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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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  • THE NINTH ARTICLE: "I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church."
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THE NINTH ARTICLE: "I Believe in the Holy Catholic Church."

 

We see that in a man there are one soul and one body; and of his body there

are many members. So also the Catholic Church is one body and has different

members. The soul which animates this body is the Holy Spirit.1 Hence,

after confessing our faith in the Holy Ghost, we are bid to believe in the

Holy Catholic Church. Thus, in the Symbol it is said, "the Holy Catholic

Church."

 

It must be known that "church" is the same as assembly.2 So, the Holy

Church is the same as the assembly of the faithful, and every Christian is

a member of this Church, of which it is written: "Draw near to Me, ye

unlearned; and gather yourselves together into the house of discipline."3

 

The Church has four essential conditions, in that she is one, holy,

catholic, and strong and firm.4

 




1. "For as the body is one and hath many members; and all the members of

the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ. For

in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body. . . . For the body also

is not one member, but many" (I Cor., xii. 12-14). For St. Paul's admirable

description of the Church, Christ's mystical body, see all of this chapter.

 



2. "The word "ecclesia" (church) which is borrowed by the Latins from the

Greek has been applied since the preaching of the Gospel to sacred things.

The word "ecclesia" (church) means a calling forth, but writers afterwards

used it to mean a council or assembly. . . . However, in the ordinary sense

used in the Scriptures, the word was afterwards used to designate the

Christian society only, and the assemblies of the faithful: that is, of

those who were called by faith to the light of truth, and the knowledge of

God" ("Roman Catechism," Ninth Article, 2).

 



3. Ecclus., li. 31.

 



4. "The distinctive marks of the Church are also to be made known to the

faithful that they thus may be able to appreciate the extent of the

blessing conferred by God on those who have the happiness to be born and

educated in her fold" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 2).

 






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