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The Profession of Faith

221

Each particular Church is “catholic”

832

“The Church of Christ is really present in all legitimately

organized local groups of the faithful, which, in so far as they are

united to their pastors, are also quite appropriately called Churches

in the New Testament. . . . In them the faithful are gathered together

through the preaching of the Gospel of Christ, and the mystery of

the Lord’s Supper is celebrated. . . . In these communities, though

theymay often be small and poor, or existing in the diaspora, Christ

is present, through whose power and influence the One, Holy,

Catholic, and Apostolic Church is constituted.”

312

833

The phrase “particular church,” which is first of all the

diocese (or eparchy), refers to a community of the Christian faithful

in communion of faith and sacraments with their bishop ordained

in apostolic succession.

313

These particular Churches “are consti-

tuted after the model of the universal Church; it is in these and

formed out of them that the one and unique Catholic Church

exists.”

314

834

Particular Churches are fully catholic through their com-

munion with one of them, the Church of Rome “which presides in

charity.”

315

“For with this church, by reason of its pre-eminence,

the whole Church, that is the faithful everywhere, must necessarily

be in accord.”

316

Indeed, “from the incarnate Word’s descent to us,

all Christian churches everywhere have held and hold the great

Church that is here [at Rome] to be their only basis and foundation

since, according to the Savior’s promise, the gates of hell have never

prevailed against her.”

317

835

“Let us be very careful not to conceive of the universal Church

as the simple sum, or . . . the more or less anomalous federation of

essentially different particular churches. In the mind of the Lord the

Church is universal by vocation and mission, but when she puts down her

roots in a variety of cultural, social, and human terrains, she takes on

different external expressions and appearances in each part of the

world.”

318

The rich variety of ecclesiastical disciplines, liturgical rites, and

theological and spiritual heritages proper to the local churches “unified in

a common effort, shows all the more resplendently the catholicity of the

undivided Church.”

319

312

LG

26.

313 Cf.

CD

11; CIC, cann. 368-369; CCEO, cann. 177, 1; 178; 311, 1; 312.

314

LG

23.

315 St. Ignatius of Antioch,

Ad Rom.

1, 1:

Apostolic Fathers,

II/2, 192; cf.

LG

13.

316 St. Irenaeus,

Adv. haeres.

3, 3, 2: PG 7/1, 849; cf. Vatican Council I: DS 3057.

317 St. Maximus the Confessor,

Opuscula theo.:

PG 91:137-140.

318 Paul VI,

EN

62.

319

LG

23.

814

811

886

882, 1369

1202