a certain domination over man, even though man remains free. Original sin entails “captivity under the power of him who thenceforth had the power of death, that is, the devil”. [298] Ignorance of the fact that man has a wounded nature inclined to evil gives rise to serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action [299] and morals.

408 The consequences of original sin and of all men's personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John's expression, “the sin of the world”. [300] This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men's sins. [301]

409 This dramatic situation of “the whole world [which] is in the power of the evil one” [302] makes man's life a battle:

The whole of man's history has been the story of dour combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield man has to struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God's grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity. [303]

IV. “YOU DID NOT ABANDON HIM TO THE POWER OF DEATH”

410 After his fall, man was not abandoned by God. On the contrary, God calls him and in a mysterious way heralds the coming victory over evil and his restoration from his fall. [304] This passage in Genesis is called the Protoevangelium (“first gospel”): the first announcement of the Messiah and Redeemer, of a battle between the serpent and the Woman, and of the final victory of a descendant of hers.

411 The Christian tradition sees in this passage an announcement of the “New Adam” who, because he “became obedient unto death, even death on a cross”, makes amends superabundantly for the disobedience, of Adam. [305] Furthermore many Fathers and Doctors of the Church have seen the woman announced in the “Proto-evangelium” as Mary, the mother of Christ, the “new Eve”. Mary benefited first of all and uniquely from Christ's victory over sin: she was preserved from all stain of original sin and by a special grace of God committed no sin of any kind during her whole earthly life. [306]

412 But why did God not prevent the first man from sinning? St. Leo the Great responds, “Christ's inexpressible grace gave us blessings better than those the demon's envy had taken away.” [307] and St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature's being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, 'Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more'; and the Exsultet sings, 'O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'“ [308]

IN BRIEF

413 “God did not make death, and he does not delight in the death of the living. . . It was through the devil's envy that death entered the world” ( Wis 1:13; 2:24).

414 Satan or the devil and the other demons are fallen angels who have freely refused to serve God and his plan. Their choice against God is definitive. They try to associate man in their revolt against God.

415 “Although set by God in a state of rectitude man, enticed by the evil one, abused his freedom at the very start of history. He lifted himself up against God, and sought to attain his goal apart from him” (GS 13 # 1).

416 By his sin Adam, as the first man, lost the original holiness and justice he had received from God, not only for himself but for all human beings.

417 Adam and Eve transmitted to their descendants human nature wounded by their own first sin and hence deprived of original holiness and justice; this deprivation is called “original sin”.

418 As a result of original sin, human nature is weakened in its powers, subject to ignorance, suffering and the domination of death, and inclined to sin (this inclination is called “concupiscence”).

419 “We therefore hold, with the Council of Trent, that original sin is transmitted with human nature, “by propagation, not by imitation” and that it is. . . 'proper to each'“ (Paul VI, CPG # 16).

420 The victory that Christ won over sin has given us greater blessings than those which sin had taken from us: “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” ( Rom 5:20).

421 Christians believe that “the world has been established and kept in being by the Creator's love; has fallen into slavery to sin but has been set free by Christ, crucified and risen to break the power of the evil one. . .” (GS 2 # 2).


257 St. Augustine, Conf. 7, 7, 11: PL 32, 739.
258 2 Th 2:7; I Tim 3:16.
259 Cf. Rom 5:20.
260 Cf. Lk 11:21-22; Jn 16:11; I Jn 3:8.
261 Cf. Rom 5:12-21.
262 Jn 16:8.
263 Cf. I Cor 2:16.
264 Cf. GS 13 # 1.
265 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513; Pius XII: DS 3897; Paul VI: AAS 58    (1966), 654.
266 Cf. Gen 3:1-5; Wis 2:24.
267 Cf Jn 8:44; Rev 12:9.
268 Lateran Council IV (1215): DS 800.
269 Cf. 2 Pt 2:4.
270 Gen 3:5.
271 I Jn 3:8; Jn 8:44.
272 St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 2, 4: PG 94, 877.
273 Jn 8:44; cf. Mt 4:1-11.
274 I Jn 3:8.
275 Rom 8:28.
276 Gen 2:17.
277 Gen 2:17.
278 Cf. Gen 3:1-11 ; Rom 5:19.
279 St. Maximus the Confessor, Ambigua: PG 91, 1156C; cf. Gen 3:5.
280 Cf. Rom 3:23.
281 Cf. Gen 3:5-10.
282 Cf. Gen 3:7-16.
283 Cf. Gen 3:17, 19.
284 Rom 8:21.
285 Gen 3:19; cf. 2:17.
286 Cf. Rom 5:12.
287 Cf. Gen 4:3-15; 6:5, 12; Rom 1:18-32; I Cor 1-6; Rev 2-3.
288 GS 13 # 1.
289 Rom 5:12, 19.
290 Rom 5:18.
291 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1512.
292 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1514.
293 St. Thomas Aquinas, De malo 4, I.
294 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1511-1512
295 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1513.
296 DS 371-372.
297 Cf. DS 1510-1516.
298 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1511; cf. Heb 2:14.
299 Cf. John Paul II, CA 25.
300 Jn 1:29.
301 Cf. John Paul II, RP 16.
302 I Jn 5:19; cf. I Pt 5:8.
303 GS 37 3 2.
304 Cf. Gen 3:9, 15.
305 Cf. I Cor 15:21-22, 45; Phil 2:8; Rom 5:19-20.
306 Cf. Pius IXs Ineffabilis Deus: DS 2803; Council of Trent: DS 1573.
307 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 73, 4: PL 54, 396.
308 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, I, 3, ad 3; cf. Rom 5:20.

CHAPTER TWO

I BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST, THE ONLY SON OF GOD

The Good News: God has sent his Son

422 'But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.' [1] This is 'the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God': [2] God has visited his people. He has fulfilled the promise he made to Abraham and his descendants. He acted far beyond all expectation - he has sent his own 'beloved Son'. [3]

423 We believe and confess that Jesus of Nazareth, born a Jew of a daughter of Israel at Bethlehem at the time of King Herod the Great and the emperor Caesar Augustus, a carpenter by trade, who died crucified in Jerusalem under the procurator Pontius Pilate during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, is the eternal Son of God made man. He 'came from God', [4] 'descended from heaven', [5] and 'came in the flesh'. [6] For 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. . . and from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace.' [7]

424 Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' [8] On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church. [9] “To preach. . . the unsearchable riches of Christ” [10]

425 The transmission of the Christian faith consists primarily in proclaiming Jesus Christ in order to lead others to faith in him. From the beginning, the first disciples burned with the desire to proclaim Christ: “We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” [11] It and they invite people of every era to enter into the joy of their communion with Christ:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us - that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us; and our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. and we are writing this that our joy may be complete. [12]

At the heart of catechesis: Christ

426 “At the heart of catechesis we find, in essence, a Person, the Person of Jesus of Nazareth, the only Son from the Father. . .who suffered and died for us and who now, after rising, is living with us forever.” [13] To catechize is “to reveal in the Person of Christ the whole of God's eternal design reaching fulfilment in that Person. It is to seek to understand the meaning of Christ's actions and words and of the signs worked by him.” [14] Catechesis aims at putting “people . . . in communion . . . with Jesus Christ: only he can lead us to the love of the Father in the Spirit and make us share in the life of the Holy Trinity.” [15]

427 In catechesis “Christ, the Incarnate Word and Son of God,. . . is taught - everything else is taught with reference to him - and it is Christ alone who teaches - anyone else teaches to the extent that he is Christ's spokesman, enabling Christ to teach with his lips. . . Every catechist should be able to apply to himself the mysterious words of Jesus: 'My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me.'“ [16]

428 Whoever is called “to teach Christ” must first seek “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus”; he must suffer “the loss of all things. . .” in order to “gain Christ and be found in him”, and “to know him and the power of his resurrection, and (to) share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that if possible (he) may attain the resurrection from the dead”. [17]

429 From this loving knowledge of Christ springs the desire to proclaim him, to “evangelize”, and to lead others to the “yes” of faith in Jesus Christ. But at the same time the need to know this faith better makes itself felt. To this end, following the order of the Creed, Jesus' principal titles - “Christ”, “Son of God”, and “Lord” (article 2) - will be presented. the Creed next confesses the chief mysteries of his life - those of his Incarnation (article 3), Paschal mystery (articles 4 and 5) and glorification (articles 6 and 7).


1 Gal 4:4-5.
2 Mk 1:1.
3 Mk 1:11; cf. Lk 1:5, 68.
4 Jn 13:3.
5 Jn 3:13; 6:33.
6 1 Jn 4:2.
7 Jn 1:14,16.
8 Mt 16:16.
9 Cf. Mt 16:18; St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4 3: PL 54,150 - 152; 51,1: PL 54, 309B; 62, 2: PL 54, 350-351; 83, 3: PL 54, 431-432.
10 Eph 3:8.
11 Acts 4:20.
12 1 Jn 1:1-4.
13 CT 5.
14 CT 5.
15 CT 5.
16 CT 6; cf. Jn 7:16.
17 Phil 3:8-11.

ARTICLE 2

“AND IN JESUS CHRIST, HIS ONLY SON, OUR LORD”

I. Jesus

430 Jesus means in Hebrew: “God saves.” At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. [18] Since God alone can forgive sins, it is God who, in Jesus his eternal Son made man, “will save his people from their sins”. [19] in Jesus, God recapitulates all of his history of salvation on behalf of men.

431 In the history of salvation God was not content to deliver Israel “out of the house of bondage” [20] by bringing them out of Egypt. He also saves them from their sin. Because sin is always an offence against God, only he can forgive it. [21] For this reason Israel, becoming more and more aware of the universality of sin, will no longer be able to seek salvation except by invoking the name of the Redeemer God. [22]

432 The name “Jesus” signifies that the very name of God is present in the person of his Son, made man for the universal and definitive redemption from sins. It is the divine name that alone brings salvation, and henceforth all can invoke his name, for Jesus united himself to all men through his Incarnation, [23] so that “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” [24]

433 The name of the Saviour God was invoked only once in the year by the high priest in atonement for the sins of Israel, after he had sprinkled the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies with the sacrificial blood. the mercy seat was the place of God's presence. [25] When St. Paul speaks of Jesus whom “God put forward as an expiation by his blood”, he means that in Christ's humanity “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.” [26]

434 Jesus' Resurrection glorifies the name of the Saviour God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”. [27] The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name. [28]

435 The name of Jesus is at the heart of Christian prayer. All liturgical prayers conclude with the words “through our Lord Jesus Christ”. the Hail Mary reaches its high point in the words “blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.” the Eastern prayer of the heart, the Jesus Prayer, says: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Many Christians, such as St. Joan of Arc, have died with the one word “Jesus” on their lips.


18 Cf. Lk 1:31.
19 Mt 1:21; cf. 2:7.
20 Dt 5:6.
21 Cf. Ps 51:4, 12.
22 Cf. Ps 79:9.
23 Cf. Jn 3:18; Acts 2:21; 5:41; 3 Jn 7; Rom 10:6-13.
24 Acts 4:12; cf. 9:14; Jas 2:7.
25 Cf. Ex 25:22; Lev 16:2,15-16; Num 7:89; Sir 50:20; Heb 9:5,7.
26 Rom 3:25; 2 Cor 5:19.
27 Phil 2:9-10; cf. Jn 12:28.
28 Cf. Acts 16:16-18; 19:13-16; Mk 16:17; Jn 15:16.

II. Christ

436 The word “Christ” comes from the Greek translation of the Hebrew Messiah, which means “anointed”. It became the name proper to Jesus only because he accomplished perfectly the divine mission that “Christ” signifies. In effect, in Israel those consecrated to God for a mission that he gave were anointed in his name. This was the case for kings, for priests and, in rare instances, for prophets. [29] This had to be the case all the more so for the Messiah whom God would send to inaugurate his kingdom definitively. [30] It was necessary that the Messiah be anointed by the Spirit of the Lord at once as king and priest, and also as prophet. [31] Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet and king.

437 To the shepherds, the angel announced the birth of Jesus as the Messiah promised to Israel: “To you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.” [32] From the beginning he was “the one whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world”, conceived as “holy” in Mary's virginal womb. [33] God called Joseph to “take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, so that Jesus, “who is called Christ”, should be born of Joseph's spouse into the messianic lineage of David. [34]

438 Jesus' messianic consecration reveals his divine mission, “for the name 'Christ' implies 'he who anointed', 'he who was anointed' and 'the very anointing with which he was anointed'. the one who anointed is the Father, the one who was anointed is the Son, and he was anointed with the Spirit who is the anointing.'“ [35] His eternal messianic consecration was revealed during the time of his earthly life at the moment of his baptism by John, when “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”, “that he might be revealed to Israel” [36] as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest him as “the Holy One of God”. [37]

439 Many Jews and even certain Gentiles who shared their hope recognized in Jesus the fundamental attributes of the messianic “Son of David”, promised by God to Israel. [38] Jesus accepted his rightful title of Messiah, though with some reserve because it was understood by some of his contemporaries in too human a sense, as essentially political. [39]

440 Jesus accepted Peter's profession of faith, which acknowledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion of the Son of Man. [40] He unveiled the authentic content of his messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of Man “who came down from heaven”, and in his redemptive mission as the suffering Servant: “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [41] Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he is raised high on the cross. [42] Only after his Resurrection will Peter be able to proclaim Jesus' messianic kingship to the People of God: “Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” [43]


29 Cf. Ex 29:7; Lev 8:12; 1 Sam 9:16; 10:1; 16:1, 12-13; I Kings 1:39; 19:16.
30 Cf. Ps 2:2; Acts 4:26-27.
31 Cf. Is 11:2; 61:1; Zech 4:14; 6:13; Lk 4:16-21.
32 Lk 2:11.
33 Jn 10:36; cf. Lk 1:35.
34 Mt 1:20; cf. 1:16; Rom 1:1; 2 Tim 2:8; Rev 22:16.
35 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3,18,3: PG 7/1, 934.
36 Acts 10:38; Jn 1:31.
37 Mk 1:24; Jn 6:69; Acts 3:14.
38 Cf Mt 2:2; 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9.15.
39 Cf. Jn 4:25-26; 6:15; 11:27; Mt 22:41-46; Lk 24:21.
40 Cf. Mt 16:16-23.
41 Jn 3:13; Mt 20:28; cf. Jn 6:62; Dan 7:13; Is 53:10-12.
42 Cf. Jn 19:19-22; Lk 23:39-43.
43 Acts 2:36.

III. The Only Son of God

441 In the Old Testament, “son of God” is a title given to the angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings. [44] It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the promised Messiah-King is called “son of God”, it does not necessarily imply that he was more than human, according to the literal meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus “son of God”, as the Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this. [45]

442 Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God”, for Jesus responds solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” [46] Similarly Paul will write, regarding his conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles...” [47] “and in the synagogues immediately [Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, 'He is the Son of God.'“ [48] From the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ's divine sonship will be the centre of the apostolic faith, first professed by Peter as the Church's foundation. [49]

443 Peter could recognize the transcendent character of the Messiah's divine sonship because Jesus had clearly allowed it to be so understood. To his accusers' question before the Sanhedrin, “Are you the Son of God, then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am.” [50] Well before this, Jesus referred to himself as “the Son” who knows the Father, as distinct from the “servants” God had earlier sent to his people; he is superior even to the angels. [51] He distinguished his sonship from that of his disciples by never saying “our Father”, except to command them: “You, then, pray like this: 'Our Father'“, and he emphasized this distinction, saying “my Father and your Father”. [52]

444 The Gospels report that at two solemn moments, the Baptism and the Transfiguration of Christ, the voice of the Father designates Jesus his “beloved Son”. [53] Jesus calls himself the “only Son of God”, and by this title affirms his eternal pre-existence. [54] He asks for faith in “the name of the only Son of God”. [55] In the centurion's exclamation before the crucified Christ, “Truly this man was the Son of God”, [56] that Christian confession is already heard. Only in the Paschal mystery can the believer give the title “Son of God” its full meaning.

445 After his Resurrection, Jesus' divine sonship becomes manifest in the power of his glorified humanity. He was “designated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”. [57] The apostles can confess: “We have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” [58]


44 Cf. Dt 14:1; (LXX) 32:8; Job 1:6; Ex 4:22; Hos 2:1; 11:1; Jer 3:19; Sir 36:11; Wis 18:13; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 82:6.
45 Cf. I Chr 17:13; Ps 2:7; Mt 27:54; Lk 23:47.
46 Mt 16:16-17.
47 Gal 1:15-16.
48 Acts 9:20.
49 Cf. I Th 1:10; Jn 20:31; Mt 16:18.
50 Lk 22:70; cf. Mt 26:64; Mk 14:61-62.
51 Cf. Mt 11:27; 21:34-38; 24:36.
52 Mt 5:48; 6:8-9; 7:21; Lk 11:13; Jn 20:17.
53 Cf. Mt 3:17; cf. 17:5.
54 Jn 3:16; cf. 10:36.
55 Jn 3:18.
56 Mk 15:39.
57 Rom 1:3; cf. Acts 13:33.
58 Jn 1:14.

IV. Lord

446 In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the ineffable Hebrew name YHWH, by which God revealed himself to Moses, [59] is rendered as Kyrios, “Lord”. From then on, “Lord” becomes the more usual name by which to indicate the divinity of Israel's God. the New Testament uses this full sense of the title “Lord” both for the Father and - what is new - for Jesus, who is thereby recognized as God Himself. [60]

447 Jesus ascribes this title to himself in a veiled way when he disputes with the Pharisees about the meaning of Psalm 110, but also in an explicit way when he addresses his apostles. [61] Throughout his public life, he demonstrated his divine sovereignty by works of power over nature, illnesses, demons, death and sin.

448 Very often in the Gospels people address Jesus as “Lord”. This title testifies to the respect and trust of those who approach him for help and healing. [62] At the prompting of the Holy Spirit, “Lord” expresses the recognition of the divine mystery of Jesus. [63] In the encounter with the risen Jesus, this title becomes adoration: “My Lord and my God!” It thus takes on a connotation of love and affection that remains proper to the Christian tradition: “It is the Lord!” [64]

449 By attributing to Jesus the divine title “Lord”, the first confessions of the Church's faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because “he was in the form of God”, [65] and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory. [66]

450 From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ's lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Caesar is not “the Lord”. [67] “The Church. . . believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in its Lord and Master.” [68]

451 Christian prayer is characterized by the title “Lord”, whether in the invitation to prayer (“The Lord be with you”), its conclusion (“through Christ our Lord”) or the exclamation full of trust and hope: Maranatha (“Our Lord, come!”) or Maranatha (“Come, Lord!”) - “Amen Come Lord Jesus!” [69]


59 Cf. Ex 3:14.
60 Cf. I Cor 2:8.
61 Cf. Mt 22:41-46; cf. Acts 2:34-36; Heb 1:13; Jn 13:13.
62 Cf Mt 8:2; 14:30; 15:22; et al.
63 Cf. Lk 1:43; 2:11.
64 Jn 20:28, 21:7.
65 Cf. Acts 2:34 - 36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Rev 5:13; Phil 2:6.
66 Cf. Rom 10:9; I Cor 12:3; Phil 2:9-11.
67 Cf. Rev 11:15; Mk 12:17; Acts 5:29.
68 GS 10 # 3; Cf. 45 # 2.
69 I Cor 16:22; Rev 22:20.

IN BRIEF

452 The name Jesus means “God saves”. the child born of the Virgin Mary is called Jesus, “for he will save his people from their sins” ( Mt 1:21): “there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” ( Acts 4:12).

453 The title “Christ” means “Anointed One” (Messiah).Jesus is the Christ, for “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power” ( Acts 10:38). He was the one “who is to come” ( Lk 7:19), the object of “the hope of Israel” ( Acts 28:20).

454 The title “Son of God” signifies the unique and eternal relationship of Jesus Christ to God his Father: he is the only Son of the Father (cf Jn 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18); he is God himself (cf Jn 1:1). To be a Christian, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (cf Acts 8:37; 1 Jn 2:23).

455 The title “Lord” indicates divine sovereignty. To confess or invoke Jesus as Lord is to believe in his divinity. “No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit'“ ( I Cor 12:3).


Article 3

“HE WAS CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, AND WAS BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY”

Paragraph 1. THE SON OF GOD BECAME MAN

I. WHY DID THE WORD BECOME FLESH?

456 With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: “For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man.”

457 The Word became flesh for us in order to save us by reconciling us with God, who “loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins”: “the Father has sent his Son as the Saviour of the world”, and “he was revealed to take away sins”: [70]

Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us. Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Saviour; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator. Are these things minor or insignificant? Did they not move God to descend to human nature and visit it, since humanity was in so miserable and unhappy a state? [71]

458 The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” [72] “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” [73]

459 The Word became flesh to be our model of holiness: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” [74] On the mountain of the Transfiguration, the Father commands: “Listen to him!” [75] Jesus is the model for the Beatitudes and the norm of the new law: “Love one another as I have loved you.” [76] This love implies an effective offering of oneself, after his example. [77]

460 The Word became flesh to make us “partakers of the divine nature”: [78] “For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God.” [79] “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” [80] “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” [81]

II. THE INCARNATION

461 Taking up St. John's expression, “The Word became flesh”, [82] The Church calls “Incarnation” the fact that the Son of God assumed a human nature in order to accomplish our salvation in it. In a hymn cited by St. Paul, the Church sings the mystery of the Incarnation:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. and being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. [83]

462 The Letter to the Hebrews refers to the same mystery:

Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.” [84]

463 Belief in the true Incarnation of the Son of God is the distinctive sign of Christian faith: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.” [85] Such is the joyous conviction of the Church from her beginning whenever she sings “the mystery of our religion”: “He was manifested in the flesh.” [86]

III. TRUE GOD AND TRUE MAN

464 The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against the heresies that falsified it.

465 The first heresies denied not so much Christ's divinity as his true humanity (Gnostic Docetism). From apostolic times the Christian faith has insisted on the true incarnation of God's Son “come in the flesh”. [87] But already in the third century, the Church in a council at Antioch had to affirm against Paul of Samosata that Jesus Christ is Son of God by nature and not by adoption. the first ecumenical council of Nicaea in 325 confessed in its Creed that the Son of God is “begotten, not made, of the same substance (homoousios) as the Father”, and condemned Arius, who had affirmed that the Son of God “came to be from things that were not” and that he was “from another substance” than that of the Father. [88]

466 The Nestorian heresy regarded Christ as a human person joined to the divine person of God's Son. Opposing this heresy, St. Cyril of Alexandria and the third ecumenical council, at Ephesus in 431, confessed “that the Word, uniting to himself in his person the flesh animated by a rational soul, became man.” [89] Christ's humanity has no other subject than the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it and made it his own, from his conception. For this reason the Council of Ephesus proclaimed in 431 that Mary truly became the Mother of God by the human conception of the Son of God in her womb: “Mother of God, not that the nature of the Word or his divinity received the beginning of its existence from the holy Virgin, but that, since the holy body, animated by a rational soul, which the Word of God united to himself according to the hypostasis, was born from her, the Word is said to be born according to the flesh.” [90]

467 The Monophysites affirmed that the human nature had ceased to exist as such in Christ when the divine person of God's Son assumed it. Faced with this heresy, the fourth ecumenical council, at Chalcedon in 451, confessed: Following the holy Fathers, we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity; “like us in all things but sin”. He was begotten from the Father before all ages as to his divinity and in these last days, for us and for our salvation, was born as to his humanity of the virgin Mary, the Mother of God. [91]

 

We confess that one and the same Christ, Lord, and only-begotten Son, is to be acknowledged in two natures without confusion, change, division or separation. the distinction between the natures was never abolished by their union, but rather the character proper to each of the two natures was preserved as they came together in one person (prosopon) and one hypostasis. [92]

468 After the Council of Chalcedon, some made of Christ's human nature a kind of personal subject. Against them, the fifth ecumenical council, at Constantinople in 553, confessed that “there is but one hypostasis [or person], which is our Lord Jesus Christ, one of the Trinity.” [93] Thus everything in Christ's human nature is to be attributed to his divine person as its proper subject, not only his miracles but also his sufferings and even his death: “He who was crucified in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ, is true God, Lord of glory, and one of the Holy Trinity.” [94]

469 The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. He is truly the Son of God who, without ceasing to be God and Lord, became a man and our brother: “What he was, he remained and what he was not, he assumed”, sings the Roman Liturgy. [95] and the liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims and sings: “O only-begotten Son and Word of God, immortal being, you who deigned for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, you who without change became man and were crucified, O Christ our God, you who by your death have crushed death, you who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and the Holy Spirit, save us!” [96]

IV. HOW IS THE SON OF GOD MAN?

470 Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”, [97] in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ's human soul, with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body. In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ's human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it. Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”.

The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity: [98]

The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin. [99]

Christ's soul and his human knowledge

471 Apollinarius of Laodicaea asserted that in Christ the divine Word had replaced the soul or spirit. Against this error the Church confessed that the eternal Son also assumed a rational, human soul. [100]

472 This human soul that the Son of God assumed is endowed with a true human knowledge. As such, this knowledge could not in itself be unlimited: it was exercised in the historical conditions of his existence in space and time. This is why the Son of God could, when he became man, “increase in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man”, [101] and would even have to inquire for himself about what one in the human condition can learn only from experience. [102] This corresponded to the reality of his voluntary emptying of himself, taking “the form of a slave”. [103]

473 But at the same time, this truly human knowledge of God's Son expressed the divine life of his person. [104] “The human nature of God's Son, not by itself but by its union with the Word, knew and showed forth in itself everything that pertains to God.” [105] Such is first of all the case with the intimate and immediate knowledge that the Son of God made man has of his Father. [106] The Son in his human knowledge also showed the divine penetration he had into the secret thoughts of human hearts. [107]

474 By its union to the divine wisdom in the person of the Word incarnate, Christ enjoyed in his human knowledge the fullness of understanding of the eternal plans he had come to reveal. [108] What he admitted to not knowing in this area, he elsewhere declared himself not sent to reveal. [109]

Christ's human will

475 Similarly, at the sixth ecumenical council, Constantinople III in 681, the Church confessed that Christ possesses two wills and two natural operations, divine and human. They are not opposed to each other, but co-operate in such a way that the Word made flesh willed humanly in obedience to his Father all that he had decided divinely with the Father and the Holy Spirit for our salvation. [110] Christ's human will “does not resist or oppose but rather submits to his divine and almighty will.” [111]

Christ's true body

476 Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ's body was finite. [112] Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed; at the seventh ecumenical council (Nicaea II in 787) the Church recognized its representation in holy images to be legitimate. [113]

477 At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.” [114] The individual characteristics of Christ's body express the divine person of God's Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer “who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted”. [115]

The heart of the Incarnate Word

478 Jesus knew and loved us each and all during his life, his agony and his Passion, and gave himself up for each one of us: “The Son of God. . . loved me and gave himself for me.” [116] He has loved us all with a human heart. For this reason, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced by our sins and for our salvation, [117] “is quite rightly considered the chief sign and symbol of that. . . love with which the divine Redeemer continually loves the eternal Father and all human beings” without exception. [118]

IN BRIEF

479 At the time appointed by God, the only Son of the Father, the eternal Word, that is, the Word and substantial Image of the Father, became incarnate; without losing his divine nature he has assumed human nature.

480 Jesus Christ is true God and true man, in the unity of his divine person; for this reason he is the one and only mediator between God and men.

481 Jesus Christ possesses two natures, one divine and the other human, not confused, but united in the one person of God's Son.

482 Christ, being true God and true man, has a human intellect and will, perfectly attuned and subject to his divine intellect and divine will, which he has in common with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

483 The Incarnation is therefore the mystery of the wonderful union of the divine and human natures in the one person of the Word.


70 I Jn 4:10; 4:14; 3:5.
71 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech 15: PG 45, 48B.
72 I Jn 4:9.
73 Jn 3:16.
74 Mt 11:29; Jn 14:6.
75 Mk 9:7; cf. Dt 6:4-5.
76 Jn 15:12.
77 Cf. Mk 8:34.
78 2 Pt 1:4.
79 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939.
80 St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B.
81 St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4.
82 Jn 1:14.
83 Phil 2:5-8; cf. LH, Saturday, Canticle at Evening Prayer.
84 ] Heb 10:5-7, citing  Ps 40:6-8 (7-9 LXX).
85 I Jn 4:2.
86 1 Tim 3:16.
87 Cf. I Jn 4:2-3; 2 Jn 7.
88 Council of Nicaea I (325): DS 130, 126.
89 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 250.
90 Council of Ephesus: DS 251.
91 Council of Chalcedon (451): DS 301; cf. Heb 4:15.
92 Council of Chalcedon: DS 302.
93 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 424.
94 Council of Constantinople II (553): DS 432; cf. DS 424; Council of    Ephesus, DS 255.
95 LH, 1 January, Antiphon for Morning Prayer; cf. St. Leo the Great, Sermo    in nat. Dom. 1, 2; PL 54, 191-192.
96 Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Troparion O monogenes.
97 GS 22 # 2.
98 Cf. Jn 14:9-10.
99 GS 22 # 2.
100 Cf. Damasus 1: DS 149.
101 Lk 2:52.
102 Cf. Mk 6 38; 8 27; Jn 11:34; etc.
103 Phil 2:7.
104 Cf. St. Gregory the Great, “Sicut aqua” ad Eulogium, Epist. Lib. 10, 39    PL 77, 1097 Aff.; DS 475.
105 St. Maximus the Confessor, Qu. et dub. 66 PG 90, 840A.
106 Cf. Mk 14:36; Mt 11:27; Jn 1:18; 8:55; etc.
107 Cf. Mk 2:8; Jn 2 25; 6:61; etc.
108 Cf. Mk 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34; 14:18-20, 26-30.
109 Cf. Mk 13:32, Acts 1:7.
110 Cf. Council of Constantinople III (681): DS 556-559.
111 Council of Constantinople III: DS 556.
112 Cf. Council of the Lateran (649): DS 504.
113 Cf. Cal 3:1; cf. Council of Nicaea II (787): DS 600-603.
114 Roman Missal, Preface of Christmas I.
115 Council of Nicaea II: DS 601.
116 Cal 2:20.
117 Cf. Jn 19:34.
118 Pius XII, Enc. Haurietis aquas (1956): DS 3924; cf. DS 3812.

Paragraph 2. “CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY”

I. CONCEIVED BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. . .

484 The Annunciation to Mary inaugurates “the fullness of time”, [119] The time of the fulfilment of God's promises and preparations. Mary was invited to conceive him in whom the “whole fullness of deity” would dwell “bodily”. [120] The divine response to her question, “How can this be, since I know not man?”, was given by the power of the Spirit: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” [121]

485 The mission of the Holy Spirit is always conjoined and ordered to that of the Son. [122] The Holy Spirit, “the Lord, the giver of Life”, is sent to sanctify the womb of the Virgin Mary and divinely fecundate it, causing her to conceive the eternal Son of the Father in a humanity drawn from her own.

486 The Father's only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is “Christ”, that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples. [123] Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.” [124]

II.... BORN OF THE VIRGIN MARY

487 What the Catholic faith believes about Mary is based on what it believes about Christ, and what it teaches about Mary illumines in turn its faith in Christ.

Mary's predestination

488 “God sent forth his Son”, but to prepare a body for him, [125] he wanted the free co-operation of a creature. For this, from all eternity God chose for the mother of his Son a daughter of Israel, a young Jewish woman of Nazareth in Galilee, “a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary”: [126]

The Father of mercies willed that the Incarnation should be preceded by assent on the part of the predestined mother, so that just as a woman had a share in the coming of death, so also should a woman contribute to the coming of life. [127]

489 Throughout the Old Covenant the mission of many holy women prepared for that of Mary. At the very beginning there was Eve; despite her disobedience, she receives the promise of a posterity that will be victorious over the evil one, as well as the promise that she will be the mother of all the living. [128] By virtue of this promise, Sarah conceives a son in spite of her old age. [129] Against all human expectation God chooses those who were considered powerless and weak to show forth his faithfulness to his promises: Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Deborah; Ruth; Judith and Esther; and many other women. [130] Mary “stands out among the poor and humble of the Lord, who confidently hope for and receive salvation from him. After a long period of waiting the times are fulfilled in her, the exalted Daughter of Sion, and the new plan of salvation is established.” [131]

The Immaculate Conception

490 To become the mother of the Saviour, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.” [132] The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”. [133] In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God, [134] was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin. [135]

492 The “splendour of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”. [136] The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”. [137]

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”. [138] By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long. “Let it be done to me according to your word. . .”

494 At the announcement that she would give birth to “the Son of the Most High” without knowing man, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary responded with the obedience of faith, certain that “with God nothing will be impossible”: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be [done] to me according to your word.” [139] Thus, giving her consent to God's word, Mary becomes the mother of Jesus. Espousing the divine will for salvation wholeheartedly, without a single sin to restrain her, she gave herself entirely to the person and to the work of her Son; she did so in order to serve the mystery of redemption with him and dependent on him, by God's grace: [140]

As St. Irenaeus says, “Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.” [141] Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert. . .: “The knot of Eve's disobedience was untied by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.” [142] Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary “the Mother of the living” and frequently claim: “Death through Eve, life through Mary.” [143]

Mary's divine motherhood

495 Called in the Gospels “the mother of Jesus”, Mary is acclaimed by Elizabeth, at the prompting of the Spirit and even before the birth of her son, as “the mother of my Lord”. [144] In fact, the One whom she conceived as man by the Holy Spirit, who truly became her Son according to the flesh, was none other than the Father's eternal Son, the second person of the Holy Trinity. Hence the Church confesses that Mary is truly “Mother of God” (Theotokos). [145]

Mary's virginity

496 From the first formulations of her faith, the Church has confessed that Jesus was conceived solely by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, affirming also the corporeal aspect of this event: Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit without human seed”. [146] The Fathers see in the virginal conception the sign that it truly was the Son of God who came in a humanity like our own. Thus St. Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century says: You are firmly convinced about our Lord, who is truly of the race of David according to the flesh, Son of God according to the will and power of God, truly born of a virgin,. . . he was truly nailed to a tree for us in his flesh under Pontius Pilate. . . he truly suffered, as he is also truly risen. [147]

497 The Gospel accounts understand the virginal conception of Jesus as a divine work that surpasses all human understanding and possibility: [148] “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit”, said the angel to Joseph about Mary his fiancee. [149] The Church sees here the fulfilment of the divine promise given through the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” [150]

498 People are sometimes troubled by the silence of St. Mark's Gospel and the New Testament Epistles about Jesus' virginal conception. Some might wonder if we were merely dealing with legends or theological constructs not claiming to be history. To this we must respond: Faith in the virginal conception of Jesus met with the lively opposition, mockery or incomprehension of non-believers, Jews and pagans alike; [151] so it could hardly have been motivated by pagan mythology or by some adaptation to the ideas of the age. the meaning of this event is accessible only to faith, which understands in it the “connection of these mysteries with one another” [152] in the totality of Christ's mysteries, from his Incarnation to his Passover. St. Ignatius of Antioch already bears witness to this connection: “Mary's virginity and giving birth, and even the Lord's death escaped the notice of the prince of this world: these three mysteries worthy of proclamation were accomplished in God's silence.” [153]

Mary - “ever-virgin”

499 The deepening of faith in the virginal motherhood led the Church to confess Mary's real and perpetual virginity even in the act of giving birth to the Son of God made man. [154] In fact, Christ's birth “did not diminish his mother's virginal integrity but sanctified it.” [155] and so the liturgy of the Church celebrates Mary as Aeiparthenos, the “Ever-virgin”. [156]

500 Against this doctrine the objection is sometimes raised that the Bible mentions brothers and sisters of Jesus. [157] The Church has always understood these passages as not referring to other children of the Virgin Mary. In fact James and Joseph, “brothers of Jesus”, are the sons of another Mary, a disciple of Christ, whom St. Matthew significantly calls “the other Mary”. [158] They are close relations of Jesus, according to an Old Testament expression. [159]

501 Jesus is Mary's only son, but her spiritual motherhood extends to all men whom indeed he came to save: “The Son whom she brought forth is he whom God placed as the first-born among many brethren, that is, the faithful in whose generation and formation she co-operates with a mother's love.” [160]

Mary's virginal motherhood in God's plan

502 The eyes of faith can discover in the context of the whole of Revelation the mysterious reasons why God in his saving plan wanted his Son to be born of a virgin. These reasons touch both on the person of Christ and his redemptive mission, and on the welcome Mary gave that mission on behalf of all men.

503 Mary's virginity manifests God's absolute initiative in the Incarnation. Jesus has only God as Father. “He was never estranged from the Father because of the human nature which he assumed. . . He is naturally Son of the Father as to his divinity and naturally son of his mother as to his humanity, but properly Son of the Father in both natures.” [161]

504 Jesus is conceived by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mary's womb because he is the New Adam, who inaugurates the new creation: “The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.” [162] From his conception, Christ's humanity is filled with the Holy Spirit, for God “gives him the Spirit without measure.” [163] From “his fullness” as the head of redeemed humanity “we have all received, grace upon grace.” [164]

505 By his virginal conception, Jesus, the New Adam, ushers in the new birth of children adopted in the Holy Spirit through faith. “How can this be?” [165] Participation in the divine life arises “not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God”. [166] The acceptance of this life is virginal because it is entirely the Spirit's gift to man. the spousal character of the human vocation in relation to God [167] is fulfilled perfectly in Mary's virginal motherhood.

506 Mary is a virgin because her virginity is the sign of her faith “unadulterated by any doubt”, and of her undivided gift of herself to God's will. [168] It is her faith that enables her to become the mother of the Saviour: “Mary is more blessed because she embraces faith in Christ than because she conceives the flesh of Christ.” [169]

507 At once virgin and mother, Mary is the symbol and the most perfect realization of the Church: “the Church indeed. . . by receiving the word of God in faith becomes herself a mother. By preaching and Baptism she brings forth sons, who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of God, to a new and immortal life. She herself is a virgin, who keeps in its entirety and purity the faith she pledged to her spouse.” [170]

IN BRIEF

508 From among the descendants of Eve, God chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of his Son. “Full of grace”, Mary is “the most excellent fruit of redemption” (SC 103): from the first instant of her conception, she was totally preserved from the stain of original sin and she remained pure from all personal sin throughout her life.

509 Mary is truly “Mother of God” since she is the mother of the eternal Son of God made man, who is God himself.

510 Mary “remained a virgin in conceiving her Son, a virgin in giving birth to him, a virgin in carrying him, a virgin in nursing him at her breast, always a virgin” (St. Augustine, Serm. 186, 1: PL 38, 999): with her whole being she is “the handmaid of the Lord” ( Lk 1:38).

511 The Virgin Mary “co-operated through free faith and obedience in human salvation” (LG 56). She uttered her yes “in the name of all human nature” (St. Thomas Aquinas, S Th III, 30, 1). By her obedience she became the new Eve, mother of the living.


119 Gal 4:4.
120 Col 2:9.
121 Lk 1:34-35 (Greek).
122 Cf. Jn 16:14-15.
123 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:1- 12; Lk 1:35; 2:8-20; Jn 1:3 1-34; 2:11.
124 Acts 10:38.
125 Gal 4:4; Heb 10:5.
126 Lk 1:26-27.
127 LG 56; cf. LG 61.
128 Cf. Gen 3:15, 20.
129 Cf. Gen 18:10-14; 21:1-2.
130 Cf. I Cor 1:17; I Sam 1.
131 LG 55.
132 LG 56.
133 Lk 1:28.
134 Lk 1:28.
135 Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus (1854): DS 2803.
136 LG 53, 56.
137 Cf. Eph 1:3-4.
138 LG 56.
139 Lk 1:28-38; cf. Rom 1:5.
140 Cf. LG 56.
141 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.
142 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 22, 4: PG 7/1, 959A.
143 LC 56; St. Epiphanius, Panarion 2, 78, 18: PG 42, 728CD-729AB; St.    Jerome, Ep. 22, 21: PL 22, 408.
144 Lk 1:43; Jn 2:1; 19:25; cf. Mt 13:55; et al.
145 Council of Ephesus (431): DS 251.
146 Council of the Lateran (649): DS 503; cf. DS 10-64.
147 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn 1-2: Apostolic Fathers, ed. J. B.    Lightfoot (London: Macmillan, 1889), 11/2, 289-293; SCh 10, 154-156; cf.    Rom 1:3; Jn 1:13.
148 Mt 1 18-25; Lk 1:26-38.
149 Mt 1:20.
150 Is 7:14 (LXX), quoted in Mt 1:23 (Greek).
151 Cf. St. Justin, Dial. 99, 7: PG 6, 708-709; Origen, Contra Celsum 1, 32, 69: PG 11, 720-721; et al.
152 Dei Filius 4: DS 3016.
153 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 19, 1: AF 11/2 76-80: cf. I Cor 2:8.
154 Cf. DS 291; 294; 427; 442; 503; 571; 1880.
155 LG 57.
156 Cf. LG 52.
157 Cf. Mk 3:31-35; 6:3; I Cor 9:5; Gal 1:19.
158 Mt 13:55; 28:1; cf. Mt 27:56.
159 Cf. Gen 13:8; 14:16; 29:15; etc.
160 LG 63; cf. Jn 19:26-27; Rom 8:29; Rev 12:17.
161 Council of Friuli (796): DS 619; cf. Lk 2:48-49.
162 I Cor 15:45, 47.
163 Jn 3:34.
164 Jn 1:16; cf. Col 1:18.
165 Lk 1:34; cf. Jn 3:9[ETML:C/].
166 Jn 1:13.
167 Cf. 2 Cor 11:2.
168 LG 63; cf. l Cor 7:34-35.
169 St. Augustine, De virg. 3: PL 40, 398.
170 LG 64; cf. 63.

Paragraph 3. THE MYSTERIES OF CHRIST'S LIFE

512 Concerning Christ's life the Creed speaks only about the mysteries of the Incarnation (conception and birth) and Paschal mystery (passion, crucifixion, death, burial, descent into hell, resurrection and ascension). It says nothing explicitly about the mysteries of Jesus' hidden or public life, but the articles of faith concerning his Incarnation and Passover do shed light on the whole of his earthly life. “All that Jesus did and taught, from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven”, [171] is to be seen in the light of the mysteries of Christmas and Easter.

513 According to circumstances catechesis will make use of all the richness of the mysteries of Jesus. Here it is enough merely to indicate some elements common to all the mysteries of Christ's life (I), in order then to sketch the principal mysteries of Jesus' hidden (II) and public (III) life.

I. CHRIST'S WHOLE LIFE IS MYSTERY

514 Many things about Jesus of interest to human curiosity do not figure in the Gospels. Almost nothing is said about his hidden life at Nazareth, and even a great part of his public life is not recounted. [172] What is written in the Gospels was set down there “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.” [173]

515 The Gospels were written by men who were among the first to have the faith [174] and wanted to share it with others. Having known in faith who Jesus is, they could see and make others see the traces of his mystery in all his earthly life. From the swaddling clothes of his birth to the vinegar of his Passion and the shroud of his Resurrection, everything in Jesus' life was a sign of his mystery. [175] His deeds, miracles and words all revealed that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” [176] His humanity appeared as “sacrament”, that is, the sign and instrument, of his divinity and of the salvation he brings: what was visible in his earthly life leads to the invisible mystery of his divine sonship and redemptive mission

Characteristics common to Jesus' mysteries

516 Christ's whole earthly life - his words and deeds, his silences and sufferings, indeed his manner of being and speaking - is Revelation of the Father. Jesus can say: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”, and the Father can say: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” [177] Because our Lord became man in order to do his Father's will, even the least characteristics of his mysteries manifest “God's love. . . among us”. [178]

517 Christ's whole life is a mystery of redemption. Redemption comes to us above all through the blood of his cross, [179] but this mystery is at work throughout Christ's entire life: -already in his Incarnation through which by becoming poor he enriches us with his poverty; [180] - in his hidden life which by his submission atones for our disobedience; [181] - in his word which purifies its hearers; [182]- in his healings and exorcisms by which “he took our infirmities and bore our diseases”; [183] - and in his Resurrection by which he justifies us. [184]

518 Christ's whole life is a mystery of recapitulation. All Jesus did, said and suffered had for its aim restoring fallen man to his original vocation:

When Christ became incarnate and was made man, he recapitulated in himself the long history of mankind and procured for us a “short cut” to salvation, so that what we had lost in Adam, that is, being in the image and likeness of God, we might recover in Christ Jesus. [185] For this reason Christ experienced all the stages of life, thereby giving communion with God to all men. [186]

Our communion in the mysteries of Jesus

519 All Christ's riches “are for every individual and are everybody's property.” [187] Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation “for us men and for our salvation” to his death “for our sins” and Resurrection “for our justification”. [188] He is still “our advocate with the Father”, who “always lives to make intercession” for us. [189] He remains ever “in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us.” [190]

520 In all of his life Jesus presents himself as our model. He is “the perfect man”, [191] who invites us to become his disciples and follow him. In humbling himself, he has given us an example to imitate, through his prayer he draws us to pray, and by his poverty he calls us to accept freely the privation and persecutions that may come our way. [192]

521 Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. “By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.” [193] We are called only to become one with him, for he enables us as the members of his Body to share in what he lived for us in his flesh as our model:

We must continue to accomplish in ourselves the stages of Jesus' life and his mysteries and often to beg him to perfect and realize them in us and in his whole Church. . . For it is the plan of the Son of God to make us and the whole Church partake in his mysteries and to extend them to and continue them in us and in his whole Church. This is his plan for fulfilling his mysteries in us. [194]

II. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' INFANCY AND HIDDEN LIFE

The preparations

522 The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries. He makes everything converge on Christ: all the rituals and sacrifices, figures and symbols of the “First Covenant”. [195] He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.

523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way. [196] “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. [197] He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. [198] Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom. [199]

524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. [200] By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must decrease.” [201]

The Christmas mystery

525 Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family. [202] Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this poverty heaven's glory was made manifest. [203] The Church never tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal

and the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.

The angels and shepherds praise him

and the magi advance with the star,

For you are born for us,

Little Child, God eternal! [204]

526 To become a child in relation to God is the condition for entering the kingdom. [205] For this, we must humble ourselves and become little. Even more: to become “children of God” we must be “born from above” or “born of God”. [206] Only when Christ is formed in us will the mystery of Christmas be fulfilled in us. [207] Christmas is the mystery of this “marvellous exchange”:

O marvellous exchange! Man's Creator has become man, born of the Virgin. We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share our humanity. [208]

The mysteries of Jesus' infancy

527 Jesus' circumcision, on the eighth day after his birth, [209] is the sign of his incorporation into Abraham's descendants, into the people of the covenant. It is the sign of his submission to the Law [210] and his deputation to Israel's worship, in which he will participate throughout his life. This sign prefigures that “circumcision of Christ” which is Baptism. [211]

528 The Epiphany is the manifestation of Jesus as Messiah of Israel, Son of God and Saviour of the world. the great feast of Epiphany celebrates the adoration of Jesus by the wise men (magi) from the East, together with his baptism in the Jordan and the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee. [212] In the magi, representatives of the neighbouring pagan religions, the Gospel sees the first-fruits of the nations, who welcome the good news of salvation through the Incarnation. the magi's coming to Jerusalem in order to pay homage to the king of the Jews shows that they seek in Israel, in the messianic light of the star of David, the one who will be king of the nations. [213] Their coming means that pagans can discover Jesus and worship him as Son of God and Saviour of the world only by turning towards the Jews and receiving from them the messianic promise as contained in the Old Testament. [214] The Epiphany shows that “the full number of the nations” now takes its “place in the family of the patriarchs”, and acquires Israelitica dignitas [215] (is made “worthy of the heritage of Israel”).

