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216

Part One

Wounds to unity

817

In fact, “in this one and only Church of God from its very

beginnings there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly

censures as damnable. But in subsequent centuries much more

serious dissensions appeared and large communities became sepa­

rated from full communion with the Catholic Church—for which,

often enough, men of both sides were to blame.”

269

The ruptures

that wound the unity of Christ’s Body—here we must distinguish

heresy, apostasy, and schism

270

—do not occur without human sin:

Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, here-

sies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also

are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and

one soul of all believers.

271

818

“However, one cannot charge with the sin of the separa-

tion those who at present are born into these communities [that

resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the

faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect

and affection as brothers . . . . All who have been justified by faith

in Baptism are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right

to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as

brothers in the Lord by the children of the Catholic Church.”

272

819

“Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of

truth”

273

are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic

Church: “the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope,

and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well

as visible elements.”

274

Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and

ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives

from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the

Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to

him,

275

and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.”

276

269

UR

3 § 1.

270 Cf. CIC, can. 751.

271 Origen,

Hom. in Ezech.

9, 1: PG 13, 732.

272

UR

3 § 1.

273

LG

8 § 2.

274

UR

3 § 2; cf.

LG

15.

275 Cf.

UR

3.

276 Cf.

LG

8.

2089

1271