A: The Ninth Article of the Creed teaches us that Jesus Christ founded a visible society on earth called the Catholic Church, and that all those who belong to this Church are in communion with one another.
A: Immediately after the article that treats of the Holy Ghost mention is made of the Catholic Church to indicate that the Church's holiness comes from the Holy Ghost, who is the Author of all holiness.
A: The word Church means a calling forth or assembly of many.
A: We have been called into the Church of Jesus Christ by a special grace of God, to the end, that by the light of faith and the observance of the divine law, we may render Him the worship due to Him, and attain eternal life.
A: The members of the Church are found partly in heaven, forming the Church Triumphant; partly in purgatory, forming the Church Suffering; partly on earth, forming the Church Militant.
A: Yes, these various parts of the Church constitute one sole Church and one sole body for they have the same Head, Jesus Christ, the same Spirit animating and uniting them, and the same end, eternal happiness, which some already enjoy and the rest hope for.
A: This Ninth Article of the Creed principally refers to the Church Militant, which is the Church we actually belong to.
A: The Catholic Church is the Union or Congregation of all the baptized who, still living on earth, profess the same Faith and the same Law of Jesus Christ, participate in the same Sacraments, and obey their lawful Pastors, particularly the Roman Pontiff.
A: To be a member of the Church it is necessary to be baptized, to believe and profess the teaching of Jesus Christ, to participate in the same Sacraments, and to acknowledge the Pope and the other lawful pastors of the Church.
A: The lawful pastors of the Church are the Roman Pontiff, that is, the Pope, who is Supreme Pastor, and the Bishops. Other priests, also, and especially Parish Priests, have a share in the pastoral office, subject to the Bishop and the Pope.
A: Because Jesus Christ said to St. Peter, the first Pope: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whatsoever thee shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever the shallot loose on earth shall be loosed also in Heaven." And again: "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep."
A: No, those who do not acknowledge the Roman Pontiff as their Head do not belong to the Church of Jesus Christ.
A: From the numerous societies or sects founded by men and calling themselves Christian, the Church of Jesus Christ is easily distinguished by four marks: She is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
A: The true Church is called One, because her children of all ages and places are united together in the same faith, in the same worship, in the same law; and in participation of the same Sacraments, under the same visible Head, the Roman Pontiff.
A: No, there cannot be more than one Church; for as there is but one God, one Faith and one Baptism, there is and can be but one true Church.
A: The faithful of a whole Nation or Diocese are also called a Church, but they ever remain mere parts of the Universal Church and form but one Church with her.
A: The true church is called Holy because holy is her Invisible Head, Jesus Christ; holy are many of her members; holy are her faith, her laws, her Sacraments; and outside of her there is not and cannot be true holiness.
A: The true Church is called Catholic, or Universal, because she embraces the faithful of all times, of all places, of all ages and conditions; and all peoples are called to belong to her.
A: The true Church is also called Apostolic because she goes back without a break to the Apostles; because she believes and teaches all that the Apostles believed and taught; and because she is guided and governed by their lawful successors.
A: The true Church is called Roman, because the four marks of Unity, Sanctity, Catholicity and Apostolicity are found in that Church alone which acknowledges as Head the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter.
A: The Church of Jesus Christ has been constituted as a true and perfect Society; and in her we can distinguish a soul and a body.
A: The Soul of the Church consists in her internal and spiritual endowments, that is, faith, hope, charity, the gifts of grace and of the Holy Ghost, together with all the heavenly treasures which are hers through the merits of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, and of the Saints.
A: The Body of the Church consists in her external and visible aspect, that is, in the association of her members, in her worship, in her teaching-power and in her external rule and government.
A: No, to be saved it is not enough to be any sort of member of the Catholic Church; it is necessary to be a living member.
A: The living members of the Church are the just, and the just alone, that is, those who are actually in the grace of God.
A: The dead members of the Church are the faithful in mortal sin.
A: No, no one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.
A: The just of the Old Testament were saved in virtue of the faith they had in Christ to come, by means of which they spiritually belonged to the Church.
A: If he is outside the Church through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God's will as best he can such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is on the way of salvation
A: He who is a member of the Catholic Church and does not put her teaching into practice is a dead member, and hence will not be saved; for towards the salvation of an adult not only Baptism and faith are required, but, furthermore, works in keeping with faith.
A: Yes, we are obliged to believe all the truths the Church teaches us, and Jesus Christ declares that he who does not believe is already condemned.
A: Yes, we are obliged to do all that the Church commands, for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of the Church: "He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me."