529 The presentation of Jesus in the temple shows him to be the firstborn Son who belongs to the Lord. [216] With Simeon and Anna, all Israel awaits its encounter with the Saviour - the name given to this event in the Byzantine tradition. Jesus is recognized as the long-expected Messiah, the “light to the nations” and the “glory of Israel”, but also “a sign that is spoken against”. the sword of sorrow predicted for Mary announces Christ's perfect and unique oblation on the cross that will impart the salvation God had “prepared in the presence of all peoples”.

530 The flight into Egypt and the massacre of the innocents [217] make manifest the opposition of darkness to the light: “He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.” [218] Christ's whole life was lived under the sign of persecution. His own share it with him. [219] Jesus' departure from Egypt recalls the exodus and presents him as the definitive liberator of God's people. [220]

The mysteries of Jesus' hidden life

531 During the greater part of his life Jesus shared the condition of the vast majority of human beings: a daily life spent without evident greatness, a life of manual labour. His religious life was that of a Jew obedient to the law of God, [221] a life in the community. From this whole period it is revealed to us that Jesus was “obedient” to his parents and that he “increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man.” [222]

532 Jesus' obedience to his mother and legal father fulfils the fourth commandment perfectly and was the temporal image of his filial obedience to his Father in heaven. the everyday obedience of Jesus to Joseph and Mary both announced and anticipated the obedience of Holy Thursday: “Not my will. . .” [223] The obedience of Christ in the daily routine of his hidden life was already inaugurating his work of restoring what the disobedience of Adam had destroyed. [224]

533 The hidden life at Nazareth allows everyone to enter into fellowship with Jesus by the most ordinary events of daily life:

The home of Nazareth is the school where we begin to understand the life of Jesus - the school of the Gospel. First, then, a lesson of silence. May esteem for silence, that admirable and indispensable condition of mind, revive in us. . . A lesson on family life. May Nazareth teach us what family life is, its communion of love, its austere and simple beauty, and its sacred and inviolable character... A lesson of work. Nazareth, home of the “Carpenter's Son”, in you I would choose to understand and proclaim the severe and redeeming law of human work. . . To conclude, I want to greet all the workers of the world, holding up to them their great pattern their brother who is God. [225]

534 The finding of Jesus in the temple is the only event that breaks the silence of the Gospels about the hidden years of Jesus. [226] Here Jesus lets us catch a glimpse of the mystery of his total consecration to a mission that flows from his divine sonship: “Did you not know that I must be about my Father's work?” [227] Mary and Joseph did not understand these words, but they accepted them in faith. Mary “kept all these things in her heart” during the years Jesus remained hidden in the silence of an ordinary life.

III. THE MYSTERIES OF JESUS' PUBLIC LIFE

The baptism of Jesus

535 Jesus' public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. [228] John preaches “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. [229] A crowd of sinners [230] - tax collectors and soldiers, Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes - come to be baptized by him. “Then Jesus appears.” the Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my beloved Son.” [231] This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

536 The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God's suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. [232] Already he is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death. [233] Already he is coming to “fulfil all righteousness”, that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father's will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins. [234] The Father's voice responds to the Son's acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son. [235] The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to “rest on him”. [236] Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were opened” [237] - the heavens that Adam's sin had closed - and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.

537 Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimilated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and resurrection. the Christian must enter into this mystery of humble self-abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father's beloved son in the Son and “walk in newness of life”: [238]

Let us be buried with Christ by Baptism to rise with him; let us go down with him to be raised with him; and let us rise with him to be glorified with him. [239]

 

Everything that happened to Christ lets us know that, after the bath of water, the Holy Spirit swoops down upon us from high heaven and that, adopted by the Father's voice, we become sons of God. [240]

Jesus' temptations

538 The Gospels speak of a time of solitude for Jesus in the desert immediately after his baptism by John. Driven by the Spirit into the desert, Jesus remains there for forty days without eating; he lives among wild beasts, and angels minister to him. [241] At the end of this time Satan tempts him three times, seeking to compromise his filial attitude toward God. Jesus rebuffs these attacks, which recapitulate the temptations of Adam in Paradise and of Israel in the desert, and the devil leaves him “until an opportune time”. [242]

539 The evangelists indicate the salvific meaning of this mysterious event: Jesus is the new Adam who remained faithful just where the first Adam had given in to temptation. Jesus fulfils Israel's vocation perfectly: in contrast to those who had once provoked God during forty years in the desert, Christ reveals himself as God's Servant, totally obedient to the divine will. In this, Jesus is the devil's conqueror: he “binds the strong man” to take back his plunder. [243] Jesus' victory over the tempter in the desert anticipates victory at the Passion, the supreme act of obedience of his filial love for the Father.

540 Jesus' temptation reveals the way in which the Son of God is Messiah, contrary to the way Satan proposes to him and the way men wish to attribute to him. [244] This is why Christ vanquished the Tempter for us: “For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sinning.” [245] By the solemn forty days of Lent the Church unites herself each year to the mystery of Jesus in the desert.

“The kingdom of God is at hand”

541 “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying: 'The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe in the gospel.'“ [246] “To carry out the will of the Father Christ inaugurated the kingdom of heaven on earth.” [247] Now the Father's will is “to raise up men to share in his own divine life”. [248] He does this by gathering men around his Son Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church, “on earth the seed and beginning of that kingdoms”. [249]

542 Christ stands at the heart of this gathering of men into the “family of God”. By his word, through signs that manifest the reign of God, and by sending out his disciples, Jesus calls all people to come together around him. But above all in the great Paschal mystery - his death on the cross and his Resurrection - he would accomplish the coming of his kingdom. “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” Into this union with Christ all men are called. [250]

The proclamation of the kingdom of God

543 Everyone is called to enter the kingdom. First announced to the children of Israel, this messianic kingdom is intended to accept men of all nations. [251] To enter it, one must first accept Jesus' word:

The word of the Lord is compared to a seed which is sown in a field; those who hear it with faith and are numbered among the little flock of Christ have truly received the kingdom. Then, by its own power, the seed sprouts and grows until the harvest. [252]

544 The kingdom belongs to the poor and lowly, which means those who have accepted it with humble hearts. Jesus is sent to “preach good news to the poor”; [253] he declares them blessed, for “theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” [254] To them - the “little ones” the Father is pleased to reveal what remains hidden from the wise and the learned. [255] Jesus shares the life of the poor, from the cradle to the cross; he experiences hunger, thirst and privation. [256] Jesus identifies himself with the poor of every kind and makes active love toward them the condition for entering his kingdom. [257]

545 Jesus invites sinners to the table of the kingdom: “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” [258] He invites them to that conversion without which one cannot enter the kingdom, but shows them in word and deed his Father's boundless mercy for them and the vast “joy in heaven over one sinner who repents”. [259] The supreme proof of his love will be the sacrifice of his own life “for the forgiveness of sins”. [260]

546 Jesus' invitation to enter his kingdom comes in the form of parables, a characteristic feature of his teaching. [261] Through his parables he invites people to the feast of the kingdom, but he also asks for a radical choice: to gain the kingdom, one must give everything. [262] Words are not enough, deeds are required. [263] The parables are like mirrors for man: will he be hard soil or good earth for the word? [264] What use has he made of the talents he has received? [265] Jesus and the presence of the kingdom in this world are secretly at the heart of the parables. One must enter the kingdom, that is, become a disciple of Christ, in order to “know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven”. [266] For those who stay “outside”, everything remains enigmatic. [267]

The signs of the kingdom of God

547 Jesus accompanies his words with many “mighty works and wonders and signs”, which manifest that the kingdom is present in him and attest that he was the promised Messiah. [268]

548 The signs worked by Jesus attest that the Father has sent him. They invite belief in him. [269] To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask. [270] So miracles strengthen faith in the One who does his Father's works; they bear witness that he is the Son of God. [271] But his miracles can also be occasions for “offence”; [272] they are not intended to satisfy people's curiosity or desire for magic Despite his evident miracles some people reject Jesus; he is even accused of acting by the power of demons. [273]

549 By freeing some individuals from the earthly evils of hunger, injustice, illness and death, [274] Jesus performed messianic signs. Nevertheless he did not come to abolish all evils here below, [275] but to free men from the gravest slavery, sin, which thwarts them in their vocation as God's sons and causes all forms of human bondage. [276]

550 The coming of God's kingdom means the defeat of Satan's: “If it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” [277] Jesus' exorcisms free some individuals from the domination of demons. They anticipate Jesus' great victory over “the ruler of this world”. [278] The kingdom of God will be definitively established through Christ's cross: “God reigned from the wood.” [279]

“The keys of the kingdom”

551 From the beginning of his public life Jesus chose certain men, twelve in number, to be with him and to participate in his mission. [280] He gives the Twelve a share in his authority and 'sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal.” [281] They remain associated for ever with Christ's kingdom, for through them he directs the Church:

As my Father appointed a kingdom for me, so do I appoint for you that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [282]

552 Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve; [283] Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord then declared to him: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” [284] Christ, the “living Stone”, [285] thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakeable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it. [286]

553 Jesus entrusted a specific authority to Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [287] The “power of the keys” designates authority to govern the house of God, which is the Church. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, confirmed this mandate after his Resurrection: “Feed my sheep.” [288] The power to “bind and loose” connotes the authority to absolve sins, to pronounce doctrinal judgements, and to make disciplinary decisions in the Church. Jesus entrusted this authority to the Church through the ministry of the apostles [289] and in particular through the ministry of Peter, the only one to whom he specifically entrusted the keys of the kingdom.

A foretaste of the kingdom: the Transfiguration

554 From the day Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Master “began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things. . . and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” [290] Peter scorns this prediction, nor do the others understand it any better than he. [291] In this context the mysterious episode of Jesus' Transfiguration takes place on a high mountain, [292] before three witnesses chosen by himself: Peter, James and John. Jesus' face and clothes become dazzling with light, and Moses and Elijah appear, speaking “of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem”. [293] A cloud covers him and a voice from heaven says: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” [294]

555 For a moment Jesus discloses his divine glory, confirming Peter's confession. He also reveals that he will have to go by the way of the cross at Jerusalem in order to “enter into his glory”. [295] Moses and Elijah had seen God's glory on the Mountain; the Law and the Prophets had announced the Messiah's sufferings. [296] Christ's Passion is the will of the Father: the Son acts as God's servant; [297] The cloud indicates the presence of the Holy Spirit. “The whole Trinity appeared: the Father in the voice; the Son in the man; the Spirit in the shining cloud.” [298]

You were transfigured on the mountain, and your disciples, as much as they were capable of it, beheld your glory, O Christ our God, so that when they should see you crucified they would understand that your Passion was voluntary, and proclaim to the world that you truly are the splendour of the Father. [299]

556 On the threshold of the public life: the baptism; on the threshold of the Passover: the Transfiguration. Jesus' baptism proclaimed “the mystery of the first regeneration”, namely, our Baptism; the Transfiguration “is the sacrament of the second regeneration”: our own Resurrection. [300] From now on we share in the Lord's Resurrection through the Spirit who acts in the sacraments of the Body of Christ. the Transfiguration gives us a foretaste of Christ's glorious coming, when he “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body.” [301] But it also recalls that “it is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God”: [302]

Peter did not yet understand this when he wanted to remain with Christ on the mountain. It has been reserved for you, Peter, but for after death. For now, Jesus says: “Go down to toil on earth, to serve on earth, to be scorned and crucified on earth. Life goes down to be killed; Bread goes down to suffer hunger; the Way goes down to be exhausted on his journey; the Spring goes down to suffer thirst; and you refuse to suffer?” [303]

Jesus' ascent to Jerusalem

557 “When the days drew near for him to be taken up [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem.” [304] By this decision he indicated that he was going up to Jerusalem prepared to die there. Three times he had announced his Passion and Resurrection; now, heading toward Jerusalem, Jesus says: “It cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.” [305]

558 Jesus recalls the martyrdom of the prophets who had been put to death in Jerusalem. Nevertheless he persists in calling Jerusalem to gather around him: “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” [306] When Jerusalem comes into view he weeps over her and expresses once again his heart's desire: “Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.” [307]

Jesus' messianic entrance into Jerusalem

559 How will Jerusalem welcome her Messiah? Although Jesus had always refused popular attempts to make him king, he chooses the time and prepares the details for his messianic entry into the city of “his father David”. [308] Acclaimed as son of David, as the one who brings salvation (Hosanna means “Save!” or “Give salvation!”), the “King of glory” enters his City “riding on an ass”. [309] Jesus conquers the Daughter of Zion, a figure of his Church, neither by ruse nor by violence, but by the humility that bears witness to the truth. [310] and so the subjects of his kingdom on that day are children and God's poor, who acclaim him as had the angels when they announced him to the shepherds. [311] Their acclamation, “Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord”, [312] is taken up by the Church in the Sanctus of the Eucharistic liturgy that introduces the memorial of the Lord's Passover.

560 Jesus' entry into Jerusalem manifested the coming of the kingdom that the King-Messiah was going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection. It is with the celebration of that entry on Palm Sunday that the Church's liturgy solemnly opens Holy Week.

IN BRIEF

561 “The whole of Christ's life was a continual teaching: his silences, his miracles, his gestures, his prayer, his love for people, his special affection for the little and the poor, his acceptance of the total sacrifice on the Cross for the redemption of the world, and his Resurrection are the actualization of his word and the fulfilment of Revelation” John Paul II, CT 9).

562 Christ's disciples are to conform themselves to him until he is formed in them (cf Gal 4:19). “For this reason we, who have been made like to him, who have died with him and risen with him, are taken up into the mysteries of his life, until we reign together with him” (LG 7 # 4).

563 No one, whether shepherd or wise man, can approach God here below except by kneeling before the manger at Bethlehem and adoring him hidden in the weakness of a new-born child.

564 By his obedience to Mary and Joseph, as well as by his humble work during the long years in Nazareth, Jesus gives us the example of holiness in the daily life of family and work.

565 From the beginning of his public life, at his baptism, Jesus is the “Servant”, wholly consecrated to the redemptive work that he will accomplish by the “baptism” of his Passion.

566 The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father.

567 The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. “This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ” (LG 5). the Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter.

568 Christ's Transfiguration aims at strengthening the apostles' faith in anticipation of his Passion: the ascent on to the “high mountain” prepares for the ascent to Calvary. Christ, Head of the Church, manifests what his Body contains and radiates in the sacraments: “the hope of glory” ( Col 1:27; cf.: St. Leo the Great, Sermo 51, 3: PL 54, 310C).

569 Jesus went up to Jerusalem voluntarily, knowing well that there he would die a violent death because of the opposition of sinners (cf Heb 12:3).

570 Jesus' entry into Jerusalem manifests the coming of the kingdom that the Messiah-King, welcomed into his city by children and the humble of heart, is going to accomplish by the Passover of his Death and Resurrection.


171
172 Cf. Jn 20:30.
173 Jn 20:31.
174 Cf. Mk 1:1; Jn 21:24.
175 Cf Lk 2:7; Mt 27: 48; Jn 20:7.
176 Col 2:9.
177 Jn 14:9; Lk 9:35; cf. Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7, “my beloved Son”.
178 Jn 4:9[ETML:C/].
179 Cf. Eph 1:7; Col 1:13-14; 2 Pt 1:18-19.
180 Cf. 2 Cor 8:9.
181 Cf. Lk 2:51.
182 Cf. Jn 15:3.
183 Mt 8:17; cf. Is 53:4.
184 Cf. Rom 4:25.
185 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 18, 1: PG 7/1, 932.
186 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 18, 7: PG 7/1, 937; cf. 2, 22, 4.
187 John Paul II, RH II.
188 I Cor 15:3; Rom 4:25.
189 I Jn 2:1 Heb 7:25.
190 Heb 9:24.
191 GS 38; cf. Rom 1 5:5; Phil 2:5.
192 Cf. Jn 13:15; Lk 11:1; Mt 5:11-12.
193 GS 22 # 2.
194 St. John Eudes: LH, week 33, Friday, OR.
195 Heb 9:15.
196 Cf. Acts 13:24; Mt 3:3[ETML:C/].
197 Lk 1:76; cf. 7:26; Mt 11:13.
198 Jn 1 29; cf. Acts 1:22; Lk 1:41; 16:16; Jn 3:29.
199 Lk 1:17; cf. Mk 6:17-29.
200 Cf Rev 22:17.
201 Jn 3:30.
202 Cf. Lk 2:61.
203 Cf. Lk 2:8-20.
204 Kontakion of Romanos the Melodist.
205 Cf. Mt 18:3-4.
206 Jn 3 7; 1:13; 1:12; cf. Mt 23:12.
207 Cf. Gal 4:19.
208 LH, 1 January, Antiphon I of Evening Prayer.
209 Cf. Lk 2:21.
210 Cf. Gal 4:4.
211 Cf. Col 2:11-13.
212 Mt 2:1; cf. LH, Epiphany, Evening Prayer II, Antiphon at the Canticle    of Mary.
213 Cf Mt 2:2; Num 24:17-19; Rev 22:16.
214 Cf Jn 4 22; Mt 2:4-6.
215 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 3 in epiphania Domini 1-3, 5: PL 54, 242; LH,    Epiphany, OR; Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 26, Prayer after the third    reading.
216 Cf. Lk 2:22-39; EX 13:2, 12-13.
217 Cf. Mt 2:13-18.
218 Jn 1:11.
219 Cf. Jn 15:20.
220 Cf. Mt 2:15; Hos 11:1.
221 Cf. Gal 4:4.
222 Lk 2:51-52.
223 Lk 22:42.
224 Cf. Rom 5:19.
225 Paul VI at Nazareth, 5 January 1964:    LH, Feast of the Holy Family, OR.
226 Cf. Lk 2:41-52.
227 Lk 2:49 alt.
228 Cf. Lk 3:23; Acts 1:22.
229 Lk 3:3[ETML:C/].
230 Cf. Lk 3:10-14; Mt 3:7; 21:32.
231 Mt 3:13-17.
232 Jn 1:29; cf. Is 53:12.
233 Cf. Mk 10:38; Lk 12:50.
234 Mt 3:15; cf. 26:39.
235 Cf. Lk 3:22; Is 42:1.
236 Jn 1:32-33; cf. Is 11:2.
237 Mt 3:16.
238 Rom 6:4.
239 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 9: PG 36, 369.
240 St. Hilary of Poitiers, In Matth. 2, 5: PL 9, 927.
241 Cf. Mk 1:12-13.
242 Lk 4:13.
243 Cf. Ps 95:10; Mk 3:27
244 Cf Mt 16:2 1-23.
245 Heb 4:15.
246 Mk 1:14-15.
247 LG 3.
248 LG 2.
249 LG 5.
250 Jn 12:32; cf. LG 3.
251 Cf. Mt 8:11 10:5-7; 28:19.
252 LC 5; cf. Mk 4:14, 26-29; Lk 12:32.
253 Lk 4:18; cf. 7:22.
254 Mt 5:3[ETML:C/].
255 Cf. Mt 11:25.
256 Cf. Mt 21:18; Mk 2:23-26; Jn 4:6 1; 19:28; Lk 9:58.
257 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
258 Mk 2:17; cf. l Tim 1:15.
259 Lk 15:7; cf. 7:11-32.
260 Mt 26:28.
261 Cf. Mk 4:33-34.
262 Cf. Mt 13:44-45; 22:1-14.
263 Cf. Mt 21:28-32.
264 Cf. Mt 13:3-9.
265 Cf. Mt 25:14-30.
266 Mt 13:11.
267 Mk 4:11; cf. Mt 13:10-15.
268 Acts 2:22; cf. Lk 7:18-23.
269 cf. Jn 5:36; 10:25, 38.
270 Cf. Mk 5:25-34; 10:52; etc.
271 Cf. Jn 10:31-38.
272 Mt 11:6.
273 Cf. Jn 11:47-48; Mk 3:22.
274 Cf. Jn 6:5-15; Lk 19:8; Mt 11:5.
275 Cf. Lk 12 13-14; Jn 18:36.
276 Cf. Jn 8:34-36.
277 Mt 12:26, 28.
278 Jn 12:31; cf. Lk 8:26-39.
279 LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis: Regnavit a    ligno Deus.
280 Cf. Mk 3:13-19.
281 Lk 9:2[ETML:C/].
282 Lk 22:29-30.
283 Cf Mk 3:16; 9:2; Lk 24:34; I Cor 15:5.
284 Mt 16:18.
285 I Pt 2:4.
286 Cf. Lk 22:32.
287 Mt 16:19.
288 Jn 21:15-17; Cf. 10:11.
289 Cf. Mt 18:18.
290 Mt 16:21.
291 Cf. Mt 16:22-23; 17:23; Lk 9:45.
292 Cf. Mt 17:1-8 and parallels; 2 Pt 1:16-18.
293 Lk 9:31.
294 Lk 9:35.
295 Lk 24:26.
296 Cf. Lk 24:27.
297 Cf. Is 42:1.
298 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2.
299 Byzantine Liturgy, Feast of the Transfiguration, Kontakion.
300 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 45, 4, ad 2.
301 Phil 3:21.
302 Acts 14:22.
303 St. Augustine, Sermo 78, 6: PL 38, 492-493; cf. Lk 9:33.
304 Lk 9:51; cf. Jn 13:1.
305 Lk 13:33; cf. Mk 8:31-33; 9:31-32; 10:32-34.
306 Mt 23:37.
307 Lk 19:41-42.
308 Lk 1:32; cf. Mt 21:1-11; Jn 6:15.
309 Ps 24:7-10; Zech 9:9.
310 Cf. Jn 18:37.
311 Cf. Mt 21:15-16; cf. Ps 8:3; Lk 19:38; 2:14.
312 Cf. Ps 118:26.

Article 4

“JESUS CHRIST SUFFERED UNDER PONTIUS PILATE, WAS CRUCIFIED, DIED AND WAS BURIED”

571 The Paschal mystery of Christ's cross and Resurrection stands at the centre of the Good News that the apostles, and the Church following them, are to proclaim to the world. God's saving plan was accomplished “once for all” [313] by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ.

572 The Church remains faithful to the interpretation of “all the Scriptures” that Jesus gave both before and after his Passover: “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” [314] Jesus' sufferings took their historical, concrete form from the fact that he was “rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes”, who handed “him to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified”. [315]

573 Faith can therefore try to examine the circumstances of Jesus' death, faithfully handed on by the Gospels [316] and illuminated by other historical sources, the better to understand the meaning of the Redemption.


313 Heb 9:26.
314 Lk 24:26-27, 44-45.
315 Mk 8:31; Mt 20:19.
316 Cf. DV 19.

Paragraph 1. JESUS AND ISRAEL

574 From the beginning of Jesus' public ministry, certain Pharisees and partisans of Herod together with priests and scribes agreed together to destroy him. [317] Because of certain acts of his expelling demons, forgiving sins, healing on the sabbath day, his novel interpretation of the precepts of the Law regarding purity, and his familiarity with tax collectors and public sinners [318]--some ill-intentioned persons suspected Jesus of demonic possession. [319] He is accused of blasphemy and false prophecy, religious crimes which the Law punished with death by stoning. [320]

575 Many of Jesus' deeds and words constituted a “sign of contradiction”, [321] but more so for the religious authorities in Jerusalem, whom the Gospel according to John often calls simply “the Jews”, [322] than for the ordinary People of God. [323] To be sure, Christ's relations with the Pharisees were not exclusively polemical. Some Pharisees warn him of the danger he was courting; [324] Jesus praises some of them, like the scribe of Mark 12:34, and dines several times at their homes. [325] Jesus endorses some of the teachings imparted by this religious elite of God's people: the resurrection of the dead, [326] certain forms of piety (almsgiving, fasting and prayer), [327] The custom of addressing God as Father, and the centrality of the commandment to love God and neighbour. [328]

576 In the eyes of many in Israel, Jesus seems to be acting against essential institutions of the Chosen People: - submission to the whole of the Law in its written commandments and, for the Pharisees, in the interpretation of oral tradition; - the centrality of the Temple at Jerusalem as the holy place where God's presence dwells in a special way; - faith in the one God whose glory no man can share.

I. JESUS AND THE LAW

577 At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus issued a solemn warning in which he presented God's law, given on Sinai during the first covenant, in light of the grace of the New Covenant:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets: I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law, until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [329]

578 Jesus, Israel's Messiah and therefore the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, was to fulfil the Law by keeping it in its all embracing detail - according to his own words, down to “the least of these commandments”. [330] He is in fact the only one who could keep it perfectly. [331] On their own admission the Jews were never able to observe the Law in its entirety without violating the least of its precepts. [332] This is why every year on the Day of Atonement the children of Israel ask God's forgiveness for their transgressions of the Law. the Law indeed makes up one inseparable whole, and St. James recalls, “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it.” [333]

579 This principle of integral observance of the Law not only in letter but in spirit was dear to the Pharisees. By giving Israel this principle they had led many Jews of Jesus' time to an extreme religious zeal. [334] This zeal, were it not to lapse into “hypocritical” casuistry, [335] could only prepare the People for the unprecedented intervention of God through the perfect fulfilment of the Law by the only Righteous One in place of all sinners. [336]

580 The perfect fulfilment of the Law could be the work of none but the divine legislator, born subject to the Law in the person of the Son. [337] In Jesus, the Law no longer appears engraved on tables of stone but “upon the heart” of the Servant who becomes “a covenant to the people”, because he will “faithfully bring forth justice”. [338] Jesus fulfils the Law to the point of taking upon himself “the curse of the Law” incurred by those who do not “abide by the things written in the book of the Law, and do them”, for his death took place to redeem them “from the transgressions under the first covenant”. [339]

581 The Jewish people and their spiritual leaders viewed Jesus as a rabbi. [340] He often argued within the framework of rabbinical interpretation of the Law. [341] Yet Jesus could not help but offend the teachers of the Law, for he was not content to propose his interpretation alongside theirs but taught the people “as one who had authority, and not as their scribes”. [342] In Jesus, the same Word of God that had resounded on Mount Sinai to give the written Law to Moses, made itself heard anew on the Mount of the Beatitudes. [343] Jesus did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it by giving its ultimate interpretation in a divine way: “You have heard that it was said to the men of old. . . But I say to you. . .” [344] With this same divine authority, he disavowed certain human traditions of the Pharisees that were “making void the word of God”. [345]

582 Going even further, Jesus perfects the dietary law, so important in Jewish daily life, by revealing its pedagogical meaning through a divine interpretation: “Whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him. . . (Thus he declared all foods clean.). . . What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts. . .” [346] In presenting with divine authority the definitive interpretation of the Law, Jesus found himself confronted by certain teachers of the Law who did not accept his interpretation of the Law, guaranteed though it was by the divine signs that accompanied it. [347] This was the case especially with the sabbath laws, for he recalls, often with rabbinical arguments, that the sabbath rest is not violated by serving God and neighbour, [348] which his own healings did.

II. JESUS AND THE TEMPLE

583 Like the prophets before him Jesus expressed the deepest respect for the Temple in Jerusalem. It was in the Temple that Joseph and Mary presented him forty days after his birth. [349] At the age of twelve he decided to remain in the Temple to remind his parents that he must be about his Father's business. [350] He went there each year during his hidden life at least for Passover. [351] His public ministry itself was patterned by his pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great Jewish feasts. [352]

584 Jesus went up to the Temple as the privileged place of encounter with God. For him, the Temple was the dwelling of his Father, a house of prayer, and he was angered that its outer court had become a place of commerce. [353] He drove merchants out of it because of jealous love for his Father: “You shall not make my Father's house a house of trade. His disciples remembered that it was written, 'Zeal for your house will consume me.'“ [354] After his Resurrection his apostles retained their reverence for the Temple. [355]

585 On the threshold of his Passion Jesus announced the coming destruction of this splendid building, of which there would not remain “one stone upon another”. [356] By doing so, he announced a sign of the last days, which were to begin with his own Passover. [357] But this prophecy would be distorted in its telling by false witnesses during his interrogation at the high priest's house, and would be thrown back at him as an insult when he was nailed to the cross. [358]

586 Far from having been hostile to the Temple, where he gave the essential part of his teaching, Jesus was willing to pay the Temple-tax, associating with him Peter, whom he had just made the foundation of his future Church. [359] He even identified himself with the Temple by presenting himself as God's definitive dwelling-place among men. [360] Therefore his being put to bodily death [361] presaged the destruction of the Temple, which would manifest the dawning of a new age in the history of salvation: “The hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” [362]

III. JESUS AND ISRAEL'S FAITH IN THE ONE GOD AND SAVIOUR

587 If the Law and the Jerusalem Temple could be occasions of opposition to Jesus by Israel's religious authorities, his role in the redemption of sins, the divine work par excellence, was the true stumbling-block for them. [363]

588 Jesus scandalized the Pharisees by eating with tax collectors and sinners as familiarly as with themselves. [364] Against those among them “who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others”, Jesus affirmed: “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [365] He went further by proclaiming before the Pharisees that, since sin is universal, those who pretend not to need salvation are blind to themselves. [366]

589 Jesus gave scandal above all when he identified his merciful conduct toward sinners with God's own attitude toward them. [367] He went so far as to hint that by sharing the table of sinners he was admitting them to the messianic banquet. [368] But it was most especially by forgiving sins that Jesus placed the religious authorities of Israel on the horns of a dilemma. Were they not entitled to demand in consternation, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” [369] By forgiving sins Jesus either is blaspheming as a man who made himself God's equal, or is speaking the truth and his person really does make present and reveal God's name. [370]

590 Only the divine identity of Jesus' person can justify so absolute a claim as “He who is not with me is against me”; and his saying that there was in him “something greater than Jonah,. . . greater than Solomon”, something “greater than the Temple”; his reminder that David had called the Messiah his Lord, [371] and his affirmations, “Before Abraham was, I AM”, and even “I and the Father are one.” [372]

591 Jesus asked the religious authorities of Jerusalem to believe in him because of the Father's works which he accomplished. [373] But such an act of faith must go through a mysterious death to self, for a new “birth from above” under the influence of divine grace. [374] Such a demand for conversion in the face of so surprising a fulfilment of the promises [375] allows one to understand the Sanhedrin's tragic misunderstanding of Jesus: they judged that he deserved the death sentence as a blasphemer. [376] The members of the Sanhedrin were thus acting at the same time out of “ignorance” and the “hardness” of their “unbelief”. [377]

IN BRIEF

592 Jesus did not abolish the Law of Sinai, but rather fulfilled it (cf Mt 5:17-19) with such perfection (cf Jn 8:46) that he revealed its ultimate meaning (cf Mt 5:33) and redeemed the transgressions against it (cf Heb 9:15).

593 Jesus venerated the Temple by going up to it for the Jewish feasts of pilgrimage, and with a jealous love he loved this dwelling of God among men. the Temple prefigures his own mystery. When he announces its destruction, it is as a manifestation of his own execution and of the entry into a new age in the history of salvation, when his Body would be the definitive Temple.

594 Jesus performed acts, such as pardoning sins, that manifested him to be the Saviour God himself (cf Jn 5:16-18). Certain Jews, who did not recognize God made man (cf Jn 1:14), saw in him only a man who made himself God ( Jn 10:33), and judged him as a blasphemer.


317 Cf. Mk 3:6; 14:1.
318 Cf. Mt 12:24; Mk 2:7, 14-17; 3:1-6; 7:14-23.
319 Cf. Mk 3:22; Jn 8:48; 10:20.
320 Cf. Mk 2:7; Jn 5:18; 7:12, 52; 8:59; 10:31, 33.
321 Lk 2:34.
322 Cf. Jn 1:19; 2:18; 5:10; 7:13; 9:22; 18:12; 19:38; 20:19.
323 Jn 7:48-49.
324 Cf Lk 13:31.
325 Cf. Lk 7:36; 14:1.
326 Cf. Mt 22:23-34; Lk 20:39.
327 Cf. Mt 6:18.
328 Cf. Mk 12:28-34.
329 Mt 5:17-19.
330 Mt 5:19.
331 Cf. Jn 8:46.
332 Cf. Jn 7:19; Acts 13:38-41; 15:10.
333 Jas 2:10; cf. Gal 3:10; 5:3.
334 Cf. Rom 10:2.
335 Cf. Mt 15:31; Lk 11:39-54.
336 Cf Is 53:11; Heb 9:15.
337 Cf. Gal 4:4.
338 Jer 31:33; Is 42:3, 6.
339 Gal 3:13; 3:10; Heb 9:15.
340 Cf Jn 11:28; 3:2; Mt 22:23-24, 34-36.
341 Cf. Mt 12:5; 9:12; Mk 2:23-27; Lk 6:6-g; Jn 7:22-23.
342 Mt 7:28-29.
343 Cf. Mt 5:1[ETML:C/].
344 Mt 5:33-34.
345 Mk 7:13; cf. 3:8.
346 Mk 7:18-21; cf. Gal 3:24.
347 Cf. Jn 5:36; 10:25, 37-38; 12:37.
348 Cf. Num 28 9; Mt 12:5; Mk 2:25-27; Lk 13:15-16; 14:3-4; Jn 7:22-24.
349 Lk 2:22-39.
350 Cf. Lk 2 46-49.
351 Cf. Lk 2 41.
352 Cf. Jn 2 13-14; 5:1, 14; 7:1, 10, 14; 8 2; 10:22-23.
353 Cf. Mt 21:13.
354 Jn 2:16-17; cf. Ps 69:10.
355 Cf. Acts 2:46; 3:1; 5:20, 21; etc.
356 Cf. Mt 24:1-2.
357 Cf. Mt 24:3; Lk 13:35.
358 Cf Mk 14:57-58; Mt 27 39-40.
359 Cf. Mt 8:4; 16:18; 17:24-27; Lk 17:14; Jn 4:22; 18:20.
360 Cf. Jn 2:21; Mt 12:6.
361 Cf. Jn 2:18-22.
362 Jn 4:21; cf. 4:23-24; Mt 27:5; Heb 9:11; Rev 21:22.
363 Cf. Lk 2:34; 20:17-18; Ps 118:22.
364 Cf. Lk 5:30; 7:36; 11:37; 14:1.
365 Lk 18:9; 5:32; cf. Jn 7:49; 9:34.
366 Cf. Jn 8:33-36; 9:40-41.
367 Cf. Mt 9:13; Hos 6:6.
368 Cf. Lk 15:1-2, 22-32.
369 Mk 2:7[ETML:C/].
370 Cf. Jn 5:18; 10:33; 17:6,26.
371 Cf. Mt 12:6, 30, 36, 37, 41-42.
372 Jn 8:58; 10:30.
373 Jn 10:36-38.
374 Cf. Jn 3:7; 6:44.
375 Cf. Is 53:1.
376 Cf. Mk 3:6; Mt 26:64-66.
377 Cf. Lk 23 34; Acts 3: 17-18; Mk 3:5; Rom 11:25, 20.

Paragraph 2. JESUS DIED CRUCIFIED

I. THE TRIAL OF JESUS

Divisions among the Jewish authorities concerning Jesus

595 Among the religious authorities of Jerusalem, not only were the Pharisee Nicodemus and the prominent Joseph of Arimathea both secret disciples of Jesus, but there was also long-standing dissension about him, so much so that St. John says of these authorities on the very eve of Christ's Passion, “many.. . believed in him”, though very imperfectly. [378] This is not surprising, if one recalls that on the day after Pentecost “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith” and “some believers. . . belonged to the party of the Pharisees”, to the point that St. James could tell St. Paul, “How many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; and they are all zealous for the Law.” [379]

596 The religious authorities in Jerusalem were not unanimous about what stance to take towards Jesus. [380] The Pharisees threatened to excommunicate his followers. [381] To those who feared that “everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation”, the high priest Caiaphas replied by prophesying: “It is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish.” [382] The Sanhedrin, having declared Jesus deserving of death as a blasphemer but having lost the right to put anyone to death, hands him over to the Romans, accusing him of political revolt, a charge that puts him in the same category as Barabbas who had been accused of sedition. [383] The chief priests also threatened Pilate politically so that he would condemn Jesus to death. [384]

Jews are not collectively responsible for Jesus' death

597 The historical complexity of Jesus' trial is apparent in the Gospel accounts. the personal sin of the participants (Judas, the Sanhedrin, Pilate) is known to God alone. Hence we cannot lay responsibility for the trial on the Jews in Jerusalem as a whole, despite the outcry of a manipulated crowd and the global reproaches contained in the apostles' calls to conversion after Pentecost. [385] Jesus himself, in forgiving them on the cross, and Peter in following suit, both accept “the ignorance” of the Jews of Jerusalem and even of their leaders. [386] Still less can we extend responsibility to other Jews of different times and places, based merely on the crowd's cry: “His blood be on us and on our children!”, a formula for ratifying a judicial sentence. [387] As the Church declared at the Second Vatican Council: . . .

Neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his Passion. . . the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture. [388]

All sinners were the authors of Christ's Passion

598 In her Magisterial teaching of the faith and in the witness of her saints, the Church has never forgotten that “sinners were the authors and the ministers of all the sufferings that the divine Redeemer endured.” [389] Taking into account the fact that our sins affect Christ himself, [390] The Church does not hesitate to impute to Christians the gravest responsibility for the torments inflicted upon Jesus, a responsibility with which they have all too often burdened the Jews alone:

We must regard as guilty all those who continue to relapse into their sins. Since our sins made the Lord Christ suffer the torment of the cross, those who plunge themselves into disorders and crimes crucify the Son of God anew in their hearts (for he is in them) and hold him up to contempt. and it can be seen that our crime in this case is greater in us than in the Jews. As for them, according to the witness of the Apostle, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” We, however, profess to know him. and when we deny him by our deeds, we in some way seem to lay violent hands on him. [391]

 

Nor did demons crucify him; it is you who have crucified him and crucify him still, when you delight in your vices and sins. [392]

II. CHRIST'S REDEMPTIVE DEATH IN GOD'S PLAN OF SALVATION

“Jesus handed over according to the definite plan of God”

599 Jesus' violent death was not the result of chance in an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances, but is part of the mystery of God's plan, as St. Peter explains to the Jews of Jerusalem in his first sermon on Pentecost: “This Jesus (was) delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God.” [393] This Biblical language does not mean that those who handed him over were merely passive players in a scenario written in advance by God. [394]

600 To God, all moments of time are present in their immediacy. When therefore he establishes his eternal plan of “predestination”, he includes in it each person's free response to his grace: “In this city, in fact, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” [395] For the sake of accomplishing his plan of salvation, God permitted the acts that flowed from their blindness. [396] “He died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures”

601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin. [397] Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.” [398] In particular Jesus' redemptive death fulfils Isaiah's prophecy of the suffering Servant. [399] Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God's suffering Servant. [400] After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles. [401]

“For our sake God made him to be sin”

602 Consequently, St. Peter can formulate the apostolic faith in the divine plan of salvation in this way: “You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers... with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake.” [402] Man's sins, following on original sin, are punishable by death. [403] By sending his own Son in the form of a slave, in the form of a fallen humanity, on account of sin, God “made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” [404]

603 Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned. [405] But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [406] Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God “did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all”, so that we might be “reconciled to God by the death of his Son”. [407]

God takes the initiative of universal redeeming love

604 By giving up his own Son for our sins, God manifests that his plan for us is one of benevolent love, prior to any merit on our part: “In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins.” [408] God “shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” [409]

605 At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God's love excludes no one: “So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” [410] He affirms that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many”; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us. [411] The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: “There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer.” [412]

III. CHRIST OFFERED HIMSELF TO HIS FATHER FOR OUR SINS

Christ's whole life is an offering to the Father

606 The Son of God, who came down “from heaven, not to do (his) own will, but the will of him who sent (him)”, [413] said on coming into the world, “Lo, I have come to do your will, O God.” “and by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” [414] From the first moment of his Incarnation the Son embraces the Father's plan of divine salvation in his redemptive mission: “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work.” [415] The sacrifice of Jesus “for the sins of the whole world” [416] expresses his loving communion with the Father. “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life”, said the Lord, “(for) I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” [417]

607 The desire to embrace his Father's plan of redeeming love inspired Jesus' whole life, [418] for his redemptive passion was the very reason for his Incarnation. and so he asked, “and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.” [419] and again, “Shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?” [420] From the cross, just before “It is finished”, he said, “I thirst.” [421]

“The Lamb who takes away the sin of the world”

608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. [422] By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel's redemption at the first Passover. [423] Christ's whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” [424]

Jesus freely embraced the Father's redeeming love

609 By embracing in his human heart the Father's love for men, Jesus “loved them to the end”, for “greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” [425] In suffering and death his humanity became the free and perfect instrument of his divine love which desires the salvation of men. [426] Indeed, out of love for his Father and for men, whom the Father wants to save, Jesus freely accepted his Passion and death: “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” [427] Hence the sovereign freedom of God's Son as he went out to his death. [428]

At the Last Supper Jesus anticipated the free offering of his life

610 Jesus gave the supreme expression of his free offering of himself at the meal shared with the twelve Apostles “on the night he was betrayed”. [429] On the eve of his Passion, while still free, Jesus transformed this Last Supper with the apostles into the memorial of his voluntary offering to the Father for the salvation of men: “This is my body which is given for you.” “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [430]

611 The Eucharist that Christ institutes at that moment will be the memorial of his sacrifice. [431] Jesus includes the apostles in his own offering and bids them perpetuate it. [432] By doing so, the Lord institutes his apostles as priests of the New Covenant: “For their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.” [433]

The agony at Gethsemani

612 The cup of the New Covenant, which Jesus anticipated when he offered himself at the Last Supper, is afterwards accepted by him from his Father's hands in his agony in the garden at Gethsemani, [434] making himself “obedient unto death”. Jesus prays: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. . .” [435] Thus he expresses the horror that death represented for his human nature. Like ours, his human nature is destined for eternal life; but unlike ours, it is perfectly exempt from sin, the cause of death. [436] Above all, his human nature has been assumed by the divine person of the “Author of life”, the “Living One”. [437] By accepting in his human will that the Father's will be done, he accepts his death as redemptive, for “he himself bore our sins in his body on the tree.” [438]

Christ's death is the unique and definitive sacrifice

613 Christ's death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”, [439] and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”. [440]

614 This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. [441] First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience. [442]

Jesus substitutes his obedience for our disobedience

615 “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man's obedience many will be made righteous.” [443] By his obedience unto death, Jesus accomplished the substitution of the suffering Servant, who “makes himself an offering for sin”, when “he bore the sin of many”, and who “shall make many to be accounted righteous”, for “he shall bear their iniquities”. [444] Jesus atoned for our faults and made satisfaction for our sins to the Father. [445]

Jesus consummates his sacrifice on the cross

616 It is love “to the end” [446] that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. [447] Now “the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.” [448] No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. the existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons, and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all.

617 The Council of Trent emphasizes the unique character of Christ's sacrifice as “the source of eternal salvation” [449] and teaches that “his most holy Passion on the wood of the cross merited justification for us.” [450] and the Church venerates his cross as she sings: “Hail, O Cross, our only hope.” [451]

Our participation in Christ's sacrifice

618 The cross is the unique sacrifice of Christ, the “one mediator between God and men”. [452] But because in his incarnate divine person he has in some way united himself to every man, “the possibility of being made partners, in a way known to God, in the paschal mystery” is offered to all men. [453] He calls his disciples to “take up [their] cross and follow (him)”, [454] for “Christ also suffered for (us), leaving (us) an example so that (we) should follow in his steps.” [455] In fact Jesus desires to associate with his redeeming sacrifice those who were to be its first beneficiaries. [456] This is achieved supremely in the case of his mother, who was associated more intimately than any other person in the mystery of his redemptive suffering. [457] Apart from the cross there is no other ladder by which we may get to heaven. [458]

IN BRIEF

619 “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” ( I Cor 15:3).

620 Our salvation flows from God's initiative of love for us, because “he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins” ( I Jn 4:10). “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” ( 2 Cor 5:19).

621 Jesus freely offered himself for our salvation. Beforehand, during the Last Supper, he both symbolized this offering and made it really present: “This is my body which is given for you” ( Lk 22:19).

622 The redemption won by Christ consists in this, that he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” ( Mt 20:28), that is, he “loved [his own] to the end” ( Jn 13:1), so that they might be “ransomed from the futile ways inherited from [their] fathers” ( I Pt 1:18).

623 By his loving obedience to the Father, “unto death, even death on a cross” ( Phil 2:8), Jesus fulfils the atoning mission (cf Is 53:10) of the suffering Servant, who will “make many righteous; and he shall bear their iniquities” ( Is 53:11; cf. Rom 5:19).


