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St. Thomas Aquinas
Catechetical Instructions

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

 

The Church is Catholic, that is, universal. Firstly, it is universal in

place, because it is worldwide. This is contrary to the error of the

Donatists.21 For the Church is a congregation of the faithful; and since

the faithful are in every part of the world, so also is the Church: "Your

faith is spoken of in the whole world."22 And also: "Go ye into the whole

world and preach the gospel to every creature.23 Long ago, indeed, God was

known only in Judea; now, however, He is known throughout the entire world.

The Church has three parts: one is on earth, one is in heaven, and one is

in purgatory. Secondly, the Church is universal in regard to all the

conditions of mankind; for no exceptions are made, neither master nor

servant, neither man nor woman: "Neither bond nor free; there is neither

male nor female."24. Thirdly, it is universal in time. Some have said that

the Church will exist only up to a certain time. But this is false, for the

Church began to exist in the time of Abel and will endure up to the end of

the world: "Behold, I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the

world."25 Nay more, even after the end of the world, it will continue to

exist in heaven.

 




21. A sect which existed chiefly in Africa for about a century (311-411).

 



22. Rom., i. 8.

 



23. Mark. xvi. 15.

 



24. Gal., iii. 28.

 



25. Matt., xxviii. 20.

 






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