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The Nicene-Constantinople Creed of 381 AD, which we recite each Sunday morning during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, says, “We believe in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.”
The Catholic Church is a union of human beings united by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by participation of and in the same sacraments under the direction of their lawful pastors, especially of the one representative of Christ on earth, the Bishop of Rome.
The union of human beings is understood at three levels. Because Christ died to redeem us all, the Church that He instituted has authority over every human being on the face of the earth. The Church has particular authority over all professed Christians. Catholics recognize that authority while other Christians do not.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 751, states,
The word “Church” (Latin ecclesia, from the Greek ek-ka-lein, to “call out of”) means a convocation or an assembly. It designates the assemblies of the people, usually for a religious purpose. Ekklesia is used frequently in the Greek Old Testament for the assembly of the Chosen People before God, above all for their assembly on Mount Sinai where Israel received the Law and was established by God as his holy people. By calling itself “Church,” the first community of Christian believers recognized itself as heir to that assembly. In the Church, God is “calling together” his people from all the ends of the earth. The equivalent Greek term Kyriake, from which the English word Church and the German Kirche are derived, means “what belongs to the Lord.”
The Catechism, 752, states:
In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly, but also the local community or the whole universal community of believers. These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body.
First and foremost, the worldwide Church headquartered in Rome. Second, the diocese. Rev 2:1 “To the angel of the Church in Ephesus …” And third, the local parish.
The Nicene-Constantinople Creed of 381 AD, which we recite each Sunday morning during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, says, “We believe in one holy Catholic and apostolic Church.” These are the four marks of the authentic Church: It is one, holy, Catholic and apostolic.
The one Catholic Church consists of three branches. Christ is the head of all three. All three branches work together as one for the benefit of all.
|The Church Militant serves the souls in this life. It is called the Church Militant because it is at every moment engaged in spiritual war against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We in this life pray to God asking help for one another and for ourselves. We pray for the souls in purgatory, that they might be released into heaven. We pray to the souls in heaven asking them to intercede with God for our needs.||The Church suffering serves the souls in purgatory. These souls cannot pray for themselves, but they can pray for the souls in this life. We in this life can pray for them, and the saints in heaven can pray for them. If we do pray for them, they will appreciate it very much and pray for us in return.||
The Church Triumphant serves the souls in heaven. We do not need to pray for the souls in heaven because they already have everything they need. If we pray to them asking their help, they are happy to intercede for us.
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