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138 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed


• The four Marks of the Church—that she is one, holy, catholic, and

apostolic—are inseparably linked to each other, and all are essential

to the Church’s mission and pursuit of holiness.

• The Church is one. She professes “one Lord, one faith, one baptism”

(Eph 4:5). This unity, sustained by the Holy Spirit, includes a diver-

sity of gifts, talents, cultures, and rites.

• The Church is holy. Jesus, the founder, is holy and makes his holi-

ness available through his death and Resurrection. The Holy Spirit

imparts holiness to us, especially through the Sacraments. The

Church’s holiness shines in the saints, and most especially in the

Blessed Virgin Mary.

• The Church is catholic. The word


means universal. All

the means of salvation are found in the Church. The Church has

the fullness of the faith, the Sacraments, and apostolic succession.

Jesus commissions us to bring the Gospel to all peoples at all times;

hence the Church is “by its very nature missionary” (Second Vatican


Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity


Ad Gentes


; AG], no. 2).

• The Church is apostolic. Jesus willed to build the Church on the

foundation of the Apostles. The Church hands on the teaching of

the Apostles through all generations. Christ shepherds the Church

through Peter and the other Apostles, whose successors are the Pope

and the college of bishops.

• Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Apostles chose bishops

to succeed them. Helped by the priests and deacons, the bishops

teach the faith; celebrate the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist;

and guide the Church. Their responsibility includes concern for all

the Churches in union with the Pope.

• God calls lay people to witness and share their faith in the midst of

the world. By their Baptism they share in Christ’s priesthood and are

sealed by the Spirit. They are thus called to holiness, to a prophetic

witness in the world, and to a kingly resolve to sanctify the world by

their words and deeds.