Now that Pope Francis is in the United States and the mainstream media is “reporting” on his travels and speeches here, I have decided to focus all my blog posts this week focusing on what is the Catholic Church through the QLC series. I am doing this for two reasons – 1. Is to teach my followers and readers to understand these paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and 2. To assist the mainstream media in understanding what the Catholic Church teaches about herself and what she says to the world.
Most of us realize that the mainstream media does not do its homework properly when researching the teachings of the Catholic Church. In some media circles, it’s a lack of proper education in good research, and in other circles, it’s a deliberate misinterpretation of the teachings of Mother Church. In recent years, we have seen this with the words of Pope Francis. Here is a hypothetical circumstance on how the mainstream media could potentially report the news that Pope Francis miraculously walked on water – the headlines would read: Why Can’t the Pope Swim?
So with this being said, let’s focus first on The Church in God’s Plan. In the Second Vatican Council Dogmatic Constitution, Lumen Gentium, it states,
“Since the Church, in Christ, is in the nature of sacrament – sign and instrument, that is, of communion with God and of unity among all men – she here proposes, for the benefit of the faithful and of the whole world, to set forth, as clearly as possible, and in the tradition laid down by earlier Councils, her own nature and universal mission” (#1).
This opening statement is the mission of the entire document. Since the Church is the sacrament of salvation, she is both a sign and instrument of God’s salvation for humanity. The Church is God’s instrument to bring men into communion (Greek – koinonia, Latin – communio) with God and with each other through the grace of the Sacraments. When one says that they are “in Communion” with the Church it means that they adhere to all the teachings of the Church. The Church has its foundation in the Old Testament foreshadowed by the Patriarchs and the Israelites assembling (Hebrew – qahal) together.
Jesus Christ gave his authority to Peter (Mt. 16:18-19) and the other Apostles to establish the Catholic Church, which is both visible and invisible. The Holy Spirit has led and guided the Church from Pentecost Sunday to today always protecting and safeguarding the Deposit of Faith (Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition) in accordance with the official teaching of the Church – the Magisterium (Pope and Bishops).
It is the mission of the Church to propose, not impose; the Church never imposes, she always proposes the Truth of Jesus Christ to the world and to the faithful of the Church. If there is one thing to remember it’s this – The Catholic Church isn’t just on a mission; the Catholic Church is a mission. The mission is to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to save souls.
Now that we understand this, let’s read what the Catechism of the Catholic Church states –
The word “Church” means “convocation.” It designates the assembly of those whom God’s Word “convokes,” i.e., gathers together to form the People of God, and who themselves, nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ. [#777]
The Church is both the means and the goal of God’s plan: prefigured in creation, prepared for in the Old Covenant, founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming cross and his Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth (cf. Rev 14:4). [#778]
The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept. [#779]
The Church in this world is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and the instrument of the communion of God and men. [#780]
To understand these teachings completely, I would also suggest reading paragraphs 748-776 in the Catechism. Along the same topic of the Church, I would suggest you read one of my first QLC’s titled, The Ecclesial Ministry and the Pope.
This week, let us pray for Pope Francis’ Apostolic Trip to the United States and that the hearts that are closed to hearing the Church’s message will be opened with charity, compassion, and Truth. Let us also pray for the safety of Pope Francis and his intentions for this month. Today, let us ask for the intercession of St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio).
Do me a favor and share this with your family and friends on your social media sites. If you know journalists in the media, send this to them as well. Thank you.