at present are born into these communities… 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 btrothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.” 10 Therefore there is now a recognition that protestants and others are also a part of the catholic (universal) church as long as they have believed and been baptized. The catechism also recognized “particular churches” which are local churches. “The church of Christ is really present in all legitimately organized local groups of the faityhful, which in so far as they are united to their pastors, are also qyite appropriately called Churchess 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.” The particular church is “the diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful in communion of faith and sacrements with their bishop ordained in apostolic succession.” 11 Because of the requirement for apostolic succession, “Particular churches are fully catholic through their communion with one of them, the Church of Rome ‘which presides in charity.’ Indeed, ‘from the incarnate Word’s descent to us, all Christian churches everywhaere have held and hold the great Church that is here [at Rome] (sic) to be their only basis and foundation since, according to the Savior’s promise, the gates of hell have never prevailed against 7 cat p. 215 8 cat p. 215 9 cat p. 216 10 cat p. 216 11 cat p.221
9 her.” 12 In the summary, the new catechism states it this way, “The sole Church of Christ which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic, and apostolic,… (sic) 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.” 13 In the section “Who belongs to the Catholic Church?” the new catechism makes some surprising statements. We read, “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.” 14 Later in this discussion we read, “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.” Notwithstanding this statement, they go on to affirm that the church “is prefigured by Noah’s ark, which alone saves from the flood.” Therefore, “they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter into it or to remain in it.” This is true unless “through no fault of their own, [they] do not know the Gospel of’
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- Fall '19
- Christianity, Christian terms