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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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

 

Concerning the second mark, holiness, it must be known that there is indeed

another assembly, but it consists of the wicked: "I hate the assembly of

the malignant."11 But such a one is evil; the Church of Christ, however, is

holy: "For the temple of God is holy, which you are."12 Hence, it is said:

"the Holy Church."

 

The faithful of this Church are made holy because of four things: (1) Just

as a church is cleansed materially when it is consecrated, so also the

faithful are washed in the blood of Christ: "Jesus Christ . . . who hath

loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood."13 And: "That He

might sanctify the people by his blood, suffered without the gate."14  (2)

Just as there is the anointing of the church, so also the faithful are

anointed with a spiritual unction in order to be sanctified. Otherwise they

would not be Christians, for Christ is the same as Anointed. This anointing

is the grace of the Holy Spirit: "He that confirmeth us with you in Christ

and that hath anointed us, is God."15 And: "You are sanctified . . . in the

name of our Lord Jesus Christ."16 (3) The faithful are made holy because of

the Trinity who dwells in the Church; for wheresoever God dwells, that

place is holy. "The place whereon thou standest is holy."17 And: "Holiness

becometh Thy house, O Lord."18 (4) Lastly, the faithful are sanctified

because God is invoked in the Church: "But Thou, O Lord, art among us, and

Thy name is called upon by us; forsake us not."19 Let us, therefore,

beware, seeing that we are thus sanctified, lest by sin we defile our soul

which is the temple of God: "Know you not that you are the temple of God

and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? But if any man violate the

temple of God, him shall God destroy."20

 




11. Ps. xxv. 5.

 



12. I Cor., iii. 17.

 



13. Apoc., i. 5.

 



14. Heb., xiii. 12.

 



15. II Cor., i. 21.

 



16. I Cor., vi. 11.

 



17. Josue, v. 16; cfr. also Gen., xxviii. 16.

 



18. Ps. xcii, 5.

 



19. Jerem., xiv. 9.

 



20. I Cor., iii. 16-17. "It should not be considered surprising that the

Church, although among her children are many sinners, is called holy. For

as those who profess any art, even though they may violate its rules, are

still artists, so the faithful, although offending in many things and

violating the promises which they have made, are still called holy, because

they are made the people of God, and are consecrated to Christ by baptism

and faith" ("Roman Catechism," "loc. cit.," 15).

 






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