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220

Part One

829

“But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has

already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or

wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in

holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary”:

306

in her, the

Church is already the “all-holy.”

III.

T

he

C

hurch

I

s

C

atholic

What does “catholic” mean?

830

The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of

“according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The

Church is catholic in a double sense:

First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in

her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.”

307

In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head;

this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means

of salvation”

308

which he has willed: correct and complete confes-

sion of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apos-

tolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense,

catholic on the day of Pentecost

309

and will always be so until the

day of the Parousia.

831

Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent

out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:

310

All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This

People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be

spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order

that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made

human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all

his children who were scattered should be finally gathered

together as one. . . . The character of universality which

adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself

whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously

seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under

Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.

311

306

LG

65; cf.

Eph

5:26-27.

307 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Smyrn.

8, 2:

Apostolic Fathers,

II/2, 311.

308

UR

3;

AG

6;

Eph

1:22-23.

309 Cf.

AG

4.

310 Cf.

Mt

28:19.

311

LG

13 §§ 1-2; cf.

Jn

11:52.

1172

972

795

815-816

849

360

518