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116 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed

the Church with the invisible aspects in such a way that the Church is

always a unity of both aspects.

In the unity of this Body [of which Christ is the head], there is a

diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to

one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor

and persecuted. (CCC, no. 806)

The Church is the sacrament of salvation. “The Church is like a

sacrament—a sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and

of unity among all men” (CCC, no. 775). The Church is a sacrament

of the union of all people with God, and a sacrament of the unity of

all peoples—for the Church gathers people “from every nation, race,

people, and tongue” (Rev 7:9).

The Spirit communicates to us the salvation gained for us by Jesus

Christ through the Church and her seven Sacraments. “The Church ‘is

the visible plan of God’s love for humanity,’ because God desires ‘that

the whole human race may become one People of God, form one Body

of Christ, and be built up into one temple of the Holy Spirit’” (CCC, no.

776, citing Pope Paul VI [June, 22, 1973]).


[God] has . . . willed to make men holy and save them,

not as individuals without any bond between them, but

rather to make them into a people who might acknowl-

edge him and serve him in holiness.

—CCC, no. 781

Chapter two of the

Dogmatic Constitution on the Church




) gives prominence to a scriptural and patristic image of the

Church as the People of God. The Father began this formation process

with the Israelites and brought it to fulfillment in the Church. A per-

son is initiated into God’s people not by physical birth, but by a spiri-

tual birth through faith in Christ and Baptism. God’s people include the