378 Jn 12:42; cf. 7:50; 9:16-17; 10:19-21; 19:38-39.
379 Acts 6:7; 15:5; 21:20.
380 cf. Jn 9:16; 10:19.
381 Cf Jn 9:22.
382 Jn 11:48-50.
383 Cf. Mt 26:66; Jn 18:31; Lk 23:2, 19.
384 Cf. Jn 19:12, 15, 21.
385 Cf. Mk 15:11; Acts 2:23, 36; 3:13-14; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:27-28; I Th 2:14-15.
386 Cf. Lk 23:34; Acts 3:17.
387 Mt 27:25; cf. Acts 5:28; 18:6.
388 NA 4.
389 Roman Catechism I, 5, 11; cf. Heb 12:3.
390 Cf. Mt 25:45; Acts 9:4-5.
391 Roman Catechism I, 5, 11; cf. Heb 6:6; 1 Cor 2:8.
392 St. Francis of Assisi, Admonitio 5, 3.
393 Acts 2:23.
394 Cf. Acts 3:13.
395 Acts 4:27-28; cf. Ps 2:1-2.
396 Cf. Mt 26:54; Jn 18:36; 19:11; Acts 3:17-18.
397 Is 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8 34-36; Acts 3:14.
398 1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23.
399 Cf. Is 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35.
400 Cf. Mt 20:28.
401 Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45.
402 I Pt 1:18-20.
403 Cf. Rom 5:12; I Cor 15:56.
404 2 Cor 5:21; cf. Phil 2:7; Rom 8:3.
405 Cf. Jn 8:46.
406 Mk 15:34; Ps 22:2; cf. Jn 8:29.
407 Rom 8:32; 5:10.
408 I John 4:10; 4:19.
409 Rom 5:8.
410 Mt 18:14.
411 Mt 20:28; cf. Rom 5:18-19.
412 Council of Quiercy (853): DS 624; cf. 2 Cor 5:15; I Jn 2:2[ETML:C/].
413 Jn 6:38.
414 Heb 10:5-10.
415 Jn 4:34.
416 1 Jn 2:2[ETML:C/].
417 Jn 10:17; 14:31.
418 Cf Lk 12:50; 22:15; Mt 16:21-23.
419 Jn 12:27.
420 Jn 18:11.
421 Jn 19:30; 19:28.
422 Jn 1:29; cf. Lk 3:21; Mt 3:14-15; Jn 1:36.
423 Is 53:7, 12; cf. Jer 11:19; Ex 12:3-14; Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7.
424 Mk 10:45.
425 Jn 13:1; 15:13.
426 Cf. Heb 2:10, 17-18; 4:15; 5:7-9.
427 Jn 10:18.
428 Cf. Jn 18:4-6; Mt 26:53.
429 Roman Missal, EP III; cf. Mt 26:20; I Cor 11:23.
430 Lk 22:19; Mt 26:28; cf. I5.7Cor 5:7.
431 1 Cor 11:25.
432 Cf. Lk 22:19.
433 Jn 17:19; cf. Council of Trent: DS 1752; 1764.
434 Cf. Mt 26:42; Lk 22:20.
435 Phil 2:8; Mt 26:39; cf. Heb 5:7-8.
436 Cf. Rom 5:12; Heb 4:15.
437 Cf. Acts 3:15; Rev 1:17; Jn 1:4; 5:26.
438 2 Pt 224; cf. Mt 26:42.
439 Jn 1:29; cf. 8:34-36; 1 Cor 5:7; 2 Pt 1:19.
440 Mt 26:28; cf. Ex 24:8; Lev 16:15-16; 2 Cor 11:25.
441 Cf. Heb 10:10.
442 Cf. Jn 10:17-18; 15:13; Heb 9:14; 1 Jn 4:10.
443 Rom 5:19.
444 Is 53:10-12.
445 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1529.
446 Jn 13:1.
447 Cf. Gal 2:20; Eph 5:2, 25.
448 2 Cor 5:14.
449 Heb 5:9.
450 Council of Trent: DS 1529.
451 LH, Lent, Holy Week, Evening Prayer, Hymn Vexilla Regis.
452 1 Tim 2:5.
453 GS 22 # 5; cf. # 2.
454 Mt 16:24.
455 I Pt 2:21.
456 Cf Mk 10:39; Jn 21:18-19; Col 1:24.
457 Cf. Lk 2:35.
458 St. Rose of Lima: cf. P. Hansen, Vita mirabilis (Louvain, 1668).

Paragraph 3. JESUS CHRIST WAS BURIED

624 “By the grace of God” Jesus tasted death “for every one”. [459] In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only “die for our sins” [460] but should also “taste death”, experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. the state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb, [461] reveals God's great sabbath rest [462] after the fulfilment [463] of man's salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe. [464]

Christ in the tomb in his body

625 Christ's stay in the tomb constitutes the real link between his passible state before Easter and his glorious and risen state today. the same person of the “Living One” can say, “I died, and behold I am alive for evermore”: [465]

God [the Son] did not impede death from separating his soul from his body according to the necessary order of nature, but has reunited them to one another in the Resurrection, so that he himself might be, in his person, the meeting point for death and life, by arresting in himself the decomposition of nature produced by death and so becoming the source of reunion for the separated parts. [466]

626 Since the “Author of life” who was killed [467] is the same “living one [who has] risen”, [468] The divine person of the Son of God necessarily continued to possess his human soul and body, separated from each other by death:

By the fact that at Chnst's death his soul was separated from his flesh, his one person is not itself divided into two persons; for the human body and soul of Christ have existed in the same way from the beginning of his earthly existence, in the divine person of the Word; and in death, although separated from each other, both remained with one and the same person of the Word. [469]

“You will not let your Holy One see corruption”

627 Christ's death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union his body retained with the person of the Son, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for “divine power preserved Christ's body from corruption.” [470] Both of these statements can be said of Christ: “He was cut off out of the land of the living”, [471] and “My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption.” [472] Jesus' Resurrection “on the third day” was the proof of this, for bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death. [473]

“Buried with Christ. . .”

628 Baptism, the original and full sign of which is immersion, efficaciously signifies the descent into the tomb by the Christian who dies to sin with Christ in order to live a new life. “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” [474]

IN BRIEF

629 To the benefit of every man, Jesus Christ tasted death (cf Heb 2:9). It is truly the Son of God made man who died and was buried.

630 During Christ's period in the tomb, his divine person continued to assume both his soul and his body, although they were separated from each other by death. For this reason the dead Christ's body “saw no corruption” ( Acts 13:37).


459 Heb 2:9.
460 I Cor 15:3.
461 Cf. Jn 19:42.
462 Cf. Heb 4:7-9.
463 Cf. Jn 19:30.
464 Cf Col 1: 18-20.
465 Rev 1:18.
466 St. Gregory of Nyssa, Orat. catech. 16: PG 45, 52D.
467 Acts 3:15.
468 Lk 24:5-6.
469 St. John Damascene, De fide orth. 3, 27: PG 94, 1097.
470 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 51, 3.
471 Is 53:8.
472 Acts 2:26-27; cf. Ps 16:9-10.
473 Cf. I Cor 15:4; Lk 24:46; Mt 12:40; Jon 2:1; Hos 6:2; cf. Jn 11:39.
474 Rom 6:4; cf. Col 2:12; Eph 5:26.

Article 5

“HE DESCENDED INTO HELL. ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE AGAIN”

631 Jesus “descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens.” [475] The Apostles' Creed confesses in the same article Christ's descent into hell and his Resurrection from the dead on the third day, because in his Passover it was precisely out of the depths of death that he made life spring forth:

Christ, that Morning Star, who came back from the dead, and shed his peaceful light on all mankind, your Son who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen. [476]


475 Eph 4:9-10.
476 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 18, Exsultet.

Paragraph 1. CHRIST DESCENDED INTO HELL

632 The frequent New Testament affirmations that Jesus was “raised from the dead” presuppose that the crucified one sojourned in the realm of the dead prior to his resurrection. [477] This was the first meaning given in the apostolic preaching to Christ's descent into hell: that Jesus, like all men, experienced death and in his soul joined the others in the realm of the dead. But he descended there as Saviour, proclaiming the Good News to the spirits imprisoned there. [478]

633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, “hell” - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. [479] Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into “Abraham's bosom”: [480] “It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Saviour in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell.” [481] Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him. [482]

634 “The gospel was preached even to the dead.” [483] The descent into hell brings the Gospel message of salvation to complete fulfilment. This is the last phase of Jesus' messianic mission, a phase which is condensed in time but vast in its real significance: the spread of Christ's redemptive work to all men of all times and all places, for all who are saved have been made sharers in the redemption.

635 Christ went down into the depths of death so that “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” [484] Jesus, “the Author of life”, by dying destroyed “him who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and [delivered] all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong bondage.” [485] Henceforth the risen Christ holds “the keys of Death and Hades”, so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” [486]

Today a great silence reigns on earth, a great silence and a great stillness. A great silence because the King is asleep. the earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. . . He has gone to search for Adam, our first father, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow Adam in his bonds and Eve, captive with him - He who is both their God and the son of Eve. . . “I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. . . I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead.” [487]

IN BRIEF

636 By the expression “He descended into hell”, the Apostles' Creed confesses that Jesus did really die and through his death for us conquered death and the devil “who has the power of death” ( Heb 2:14).

637 In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him.


477 Acts 3:15; Rom 8:11; I Cor 15:20; cf. Heb 13:20.
478 Cf. I Pt 3:18-19.
479 Cf. Phil 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev 1:18; Eph 4:9; Pss 6:6; 88:11-13.
480 Cf. Ps 89:49; I Sam 28:19; Ezek 32:17-32; Lk 16:22-26.
481 Roman Catechism 1, 6, 3.
482 Cf. Council of Rome (745): DS 587; Benedict XII, Cum dudum (1341): DS 1011; Clement VI, Super quibusdam (1351): DS 1077; Council of Toledo IV    (625): DS 485; Mt 27:52-53.
483 I Pt 4:6.
484 Jn 5:25; cf. Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9.
485 Heb 2:14-15; cf. Acts 3:15.
486 Rev 1:18; Phil 2:10.
487 Ancient Homily for Holy Saturday: PG 43, 440A, 452C; LH, Holy    Saturday, OR.

Paragraph 2. ON THE THIRD DAY HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD

638 “We bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this day he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus.” [488] The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross:

Christ is risen from the dead!

Dying, he conquered death;

To the dead, he has given life. [489]

I. THE HISTORICAL AND TRANSCENDENT EVENT

639 The mystery of Christ's resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. . .” [490] The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus. [491]

The empty tomb

640 “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” [492] The first element we encounter in the framework of the Easter events is the empty tomb. In itself it is not a direct proof of Resurrection; the absence of Christ's body from the tomb could be explained otherwise. [493] Nonetheless the empty tomb was still an essential sign for all. Its discovery by the disciples was the first step toward recognizing the very fact of the Resurrection. This was the case, first with the holy women, and then with Peter. [494] The disciple “whom Jesus loved” affirmed that when he entered the empty tomb and discovered “the linen cloths lying there”, “he saw and believed”. [495] This suggests that he realized from the empty tomb's condition that the absence of Jesus' body could not have been of human doing and that Jesus had not simply returned to earthly life as had been the case with Lazarus. [496]

The appearances of the Risen One

641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One. [497] Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ's Resurrection for the apostles themselves. [498] They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers, [499] and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” [500]

642 Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles - and Peter in particular - in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. the faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection”, but they are not the only ones - Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles. [501]

643 Given all these testimonies, Christ's Resurrection cannot be interpreted as something outside the physical order, and it is impossible not to acknowledge it as an historical fact. It is clear from the facts that the disciples' faith was drastically put to the test by their master's Passion and death on the cross, which he had foretold. [502] The shock provoked by the Passion was so great that at least some of the disciples did not at once believe in the news of the Resurrection. Far from showing us a community seized by a mystical exaltation, the Gospels present us with disciples demoralized (“looking sad” [503]) and frightened. For they had not believed the holy women returning from the tomb and had regarded their words as an “idle tale”. [504] When Jesus reveals himself to the Eleven on Easter evening, “he upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.” [505]

644 Even when faced with the reality of the risen Jesus the disciples are still doubtful, so impossible did the thing seem: they thought they were seeing a ghost. “In their joy they were still disbelieving and still wondering.” [506] Thomas will also experience the test of doubt and St. Matthew relates that during the risen Lord's last appearance in Galilee “some doubted.” [507] Therefore the hypothesis that the Resurrection was produced by the apostles' faith (or credulity) will not hold up. On the contrary their faith in the Resurrection was born, under the action of divine grace, from their direct experience of the reality of the risen Jesus.

The condition of Christ's risen humanity

645 By means of touch and the sharing of a meal, the risen Jesus establishes direct contact with his disciples. He invites them in this way to recognize that he is not a ghost and above all to verify that the risen body in which he appears to them is the same body that had been tortured and crucified, for it still bears the traces of his Passion. [508] Yet at the same time this authentic, real body possesses the new properties of a glorious body: not limited by space and time but able to be present how and when he wills; for Christ's humanity can no longer be confined to earth, and belongs henceforth only to the Father's divine realm. [509] For this reason too the risen Jesus enjoys the sovereign freedom of appearing as he wishes: in the guise of a gardener or in other forms familiar to his disciples, precisely to awaken their faith. [510]

646 Christ's Resurrection was not a return to earthly life, as was the case with the raisings from the dead that he had performed before Easter: Jairus' daughter, the young man of Naim, Lazarus. These actions were miraculous events, but the persons miraculously raised returned by Jesus' power to ordinary earthly life. At some particular moment they would die again. Christ's Resurrection is essentially different. In his risen body he passes from the state of death to another life beyond time and space. At Jesus' Resurrection his body is filled with the power of the Holy Spirit: he shares the divine life in his glorious state, so that St. Paul can say that Christ is “the man of heaven”. [511]

The Resurrection as transcendent event

647 O truly blessed Night, sings the Exsultet of the Easter Vigil, which alone deserved to know the time and the hour when Christ rose from the realm of the dead! [512] But no one was an eyewitness to Christ's Resurrection and no evangelist describes it. No one can say how it came about physically. Still less was its innermost essence, his passing over to another life, perceptible to the senses. Although the Resurrection was an historical event that could be verified by the sign of the empty tomb and by the reality of the apostles' encounters with the risen Christ, still it remains at the very heart of the mystery of faith as something that transcends and surpasses history. This is why the risen Christ does not reveal himself to the world, but to his disciples, “to those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.” [513]

II. THE RESURRECTION - A WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY

648 Christ's Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. the Father's power “raised up” Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son's humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as “Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead”. [514] St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God's power [515] through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus' dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.

649 As for the Son, he effects his own Resurrection by virtue of his divine power. Jesus announces that the Son of man will have to suffer much, die, and then rise. [516] Elsewhere he affirms explicitly: “I lay down my life, that I may take it again. . . I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” [517] “We believe that Jesus died and rose again.” [518]

650 The Fathers contemplate the Resurrection from the perspective of the divine person of Christ who remained united to his soul and body, even when these were separated from each other by death: “By the unity of the divine nature, which remains present in each of the two components of man, these are reunited. For as death is produced by the separation of the human components, so Resurrection is achieved by the union of the two.” [519]

III. THE MEANING AND SAVING SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RESURRECTION

651 “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” [520] The Resurrection above all constitutes the confirmation of all Christ's works and teachings. All truths, even those most inaccessible to human reason, find their justification if Christ by his Resurrection has given the definitive proof of his divine authority, which he had promised.

652 Christ's Resurrection is the fulfilment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life. [521] The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures” [522] indicates that Christ's Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.

653 The truth of Jesus' divinity is confirmed by his Resurrection. He had said: “When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will know that I am he.” [523] The Resurrection of the crucified one shows that he was truly “I AM”, the Son of God and God himself. So St. Paul could declare to the Jews: “What God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus; as also it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'“ [524] Christ's Resurrection is closely linked to the Incarnation of God's Son, and is its fulfilment in accordance with God's eternal plan.

654 The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, “so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace. [526] It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ's brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: “Go and tell my brethren.” [527] We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.

655 Finally, Christ's Resurrection - and the risen Christ himself is the principle and source of our future resurrection: “Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” [528] The risen Christ lives in the hearts of his faithful while they await that fulfilment. In Christ, Christians “have tasted. . . the powers of the age to come” [529] and their lives are swept up by Christ into the heart of divine life, so that they may “live no longer for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.” [530]

IN BRIEF

656 Faith in the Resurrection has as its object an event which as historically attested to by the disciples, who really encountered the Risen One. At the same time, this event is mysteriously transcendent insofar as it is the entry of Christ's humanity into the glory of God.

657 The empty tomb and the linen cloths lying there signify in themselves that by God's power Christ's body had escaped the bonds of death and corruption. They prepared the disciples to encounter the Risen Lord.

658 Christ, “the first-born from the dead” ( Col 1:18), is the principle of our own resurrection, even now by the justification of our souls (cf Rom 6:4), and one day by the new life he will impart to our bodies (cf Rom 8:11).


488 Acts 13:32-33.
489 Byzantine Liturgy, Troparion of Easter.
490 I Cor 15:3-4.
491 Cf. Acts 9:3-18.
492 Lk 24:5-6.
493 Cf. Jn 20:13; Mt 28:11-15.
494 Cf. Lk 24:3, 12, 22-23.
495 Jn 20:2, 6, 8.
496 Cf. Jn 11:44; 20:5-7.
497 Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31, 42.
498 Cf Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18.
499 Cf I Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32.
500 Lk 24:34, 36.
501 I Cor 15:4-8; cf. Acts 1:22.
502 Cf. Lk 22:31-32.
503 1 Lk 24:17; cf. Jn 20:19.
504 Lk 24:11; cf. Mk 16:11, 13.
505 Mk 16:14.
506 Lk 24:38-41.
507 Cf Jn 20:24-27; Mt 28:17.
508 Cf. Lk 24:30, 39-40, 41-43; Jn 20:20, 27; 21:9, 13-15.
509 Cf. Mt 28:9, 16-17; Lk 24:15, 36; Jn 20:14, 17, 19, 26; 21:4.
510 Cf. Mk 16:12; Jn 20:14-16; 21:4, 7.
511 Cf. 1 Cor 15:35-50.
512 O vere beata nox, quae sola meruit scire tempus et horam, in qua    Christus ab inferis resurrexit!
513 Acts 13:31; cf. Jn 14:22.
514 Rom I 3-4; cf. Acts 2:24.
515 Cf. Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 7:16.
516 Cf. Mk 8:31; 9:9-31; 10:34.
517 Jn 10:17-18.
518 I Th 4:14.
519 St. Gregory of Nyssa, In Christi res. Orat. I: PG 46, 617B; cf. also DS 325; 359; 369.
520 I Cor 15:14.
521 Cf. Mt 28:6; Mk 16:7; Lk 24:6-7, 26-27, 44-48.
522 Cf. I Cor 15:3-4; cf. the Nicene Creed.
523 Jn 8:28.
524 Acts 13:32-33; cf. Ps 2:7[ETML:C/].
526 Cf. Eph 2:4-5; I Pt 1:3.
527 Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17.
528 I Cor 15:20-22.
529 Heb 6:5.
530 2 Cor 5:15; cf. Col 3:1-3.

Article 6

“HE ASCENDED INTO HEAVEN AND IS SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER”

659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” [531] Christ's body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys. [532] But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity. [533] Jesus' final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God's right hand. [534] Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle. [535]

660 The veiled character of the glory of the Risen One during this time is intimated in his mysterious words to Mary Magdalene: “I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” [536] This indicates a difference in manifestation between the glory of the risen Christ and that of the Christ exalted to the Father's right hand, a transition marked by the historical and transcendent event of the Ascension.

661 This final stage stays closely linked to the first, that is, to his descent from heaven in the Incarnation. Only the one who “came from the Father” can return to the Father: Christ Jesus. [537] “No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man.” [538] Left to its own natural powers humanity does not have access to the “Father's house”, to God's life and happiness. [539] Only Christ can open to man such access that we, his members, might have confidence that we too shall go where he, our Head and our Source, has preceded us. [540]

662 “and I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” [541] The lifting up of Jesus on the cross signifies and announces his lifting up by his Ascension into heaven, and indeed begins it. Jesus Christ, the one priest of the new and eternal Covenant, “entered, not into a sanctuary made by human hands. . . but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf.” [542] There Christ permanently exercises his priesthood, for he “always lives to make intercession” for “those who draw near to God through him”. [543] As “high priest of the good things to come” he is the centre and the principal actor of the liturgy that honours the Father in heaven. [544]

663 Henceforth Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father: “By 'the Father's right hand' we understand the glory and honour of divinity, where he who exists as Son of God before all ages, indeed as God, of one being with the Father, is seated bodily after he became incarnate and his flesh was glorified.” [545]

664 Being seated at the Father's right hand signifies the inauguration of the Messiah's kingdom, the fulfilment of the prophet Daniel's vision concerning the Son of man: “To him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.” [546] After this event the apostles became witnesses of the “kingdom [that] will have no end”. [547]


531 Mk 16:19.
532 Cf Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26.
533 Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4.
534 Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1.
535 1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16.
536 Jn 20:17.
537 Cf. Jn 16:28.
538 Jn 3:13; cf. Eph 4:8-10.
539 Jn 14:2.
540 Missale Romanum, Preface of the Ascension: sed ut illuc confideremus,    sua membra, nos subsequi quo ipse, caput nostrum principiumque,    praecessit.
541 Jn 12:32.
542 Heb 9:24.
543 Heb 7:25.
544 Heb 9:11; cf. Rev 4:6-11.
545 St. John Damascene, Defide orth. 4, 2: PG 94, 1104C.
546 Dan 7:14.
547 Nicene Creed.

IN BRIEF

665 Christ's Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf Col 3:3).

666 Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father's glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever.

667 Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.


Article 7

“FROM THENCE HE WILL COME AGAlN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD”

I. He Will Come Again in Glory

Christ already reigns through the Church. . .

668 “Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.” [548] Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion”, for the Father “has put all things under his feet.” [549] Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are “set forth” and transcendently fulfilled. [550]

669 As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body. [551] Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. the redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. “The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery”, “on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom”. [552]

670 Since the Ascension God's plan has entered into its fulfilment. We are already at “the last hour”. [553] “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.” [554] Christ's kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church. [555] . . . until all things are subjected to him

671 Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled “with power and great glory” by the King's return to earth. [556] This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. [557] Until everything is subject to him, “until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God.” [558] That is why Christians pray, above all in the Eucharist, to hasten Christ's return by saying to him: [559] Maranatha! “Our Lord, come!” [560]

672 Before his Ascension Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the messianic kingdom awaited by Israel [561] which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace. [562] According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by “distress” and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church [563] and ushers in the struggles of the last days. It is a time of waiting and watching. [564]

The glorious advent of Christ, the hope of Israel

673 Since the Ascension Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, [565] even though “it is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.” [566]. This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are “delayed”. [567]

674 The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. [568] St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” [569] St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” [570] The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles”, [571] will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all”. [572]

The Church's ultimate trial

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. [573] The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth [574] will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. [575]

676 The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. the Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, [576] especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. [577]

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection. [578] The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven. [579] God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world. [580]


548 Rom 14:9.
549 Eph 1:20-22.
550 Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28.
551 Cf. Eph 1:22.
552 LG 3; 5; cf. Eph 4:11-13.
553 I Jn 2:18; cf. I Pt 4:7.
554 LG 48 # 3; cf. I Cor 10:11.
555 Cf. Mk 16:17-18, 20.
556 Lk 21:27; cf. Mt 25:31.
557 Cf. 2 Th 2:7.
558 LG 48 # 3; cf. 2 Pt 3:13; Rom 8:19-22; I Cor 15:28.
559 Cf. I Cor 11:26; 2 Pt 3:11-12.
560 1 Cor 16:22; Rev 22:17, 20.
561 Cf. Acts 1:6-7.
562 Cf. Is 11:1-9.
563 Cf. Acts 1:8; I Cor 7:26; Eph 5:16; I Pt 4:17.
564 Cf. Mt 25:1, 13; Mk 13:33-37; I I Jn 2:18; 4:3; I Tim 4:1.
565 Cf. Rev 22:20.
566 Acts 1:7; Cf. Mk 13:32.
567 Cf. Mt 24:44; I Th 5:2; 2 Th 2:3-12.
568 Rom I 1:20-26; cf. Mt 23:39.
569 Acts 3:19-21.
570 Rom 11:15.
571 Rom 11:12, 25; cf. Lk 21:24.
572 Eph 4:13; I Cor 15:28.
573 Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12.
574 Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20.
575 Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:1 8, 22.
576 Cf. DS 3839.
577 Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the “false mysticism” of this    “counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly”; cf. GS 20-21.
578 Cf. Rev 19:1-9.
579 Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4.
580 Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13.

II. To Judge the Living and the Dead

678 Following in the steps of the prophets and John the Baptist, Jesus announced the judgement of the Last Day in his preaching. [581] Then will the conduct of each one and the secrets of hearts be brought to light. [582] Then will the culpable unbelief that counted the offer of God's grace as nothing be condemned. [583] Our attitude to our neighbour will disclose acceptance or refusal of grace and divine love. [584] On the Last Day Jesus will say: “Truly I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” [585]

679 Christ is Lord of eternal life. Full right to pass definitive judgement on the works and hearts of men belongs to him as redeemer of the world. He “acquired” this right by his cross. the Father has given “all judgement to the Son”. [586] Yet the Son did not come to judge, but to save and to give the life he has in himself. [587] By rejecting grace in this life, one already judges oneself, receives according to one's works, and can even condemn oneself for all eternity by rejecting the Spirit of love. [588]


581 Cf. Dan 7:10; Joel 3-4; Mal 3: 19; Mt 3:7-12.
582 Cf Mk 12:38-40; Lk 12:1-3; Jn 3:20-21; Rom 2:16; I Cor 4:5.
583 Cf. Mt 11:20-24; 12:41-42.
584 Cf. Mt 5:22; 7:1-5.
585 Mt 25:40.
586 Jn 5:22; cf. 5:27; Mt 25:31; Acts 10:42; 17:31; 2 Tim 4:1.
587 Cf. Jn 3:17; 5:26.
588 Cf. Jn 3:18; 12:48; Mt 12:32; I Cor 3:12-15; Heb 6:4-6; 10:26-31.

IN BRIEF

680 Christ the Lord already reigns through the Church, but all the things of this world are not yet subjected to him. the triumph of Christ's kingdom will not come about without one last assault by the powers of evil.

681 On Judgement Day at the end of the world, Christ will come in glory to achieve the definitive triumph of good over evil which, like the wheat and the tares, have grown up together in the course of history.

682 When he comes at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, the glorious Christ will reveal the secret disposition of hearts and will render to each man according to his works, and according to his acceptance or refusal of grace.


CHAPTER THREE

I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT

683 “No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit.” [1] “God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!”' [2] This knowledge of faith is possible only in the Holy Spirit: to be in touch with Christ, we must first have been touched by the Holy Spirit. He comes to meet us and kindles faith in us. By virtue of our Baptism, the first sacrament of the faith, the Holy Spirit in the Church communicates to us, intimately and personally, the life that originates in the Father and is offered to us in the Son.

Baptism gives us the grace of new birth in God the Father, through his Son, in the Holy Spirit. For those who bear God's Spirit are led to the Word, that is, to the Son, and the Son presents them to the Father, and the Father confers incorruptibility on them. and it is impossible to see God's Son without the Spirit, and no one can approach the Father without the Son, for the knowledge of the Father is the Son, and the knowledge of God's Son is obtained through the Holy Spirit. [3]

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.” [4] But the Spirit is the last of the persons of the Holy Trinity to be revealed. St. Gregory of Nazianzus, the Theologian, explains this progression in terms of the pedagogy of divine “condescension”:

The Old Testament proclaimed the Father clearly, but the Son more obscurely. the New Testament revealed the Son and gave us a glimpse of the divinity of the Spirit. Now the Spirit dwells among us and grants us a clearer vision of himself. It was not prudent, when the divinity of the Father had not yet been confessed, to proclaim the Son openly and, when the divinity of the Son was not yet admitted, to add the Holy Spirit as an extra burden, to speak somewhat daringly.... By advancing and progressing “from glory to glory,” the light of the Trinity will shine in ever more brilliant rays. [5]

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.” [6] For this reason, the divine mystery of the Holy Spirit was already treated in the context of Trinitarian “theology.” Here, however, we have to do with the Holy Spirit only in the divine “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.


1 1 Cor 12:3.
2 Gal 4:6.
3 St. Irenaeus, Dem. ap. 7: SCh 62, 41-42.
4 In 17:3.
5 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio theol., 5, 26 (= Oratio 31, 26): PG 36, 161-163.
6 Nicene Creed; see above, par. 465.

ARTICLE 8

“I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT”

687 “No one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” [7] Now God's Spirit, who reveals God, makes known to us Christ, his Word, his living Utterance, but the Spirit does not speak of himself. the Spirit who “has spoken through the prophets” makes us hear the Father's Word, but we do not hear the Spirit himself. We know him only in the movement by which he reveals the Word to us and disposes us to welcome him in faith. the Spirit of truth who “unveils” Christ to us “will not speak on his own.” [8] Such properly divine self-effacement explains why “the world cannot receive (him), because it neither sees him nor knows him,” while those who believe in Christ know the Spirit because he dwells with them. [9]

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 witnesses;
- in the Church's Magisterium, which he assists;
- in the sacramental liturgy, through its words and symbols, in which the Holy Spirit puts us into communion with Christ;
- in prayer, wherein he intercedes for us;
- in the charisms and ministries by which the Church is built up;
- in the signs of apostolic and missionary life;
- in the witness of saints through whom he manifests his holiness and continues the work of salvation.


7 1 Cor 2:11.
8 Jn 16:13.
9 Jn 14:17.


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.[10] Consubstantial with the Father and the Son, the Spirit is
inseparable from them, in both the inner life of the Trinity and his gift of
love for the world. In adoring the Holy Trinity, life-giving, consubstantial,
and indivisible, the Church's faith also professes the distinction of persons.
When the Father sends his Word, he always sends his Breath. In their joint
mission, the Son and the Holy Spirit are distinct but inseparable. To be sure,
it is Christ who is seen, the visible image of the invisible God, but it is the
Spirit who reveals him.

690 Jesus is Christ, "anointed," because the Spirit is his anointing, and
everything that occurs from the Incarnation on derives from this
fullness.[11] When Christ is finally glorified,[12] he can in turn
send the Spirit from his place with the Father to those who believe in him: he
communicates to them his glory,[13] that is, the Holy Spirit who
glorifies him.[14] From that time on, this joint mission will be
manifested in the children adopted by the Father in the Body of his Son: the
mission of the Spirit of adoption is to unite them to Christ and make them live
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.[15]


10 Cf.
⇒ Gal 4:6.
11 Cf. ⇒ Jn. 3:34.
12 ⇒ Jn 7:39.
13 Cf. ⇒ Jn 17:22.
14 Cf. ⇒ Jn 16:14.
15 St. Gregory of Nyssa, De Spiritu Sancto, 16: PG 45, 1321A-B.


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.[16]

The term "Spirit" translates the Hebrew word ruah, which, in its primary sense, means breath, air, wind. Jesus indeed uses the sensory image of the wind to suggest to Nicodemus the transcendent newness of him who is personally God's breath, the divine Spirit.17 On the other hand, "Spirit" 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 "holy."

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," advocatus.18 "Paraclete" is commonly translated by "consoler," and Jesus is the first consoler.19 The Lord also called the Holy Spirit "the Spirit of truth."20

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,21 The Spirit of adoption,22 The Spirit of Christ,23 The Spirit of the Lord,24 and the Spirit of God25 - and, in St. Peter, the Spirit of glory.26

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."27 Thus the Spirit is also personally the living water welling up from Christ crucified28 as its source and welling up in us to eternal life.29

695 Anointing. the symbolism of anointing with oil also signifies the Holy Spirit,30 to the point of becoming a synonym for the Holy Spirit. In Christian initiation, anointing is the sacramental sign of Confirmation, called "chrismation" in the Churches of the East. Its full force can be grasped only in relation to the primary anointing accomplished by the Holy Spirit, that of Jesus. Christ (in Hebrew "messiah") means the one "anointed" by God's Spirit. There were several anointed ones of the Lord in the Old Covenant, pre-eminently King David.31 But Jesus is God's Anointed in a unique way: the humanity the Son assumed was entirely anointed by the Holy Spirit. the Holy Spirit established him as "Christ."32 The Virgin Mary conceived Christ by the Holy Spirit who, through the angel, proclaimed him the Christ at his birth, and prompted Simeon to come to the temple to see the Christ of the Lord.33 The Spirit filled Christ and the power of the Spirit went out from him in his acts of healing and of saving.34 Finally, it was the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead.35 Now, fully established as "Christ" in his humanity victorious over death, Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit abundantly until "the saints" constitute - in their union with the humanity of the Son of God - that perfect man "to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ":36 "the whole Christ," in St. 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.37 This event was a "figure" of the fire of the Holy Spirit, who transforms what he touches. John the Baptist, who goes "before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah," proclaims Christ as the one who "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."38 Jesus will say of the Spirit: "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!"39 In the form of tongues "as of fire," the Holy Spirit rests on the disciples on the morning of Pentecost and fills them with himself40 The spiritual tradition has retained this symbolism of fire as one of the most expressive images of the Holy Spirit's actions.41 "Do not quench the Spirit."42

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,43 at the tent of meeting,44 and during the wandering in the desert,45 and with Solomon at the dedication of the Temple.46 In the Holy Spirit, Christ fulfills these figures. the Spirit comes upon the Virgin Mary and "overshadows" her, so that she might conceive and give birth to Jesus.47 On the mountain of Transfiguration, the Spirit in the "cloud came and overshadowed" Jesus, Moses and Elijah, Peter, James and John, and "a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!'"48 Finally, the cloud took Jesus out of the sight of the disciples on the day of his ascension and will reveal him as Son of man in glory on the day of his final coming.49

698 The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him.50 Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments.

699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.51 In his name the apostles will do the same.52 Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles' imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.53 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the "fundamental elements" of its teaching.54 The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.

700 The finger. "It is by the finger of God that [Jesus] cast out demons."55 If God's law was written on tablets of stone "by the finger of God," then the "letter from Christ" entrusted to the care of the apostles, is written "with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."56 The hymn Veni Creator Spiritus invokes the Holy Spirit as the "finger of the Father's right hand."57

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.58 When Christ comes up from the water of his baptism, the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, comes down upon him and remains with him.59 The Spirit comes down and remains in the purified hearts of the baptized. In certain churches, the Eucharist is reserved in a metal receptacle in the form of a dove (columbarium) suspended above the altar. Christian iconography traditionally uses a dove to suggest the Spirit.


16 Cf. Mt 28:19.
17 In 3:5-8.
18 In 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7.
19 Cf. I Jn 2:1.
20 In 16:13.
21 Cf. Gal 3:14; Eph 1:13.
22 Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.
23 Rom 8:9.
24 2 Cor 3:17.
25 Rom 8:9, Rom 8:9 4; 15:19; 1 Cor 6:11; 7:40.
26 1 Pet 4:14.
27 1 Cor 12:13.
28 Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:8.
29 Cf. Jn 4:10-14; 738; Ex 17:1-6; Isa 55:1; Zech 14:8; 1 Cor 10:4; Rev 21:6; 22:17.
30 Cf. 1 In 2:20:27; 2 Cor 1:21.
31 Cf. Ex 30:22-32; 1 Sam 16:13.
32 Cf. Lk 4 18-19; Isa 61:1.
33 Cf. Lk 2:11, 26-27.
34 Cf. Lk 4:1; 6:19; 8:46.
35 Cf. Rom 1:4; 8:11.
36 Eph 4:13; Cf. Acts 2:36.
37 Sir 48:1; Cf. 1 Kings 18:38-39.
38 Lk 1:17; 3:16.
39 Lk 12:49.
40 Acts 2:3-4.
41 Cf. St. John of the Cross, the Living Flame of Love, in the Collected
Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez,
OCD (Washington DC: Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979), 577 ff.
42 1 Thess 5:19.
43 Cf. Ex 24:15-18.
44 Cf. Ex 33:9-10.
45 Cf. Ex 40:36-38; 1 Cor 10:1-2.
46 Cf. 1 Kings 8:10-12.
47 Lk 1:35.
48 Lk 9:34-35.
49 Cf. Acts 1:9; Cf. Lk 21:27.
50 Jn 6:27; Cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30.
51 Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.
52 Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.
53 Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.
54 Cf. Heb 6:2.
55 Lk 11:20.
56 Ex 31:18; 2 Cor 3:3.
57 LH, Easter Season after Ascension, Hymn at Vespers: digitus paternae
dexterae.
58 Cf. Gen 8:8-12.
59 Cf. Mt 3:16 and parallels.


III. God's Spirit and Word in the Time of the Promises

702 From the beginning until "the fullness of time,"60 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.61

By "prophets" the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms).62

In creation

703 The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature:63

It belongs to the Holy Spirit to rule, sanctify, and animate creation, for he is God, consubstantial with the Father and the Son.... Power over life pertains to the Spirit, for being God he preserves creation in the Father through the Son.64

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."65

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,"66 of his "likeness." the promise made to Abraham inaugurates the economy of salvation, at the culmination of which the Son himself will assume that "image"67 and restore it in the Father's "likeness" by giving it again its Glory, the Spirit who is "the giver of life."

706 Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit.68 In Abraham's progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself,69 in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad."70 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."71

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.72 God gave the letter of the Law as a "pedagogue" to lead his people towards Christ.73 But the Law's powerlessness to save man deprived of the divine "likeness," along with the growing awareness of sin that it imparts,74 enkindles a desire for the Holy Spirit. the lamentations of the Psalms bear witness to this.

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."75 But after David, Israel gave in to the temptation of becoming a kingdom like other nations. the Kingdom, however, the object of the promise made to David,76 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.77 In God's plan, the Exile already stands in the shadow of the Cross, and the Remnant of the poor that returns from the Exile is one of the most transparent prefigurations of the Church.

Expectation of the Messiah and his Spirit

711 "Behold, I am doing a new thing."78 Two prophetic lines were to develop, one leading to the expectation of the Messiah, the other pointing to the announcement of a new Spirit. They converge in the small Remnant, the people of the poor, who await in hope the "consolation of Israel" and "the redemption of Jerusalem."79

We have seen earlier how Jesus fulfills the prophecies concerning himself. We limit ourselves here to those in which the relationship of the Messiah and his Spirit appears more clearly.

712 The characteristics of the awaited Messiah begin to appear in the "Book of Emmanuel" ("Isaiah said this when he saw his glory,"80 speaking of Christ), especially in the first two verses of Isaiah 11: 81

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."82 These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus' Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our "form as slave."83 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:84

The Spirit of the LORD God is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor.

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."85 St. Peter will proclaim their fulfillment on the morning of Pentecost.86 According to these promises, at the "end time" the Lord's Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace.

716 The People of the "poor"87 - those who, humble and meek, rely solely on their God's mysterious plans, who await the justice, not of men but of the Messiah - are in the end the great achievement of the Holy Spirit's hidden mission during the time of the promises that prepare for Christ's coming. It is this quality of heart, purified and enlightened by the Spirit, which is expressed in the Psalms. In these poor, the Spirit is making ready "a people prepared for the Lord."88


60 Gal 4:4.
61 Cf. 2 Cor 3:14; Jn 5:39, 46.
62 Cf. Lk 24:44.
63 Cf. Pss 33:6; 104:30; Gen 1:2; 2:7; Eccl 3:20-21; Ezek 37:10.
64 Byzantine liturgy, Sundays of the second mode, Troparion of Morning
Prayer.
65 St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 11: SCh 62, 48-49.
66 Rom 3:23.
67 Cf. Jn 1:14; Phil 2:7.
68 Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21.
69 Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16.
70 Cf. In 11:52.
71 Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14.
72 Cf. Ex 19- 20; Deut 1-11; 29-30.
73 Gal 3:24.
74 Cf. Rom 3:20.
75 Ex 19:5-6; Cf. 1 Pet 2:9.
76 Cf. 2 Sam 7; Ps 89; Lk 1:32-33.
77 Cf. Lk 24:26.
78 Isa 43:19.
79 Cf. Zeph 2:3; Lk 2:25, 38.
80 Jn 12:41; cf. Isa 6-12.
81 Isa 11:1-2.
82 Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; cf.
Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12.
83 Phil 2:7.
84 Isa 61:1-2; cf. Lk 4:18-19.
85 Cf. Ezek 11:19; 36:25-28; 37:1-14; Jer 31:31-34; and cf. Joel 3:1-5.
86 Cf. Acts 2:17-21.
87 Cf. Zeph 2:3; Pss 22:27; 34:3; Isa 49:13; 61:1; etc.
88 Lk 1:17.



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."89 John was "filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb"90 by Christ himself, whom the Virgin Mary had just conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary's visitation to Elizabeth thus became a visit from God to his people.91

718 John is "Elijah (who) must come."92 The fire of the Spirit dwells in him and makes him the forerunner of the coming Lord. In John, the precursor, the Holy Spirit completes the work of "[making] ready a people prepared for the Lord."93

719 John the Baptist is "more than a prophet."94 In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.95 He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the "voice" of the Consoler who is coming.96 As the Spirit of truth will also do, John "came to bear witness to the light."97 In John's sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.98 "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. and I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.... Behold, the Lamb of God."99

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.100

"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.101 Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."
In her, the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested:

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"102 should herself be "full of grace." She was, by sheer grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her as the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice."103 It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle104 lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.

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.105

724 In Mary, the Holy Spirit manifests the Son of the Father, now become the Son of the Virgin. She is the burning bush of the definitive theophany. Filled with the Holy Spirit she makes the Word visible in the humility of his flesh. It is to the poor and the first representatives of the gentiles that she makes him known.106

725 Finally, through Mary, the Holy Spirit begins to bring men, the objects of God's merciful love,107 into communion with Christ. and the humble are always the first to accept him: shepherds, magi, Simeon and Anna, the bride and groom at Cana, and the first disciples.

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."108 As such, she was present with the Twelve, who "with one accord devoted themselves to prayer,"109 at the dawn of the "end time" which the Spirit was to inaugurate on the morning of Pentecost with the manifestation of the Church.

Christ Jesus

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.110 He also alludes to the Spirit in speaking to Nicodemus,111 to the Samaritan woman,112 and to those who take part in the feast of Tabernacles.113 To his disciples he speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer114 and with the witness they will have to bear.115

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.116 The Spirit of truth, the other Paraclete, will be given by the Father in answer to Jesus' prayer; he will be sent by the Father in Jesus' name; and Jesus will send him from the Father's side, since he comes from the Father. the Holy Spirit will come and we shall know him; he will be with us for ever; he will remain with us. the Spirit will teach us everything, remind us of all that Christ said to us and bear witness to him. the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ. He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment.

730 At last Jesus' hour arrives:117 he commends his spirit into the Father's hands118 at the very moment when by his death he conquers death, so that, "raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,"119 he might immediately give the Holy Spirit by "breathing" on his disciples.120 From this hour onward, the mission of Christ and the Spirit becomes the mission of the Church: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."121


89 Jn 1:6.
90 Lk 1:15, 41.
91 Cf. Lk 1:68.
92 Mt 17:10-13; cf. Lk 1:78.
93 Lk 1:17.
94 Lk 7:26.
95 Cf. Mt 11:13-14.
96 Jn 1:23; cf. Isa 40:1-3.
97 Jn 1:7; cf. Jn 15:26; 5:35.
98 Cf. 1 Pet 1:10-12.
99 Jn 1:33-36.
100 Cf Jn 3:5.
101 Cf. Prov 8:1- 9:6; Sir 24.
102 Col 2:9.
103 Cf. Zeph 3:14; Zech 2:14.
104 Cf. Lk 1:46-55.
105 Cf. Lk 1:26-38; Rom 4:18-21; Gal 4:26-28.
106 Cf. Lk 1:15-19; Mt 2:11.
107 Cf. Lk 2:14.
108 Cf. Jn 19:25-27.
109 Acts 1:14.
110 Cf. Jn 6:27, 51, 62-63.
111 Cf. Jn 3:5-8.
112 Cf. Jn 4:10, 14, 23-24.
113 Cf. Jn 7:37-39.
114 Cf. Lk 11:13.
115 Cf. Mt 10:19-20.
116 Cf. Jn 14:16-17, 26; 15:26; 16:7-15; 17:26.
117 Cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
118 Cf. Lk 23:46; Jn 19:30.
119 Rom 6:4.
120 Cf. Jn 20:22.
121 Jn 20:21; cf. Mt 28:19; Lk 24:47-48; Acts 1:8.


V. The Spirit and the Church In the Last Days

Pentecost

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.122

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 us.123

The Holy Spirit - God's gift

733 "God is Love"124 and love is his first gift, containing all others. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."125

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 Spirit126 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."127 This love (the "charity" of ? 1 Cor 13) is the source of the new life in Christ, made possible because we have received "power" from the Holy Spirit.128

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."129 "We live by the Spirit"; the more we renounce ourselves, the more we "walk by the Spirit."130

Through the Holy Spirit we are restored to paradise, led back to the Kingdom of heaven, and adopted as children, given confidence to call God "Father" and to share in Christ's grace, called children of light and given a share in eternal glory.131

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."132

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 next article):

All of us who have received one and the same Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, are in a sense blended together with one another and with God. For if Christ, together with the Father's and his own Spirit, comes to dwell in each of us, though we are many, still the Spirit is one and undivided. He binds together the spirits of each and every one of us, . . . and makes all appear as one in him. For just as the power of Christ's sacred flesh unites those in whom it dwells into one body, I think that in the same way the one and undivided Spirit of God, who dwells in all, leads all into spiritual unity.133

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 Catechism.)

740 These "mighty works of God," offered to believers in the sacraments of the Church, bear their fruit in the new life in Christ, according to the Spirit. (This will be the topic of Part Three.)

741 "The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with sighs too deep for words."134 The Holy Spirit, the artisan of God's works, is the master of prayer. (This will be the topic of Part Four.)


122 Cf. Acts 2:33-36.
123 Byzantine liturgy, Pentecost Vespers, Troparion, repeated after
communion.
124 1 Jn 4:8,16.
125 Rom 5:5.
126 2 Cor 13:14.
127 1 Jn 4: 12; cf. Rom 8:23; 2 Cor 1:21.
128 Acts 1:8; cf. 1 Cor 13
129 Gal 5:22-23.
130 Gal 5:25; cf. Mt 16:24-26.
131 St. Basil, De Spiritu Sancto, 15,36: PG 32,132.
132 Jn 15:8, 16.
133 St. Cyril of Alexandria, In Jo. ev., 11,11: PG 74, 561.
134 Rom 8:26.


IN BRIEF

742 "Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!"' (? Gal 4:6).

743 From the beginning to the end of time, whenever God sends his Son, he always sends his Spirit: their mission is conjoined and inseparable.

744 In the fullness of time the Holy Spirit completes in Mary all the preparations for Christ's coming among the People of God. By the action of the Holy Spirit in her, the Father gives the world Emmanuel "God-with-us" (? Mt 1:23).

745 The Son of God was consecrated as Christ (Messiah) by the anointing of the Holy Spirit at his Incarnation (cf ? Ps 2:6-7).

746 By his Death and his Resurrection, Jesus is constituted in glory as Lord and Christ (cf ? Acts 2:36). From his fullness, he poured out the Holy Spirit on the apostles and the Church.

747 The Holy Spirit, whom Christ the head pours out on his members, builds, animates, and sanctifies the Church. She is the sacrament of the Holy Trinity's communion with men.


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."135 These words open the Second Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. By choosing this starting point, the Council demonstrates that the article of faith about the Church depends entirely on the articles concerning Christ Jesus. the Church has no other light than Christ's; according to a favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light reflected from the sun.

749 The article concerning the Church also depends entirely on the article about the Holy Spirit, which immediately precedes it. "Indeed, having shown that the Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness, we now confess that it is he who has endowed the Church with holiness."136 The Church is, in a phrase used by the Fathers, the place "where the Spirit flourishes."137

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 Church.138


135 LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15.
136 Roman Catechism I, 10, 1.
137 St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 35: SCh 11, 118.
138 Roman Catechism I, 10, 22.


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.139 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.140 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,141 but also the local community142 or the whole universal community of believers.143 These three meanings are inseparable. "The Church" is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ's Body.

