The Catholic Church, Her Marks and Attributes
1. What is the Church? The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him.
2. Who founded the Church? Jesus Christ founded the Church.
3. Why did Jesus Christ found the Church? Jesus Christ founded the Church to bring all men to eternal salvation.
4. How is the Church enabled to lead men to salvation? The Church is enabled to lead men to salvation by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, who gives it life. The dwelling of the Holy Ghost in the Church was first visibly manifested on Pentecost Sunday, when He came down upon the apostles in the form of tongues of fire.
5. How long will the Holy Ghost dwell in the Church? The Holy Ghost will dwell in the Church until the end of time.
6. What does the indwelling of the Holy Ghost enable the Church to do? The indwelling of the Holy Ghost enables the Church to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the faithful in the name of Christ. By teaching, sanctifying, and ruling in the name of Christ is meant that the Church always does the will of its Divine Founder, who remains forever its invisible Head.
7. To whom did Christ give the power to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the members of His Church? Christ gave the power to teach, to sanctify, and to rule the members of His Church to the apostles, the first bishops of the Church. Christ intended that this power should be exercised also by their successors, the bishops of the Church. The bishops are assisted by priests and deacons. The laity also cooperate with them in their own way in the world.
8. Did Christ give special power in His Church to any one of the apostles? Christ gave special power in His Church to Saint Peter by making him the head of the apostles and the chief teacher and ruler of the entire Church. This power is also given to the Successors of Peter, the Popes, the Bishops of Rome. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth and the visible head of the Church.
9. How do we know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ? We know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by Christ because it alone has the marks of the true Church, which are certain clear signs by which all men can recognize it as the true Church founded by Jesus Christ. The chief marks of the Church are four: It is one (same faith, same sacraments, same visible head in the Pope), holy (founded by Christ, teaches holy things, provides means of holy life), catholic or universal (destined for all time, teaches all nations, teaches all truth), and apostolic (founded on the apostles and governed by their successors).
10. What are the chief attributes of the Catholic Church? The chief attributes of the Catholic Church are authority (Pope and bishops have authority of Christ to teach, govern, sanctify), infallibility (cannot err in faith and morals), and indefectibility (will last till the end of time). They are called attributes because they are qualities perfecting the nature of the Church.
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