The Profession of Faith
I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH
“Christ is the light of humanity; and it is, accordingly, the
heart-felt desire of this sacred Council, being gathered together in
the Holy Spirit, that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature,
it may bring to all men that light of Christ which shines out visibly
from the Church.”
These words open the Second Vatican Coun-
Dogmatic Constitution on the Church.
By choosing this starting
point, the Council demonstrates that the article of faith about the
Church depends entirely on the articles concerning Christ Jesus.
The Church has no other light than Christ’s; according to a favorite
image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its
light reflected from the sun.
The article concerning the Church also depends entirely
on the article about the Holy Spirit, which immediately precedes
it. “Indeed, having shown that the Spirit is the source and giver of
all holiness, we now confess that it is he who has endowed the
Church with holiness.”
The Church is, in a phrase used by the
Fathers, the place “where the Spirit flourishes.”
To believe that the Church is “holy” and “catholic,” and
that she is “one” and “apostolic” (as the Nicene Creed adds), is
inseparable from belief in God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit. In the Apostles’ Creed we profess “one Holy Church” (
. . . Ecclesiam
), and not to believe
the Church, so as not to confuse
God with his works and to attribute clearly to God’s goodness
the gifts he has bestowed on his Church.
Paragraph 1. The Church in God’s Plan
The word “Church” (Latin
from the Greek
to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It
designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious
is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament
for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for
I, 10, 1.
137 St. Hippolytus,
35: SCh 11, 118.
I, 10, 22.