A: No, the Church cannot err in what she proposes for our belief, since according to the promise of Jesus Christ she is unfailingly assisted by the Holy Ghost.
A: Yes, the Catholic Church is infallible, and hence those who reject her definitions lose the faith and become heretics.
A: No; the Catholic Church may be persecuted, but she can never be destroyed or perish. She will last till the end of the world, because Jesus Christ, as He promised, will be with her till the end of time.
A: The Catholic Church is so persecuted because even her Divine Founder, Jesus Christ, was thus persecuted, and because she reproves vice, combats the passions, and condemns all acts of injustice and all error.
A: Every Catholic ought to have a boundless love for the Church, ought to consider himself infinitely honored and happy in belonging to her, and ought to labor for her glory and advancement by every means in his power.
A: There is a very notable distinction between the members of the Church; for there are some who rule and some who obey; some who teach and some who are taught.
A: That part of the Church which teaches is called the Teaching Church.
A: That part of the Church which is taught is called the Learning Church, or the Church Taught.
A: Jesus Christ Himself has established this distinction in the Church.
A: The Church Teaching and the Church Taught are two distinct parts of one and the same Church, just as in the human body the head is distinct from the other members, and yet forms but one body with them.
A: The Teaching Church is composed of all the Bishops, with the Roman Pontiff at their head, be they dispersed throughout the world or assembled together in Council.
A: The Church Taught is composed of all the faithful.
A: The teaching power in the Church is possessed by the Pope and the Bishops, and, dependent on them, by the other sacred ministers.
A: Yes, without doubt we are obliged under pain of eternal damnation to hear the Teaching Church; for Jesus Christ has said to the Pastors of His Church, in the persons of the Apostles: "He who hears you, hears Me, and he who despises you, despises Me."
A: Yes, besides her teaching power the Church has in particular the power of administering sacred things, of making laws and of exacting the observance of them.
A: The power possessed by the Hierarchy does not come from the people, and it would be heresy to say it did: it comes solely from God.
A: The exercise of this power belongs solely to the Hierarchy, that is, to the Pope and to the Bishops subordinate to him.
A: The Pope, who is also called the Sovereign Pontiff, or the Roman Pontiff, is the Successor of St. Peter in the See of Rome, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth, and the visible Head of the Church.
A: The Roman Pontiff is the Successor of St. Peter because St. Peter united in his own person the dignity of Bishop of Rome and that of Head of the Church; by divine disposition he established his Seat at Rome, and there died; hence, whosoever is elected Bishop of Rome is also heir to all his authority.
A: The Roman Pontiff is the Vicar of Jesus Christ because He represents Him on earth and acts in His stead in the government of the Church.
A: The Roman Pontiff is the Visible Head of the Church because he visibly governs her with the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, who is her invisible Head.
A: The dignity of the Pope is the greatest of all dignities on earth, and gives him supreme and immediate power over all and each of the Pastors and of the faithful.
A: The Pope cannot err, that is, he is infallible, in definitions regarding faith and morals.
A: The Pope is infallible because of the promise of Jesus Christ, and of the unfailing assistance of the Holy Ghost.
A: The Pope is infallible when, as Pastor and Teacher of all Christians and in virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by all the Church.
A: He who refuses to accept the solemn definitions of the Pope, or who even doubts them, sins against faith; and should he remain obstinate in this unbelief, he would no longer be a Catholic, but a heretic.
A: God has granted the Pope the gift of infallibility in order that we all may be sure and certain of the truths which the Church teaches.
A: That the Pope is infallible was defined by the Church in the [First] Vatican Council; and should anyone presume to contradict this definition he would be a heretic and excommunicated.
A: No, in defining that the Pope is infallible the Church has not put forward a new truth of faith; but to oppose new errors she has simply defined that the infallibility of the Pope, already contained in Sacred Scripture and in Tradition, is a truth revealed by God, and therefore to be believed as a dogma or article of faith.
A: Every Catholic must acknowledge the Pope as Father, Pastor, and Universal Teacher, and be united with him in mind and heart.
A: After the Pope, those who by Divine appointment are to be most venerated in the Church are the Bishops.
A: The Bishops are the pastors of the faithful; placed by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God in the Sees entrusted to them, in dependence on the Roman Pontiff
A: A Bishop in his own diocese is the lawful Pastor, the Father, the Teacher, the Superior of all the faithful, ecclesiastic and lay belonging to his diocese.
