Topics: Christianity, Catholic Church, Christian terms Pages: 6 (1421 words) Published: December 12, 2012
RCIA – The Church II
Nativity Catholic Church

Gospel Reading:
Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age”. (Mt. 28:18-20)

Review of prior talk: The Church is One because God is One. The Church is Holy because Jesus is Holy. 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.

In the Profession of Faith, the Nicene Creed, we profess that we believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. These are referred to as the Four Marks of the Church. In this second session we are going to focus on the Church as catholic and apostolic.

Catholic: The word “catholic” comes from the Greek terms kata holos, which means “according to the whole”. Catholic means universal. The Catholic Church is a universal church for God’s works to gather the whole world unto himself. The Church is “catholic” in two essential ways:

1. “Because Christ is present in her” (CCC 830).

2. “Because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race” (CCC 831).

The Church as Apostolic: The Church is apostolic because she was built on the foundation of the apostles, she guards and hands on the teachings of the apostles and she is taught and sanctified by the successors of the apostles in union with the successor of Peter, the Pope.

1. The Church is apostolic in her missionary work and the endeavors of her apostolates[1] which spread the Gospel and advances the Kingdom of God.

2. Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or assembled in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth (CCC 900).

3. Biblical example of Apostolic succession: “For this reason, I remind you to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands (2 Tim 1:6); And what you heard from me through many witnesses entrust to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others as well”. (2 Tim 2:2). HIERARCHY: The successors of the apostles, the Pope and bishops, who have Jesus’ authority.

1. The Church has a human structure that is hierarchical by divine choice.

So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6: 2-4)

2. Jesus chose Peter and empowered him with supreme authority. Jesus gave Peter the role of strengthening his brother bishops.

“Simon, Simon, behold Satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat, but I have prayed that your own faith may not fail; and once you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers.” (Lk 22:31-32)

3. The successors to Peter and the apostles are the Pope and Bishops. The Pope is the visible sign of unity.

4. Priests and deacons assist bishops and receive some of their bishop’s authority and sacramental powers.

5. Recently, Pope Benedict XVI presided over the creation of six new cardinals. A cardinal is a dignitary of the Roman Church and counselor of the pope[2]. Bishops and Archbishops, College of...
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