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.144 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."145

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 his sheep.146

755 "The Church is a cultivated field, the tillage of God. On that land the ancient olive tree grows whose holy roots were the prophets and in which the reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles has been brought about and will be brought about again. That land, like a choice vineyard, has been planted by the heavenly cultivator. Yet the true vine is Christ who gives life and fruitfulness to the branches, that is, to us, who through the Church remain in Christ, without whom we can do nothing.147

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 husband.148

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 cherishes.'"149

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 history.

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,"150 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."151 This "family of God" is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father's plan. In fact, "already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Advance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time."152

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."153 God created the world for the sake of communion with his divine life, a communion brought about by the "convocation" of men in Christ, and this "convocation" is the Church. the Church is the goal of all things,154 and God permitted such painful upheavals as the angels' fall and man's sin only as occasions and means for displaying all the power of his arm and the whole measure of the love he wanted to give the world:

Just as God's will is creation and is called "the world," so his intention is the salvation of men, and it is called "the Church."155

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.156

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.157 Its immediate preparation begins with Israel's election as the People of God. By this election, Israel is to be the sign of the future gathering of All nations.158 But the prophets accuse Israel of breaking the covenant and behaving like a prostitute. They announce a new and eternal covenant. "Christ instituted this New Covenant."159

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.160 "The Lord Jesus inaugurated his Church by preaching the Good News, that is, the coming of the Reign of God, promised over the ages in the scriptures."161 To fulfill the Father's will, Christ ushered in the Kingdom of heaven on earth. the Church "is the Reign of Christ already present in mystery."162

764 "This Kingdom shines out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ."163 To welcome Jesus' word is to welcome "the Kingdom itself."164 The seed and beginning of the Kingdom are the "little flock" of those whom Jesus came to gather around him, the flock whose shepherd he is.165 They form Jesus' true family.166 To those whom he thus gathered around him, he taught a new "way of acting" and a prayer of their own.167

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.168 Representing the twelve tribes of Israel, they are the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem.169 The Twelve and the other disciples share in Christ's mission and his power, but also in his lot.170 By all his actions, Christ prepares and builds his 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."171 "For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth the 'wondrous sacrament of the whole Church.'"172 As Eve was formed from the sleeping Adam's side, so the Church was born from the pierced heart of Christ hanging dead on the cross.173

The Church - revealed by the Holy Spirit

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."174 Then "the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun."175 As the "convocation" of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.176

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."177 "Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder and faithfully observing his precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom."178

The Church - perfected in glory

769 "The Church . . . will receive its perfection only in the glory of heaven,"179 at the time of Christ's glorious return. Until that day, "the Church progresses on her pilgrimage amidst this world's persecutions and God's consolations."180 Here below she knows that she is in exile far from the Lord, and longs for the full coming of the Kingdom, when she will "be united in glory with her king."181 The Church, and through her the world, will not be perfected in glory without great trials. Only then will "all the just from the time of Adam, 'from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect,' . . . be gathered together in the universal Church in the Father's presence."182

III. THE MYSTERY OF THE CHURCH

770 The Church is in history, but at the same time she transcends it. It is only "with the eyes of faith"183 that one can see her in her visible reality and at the same time in her spiritual reality as bearer of divine life.

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."184 The Church is at the same time:
- a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
- the visible society and the spiritual community;
- the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches."185
These dimensions together constitute "one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element":186

The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.187

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.188

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."189 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.190 Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory."191

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.192
"[The Church's] structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ's members. and holiness is measured according to the 'great mystery' in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom."193 Mary goes before us all in the holiness that is the Church's mystery as "the bride without spot or wrinkle."194 This is why the "Marian" dimension of the Church precedes the "Petrine."195

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."196 The saving work of his holy and sanctifying humanity is the sacrament of salvation, which is revealed and active in the Church's sacraments (which the Eastern Churches also call "the holy mysteries"). the seven sacraments are the signs and instruments by which the Holy Spirit spreads the grace of Christ the head throughout the Church which is his Body. the Church, then, both contains and communicates the invisible grace she signifies. It is in this analogical sense, that the Church is called a "sacrament."

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."197 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";198 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."199 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."200

IN BRIEF

777 The word "Church" means "convocation." It designates the assembly of those whom God's Word "convokes," i.e., gathers together to form the People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ.

778 The Church is both the means and the goal of God's plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf ? Rev 14:4).

779 The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept.

780 The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men.


139 Cf. Acts 19:39.
140 Cf. Ex 19.
141 Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19, 28, 34, 35.
142 Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1.
143 Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6.
144 Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9.
145 LG 6.
146 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.
147 LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 39; Rom 11:13-26; Mt 21:32-43 and parallels; Isa 51-7;
Jn 15:1-5.
148 LG 6; Cf. 1 Cor 3:9; Mt 21:42 and parallels; 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.
149 LG 6; Cf. Gal 4:26; Rev 12:17; 19:7; 21:2, 9; 22:17; Eph 5:25-26, 29.
150 LG 2.
151 LG 2.
152 LG 2.
153 Pastor Hermae, Vision 2, 4, 1: PG 2,899; cf. Aristides, Apol. 16, 6;
St. Justin, Apol. 2,7: PG 6, 456; Tertullian, Apol. 31, 3; 32, 1: PL 1, 508-509.
154 Cf. St. Epiphanius, Panarion 1, 1, 5: PG 41, 181C.
155 Clement of Alex., Paed. 1, 6, 27: PG 8, 281.
156 Acts 10:35; cf. LG 9; 13; 16.
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.


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."201

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."202
- One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being "born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit,"203 that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.
- This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is "the messianic people."
- "The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple."
- "Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us."204 This is the "new" law of the Holy Spirit.205
- Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world.206 This people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race."
-Its destiny, finally, "is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time."207

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.208

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."209

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,"210 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.211 Christ, King and Lord of the universe, made himself the servant of all, for he came "not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."212 For the Christian, "to reign is to serve him," particularly when serving "the poor and the suffering, in whom the Church recognizes the image of her poor and suffering founder."213 The People of God fulfills its royal dignity by a life in keeping with its vocation to serve with Christ.

The sign of the cross makes kings of all those reborn in Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit consecrates them as priests, so that, apart from the particular service of our ministry, all spiritual and rational Christians are recognized as members of this royal race and sharers in Christ's priestly office. What, indeed, is as royal for a soul as to govern the body in obedience to God? and what is as priestly as to dedicate a pure conscience to the Lord and to offer the spotless offerings of devotion on the altar of the heart?214

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.215 Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you.... I am the vine, you are the branches."216 and he 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."217

788 When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans. He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit.218 As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: "By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation."219

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.

"One Body"

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."220 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."221

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."222 The unity of the Mystical Body produces and stimulates charity among the faithful: "From this it follows that if one member suffers anything, all the members suffer with him, and if one member is honored, all the members together rejoice."223 Finally, the unity of the Mystical Body triumphs over all human divisions: "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."224

"Christ is the Head of this Body"

792 Christ "is the head of the body, the Church."225 He is the principle of creation and redemption. Raised to the Father's glory, "in everything he (is) preeminent,"226 especially in the Church, through whom he extends his reign over all things.

793 Christ unites us with his Passover: all his members must strive to resemble him, "until Christ be formed" in them.227 "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."228

794 Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head,229 he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation.

795 Christ and his Church thus together make up the "whole Christ" (Christus totus). the Church is one with Christ. the saints are acutely aware of this unity:

Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God's grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man.... the fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does "head and members" mean? Christ and the Church.230

Our redeemer has shown himself to be one person with the holy Church whom he has taken to himself.231

Head and members form as it were one and the same mystical person.232

A reply of St. Joan of Arc to her judges sums up the faith of the holy doctors and the good sense of the believer: "About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they're just one thing, and we shouldn't complicate the matter."233

The Church is the Bride of Christ

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.234 The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom."235 The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him.236 The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb.237 "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her."238 He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body:239

This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church."240 and the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh."241 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, . . . as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself "bride."242

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."243 "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members."244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God":245

Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted.... In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace.246

798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body."247 He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity:248 by God's Word "which is able to build you up";249 by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body;250 by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ's members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts";251 by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church."252

Charisms

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 world.

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.253

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,"254 so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good."255

IN BRIEF

802 Christ Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own" (? Titus 2:14).

803 "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people" (? 1 Pet 2:9).

804 One enters into the People of God by faith and Baptism. "All men are called to belong to the new People of God" (LG 13), so that, in Christ, "men may form one family and one People of God" (AG 1).

805 The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body.

806 In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted.

807 The Church is this Body of which Christ is the head: she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her.

808 The Church is the Bride of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God's children.

809 The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. the Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body, the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its gifts and charisms.

810 "Hence the universal Church is seen to be 'a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit'" (LG 4 citing St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23: PL 4, 553).


201 LG 9; Cf. Acts 10:35; 1 Cor 11:25.
202 1 Pet 2:9.
203 Jn 3:3-5.
204 Cf. Jn 13 34
205 Rom 8:2; Gal 5:25.
206 Cf. Mt 5:13-16.
207 LG 9 # 2.
208 Cf. John Paul II, RH 18-21.
209 LG 10; Cf. Heb 5:1-5; Rev 1:6.
210 LG 12; Cf. Jude 3.
211 Cf. Jn 12:32.
212 Mt 20:28.
213 LG 8; Cf. 36.
214 St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4, 1: PL 54, 149.
215 Cf. Mk 1:16-20; 3:13-19; Mt 13:10-17; Lk 10:17-20; 22:28-30.
216 Jn 15:4-5.
217 Jn 6:56.
218 Cf. Jn 14:18; 20:22; Mt 28:20; Acts 2:33.
219 LG 7.
220 LG 7.
221 LG 7; cf. Rom 6:4-5; 1 Cor 12:13.
222 LG 7 # 3.
223 LG 7 # 3; cf. 1 Cor 12:26.
224 Gal 3:27-28.
225 Col 1:18.
226 Col 1:18.
227 Gal 4:19.
228 LG 7 # 4; cf. Phil 3:21; Rom 8:17.
229 Cf. Col 2:19; Eph 4:11-16.
230 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev, 21, 8: PL 35, 1568.
231 Pope St. Gregory the Great Moralia in Job, 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
Laici, 24.
255 1 Cor 12:7.


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."256 These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,257 indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. the Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

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."258

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."259 The Church is one because of her founder: for "the Word made flesh, the prince of peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity of all in one people and one body."260 The Church is one because of 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."261 Unity is of the essence of the Church:

What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit, everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin become mother, and I should like to call her "Church."262

814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions."263 The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. and so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."264

815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity "binds everything together in perfect harmony."265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
- profession of one faith received from the Apostles;
-common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
- apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God's family.266

816 "The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it.... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."267

The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."268

Wounds to unity

817 In fact, "in this one and only Church of God from its very beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions appeared and large communities became separated from full communion with the Catholic Church - for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame."269 The ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body - here we must distinguish heresy, apostasy, and schism270 - do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.271

818 "However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers .... All who have been justified by faith in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church."272

819 "Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth"273 are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements."274 Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him,275 and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."276

Toward unity

820 "Christ bestowed unity on his Church from the beginning. This unity, we believe, subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time."277 Christ always gives his Church the gift of unity, but the Church must always pray and work to maintain, reinforce, and perfect the unity that Christ wills for her. This is why Jesus himself prayed at the hour of his Passion, and does not cease praying to his Father, for the unity of his disciples: "That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be one in us, . . . so that the world may know that you have sent me."278 The desire to recover the unity of all Christians is a gift of Christ and a call of the Holy Spirit.279

821 Certain things are required in order to respond adequately to this call:
- a permanent renewal of the Church in greater fidelity to her vocation; such renewal is the driving-force of the movement toward unity;280
- conversion of heart as the faithful "try to live holier lives according to the Gospel";281 for it is the unfaithfulness of the members to Christ's gift which causes divisions;
- prayer in common, because "change of heart and holiness of life, along with public and private prayer for the unity of Christians, should be regarded as the soul of the whole ecumenical movement, and merits the name 'spiritual ecumenism;"'282
-fraternal knowledge of each other;283
- ecumenical formation of the faithful and especially of priests;284
- dialogue among theologians and meetings among Christians of the different churches and communities;285
- collaboration among Christians in various areas of service to mankind.286 "Human service" is the idiomatic phrase.

822 Concern for achieving unity "involves the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike."287 But we must realize "that this holy objective - the reconciliation of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ - transcends human powers and gifts." That is why we place all our hope "in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit."288

II THE CHURCH IS HOLY

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."289 The Church, then, is "the holy People of God,"290 and her members are called "saints."291

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."292 It is in the Church that "the fullness of the means of salvation"293 has been deposited. It is in her that "by the grace of God we acquire holiness."294

825 "The Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real though imperfect."295 In her members perfect holiness is something yet to be acquired: "Strengthened by so many and such great means of salvation, all the faithful, whatever their condition or state - though each in his own way - are called by the Lord to that perfection of sanctity by which the Father himself is perfect."296

826 Charity is the soul of the holiness to which all are called: it "governs, shapes, and perfects all the means of sanctification."297

If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn't lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE.
and I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood.
LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT'S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE - IT'S ETERNAL!298

827 "Christ, 'holy, innocent, and undefiled,' knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. the Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal."299 All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners.300 In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time.301 Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ's salvation but still on the way to holiness:

The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.302

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.303 "The saints have always been the source and origin of renewal in the most difficult moments in the Church's history."304 Indeed, "holiness is the hidden source and infallible measure of her apostolic activity and missionary zeal."305

829 "But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. and so they turn their eyes to Mary":306 in her, the Church is already the "all-holy."

III. THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC

What does "catholic" mean?

830 The word "catholic" means "universal," in the sense of "according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole." the Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church."307 In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation"308 which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. the Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost309 and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.

831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:310

All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one.... the character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.311

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 constituted."312

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.313 These particular Churches "are constituted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church exists."314

834 Particular Churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome "which presides in charity."315 "For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence, the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily be in accord."316 Indeed, "from the incarnate Word's descent to us, all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior's promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against her."317

835 "Let us be very careful not to conceive of the universal Church as the simple sum, or . . . the more or less anomalous federation of essentially different particular churches. In the mind of the Lord the Church is universal by vocation and mission, but when she pub down her roots in a variety of cultural, social, and human terrains, she takes on different external expressions and appearances in each part of the world."318 The rich variety of ecclesiastical disciplines, liturgical rites, and theological and spiritual heritages proper to the local churches "unified in a common effort, shows all the more resplendently the catholicity of the undivided Church."319

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."320

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.'"321

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."322 Those "who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church."323 With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound "that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord's Eucharist."324

The Church and non-Christians

839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325
The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other 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",328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329

840 and when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."330

842 The Church's bond with non-Christian religions is in the first place the common origin and end of the human race:

All nations form but one community. This is so because all stem from the one stock which God created to people the entire earth, and also because all share a common destiny, namely God. His providence, evident goodness, and saving designs extend to all against the day when the elect are gathered together in the holy city. . .331

843 The Catholic Church recognizes in other religions that search, among shadows and images, for the God who is unknown yet near since he gives life and breath and all things and wants all men to be saved. Thus, the Church considers all goodness and truth found in these religions as "a preparation for the Gospel and given by him who enlightens all men that they may at length have life."332

844 In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them:

Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.333

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. the Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. the Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337

848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."338

Mission - a requirement of the Church's catholicity

849 The missionary mandate. "Having been divinely sent to the nations that she might be 'the universal sacrament of salvation,' the Church, in obedience to the command of her founder and because it is demanded by her own essential universality, strives to preach the Gospel to all men":339 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age."340

850 The origin and purpose of mission. the Lord's missionary mandate is ultimately grounded in the eternal love of the Most Holy Trinity: "The Church on earth is by her nature missionary since, according to the plan of the Father, she has as her origin the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit."341 The ultimate purpose of mission is none other than to make men share in the communion between the Father and the Son in their Spirit of love.342

851 Missionary motivation. It is from God's love for all men that the Church in every age receives both the obligation and the vigor of her missionary dynamism, "for the love of Christ urges us on."343 Indeed, God "desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth";344 that is, God wills the salvation of everyone through the knowledge of the truth. Salvation is found in the truth. Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation. But the Church, to whom this truth has been entrusted, must go out to meet their desire, so as to bring them the truth. Because she believes in God's universal plan of salvation, the Church must be missionary.

852 Missionary paths. the Holy Spirit is the protagonist, "the principal agent of the whole of the Church's mission."345 It is he who leads the Church on her missionary paths. "This mission continues and, in the course of history, unfolds the mission of Christ, who was sent to evangelize the poor; so the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacrifice even to death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection."346 So it is that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians."347

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."348 Only by taking the "way of penance and renewal," the "narrow way of the cross," can the People of God extend Christ's reign.349 For "just as Christ carried out the work of redemption in poverty and oppression, so the Church is called to follow the same path if she is to communicate the fruits of salvation to men."350

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."351 Missionary endeavor requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ,352 continues with the establishment of Christian communities that are "a sign of God's presence in the world,"353 and leads to the foundation of local churches.354 It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is to take flesh in each people's culture.355 There will be times of defeat. "With regard to individuals, groups, and peoples it is only by degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them and so receives them into a fullness which is Catholic."356

855 The Church's mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity.357 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 aspects."358

856 The missionary task implies a respectful dialogue with those who do not yet accept the Gospel.359 Believers can profit from this dialogue by learning to appreciate better "those elements of truth and grace which are found among peoples, and which are, as it were, a secret presence of God."360 They proclaim the Good News to those who do not know it, in order to consolidate, complete, and raise up the truth and the goodness that God has distributed among men and nations, and to purify them from error and evil "for the glory of God, the confusion of the demon, and the happiness of man."361

IV. THE CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC

857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:
- she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles,"362 The witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;363
- with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,364 The "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;365
- she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor":366

You are the eternal Shepherd
who never leaves his flock untended.
Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the flock
to share in the work of your Son....367

The Apostles' mission

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."368 From then on, they would also be his "emissaries" (Greek apostoloi). In them, Christ continues his own mission: "As the Father has sent me, even so I send you."369 The apostles' ministry is the continuation of his mission; Jesus said to the Twelve: "he who receives you receives me."370

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,371 from whom they received both the mandate for their mission and the power to carry it out. Christ's apostles knew that they were called by God as "ministers of a new covenant," "servants of God," "ambassadors for Christ," "servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God."372

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."373

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."374

862 "Just as the office which the Lord confided to Peter alone, as first of the apostles, destined to be transmitted to his successors, is a permanent one, so also endures the office, which the apostles received, of shepherding the Church, a charge destined to be exercised without interruption by the sacred order of bishops."375 Hence the Church teaches that "the bishops have by divine institution taken the place of the apostles as pastors of the Church, in such wise that whoever listens to them is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ."376

The apostolate

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."377

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.378 In keeping with their vocations, the demands of the times and the various gifts of the Holy Spirit, the apostolate assumes the most varied forms. But charity, drawn from the Eucharist above all, is always "as it were, the soul of the whole apostolate."379

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,"380 already exists and will be fulfilled at the end of time. the kingdom has come in the person of Christ and grows mysteriously in the hearts of those incorporated into him, until its full eschatological manifestation. Then all those he has redeemed and made "holy and blameless before him in love,"381 will be gathered together as the one People of God, the
"Bride of the Lamb,"382 "the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God."383 For "the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."384

IN BRIEF

866 The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf ? Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome.

867 The Church is holy: the Most Holy God is her author; Christ, her bridegroom, gave himself up to make her holy; the Spirit of holiness gives her life. Since she still includes sinners, she is "the sinless one made up of sinners." Her holiness shines in the saints; in Mary she is already all-holy.

868 The Church is catholic: she proclaims the fullness of the faith. She bears in herself and administers the totality of the means of salvation. She is sent out to all peoples. She speaks to all men. She encompasses all times. She is "missionary of her very nature" (AG 2).

869 The Church is apostolic. She is built on a lasting foundation: "the twelve apostles of the Lamb" (? Rev 21:14). She is indestructible (cf ? Mt 16:18). She is upheld infallibly in the truth: Christ governs her through Peter and the other apostles, who are present in their successors, the Pope and the college of bishops.

870 "The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, . . . subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines"(LG 8).


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
DS 3057.
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. Jn 13:20; Jn 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, 291-300.
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.



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.” [385]

872 “In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each one's own condition and function.” [386]

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.” [387] Finally, “from both groups [hierarchy and laity] there exist Christian faithful who are consecrated to God in their own special manner and serve the salvific mission of the Church through the profession of the evangelical counsels.” [388]

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. [389]

875 “How are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? and how are they to hear without a preacher? and how can men preach unless they are sent?” [390] No one - no individual and no community - can proclaim the Gospel to himself: “Faith comes from what is heard.” [391] No one can give himself the mandate and the mission to proclaim the Gospel. the one sent by the Lord does not speak and act on his own authority, but by virtue of Christ's authority; not as a member of the community, but speaking to it in the name of Christ. No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by Christ. From him, they receive the mission and faculty (“the sacred power”) to act in persona Christi Capitis. the ministry in which Christ's emissaries do and give by God's grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church's tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.

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,” [392] in the image of him who freely took “the form of a slave” for us. [393] Because the word and grace of which they are ministers are not their own, but are given to them by Christ for the sake of others, they must freely become the slaves of all. [394]

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.” [395] Chosen together, they were also sent out together, and their fraternal unity would be at the service of the fraternal communion of all the faithful: they would reflect and witness to the communion of the divine persons. [396] For this reason every bishop exercises his ministry from within the episcopal college, in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter and head of the college. So also priests exercise their ministry from within the presbyterium of the diocese, under the direction of their bishop.

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” [397] in order to be a personal witness within the common mission, to bear personal responsibility before him who gives the mission, acting “in his person” and for other persons: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ...”; “I absolve you....”

879 Sacramental ministry in the Church, then, is 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.” [398] Just as “by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another.” [399]

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. [400] “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head.” [401] This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.

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.” [402] “For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.” [403]

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.” [404]

884 “The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council.” [405] But “there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor.” [406]

885 “This college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the People of God; and of the unity of the flock of Christ, in so far as it is assembled under one head.” [407]

886 “The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches.” [408] As such, they “exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them,” [409] assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches. [410] The bishops exercise this care first “by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church,” and so contributing “to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches.” [411] They extend it especially to the poor, [412] 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. [413] The bishops of these groupings can meet in synods or provincial councils. “In a like fashion, the episcopal conferences at the present time are in a position to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegiate spirit.” [414]

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. [415] They are “heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers” of the apostolic faith “endowed with the authority of Christ.” [416]

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.” [417]

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. [418] When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine “for belief as being divinely revealed,” [419] and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions “must be adhered to with the obedience of faith.” [420] This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself. [421]

892 Divine assistance is also given to the successors of the apostles, teaching in communion with the successor of Peter, and, in a particular way, to the bishop of Rome, pastor of the whole Church, when, without arriving at an infallible definition and without pronouncing in a “definitive manner,” they propose in the exercise of the ordinary Magisterium a teaching that leads to better understanding of Revelation in matters of faith and morals. To this ordinary teaching the faithful “are to adhere to it with religious assent” [422] which, though distinct from the assent of faith, is nonetheless an extension of it.

The sanctifying office

893 The bishop is “the steward of the grace of the supreme priesthood,” [423] especially in the Eucharist which he offers personally or whose offering he assures through the priests, his co-workers. the Eucharist is the center of the life of the particular Church. the bishop and priests sanctify the Church by their prayer and work, by their ministry of the word and of the sacraments. They sanctify her by their example, “not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock.” [424] Thus, “together with the flock entrusted to them, they may attain to eternal life.” [425]

The 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. [426]

895 “The power which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately controlled by the supreme authority of the Church.” [427] But the bishops should not be thought of as vicars of the Pope. His ordinary and immediate authority over the whole Church does not annul, but on the contrary confirms and defends that of the bishops. Their authority must be exercised in communion with the whole Church under the guidance of the Pope.

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 Father”: [428]

Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God's law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop. [429]

II. THE LAY 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.” [430]

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.” [431]

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. [432]

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. [433] 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.” [434]

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.” [435]

903 Lay people who possess the required qualities can be admitted permanently to the ministries of lector and acolyte. [436] When the necessity of the Church warrants it and when ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply for certain of their offices, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer Baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion in accord with the prescriptions of law.” [437]

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” [438]

To teach in order to lead others to faith is the task of every preacher and of each believer. [439]

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.” [440]

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. [441]

906 Lay people who are capable and trained may also collaborate in catechetical formation, in teaching the sacred sciences, and in use of the communications media. [442]

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.” [443]

Participation in Christ's kingly office

908 By his obedience unto death, [444] Christ communicated to his disciples the gift of royal freedom, so that they might “by the self-abnegation of a holy life, overcome the reign of sin in themselves”: [445]

That man is rightly called a king who makes his own body an obedient subject and, by governing himself with suitable rigor, refuses to let his passions breed rebellion in his soul, for he exercises a kind of royal power over himself. and because he knows how to rule his own person as king, so too does he sit as its judge. He will not let himself be imprisoned by sin, or thrown headlong into wickedness. [446]

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.” [447]

910 “The laity can also feel called, or be in fact called, to cooperate with their pastors in the service of the ecclesial community, for the sake of its growth and life. This can be done through the exercise of different kinds of ministries according to the grace and charisms which the Lord has been pleased to bestow on them.” [448]

911 In the Church, “lay members of the Christian faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this power [of governance] in accord with the norm of law.” [449] and so the Church provides for their presence at particular councils, diocesan synods, pastoral councils; the exercise in solidum of the pastoral care of a parish, collaboration in finance committees, and participation in ecclesiastical tribunals, etc. [450]

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.” [451]

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.”' [452]

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.” [453]

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. [454]

916 The religious state is thus one way of experiencing a “more intimate” consecration, rooted in Baptism and dedicated totally to God. [455] In the consecrated life, Christ's faithful, moved by the Holy Spirit, propose to follow Christ more nearly, to give themselves to God who is loved above all and, pursuing the perfection of charity in the service of the Kingdom, to signify and proclaim in the Church the glory of the world to come. [456]

One great tree, with many branches

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.” [457]

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. [458]

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. [459]

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.” [460]

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.

Consecrated virgins

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.” [461]

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.” [462] By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is “constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church's love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.” [463]

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. [464] Consecrated virgins can form themselves into associations to observe their commitment more faithfully. [465]

Religious life

925 Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries of Christianity. Lived within institutes canonically erected by the Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical counsels, fraternal life led in common, and witness given to the union of Christ with the Church. [466]

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. [467] From the outset of the work of evangelization, the missionary “planting” and expansion of the Church require the presence of the religious life in all its forms. [468] “History witnesses to the outstanding service rendered by religious families in the propagation of the faith and in the formation of new Churches: from the ancient monastic institutions to the medieval orders, all the way to the more recent congregations.” [469]

Secular institutes

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 within.” [470]

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.” [471] “Their witness of a Christian life” aims “to order temporal things according to God and inform the world with the power of the gospel.” They commit themselves to the evangelical counsels by sacred bonds and observe among themselves the communion and fellowship appropriate to their “particular secular way of life.” [472]

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. [473]

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.” [474]

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.” [475]

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. [476]

IN BRIEF

934 “Among the Christian faithful by divine institution there exist in the Church sacred ministers, who are also called clerics in law, and other Christian faithful who are also called laity.” In both groups there are those Christian faithful who, professing the evangelical counsels, are consecrated to God and so serve the Church's saving mission (cf. CIC, can. 207 # 1, 2).

935 To proclaim the faith and to plant his reign, Christ sends his apostles and their successors. He gives them a share in his own mission. From him they receive the power to act in his person.

936 The Lord made St. Peter the visible foundation of his Church. He entrusted the keys of the Church to him. the bishop of the Church of Rome, successor to St. Peter, is “head of the college of bishops, the Vicar of Christ and Pastor of the universal Church on earth” ( CIC, can. 331).

937 The Pope enjoys, by divine institution, “supreme, full, immediate, and universal power in the care of souls” (CD 2).

938 The Bishops, established by the Holy Spirit, succeed the apostles. They are “the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches” (LG 23).

939 Helped by the priests, their co-workers, and by the deacons, the bishops have the duty of authentically teaching the faith, celebrating divine worship, above all the Eucharist, and guiding their Churches as true pastors. Their responsibility also includes concern for all the Churches, with and under the Pope.

940 “The characteristic of the lay state being a life led in the midst of the world and of secular affairs, lay people are called by God to make of their apostolate, through the vigor of their Christian spirit, a leaven in the world” (AA 2 # 2).

941 Lay people share in Christ's priesthood: ever more united with him, they exhibit the grace of Baptism and Confirmation in all dimensions of their personal family, social and ecclesial lives, and so fulfill the call to holiness addressed to all the baptized.

942 By virtue of their prophetic mission, lay people “are called . . . to be witnesses to Christ in all circumstances and at the very heart of the community of mankind” (GS 43 # 4).

943 By virtue of their kingly mission, lay people have the power to uproot the rule of sin within themselves and in the world, by their self-denial and holiness of life (cf. LG 36).

944 The life consecrated to God is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church.

945 Already destined for him through Baptism, the person who surrenders himself to the God he loves above all else thereby consecrates himself more intimately to God's service and to the good of the whole Church.


385 CIC, Can. 204 para 1; Cf. LG 31.
386 CIC, Can. 208; Cf. LG 32.
387 AA 2.
388 CIC, Can. 207 # 2.
389 LG 18.
390 Rom 10:14:15.
391 Rom 10:17.
392 Cf. Rom 1:1.
393 Phil 2:7.
394 Cf. 1 Cor 9:19.
395 AG 5.
396 Cf. Jn 17:21-23.
397 Jn 21:22; Cf. Mt 4:19. 21; Jn 1:4[ETML:C/].
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.

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?” [477] 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.” [478] “As this Church is governed by one and the same Spirit, all the goods she has received necessarily become a common fund.” [479]

948 The term “communion of saints” therefore has two closely linked meanings: communion in holy things (sancta)” and “among holy persons (sancti).

“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.” [480] 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.” [481]

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. [482] Now, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” [483]

952 “They had everything in common.” [484] “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.” [485] A Christian is a steward of the Lord's goods. [486]

953 Communion in charity. In the sanctorum communio, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” [487] “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.” [488] “Charity does not insist on its own way.” [489] 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 communion.

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”': [490]

All of us, however, in varying degrees and in different ways share in the same charity towards God and our neighbours, and we all sing the one hymn of glory to our God. All, indeed, who are of Christ and who have his Spirit form one Church and in Christ cleave together. [491]

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.” [492]

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.” [493]

Do not weep, for I shall be more useful to you after my death and I shall help you then more effectively than during my life. [494]

 

I want to spend my heaven in doing good on earth. [495]

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” [496]:

We worship Christ as God's Son; we love the martyrs as the Lord's disciples and imitators, and rightly so because of their matchless devotion towards their king and master. May we also be their companions and fellow disciples! [497]

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.” [498] 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.” [499]

IN BRIEF

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).


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 1305.
491 LG 49; cf. Eph 4:16.
492 LG 49.
493 LG 49; cf. 1 Tim 2:5.
494 St. Dominic, dying, to his brothers.
495 St. Therese of Lisieux, the Final Conversations, tr. John Clarke    (Washington: ICS, 1977), 102.
496 LG 50; cf. Eph 4:1-6.
497 Martyrium Polycarpi, 17: Apostolic Fathers II/3, 396.
498 LG 50; cf. 2 Macc 12:45.
499 LG 51; d. Heb 3:6.

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.” [500] “Mary, Mother of Christ, Mother of the Church.” [501]

I. MARY'S MOTHERHOOD WITH REGARD TO 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”; [502] 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 son.” [503]

965 After her Son's Ascension, Mary “aided the beginnings of the Church by her prayers.” [504] In her association with the apostles and several women, “we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation.” [505]

. . . also in her Assumption

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.” [506] The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians:

In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death. [507]

. . . she is our Mother in the order of grace

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) [508] 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 grace.” [509]

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.” [510]

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.” [511] “No creature could ever be counted along with the Incarnate Word and Redeemer; but just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways both by his ministers and the faithful, and as the one goodness of God is radiated in different ways among his creatures, so also the unique mediation of the Redeemer does not exclude but rather gives rise to a manifold cooperation which is but a sharing in this one source.” [512]

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.” [513] 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.” [514] 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. [515]

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,” [516] The Church is awaited by the one she venerates as Mother of her Lord and as her own mother.

In the meantime the Mother of Jesus, in the glory which she possesses in body and soul in heaven, is the image and beginning of the Church as it is to be perfected in the world to come. Likewise she shines forth on earth until the day of the Lord shall come, a sign of certain hope and comfort to the pilgrim People of God. [517]

IN BRIEF

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).


500 LG 53; cf. St. Augustine, De virg. 6: PL 40,399.
501 Paul VI, Discourse, November 21,1964.
502 LG 57.
503 LG 58; cf. Jn 19:26-27.
504 LG 69.
505 LG 59.
506 LG 59; cf. Pius XII, Munificentissimus Deus (1950): DS 3903; cf. Rev 19:16.
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.

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.” [518]

(Part Two of the catechism will deal explicitly with the forgiveness of sins through Baptism, the sacrament of Penance, and the other sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Here it will suffice to suggest some basic facts briefly.)


518 Jn 20:22-23.

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.” [519] Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.” [520]

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 “ [521]

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.” [522]

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. [523]


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.

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.” [524] The apostles and their successors carry out this “ministry of reconciliation,” not only by announcing to men God's forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ: [525]

[The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit's action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us. [526]

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. [527] Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin. [528]

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 earth. [529] Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels .... God above confirms what priests do here below. [530] Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift. [531]

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).


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.

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. [532] Our resurrection, like his own, will be the work of the Most Holy Trinity:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who dwells in you. [533]

990 The term “flesh” refers to man in his state of weakness and mortality. [534] The “resurrection of the flesh” (the literal formulation of the Apostles' Creed) means not only that the immortal soul will live on after death, but that even our “mortal body” will come to life again. [535]

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.” [536] How can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.... But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. [537]


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.

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. [538] One cannot but choose to die at the hands of men and to cherish the hope that God gives of being raised again by him. [539]

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?” [540] Faith in the resurrection rests on faith in God who “is not God of the dead, but of the living.” [541]

994 But there is more. Jesus links faith in the resurrection to his own person: “I am the Resurrection and the life.” [542] It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. [543] Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life, [544] announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the “sign of Jonah,” [545] The sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day. [546]

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.” [547] 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. [548] “On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body.” [549] It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?

How do the 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.” [550]

999 How? Christ is raised with his own body: “See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself”; [551] but he did not return to an earthly life. So, in him, “all of them will rise again with their own bodies which they now bear,” but Christ “will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body,” into a “spiritual body”: [552]

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. and what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel ....What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.... the dead will be raised imperishable.... For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. [553]

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 of resurrection. [554]

1001 When? Definitively “at the last day,” “at the end of the world.” [555] Indeed, the resurrection of the dead is closely associated with Christ's Parousia:

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first. [556]

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. [557]

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.” [558] The Father has already “raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” [559] Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we “also will appear with him in glory.” [560]

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. [561]


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; 12Cor 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.

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.” [562] In that “departure” which is death the soul is separated from the body. [563] It will be reunited with the body on the day of resurrection of the dead. [564]

Death

1006 “It is in regard to death that man's condition is most shrouded in doubt.” [565] In a sense bodily death is natural, but for faith it is in fact “the wages of sin.” [566] For those who die in Christ's grace it is a participation in the death of the Lord, so that they can also share his Resurrection. [567]

1007 Death is the end of earthly life. Our lives are measured by time, in the course of which we change, grow old and, as with all living beings on earth, death seems like the normal end of life. That aspect of death lends urgency to our lives: remembering our mortality helps us realize that we have only a limited time in which to bring our lives to fulfillment:

Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, . . . before the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. [568]

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. [569] Even though man's nature is mortal God had destined him not to die. Death was therefore contrary to the plans of God the Creator and entered the world as a consequence of sin. [570] “Bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” is thus “the last enemy” of man left to be conquered. [571]

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. [572] The obedience of Jesus has transformed the curse of death into a blessing. [573]

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.” [574] “The saying is sure: if we have died with him, we will also live with him. [575] 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. [576]

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. “ [577] He can transform his own death into an act of obedience and love towards the Father, after the example of Christ: [578]

My earthly desire has been crucified; . . . there is living water in me, water that murmurs and says within me: Come to the Father. [579] I want to see God and, in order to see him, I must die. [580] I am not dying; I am entering life. [581]

1012 The Christian vision of death receives privileged expression in the liturgy of the Church: [582]

Lord, for your faithful people life is changed, not ended. When the body of our earthly dwelling lies in death we gain an everlasting dwelling place in heaven. [583]

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, [584] we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.” [585] 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”; [586] to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us “at the hour of our death” in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph, the patron of a happy death.

Every action of yours, every thought, should be those of one who expects to die before the day is out. Death would have no great terrors for you if you had a quiet conscience .... Then why not keep clear of sin instead of running away from death? If you aren't fit to face death today, it's very unlikely you will be tomorrow .... [587] Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death,

from whom no living man can 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 harm them. [588]


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, 217-220.
577 Phil 1:23.
578 Cf. Lk 23:46.
579 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Rom., 6, 1- 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 223-224.
580 St. Teresa of Avila, Life, chap. 1.
581 St. Therese of Lisieux, the Last Conversations.
582 Cf. I Thess 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.

IN BRIEF

1015 “The flesh is the hinge of salvation” (Tertullian, De res. 8, 2: PL 2, 852). We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.

1016 By death the soul is separated from the body, but in the resurrection God will give incorruptible life to our body, transformed by reunion with our soul. Just as Christ is risen and lives for ever, so all of us will rise at the last day.

1017 “We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess” (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). We sow a corruptible body in the tomb, but he raises up an incorruptible body, a “spiritual body” (cf 1 Cor 15:42-44).

1018 As a consequence of original sin, man must suffer “bodily death, from which man would have been immune had he not sinned” (GS # 18).

1019 Jesus, the Son of God, freely suffered death for us in complete and free submission to the will of God, his Father. By his death he has conquered death, and so opened the possibility of salvation to all men.


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 saints.... May you return to [your Creator]

who formed you from the dust of the earth.

May holy Mary, the angels, and all the saints

come to meet you as you go forth from this life.... May you see your Redeemer face to face. [589]


589 OCF, Prayer of Commendation.

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. [590] The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. the parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul -a destiny which can be different for some and for others. [591]

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 [592] or immediately, [593]-or immediate and everlasting damnation. [594]

At the evening of life, we shall be judged on our love. [595]


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, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1002.
595 St. John of the Cross, Dichos 64.

II. Heaven

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: [596]

By virtue of our apostolic authority, we define the following: According to the general disposition of God, the souls of all the saints . . . and other faithful who died after receiving Christ's holy Baptism (provided they were not in need of purification when they died, . . . or, if they then did need or will need some purification, when they have been purified after death, . . .) already before they take up their bodies again and before the general judgment - and this since the Ascension of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into heaven - have been, are and will be in heaven, in the heavenly Kingdom and celestial paradise with Christ, joined to the company of the holy angels. Since the Passion and death of our Lord Jesus Christ, these souls have seen and do see the divine essence with an intuitive vision, and even face to face, without the mediation of any creature. [597]

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,” [598] but they retain, or rather find, their true identity, their own name. [599]

For life is to be with Christ; where Christ is, there is life, there is the kingdom. [600]

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.” [601]

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. [602]

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.” [603]


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.

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. [604] 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: [605]

As for certain lesser faults, we must believe that, before the Final Judgment, there is a purifying fire. He who is truth says that whoever utters blasphemy against the Holy Spirit will be pardoned neither in this age nor in the age to come. From this sentence we understand that certain offenses can be forgiven in this age, but certain others in the age to come. [606]

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.” [607] 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. [608] The Church also commends almsgiving, indulgences, and works of penance undertaken on behalf of the dead:

Let us help and commemorate them. If Job's sons were purified by their father's sacrifice, why would we doubt that our offerings for the dead bring them some consolation? Let us not hesitate to help those who have died and to offer our prayers for them. [609]


604 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1304; Council of Trent (1563): DS 1820; (1547): 1580; see also Benedict XII, Benedictus Deus (1336): DS 1000.
605 Cf. 1 Cor 3:15; 1 Pet 1:7.
606 St. Gregory the Great, Dial. 4, 39: PL 77, 396; cf. Mt 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.

IV. Hell

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.” [610] Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. [611] To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called “hell.”

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. [612] Jesus solemnly proclaims that he “will send his angels, and they will gather . . . all evil doers, and throw them into the furnace of fire,” [613] and that he will pronounce the condemnation: “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire!” [614]

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.” [615] The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

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.” [616]

Since we know neither the day nor the hour, we should follow the advice of the Lord and watch constantly so that, when the single course of our earthly life is completed, we may merit to enter with him into the marriage feast and be numbered among the blessed, and not, like the wicked and slothful servants, be ordered to depart into the eternal fire, into the outer darkness where “men will weep and gnash their teeth.” [617]

1037 God predestines no one to go to hell; [618] for this, a willful turning away from God (a mortal sin) is necessary, and persistence in it until the end. In the Eucharistic liturgy and in the daily prayers of her faithful, the Church implores the mercy of God, who does not want “any to perish, but all to come to repentance”: [619]

Father, accept this offering

from your whole family.

Grant us your peace in this life,

save us from final damnation,

and count us among those you have chosen. [620]


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    (1547):1567.
619 2 Pet 3:9.
620 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 88.

V. The Last Judgment

1038 The resurrection of all the dead, “of both the just and the unjust,” [621] will precede the Last Judgment. This will be “the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.” [622] 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.” [623]

1039 In the presence of Christ, who is Truth itself, the truth of each man's relationship with God will be laid bare. [624] The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life:

All that the wicked do is recorded, and they do not know. When “our God comes, he does not keep silence.”. . . he will turn towards those at his left hand: . . . “I placed my poor little ones on earth for you. I as their head was seated in heaven at the right hand of my Father - but on earth my members were suffering, my members on earth were in need. If you gave anything to my members, what you gave would reach their Head. Would that you had known that my little ones were in need when I placed them on earth for you and appointed them your stewards to bring your good works into my treasury. But you have placed nothing in their hands; therefore you have found nothing in my presence.” [625]

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 than death. [626]

1041 The message of the Last Judgment calls men to conversion while God is still giving them “the acceptable time, . . . the day of salvation.” [627] It inspires a holy fear of God and commits them to the justice of the Kingdom of God. It proclaims the “blessed hope” of the Lord's return, when he will come “to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all who have believed.” [628]


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.

VI. 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. [629]

1043 Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, “new heavens and a new earth.” [630] It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head “all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth.” [631]

1044 In this new universe, the heavenly Jerusalem, God will have his dwelling among men. [632] “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” [633]

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.” [634] Those who are united with Christ will form the community of the redeemed, “the holy city” of God, “the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” [635] She will not be wounded any longer by sin, stains, self-love, that destroy or wound the earthly community. [636] The beatific vision, in which God opens himself in an inexhaustible way to the elect, will be the ever-flowing well-spring of happiness, peace, and mutual communion.

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. [637]

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. [638]

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.” [639]

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.” [640]

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.” [641] God will then be “all in all” in eternal life: [642]

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. [643]


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.

IN BRIEF

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 “hell.”

1057 Hell's principal punishment consists of eternal separation from God in whom alone man can have the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

1058 The Church prays that no one should be lost: “Lord, let me never be parted from you.” If it is true that no one can save himself, it is also true that God “desires all men to be saved” ( 1 Tim 2:4), and that for him “all things are possible” ( Mt 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 [1274]: 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.


“Amen”

1061 The Creed, like the last book of the Bible, [644] ends with the Hebrew word amen. This word frequently concludes prayers in the New Testament. the Church likewise ends her prayers with “Amen.”

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].” [645] Our Lord often used the word “Amen,” sometimes repeated, [646] to emphasize the trustworthiness of his teaching, his authority founded on God's truth.

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 faith:

May your Creed be for you as a mirror. Look at yourself in it, to see if you believe everything you say you believe. and rejoice in your faith each day. [647]

1065 Jesus Christ himself is the “Amen.” [648] 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”: [649]

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.


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.

PART TWO:

THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY

Why the liturgy?

1066 In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's “good pleasure” for all creation: the Father accomplishes the “mystery of his will” by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name. [1]

Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the “plan of the mystery” [2] and the patristic tradition will call the “economy of the Word incarnate” or the “economy of salvation.”

1067 “The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby 'dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.' 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.”' [3]

For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.

1068 It is this mystery of Christ that the Church proclaims and celebrates in her liturgy so that the faithful may live from it and bear witness to it in the world:

For it is in the liturgy, especially in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, that “the work of our redemption is accomplished,” and it is through the liturgy especially that the faithful are enabled to express in their lives and manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. [4]

What does the word liturgy mean?

1069 The word “liturgy” originally meant a “public work” or a “service in the name of/on behalf of the people.” In Christian tradition it means the participation of the People of God in “the work of God.” [5] Through the liturgy Christ, our redeemer and high priest, continues the work of our redemption in, with, and through his Church.

1070 In the New Testament the word “liturgy” refers not only to the celebration of divine worship but also to the proclamation of the Gospel and to active charity. [6] In all of these situations it is a question of the service of God and neighbor. In a liturgical celebration the Church is servant in the image of her Lord, the one “leitourgos”; [7] she shares in Christ's priesthood (worship), which is both prophetic (proclamation) and kingly (service of charity):

The liturgy then is rightly seen as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. It involves the presentation of man's sanctification under the guise of signs perceptible by the senses and its accomplishment in ways appropriate to each of these signs. In it full public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and his members. From this it follows that every liturgical celebration, because it is an action of Christ the priest and of his Body which is the Church, is a sacred action surpassing all others. No other action of the Church can equal its efficacy by the same title and to the same degree. [8]

Liturgy as source of life

1071 As the work of Christ liturgy is also an action of his Church. It makes the Church present and manifests her as the visible sign of the communion in Christ between God and men. It engages the faithful in the new life of the community and involves the “conscious, active, and fruitful participation” of everyone. [9]

1072 “The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church”: [10] it must be preceded by evangelization, faith, and conversion. It can then produce its fruits in the lives of the faithful: new life in the Spirit, involvement in the mission of the Church, and service to her unity.