A: The Bishop is called the lawful Pastor because the jurisdiction, or the power which he has to govern the faithful of his diocese, is conferred upon him according to the laws and regulations of the Church.
A: The Pope is the successor of St. Peter. the Prince of the Apostles; and the Bishops are the Successors of the Apostles, in all that regards the ordinary government of the Church.
A: Yes, all the faithful, ecclesiastic and lay, should be united heart and soul with their Bishop, who is in favor and communion with the Apostolic See.
A: Each one of the faithful, both ecclesiastic and lay, should revere, love, and honor his own Bishop and render him obedience in all that regards the care of souls and the spiritual government of the diocese.
A: The Bishop is assisted in the care of souls by priests, and especially by Parish Priests.
A: The Parish Priest is a priest deputed to preside over and direct with due dependence on his Bishop a portion of the diocese called a parish.
A: The faithful should be united with their Parish Priest, listen to him with docility, and show him respect and submission in all that regards the care of the parish.
A: In the words The Communion of Saints, the Ninth Article of the Creed teaches us that the Church's spiritual goods, both internal and external, are common to all her members because of the intimate union that exists between them.
A: The internal goods that are common in the Church are: the graces received through the Sacraments; faith, hope and charity; the infinite merits of Jesus Christ; the superabundant merits of the Blessed Virgin and of the Saints; and the fruit of all the good works done in the same Church.
A: The external goods that are common in the Church are: the Sacraments, the Sacrifice of the Mass, public prayers, religious functions, and all the other outward practices that unite the faithful.
A: All Christians who are in the grace of God share in the communion of internal goods, while those who are in mortal sin do not participate in these goods.
A: Because that which unites the faithful with God, and with Jesus Christ as His living members, rendering them capable of performing meritorious works for life eternal, is the grace of God which is the supernatural life of the soul; and hence as those who are in mortal sin are without the grace of God, they are excluded from perfect communion in spiritual goods, nor can they accomplish works meritorious towards life eternal.
A: Christians who are in mortal sin still continue to derive some advantage from the internal and spiritual goods of the Church, inasmuch as they still preserve the Christian character which is indelible, and the virtue of faith which is the basis of justification. They are aided, too, by the prayers and good works of the faithful towards obtaining the grace of conversion to God.
A: Those in mortal sin can participate in the external goods of the Church, unless indeed they are cut off from the Church by excommunication.
A: The members of this Communion are called saints because all are called to sanctity and have been sanctified by baptism, and because many of them have really attained perfect sanctity.
A: Yes, the Communion of Saints also extends to heaven and purgatory, because charity unites the three Churches -- the Triumphant, the Suffering and the Militant; the Saints pray to God both for us and for the souls in purgatory; while we on our part give honor and glory to the Saints, and are able to relieve the suffering souls in purgatory by applying on their behalf indulgences and other good works.
A: Those who are damned do not belong to the Communion of Saints in the other life; and in this life those who belong neither to the body nor to the soul of the Church, that is, those who are in mortal sin, and who are outside the true Church.
A: Outside the true Church are: Infidels, Jews, heretics, apostates, schismatics, and the excommunicated.
A: Infidels are those who have not been baptized and do not believe in Jesus Christ, because they either believe in and worship false gods as idolaters do, or though admitting one true God, they do not believe in the Messiah, neither as already come in the Person of Jesus Christ, nor as to come; for instance, Mohammedans and the like.
A: The Jews are those who profess the Law of Moses; have not received baptism; and do not believe in Jesus Christ.
A: Heretics are those of the baptized who obstinately refuse to believe some truth revealed by God and taught as an article of faith by the Catholic Church; for example, the Arians, the Nestorians, and the various sects of Protestants.
A: Apostates are those who abjure, or by some external act, deny the Catholic faith which they previously professed.
A: Schismatics are those Christians who, while not explicitly denying any dogma, yet voluntarily separate themselves from the Church of Jesus Christ, that is, from their lawful pastors.
A: The excommunicated are those who, because of grievous transgressions, are struck with excommunication by the Pope or their Bishop, and consequently are cut off as unworthy from the body of the Church, which, however, hopes for and desires their conversion.
A: Excommunication should be greatly dreaded, because it is the severest and most terrible punishment the Church can inflict upon her rebellious and obstinate children.
A: The excommunicated are deprived of public prayers, of the Sacraments, of indulgences, and of Christian burial.
A: We can in some way help the excommunicated and all others who are outside the true Church, by salutary advice, by prayers and good works, begging God in His mercy to grant them the grace of being converted to the faith and of entering into the Communion of Saints.