The Profession of Faith
everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin be-
come mother, and I should like to call her “Church.”
From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by
which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts
and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of
the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gath-
ered together. Among the Church’s members, there are different
gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. “Holding a rightful place
in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches
that retain their own traditions.”
The great richness of such
diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity. Yet sin and the
burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity.
And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to “maintain the unity
of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity “binds
everything together in perfect harmony.”
But the unity of the
pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion:
— profession of one faith received from the Apostles
—common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments;
— apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders,
maintaining the fraternal concord of God’s family.
“The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after
his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning
him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church,
constituted and organized as a society in the present world, sub-
sists in (
) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the
successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.”
The Second Vatican Council’s
Decree on Ecumenism
“For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is
the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the
means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic
college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that
our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in
order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which
all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way
to the People of God.”
262 St. Clement of Alexandria,
1, 6, 42: PG 8, 300.
13 § 2.
14; CIC, can. 205.
8 § 2.
3 § 5.