Prayer and liturgy

1073 The liturgy is also a participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal. Through the liturgy the inner man is rooted and grounded in “the great love with which [the Father] loved us” in his beloved Son. [11] It is the same “marvelous work of God” that is lived and internalized by all prayer, “at all times in the Spirit.” [12]

Catechesis and liturgy

1074 “The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows.” [13] It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. “Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men.” [14]

1075 Liturgical catechesis aims to initiate people into the mystery of Christ (It is “mystagogy.” ) by proceeding from the visible to the invisible, from the sign to the thing signified, from the “sacraments” to the “mysteries.” Such catechesis is to be presented by local and regional catechisms. This Catechism, which aims to serve the whole Church in all the diversity of her rites and cultures, [15] will present what is fundamental and common to the whole Church in the liturgy as mystery and as celebration, and then the seven sacraments and the sacramentals.

 


1 Eph 1:9.
2 Eph 3:9; cf. 3:4.
3 SC 5 # 2; cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 138, 2: PL 37, 1784-1785.
4 SC 2.
5 Cf. Jn 17:4.
6 Cf. Lk 1:23; Acts 13:2; Rom 15:16, 27; 2 Cor 9:12; Phil 2:14-17, 25, 30.
7 Cf. Heb 8:2, 6.
8 SC 7 # 2-3.
9 SC 11.
10 SC 9.
11 Eph 2:4; 3:16-17.
12 Eph 6:18.
13 SC 10.
14 John Paul II, CT 23.
15 Cf. SC 3-4.


SECTION ONE

THE SACRAMENTAL ECONOMY

1076 The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. [1] The gift of the Spirit ushers in a new era in the “dispensation of the mystery” the age of the Church, during which Christ manifests, makes present, and communicates his work of salvation

through the liturgy of his Church, “until he comes.” [2] In this age of the Church Christ now lives and acts in and with his Church, in a new way appropriate to this new age. He acts through the sacraments in what the common Tradition of the East and the West calls “the sacramental economy”; this is the communication (or “dispensation”) of the fruits of Christ's Paschal mystery in the celebration of the Church's “sacramental” liturgy.

It is therefore important first to explain this “sacramental dispensation” (chapter one). the nature and essential features of liturgical celebration will then appear more clearly (chapter two).


1 Cf. SC 6; LG 2.


2 1 Cor 11:26.


Article 1

THE LITURGY - WORK OF THE HOLY TRINITY

I. The Father-Source and Goal of the Liturgy

1077 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us before him in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” [3]

1078 Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father; his blessing is both word and gift. [4] When applied to man, the word “blessing” means adoration and surrender to his Creator in thanksgiving.

1079 From the beginning until the end of time the whole of God's work is a blessing. From the liturgical poem of the first creation to the canticles of the heavenly Jerusalem, the inspired authors proclaim the plan of salvation as one vast divine blessing.

1080 From the very beginning God blessed all living beings, especially man and woman. the covenant with Noah and with all living things renewed this blessing of fruitfulness despite man's sin which had brought a curse on the ground. But with Abraham, the divine blessing entered into human history which was moving toward death, to redirect it toward life, toward its source. By the faith of “the father of all believers,” who embraced the blessing, the history of salvation is inaugurated.

1081 The divine blessings were made manifest in astonishing and saving events: the birth of Isaac, the escape from Egypt (Passover and Exodus), the gift of the promised land, the election of David, the presence of God in the Temple, the purifying exile, and return of a “small remnant.” the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, interwoven in the liturgy of the Chosen People, recall these divine blessings and at the same time respond to them with blessings of praise and thanksgiving.

1082 In the Church's liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. the Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.

1083 The dual dimension of the Christian liturgy as a response of faith and love to the spiritual blessings the Father bestows on us is thus evident. On the one hand, the Church, united with her Lord and “in the Holy Spirit,” [5] blesses the Father “for his inexpressible gift [6] in her adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. On the other hand, until the consummation of God's plan, the Church never ceases to present to the Father the offering of his own gifts and to beg him to send the Holy Spirit upon that offering, upon herself, upon the faithful, and upon the whole world, so that through communion in the death and resurrection of Christ the Priest, and by the power of the Spirit, these divine blessings will bring forth the fruits of life “to the praise of his glorious grace.” [7]


3 Eph 1:3-6.
4 eu-logia, bene-dictio.
5 Lk 10:21.
6 2 Cor 9:15.
7 Eph 1:6.

II. Christ's Work in the Liturgy

Christ glorified . . .

1084 “Seated at the right hand of the Father” and pouring out the Holy Spirit on his Body which is the Church, Christ now acts through the sacraments he instituted to communicate his grace. the sacraments are perceptible signs (words and actions) accessible to our human nature. By the action of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit they make present efficaciously the grace that they signify.

1085 In the liturgy of the Church, it is principally his own Paschal mystery that Christ signifies and makes present. During his earthly life Jesus announced his Paschal mystery by his teaching and anticipated it by his actions. When his Hour comes, he lives out the unique event of history which does not pass away: Jesus dies, is buried, rises from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father “once for all.” [8] His Paschal mystery is a real event that occurred in our history, but it is unique: all other historical events happen once, and then they pass away, swallowed up in the past. the Paschal mystery of Christ, by contrast, cannot remain only in the past, because by his death he destroyed death, and all that Christ is - all that he did and suffered for all men - participates in the divine eternity, and so transcends all times while being made present in them all. the event of the Cross and Resurrection abides and draws everything toward life.

. . . from the time of the Church of the Apostles . . .

1086 “Accordingly, just as Christ was sent by the Father so also he sent the apostles, filled with the Holy Spirit. This he did so that they might preach the Gospel to every creature and proclaim that the Son of God by his death and resurrection had freed us from the power of Satan and from death and brought us into the Kingdom of his Father. But he also willed that the work of salvation which they preached should be set in train through the sacrifice and sacraments, around which the entire liturgical life revolves.” [9]

1087 Thus the risen Christ, by giving the Holy Spirit to the apostles, entrusted to them his power of sanctifying: [10] they became sacramental signs of Christ. By the power of the same Holy Spirit they entrusted this power to their successors. This

“apostolic succession” structures the whole liturgical life of the Church and is itself sacramental, handed on by the sacrament of Holy Orders.

. . . is present in the earthly liturgy . . .

1088 “To accomplish so great a work” - the dispensation or communication of his work of salvation - “Christ is always present in his Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the Sacrifice of the Mass not only in the person of his minister, 'the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross,' but especially in the Eucharistic species. By his power he is present in the sacraments so that when anybody baptizes, it is really Christ himself who baptizes. He is present in his word since it is he himself who speaks when the holy Scriptures are read in the Church. Lastly, he is present when the Church prays and sings, for he has promised 'where two or three are gathered together in my name there am I in the midst of them.”' [11]

1089 “Christ, indeed, always associates the Church with himself in this great work in which God is perfectly glorified and men are sanctified. the Church is his beloved Bride who calls to her Lord and through him offers worship to the eternal Father.” [12]

. . . which participates in the liturgy of heaven

1090 “In the earthly liturgy we share in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the Holy City of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle. With all the warriors of the heavenly army we sing a hymn of glory to the Lord; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, until he, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with him in glory.” [13]


8 Rom 6:10; Heb 7:27; 9:12; cf. Jn 13:1; 17:1.
9 SC 6.
10 Cf. Jn 20:21-23.
11 SC 7; Mt 18:20.
12 SC 7.
13 SC 8; cf. LG 50.

III. The Holy Spirit and the Church in the Liturgy

1091 In the liturgy the Holy Spirit is teacher of the faith of the People of God and artisan of “God's masterpieces,” the sacraments of the New Covenant. the desire and work of the Spirit in the heart of the Church is that we may live from the life of the risen Christ. When the Spirit encounters in us the response of faith which he has aroused in us, he brings about genuine cooperation. Through it, the liturgy becomes the common work of the Holy Spirit and the Church.

1092 In this sacramental dispensation of Christ's mystery the Holy Spirit acts in the same way as at other times in the economy of salvation: he prepares the Church to encounter her Lord; he recalls and makes Christ manifest to the faith of the assembly. By his transforming power, he makes the mystery of Christ present here and now. Finally the Spirit of communion unites the Church to the life and mission of Christ. The Holy Spirit prepares for the reception of Christ

1093 In the sacramental economy the Holy Spirit fulfills what was prefigured in the Old Covenant. Since Christ's Church was “prepared in marvellous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and in the Old Covenant,” [14] The Church's liturgy has retained certain elements of the worship of the Old Covenant as integral and irreplaceable, adopting them as her own: -notably, reading the Old Testament; -praying the Psalms; -above all, recalling the saving events and significant realities which have found their fulfillment in the mystery of Christ (promise and covenant, Exodus and Passover, kingdom and temple, exile and return).

1094 It is on this harmony of the two Testaments that the Paschal catechesis of the Lord is built, [15] and then, that of the Apostles and the Fathers of the Church. This catechesis unveils what lay hidden under the letter of the Old Testament: the mystery of Christ. It is called “typological” because it reveals the newness of Christ on the basis of the “figures” (types) which announce him in the deeds, words, and symbols of the first covenant. By this re-reading in the Spirit of Truth, starting from Christ, the figures are unveiled. [16] Thus the flood and Noah's ark prefigured salvation by Baptism, [17] as did the cloud and the crossing of the Red Sea. Water from the rock was the figure of the spiritual gifts of Christ, and manna in the desert prefigured the Eucharist, “the true bread from heaven.” [18]

1095 For this reason the Church, especially during Advent and Lent and above all at the Easter Vigil, re-reads and re-lives the great events of salvation history in the “today” of her liturgy. But this also demands that catechesis help the faithful to open themselves to this spiritual understanding of the economy of salvation as the Church's liturgy reveals it and enables us to live it.

1096 Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy. A better knowledge of the Jewish people's faith and religious life as professed and lived even now can help our better understanding of certain aspects of Christian liturgy. For both Jews and Christians Sacred Scripture is an essential part of their respective liturgies: in the proclamation of the Word of God, the response to this word, prayer of praise and intercession for the living and the dead, invocation of God's mercy. In its characteristic structure the Liturgy of the Word originates in Jewish prayer. the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical texts and formularies, as well as those of our most venerable prayers, including the Lord's Prayer, have parallels in Jewish prayer. the Eucharistic Prayers also draw their inspiration from the Jewish tradition. the relationship between Jewish liturgy and Christian liturgy, but also their differences in content, are particularly evident in the great feasts of the liturgical year, such as Passover. Christians and Jews both celebrate the Passover. For Jews, it is the Passover of history, tending toward the future; for Christians, it is the Passover fulfilled in the death and Resurrection of Christ, though always in expectation of its definitive consummation.

1097 In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church. the liturgical assembly derives its unity from the “communion of the Holy Spirit” who gathers the children of God into the one Body of Christ. This assembly transcends racial, cultural, social - indeed, all human affinities.

1098 The assembly should prepare itself to encounter its Lord and to become “a people well disposed.” the preparation of hearts is the joint work of the Holy Spirit and the assembly, especially of its ministers. the grace of the Holy Spirit seeks to awaken faith, conversion of heart, and adherence to the Father's will. These dispositions are the precondition both for the reception of other graces conferred in the celebration itself and the fruits of new life which the celebration is intended to produce afterward.

The Holy Spirit recalls the mystery of Christ

1099 The Spirit and the Church cooperate to manifest Christ and his work of salvation in the liturgy. Primarily in the Eucharist, and by analogy in the other sacraments, the liturgy is the memorial of the mystery of salvation. the Holy Spirit is the Church's living memory. [19]

1100 The Word of God. the Holy Spirit first recalls the meaning of the salvation event to the liturgical assembly by giving life to the Word of God, which is proclaimed so that it may be received and lived:

In the celebration of the liturgy, Sacred Scripture is extremely important. From it come the lessons that are read and explained in the homily and the psalms that are sung. It is from the Scriptures that the prayers, collects, and hymns draw their inspiration and their force, and that actions and signs derive their meaning. [20]

1101 The Holy Spirit gives a spiritual understanding of the Word of God to those who read or hear it, according to the dispositions of their hearts. By means of the words, actions, and symbols that form the structure of a celebration, the Spirit puts both the faithful and the ministers into a living relationship with Christ, the Word and Image of the Father, so that they can live out the meaning of what they hear, contemplate, and do in the celebration.

1102 “By the saving word of God, faith . . . is nourished in the hearts of believers. By this faith then the congregation of the faithful begins and grows.” [21] The proclamation does not stop with a teaching; it elicits the response of faith as consent and commitment, directed at the covenant between God and his people. Once again it is the Holy Spirit who gives the grace of faith, strengthens it and makes it grow in the community. the liturgical assembly is first of all a communion in faith.

1103 Anamnesis. the liturgical celebration always refers to God's saving interventions in history. “The economy of Revelation is realized by deeds and words which are intrinsically bound up with each other.... (The) words for their part proclaim the works and bring to light the mystery they contain.” [22] In the Liturgy of the Word the Holy Spirit “recalls” to the assembly all that Christ has done for us. In keeping with the nature of liturgical actions and the ritual traditions of the churches, the celebration “makes a remembrance” of the marvelous works of God in an anamnesis which may be more or less developed. the Holy Spirit who thus awakens the memory of the Church then inspires thanksgiving and praise (doxology).

The Holy Spirit makes present the mystery of Christ

1104 Christian liturgy not only recalls the events that saved us but actualizes them, makes them present. the Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated, not repeated. It is the celebrations that are repeated, and in each celebration there is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that makes the unique mystery present.

1105 The Epiclesis (“invocation upon”) is the intercession in which the priest begs the Father to send the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier, so that the offerings may become the body and blood of Christ and that the faithful by receiving them, may themselves become a living offering to God. [23]

1106 Together with the anamnesis, the epiclesis is at the heart of each sacramental celebration, most especially of the Eucharist:

You ask how the bread becomes the Body of Christ, and the wine . . . the Blood of Christ I shall tell you: the Holy Spirit comes upon them and accomplishes what surpasses every word and thought . . . Let it be enough for you to understand that it is by the Holy Spirit, just as it was of the Holy Virgin and by the Holy Spirit that the Lord, through and in himself, took flesh. [24]

1107 The Holy Spirit's transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation. While we wait in hope he causes us really to anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives life to those who accept him and is, even now, the “guarantee” of their inheritance. [25]

The communion of the Holy Spirit

1108 In every liturgical action the Holy Spirit is sent in order to bring us into communion with Christ and so to form his Body. the Holy Spirit is like the sap of the Father's vine which bears fruit on its branches. [26] The most intimate cooperation of the Holy Spirit and the Church is achieved in the liturgy. the Spirit who is the Spirit of communion, abides indefectibly in the Church. For this reason the Church is the great sacrament of divine communion which gathers God's scattered children together. Communion with the Holy Trinity and fraternal communion are inseparably the fruit of the Spirit in the liturgy. [27]

1109 The epiclesis is also a prayer for the full effect of the assembly's communion with the mystery of Christ. “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit” [28] have to remain with us always and bear fruit beyond the Eucharistic celebration. the Church therefore asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit to make the lives of the faithful a living sacrifice to God by their spiritual transformation into the image of Christ, by concern for the Church's unity, and by taking part in her mission through the witness and service of charity.


14 LG 2.
15 Cf. DV 14-16; Lk 24:13-49.
16 Cf. 2 Cor 3:14-16.
17 Cf. 1 Pet 3:21.
18 Jn 6:32; cf. 1 Cor 10:1-6.
19 Cf. Jn 14:26.
20 SC 24.
21 PO 4.
22 DV 2.
23 Cf. Rom 12:1.
24 St. John Damascene, De fide orth 4, 13: PG 94, 1145A.
25 Cf. Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22.
26 Cf. Jn 15:1-17; Gal 5:22.
27 Cf. Jn 1:3-7.
28 2 Cor 13:13.

IN BRIEF

1110 In the liturgy of the Church, God the Father is blessed and adored as the source of all the blessings of creation and salvation with which he has blessed us in his Son, in order to give us the Spirit of filial adoption.

1111 Christ's work in the liturgy is sacramental: because his mystery of salvation is made present there by the power of his Holy Spirit; because his Body, which is the Church, is like a sacrament (sign and instrument) in which the Holy Spirit dispenses the mystery of salvation; and because through her liturgical actions the pilgrim Church already participates, as by a foretaste, in the heavenly liturgy.

1112 The mission of the Holy Spirit in the liturgy of the Church is to prepare the assembly to encounter Christ; to recall and manifest Christ to the faith of the assembly; to make the saving work of Christ present and active by his transforming power; and to make the gift of communion bear fruit in the Church.


Article 2

THE PASCHAL MYSTERY IN THE CHURCH'S SACRAMENTS

1113 The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments. [29] There are seven sacraments in the Church: Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. [30] This article will discuss what is common to the Church's seven sacraments from a doctrinal point of view. What is common to them in terms of their celebration will be presented in the second chapter, and what is distinctive about each will be the topic of the Section Two.


29 Cf. SC 6.
30 Cf. Council of Lyons II (1274) DS 860; Council of Florence (1439) DS 1310; Council of Trent (1547): DS 1601.

I. The Sacraments of Christ

1114 “Adhering to the teaching of the Holy Scriptures, to the apostolic traditions, and to the consensus . . . of the Fathers,” we profess that “the sacraments of the new law were . . . all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord.” [31]

1115 Jesus' words and actions during his hidden life and public ministry were already salvific, for they anticipated the power of his Paschal mystery. They announced and prepared what he was going to give the Church when all was accomplished. the mysteries of Christ's life are the foundations of what he would henceforth dispense in the sacraments, through the ministers of his Church, for “what was visible in our Savior has passed over into his mysteries.” [32]

1116 Sacraments are “powers that comes forth” from the Body of Christ, [33] which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are “the masterworks of God” in the new and everlasting covenant.


31 Council of Trent (1547): DS 1600-1601.
32 St. Leo the Great Sermo. 74, 2: PL 54, 398.
33 Cf. Lk 5:17; 6:19; 8:46.

II. The Sacraments of the Church

1117 As she has done for the canon of Sacred Scripture and for the doctrine of the faith, the Church, by the power of the Spirit who guides her “into all truth,” has gradually recognized this treasure received from Christ and, as the faithful steward of God's mysteries, has determined its “dispensation.” [34] Thus the Church has discerned over the centuries that among liturgical celebrations there are seven that are, in the strict sense of the term, sacraments instituted by the Lord.

1118 The sacraments are “of the Church” in the double sense that they are “by her” and “for her.” They are “by the Church,” for she is the sacrament of Christ's action at work in her through the mission of the Holy Spirit. They are “for the Church” in the sense that “the sacraments make the Church,” [35] since they manifest and communicate to men, above all in the Eucharist, the mystery of communion with the God who is love, One in three persons.

1119 Forming “as it were, one mystical person” with Christ the head, the Church acts in the sacraments as “an organically structured priestly community.” [36] Through Baptism and Confirmation the pRiestly people is enabled to celebrate the liturgy, while those of the faithful “who have received Holy Orders, are appointed to nourish the Church with the word and grace of God in the name of Christ.” [37]

1120 The ordained ministry or ministerial priesthood is at the service of the baptismal priesthood. [38] The ordained priesthood guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church. the saving mission entrusted by the Father to his incarnate Son was committed to the apostles and through them to their successors: they receive the Spirit of Jesus to act in his name and in his person. [39] The ordained minister is the sacramental bond that ties the liturgical action to what the apostles said and did and, through them, to the words and actions of Christ, the source and foundation of the sacraments.

1121 The three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders confer, in addition to grace, a sacramental character or “seal” by which the Christian shares in Christ's priesthood and is made a member of the Church according to different states and functions. This configuration to Christ and to the Church, brought about by the Spirit, is indelible, [40] it remains for ever in the Christian as a positive disposition for grace, a promise and guarantee of divine protection, and as a vocation to divine worship and to the service of the Church. Therefore these sacraments can never be repeated.


34 Jn 16:13; cf. Mt 13:52; 1 Cor 4:1.
35 St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 22, 17: PL 41, 779; cf. St. Thomas Aquinas,    STh III, 64,2 ad 3.
36 LG 11; cf. Pius XII, Mystici Corporis (1943).
37 LG 11 # 2.
38 Cf. LG 10 # 2.
39 Cf. Jn 20:21-23; Lk 24:47; Mt 28:18-20.
40 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1609.

III. The Sacraments of Faith

1122 Christ sent his apostles so that “repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations.” [41] “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.” [42] The mission to baptize, and so the sacramental mission, is implied in the mission to evangelize, because the sacrament is prepared for by the word of God and by the faith which is assent to this word:

The People of God is formed into one in the first place by the Word of the living God.... the preaching of the Word is required for the sacramental ministry itself, since the sacraments are sacraments of faith, drawing their origin and nourishment from the Word. [43]

1123 “The purpose of the sacraments is to sanctify men, to build up the Body of Christ and, finally, to give worship to God. Because they are signs they also instruct. They not only presuppose faith, but by words and objects they also nourish, strengthen, and express it. That is why they are called 'sacraments of faith.”' [44]

1124 The Church's faith precedes the faith of the believer who is invited to adhere to it. When the Church celebrates the sacraments, she confesses the faith received from the apostles - whence the ancient saying: lex orandi, lex credendi (or: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi according to Prosper of Aquitaine [5th cent.]). [45] The law of prayer is the law of faith: the Church believes as she prays. Liturgy is a constitutive element of the holy and living Tradition. [46]

1125 For this reason no sacramental rite may be modified or manipulated at the will of the minister or the community. Even the supreme authority in the Church may not change the liturgy arbitrarily, but only in the obedience of faith and with religious respect for the mystery of the liturgy.

1126 Likewise, since the sacraments express and develop the communion of faith in the Church, the lex orandi is one of the essential criteria of the dialogue that seeks to restore the unity of Christians. [47]


41 Lk 24:47.
42 Mt 28:19.
43 PO 4 ## 1, 2.
44 SC 59.
45 Ep. 8.
46 Cf. DV 8.
47 Cf. UR 2; 15.

IV. The Sacraments of Salvation

1127 Celebrated worthily in faith, the sacraments confer the grace that they signify. [48] They are efficacious because in them Christ himself is at work: it is he who baptizes, he who acts in his sacraments in order to communicate the grace that each sacrament signifies. the Father always hears the prayer of his Son's Church which, in the epiclesis of each sacrament, expresses her faith in the power of the Spirit. As fire transforms into itself everything it touches, so the Holy Spirit transforms into the divine life whatever is subjected to his power.

1128 This is the meaning of the Church's affirmation [49] that the sacraments act ex opere operato (literally: “by the very fact of the action's being performed”), i.e., by virtue of the saving work of Christ, accomplished once for all. It follows that “the sacrament is not wrought by the righteousness of either the celebrant or the recipient, but by the power of God.” [50] From the moment that a sacrament is celebrated in accordance with the intention of the Church, the power of Christ and his Spirit acts in and through it, independently of the personal holiness of the minister. Nevertheless, the fruits of the sacraments also depend on the disposition of the one who receives them.

1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. [51] “Sacramental grace” is the grace of the Holy Spirit, given by Christ and proper to each sacrament. the Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. the fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers in the divine nature [52] by uniting them in a living union with the only Son, the Savior.


48 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1605; DS 1606.
49 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1608.
50 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 68, 8.
51 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1604.
52 Cf. 2 Pet 1:4.

V. The Sacraments of Eternal Life

1130 The Church celebrates the mystery of her Lord “until he comes,” when God will be “everything to everyone.” [53] Since the apostolic age the liturgy has been drawn toward its goal by the Spirit's groaning in the Church: Marana tha! [54] The liturgy thus shares in Jesus' desire: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you . . . until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” [55] In the sacraments of Christ the Church already receives the guarantee of her inheritance and even now shares in everlasting life, while “awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus.” [56] The “Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come . . . Come, Lord Jesus!”' [57]

St. Thomas sums up the various aspects of sacramental signs: “Therefore a sacrament is a sign that commemorates what precedes it - Christ's Passion; demonstrates what is accomplished in us through Christ's Passion - grace; and prefigures what that Passion pledges to us - future glory.” [58]


53 1 Cor 11:26; 15:28.
54 1 Cor 16:22.
55 Lk 22:15.
56 Titus 2:13.
57 Rev 22:17, 20.
58 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 60, 3.

IN BRIEF

1131 The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. the visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

1132 The Church celebrates the sacraments as a priestly community structured by the baptismal priesthood and the priesthood of ordained ministers.

1133 The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful for the sacraments by the Word of God and the faith which welcomes that word in well-disposed hearts. Thus the sacraments strengthen faith and express it.

1134 The fruit of sacramental life is both personal and ecclesial. For every one of the faithful an the one hand, this fruit is life for God in Christ Jesus; for the Church, on the other, it is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness.


CHAPTER TWO

THE SACRAMENTAL CELEBRATION OF THE PASCHAL MYSTERY

1135 The catechesis of the liturgy entails first of all an understanding of the sacramental economy (Chapter One). In this light, the innovation of its celebration is revealed. This chapter will therefore treat of the celebration of the sacraments of the Church. It will consider that which, through the diversity of liturgical traditions, is common to the celebration of the seven sacraments. What is proper to each will be treated later. This fundamental catechesis on the sacramental celebrations responds to the first questions posed by the faithful regarding this subject: - Who celebrates the liturgy? - How is the liturgy celebrated? - When is the liturgy celebrated? - Where is the liturgy celebrated?


Article 1

CELEBRATING THE CHURCH'S LITURGY

I. Who Celebrates?

1136 Liturgy is an “action” of the whole Christ (Christus totus). Those who even now celebrate it without signs are already in the heavenly liturgy, where celebration is wholly communion and feast

The celebrants of the heavenly liturgy

1137 The book of Revelation of St. John, read in the Church's liturgy, first reveals to us, “A throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne”: “the Lord God.” [1] It then shows the Lamb, “standing, as though it had been slain”: Christ crucified and risen, the one high priest of the true sanctuary, the same one “who offers and is offered, who gives and is given.” [2] Finally it presents “the river of the water of life . . . flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit. [3]

1138 “Recapitulated in Christ,” these are the ones who take part in the service of the praise of God and the fulfillment of his plan: the heavenly powers, all creation (the four living beings), the servants of the Old and New Covenants (the twenty-four elders), the new People of God (the one hundred and forty-four thousand), [4] especially the martyrs “slain for the word of God,” and the all-holy Mother of God (the Woman), the Bride of the Lamb, [5] and finally “a great multitude which no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues.” [6]

1139 It is in this eternal liturgy that the Spirit and the Church enable us to participate whenever we celebrate the mystery of salvation in the sacraments.

The celebrants of the sacramental liturgy

1140 It is the whole community, the Body of Christ united with its Head, that celebrates. “Liturgical services are not private functions but are celebrations of the Church which is 'the sacrament of unity,' namely, the holy people united and organized under the authority of the bishops. Therefore, liturgical services pertain to the whole Body of the Church. They manifest it, and have effects upon it. But they touch individual members of the Church in different ways, depending on their orders, their role in the liturgical services, and their actual participation in them.” [7] For this reason, “rites which are meant to be celebrated in common, with the faithful present and actively participating, should as far as possible be celebrated in that way rather than by an individual and quasi-privately.” [8]

1141 The celebrating assembly is the community of the baptized who, “by regeneration and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, are consecrated to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, that . . . they may offer spiritual sacrifices.” [9] This “common priesthood” is that of Christ the sole priest, in which all his members participate: [10]

Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that full, conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy, and to which the Christian people, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people,” have a right and an obligation by reason of their Baptism. [11]

1142 But “the members do not all have the same function.” [12] Certain members are called by God, in and through the Church, to a special service of the community. These servants are chosen and consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders, by which the Holy Spirit enables them to act in the person of Christ the head, for the service of all the members of the Church. [13] The ordained minister is, as it were, an “icon” of Christ the priest. Since it is in the Eucharist that the sacrament of the Church is made fully visible, it is in his presiding at the Eucharist that the bishop's ministry is most evident, as well as, in communion with him, the ministry of priests and deacons.

1143 For the purpose of assisting the work of the common priesthood of the faithful, other particular ministries also exist, not consecrated by the sacrament of Holy Orders; their functions are determined by the bishops, in accord with liturgical traditions and pastoral needs. “Servers, readers, commentators, and members of the choir also exercise a genuine liturgical function.” [14]

1144 In the celebration of the sacraments it is thus the whole assembly that is leitourgos, each according to his function, but in the “unity of the Spirit” who acts in all. “In liturgical celebrations each person, minister or layman, who has an office to perform, should carry out all and only those parts which pertain to his office by the nature of the rite and the norms of the liturgy.” [15]


1 Rev 4:2, 8; Isa 6:1; cf. Ezek 1:26-28.
2 Rev 5:6; Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Anaphora; cf. Jn 1:29; Heb 4:14-15; 10:19-2.
3 Rev 22:1; cf. 21:6; Jn 4:10-14.
4 Cf. Rev 4- 5; 7:1-8; 14:1; Isa 6:2-3.
5 Rev 6:9-11; Rev 21:9; cf. 12.
6 Rev 7:9.
7 SC 26.
8 SC 27.
9 LG 10; cf. 1 Pet 2:4-5.
10 Cf. LG 10; 34; PO 2.
11 SC 14; Cf. 1 Pet 2:9; 2:4-5.
12 Rom 12:4.
13 Cf. PO 2; 15.
14 SC 29.
15 SC 28.

II. How is the Liturgy Celebrated?

Signs and symbols

1145 A sacramental celebration is woven from signs and symbols. In keeping with the divine pedagogy of salvation, their meaning is rooted in the work of creation and in human culture, specified by the events of the Old Covenant and fully revealed in the person and work of Christ.

1146 Signs of the human world. In human life, signs and symbols occupy an important place. As a being at once body and spirit, man expresses and perceives spiritual realities through physical signs and symbols. As a social being, man needs signs and symbols to communicate with others, through language, gestures, and actions. the same holds true for his relationship with God.

1147 God speaks to man through the visible creation. the material cosmos is so presented to man's intelligence that he can read there traces of its Creator. [16] Light and darkness, wind and fire, water and earth, the tree and its fruit speak of God and symbolize both his greatness and his nearness.

1148 Inasmuch as they are creatures, these perceptible realities can become means of expressing the action of God who sanctifies men, and the action of men who offer worship to God. the same is true of signs and symbols taken from the social life of man: washing and anointing, breaking bread and sharing the cup can express the sanctifying presence of God and man's gratitude toward his Creator.

1149 The great religions of mankind witness, often impressively, to this cosmic and symbolic meaning of religious rites. the liturgy of the Church presupposes, integrates and sanctifies elements from creation and human culture, conferring on them the dignity of signs of grace, of the new creation in Jesus Christ.

1150 Signs of the covenant. the Chosen People received from God distinctive signs and symbols that marked its liturgical life. These are no longer solely celebrations of cosmic cycles and social gestures, but signs of the covenant, symbols of God's mighty deeds for his people. Among these liturgical signs from the Old Covenant are circumcision, anointing and consecration of kings and priests, laying on of hands, sacrifices, and above all the Passover. the Church sees in these signs a prefiguring of the sacraments of the New Covenant.

1151 Signs taken up by Christ. In his preaching the Lord Jesus often makes use of the signs of creation to make known the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. [17] He performs healings and illustrates his preaching with physical signs or symbolic gestures. [18] He gives new meaning to the deeds and signs of the Old Covenant, above all to the Exodus and the Passover, [19] for he himself is the meaning of all these signs.

1152 Sacramental signs. Since Pentecost, it is through the sacramental signs of his Church that the Holy Spirit carries on the work of sanctification. the sacraments of the Church do not abolish but purify and integrate all the richness of the signs and symbols of the cosmos and of social life. Further, they fulfill the types and figures of the Old Covenant, signify and make actively present the salvation wrought by Christ, and prefigure and anticipate the glory of heaven. Words and actions

1153 A sacramental celebration is a meeting of God's children with their Father, in Christ and the Holy Spirit; this meeting takes the form of a dialogue, through actions and words. Admittedly, the symbolic actions are already a language, but the Word of God and the response of faith have to accompany and give life to them, so that the seed of the Kingdom can bear its fruit in good soil. the liturgical actions signify what the Word of God expresses: both his free initiative and his people's response of faith.

1154 The liturgy of the Word is an integral part of sacramental celebrations. To nourish the faith of believers, the signs which accompany the Word of God should be emphasized: the book of the Word (a lectionary or a book of the Gospels), its veneration (procession, incense, candles), the place of its proclamation (lectern or ambo), its audible and intelligible reading, the minister's homily which extends its proclamation, and the responses of the assembly (acclamations, meditation psalms, litanies, and profession of faith).

1155 The liturgical word and action are inseparable both insofar as they are signs and instruction and insofar as they accomplish what they signify. When the Holy Spirit awakens faith, he not only gives an understanding of the Word of God, but through the sacraments also makes present the “wonders” of God which it proclaims. the Spirit makes present and communicates the Father's work, fulfilled by the beloved Son.

Singing and music

1156 “The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. the main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy.” [20] The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. the Church continues and develops this tradition: “Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” “He who sings prays twice.” [21]

1157 Song and music fulfill their function as signs in a manner all the more significant when they are “more closely connected . . . with the liturgical action,” [22] according to three principal criteria: beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly at the designated moments, and the solemn character of the celebration. In this way they participate in the purpose of the liturgical words and actions: the glory of God and the sanctification of the faithful: [23]

How I wept, deeply moved by your hymns, songs, and the voices that echoed through your Church! What emotion I experienced in them! Those sounds flowed into my ears distilling the truth in my heart. A feeling of devotion surged within me, and tears streamed down my face - tears that did me good. [24]

1158 The harmony of signs (song, music, words, and actions) is all the more expressive and fruitful when expressed in the cultural richness of the People of God who celebrate. [25] Hence “religious singing by the faithful is to be intelligently fostered so that in devotions and sacred exercises as well as in liturgical services,” in conformity with the Church's norms, “the voices of the faithful may be heard.” But “the texts intended to be sung must always be in conformity with Catholic doctrine. Indeed they should be drawn chiefly from the Sacred Scripture and from liturgical sources.” [26]

Holy images

1159 The sacred image, the liturgical icon, principally represents Christ. It cannot represent the invisible and incomprehensible God, but the incarnation of the Son of God has ushered in a new “economy” of images:

Previously God, who has neither a body nor a face, absolutely could not be represented by an image. But now that he has made himself visible in the flesh and has lived with men, I can make an image of what I have seen of God . . . and contemplate the glory of the Lord, his face unveiled. [27]

1160 Christian iconography expresses in images the same Gospel message that Scripture communicates by words. Image and word illuminate each other:

We declare that we preserve intact all the written and unwritten traditions of the Church which have been entrusted to us. One of these traditions consists in the production of representational artwork, which accords with the history of the preaching of the Gospel. For it confirms that the incarnation of the Word of God was real and not imaginary, and to our benefit as well, for realities that illustrate each other undoubtedly reflect each other's meaning. [28]

1161 All the signs in the liturgical celebrations are related to Christ: as are sacred images of the holy Mother of God and of the saints as well. They truly signify Christ, who is glorified in them. They make manifest the “cloud of witnesses” [29] who continue to participate in the salvation of the world and to whom we are united, above all in sacramental celebrations. Through their icons, it is man “in the image of God,” finally transfigured “into his likeness,” [30] who is revealed to our faith. So too are the angels, who also are recapitulated in Christ:

Following the divinely inspired teaching of our holy Fathers and the tradition of the Catholic Church (for we know that this tradition comes from the Holy Spirit who dwells in her) we rightly define with full certainty and correctness that, like the figure of the precious and life-giving cross, venerable and holy images of our Lord and God and Savior, Jesus Christ, our inviolate Lady, the holy Mother of God, and the venerated angels, all the saints and the just, whether painted or made of mosaic or another suitable material, are to be exhibited in the holy churches of God, on sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, in houses and on streets. [31]

1162 “The beauty of the images moves me to contemplation, as a meadow delights the eyes and subtly infuses the soul with the glory of God.” [32] Similarly, the contemplation of sacred icons, united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns, enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart's memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful.

 


16 Cf. Wis 13:1; Rom 1:19f; Acts 14:17.
17 Cf. Lk 8:10.
18 Cf. Jn 9:6; Mk 7:33ff.; 8:22ff.
19 Cf. Lk 9:31; 22:7-20.
20 SC 112.
21 Eph 5:19; St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 72,1: PL 36, 914; cf. Col 3:16.
22 SC 112 # 3.
23 Cf. SC 112.
24 St. Augustine, Conf. 9, 6, 14: PL 32, 769-770.
25 Cf. SC 119.
26 SC 118; 121.
27 St. John Damascene, De imag. 1, 16: PG 96: 1245-1248.
28 Council of Nicaea II (787): COD 111.
29 Heb 12:1.
30 Cf. Rom 8:29; 1 Jn 3:2.
31 Council of Nicaea II: DS 600.
32 St. John Damascene, De imag. 1, 27: PG 94, 1268A, B.

III. When is the Liturgy Celebrated?

Liturgical seasons

1163 “Holy Mother Church believes that she should celebrate the saving work of her divine Spouse in a sacred commemoration on certain days throughout the course of the year. Once each week, on the day which she has called the Lord's Day, she keeps the memory of the Lord's resurrection. She also celebrates it once every year, together with his blessed Passion, at Easter, that most solemn of all feasts. In the course of the year, moreover, she unfolds the whole mystery of Christ .... Thus recalling the mysteries of the redemption, she opens up to the faithful the riches of her Lord's powers and merits, so that these are in some way made present in every age; the faithful lay hold of them and are filled with saving grace.” [33]

1164 From the time of the Mosaic law, the People of God have observed fixed feasts, beginning with Passover, to commemorate the astonishing actions of the Savior God, to give him thanks for them, to perpetuate their remembrance, and to teach new generations to conform their conduct to them. In the age of the Church, between the Passover of Christ already accomplished once for all, and its consummation in the kingdom of God, the liturgy celebrated on fixed days bears the imprint of the newness of the mystery of Christ.

1165 When the Church celebrates the mystery of Christ, there is a word that marks her prayer: “Today!” - a word echoing the prayer her Lord taught her and the call of the Holy Spirit. [34] This “today” of the living God which man is called to enter is “the hour” of Jesus' Passover, which reaches across and underlies all history:

Life extends over all beings and fills them with unlimited light; the Orient of orients pervades the universe, and he who was “before the daystar” and before the heavenly bodies, immortal and vast, the great Christ, shines over all beings more brightly than the sun. Therefore a day of long, eternal light is ushered in for us who believe in him, a day which is never blotted out: the mystical Passover. [35]

The Lord's day

1166 “By a tradition handed down from the apostles which took its origin from the very day of Christ's Resurrection, the Church celebrates the Paschal mystery every seventh day, which day is appropriately called the Lord's Day or Sunday.” [36] The day of Christ's Resurrection is both the first day of the week, the memorial of the first day of creation, and the “eighth day,” on which Christ after his “rest” on the great sabbath inaugurates the “day that the Lord has made,” the “day that knows no evening.” [37] The Lord's Supper is its center, for there the whole community of the faithful encounters the risen Lord who invites them to his banquet: [38]

The Lord's day, the day of Resurrection, the day of Christians, is our day. It is called the Lord's day because on it the Lord rose victorious to the Father. If pagans call it the “day of the sun,” we willingly agree, for today the light of the world is raised, today is revealed the sun of justice with healing in his rays. [39]

1167 Sunday is the pre-eminent day for the liturgical assembly, when the faithful gather “to listen to the word of God and take part in the Eucharist, thus calling to mind the Passion, Resurrection, and glory of the Lord Jesus, and giving thanks to God who 'has begotten them again, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead' unto a living hope”: [40]

When we ponder, O Christ, the marvels accomplished on this day, the Sunday of your holy resurrection, we say: “Blessed is Sunday, for on it began creation . . . the world's salvation ... the renewal of the human race .... On Sunday heaven and earth rejoiced and the whole universe was filled with light. Blessed is Sunday, for on it were opened the gates of paradise so that Adam and all the exiles might enter it without fear. [41]

The liturgical year

1168 Beginning with the Easter Triduum as its source of light, the new age of the Resurrection fills the whole liturgical year with its brilliance. Gradually, on either side of this source, the year is transfigured by the liturgy. It really is a “year of the Lord's favor.” [42] The economy of salvation is at work within the framework of time, but since its fulfillment in the Passover of Jesus and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the culmination of history is anticipated “as a foretaste,” and the kingdom of God enters into our time.

1169 Therefore Easter is not simply one feast among others, but the “Feast of feasts,” the “Solemnity of solemnities,” just as the Eucharist is the “Sacrament of sacraments” (the Great Sacrament). St. Athanasius calls Easter “the Great Sunday” [43] and the Eastern Churches call Holy Week “the Great Week.” the mystery of the Resurrection, in which Christ crushed death, permeates with its powerful energy our old time, until all is subjected to him.

1170 At the Council of Nicaea in 325, all the Churches agreed that Easter, the Christian Passover, should be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon (14 Nisan) after the vernal equinox. the reform of the Western calendar, called “Gregorian” after Pope Gregory XIII (1582), caused a discrepancy of several days with the Eastern calendar. Today, the Western and Eastern Churches are seeking an agreement in order once again to celebrate the day of the Lord's Resurrection on a common date.

1171 In the liturgical year the various aspects of the one Paschal mystery unfold. This is also the case with the cycle of feasts surrounding the mystery of the incarnation (Annunciation, Christmas, Epiphany). They commemorate the beginning of our salvation and communicate to us the first fruits of the Paschal mystery.

The sanctoral in the liturgical year

1172 “In celebrating this annual cycle of the mysteries of Christ, Holy Church honors the Blessed Mary, Mother of God, with a special love. She is inseparably linked with the saving work of her Son. In her the Church admires and exalts the most excellent fruit of redemption and joyfully contemplates, as in a faultless image, that which she herself desires and hopes wholly to be.” [44]

1173 When the Church keeps the memorials of martyrs and other saints during the annual cycle, she proclaims the Paschal mystery in those “who have suffered and have been glorified with Christ. She proposes them to the faithful as examples who draw all men to the Father through Christ, and through their merits she begs for God's favors.” [45]

The Liturgy of the Hours

1174 The mystery of Christ, his Incarnation and Passover, which we celebrate in the Eucharist especially at the Sunday assembly, permeates and transfigures the time of each day, through the celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, “the divine office.” [46] This celebration, faithful to the apostolic exhortations to “pray constantly,” is “so devised that the whole course of the day and night is made holy by the praise of God.” [47] In this “public prayer of the Church,” [48] The faithful (clergy, religious, and lay people) exercise the royal priesthood of the baptized. Celebrated in “the form approved” by the Church, the Liturgy of the Hours “is truly the voice of the Bride herself addressed to her Bridegroom. It is the very prayer which Christ himself together with his Body addresses to the Father. [49]

1175 The Liturgy of the Hours is intended to become the prayer of the whole People of God. In it Christ himself “continues his priestly work through his Church.” [50] His members participate according to their own place in the Church and the circumstances of their lives: priests devoted to the pastoral ministry, because they are called to remain diligent in prayer and the service of the word; religious, by the charism of their consecrated lives; all the faithful as much as possible: “Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts. the laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.” [51]

1176 The celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours demands not only harmonizing the voice with the praying heart, but also a deeper “understanding of the liturgy and of the Bible, especially of the Psalms.” [52]

1177 The hymns and litanies of the Liturgy of the Hours integrate the prayer of the psalms into the age of the Church, expressing the symbolism of the time of day, the liturgical season, or the feast being celebrated. Moreover, the reading from the Word of God at each Hour (with the subsequent responses or troparia) and readings from the Fathers and spiritual masters at certain Hours, reveal more deeply the meaning of the mystery being celebrated, assist in understanding the psalms, and prepare for silent prayer. the lectio divina, where the Word of God is so read and meditated that it becomes prayer, is thus rooted in the liturgical celebration.

1178 The Liturgy of the Hours, which is like an extension of the Eucharistic celebration, does not exclude but rather in a complementary way calls forth the various devotions of the People of God, especially adoration and worship of the Blessed Sacrament.


33 SC 102.
34 Cf. Mt 6:11; Heb 3:7- 4:11; Ps 95:7.
35 St. Hippolytus, De pasch. 1-2 SCh 27, 117.
36 SC 106.
37 Byzantine liturgy.
38 Cf. Jn 21:12; Lk 24:30.
39 St. Jerome, Pasch.: CCL 78, 550.
40 SC 106.
41 Fanqith, the Syriac Office of Antioch, vol. VI, first part of Summer, 193 B.
42 Lk 4:19.
43 St. Athanasius (ad 329) ep. fest. 1: PG 24, 1366.
44 SC 103.
45 SC 104; cf. SC 108, 111.
46 Cf. SC, Ch. IV, 83-101.
47 SC 84; 1 Thess 5:17; Eph 6:18.
48 SC 98.
49 SC 84.
50 SC 83.
51 SC 100; Cf. 86; 96; 98; PO 5.
52 SC 90.

IV. Where is the Liturgy Celebrated?

1179 The worship “in Spirit and in truth” [53] of the New Covenant is not tied exclusively to any one place. the whole earth is sacred and entrusted to the children of men. What matters above all is that, when the faithful assemble in the same place, they are the “living stones,” gathered to be “built into a spiritual house.” [54] For the Body of the risen Christ is the spiritual temple from which the source of living water springs forth: incorporated into Christ by the Holy Spirit, “we are the temple of the living God.” [55]

1180 When the exercise of religious liberty is not thwarted, [56] Christians construct buildings for divine worship. These visible churches are not simply gathering places but signify and make visible the Church living in this place, the dwelling of God with men reconciled and united in Christ.

1181 A church, “a house of prayer in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, where the faithful assemble, and where is worshipped the presence of the Son of God our Savior, offered for us on the sacrificial altar for the help and consolation of the faithful - this house ought to be in good taste and a worthy place for prayer and sacred ceremonial.” [57] In this “house of God” the truth and the harmony of the signs that make it up should show Christ to be present and active in this place. [58]

1182 The altar of the New Covenant is the Lord's Cross, [59] from which the sacraments of the Paschal mystery flow. On the altar, which is the center of the church, the sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs. the altar is also the table of the Lord, to which the People of God are invited. [60] In certain Eastern liturgies, the altar is also the symbol of the tomb (Christ truly died and is truly risen).

1183 The tabernacle is to be situated “in churches in a most worthy place with the greatest honor.” [61] The dignity, placing, and security of the Eucharistic tabernacle should foster adoration before the Lord really present in the Blessed Sacrament of the altar. [62] The sacred chrism (myron), used in anointings as the sacramental sign of the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit, is traditionally reserved and venerated in a secure place in the sanctuary. the oil of catechumens and the oil of the sick may also be placed there.

1184 The chair (cathedra) of the bishop or the priest “should express his office of presiding over the assembly and of directing prayer.” [63] The lectern (ambo): “The dignity of the Word of God requires the church to have a suitable place for announcing his message so that the attention of the people may be easily directed to that place during the liturgy of the Word.” [64]

1185 The gathering of the People of God begins with Baptism; a church must have a place for the celebration of Baptism (baptistry) and for fostering remembrance of the baptismal promises (holy water font). The renewal of the baptismal life requires penance. A church, then, must lend itself to the expression of repentance and the reception of forgiveness, which requires an appropriate place to receive penitents. A church must also be a space that invites us to the recollection and silent prayer that extend and internalize the great prayer of the Eucharist.

