The Profession of Faith
inner union of men with God.
Because men’s communion with
one another is rooted in that union with God, the Church is also
the sacrament of the
unity of the human race.
In her, this unity is already
begun, since she gathers men “from every nation, from all tribes and
peoples and tongues”;
at the same time, the Church is the “sign and
instrument” of the full realization of the unity yet to come.
As sacrament, the Church is Christ’s instrument. “She is
taken up by him also as the instrument for the salvation of all,” “the
universal sacrament of salvation,” by which Christ is “at once
manifesting and actualizing the mystery of God’s love for men.”
The Church “is the visible plan of God’s love for humanity,”
because God desires “that the whole human race may become one
People of God, form one Body of Christ, and be built up into one
temple of the Holy Spirit.”
The word “Church” means “convocation.” It desig-
nates the assembly of those whom God’s Word “con-
vokes,” i.e., gathers together to form the People of
God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body
of Christ, become the Body of Christ.
The Church is both the means and the goal of God’s
plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old
Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus
Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resur-
rection, the Church has been manifested as the mys-
tery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the
assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf.
The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical
society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet
formed of two components, human and divine. That
is her mystery, which only faith can accept.
The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation,
the sign and the instrument of the communion of God
9 § 2, 48 § 2; GS 45 § 1.
200 Paul VI, June 22, 1973;
7 § 2; cf.