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The Profession of Faith

197

A

rticle

9

I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH

748

“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.”

135

These words open the Second Vatican Coun-

cil’s

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.

749

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.”

136

The Church is, in a phrase used by the

Fathers, the place “where the Spirit flourishes.”

137

750

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” (

Credo

. . . Ecclesiam

), and not to believe

in

the Church, so as not to confuse

God with his works and to attribute clearly to God’s goodness

all

the gifts he has bestowed on his Church.

138

Paragraph 1. The Church in God’s Plan

I.

N

ames and

I

mages of

the

C

hurch

751

The word “Church” (Latin

ecclesia,

from the Greek

ek-ka-

lein,

to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It

designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious

purpose.

139

Ekklesia

is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament

for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for

135

LG

1; cf.

Mk

16:15.

136

Roman Catechism

I, 10, 1.

137 St. Hippolytus,

Trad. Ap.

35: SCh 11, 118.

138

Roman Catechism

I, 10, 22.

139 Cf.

Acts

19:39.

811

169