1186 Finally, the church has an eschatological significance. To enter into the house of God, we must cross a threshold, which symbolizes passing from the world wounded by sin to the world of the new Life to which all men are called. the visible church is a symbol of the Father's house toward which the People of God is journeying and where the Father “will wipe every tear from their eyes.” [65] Also for this reason, the Church is the house of all God's children, open and welcoming.


53 Jn 4:24.
54 1 Pet 2:4-5.
55 2 Cor 6:16
56 Cf. DH 4.
57 PO 5; Cf. SC 122-127.
58 Cf. SC 7.
59 Cf. Heb 13:10.
60 Cf. GIRM 259.
61 Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei: AAS (1965) 771.
62 Cf. SC 128.
63 GIRM 271.
64 GIRM 272.
65 Rev 21:4.

IN BRIEF

1187 The liturgy is the work of the whole Christ, head and body. Our high priest celebrates it unceasingly in the heavenly liturgy, with the holy Mother of God, the apostles, all the saints, and the multitude of those who have already entered the kingdom.

1188 In a liturgical celebration, the whole assembly is leitourgos, each member according to his own function. the baptismal priesthood is that of the whole Body of Christ. But some of the faithful are ordained through the sacrament of Holy Orders to represent Christ as head of the Body.

1189 The liturgical celebration involves signs and symbols relating to creation (candles, water, fire), human life (washing, anointing, breaking bread) and the history of salvation (the rites of the Passover). Integrated into the world of faith and taken up by the power of the Holy Spirit, these cosmic elements, human rituals, and gestures of remembrance of God become bearers of the saving and sanctifying action of Christ.

1190 The Liturgy of the Word is an integral part of the celebration. the meaning of the celebration is expressed by the Word of God which is proclaimed and by the response of faith to it.

1191 Song and music are closely connected with the liturgical action. the criteria for their proper use are the beauty expressive of prayer, the unanimous participation of the assembly, and the sacred character of the celebration.

1192 Sacred images in our churches and homes are intended to awaken and nourish our faith in the mystery of Christ. Through the icon of Christ and his works of salvation, it is he whom we adore. Through sacred images of the holy Mother of God, of the angels and of the saints, we venerate the persons represented.

1193 Sunday, the “Lord's Day,” is the principal day for the celebration of the Eucharist because it is the day of the Resurrection. It is the pre-eminent day of the liturgical assembly, the day of the Christian family, and the day of joy and rest from work. Sunday is “the foundation and kernel of the whole liturgical year” (SC 106).

1194 The Church, “in the course of the year, . . . unfolds the whole mystery of Christ from his Incarnation and Nativity through his Ascension, to Pentecost and the expectation of the blessed hope of the coming of the Lord” (SC 102 # 2).

1195 By keeping the memorials of the saints - first of all the holy Mother of God, then the apostles, the martyrs, and other saints - on fixed days of the liturgical year, the Church on earth shows that she is united with the liturgy of heaven. She gives glory to Christ for having accomplished his salvation in his glorified members; their example encourages her on her way to the Father.

1196 The faithful who celebrate the Liturgy of the Hours are united to Christ our high priest, by the prayer of the Psalms, meditation on the Word of God, and canticles and blessings, in order to be joined with his unceasing and universal prayer that gives glory to the Father and implores the gift of the Holy Spirit on the whole world.

1197 Christ is the true temple of God, “the place where his glory dwells”; by the grace of God, Christians also become the temples of the Holy Spirit, living stones out of which the Church is built.

1198 In its earthly state the Church needs places where the community can gather together. Our visible churches, holy places, are images of the holy city, the heavenly Jerusalem, toward which we are making our way on pilgrimage.

1199 It is in these churches that the Church celebrates public worship to the glory of the Holy Trinity, hears the word of God and sings his praise, lifts up her prayer, and offers the sacrifice of Christ sacramentally present in the midst of the assembly. These churches are also places of recollection and personal prayer.


Article 2

LITURGICAL DIVERSITY AND THE UNITY OF THE MYSTERY

Liturgical traditions and the catholicity of the Church

1200 From the first community of Jerusalem until the parousia, it is the same Paschal mystery that the Churches of God, faithful to the apostolic faith, celebrate in every place. the mystery celebrated in the liturgy is one, but the forms of its celebration are diverse.

1201 The mystery of Christ is so unfathomably rich that it cannot be exhausted by its expression in any single liturgical tradition. the history of the blossoming and development of these rites witnesses to a remarkable complementarity. When the Churches lived their respective liturgical traditions in the communion of the faith and the sacraments of the faith, they enriched one another and grew in fidelity to Tradition and to the common mission of the whole Church. [66]

1202 The diverse liturgical traditions have arisen by very reason of the Church's mission. Churches of the same geographical and cultural area came to celebrate the mystery of Christ through particular expressions characterized by the culture: in the tradition of the “deposit of faith,” [67] in liturgical symbolism, in the organization of fraternal communion, in the theological understanding of the mysteries, and in various forms of holiness. Through the liturgical life of a local church, Christ, the light and salvation of all peoples, is made manifest to the particular people and culture to which that Church is sent and in which she is rooted. the Church is catholic, capable of integrating into her unity, while purifying them, all the authentic riches of cultures. [68]

1203 The liturgical traditions or rites presently in use in the Church are the Latin (principally the Roman rite, but also the rites of certain local churches, such as the Ambrosian rite, or those of certain religious orders) and the Byzantine, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite and Chaldean rites. In “faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, and that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way.” [69]

Liturgy and culture

1204 The celebration of the liturgy, therefore, should correspond to the genius and culture of the different peoples. [70] In order that the mystery of Christ be “made known to all the nations . . . to bring about the obedience of faith,” [71] it must be proclaimed, celebrated, and lived in all cultures in such a way that they themselves are not abolished by it, but redeemed and fulfilled: [72] It is with and through their own human culture, assumed and transfigured by Christ, that the multitude of God's children has access to the Father, in order to glorify him in the one Spirit.

1205 “In the liturgy, above all that of the sacraments, there is an immutable part, a part that is divinely instituted and of which the Church is the guardian, and parts that can be changed, which the Church has the power and on occasion also the duty to adapt to the cultures of recently evangelized peoples.” [73]

1206 “Liturgical diversity can be a source of enrichment, but it can also provoke tensions, mutual misunderstandings, and even schisms. In this matter it is clear that diversity must not damage unity. It must express only fidelity to the common faith, to the sacramental signs that the Church has received from Christ, and to hierarchical communion. Cultural adaptation also requires a conversion of heart and even, where necessary, a breaking with ancestral customs incompatible with the Catholic faith.” [74]


66 Cf. Paul VI, EN 63-64.
67 2 Tim 1:14 (Vulg.).
68 Cf. LG 23; UR 4.
69 SC 4.
70 Cf. SC 37-40.
71 Rom 16:26.
72 Cf. CT 53.
73 John Paul II, Vicesimus quintus annus, 16; cf. SC 21.
74 John Paul 11, Vicesimus quintus annus, 16.

IN BRIEF

1207 It is fitting that liturgical celebration tends to express itself in the culture of the people where the Church finds herself, though without being submissive to it. Moreover, the liturgy itself generates cultures and shapes them.

1208 The diverse liturgical traditions or rites, legitimately recognized, manifest the catholicity of the Church, because they signify and communicate the same mystery of Christ.

1209 The criterion that assures unity amid the diversity of liturgical traditions is fidelity to apostolic Tradition, i e., the communion in the faith and the sacraments received from the apostles, a communion that is both signified and guaranteed by apostolic succession.


SECTION TWO

THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH

1210 Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. the seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: [1] they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.

1211 Following this analogy, the first chapter will expound the three sacraments of Christian initiation; the second, the sacraments of healing; and the third, the sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful. This order, while not the only one possible, does allow one to see that the sacraments form an organic whole in which each particular sacrament has its own vital place. In this organic whole, the Eucharist occupies a unique place as the “Sacrament of sacraments”: “all the other sacraments are ordered to it as to their end.” [2]


1 Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 65, 1.
2 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 65, 3.

CHAPTER ONE

THE SACRAMENTS OF CHRISTIAN INITIATION

1212 The sacraments of Christian initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life. “The sharing in the divine nature given to men through the grace of Christ bears a certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural life. the faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in increasing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the perfection of charity.” [3]


3 Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Divinae consortium naturae: AAS 63    (1971) 657; cf. RCIA Introduction 1-2.

Article 1

THE SACRAMENT OF BAPTISM

1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), [4] and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.” [5]


4 Cf. Council of Florence: DS 1314: vitae spiritualis ianua.
5 Roman Catechism II, 2, 5; Cf. Council of Florence: DS 1314; CIC, cann. 204 # 1; 849; CCEO, can. 675 # 1.

I. What is This Sacrament Called?

1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to “plunge” or “immerse”; the “plunge” into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as “a new creature.” [6]

1215 This sacrament is also called “the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit,” for it signifies and actually brings about the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one “can enter the kingdom of God.” [7]

1216 “This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this [catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding . . . .” [8] Having received in Baptism the Word, “the true light that enlightens every man,” the person baptized has been “enlightened,” he becomes a “son of light,” indeed, he becomes “light” himself: [9]

Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift....We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes; and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship. [10]


6 2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Cf. Rom 6:34; Col 2:12.
7 Titus 3:5; Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
8 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 61, 12: PG 6, 421.
9 Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8.
10 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 3-4: PG 36, 361C.

II. Baptism in the Economy of Salvation

Prefigurations of Baptism in the Old Covenant

1217 In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, during the blessing of the baptismal water, the Church solemnly commemorates the great events in salvation history that already prefigured the mystery of Baptism:

Father, you give us grace through sacramental signs which tell us of the wonders of your unseen power.

 

In Baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of the grace you give us in this sacrament. [11]

1218 Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture sees it as “oveshadowed” by the Spirit of God: [12]

At the very dawn of creation

your Spirit breathed on the waters,

making them the wellspring of all holiness. [13]

1219 The Church has seen in Noah's ark a prefiguring of salvation by Baptism, for by it “a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water”: [14]

The waters of the great flood

you made a sign of the waters of Baptism,

that make an end of sin and a new beginning of goodness. [15]

1220 If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ's death.

1221 But above all, the crossing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by Baptism:

You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh,

bringing them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea,

to be an image of the people set free in Baptism. [16]

1222 Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crossing of the Jordan River by which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to Abraham's descendants, an image of eternal life. the promise of this blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.

Christ's Baptism

1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan. [17] After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “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.” [18]

1224 Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to “fulfill all righteousness.” [19] Jesus' gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying. [20] The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his “beloved Son.” [21]

1225 In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to be baptized. [22] The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. [23] From then on, it is possible “to be born of water and the Spirit” [24] in order to enter the Kingdom of God.

See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved. [25]

Baptism in the Church

1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” [26] The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans. [27] Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. and the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.” [28]

1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ's death, is buried with him, and rises with him:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. [29]

The baptized have “put on Christ.” [30] Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies. [31]

1228 Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the “imperishable seed” of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. [32] St. Augustine says of Baptism: “The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament.” [33]


11 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.
12 Cf. Gen 1:2.
13 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.
14 1 Pet 3:20.
15 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water.
16 Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: Blessing of Water: “Abrahae filios per    mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti, ut plebs, a Pharaonis    servitute liberata, populum baptizatorum praefiguraret.”
17 Cf. Mt 3:13.
18 Mt 28:19-20; cf. Mk 16:15-16.
19 Mt 3:15.
20 Cf. Phil 2:7.
21 Mt 3:16-17.
22 Mk 10:38; cf. Lk 12:50.
23 Cf. Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:6-8.
24 Cf. Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
25 St. Ambrose, De sacr. 2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; cf. Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
26 Acts 2:38.
27 Cf. Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 10:48; 16:15.
28 Acts 16:31-33.
29 Rom 6:3-4; cf. Col 2:12.
30 Gal 3:27.
31 CE 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13.
32 1 Pet 1:23; cf. Eph 5:26.
33 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 80, 3: PL 35, 1840.

III. How is the Sacrament of Baptism Celebrated?

Christian Initiation

1229 From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.

1230 This initiation has varied greatly through the centuries according to circumstances. In the first centuries of the Church, Christian initiation saw considerable development. A long period of catechumenate included a series of preparatory rites, which were liturgical landmarks along the path of catechumenal preparation and culminated in the celebration of the sacraments of Christian initiation.

1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is usually celebrated, it has become a single act encapsulating the preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the necessary flowering of baptismal grace in personal growth. the catechism has its proper place here.

1232 The second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church “the catechumenate for adults, comprising several distinct steps.” [34] The rites for these stages are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA). [35] The Council also gives permission that: “In mission countries, in addition to what is furnished by the Christian tradition, those elements of initiation rites may be admitted which are already in use among some peoples insofar as they can be adapted to the Christian ritual.” [36]

1233 Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its culmination in a single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. [37] In the Eastern rites the Christian initiation of infants also begins with Baptism followed immediately by Confirmation and the Eucharist, while in the Roman rite it is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of their Christian initiation. [38]

The mystagogy of the celebration

1234 The meaning and grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in the rites of its celebration. By following the gestures and words of this celebration with attentive participation, the faithful are initiated into the riches this sacrament signifies and actually brings about in each newly baptized person.

1235 The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and signifies the grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.

1236 The proclamation of the Word of God enlightens the candidates and the assembly with the revealed truth and elicits the response of faith, which is inseparable from Baptism. Indeed Baptism is “the sacrament of faith” in a particular way, since it is the sacramental entry into the life of faith.

1237 Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. the celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. Thus prepared, he is able to confess the faith of the Church, to which he will be “entrusted” by Baptism. [39]

1238 The baptismal water is consecrated by a prayer of epiclesis (either at this moment or at the Easter Vigil). the Church asks God that through his Son the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon the water, so that those who will be baptized in it may be “born of water and the Spirit.” [40]

1239 The essential rite of the sacrament follows: Baptism properly speaking. It signifies and actually brings about death to sin and entry into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the Paschal mystery of Christ. Baptism is performed in the most expressive way by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over the candidate's head.

1240 In the Latin Church this triple infusion is accompanied by the minister's words: “N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” In the Eastern liturgies the catechumen turns toward the East and the priest says: “The servant of God, N., is baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” At the invocation of each person of the Most Holy Trinity, the priest immerses the candidate in the water and raises him up again.

1241 The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who has become a Christian, that is, one “anointed” by the Holy Spirit, incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king. [41]

1242 In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, the post-baptismal anointing is the sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). In the Roman liturgy the post-baptismal anointing announces a second anointing with sacred chrism to be conferred later by the bishop Confirmation, which will as it were “confirm” and complete the baptismal anointing.

1243 The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has “put on Christ,” [42] has risen with Christ. the candle, lit from the Easter candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte. In him the baptized are “the light of the world.” [43] The newly baptized is now, in the only Son, a child of God entitled to say the prayer of the children of God: “Our Father.”

1244 First Holy Communion. Having become a child of God clothed with the wedding garment, the neophyte is admitted “to the marriage supper of the Lamb” [44] and receives the food of the new life, the body and blood of Christ. the Eastern Churches maintain a lively awareness of the unity of Christian initiation by giving Holy Communion to all the newly baptized and confirmed, even little children, recalling the Lord's words: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them.” [45] The Latin Church, which reserves admission to Holy Communion to those who have attained the age of reason, expresses the orientation of Baptism to the Eucharist by having the newly baptized child brought to the altar for the praying of the Our Father.

1245 The solemn blessing concludes the celebration of Baptism. At the Baptism of newborns the blessing of the mother occupies a special place.


34 SC 64.
35 Cf. RCIA (1972).
36 SC 65; cf. SC 37-40.
37 Cf. AG 14; CIC, cann. 851; 865; 866.
38 Cf. CIC, cann. 851, 20; 868.
39 Cf. Rom 6:17.
40 Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
41 Cf. RBC 62.
42 Gal 3:27.
43 Mt 5:14; cf. Phil 2:15.
44 Rev 19:9.
45 Mk 10 14.

IV. Who can Receive Baptism?

1246 “Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be baptized.” [46]

The Baptism of adults

1247 Since the beginning of the Church, adult Baptism is the common practice where the proclamation of the Gospel is still new. the catechumenate (preparation for Baptism) therefore occupies an important place. This initiation into Christian faith and life should dispose the catechumen to receive the gift of God in Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist.

1248 The catechumenate, or formation of catechumens, aims at bringing their conversion and faith to maturity, in response to the divine initiative and in union with an ecclesial community. the catechumenate is to be “a formation in the whole Christian life . . . during which the disciples will be joined to Christ their teacher. the catechumens should be properly initiated into the mystery of salvation and the practice of the evangelical virtues, and they should be introduced into the life of faith, liturgy, and charity of the People of God by successive sacred rites.” [47]

1249 Catechumens “are already joined to the Church, they are already of the household of Christ, and are quite frequently already living a life of faith, hope, and charity.” [48] “With love and solicitude mother Church already embraces them as her own.” [49]

The Baptism of infants

1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. [50] The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. the Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth. [51]

1251 Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them. [52]

1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole “households” received baptism, infants may also have been baptized. [53]

Faith and Baptism

1253 Baptism is the sacrament of faith. [54] But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. the faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. the catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God's Church?” the response is: “Faith!”

1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.

1255 For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents' help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized - child or adult on the road of Christian life. [55] Their task is a truly ecclesial function (officium). [56] The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility for the development and safeguarding of the grace given at Baptism.


46 CIC, can. 864; cf. CCEO, can. 679.
47 AG 14; cf. RCIA 19; 98.
48 AG 14 # 5.
49 LG 14 # 3; cf. CIC, cann. 206; 788 # 3.
50 Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1514; cf. Col 1:12-14.
51 Cf. CIC, can. 867; CCEO, cann. 681; 686, 1.
52 Cf. LG 11; 41; GS 48; CIC, can. 868.
53 Cf. Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8; 1 Cor 1:16; CDF, instruction, Pastoralis    actio: AAS 72 (1980) 1137-1156.
54 Cf. Mk 16:16.
55 Cf. CIC, cann. 872-874.
56 Cf. SC 67.

V. Who can Baptize?

1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in the Latin Church, also the deacon. [57] In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. the intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. the Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation. [58]


57 Cf. CIC, can. 861 # 1; CCEO, can. 677 # 1.
58 Cf. 1 Tim 2:4.

VI. The Necessity of Baptism

1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. [59] He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. [60] Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. [61] The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.

1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a sacrament.

1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire to receive it, together with repentance for their sins, and charity, assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the sacrament.

1260 “Since Christ died for all, and since all men are in fact called to one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way known to God, of the Paschal mystery.” [62] Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity.

1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them,” [63] allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.


59 Cf. Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
60 Cf. Mt 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; LG 14; AG 5.
61 Cf. Mk 16:16.
62 GS 22 # 5; cf. LG 16; AG 7.
63 Mk 10 14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4.

VII. The Grace of Baptism

1262 The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two principal effects are purification from sins and new birth in the Holy Spirit. [64]

For the forgiveness of sins . . .

1263 By Baptism all sins are forgiven, original sin and all personal sins, as well as all punishment for sin. [65] In those who have been reborn nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God, neither Adam's sin, nor personal sin, nor the consequences of sin, the gravest of which is separation from God.

1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of sin remain in the baptized, such as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to sin that Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, “the tinder for sin” (fomes peccati); since concupiscence “is left for us to wrestle with, it cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the grace of Jesus Christ.” [66] Indeed, “an athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.” [67]

“A new creature”

1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte “a new creature,” an adopted son of God, who has become a “partaker of the divine nature,” [68] member of Christ and coheir with him, [69] and a temple of the Holy Spirit. [70]

1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification: - enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues; - giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit; - allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues. Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ

1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: “Therefore . . . we are members one of another.” [71] Baptism incorporates us into the Church. From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations, cultures, races, and sexes: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.” [72]

1268 The baptized have become “living stones” to be “built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood.” [73] By Baptism they share in the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that [they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of darkness into his marvelous light.” [74] Baptism gives a share in the common priesthood of all believers.

1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. [75] From now on, he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of the Church, and to “obey and submit” to the Church's leaders, [76] holding them in respect and affection. [77] Just as Baptism is the source of responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church. [78]

1270 “Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the faith they have received from God through the Church” and participate in the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God. [79]

The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians

1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” [80] “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.” [81]

An indelible spiritual mark . . .

1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. [82] Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.

1273 Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious worship. [83] The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and practical charity. [84]

1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord (“Dominicus character”) “for the day of redemption.” [85] “Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life.” [86] The faithful Christian who has “kept the seal” until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life “marked with the sign of faith,” [87] with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection.


64 Cf. Acts 2:38; Jn 3:5[ETML:C/].
65 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.
66 Council of Trent (1546): DS 1515.
67 2 Tim 2:5.
68 2 Cor 5:17; 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Gal 4:5-7.
69 Cf. 1 Cor 6:15; 12:27; Rom 8:17.
70 Cf. 1 Cor 6:19.
71 Eph 4:25.
72 1 Cor 12:13.
73 1 Pet 2:5.
74 1 Pet 2:9.
75 Cf. 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:15.
76 Heb 13:17.
77 Cf. Eph 5:21; 1 Cor 16:15-16; 1 Thess 5:12-13; Jn 13:12-15.
78 Cf. LG 37; CIC, cann. 208 223; CCEO, can. 675:2.
79 LG 11; cf. LG 17; AG 7; 23.
80 UR 3.
81 UR 22 # 2.
82 Cf. Rom 8:29; Council of Trent (1547): DS 1609-1619.
83 Cf. LG 11.
84 Cf. LG 10.
85 St. Augustine, Ep. 98, 5: PL 33, 362; Eph 4:30; cf. 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:21-22.
86 St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 3: SCh 62, 32.
87 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 97.

IN BRIEF

1275 Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together: Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with Christ's Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.

1276 “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” ( Mt 28:19-20).

1277 Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself, which we enter by Baptism.

1278 The essential rite of Baptism consists in immersing the candidate in water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing the invocation of the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

1279 The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal grace, is a rich reality that includes forgiveness of original sin and all personal sins, birth into the new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a sharer in the priesthood of Christ.

1280 Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the character, which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship. Because of the character Baptism cannot be repeated (cf. DS 1609 and DS 1624).

1281 Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of grace, seek God sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).

1282 Since the earliest times, Baptism has been administered to children, for it is a grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human merit; children are baptized in the faith of the Church. Entry into Christian life gives access to true freedom.

1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their salvation.

1284 In case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that he have the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that he pours water on the candidate's head while saying: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”


Article 2

THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION

1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. [88] For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” [89]


88 Cf. Roman Ritual, Rite of Confirmation (OC), Introduction 1.
89 LG 11; Cf. OC, Introduction 2.

I. Confirmation in the Economy of Salvation

1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. [90] The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God. [91] He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.” [92]

1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's, but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people. [93] On several occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, [94] a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at Pentecost. [95] Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim “the mighty works of God,” and Peter declared this outpouring of the Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. [96] Those who believed in the apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit in their turn. [97]

1288 “From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will, imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. the imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.” [98]

1289 Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands. This anointing highlights the name “Christian,” which means “anointed” and derives from that of Christ himself whom God “anointed with the Holy Spirit.” [99] This rite of anointing has continued ever since, in both East and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means “chrism.” In the West, Confirmation suggests both the ratification of Baptism, thus completing Christian initiation, and the strengthening of baptismal grace - both fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Two traditions: East and West

1290 In the first centuries Confirmation generally comprised one single celebration with Baptism, forming with it a “double sacrament,” according to the expression of St. Cyprian. Among other reasons, the multiplication of infant baptisms all through the year, the increase of rural parishes, and the growth of dioceses often prevented the bishop from being present at all baptismal celebrations. In the West the desire to reserve the completion of Baptism to the bishop caused the temporal separation of the two sacraments. the East has kept them united, so that Confirmation is conferred by the priest who baptizes. But he can do so only with the “myron” consecrated by a bishop. [100]

1291 A custom of the Roman Church facilitated the development of the Western practice: a double anointing with sacred chrism after Baptism. the first anointing of the neophyte on coming out of the baptismal bath was performed by the priest; it was completed by a second anointing on the forehead of the newly baptized by the bishop. [101] The first anointing with sacred chrism, by the priest, has remained attached to the baptismal rite; it signifies the participation of the one baptized in the prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices of Christ. If Baptism is conferred on an adult, there is only one post-baptismal anointing, that of Confirmation.

1292 The practice of the Eastern Churches gives greater emphasis to the unity of Christian initiation. That of the Latin Church more clearly expresses the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as guarantor and servant of the unity, catholicity and apostolicity of his Church, and hence the connection with the apostolic origins of Christ's Church.


90 Cf. Isa 11:2; 61:1; Lk 4:16-22.
91 Cf. Mt 3:13-17; Jn 1:33-34.
92 Jn 3:34.
93 Cf. Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2.
94 Cf. Lk 12:12; Jn 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8.
95 Cf. Jn 20:22; Acts 2:1-14.
96 Acts 2:11; Cf. 2:17-18.
97 Cf. Acts 2:38.
98 Paul VI, Divinae consortium naturae, 659; Cf. Acts 8:15-17; 19:5-6; Heb 6:2.
99 Acts 10:38.
100 Cf. CCEO, Can. 695 # 1; 696 # 1.
101 Cf. St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 21 SCh 11, 80-95.

II. The Signs and the Rite of Confirmation

1293 In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the sign of anointing and what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual seal. Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning: oil is a sign of abundance and joy; [102] it cleanses (anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing to bruises and wounds; [103] and it makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength.

1294 Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. the pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. the post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.” [104]

1295 By this anointing the confirmand receives the “mark,” the seal of the Holy Spirit. A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an oblect. [105] Hence soldiers were marked with their leader's seal and slaves with their master's. A seal authenticates a juridical act or document and occasionally makes it secret. [106]

1296 Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father's seal. [107] Christians are also marked with a seal: “It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” [108] This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial. [109]

The celebration of Confirmation

1297 The consecration of the sacred chrism is an important action that precedes the celebration of Confirmation, but is in a certain way a part of it. It is the bishop who, in the course of the Chrism Mass of Holy Thursday, consecrates the sacred chrism for his whole diocese. In some Eastern Churches this consecration is even reserved to the patriarch:

The Syriac liturgy of Antioch expresses the epiclesis for the consecration of the sacred chrism (myron) in this way: “[Father . . . send your Holy Spirit] on us and on this oil which is before us and consecrate it, so that it may be for all who are anointed and marked with it holy myron, priestly myron, royal myron, anointing with gladness, clothing with light, a cloak of salvation, a spiritual gift, the sanctification of souls and bodies, imperishable happiness, the indelible seal, a buckler of faith, and a fearsome helmet against all the works of the adversary.”

1298 When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, as is the case in the Roman Rite, the Liturgy of Confirmation begins with the renewal of baptismal promises and the profession of faith by the confirmands. This clearly shows that Confirmation follows Baptism. [110] When adults are baptized, they immediately receive Confirmation and participate in the Eucharist. [111]

1299 In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. the bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

by water and the Holy Spirit

you freed your sons and daughters from sin

and gave them new life.

Send your Holy Spirit upon them

to be their helper and guide.

Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,

the spirit of right judgment and courage,

the spirit of knowledge and reverence.

Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. [112]

1300 The essential rite of the sacrament follows. In the Latin rite, “the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: 'Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti' [Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.].” [113] In the Eastern Churches, after a prayer of epiclesis the more significant parts of the body are anointed with myron: forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, breast, back, hands, and feet. Each anointing is accompanied by the formula: “The seal of the gift that is the Holy Spirit.”

1301 The sign of peace that concludes the rite of the sacrament signifies and demonstrates ecclesial communion with the bishop and with all the faithful. [114]


102 Cf. Deut 11:14; Pss 23:5; 104:15.
103 Cf. Isa 1:6; Lk 10 34.
104 2 Cor 2:15.
105 Cf Gen 38:18; 41:42; Deut 32:34; CT 8:6.
106 Cf. 1 Kings 21:8; Jer 32:10; Isa 29:11.
107 Cf. Jn 6:27.
108 2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4, 30.
109 Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6.
110 Cf. SC 71.
111 Cf. CIC, can. 866.
112 OC 25.
113 Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Divinae consortium naturae, 663.
114 Cf. St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 21 SCh 11, 80-95.

III. The Effects of Confirmation

1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.

1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace: - it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”; [115] - it unites us more firmly to Christ; - it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; - it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; [116] - it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross: [117]

Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts. [118]

1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the “character,” which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness. [119]

1305 This “character” perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and “the confirmed person receives the power to profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi ex officio).” [120]


115 Rom 8:15.
116 Cf. LG 11.
117 Cf. Council of Florence (1439) DS 1319; LG 11; 12.
118 SL Ambrose, De myst. 7, 42 PL 16, 402-403.
119 Cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1609; Lk 24:48-49.
120 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 72, 5, ad 2.

IV. Who can Receive This Sacrament?

1306 Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the sacrament of Confirmation. [121] Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist form a unity, it follows that “the faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time,” [122] for without Confirmation and Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian initiation remains incomplete.

1307 The Latin tradition gives “the age of discretion” as the reference point for receiving Confirmation. But in danger of death children should be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of discretion. [123]

1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the “sacrament of Christian maturity,” we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural growth, nor forget that the baptismal grace is a grace of free, unmerited election and does not need “ratification” to become effective. St. Thomas reminds us of this:

Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: “For old age is not honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. “Many children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood. [124]

1309 Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit - his actions, his gifts, and his biddings - in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. the latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands. [125]

1310 To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act. [126]

1311 Candidates for Confirmation, as for Baptism, fittingly seek the spiritual help of a sponsor. To emphasize the unity of the two sacraments, it is appropriate that this be one of the baptismal godparents. [127]


121 Cf. CIC, can. 889 # 1.
122 CIC, can. 890.
123 Cf. CIC, cann. 891; 883, 3.
124 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 72, 8, ad 2; Cf. Wis 4:8.
125 Cf. OC Introduction 3.
126 Cf. Acts 1:14.
127 Cf. OC Introduction 5; 6; CIC, Can. 893 ## 1- 2.

V. The Minister of Confirmation

1312 The original minister of Confirmation is the bishop. [128] In the East, ordinarily the priest who baptizes also immediately confers Confirmation in one and the same celebration. But he does so with sacred chrism consecrated by the patriarch or the bishop, thus expressing the apostolic unity of the Church whose bonds are strengthened by the sacrament of Confirmation. In the Latin Church, the same discipline applies to the Baptism of adults or to the reception into full communion with the Church of a person baptized in another Christian community that does not have valid Confirmation. [129]

1313 In the Latin Rite, the ordinary minister of Confirmation is the bishop. [130] Although the bishop may for grave reasons concede to priests the faculty of administering Confirmation, [131] it is appropriate from the very meaning of the sacrament that he should confer it himself, mindful that the celebration of Confirmation has been temporally separated from Baptism for this reason. Bishops are the successors of the apostles. They have received the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders. the administration of this sacrament by them demonstrates clearly that its effect is to unite those who receive it more closely to the Church, to her apostolic origins, and to her mission of bearing witness to Christ.

1314 If a Christian is in danger of death, any priest should give him Confirmation. [132] Indeed the Church desires that none of her children, even the youngest, should depart this world without having been perfected by the Holy Spirit with the gift of Christ's fullness.


128 Cf. LG 26.
129 Cf. CIC, Can. 883 # 2.
130 Cf. CIC, Can. 882.
131 Cf. CIC, Can. 884 # 2.
132 Cf. CIC, Can. 883 # 3.

IN BRIEF

1315 “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit” ( Acts 8:14-17).

1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.

1317 Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian's soul; for this reason one can receive this sacrament only once in one's life.

1318 In the East this sacrament is administered immediately after Baptism and is followed by participation in the Eucharist; this tradition highlights the unity of the three sacraments of Christian initiation. In the Latin Church this sacrament is administered when the age of reason has been reached, and its celebration is ordinarily reserved to the bishop, thus signifying that this sacrament strengthens the ecclesial bond.

1319 A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must profess the faith, be in the state of grace, have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple and witness to Christ, both within the ecclesial community and in temporal affairs.

1320 The essential rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead of the baptized with sacred chrism (in the East other sense-organs as well), together with the laying on of the minister's hand and the words: “Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti” (Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.) in the Roman Rite, or “The seal of the gift that is the Holy Spirit” in the Byzantine rite.

1321 When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, its connection with Baptism is expressed, among other ways, by the renewal of baptismal promises. the celebration of Confirmation during the Eucharist helps underline the unity of the sacraments of Christian initiation.


Article 3

THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

1322 The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.

1323 “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'“ [133]


133 SC 47.

I. The Eucharist - Source and Summit of Ecclesial Life

1324 The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” [134] “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” [135]

1325 “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit.” [136]

1326 Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all. [137]

1327 In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.” [138]


134 LG 11.
135 PO 5.
136 Congregation of Rites, instruction, Eucharisticum mysterium, 6.
137 Cf. 1 Cor 15:28.
138 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 5: PG 7/l, 1028.

II. What is This Sacrament Called?

1328 The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called: Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. the Greek words eucharistein [139] and eulogein [140] recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim - especially during a meal - God's works: creation, redemption, and sanctification.

1329 The Lord's Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem. [141] The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meat when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, [142] above all at the Last Supper. [143] It is by this action that his disciples will recognize him after his Resurrection, [144] and it is this expression that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic assemblies; [145] by doing so they signified that all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him. [146] The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church. [147]

1330 The memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection. The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering. the terms holy sacrifice of the Mass, “sacrifice of praise,” spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy sacrifice are also used, [148] since it completes and surpasses all the sacrifices of the Old Covenant. The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of sacraments. the Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are designated by this same name.

1331 Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. [149] We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta) [150] - the first meaning of the phrase “communion of saints” in the Apostles' Creed - the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality, [151] viaticum....

1332 Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.


139 Cf. Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24.
140 Cf. Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22.
141 Cf. 1 Cor 11:20; Rev 19:9.
142 Cf. Mt 14:19; 15:36; Mk 8:6, 19.
143 Cf. Mt 26:26; 1 Cor 11:24.
144 Cf. Lk 24:13-35.
145 Cf. Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11.
146 Cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17.
147 Cf. 1 Cor 11:17-34.
148 Heb 13:15; cf. 1 Pet 25; Ps 116:13, 17; Mal 1:11.
149 Cf. 1 Cor 10: 16-17.
150 Apostolic Constitutions 8, 13,12 PG 1,1108; Didache 9, 5; 10:6: SCh: 248,176- 178.
151 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20, 2 SCh 10, 76.

III. The Eucharist in the Economy of Salvation

The signs of bread and wine

1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: “He took bread....” “He took the cup filled with wine....” the signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, [152] fruit of the “work of human hands,” but above all as “fruit of the earth” and “of the vine” - gifts of the Creator. the Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who “brought out bread and wine,” a prefiguring of her own offering. [153]

1334 In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God; [154] their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God's faithfulness to his promises. The “cup of blessing” [155] at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup.

1335 The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. [156] The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father's kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ. [157]

1336 The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” [158] The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”: [159] The Lord's question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has “the words of eternal life” [160] and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.

The institution of the Eucharist

1337 The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end. Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the commandment of love. [161] In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return; “thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament.” [162]

1338 The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part, reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life, come down from heaven. [163]

1339 Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the passover meal for us, that we may eat it....” They went ... and prepared the passover. and when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles with him. and he said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”.... and he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” and likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.” [164]

1340 By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning. Jesus' passing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist, which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of the Church in the glory of the kingdom.

“Do this in memory of me”

1341 The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words “until he comes” does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of his intercession in the presence of the Father. [165]

1342 From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the Lord's command. of the Church of Jerusalem it is written:

They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.... Day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts. [166]

1343 It was above all on “the first day of the week,” Sunday, the day of Jesus' resurrection, that the Christians met “to break bread.” [167] From that time on down to our own day the celebration of the Eucharist has been continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the same fundamental structure. It remains the center of the Church's life.

1344 Thus from celebration to celebration, as they proclaim the Paschal mystery of Jesus “until he comes,” the pilgrim People of God advances, “following the narrow way of the cross,” [168] toward the heavenly banquet, when all the elect will be seated at the table of the kingdom.


152 Cf. Ps 104:13-15.
153 Gen 14:18; cf. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 95.
154 Cf. Deut 8:3.
155 1 Cor 10:16.
156 Cf. Mt 14:13-21; 15:32-39.
157 Cf. Jn 2:11; Mk 14:25.
158 Jn 6:60.
159 Jn 6:67.
160 In 6:68.
161 Cf. Jn 13:1-17; 34-35.
162 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740.
163 Cf. Jn 6.
164 Lk 22:7-20; Cf. Mt 26:17-29; Mk 14:12-25; 1 Cor 11:23-26.
165 Cf. 2 Cor 11:26.
166 Acts 2:42, 46.
167 Acts 20:7.
168 AG 1; cf. 1 Cor 11:26.

IV. The Liturgical Celebration of the Eucharist

The Mass of all ages

1345 As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration. They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical families. St. Justin wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) around the year 155, explaining what Christians did:

On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or country gather in the same place. The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits. When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things. Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain eternal salvation. When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss. Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to him who presides over the brethren. He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek: eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts. When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying: 'Amen.' When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those whom we call deacons give to those present the “eucharisted” bread, wine and water and take them to those who are absent. [169]

1346 The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity: - the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and general intercessions; - the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion. The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form “one single act of worship”; [170] The Eucharistic table set for us is the table both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord. [171]

1347 Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them; sitting with them at table “he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.” [172]

The movement of the celebration

1348 All gather together. Christians come together in one place for the Eucharistic assembly. At its head is Christ himself, the principal agent of the Eucharist. He is high priest of the New Covenant; it is he himself who presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration. It is in representing him that the bishop or priest acting in the person of Christ the head (in persona Christi capitis) presides over the assembly, speaks after the readings, receives the offerings, and says the Eucharistic Prayer. All have their own active parts to play in the celebration, each in his own way: readers, those who bring up the offerings, those who give communion, and the whole people whose “Amen” manifests their participation.

1349 The Liturgy of the Word includes “the writings of the prophets,” that is, the Old Testament, and “the memoirs of the apostles” (their letters and the Gospels). After the homily, which is an exhortation to accept this Word as what it truly is, the Word of God, [173] and to put it into practice, come the intercessions for all men, according to the Apostle's words: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and all who are in high positions.” [174]

1350 The presentation of the offerings (the Offertory). Then, sometimes in procession, the bread and wine are brought to the altar; they will be offered by the priest in the name of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice in which they will become his body and blood. It is the very action of Christ at the Last Supper - “taking the bread and a cup.” “The Church alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, when she offers what comes forth from his creation with thanksgiving.” [175] The presentation of the offerings at the altar takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the Creator's gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.

1351 From the very beginning Christians have brought, along with the bread and wine for the Eucharist, gifts to share with those in need. This custom of the collection, ever appropriate, is inspired by the example of Christ who became poor to make us rich: [176]

Those who are well off, and who are also willing, give as each chooses. What is gathered is given to him who presides to assist orphans and widows, those whom illness or any other cause has deprived of resources, prisoners, immigrants and, in a word, all who are in need. [177]

1352 The anaphora: with the Eucharistic Prayer - the prayer of thanksgiving and consecration - we come to the heart and summit of the celebration:

In the preface, the Church gives thanks to the Father, through Christ, in the Holy Spirit, for all his works: creation, redemption, and sanctification. the whole community thus joins in the unending praise that the Church in heaven, the angels and all the saints, sing to the thrice-holy God.

1353 In the epiclesis, the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit (or the power of his blessing [178]) on the bread and wine, so that by his power they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and so that those who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit (some liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis). In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice offered on the cross once for all.

1354 In the anamnesis that follows, the Church calls to mind the Passion, resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus; she presents to the Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with him. In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, the living and the dead, and in communion with the pastors of the Church, the Pope, the diocesan bishop, his presbyterium and his deacons, and all the bishops of the whole world together with their Churches.

1355 In the communion, preceded by the Lord's prayer and the breaking of the bread, the faithful receive “the bread of heaven” and “the cup of salvation,” the body and blood of Christ who offered himself “for the life of the world”: [179]

Because this bread and wine have been made Eucharist (“eucharisted,” according to an ancient expression), “we call this food Eucharist, and no one may take part in it unless he believes that what we teach is true, has received baptism for the forgiveness of sins and new birth, and lives in keeping with what Christ taught.” [180]


169 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 65-67: PG 6, 428-429; the text before the    asterisk (*) is from chap. 67.
170 SC 56.
171 Cf. DV 21.
172 Cf. Lk 24:13-35.
173 Cf. 1 Thess 2:13.
174 1 Tim 2:1-2.
175 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 4: PG 7/1, 1027; cf. Mal 1:11.
176 Cf. 1 Cor 16:1; 2 Cor 8:9
177 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 67: PG 6, 429.
178 Cf. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 90.
179 Jn 6:51.
180 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 66,1-2: PG 6, 428.

V. The Sacramental Sacrifice Thanksgiving, Memorial, Presence

1356 If from the beginning Christians have celebrated the Eucharist and in a form whose substance has not changed despite the great diversity of times and liturgies, it is because we know ourselves to be bound by the command the Lord gave on the eve of his Passion: “Do this in remembrance of me.” [181]

1357 We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present.

1358 We must therefore consider the Eucharist as: - thanksgiving and praise to the Father; - the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body; - the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.

Thanksgiving and praise to the Father

1359 The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in creation and in humanity.

1360 The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption, and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.”

1361 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation. This sacrifice of praise is possible only through Christ: he unites the faithful to his person, to his praise, and to his intercession, so that the sacrifice of praise to the Father is offered through Christ and with him, to be accepted in him.

The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church

1362 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or memorial.

1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works wrought by God for men. [182] In the liturgical celebration of these events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them.

1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present. [183] “As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by which 'Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out.” [184]

1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice. the sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: “This is my body which is given for you” and “This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood.” [185] In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he “poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” [186]

1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and because it applies its fruit:

[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his death, at the Last Supper “on the night when he was betrayed,” [he wanted] to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied to the forgiveness of the sins we daily commit. [187]

1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one single sacrifice: “The victim is one and the same: the same now offers through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross; only the manner of offering is different.” “In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner.” [188]

1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. the Church which is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him, she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. the lives of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new value. Christ's sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all generations of Christians to be united with his offering.

In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer, arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers herself and intercedes for all men.

1369 The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of Christ. Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church. the bishop of the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest presides; the bishop's name is mentioned to signify his presidency over the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the assistance of deacons. the community intercedes also for all ministers who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice:

Let only that Eucharist be regarded as legitimate, which is celebrated under [the presidency of] the bishop or him to whom he has entrusted it. [189]

Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which in the Eucharist is offered through the priests' hands in the name of the whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself comes. [190]

1370 To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and intercession of Christ.

1371 The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed who “have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified,” [191] so that they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ:

Put this body anywhere! Don't trouble yourselves about it! I simply ask you to remember me at the Lord's altar wherever you are. [192]

Then, we pray [in the anaphora] for the holy fathers and bishops who have fallen asleep, and in general for all who have fallen asleep before us, in the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on whose behalf the supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous Victim is present.... By offering to God our supplications for those who have fallen asleep, if they have sinned, we . . . offer Christ sacrificed for the sins of all, and so render favorable, for them and for us, the God who loves man. [193]

1372 St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that moves us to an ever more complete participation in our Redeemer's sacrifice which we celebrate in the Eucharist:

This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the saints, is offered to God as a universal sacrifice by the high priest who in the form of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us in his Passion, to make us the Body of so great a head.... Such is the sacrifice of Christians: “we who are many are one Body in Christ” the Church continues to reproduce this sacrifice in the sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers wherein it is evident to them that in what she offers she herself is offered. [194]

The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit

1373 “Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us,” is present in many ways to his Church: [195] in his word, in his Church's prayer, “where two or three are gathered in my name,” [196] in the poor, the sick, and the imprisoned, [197] in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But “he is present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species.” [198]

1374 The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as “the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend.” [199] In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist “the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.” [200] “This presence is called 'real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes himself wholly and entirely present.” [201]

1375 It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ's body and blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. the Church Fathers strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:

It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. the priest, in the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God's. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things offered. [202]

and St. Ambrose says about this conversion:

Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the blessing has consecrated. the power of the blessing prevails over that of nature, because by the blessing nature itself is changed.... Could not Christ's word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to give things their original nature than to change their nature. [203]

1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: “Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation.” [204]

1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist. Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the bread does not divide Christ. [205]

1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.” [206]

1379 The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

1380 It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his sacramental presence; since he was about to offer himself on the cross to save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved us “to the end,” [207] even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us, [208] and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love:

The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration never cease. [209]

1381 “That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true Blood is something that 'cannot be apprehended by the senses,' says St. Thomas, 'but only by faith, which relies on divine authority.' For this reason, in a commentary on Luke 22:19 ('This is my body which is given for you.'), St. Cyril says: 'Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for since he is the truth, he cannot lie.'“ [210]

Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore

Masked by these bare shadows, shape and nothing more,

See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart

Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.

Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived; How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed; What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do; Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true. [211]


181 1 Cor 11:24-25.
182 Cf. Ex 13:3.
183 Cf. Heb 7:25-27.
184 LG 3; cf. 1 Cor 5:7.
185 Lk 22:19-20.
186 Mt 26:28.
187 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740; cf. 1 Cor 11:23; Heb 7:24, 27.
188 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1743; cf. Heb 9:14, 27.
189 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8:1; SCh 10, 138.
190 PO 2 # 4.
191 Council of Trent (1562) DS 1743.
192 St. Monica, before her death, to her sons, St. Augustine and his    brother; Conf. 9, 11, 27: PL 32, 775.
193 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5, 9. 10 PG 33, 1116-1117.
194 St. Augustine, De civ Dei, 10, 6: PL 41, 283; cf. Rom 12:5.
195 Rom 8:34; cf. LG 48.
196 Mt 18:20.
197 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
198 SC 7.
199 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 73, 3c.
200 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651.
201 Paul VI, MF 39.
202 St. John Chrysostom, prod. Jud. 1:6: PG 49, 380.
203 St. Ambrose, De myst. 9, 50; 52: PL 16, 405-407.
204 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1642; cf. Mt 26:26 ff.; Mk 14:22 ff.; Lk 22:19 ff.; 1 Cor 11:24 ff.
205 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1641.
206 Paul VI, MF 56.
207 Jn 13:1.
208 Cf. Gal 2:20.
209 John Paul II, Dominicae cenae, 3.
210 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 75, 1; cf. Paul VI, MF 18; St. Cyril of    Alexandria, In Luc. 22, 19: PG 72, 912; cf. Paul VI, MF 18.
211 St. Thomas Aquinas (attr.), Adoro te devote; tr. Gerard Manley    Hopkins.

