Paragraph 3. The Church Is One, Holy, Catholic,
“This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we
profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”
characteristics, inseparably linked with each other,
sential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does
not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy
Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it
is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.
Only faith can recognize that the Church possesses these
properties from her divine source. But their historical manifesta-
tions are signs that also speak clearly to human reason. As the First
Vatican Council noted, the “Church herself, with her marvellous
propagation, eminent holiness, and inexhaustible fruitfulness in
everything good, her catholic unity and invincible stability, is a
great and perpetual motive of credibility and an irrefutable witness
of her divine mission.”
“The sacred mystery of the Church’s unity” (UR 2)
The Church is one because of her source:
“the highest exemplar
and source of this mystery is the unity, in the Trinity of Persons, of
one God, the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.”
because of her founder:
for “the Word made flesh, the prince of
peace, reconciled all men to God by the cross, . . . restoring the unity
of all in one people and one body.”
The Church is one
“It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in those who believe and
pervading and ruling over the entire Church, who brings about
that wonderful communion of the faithful and joins them together
so intimately in Christ that he is the principle of the Church’s
Unity is of the essence of the Church:
What an astonishing mystery! There is one Father of the
universe, one Logos of the universe, and also one Holy Spirit,
257 Cf. DS 2888.
258 Vatican Council I,
3: DS 3013.
2 § 5.
78 § 3.
2 § 2.