The Profession of Faith
nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”
whole and entire, is therefore
In Sacred Scripture the term “soul” often refers to human
or the entire human
But “soul” also refers to the
innermost aspect of man, that which is of greatest value in him,
that by which he is most especially in God’s image: “soul” signifies
The human body shares in the dignity of “the image of
God”: it is a human body precisely because it is animated by a
spiritual soul, and it is the whole human person that is intended to
become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Spirit:
Man, though made of body and soul, is a unity. Through his
very bodily condition he sums up in himself the elements of
the material world. Through him they are thus brought to
their highest perfection and can raise their voice in praise
freely given to the Creator. For this reason man may not
despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body
as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and
will raise it up on the last day.
The unity of soul and body is so profound that one has to
consider the soul to be the “form” of the body:
i.e., it is because
of its spiritual soul that the body made of matter becomes a living,
human body; spirit and matter, in man, are not two natures united,
but rather their union forms a single nature.
The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created
immediately by God—it is not “produced” by the parents—and
also that it is immortal: it does not perish when it separates from
the body at death, and it will be reunited with the body at the final
Sometimes the soul is distinguished from the spirit: St. Paul
for instance prays that God may sanctify his people “wholly,” with
“spirit and soul and body” kept sound and blameless at the Lord’s
The Church teaches that this distinction does not intro-
duce a duality into the soul.
“Spirit” signifies that from creation
232 Cf. 1
14 § 1; cf.
234 Cf. Council of Vienne (1312): DS 902.
235 Cf. Pius XII,
DS 3896; Paul VI,
§ 8; Lateran Council V
(1513): DS 1440.
237 Cf. Council of Constantinople IV (870): DS 657.