VI. The Paschal Banquet

1382 The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.

1383 The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. “For what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?” [212] asks St. Ambrose. He says elsewhere, “The altar represents the body [of Christ] and the Body of Christ is on the altar.” [213] The liturgy expresses this unity of sacrifice and communion in many prayers. Thus the Roman Church prays in its anaphora:

We entreat you, almighty God,

that by the hands of your holy Angel

this offering may be borne to your altar in heaven

in the sight of your divine majesty,

so that as we receive in communion at this altar

the most holy Body and Blood of your Son,

we may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace. [214]

“Take this and eat it, all of you”: communion

1384 The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in the sacrament of the Eucharist: “Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” [215]

1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.” [216] Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.

1386 Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: “Domine, non sum dignus ut intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea” (“Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul will be healed.”). [217] and in the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:

O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas' kiss. But like the good thief I cry, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful should observe the fast required in their Church. [218] Bodily demeanor (gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of this moment when Christ becomes our guest.

1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion each time they participate in the Mass. [219] As the Second Vatican Council says: “That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the same sacrifice, is warmly recommended.” [220]

1389 The Church obliges the faithful “to take part in the Divine Liturgy on Sundays and feast days” and, prepared by the sacrament of Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible during the Easter season. [221] But the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more often still, even daily.

1390 Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But “the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly.” [222] This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites.

The fruits of Holy Communion

1391 Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. the principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” [223] Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.” [224]

On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son, they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, “Christ is risen!” Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives Christ. [225]

1392 What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh “given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,” [226] preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.

1393 Holy Communion separates us from sin. the body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us,” and the blood we drink “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins:

For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy. [227]

1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. [228] By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him:

Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us, and to be ourselves as crucified to the world.... Having received the gift of love, let us die to sin and live for God. [229]

1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. the more we share the life of Christ and progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from him by mortal sin. the Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. the Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.

1396 The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church. Communion renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church, already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. [230] The Eucharist fulfills this call: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? the bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:” [231]

If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond “Amen” (“yes, it is true!”) and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, “the Body of Christ” and respond “Amen.” Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true. [232]

1397 The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren:

You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,.... You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal.... God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful. [233]

1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, “O sacrament of devotion! O sign of unity! O bond of charity!” [234] The more painful the experience of the divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of complete unity among all who believe in him may return.

1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. “These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy.” A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, “given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged.” [235]

1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.” [236] It is for this reason that Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible for the Catholic Church. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate the Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.” [237]

1401 When, in the Ordinary's judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the required dispositions. [238]


212 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 2, 7: PL 16, 447C.
213 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 4, 2, 7: PL 16, 437D.
214 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 96: Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens    Deus: iube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare    tuum, in conspectu divinae maiestatis tuae: ut, quotquot ex hac altaris    participatione sacrosanctum Filii Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni    benedictione caelesti et gratia repleamur.
215 Jn 6:53.
216 1 Cor 11:27-29.
217 Roman Missal, response to the invitation to communion; cf. Mt 8:8[ETML:C/].
218 Cf. CIC, can. 919.
219 Cf. CIC, can. 917; AAS 76 (1984) 746-747.
220 SC 55.
221 OE 15; CIC, can. 920.
222 GIRM 240.
223 Jn 6:56.
224 Jn 6:57.
225 Fanqith, Syriac Office of Antioch, Vol. 1, Commun., 237 a-b.
226 PO 5.
227 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 4, 6, 28: PL 16, 446; cf. 1 Cor 11:26.
228 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1638.
229 St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, Contra Fab. 28, 16-19: CCL 19A, 813-814.
230 Cf. 1 Cor 12:13.
231 1 Cor 10:16-17.
232 St. Augustine, Sermo 272: PL 38, 1247.
233 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 27, 4: PG 61, 229-230; cf. Mt 25:40.
234 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 26, 13: PL 35, 1613; cf. SC 47.
235 UR 15 # 2; cf. CIC, can. 844 # 3.
236 UR 22 # 3.
237 UR 22 # 3.
238 Cf. CIC, can. 844 # 4.

VII. The Eucharist - “Pledge of the Glory To Come”

1402 In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the Eucharist: “O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with grace and a pledge of the life to come is given to us.” If the Eucharist is the memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the altar we are filled “with every heavenly blessing and grace,” [239] then the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory.

1403 At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples' attention toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: “I tell you I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.” [240] Whenever the Church celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze “to him who is to come.” In her prayer she calls for his coming: “Marana tha!” “Come, Lord Jesus!” [241] “May your grace come and this world pass away!” [242]

1404 The Church knows that the Lord comes even now in his Eucharist and that he is there in our midst. However, his presence is veiled. Therefore we celebrate the Eucharist “awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ,” [243] asking “to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord.” [244]

1405 There is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new earth “in which righteousness dwells,” [245] than the Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated, “the work of our redemption is carried on” and we “break the one bread that provides the medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live for ever in Jesus Christ.” [246]


239 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 96: Supplices te rogamus.
240 Mt 26:29; cf. Lk 22:18; Mk 14 25.
241 Rev 1:4; 22 20; 1 Cor 16 22.
242 Didache 10, 6: SCh 248,180.
243 Roman Missal 126, embolism after the Our Father: expectantes beatam    spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi; cf. Titus 2:13.
244 EP III 116: prayer for the dead.
245 2 Pet 3:13.
246 LG 3; St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20, 2: SCh 10, 76.

IN BRIEF

1406 Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; . . . he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and . . . abides in me, and I in him” ( Jn 6:51, 54, 56).

1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church.

1408 The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood. These elements constitute one single act of worship.

1409 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action.

1410 It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. and it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.

1411 Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord.

1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: “This is my body which will be given up for you.... This is the cup of my blood....”

1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).

1414 As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God.

1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.

1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.

1417 The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion each time they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year.

1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he is to be honored with the worship of adoration. “To visit the Blessed Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty of adoration toward Christ our Lord” (Paul VI, MF 66).

1419 Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the saints.


CHAPTER TWO

THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING

1420 Through the sacraments of Christian initiation, man receives the new life of Christ. Now we carry this life “in earthen vessels,” and it remains “hidden with Christ in God.” [1] We are still in our “earthly tent,” subject to suffering, illness, and death. [2] This new life as a child of God can be weakened and even lost by sin.

1421 The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and bodies, who forgave the sins of the paralytic and restored him to bodily health, [3] has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation, even among her own members. This is the purpose of the two sacraments of healing: the sacrament of Penance and the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick.


1 2 Cor 4:7; Col 3:3.
2 2 Cor 5:1.
3 Cf. Mk 2:1-12.

Article 4

THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION

1422 “Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God's mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.” [4]


4 LG 11 # 2.

I. What is This Sacrament Called?

1423 It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father [5] from whom one has strayed by sin. It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.

1424 It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a “confession” - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man. It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent “pardon and peace.” [6] It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles: “Be reconciled to God.” [7] He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: “Go; first be reconciled to your brother.” [8]


5 Cf. Mk 1:15; Lk 15:18.
6 OP 46 formula of absolution.
7 2 Cor 5:20.
8 Mt 5:24.

II. Why a Sacrament of Reconciliation after Baptism?

1425 “YOU were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” [9] One must appreciate the magnitude of the gift God has given us in the sacraments of Christian initiation in order to grasp the degree to which sin is excluded for him who has “put on Christ.” [10] But the apostle John also says: “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” [11] and the Lord himself taught us to pray: “Forgive us our trespasses,” [12] linking our forgiveness of one another's offenses to the forgiveness of our sins that God will grant us.

1426 Conversion to Christ, the new birth of Baptism, the gift of the Holy Spirit and the Body and Blood of Christ received as food have made us “holy and without blemish,” just as the Church herself, the Bride of Christ, is “holy and without blemish.” [13] Nevertheless the new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life. [14] This is the struggle of conversion directed toward holiness and eternal life to which the Lord never ceases to call us. [15]


9 1 Cor 6:11.
10 Gal 3:27.
11  1 Jn 1:8[ETML:C/].
12 Cf. Lk 11:4; Mt 6:12.
13 Eph 1:4; 5:27.
14 Cf. Council of Trent (1546) DS 1515.
15 Cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1545; LG 40.

III. The Conversion of the Baptized

1427 Jesus calls to conversion. This call is an essential part of the proclamation of the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.” [16] In the Church's preaching this call is addressed first to those who do not yet know Christ and his Gospel. Also, Baptism is the principal place for the first and fundamental conversion. It is by faith in the Gospel and by Baptism [17] that one renounces evil and gains salvation, that is, the forgiveness of all sins and the gift of new life.

1428 Christ's call to conversion continues to resound in the lives of Christians. This second conversion is an uninterrupted task for the whole Church who, “clasping sinners to her bosom, (is) at once holy and always in need of purification, (and) follows constantly the path of penance and renewal.” [18] This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a “contrite heart,” drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first. [19]

1429 St. Peter's conversion after he had denied his master three times bears witness to this. Jesus' look of infinite mercy drew tears of repentance from Peter and, after the Lord's resurrection, a threefold affirmation of love for him. [20] The second conversion also has a communitarian dimension, as is clear in the Lord's call to a whole Church: “Repent!” [21]

St. Ambrose says of the two conversions that, in the Church, “there are water and tears: the water of Baptism and the tears of repentance.” [22]


16 Mk 1:15.
17 Cf. Acts 2:38.
18 LG 8 # 3.
19 Ps 51:17; cf. Jn 6:44; 12:32; 1 Jn 4:10.
20 Cf. Lk 22:61; Jn 21:15-17.
21 Rev 2:5, 16.
22 St. Ambrose, ep. 41, 12: PL 16, 1116.

IV. Interior Penance

1430 Jesus' call to conversion and penance, like that of the prophets before him, does not aim first at outward works, “sackcloth and ashes,” fasting and mortification, but at the conversion of the heart, interior conversion. Without this, such penances remain sterile and false; however, interior conversion urges expression in visible signs, gestures and works of penance. [23]

1431 Interior repentance is a radical reorientation of our whole life, a return, a conversion to God with all our heart, an end of sin, a turning away from evil, with repugnance toward the evil actions we have committed. At the same time it entails the desire and resolution to change one's life, with hope in God's mercy and trust in the help of his grace. This conversion of heart is accompanied by a salutary pain and sadness which the Fathers called animi cruciatus (affliction of spirit) and compunctio cordis (repentance of heart). [24]

1432 The human heart is heavy and hardened. God must give man a new heart. [25] Conversion is first of all a work of the grace of God who makes our hearts return to him: “Restore us to thyself, O LORD, that we may be restored!” [26] God gives us the strength to begin anew. It is in discovering the greatness of God's love that our heart is shaken by the horror and weight of sin and begins to fear offending God by sin and being separated from him. the human heart is converted by looking upon him whom our sins have pierced: [27]

Let us fix our eyes on Christ's blood and understand how precious it is to his Father, for, poured out for our salvation it has brought to the whole world the grace of repentance.

1433 Since Easter, the Holy Spirit has proved “the world wrong about sin,” [29] i.e., proved that the world has not believed in him whom the Father has sent. But this same Spirit who brings sin to light is also the Consoler who gives the human heart grace for repentance and conversion. [30]


23 Cf. Joel 2:12-13; Isa 1:16-17; Mt 6:1-6; 16-18.
24 Cf. Council of Trent (1551) DS 1676-1678; 1705; Cf. Roman Catechism,    II, V, 4.
25 Cf. Ezek 36:26-27.
26 Lam 5:21.
27 Cf. Jn 19:37; Zech 12:10.
29 Cf. Jn 16:8-9.
30 Cf. Jn 15:26; Acts 2:36-38; John Paul II, DeV 27-48.

V. The Many Forms of Penance in Christian Life

1434 The interior penance of the Christian can be expressed in many and various ways. Scripture and the Fathers insist above all on three forms, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving, [31] which express conversion in relation to oneself, to God, and to others. Alongside the radical purification brought about by Baptism or martyrdom they cite as means of obtaining forgiveness of sins: effort at reconciliation with one's neighbor, tears of repentance, concern for the salvation of one's neighbor, the intercession of the saints, and the practice of charity “which covers a multitude of sins.” [32]

1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor, the exercise and defense of justice and right, [33] by the admission of faults to one's brethren, fraternal correction, revision of life, examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day and following Jesus is the surest way of penance. [34]

1436 Eucharist and Penance. Daily conversion and penance find their source and nourishment in the Eucharist, for in it is made present the sacrifice of Christ which has reconciled us with God. Through the Eucharist those who live from the life of Christ are fed and strengthened. “It is a remedy to free us from our daily faults and to preserve us from mortal sins.” [35]

1437 Reading Sacred Scripture, praying the Liturgy of the Hours and the Our Father - every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of our sins.

1438 The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church's penitential practice. [36] These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).

1439 The process of conversion and repentance was described by Jesus in the parable of the prodigal son, the center of which is the merciful father: [37] The fascination of illusory freedom, the abandonment of the father's house; the extreme misery in which the son finds himself after squandering his fortune; his deep humiliation at finding himself obliged to feed swine, and still worse, at wanting to feed on the husks the pigs ate; his reflection on all he has lost; his repentance and decision to declare himself guilty before his father; the journey back; the father's generous welcome; the father's joy - all these are characteristic of the process of conversion. the beautiful robe, the ring, and the festive banquet are symbols of that new life - pure worthy, and joyful - of anyone who returns to God and to the bosom of his family, which is the Church. Only the heart of Christ Who knows the depths of his Father's love could reveal to us the abyss of his mercy in so simple and beautiful a way.


31 Cf. Tob 12:8; Mt 6:1-18.
32 1 Pet 4:8; Cf. Jas 5:20.
33 Cf. Am 5:24; Isa 1:17.
34 Cf. Lk 9:23.
35 Council of Trent (1551) DS 1638.
36 Cf. SC 109-110; CIC, cann. 1249-1253.; CCEO, Cann. 880-883
37 Cf. Lk 15:11-24.

VI. The Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

1440 Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him. At the same time it damages communion with the Church. For this reason conversion entails both God's forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. [38]

Only God forgives sin

1441 Only God forgives sins. [39] Since he is the Son of God, Jesus says of himself, “The Son of man has authority on earth to forgive sins” and exercises this divine power: “Your sins are forgiven.” [40] Further, by virtue of his divine authority he gives this power to men to exercise in his name. [41]

1442 Christ has willed that in her prayer and life and action his whole Church should be the sign and instrument of the forgiveness and reconciliation that he acquired for us at the price of his blood. But he entrusted the exercise of the power of absolution to the apostolic ministry which he charged with the “ministry of reconciliation.” [42] The apostle is sent out “on behalf of Christ” with “God making his appeal” through him and pleading: “Be reconciled to God.” [43]

Reconciliation with the Church

1443 During his public life Jesus not only forgave sins, but also made plain the effect of this forgiveness: he reintegrated forgiven sinners into the community of the People of God from which sin had alienated or even excluded them. A remarkable sign of this is the fact that Jesus receives sinners at his table, a gesture that expresses in an astonishing way both God's forgiveness and the return to the bosom of the People of God. [44]

1444 In imparting to his apostles his own power to forgive sins the Lord also gives them the authority to reconcile sinners with the Church. This ecclesial dimension of their task is expressed most notably in Christ's solemn words to Simon Peter: “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” [45] “The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of the apostles united to its head.” [46]

1445 The words bind and loose mean: whomever you exclude from your communion, will be excluded from communion with God; whomever you receive anew into your communion, God will welcome back into his. Reconciliation with the Church is inseparable from reconciliation with God.

The sacrament of forgiveness

1446 Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. the Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.” [47]

1447 Over the centuries the concrete form in which the Church has exercised this power received from the Lord has varied considerably. During the first centuries the reconciliation of Christians who had committed particularly grave sins after their Baptism (for example, idolatry, murder, or adultery) was tied to a very rigorous discipline, according to which penitents had to do public penance for their sins, often for years, before receiving reconciliation. To this “order of penitents” (which concerned only certain grave sins), one was only rarely admitted and in certain regions only once in a lifetime. During the seventh century Irish missionaries, inspired by the Eastern monastic tradition, took to continental Europe the “private” practice of penance, which does not require public and prolonged completion of penitential works before reconciliation with the Church. From that time on, the sacrament has been performed in secret between penitent and priest. This new practice envisioned the possibility of repetition and so opened the way to a regular frequenting of this sacrament. It allowed the forgiveness of grave sins and venial sins to be integrated into one sacramental celebration. In its main lines this is the form of penance that the Church has practiced down to our day.

1448 Beneath the changes in discipline and celebration that this sacrament has undergone over the centuries, the same fundamental structure is to be discerned. It comprises two equally essential elements: on the one hand, the acts of the man who undergoes conversion through the action of the Holy Spirit: namely, contrition, confession, and satisfaction; on the other, God's action through the intervention of the Church. the Church, who through the bishop and his priests forgives sins in the name of Jesus Christ and determines the manner of satisfaction, also prays for the sinner and does penance with him. Thus the sinner is healed and re-established in ecclesial communion.

1449 The formula of absolution used in the Latin Church expresses the essential elements of this sacrament: the Father of mercies is the source of all forgiveness. He effects the reconciliation of sinners through the Passover of his Son and the gift of his Spirit, through the prayer and ministry of the Church:

God, the Father of mercies,

through the death and the resurrection of his Son

has reconciled the world to himself

and sent the Holy Spirit among us

for the forgiveness of sins;

 through the ministry of the Church

may God give you pardon and peace,

and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. [48]


38 Cf. LG 11.
39 Cf. Mk 2:7[ETML:C/].
40 Mk 2:5, 10; Lk 7:48.
41 Cf. Jn 20:21-23.
42 2 Cor 5:18.
43 2 Cor 5:20.
44 Cf. Lk 15; 19:9.
45 Mt 16:19; cf. Mt 18:18; 28:16-20.
46 LG 22 # 2.
47 Tertullian, De Paenit. 4, 2: PL 1,1343; cf. Council of Trent (1547): DS 1542.
48 OP 46: formula of absolution.

VII. The Acts of the Penitent

1450 “Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction.” [49]

Contrition

1451 Among the penitent's acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is “sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again.” [50]

1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible. [51]

1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin's ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance. [52]

1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. the passages best suited to this can be found in the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings. [53]

The confession of sins

1455 The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new future possible.

1456 Confession to a priest is an essential part of the sacrament of Penance: “All mortal sins of which penitents after a diligent self-examination are conscious must be recounted by them in confession, even if they are most secret and have been committed against the last two precepts of the Decalogue; for these sins sometimes wound the soul more grievously and are more dangerous than those which are committed openly.” [54]

When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the divine mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for remission through the mediation of the priest, “for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know.” [55]

1457 According to the Church's command, “after having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” [56] Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. [57] Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time. [58]

1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. [59] Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful: [60]

Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear “man” - this is what God has made; when you hear “sinner” - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made .... When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. the beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light. [61]

Satisfaction

1459 Many sins wrong our neighbor. One must do what is possible in order to repair the harm (e.g., return stolen goods, restore the reputation of someone slandered, pay compensation for injuries). Simple justice requires as much. But sin also injures and weakens the sinner himself, as well as his relationships with God and neighbor. Absolution takes away sin, but it does not remedy all the disorders sin has caused. [62] Raised up from sin, the sinner must still recover his full spiritual health by doing something more to make amends for the sin: he must “make satisfaction for” or “expiate” his sins. This satisfaction is also called “penance.”

1460 The penance the confessor imposes must take into account the penitent's personal situation and must seek his spiritual good. It must correspond as far as possible with the gravity and nature of the sins committed. It can consist of prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service of neighbor, voluntary self-denial, sacrifices, and above all the patient acceptance of the cross we must bear. Such penances help configure us to Christ, who alone expiated our sins once for all. They allow us to become co-heirs with the risen Christ, “provided we suffer with him.” [63]

The satisfaction that we make for our sins, however, is not so much ours as though it were not done through Jesus Christ. We who can do nothing ourselves, as if just by ourselves, can do all things with the cooperation of “him who strengthens” us. Thus man has nothing of which to boast, but all our boasting is in Christ . . . in whom we make satisfaction by bringing forth “fruits that befit repentance.” These fruits have their efficacy from him, by him they are offered to the Father, and through him they are accepted by the Father. [64]


49 Roman Catechism II, V, 21; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1673.
50 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1676.
51 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1677.
52 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1678; 1705.
53 Cf. Mt 5-7; Rom 12-15; 1 Cor 12-13; Gal 5; Eph 4-6; etc.
54 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1680 (ND 1626); cf. Ex 20:17; Mt 5:28.
55 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1680 (ND 1626); cf. St. Jerome, In Eccl. 10, 11: PL 23:1096.
56 Cf. CIC, Can. 989; Council of Trent (1551): DS 1683; DS 1708.
57 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1647; 1661; CIC, can. 916; CCEO, can. 711.
58 Cf. CIC, can. 914.
59 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1680; CIC, can. 988 # 2.
60 Cf. Lk 6:36.
61 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 12, 13: PL 35, 1491.
62 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712.
63 Rom 8:17; Rom 3:25; 1 Jn 2:1-2; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1690.
64 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1691; cf. Phil 4:13; 1 Cor 1:31; 2 Cor 10:17; Gal 6:14; Lk 3:8[ETML:C/].

VIII. The Minister of This Sacrament

1461 Since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation, [65] bishops who are their successors, and priests, the bishops' collaborators, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

1462 Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but also with the Church. Since ancient times the bishop, visible head of a particular Church, has thus rightfully been considered to be the one who principally has the power and ministry of reconciliation: he is the moderator of the penitential discipline. [66] Priests, his collaborators, exercise it to the extent that they have received the commission either from their bishop (or religious superior) or the Pope, according to the law of the Church. [67]

1463 Certain particularly grave sins incur excommunication, the most severe ecclesiastical penalty, which impedes the reception of the sacraments and the exercise of certain ecclesiastical acts, and for which absolution consequently cannot be granted, according to canon law, except by the Pope, the bishop of the place or priests authorized by them. [68] In danger of death any priest, even if deprived of faculties for hearing confessions, can absolve from every sin and excommunication. [69]

1464 Priests must encourage the faithful to come to the sacrament of Penance and must make themselves available to celebrate this sacrament each time Christians reasonably ask for it. [70]

1465 When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful. the priest is the sign and the instrument of God's merciful love for the sinner.

1466 The confessor is not the master of God's forgiveness, but its servant. the minister of this sacrament should unite himself to the intention and charity of Christ. [71] He should have a proven knowledge of Christian behavior, experience of human affairs, respect and sensitivity toward the one who has fallen; he must love the truth, be faithful to the Magisterium of the Church, and lead the penitent with patience toward healing and full maturity. He must pray and do penance for his penitent, entrusting him to the Lord's mercy.

1467 Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him. He can make no use of knowledge that confession gives him about penitents' lives. [72] This secret, which admits of no exceptions, is called the “sacramental seal,” because what the penitent has made known to the priest remains “sealed” by the sacrament.


65 Cf. In 20:23; 2 Cor 5:18.
66 Cf. LG 26 # 3.
67 Cf. CIC cann. 844; 967-969; 972; CCEO, can. 722 ## 3-4.
68 Cf. CIC, cann. 1331; 1354-1357; CCEO, can. 1431; 1434; 1420.
69 Cf. CIC, can. 976; CCEO, can. 725.
70 Cf. CIC, can. 486; CCEO, can. 735; PO 13.
71 Cf. PO 13.
72 Cf. CIC, can. 1388 # 1; CCEO, can. 1456.

IX. The Effects of This Sacrament

1468 “The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship.” [73] Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation “is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation.” [74] Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true “spiritual resurrection,” restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God. [75]

1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. the sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members. [76] Re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland: [77]

It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. the forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation. [78]

1470 In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin. [79] In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and “does not come into judgment.” [80]


73 Roman Catechism, II, V, 18.
74 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1674.
75 Cf. Lk 15:32.
76 Cf. 1 Cor 12:26.
77 Cf. LG 48-50.
78 John Paul II, RP 31, 5.
79 Cf. 1 Cor 5:11; Gal 5:19-21; Rev 22:15.
80 Jn 5:24.

X. Indulgences

1471 The doctrine and practice of indulgences in the Church are closely linked to the effects of the sacrament of Penance.

What is an indulgence?

“An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.” [81] “An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due to sin.” [82] Indulgences may be applied to the living or the dead.

The punishments of sin

1472 To understand this doctrine and practice of the Church, it is necessary to understand that sin has a double consequence. Grave sin deprives us of communion with God and therefore makes us incapable of eternal life, the privation of which is called the “eternal punishment” of sin. On the other hand every sin, even venial, entails an unhealthy attachment to creatures, which must be purified either here on earth, or after death in the state called Purgatory. This purification frees one from what is called the “temporal punishment” of sin. These two punishments must not be conceived of as a kind of vengeance inflicted by God from without, but as following from the very nature of sin. A conversion which proceeds from a fervent charity can attain the complete purification of the sinner in such a way that no punishment would remain. [83]

1473 The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the “old man” and to put on the “new man.” [84]

In the Communion of Saints

1474 The Christian who seeks to purify himself of his sin and to become holy with the help of God's grace is not alone. “The life of each of God's children is joined in Christ and through Christ in a wonderful way to the life of all the other Christian brethren in the supernatural unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, as in a single mystical person.” [85]

1475 In the communion of saints, “a perennial link of charity exists between the faithful who have already reached their heavenly home, those who are expiating their sins in purgatory and those who are still pilgrims on earth. between them there is, too, an abundant exchange of all good things.” [86] In this wonderful exchange, the holiness of one profits others, well beyond the harm that the sin of one could cause others. Thus recourse to the communion of saints lets the contrite sinner be more promptly and efficaciously purified of the punishments for sin.

1476 We also call these spiritual goods of the communion of saints the Church's treasury, which is “not the sum total of the material goods which have accumulated during the course of the centuries. On the contrary the 'treasury of the Church' is the infinite value, which can never be exhausted, which Christ's merits have before God. They were offered so that the whole of mankind could be set free from sin and attain communion with the Father. In Christ, the Redeemer himself, the satisfactions and merits of his Redemption exist and find their effficacy.” [87]

1477 “This treasury includes as well the prayers and good works of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They are truly immense, unfathomable, and even pristine in their value before God. In the treasury, too, are the prayers and good works of all the saints, all those who have followed in the footsteps of Christ the Lord and by his grace have made their lives holy and carried out the mission the Father entrusted to them. In this way they attained their own salvation and at the same time cooperated in saving their brothers in the unity of the Mystical Body.” [88]

Obtaining indulgence from God through the Church

1478 An indulgence is obtained through the Church who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity. [89]

1479 Since the faithful departed now being purified are also members of the same communion of saints, one way we can help them is to obtain indulgences for them, so that the temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted.


81 Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm 1.
82 Indulgentiarum doctrina, Norm 2; Cf. Norm 3.
83 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1712-1713; (1563): 1820.
84 Eph 4:22, 24.
85 Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
86 Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
87 Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
88 Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.
89 Cf. Indulgentiarum doctrina, 5.

XI. The Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance

1480 Like all the sacraments, Penance is a liturgical action. the elements of the celebration are ordinarily these: a greeting and blessing from the priest, reading the word of God to illuminate the conscience and elicit contrition, and an exhortation to repentance; the confession, which acknowledges sins and makes them known to the priest; the imposition and acceptance of a penance; the priest's absolution; a prayer of thanksgiving and praise and dismissal with the blessing of the priest.

1481 The Byzantine Liturgy recognizes several formulas of absolution, in the form of invocation, which admirably express the mystery of forgiveness: “May the same God, who through the Prophet Nathan forgave David when he confessed his sins, who forgave Peter when he wept bitterly, the prostitute when she washed his feet with her tears, the Pharisee, and the prodigal son, through me, a sinner, forgive you both in this life and in the next and enable you to appear before his awe-inspiring tribunal without condemnation, he who is blessed for ever and ever. Amen.”

1482 The sacrament of Penance can also take place in the framework of a communal celebration in which we prepare ourselves together for confession and give thanks together for the forgiveness received. Here, the personal confession of sins and individual absolution are inserted into a liturgy of the word of God with readings and a homily, an examination of conscience conducted in common, a communal request for forgiveness, the Our Father and a thanksgiving in common. This communal celebration expresses more clearly the ecclesial character of penance. However, regardless of its manner of celebration the sacrament of Penance is always, by its very nature, a liturgical action, and therefore an ecclesial and public action. [90]

1483 In case of grave necessity recourse may be had to a communal celebration of reconciliation with general confession and general absolution. Grave necessity of this sort can arise when there is imminent danger of death without sufficient time for the priest or priests to hear each penitent's confession. Grave necessity can also exist when, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors to hear individual confessions properly in a reasonable time, so that the penitents through no fault of their own would be deprived of sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. In this case, for the absolution to be valid the faithful must have the intention of individually confessing their sins in the time required. [91] The diocesan bishop is the judge of whether or not the conditions required for general absolution exist. [92] A large gathering of the faithful on the occasion of major feasts or pilgrimages does not constitute a case of grave necessity. [93]

1484 “Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession.” [94] There are profound reasons for this. Christ is at work in each of the sacraments. He personally addresses every sinner: “My son, your sins are forgiven.” [95] He is the physician tending each one of the sick who need him to cure them. [96] He raises them up and reintegrates them into fraternal communion. Personal confession is thus the form most expressive of reconciliation with God and with the Church.


90 Cf. SC 26-27.
91 Cf. CIC, can. 962 #1.
92 Cf. CIC, can. 961 # 2.
93 Cf. CIC, can. 961 # 1.
94 OP 31.
95 Mk 2:5[ETML:C/].
96 Cf. Mk 2:17.

IN BRIEF

1485 “On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,” Jesus showed himself to his apostles. “He breathed on them, and said to them: 'Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained”' ( Jn 20:19, ( 22-23).

1486 The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.

1487 The sinner wounds God's honor and love, his own human dignity as a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone.

1488 To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world.

1489 To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.

1490 The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God's mercy.

1491 The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest's absolution. the penitent's acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.

1492 Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called “perfect” contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called “imperfect.”

1493 One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. the confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.

1494 The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of “satisfaction” or “penance” to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.

1495 Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.

1496 The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are: - reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace; - reconciliation with the Church; - remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins; - remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin; - peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation; - an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.

1497 Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

1498 Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.


Article 5

THE ANOINTING OF THE SICK

1499 “By the sacred anointing of the sick and the prayer of the priests the whole Church commends those who are ill to the suffering and glorified Lord, that he may raise them up and save them. and indeed she exhorts them to contribute to the good of the People of God by freely uniting themselves to the Passion and death of Christ.” [97]


97 LG 11; cf. Jas 5:14-16; Rom 8:17; Col 1:24; 2 Tim 2:11-12; 1 Pet 4:13.

I. Its Foundations in the Economy of Salvation

Illness in human life

1500 Illness and suffering have always been among the gravest problems confronted in human life. In illness, man experiences his powerlessness, his limitations, and his finitude. Every illness can make us glimpse death.

1501 Illness can lead to anguish, self-absorption, sometimes even despair and revolt against God. It can also make a person more mature, helping him discern in his life what is not essential so that he can turn toward that which is. Very often illness provokes a search for God and a return to him.

The sick person before God

1502 The man of the Old Testament lives his sickness in the presence of God. It is before God that he laments his illness, and it is of God, Master of life and death, that he implores healing. [98] Illness becomes a way to conversion; God's forgiveness initiates the healing. [99] It is the experience of Israel that illness is mysteriously linked to sin and evil, and that faithfulness to God according to his law restores life: “For I am the Lord, your healer.” [100] The prophet intuits that suffering can also have a redemptive meaning for the sins of others. [101] Finally Isaiah announces that God will usher in a time for Zion when he will pardon every offense and heal every illness. [102]

Christ the physician

1503 Christ's compassion toward the sick and his many healings of every kind of infirmity are a resplendent sign that “God has visited his people” [103] and that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Jesus has the power not only to heal, but also to forgive sins; [104] he has come to heal the whole man, soul and body; he is the physician the sick have need of. [105] His compassion toward all who suffer goes so far that he identifies himself with them: “I was sick and you visited me.” [106] His preferential love for the sick has not ceased through the centuries to draw the very special attention of Christians toward all those who suffer in body and soul. It is the source of tireless efforts to comfort them.

1504 Often Jesus asks the sick to believe. [107] He makes use of signs to heal: spittle and the laying on of hands, [108] mud and washing. [109] The sick try to touch him, “for power came forth from him and healed them all.” [110] and so in the sacraments Christ continues to “touch” us in order to heal us.

1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.” [111] But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,” [112] of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.

“Heal the sick . . .”

1506 Christ invites his disciples to follow him by taking up their cross in their turn. [113] By following him they acquire a new outlook on illness and the sick. Jesus associates them with his own life of poverty and service. He makes them share in his ministry of compassion and healing: “So they went out and preached that men should repent. and they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.” [114]

1507 The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name . . . they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” [115]) and confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking his name. [116] These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is truly “God who saves.” [117]

1508 The Holy Spirit gives to some a special charism of healing [118] so as to make manifest the power of the grace of the risen Lord. But even the most intense prayers do not always obtain the healing of all illnesses. Thus St. Paul must learn from the Lord that “my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” and that the sufferings to be endured can mean that “in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his Body, that is, the Church.” [119]

1509 “Heal the sick!” [120] The Church has received this charge from the Lord and strives to carry it out by taking care of the sick as well as by accompanying them with her prayer of intercession. She believes in the life-giving presence of Christ, the physician of souls and bodies. This presence is particularly active through the sacraments, and in an altogether special way through the Eucharist, the bread that gives eternal life and that St. Paul suggests is connected with bodily health. [121]

1510 However, the apostolic Church has its own rite for the sick, attested to by St. James: “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders [presbyters] of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” [122] Tradition has recognized in this rite one of the seven sacraments. [123]

A sacrament of the sick

1511 The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick:

This sacred anointing of the sick was instituted by Christ our Lord as a true and proper sacrament of the New Testament. It is alluded to indeed by Mark, but is recommended to the faithful and promulgated by James the apostle and brother of the Lord. [124]

1512 From ancient times in the liturgical traditions of both East and West, we have testimonies to the practice of anointings of the sick with blessed oil. Over the centuries the Anointing of the Sick was conferred more and more exclusively on those at the point of death. Because of this it received the name “Extreme Unction.” Notwithstanding this evolution the liturgy has never failed to beg the Lord that the sick person may recover his health if it would be conducive to his salvation. [125]

1513 The Apostolic Constitution Sacram unctionem infirmorum, [126] following upon the Second Vatican Council, [127] established that henceforth, in the Roman Rite, the following be observed:

The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given to those who are seriously ill by anointing them on the forehead and hands with duly blessed oil - pressed from olives or from other plants - saying, only once: “Through this holy anointing may the Lord in his love and mercy help you with the grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Lord who frees you from sin save you and raise you up.” [128]


98 Cf. Pss 6:3; 38; Isa 38.
99 Cf. Pss 32:5; 38:5; 39:9, 12; 107:20; cf. Mk 2:5-12.
100 Ex 15:26.
101 Cf. Isa 53:11.
102 Cf. Isa 33:24.
103 Lk 7:16; cf. Mt 4:24.
104 Cf. Mk 2:5-12.
105 Cf. Mk 2:17.
106 Mt 25:36.
107 Cf. Mk 5:34, 36; 9:23.
108 Cf. Mk 7:32-36; 8:22-25.
109 Cf. Jn 9:6-7.
110 Lk 6:19; cf. Mk 1:41; 3:10; 6:56.
111 Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4.
112 Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:4-6.
113 Cf. Mt 10:38.
114 Mk 6:12-13.
115 Mk 16:17-18.
116 Cf. Acts 9:34; 14:3.
117 Cf. Mt 1:21; Acts 4:12.
118 Cf. 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30.
119 2 Cor 12:9; Col 1:24.
120 Mt 10:8.
121 Cf. Jn 6:54, 58; 1 Cor 11:30.
122 Jas 5:14-15.
123 Cf. Council of Constantinople II (553) DS 216; Council of Florence    (1439) 1324- 1325; Council of Trent (1551) 1695-1696; 1716-1717.
124 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1695; cf. Mk 6:13; Jas 5:14-15.
125 Cf. Council of Trent (1551) DS 1696.
126 Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Sacram unctionem infirmorum, November 30, 1972.
127 Cf. SC 73.
128 Cf. CIC, Can. 847 # 1.

II. Who Receives and Who Administers This Sacrament?

In case of grave illness . . .

1514 The Anointing of the Sick “is not a sacrament for those only who are at the point of death. Hence, as soon as anyone of the faithful begins to be in danger of death from sickness or old age, the fitting time for him to receive this sacrament has certainly already arrived.” [129]

1515 If a sick person who received this anointing recovers his health, he can in the case of another grave illness receive this sacrament again. If during the same illness the person's condition becomes more serious, the sacrament may be repeated. It is fitting to receive the Anointing of the Sick just prior to a serious operation. the same holds for the elderly whose frailty becomes more pronounced.

“ . . . let him call for the presbyters of the Church”

1516 Only priests (bishops and presbyters) are ministers of the Anointing of the Sick. [130] It is the duty of pastors to instruct the faithful on the benefits of this sacrament. the faithful should encourage the sick to call for a priest to receive this sacrament. the sick should prepare themselves to receive it with good dispositions, assisted by their pastor and the whole ecclesial community, which is invited to surround the sick in a special way through their prayers and fraternal attention.


129 SC 73; cf. CIC, Cann. 1004 # 1; 1005; 1007; CCEO, Can. 738.
130 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1697; 1719; CIC, Can. 1003; CCEO, Can. 739 # 1.

III. How is This Sacrament Celebrated?

1517 Like all the sacraments the Anointing of the Sick is a liturgical and communal celebration, [131] whether it takes place in the family home, a hospital or church, for a single sick person or a whole group of sick persons. It is very fitting to celebrate it within the Eucharist, the memorial of the Lord's Passover. If circumstances suggest it, the celebration of the sacrament can be preceded by the sacrament of Penance and followed by the sacrament of the Eucharist. As the sacrament of Christ's Passover the Eucharist should always be the last sacrament of the earthly journey, the “viaticum” for “passing over” to eternal life.

1518 Word and sacrament form an indivisible whole. the Liturgy of the Word, preceded by an act of repentance, opens the celebration. the words of Christ, the witness of the apostles, awaken the faith of the sick person and of the community to ask the Lord for the strength of his Spirit.

1519 The celebration of the sacrament includes the following principal elements: the “priests of the Church” [132] - in silence - lay hands on the sick; they pray over them in the faith of the Church [133] - this is the epiclesis proper to this sacrament; they then anoint them with oil blessed, if possible, by the bishop. These liturgical actions indicate what grace this sacrament confers upon the sick.


131 Cf. SC 27.
132 Jas 5:14.
133 Cf. Jas 5:15.

IV. The Effects of the Celebration of This Sacrament

1520 A particular gift of the Holy Spirit. the first grace of this sacrament is one of strengthening, peace and courage to overcome the difficulties that go with the condition of serious illness or the frailty of old age. This grace is a gift of the Holy Spirit, who renews trust and faith in God and strengthens against the temptations of the evil one, the temptation to discouragement and anguish in the face of death. [134] This assistance from the Lord by the power of his Spirit is meant to lead the sick person to healing of the soul, but also of the body if such is God's will. [135] Furthermore, “if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” [136]

1521 Union with the passion of Christ. By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning; it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus.

1522 An ecclesial grace. the sick who receive this sacrament, “by freely uniting themselves to the passion and death of Christ,” “contribute to the good of the People of God.” [137] By celebrating this sacrament the Church, in the communion of saints, intercedes for the benefit of the sick person, and he, for his part, though the grace of this sacrament, contributes to the sanctification of the Church and to the good of all men for whom the Church suffers and offers herself through Christ to God the Father.

1523 A preparation for the final journey. If the sacrament of anointing of the sick is given to all who suffer from serious illness and infirmity, even more rightly is it given to those at the point of departing this life; so it is also called sacramentum exeuntium (the sacrament of those departing). [138] The Anointing of the Sick completes our conformity to the death and Resurrection of Christ, just as Baptism began it. It completes the holy anointings that mark the whole Christian life: that of Baptism which sealed the new life in us, and that of Confirmation which strengthened us for the combat of this life. This last anointing fortifies the end of our earthly life like a solid rampart for the final struggles before entering the Father's house. [139]


134 Cf. Heb 2:15.
135 Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1325.
136 Jas 515; cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1717.
137 LG 11 # 2.
138 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1698.
139 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1694.

V. Viaticum, the Last Sacrament of the Christian

1524 In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of “passing over” to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” [140] The sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is here the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father. [141]

1525 Thus, just as the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist form a unity called “the sacraments of Christian initiation,” so too it can be said that Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute at the end of Christian life “the sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland” or the sacraments that complete the earthly pilgrimage.


140 Jn 6:54.
141 Cf. Jn 13:1.

IN BRIEF

1526 “Is any among you sick? Let him call for the presbyters of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” ( Jas 5:14-15).

1527 The sacrament of Anointing of the Sick has as its purpose the conferral of a special grace on the Christian experiencing the difficulties inherent in the condition of grave illness or old age.

1528 The proper time for receiving this holy anointing has certainly arrived when the believer begins to be in danger of death because of illness or old age.

1529 Each time a Christian falls seriously ill, he may receive the Anointing of the Sick, and also when, after he has received it, the illness worsens.

1530 Only priests (presbyters and bishops) can give the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, using oil blessed by the bishop, or if necessary by the celebrating presbyter himself.

1531 The celebration of the Anointing of the Sick consists essentially in the anointing of the forehead and hands of the sick person (in the Roman Rite) or of other parts of the body (in the Eastern rite), the anointing being accompanied by the liturgical prayer of the celebrant asking for the special grace of this sacrament.

1532 The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects: - the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church; - the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age; - the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of Penance; - the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul; - the preparation for passing over to eternal life.


CHAPTER THREE

THE SACRAMENTS AT THE SERVICE OF COMMUNION

1533 Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are sacraments of Christian initiation. They ground the common vocation of all Christ's disciples, a vocation to holiness and to the mission of evangelizing the world. They confer the graces needed for the life according to the Spirit during this life as pilgrims on the march towards the homeland.

1534 Two other sacraments, Holy Orders and Matrimony, are directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so. They confer a particular mission in the Church and serve to build up the People of God.

1535 Through these sacraments those already consecrated by Baptism and Confirmation [1] for the common priesthood of all the faithful can receive particular consecrations. Those who receive the sacrament of Holy Orders are consecrated in Christ's name “to feed the Church by the word and grace of God.” [2] On their part, “Christian spouses are fortified and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” [3]


1 Cf. LG 10.
2 LG 11 # 2.
3 GS 48 # 2.

ARTICLE 6

THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY ORDERS

1536 Holy Orders is the sacrament through which the mission entrusted by Christ to his apostles continues to be exercised in the Church until the end of time: thus it is the sacrament of apostolic ministry. It includes three degrees: episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate.

(On the institution and mission of the apostolic ministry by Christ, see above, no. 874 ff. Here only the sacramental means by which this ministry is handed on will be treated.)


I. Why Is This Sacrament Called “Orders”?

1537 The word order in Roman antiquity designated an established civil body, especially a governing body. Ordinatio means incorporation into an ordo. In the Church there are established bodies which Tradition, not without a basis in Sacred Scripture, [4] has since ancient times called taxeis (Greek) or ordines. and so the liturgy speaks of the ordo episcoporum, the ordo presbyterorum, the ordo diaconorum. Other groups also receive this name of ordo: catechumens, virgins, spouses, widows,....

1538 Integration into one of these bodies in the Church was accomplished by a rite called ordinatio, a religious and liturgical act which was a consecration, a blessing or a sacrament. Today the word “ordination” is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishops, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, delegation, or institution by the community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a “sacred power” (sacra potestas) [5] which can come only from Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is also called consecratio, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. the laying on of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination.


4 Cf. Heb 5:6; 7:11; Ps 110:4.
5 Cf. LG 10.

II. The Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Economy of Salvation

The priesthood of the Old Covenant

1539 The chosen people was constituted by God as “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” [6] But within the people of Israel, God chose one of the twelve tribes, that of Levi, and set it apart for liturgical service; God himself is its inheritance. [7] A special rite consecrated the beginnings of the priesthood of the Old Covenant. the priests are “appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.” [8]

1540 Instituted to proclaim the Word of God and to restore communion with God by sacrifices and prayer, [9] this priesthood nevertheless remains powerless to bring about salvation, needing to repeat its sacrifices ceaselessly and being unable to achieve a definitive sanctification, which only the sacrifice of Christ would accomplish. [10]

1541 The liturgy of the Church, however, sees in the priesthood of Aaron and the service of the Levites, as in the institution of the seventy elders, [11] a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant. Thus in the Latin Rite the Church prays in the consecratory preface of the ordination of bishops:

God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

by your gracious word

you have established the plan of your Church.

 

From the beginning,

you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation.

You established rulers and priests

and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you.... [12]

1542 At the ordination of priests, the Church prays:

Lord, holy Father, . . .

when you had appointed high priests to rule your people,

you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity

to be with them and to help them in their task....

 

you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men....

You shared among the sons of Aaron

the fullness of their father's power. [13]

1543 In the consecratory prayer for ordination of deacons, the Church confesses:

Almighty God . . ..

You make the Church, Christ's body,

grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple.

You enrich it with every kind of grace

and perfect it with a diversity of members

to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.

 

You established a threefold ministry of worship and service,

for the glory of your name.

As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi

and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance. [14]

The one priesthood of Christ

1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the “one mediator between God and men.” [15] The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High,” as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique “high priest after the order of Melchizedek”; [16] “holy, blameless, unstained,” [17] “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,” [18] that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.

1545 The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. the same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ's priesthood: “Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers.” [19]

Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ

1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.” [20] The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. the faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.” [21]

1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, “each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ.” While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially. [22] In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace - a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit - ,the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. the ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

In the person of Christ the Head . . .

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis: [23]

It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi). [24] Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ. [25]

1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. [26] In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father. [27]

1550 This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. the power of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way. While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the minister's sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church.

1551 This priesthood is ministerial. “That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service.” [28] It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. the sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred power” which is none other than that of Christ. the exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all. [29] “The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him.” [30]

. . . “in the name of the whole Church”

1552 The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ - Head of the Church - before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice. [31]

1553 “In the name of the whole Church” does not mean that priests are the delegates of the community. the prayer and offering of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and through his Church. the whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays and offers herself “through him, with him, in him,” in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. the whole Body, caput et membra, prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood represents Christ that it can represent the Church.


