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132 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed


The Church is built upon the foundation of the Apostles, who were cho-

sen by Christ himself, and at whose head he placed Peter. The entire com-

munity of Christians received the Apostles’ proclamation of the Gospel,

and so the Church in her entirety is called “apostolic.”Under the guidance

of the Holy Spirit, the Church as a whole remains and will always remain

faithful to the teaching of the Apostles. This is called the indefectibility of

the Church, because she will never fall away from the Gospel.

From the


, nos. 846-847:

How are we to understand this affirmation, often

repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated posi-

tively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the

Head through the Church which is his Body: “Basing itself

on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the

Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation:

the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he

is present to us in his body which is the Church. He him-

self explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism,

and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of

the Church which men enter through Baptism as through

a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing

that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by

God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to

remain in it” (LG, no. 14; cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5).

This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no

fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

“Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know

the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless

seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in

their actions to do his will as they know it through the dic-

tates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal

salvation” (LG, no. 16; cf. DS 3866-3872).