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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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

 

Of the first, it must be known that the Church is one. Although various

heretics have founded various sects, they do not belong to the Church,

since they are but so many divisions. Of her it is said: "One is My dove;

My perfect one is but one."5 The unity of the Church arises from three

sources:

 

(1) the unity of faith. All Christians who are of the body of the Church

believe the same doctrine. "I beseech you . . . that you all speak the same

thing and that there be no schisms among you."6 And: "One Lord, one faith,

one baptism;"7

 

(2) the unity of hope. All are strengthened in one hope of arriving at

eternal life. Hence, the Apostle says: "One body and one Spirit, as you are

called in one hope of your calling;"8

 

(3) the unity of charity. All are joined together in the love of God, and

to each other in mutual love: "And the glory which Thou hast given Me, I

have given them; that they may be one, as We also are one."9 It is clear

that this is a true love when the members are solicitous for one another

and sympathetic towards each other: "We may in all things grow up in Him

who is the head, Christ. From whom the whole body, being compacted, and

fitly joined together, by what every joint supplieth, according to the

operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto

the edifying of itself in charity."10 This is because each one ought to

make use of the grace God grants him, and be of service to his neighbor. No

one ought to be indifferent to the Church, or allow himself to be cut off

and expelled from it; for there is but one Church in which men are saved,

just as outside of the ark of Noah no one could be saved.

 




5. Cant., vi. 8.

 



6. I Cor., i. 10.

 



7. Eph., iv. 5.

 



8. "Ibid." 4.

 



9. John, xvii. 22.

 



10. Eph., iv. 15-16.

 






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