6 Ex 19:6; cf. Isa 61:6.
7 Cf. Num 1:48-53; Josh 13:33.
8 Heb 5:1; cf. Ex 29:1-30; Lev 8.
9 Cf. Mal 2:7-9.
10 Cf. Heb 5:3; 7:27; 101-4.
11 Cf. Num 11:24-25.
12 Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Bishops 26, Prayer of Consecration.
13 Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Priests 22, Prayer of Consecration.
14 Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Deacons 21, Prayer of Consecration.
15 2 Tim 2:5.
16 Heb 5:10; cf. 6:20; Gen 14:18.
17 Heb 7:26.
18 Heb 10:14.
19 St. Thomas Aquinas, Hebr. 8, 4.
20 Rev 1:6; cf. Rev 5:9-10; 1 Pet 2:5, 9.
21 LG 10 # 1.
22 LG 10 # 2.
23 Cf. LG 10; 28; SC 33; CD 11; PO 2; 6.
24 Pius XII, encyclical, Mediator Dei: AAS, 39 (1947) 548.
25 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 22, 4c.
26 Cf. LG 21.
27 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3, 1: SCh 10, 96; cf. Ad Magn. 6, 1:    SCh 10, 82-84.
28 LG 24.
29 Cf. Mk 10 43-45; 1 Pet 5:3.
30 St. John Chrysostom, De sac. 2, 4: PG 48, 636; cf. Jn 21:15-17.
31 Cf. SC 33N; LG 10.

III. The Three Degrees of the Sacrament of Holy Orders

1554 “The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.” [32] Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate . the diaconate is intended to help and serve them. For this reason the term sacerdos in current usage denotes bishops and priests but not deacons. Yet Catholic doctrine teaches that the degrees of priestly participation (episcopate and presbyterate) and the degree of service (diaconate) are all three conferred by a sacramental act called “ordination,” that is, by the sacrament of Holy Orders:

Let everyone revere the deacons as Jesus Christ, the bishop as the image of the Father, and the presbyters as the senate of God and the assembly of the apostles. For without them one cannot speak of the Church. [33]

Episcopal ordination - fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders

1555 “Amongst those various offices which have been exercised in the Church from the earliest times the chief place, according to the witness of tradition, is held by the function of those who, through their appointment to the dignity and responsibility of bishop, and in virtue consequently of the unbroken succession going back to the beginning, are regarded as transmitters of the apostolic line.” [34]

1556 To fulfil their exalted mission, “the apostles were endowed by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon them, and by the imposition of hands they passed on to their auxiliaries the gift of the Spirit, which is transmitted down to our day through episcopal consecration.” [35]

1557 The Second Vatican Council “teaches . . . that the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by episcopal consecration, that fullness namely which, both in the liturgical tradition of the Church and the language of the Fathers of the Church, is called the high priesthood, the acme (summa) of the sacred ministry.” [36]

1558 “Episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, also the offices of teaching and ruling.... In fact ... by the imposition of hands and through the words of the consecration, the grace of the Holy Spirit is given, and a sacred character is impressed in such wise that bishops, in an eminent and visible manner, take the place of Christ himself, teacher, shepherd, and priest, and act as his representative (in Eius persona agant).” [37] “By virtue, therefore, of the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, bishops have been constituted true and authentic teachers of the faith and have been made pontiffs and pastors.” [38]

1559 “One is constituted a member of the episcopal body in virtue of the sacramental consecration and by the hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college.” [39] The character and collegial nature of the episcopal order are evidenced among other ways by the Church's ancient practice which calls for several bishops to participate in the consecration of a new bishop. [40] In our day, the lawful ordination of a bishop requires a special intervention of the Bishop of Rome, because he is the supreme visible bond of the communion of the particular Churches in the one Church and the guarantor of their freedom.

1560 As Christ's vicar, each bishop has the pastoral care of the particular Church entrusted to him, but at the same time he bears collegially with all his brothers in the episcopacy the solicitude for all the Churches: “Though each bishop is the lawful pastor only of the portion of the flock entrusted to his care, as a legitimate successor of the apostles he is, by divine institution and precept, responsible with the other bishops for the apostolic mission of the Church.” [41]

1561 The above considerations explain why the Eucharist celebrated by the bishop has a quite special significance as an expression of the Church gathered around the altar, with the one who represents Christ, the Good Shepherd and Head of his Church, presiding. [42]

The ordination of priests - co-workers of the bishops

1562 “Christ, whom the Father hallowed and sent into the world, has, through his apostles, made their successors, the bishops namely, sharers in his consecration and mission; and these, in their turn, duly entrusted in varying degrees various members of the Church with the office of their ministry.” [43] “The function of the bishops' ministry was handed over in a subordinate degree to priests so that they might be appointed in the order of the priesthood and be co-workers of the episcapal order for the proper fulfillment of the apostolic mission that had been entrusted to it by Christ.” [44]

1563 “Because it is joined with the episcopal order the office of priests shares in the authority by which Christ himself builds up and sanctifies and rules his Body. Hence the priesthood of priests, while presupposing the sacraments of initiation, is nevertheless conferred by its own particular sacrament. Through that sacrament priests by the anointing of the Holy Spirit are signed with a special character and so are configured to Christ the priest in such a way that they are able to act in the person of Christ the head.” [45]

1564 “Whilst not having the supreme degree of the pontifical office, and notwithstanding the fact that they depend on the bishops in the exercise of their own proper power, the priests are for all that associated with them by reason of their sacerdotal dignity; and in virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, after the image of Christ, the supreme and eternal priest, they are consecrated in order to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful as well as to celebrate divine worship as true priests of the New Testament.” [46]

1565 Through the sacrament of Holy Orders priests share in the universal dimensions of the mission that Christ entrusted to the apostles. the spiritual gift they have received in ordination prepares them, not for a limited and restricted mission, “but for the fullest, in fact the universal mission of salvation 'to the end of the earth,”' [47] “prepared in spirit to preach the Gospel everywhere.” [48]

1566 “It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father.” [49] From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength. [50]

1567 “The priests, prudent cooperators of the episcopal college and its support and instrument, called to the service of the People of God, constitute, together with their bishop, a unique sacerdotal college (presbyterium) dedicated, it is, true to a variety of distinct duties. In each local assembly of the faithful they represent, in a certain sense, the bishop, with whom they are associated in all trust and generosity; in part they take upon themselves his duties and solicitude and in their daily toils discharge them.” [51] priests can exercise their ministry only in dependence on the bishop and in communion with him. the promise of obedience they make to the bishop at the moment of ordination and the kiss of peace from him at the end of the ordination liturgy mean that the bishop considers them his co-workers, his sons, his brothers and his friends, and that they in return owe him love and obedience.

1568 “All priests, who are constituted in the order of priesthood by the sacrament of Order, are bound together by an intimate sacramental brotherhood, but in a special way they form one priestly body in the diocese to which they are attached under their own bishop. . ;” [52] The unity of the presbyterium finds liturgical expression in the custom of the presbyters' imposing hands, after the bishop, during the Ate of ordination.

The ordination of deacons - “in order to serve”

1569 “At a lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons, who receive the imposition of hands 'not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry.”' [53] At an ordination to the diaconate only the bishop lays hands on the candidate, thus signifying the deacon's special attachment to the bishop in the tasks of his “diakonia.” [54]

1570 Deacons share in Christ's mission and grace in a special way. [55] The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. [56] Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity. [57]

1571 Since the Second Vatican Council the Latin Church has restored the diaconate “as a proper and permanent rank of the hierarchy,” [58] while the Churches of the East had always maintained it. This permanent diaconate, which can be conferred on married men, constitutes an important enrichment for the Church's mission. Indeed it is appropriate and useful that men who carry out a truly diaconal ministry in the Church, whether in its liturgical and pastoral life or whether in its social and charitable works, should “be strengthened by the imposition of hands which has come down from the apostles. They would be more closely bound to the altar and their ministry would be made more fruitful through the sacramental grace of the diaconate.” [59]


32 LG 28.
33 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3,1: SCh 10, 96.
34 LG 20.
35 LG 21; Cf. Acts 1:8; 24; Jn 20:22-23; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-7.
36 LG 21 # 2.
37 LG 21.
38 CD 2 # 2.
39 LG 22.
40 Cf. LG 22.
41 Pius XII, Fidei donum: AAS 49 (1957) 237; cf. LG 23; CD 4; 36; 37; AG 5; 6; 38.
42 Cf. SC 41; LG 26.
43 LG 28; cf. Jn 10:36.
44 PO 2 # 2.
45 PO 2.
46 LG 28 cf. Heb 5:1-10; 7:24; 9:11-28; Innocent I, Epist. ad Decentium:    PL 20, 554 A; St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 2, 22: PG 35, 432B.
47 PO 10; OT 20; cf. Acts 1:8.
48 OT 20.
49 LG 28; cf. 1 Cor 11:26.
50 Cf. PO 2.
51 LG 28 # 2.
52 PO 8.
53 LG 29; cf. CD 15.
54 Cf. St. Hippolytus, Trad. ap. 8: SCh 11, 58-62.
55 Cf. LG 41; AA 16.
56 Cf. Mk 10:45; Lk 22:27; St. Polycarp, Ad Phil. 5, 2: SCh 10, 182.
57 Cf. LG 29; SC 35 # 4; AG 16.
58 LG 29 # 2.
59 AG 16 # 6.

IV. The Celebration of This Sacrament

1572 Given the importance that the ordination of a bishop, a priest, or a deacon has for the life of the particular Church, its celebration calls for as many of the faithful as possible to take part. It should take place preferably on Sunday, in the cathedral, with solemnity appropriate to the occasion. All three ordinations, of the bishop, of the pRiest, and of the deacon, follow the same movement. Their proper place is within the Eucharistic liturgy.

1573 The essential rite of the sacrament of Holy Orders for all three degrees consists in the bishop's imposition of hands on the head of the ordinand and in the bishop's specific consecratory prayer asking God for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and his gifts proper to the ministry to which the candidate is being ordained. [60]

1574 As in all the sacraments additional rites surround the celebration. Varying greatly among the different liturgical traditions, these rites have in common the expression of the multiple aspects of sacramental grace. Thus in the Latin Church, the initial rites - presentation and election of the ordinand, instruction by the bishop, examination of the candidate, litany of the saints - attest that the choice of the candidate is made in keeping with the practice of the Church and prepare for the solemn act of consecration, after which several rites syrnbolically express and complete the mystery accomplished: for bishop and priest, an anointing with holy chrism, a sign of the special anointing of the Holy Spirit who makes their ministry fruitful; giving the book of the Gospels, the ring, the miter, and the crosier to the bishop as the sign of his apostolic mission to proclaim the Word of God, of his fidelity to the Church, the bride of Christ, and his office as shepherd of the Lord's flock; presentation to the priest of the paten and chalice, “the offering of the holy people” which he is called to present to God; giving the book of the Gospels to the deacon who has just received the mission to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.


60 Cf. Pius XII, apostolic constitution, Sacramentum Ordinis: DS 3858.

V. Who Can Confer This Sacrament?

1575 Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority. Raised to the Father's right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today. [61] Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops. [62]

1576 Since the sacrament of Holy Orders is the sacrament of the apostolic ministry, it is for the bishops as the successors of the apostles to hand on the “gift of the Spirit,” [63] The “apostolic line.” [64] Validly ordained bishops, i.e., those who are in the line of apostolic succession, validly confer the three degrees of the sacrament of Holy Orders. [65]


61 Cf. Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I.
62 Cf. LG 21; Eph 4:11.
63 LG 21 # 2.
64 LG 20.
65 Cf. DS 794 and Cf. DS 802; CIC, can. 1012; CCEO, can. 744; 747.

VI. Who Can Receive This Sacrament?

1577 “Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.” [66] The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry. [67] The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ's return. the Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible. [68]

1578 No one has a right to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. Indeed no one claims this office for himself; he is called to it by God. [69] Anyone who thinks he recognizes the signs of God's call to the ordained ministry must humbly submit his desire to the authority of the Church, who has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive orders. Like every grace this sacrament can be received only as an unmerited gift.

1579 All the ordained ministers of the Latin Church, with the exception of permanent deacons, are normally chosen from among men of faith who live a celibate life and who intend to remain celibate “for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.” [70] Called to consecrate themselves with undivided heart to the Lord and to “the affairs of the Lord,” [71] they give themselves entirely to God and to men. Celibacy is a sign of this new life to the service of which the Church's minister is consecrated; accepted with a joyous heart celibacy radiantly proclaims the Reign of God. [72]

1580 In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and priests. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these priests exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities. [73] Moreover, priestly celibacy is held in great honor in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.


66 CIC, can. 1024.
67 Cf. Mk 3:14-19; Lk 6:12-16; 1 Tim 3:1-13; 2 Tim 1:6; Titus 1:5-9; St.    Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 42, 4; 44, 3: PG 1, 292-293; 300.
68 Cf. John Paul II, MD 26-27; CDF, declaration, Inter insigniores: AAS 69    (1977) 98-116.
69 Cf. Heb 5:4.
70 Mt 19:12.
71 1 Cor 7:32.
72 Cf. PO 16.
73 Cf. PO 16.

VII. The Effects of the Sacrament of Holy Orders

The indelible character

1581 This sacrament configures the recipient to Christ by a special grace of the Holy Spirit, so that he may serve as Christ's instrument for his Church. By ordination one is enabled to act as a representative of Christ, Head of the Church, in his triple office of priest, prophet, and king.

1582 As in the case of Baptism and Confirmation this share in Christ's office is granted once for all. the sacrament of Holy Orders, like the other two, confers an indelible spiritual character and cannot be repeated or conferred temporarily. [74]

1583 It is true that someone validly ordained can, for a just reason, be discharged from the obligations and functions linked to ordination, or can be forbidden to exercise them; but he cannot become a layman again in the strict sense, [75] because the character imprinted by ordination is for ever. the vocation and mission received on the day of his ordination mark him permanently.

1584 Since it is ultimately Christ who acts and effects salvation through the ordained minister, the unworthiness of the latter does not prevent Christ from acting. [76] St. Augustine states this forcefully:

As for the proud minister, he is to be ranked with the devil. Christ's gift is not thereby profaned: what flows through him keeps its purity, and what passes through him remains dear and reaches the fertile earth.... the spiritual power of the sacrament is indeed comparable to light: those to be enlightened receive it in its purity, and if it should pass through defiled beings, it is not itself defiled. [77]

The grace of the Holy Spirit

1585 The grace of the Holy Spirit proper to this sacrament is configuration to Christ as Priest, Teacher, and Pastor, of whom the ordained is made a minister.

1586 For the bishop, this is first of all a grace of strength (“the governing spirit”: Prayer of Episcopal Consecration in the Latin rite): [78] The grace to guide and defend his Church with strength and prudence as a father and pastor, with gratuitous love for all and a preferential love for the poor, the sick, and the needy. This grace impels him to proclaim the Gospel to all, to be the model for his flock, to go before it on the way of sanctification by identifying himself in the Eucharist with Christ the priest and victim, not fearing to give his life for his sheep:

Father, you know all hearts.

You have chosen your servant for the office of bishop.

May he be a shepherd to your holy flock,

and a high priest blameless in your sight,

ministering to you night and day;

may he always gain the blessing of your favor

and offer the gifts of your holy Church.

Through the Spirit who gives the grace of high priesthood grant him the power

to forgive sins as you have commanded

to assign ministries as you have decreed

and to loose from every bond by the authority which you

gave to your apostles. May he be pleasing to you by his gentleness and purity of heart,

presenting a fragrant offering to you,

through Jesus Christ, your Son.... [79]

1587 The spiritual gift conferred by presbyteral ordination is expressed by this prayer of the Byzantine Rite. the bishop, while laying on his hand, says among other things:

Lord, fill with the gift of the Holy Spirit

him whom you have deigned to raise to the rank of the priesthood,

that he may be worthy to stand without reproach before your altar

to proclaim the Gospel of your kingdom,

to fulfill the ministry of your word of truth,

to offer you spiritual gifts and sacrifices,

to renew your people by the bath of rebirth;

so that he may go out to meet our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, your only Son,

on the day of his second coming,

and may receive from your vast goodness

the recompense for a faithful administration of his order. [80]

1588 With regard to deacons, “strengthened by sacramental grace they are dedicated to the People of God, in conjunction with the bishop and his body of priests, in the service (diakonia) of the liturgy, of the Gospel, and of works of charity.” [81]

1589 Before the grandeur of the priestly grace and office, the holy doctors felt an urgent call to conversion in order to conform their whole lives to him whose sacrament had made them ministers. Thus St. Gregory of Nazianzus, as a very young priest, exclaimed:

We must begin by purifying ourselves before purifying others; we must be instructed to be able to instruct, become light to illuminate, draw close to God to bring him close to others, be sanctified to sanctify, lead by the hand and counsel prudently. I know whose ministers we are, where we find ourselves and to where we strive. I know God's greatness and man's weakness, but also his potential. [Who then is the priest? He is] the defender of truth, who stands with angels, gives glory with archangels, causes sacrifices to rise to the altar on high, shares Christ's priesthood, refashions creation, restores it in God's image, recreates it for the world on high and, even greater, is divinized and divinizes. [82] and the holy Cure of Ars: “The priest continues the work of redemption on earth.... If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love.... the Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.” [83]


74 Cf. Council of Trent: 1 DS 1767; LG 21; 28; 29; PO 2.
75 Cf. CIC, cann. 290-293; 1336 # 1 3, 5, 1338 # 2; Council of Trent DS 1774.
76 Cf. Council of Trent DS 1612; DS 1154.
77 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 5,15: PL 35, 1422.
78 Cf. Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Bishops 26, Prayer of Consecration;    cf. CD 13; 16.
79 Roman Pontifical, Ordination of Bishops 26, Prayer of Consecration; cf.    St. Hippolytus, Trad. ap. 3: SCh ll, 44-46.
80 Byzantine Liturgy, Euchologion.
81 LG 29.
82 St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio 2, 71, 74, 73: PG 35, 480-481.
83 St. John Vianney, quoted in B. Nodet, Jean-Marie Vianney, Cure' d' Ars, 100.

IN BRIEF

1590 St. Paul said to his disciple Timothy: “I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands” ( 2Tim 1:6), and “If any one aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task.” ( 1 Tim 3:1) To Titus he said: “This is why I left you in Crete, that you amend what was defective, and appoint presbyters in every town, as I directed you” ( Titus 1:5).

1591 The whole Church is a priestly people. Through Baptism all the faithful share in the priesthood of Christ. This participation is called the “common priesthood of the faithful.” Based on this common priesthood and ordered to its service, there exists another participation in the mission of Christ: the ministry conferred by the sacrament of Holy Orders, where the task is to serve in the name and in the person of Christ the Head in the midst of the community.

1592 The ministerial priesthood differs in essence from the common priesthood of the faithful because it confers a sacred power for the service of the faithful. the ordained ministers exercise their service for the People of God by teaching (munus docendi), divine worship (munus liturgicum) and pastoral governance (munus regendi).

1593 Since the beginning, the ordained ministry has been conferred and exercised in three degrees: that of bishops, that of presbyters, and that of deacons. the ministries conferred by ordination are irreplaceable for the organic structure of the Church: without the bishop, presbyters, and deacons, one cannot speak of the Church (cf St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Trall. 3,1).

1594 The bishop receives the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders, which integrates him into the episcopal college and makes him the visible head of the particular Church entrusted to him. As successors of the apostles and members of the college, the bishops share in the apostolic responsibility and mission of the whole Church under the authority of the Pope, successor of St. Peter.

1595 Priests are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity and at the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral functions; they are called to be the bishops' prudent co-workers. They form around their bishop the presbyterium which bears responsibility with him for the particular Church. They receive from the bishop the charge of a parish community or a determinate ecclesial office.

1596 Deacons are ministers ordained for tasks of service of the Church; they do not receive the ministerial priesthood, but ordination confers on them important functions in the ministry of the word, divine worship, pastoral governance, and the service of charity, tasks which they must carry out under the pastoral authority of their bishop.

1597 The sacrament of Holy Orders is conferred by the laying on of hands followed by a solemn prayer of consecration asking God to grant the ordinand the graces of the Holy Spirit required for his ministry. Ordination imprints an indelible sacramental character.

1598 The Church confers the sacrament of Holy Orders only on baptized men (viri), whose suitability for the exercise of the ministry has been duly recognized. Church authority alone has the responsibility and right to call someone to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

1599 In the Latin Church the sacrament of Holy Orders for the presbyterate is normally conferred only on candidates who are ready to embrace celibacy freely and who publicly manifest their intention of staying celibate for the love of God's kingdom and the service of men.

1600 It is bishops who confer the sacrament of Holy Orders in the three degrees.


Article 7

THE SACRAMENT OF MATRIMONY

1601 “The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.” [84]


84 CIC, can. 1055 # 1; cf. GS 48 # 1.

I. Marriage in God's Plan

1602 Sacred Scripture begins with the creation of man and woman in the image and likeness of God and concludes with a vision of “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” [85] Scripture speaks throughout of marriage and its “mystery,” its institution and the meaning God has given it, its origin and its end, its various realizations throughout the history of salvation, the difficulties arising from sin and its renewal “in the Lord” in the New Covenant of Christ and the Church. [86]

Marriage in the order of creation

1603 “The intimate community of life and love which constitutes the married state has been established by the Creator and endowed by him with its own proper laws.... God himself is the author of marriage.” [87] The vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator. Marriage is not a purely human institution despite the many variations it may have undergone through the centuries in different cultures, social structures, and spiritual attitudes. These differences should not cause us to forget its common and permanent characteristics. Although the dignity of this institution is not transparent everywhere with the same clarity, [88] some sense of the greatness of the matrimonial union exists in all cultures. “The well-being of the individual person and of both human and Christian society is closely bound up with the healthy state of conjugal and family life.” [89]

1604 God who created man out of love also calls him to love the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being. For man is created in the image and likeness of God who is himself love. [90] Since God created him man and woman, their mutual love becomes an image of the absolute and unfailing love with which God loves man. It is good, very good, in the Creator's eyes. and this love which God blesses is intended to be fruitful and to be realized in the common work of watching over creation: “and God blessed them, and God said to them: 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it.'“ [91]

1605 Holy Scripture affirms that man and woman were created for one another: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” [92] The woman, “flesh of his flesh,” i.e., his counterpart, his equal, his nearest in all things, is given to him by God as a “helpmate”; she thus represents God from whom comes our help. [93] “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.” [94] The Lord himself shows that this signifies an unbreakable union of their two lives by recalling what the plan of the Creator had been “in the beginning”: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.” [95]

Marriage under the regime of sin

1606 Every man experiences evil around him and within himself. This experience makes itself felt in the relationships between man and woman. Their union has always been threatened by discord, a spirit of domination, infidelity, jealousy, and conflicts that can escalate into hatred and separation. This disorder can manifest itself more or less acutely, and can be more or less overcome according to the circumstances of cultures, eras, and individuals, but it does seem to have a universal character.

1607 According to faith the disorder we notice so painfully does not stem from the nature of man and woman, nor from the nature of their relations, but from sin. As a break with God, the first sin had for its first consequence the rupture of the original communion between man and woman. Their relations were distorted by mutual recriminations; [96] their mutual attraction, the Creator's own gift, changed into a relationship of domination and lust; [97] and the beautiful vocation of man and woman to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth was burdened by the pain of childbirth and the toil of work. [98]

1608 Nevertheless, the order of creation persists, though seriously disturbed. To heal the wounds of sin, man and woman need the help of the grace that God in his infinite mercy never refuses them. [99] Without his help man and woman cannot achieve the union of their lives for which God created them “in the beginning.”

Marriage under the pedagogy of the Law

1609 In his mercy God has not forsaken sinful man. the punishments consequent upon sin, “pain in childbearing” and toil “in the sweat of your brow,” [100] also embody remedies that limit the damaging effects of sin. After the fall, marriage helps to overcome self-absorption, egoism, pursuit of one's own pleasure, and to open oneself to the other, to mutual aid and to self-giving.

1610 Moral conscience concerning the unity and indissolubility of marriage developed under the pedagogy of the old law. In the Old Testament the polygamy of patriarchs and kings is not yet explicitly rejected. Nevertheless, the law given to Moses aims at protecting the wife from arbitrary domination by the husband, even though according to the Lord's words it still carries traces of man's “hardness of heart” which was the reason Moses permitted men to divorce their wives. [101]

1611 Seeing God's covenant with Israel in the image of exclusive and faithful married love, the prophets prepared the Chosen People's conscience for a deepened understanding of the unity and indissolubility of marriage. [102] The books of Ruth and Tobit bear moving witness to an elevated sense of marriage and to the fidelity and tenderness of spouses. Tradition has always seen in the Song of Solomon a unique expression of human love, a pure reflection of God's love - a love “strong as death” that “many waters cannot quench.” [103]

Marriage in the Lord

1612 The nuptial covenant between God and his people Israel had prepared the way for the new and everlasting covenant in which the Son of God, by becoming incarnate and giving his life, has united to himself in a certain way all mankind saved by him, thus preparing for “the wedding-feast of the Lamb.” [104]

1613 On the threshold of his public life Jesus performs his first sign - at his mother's request - during a wedding feast. [105] The Church attaches great importance to Jesus' presence at the wedding at Cana. She sees in it the confirmation of the goodness of marriage and the proclamation that thenceforth marriage will be an efficacious sign of Christ's presence.

1614 In his preaching Jesus unequivocally taught the original meaning of the union of man and woman as the Creator willed it from the beginning permission given by Moses to divorce one's wife was a concession to the hardness of hearts. [106] The matrimonial union of man and woman is indissoluble: God himself has determined it “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” [107]

1615 This unequivocal insistence on the indissolubility of the marriage bond may have left some perplexed and could seem to be a demand impossible to realize. However, Jesus has not placed on spouses a burden impossible to bear, or too heavy - heavier than the Law of Moses. [108] By coming to restore the original order of creation disturbed by sin, he himself gives the strength and grace to live marriage in the new dimension of the Reign of God. It is by following Christ, renouncing themselves, and taking up their crosses that spouses will be able to “receive” the original meaning of marriage and live it with the help of Christ. [109] This grace of Christian marriage is a fruit of Christ's cross, the source of all Christian life.

1616 This is what the Apostle Paul makes clear when he says: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her,” adding at once: “'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church.” [110]

1617 The entire Christian life bears the mark of the spousal love of Christ and the Church. Already Baptism, the entry into the People of God, is a nuptial mystery; it is so to speak the nuptial bath [111] which precedes the wedding feast, the Eucharist. Christian marriage in its turn becomes an efficacious sign, the sacrament of the covenant of Christ and the Church. Since it signifies and communicates grace, marriage between baptized persons is a true sacrament of the New Covenant. [112]

Virginity for the sake of the Kingdom

1618 Christ is the center of all Christian life. the bond with him takes precedence over all other bonds, familial or social. [113] From the very beginning of the Church there have been men and women who have renounced the great good of marriage to follow the Lamb wherever he goes, to be intent on the things of the Lord, to seek to please him, and to go out to meet the Bridegroom who is coming. [114] Christ himself has invited certain persons to follow him in this way of life, of which he remains the model:

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it.” [115]

1619 Virginity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven is an unfolding of baptismal grace, a powerful sign of the supremacy of the bond with Christ and of the ardent expectation of his return, a sign which also recalls that marriage is a reality of this present age which is passing away. [116]

1620 Both the sacrament of Matrimony and virginity for the Kingdom of God come from the Lord himself. It is he who gives them meaning and grants them the grace which is indispensable for living them out in conformity with his will. [117] Esteem of virginity for the sake of the kingdom [118] and the Christian understanding of marriage are inseparable, and they reinforce each other:

Whoever denigrates marriage also diminishes the glory of virginity. Whoever praises it makes virginity more admirable and resplendent. What appears good only in comparison with evil would not be truly good. the most excellent good is something even better than what is admitted to be good. [119]


85 Rev 19:7, 9; cf. Gen 1:26-27.
86 1 Cor 7:39; cf. Eph 5:31-32.
87 GS 48 # 1.
88 Cf. GS 47 # 2.
89 GS 47 # 1.
90 Cf. Gen 1:27; 1 Jn 4:8, 16.
91 Gen 1:28; cf. 1:31.
92 Gen 2:18.
93 Cf. Gen 2:18-25.
94 Gen 2:24.
95 Mt 19:6.
96 Cf. Gen 3:12.
97 Cf. Gen 2:22; 3:16b.
98 Cf. Gen 1:28; :/]; 3:16-19.
99 Cf. Gen 3:21.
100 :/]; Gen 3:16, 19.
101 Cf. Mt 19:8; Deut 24:1.
102 Cf. Hos 1-3; Isa 54; 62; Jer 2-3; 31; Ezek 16; 23; Mal 2:13-17.
103 Song 8:6-7.
104 Rev 19:7, 9; cf. GS 22.
105 Cf. Jn 2:1-11.
106 Cf. Mt 19:8.
107 Mt 19:6.
108 Cf. Mk 8:34; Mt 11:29-30.
109 Cf. Mt 19:11.
110 Eph 5:25-26, 31-32; Cf. Gen 2:24.
111 Cf. Eph 5:26-27.
112 Cf. DS 1800; CIC, Can. 1055 # 2.
113 Cf. Lk 14:26; Mk 10:28-31.
114 Cf. Rev 14:4; 1 Cor 7:32; Mt 2:56.
115 Mt 19:12.
116 Cf. Mk 12:25; 1 Cor 7:31.
117 Cf. Mt 19:3-12.
118 Cf. LG 42; PC 12; OT 10.
119 St. John Chrysostom, De virg. 10, 1 PG 48, 540; Cf. John Paul II, FC 16.

II. The Celebration of Marriage

1621 In the Latin Rite the celebration of marriage between two Catholic faithful normally takes place during Holy Mass, because of the connection of all the sacraments with the Paschal mystery of Christ. [120] In the Eucharist the memorial of the New Covenant is realized, the New Covenant in which Christ has united himself for ever to the Church, his beloved bride for whom he gave himself up. [121] It is therefore fitting that the spouses should seal their consent to give themselves to each other through the offering of their own lives by uniting it to the offering of Christ for his Church made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, and by receiving the Eucharist so that, communicating in the same Body and the same Blood of Christ, they may form but “one body” in Christ. [122]

1622 “Inasmuch as it is a sacramental action of sanctification, the liturgical celebration of marriage . . . must be, per se, valid, worthy, and fruitful.” [123] It is therefore appropriate for the bride and groom to prepare themselves for the celebration of their marriage by receiving the sacrament of penance.

1623 In the Latin Church, it is ordinarily understood that the spouses, as ministers of Christ's grace, mutually confer upon each other the sacrament of Matrimony by expressing their consent before the Church. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament (which is called “Crowning”) is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant.

1624 The various liturgies abound in prayers of blessing and epiclesis asking God's grace and blessing on the new couple, especially the bride. In the epiclesis of this sacrament the spouses receive the Holy Spirit as the communion of love of Christ and the Church. [124] The Holy Spirit is the seal of their covenant, the ever available source of their love and the strength to renew their fidelity.


120 Cf. SC 61.
121 Cf. LG 6.
122 Cf. 1 Cor 10:17.
123 FC 67.
124 Cf. Eph 5:32.

III. Matrimonial Consent

1625 The parties to a marriage covenant are a baptized man and woman, free to contract marriage, who freely express their consent; “to be free” means: - not being under constraint; - not impeded by any natural or ecclesiastical law.

1626 The Church holds the exchange of consent between the spouses to be the indispensable element that “makes the marriage.” [125] If consent is lacking there is no marriage.

1627 The consent consists in a “human act by which the partners mutually give themselves to each other”: “I take you to be my wife” - “I take you to be my husband.” [126] This consent that binds the spouses to each other finds its fulfillment in the two “becoming one flesh.” [127]

1628 The consent must be an act of the will of each of the contracting parties, free of coercion or grave external fear. [128] No human power can substitute for this consent. [129] If this freedom is lacking the marriage is invalid.

1629 For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed. [130] In this case the contracting parties are free to marry, provided the natural obligations of a previous union are discharged. [131]

1630 The priest (or deacon) who assists at the celebration of a marriage receives the consent of the spouses in the name of the Church and gives the blessing of the Church. the presence of the Church's minister (and also of the witnesses) visibly expresses the fact that marriage is an ecclesial reality.

1631 This is the reason why the Church normally requires that the faithful contract marriage according to the ecclesiastical form. Several reasons converge to explain this requirement: [132] - Sacramental marriage is a liturgical act. It is therefore appropriate that it should be celebrated in the public liturgy of the Church; - Marriage introduces one into an ecclesial order, and creates rights and duties in the Church between the spouses and towards their children; - Since marriage is a state of life in the Church, certainty about it is necessary (hence the obligation to have witnesses); - the public character of the consent protects the “I do” once given and helps the spouses remain faithful to it.

1632 So that the “I do” of the spouses may be a free and responsible act and so that the marriage covenant may have solid and lasting human and Christian foundations, preparation for marriage is of prime importance.

The example and teaching given by parents and families remain the special form of this preparation. The role of pastors and of the Christian community as the “family of God” is indispensable for the transmission of the human and Christian values of marriage and family, [133] and much more so in our era when many young people experience broken homes which no longer sufficiently assure this initiation:

It is imperative to give suitable and timely instruction to young people, above all in the heart of their own families, about the dignity of married love, its role and its exercise, so that, having learned the value of chastity, they will be able at a suitable age to engage in honorable courtship and enter upon a marriage of their own. [134]

Mixed marriages and disparity of cult

1633 In many countries the situation of a mixed marriage (marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic) often arises. It requires particular attention on the part of couples and their pastors. A case of marriage with disparity of cult (between a Catholic and a nonbaptized person) requires even greater circumspection.

1634 Difference of confession between the spouses does not constitute an insurmountable obstacle for marriage, when they succeed in placing in common what they have received from their respective communities, and learn from each other the way in which each lives in fidelity to Christ. But the difficulties of mixed marriages must not be underestimated. They arise from the fact that the separation of Christians has not yet been overcome. the spouses risk experiencing the tragedy of Christian disunity even in the heart of their own home. Disparity of cult can further aggravate these difficulties. Differences about faith and the very notion of marriage, but also different religious mentalities, can become sources of tension in marriage, especially as regards the education of children. the temptation to religious indifference can then arise.

1635 According to the law in force in the Latin Church, a mixed marriage needs for liceity the express permission of ecclesiastical authority. [135] In case of disparity of cult an express dispensation from this impediment is required for the validity of the marriage. [136] This permission or dispensation presupposes that both parties know and do not exclude the essential ends and properties of marriage and the obligations assumed by the Catholic party concerning the baptism and education of the children in the Catholic Church. [137]

1636 Through ecumenical dialogue Christian communities in many regions have been able to put into effect a common pastoral practice for mixed marriages. Its task is to help such couples live out their particular situation in the light of faith, overcome the tensions between the couple's obligations to each other and towards their ecclesial communities, and encourage the flowering of what is common to them in faith and respect for what separates them.

1637 In marriages with disparity of cult the Catholic spouse has a particular task: “For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband.” [138] It is a great joy for the Christian spouse and for the Church if this “consecration” should lead to the free conversion of the other spouse to the Christian faith. [139] Sincere married love, the humble and patient practice of the family virtues, and perseverance in prayer can prepare the non-believing spouse to accept the grace of conversion.


125 CIC, can. 1057 # 1.
126 GS 48 # 1; OCM 45; cf. CIC, can. 1057 # 2.
127 Gen 2:24; cf. Mt 10:8; Eph 5:31.
128 Cf. CIC, can. 1103.
129 Cf. CIC, can. 1057 # 1.
130 Cf. CIC, cann. 1095-1107.
131 Cf. CIC, can. 1071.
132 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1813-1816; CIC, can. 1108.
133 Cf. CIC, can. 1063.
134 GS 49 # 3.
135 Cf. CIC, can. 1124.
136 Cf. CIC, can. 1086.
137 Cf. CIC, can. 1125.
138 1 Cor 7:14.
139 Cf. 1 Cor 7:16.

IV. The Effects of the Sacrament of Matrimony

1638 “From a valid marriage arises a bond between the spouses which by its very nature is perpetual and exclusive; furthermore, in a Christian marriage the spouses are strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state by a special sacrament.” [140]

The marriage bond

1639 The consent by which the spouses mutually give and receive one another is sealed by God himself. [141] From their covenant arises “an institution, confirmed by the divine law, . . . even in the eyes of society.” [142] The covenant between the spouses is integrated into God's covenant with man: “Authentic married love is caught up into divine love.” [143]

1640 Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. the Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom. [144]

The grace of the sacrament of Matrimony

1641 “By reason of their state in life and of their order, [Christian spouses] have their own special gifts in the People of God.” [145] This grace proper to the sacrament of Matrimony is intended to perfect the couple's love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity. By this grace they “help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children.” [146]

1642 Christ is the source of this grace. “Just as of old God encountered his people with a covenant of love and fidelity, so our Savior, the spouse of the Church, now encounters Christian spouses through the sacrament of Matrimony.” [147] Christ dwells with them, gives them the strength to take up their crosses and so follow him, to rise again after they have fallen, to forgive one another, to bear one another's burdens, to “be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ,” [148] and to love one another with supernatural, tender, and fruitful love. In the joys of their love and family life he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb:

How can I ever express the happiness of a marriage joined by the Church, strengthened by an offering, sealed by a blessing, announced by angels, and ratified by the Father? . . . How wonderful the bond between two believers, now one in hope, one in desire, one in discipline, one in the same service! They are both children of one Father and servants of the same Master, undivided in spirit and flesh, truly two in one flesh. Where the flesh is one, one also is the spirit. [149]


140 Cf. CIC, can. 1134.
141 Cf. Mk 10:9.
142 GS 48 # 1.
143 GS 48 # 2.
144 Cf. CIC, can. 1141.
145 LG 11 # 2.
146 LG 11 # 2; cf. LG 41.
147 GS 48 # 2.
148 Eph 5:21; cf. Gal 6:2.
149 Tertullian, Ad uxorem. 2, 8, 6-7: PL 1, 1412-1413; cf. FC 13.

V. The Goods and Requirements of Conjugal Love

1643 “Conjugal love involves a totality, in which all the elements of the person enter - appeal of the body and instinct, power of feeling and affectivity, aspiration of the spirit and of will. It aims at a deeply personal unity, a unity that, beyond union in one flesh, leads to forming one heart and soul; it demands indissolubility and faithfulness in definitive mutual giving; and it is open to fertility. In a word it is a question of the normal characteristics of all natural conjugal love, but with a new significance which not only purifies and strengthens them, but raises them to the extent of making them the expression of specifically Christian values.” [150]

The unity and indissolubility of marriage

1644 The love of the spouses requires, of its very nature, the unity and indissolubility of the spouses' community of persons, which embraces their entire life: “so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” [151] They “are called to grow continually in their communion through day-to-day fidelity to their marriage promise of total mutual self-giving.” [152] This human communion is confirmed, purified, and completed by communion in Jesus Christ, given through the sacrament of Matrimony. It is deepened by lives of the common faith and by the Eucharist received together.

1645 “The unity of marriage, distinctly recognized by our Lord, is made clear in the equal personal dignity which must be accorded to man and wife in mutual and unreserved affection.” [153] Polygamy is contrary to conjugal love which is undivided and exclusive. [154]

The fidelity of conjugal love

1646 By its very nature conjugal love requires the inviolable fidelity of the spouses. This is the consequence of the gift of themselves which they make to each other. Love seeks to be definitive; it cannot be an arrangement “until further notice.” the “intimate union of marriage, as a mutual giving of two persons, and the good of the children, demand total fidelity from the spouses and require an unbreakable union between them.” [155]

1647 The deepest reason is found in the fidelity of God to his covenant, in that of Christ to his Church. Through the sacrament of Matrimony the spouses are enabled to represent this fidelity and witness to it. Through the sacrament, the indissolubility of marriage receives a new and deeper meaning.

1648 It can seem difficult, even impossible, to bind oneself for life to another human being. This makes it all the more important to proclaim the Good News that God loves us with a definitive and irrevocable love, that married couples share in this love, that it supports and sustains them, and that by their own faithfulness they can be witnesses to God's faithful love. Spouses who with God's grace give this witness, often in very difficult conditions, deserve the gratitude and support of the ecclesial community. [156]

1649 Yet there are some situations in which living together becomes practically impossible for a variety of reasons. In such cases the Church permits the physical separation of the couple and their living apart. the spouses do not cease to be husband and wife before God and so are not free to contract a new union. In this difficult situation, the best solution would be, if possible, reconciliation. the Christian community is called to help these persons live out their situation in a Christian manner and in fidelity to their marriage bond which remains indissoluble. [157]

1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ - “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” [158] The Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God's law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.

1651 Toward Christians who live in this situation, and who often keep the faith and desire to bring up their children in a Christian manner, priests and the whole community must manifest an attentive solicitude, so that they do not consider themselves separated from the Church, in whose life they can and must participate as baptized persons:

They should be encouraged to listen to the Word of God, to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass, to persevere in prayer, to contribute to works of charity and to community efforts for justice, to bring up their children in the Christian faith, to cultivate the spirit and practice of penance and thus implore, day by day, God's grace. [159]

The openness to fertility

1652 “By its very nature the institution of marriage and married love is ordered to the procreation and education of the offspring and it is in them that it finds its crowning glory.” [160]

Children are the supreme gift of marriage and contribute greatly to the good of the parents themselves. God himself said: “It is not good that man should be alone,” and “from the beginning (he) made them male and female”; wishing to associate them in a special way in his own creative work, God blessed man and woman with the words: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Hence, true married love and the whole structure of family life which results from it, without diminishment of the other ends of marriage, are directed to disposing the spouses to cooperate valiantly with the love of the Creator and Savior, who through them will increase and enrich his family from day to day. [161]

1653 The fruitfulness of conjugal love extends to the fruits of the moral, spiritual, and supernatural life that parents hand on to their children by education. Parents are the principal and first educators of their children. [162] In this sense the fundamental task of marriage and family is to be at the service of life. [163]

1654 Spouses to whom God has not granted children can nevertheless have a conjugal life full of meaning, in both human and Christian terms. Their marriage can radiate a fruitfulness of charity, of hospitality, and of sacrifice.


150 FC 13.
151 Mt 19:6; cf. Gen 2:24.
152 FC 19.
153 GS 49 # 2.
154 Cf. FC 19.
155 GS 48 # 1.
156 Cf. FC 20.
157 Cf. FC 83; CIC, cann. 1151-1155.
158 Mk 10:11-12.
159 FC 84.
160 GS 48 # 1; 50.
161 GS 50 # 1; cf. Gen 2:18; Mt 19:4; Gen 1:28.
162 Cf. GE 3.
163 Cf. FC 28.

VI. The Domestic Church

1655 Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. the Church is nothing other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.” [164] When they were converted, they desired that “their whole household” should also be saved. [165] These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.

1656 In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as centers of living, radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica. [166] It is in the bosom of the family that parents are “by word and example . . . the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.” [167]

1657 It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children, and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way “by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.” [168] Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and “a school for human enrichment.” [169] Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous - even repeated - forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one's life.

1658 We must also remember the great number of single persons who, because of the particular circumstances in which they have to live - often not of their choosing - are especially close to Jesus' heart and therefore deserve the special affection and active solicitude of the Church, especially of pastors. Many remain without a human family often due to conditions of poverty. Some live their situation in the spirit of the Beatitudes, serving God and neighbor in exemplary fashion. the doors of homes, the “domestic churches,” and of the great family which is the Church must be open to all of them. “No one is without a family in this world: the Church is a home and family for everyone, especially those who 'labor and are heavy laden.'“ [170]


164 Cf. Acts 18:8.
165 Cf. Acts 16:31; Acts 11:14.
166 LG 11; cf. FC 21.
167 LG 11.
168 LG 10.
169 GS 52 # 1.
170 FC 85; cf. Mt 11:28.

IN BRIEF

1659 St. Paul said: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church.... This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and the Church” ( Eph 5:25, 32).

1660 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman form with each other an intimate communion of life and love, has been founded and endowed with its own special laws by the Creator. By its very nature it is ordered to the good of the couple, as well as to the generation and education of children. Christ the Lord raised marriage between the baptized to the dignity of a sacrament (cf CIC, can. 1055 # 1; cf. GS 48 # 1).

1661 The sacrament of Matrimony signifies the union of Christ and the Church. It gives spouses the grace to love each other with the love with which Christ has loved his Church; the grace of the sacrament thus perfects the human love of the spouses, strengthens their indissoluble unity, and sanctifies them on the way to eternal life (cf Council of Trent: DS 1799).

1662 Marriage is based on the consent of the contracting parties, that is, on their will to give themselves, each to the other, mutually and definitively, in order to live a covenant of faithful and fruitful love.

1663 Since marriage establishes the couple in a public state of life in the Church, it is fitting that its celebration be public, in the framework of a liturgical celebration, before the priest (or a witness authorized by the Church), the witnesses, and the assembly of the faithful.

1664 Unity, indissolubility, and openness to fertility are essential to marriage. Polygamy is incompatible with the unity of marriage; divorce separates what God has joined together; the refusal of fertility turns married life away from its “supreme gift,” the child (GS 50 # 1).

1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

1666 The Christian home is the place where children receive the first proclamation of the faith. For this reason the family home is rightly called “the domestic church,” a community of grace and prayer, a school of human virtues and of Christian charity.


CHAPTER FOUR

OTHER LITURGICAL CELEBRATIONS

Article 1

SACRAMENTALS

1667 “Holy Mother Church has, moreover, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.” [171]

The characteristics of sacramentals

1668 Sacramentals are instituted for the sanctification of certain ministries of the Church, certain states of life, a great variety of circumstances in Christian life, and the use of many things helpful to man. In accordance with bishops' pastoral decisions, they can also respond to the needs, culture, and special history of the Christian people of a particular region or time. They always include a prayer, often accompanied by a specific sign, such as the laying on of hands, the sign of the cross, or the sprinkling of holy water (which recalls Baptism).

1669 Sacramentals derive from the baptismal priesthood: every baptized person is called to be a “blessing,” and to bless. [172] Hence lay people may preside at certain blessings; the more a blessing concerns ecclesial and sacramental life, the more is its administration reserved to the ordained ministry (bishops, priests, or deacons). [173]

1670 Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church's prayer, they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. “For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows from the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. There is scarcely any proper use of material things which cannot be thus directed toward the sanctification of men and the praise of God.” [174]

Various forms of sacramentals

1671 Among sacramentals blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) come first. Every blessing praises God and prays for his gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father “with every spiritual blessing.” [175] This is why the Church imparts blessings by invoking the name of Jesus, usually while making the holy sign of the cross of Christ.

1672 Certain blessings h