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I.

THE NATURE OF THE CHURCH

Nature of the CHURCH Old Testament- qahal New Testament- ekklesia Both terms means the people of God called together, or an assembly convoked by God. Thus they stress the action of God in calling the people together. A. The church as mystery In our Christian Faith, mystery is not something we cannot know or understand. Rather it is a reality we can never fully grasp because there is always more to learn (cf.NCDP, 200).Each of us is mystery- there is always more to learn about our life, our true selves, our happiness and love, and destiny. To affirm that the Church is a mystery simply means: First, that it is a reality imbued with the hidden presence of Godalways open to a new and greater exploration (Paul VI at Vatican II). Second, it has a unique relation to God Himself, and therefore also with all of us who are called to salvation precisely as a people. The Church is related to each Person of the Blessed Trinity. First, to the eternal Father who resolved to assemble all those who believe in Christ in the holy Church. In the Fathers plan, The Church was: Prefigured from the beginning of the world; Prepared wonderfully in the history of Israel, Instituted finally in these last times, Manifested in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, To be brought to completion at the end of time (LG, 2; CCC, 760-69). Second, to the Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ,Christ, the one Mediator, established and ceaselessly sustains here on earth his holy Church. The Church originated and grew form Christ. Third, to the Holy Spirit who dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in the temple (cf. 1 Cor 3:16), and bears witness to their adoptive sonship (Gal 4:6). Hence the Church is mystery by reason of: its origin in the Fathers plan of salvation, its on-going life in the Risen Christ and the Spirit, and Its ultimate goal in the fully achieved kingdom of God.

Icon of the trinity Basically, the Church is mystery because of its relationship to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It manifests the Blessed Trinity by both its nature and mission. First, by its origin the Church arose from the saving design of the Father, the redemptive mission of the Son and the sanctifying work of the Spirit Second, in structure: just as the Trinity is a community, the communion of love of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so too the Church is a community, a communion of believers drawn together by Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Third, the mission of the Church originates from the mission of the Son and the mission of the Holy Spirit, in accordance with the decree of God the Father (PCP II, 103; AG, 2). Fourth, the destiny of the Church is the full realization of this communion in the Kingdom of God. We are pilgrims, because joined with Christ in the Church and signed with the Holy Spirit who is the pledge of our inheritance. This Trinitarian view of the Church is the full quite close to the ordinary religious experience of Catholic Filipinos. For it is in the Church, especially in communal worship at Mass, when we Filipinos most often: Experience God as our Father and feel ourselves as children in His divine hands; Come to know Christ as our personal Saviour, and what it means to be His disciples in service of others; Judge true ,authentic experiences of the Holy Spirit, among our fellow disciples of Christ, and under the guidance and leadership of Church authorities B. The Church as Sacrament The Church as mystery is further clarified and developed by the notion of sacrament. By her relationship with Christ, the Church is both a sacrament sign and an instrument of intimate union with God and of the unity of all mankind. Christ then has made the Church the effective sign and symbol of: 1) our union with God; 2) The unity among men; and 3) Of salvation The church as a sacrament has many advantages: 1.) It unites inseparably the visible and invisible dimensions of the Church. -Sacrament by definition is a visible sign making present an invisible reality. 2.) Sacrament directly relates the Church to non-Catholics. -without neglecting the necessity of the visible Church, it helps explain how the grace of

Christ can be operative beyond the limits of the institutional Church. 3.) It unites the Church closely with the Eucharist. The many similarities are striking: As the Eucharist is composed of bread and wine which earth has given and human hands and value made, so the Church is composed of men and women called together. As the Eucharist makes sacramentally present the body and blood of the Risen Christ, so the Church is the visible sign of the presence of the Risen Christ in His Spirit. As the Eucharist's bread and wine have no meaning outside of Christs words, so the Church cannot be understood except through Christs promise I am with you always until the end of the age (Mt 28:20). Spiritual Images of the Church If by its very nature the Church is mystery and sacrament, we come to better understand it more through prayerful reflection on key Biblical images than by some abstract definition (CCC, 753-57).The NT, drawing on major OT themes, contains more than 80 comparisons depicting the Church as a communion of life, love and truth established by Christ between God and His human children. Vatican II gathers them in four groups. The Church is:

The flock of Christ, the Good Shepherd, who lays down his life for his sheep The Vineyard of God, cultivated by the heavenly Vinedresser. Christ is the true vine who gives life and fruitfulness to us, the branches The temple of God, with Christ as the cornerstone and the apostles as foundation. Our Mother, the spotless spouse of the spotless Lamb. Whom Christ love and for whom he gave himself up that he might sanctify her (LG, 6).

Here are the 4 particular biblical images which are especially helpful for grasping the reality of the Catholic Church: 1) Kingdom of God This is the major theme of Christs own teaching in the Synoptic Gospels.PCP II sketches it in biblical Images: the Kingdom of God is the Good News preached to the poor, the gift of God ,our Abba.(Father) who is sensitive to the needs and suffering of every human being. Now Christ inaugurated his Church by preaching the coming of Gods Kingdom (LG,

5). His parables about the Kingdom of God employed many specific images: a treasure hidden in a field the leaven raising the dough, The tiny mustard seed growing into a huge tree, A fish net catching the good and the bad. These can help us see how the Church, on the one hand, is not simply identified with the Kingdom of God. 2) People of God Vatican IIs favourite image of the Church is the new people of God.God has willed to make the men holy and save them, not merely as individuals without any mutual bonds, but by making them into a single people, a people which acknowledge Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. The Church as the People of God has clear distinguishing characteristics: Its cause is God: once you were no people, but now you are chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people God claims for his own Its Head is Christ who was delivered up for our sins and rose again for our justification(Rom 4:25) Its members are those who believe in Christ, who are reborn through the Word of the living God, of water and the Spirit in baptism (Jn 3:3,5); Its condition is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons/daughter s of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple; Its law is Christs new commandment of love (Jn 13:34) , and the new Law of the Spirit(Rom 8:2) Its mission is to be the salt of the earth, the light of the world, its salvation(Mt 5:134-16); Its destiny is the final kingdom of God, brought to perfection at the end of time (LG, 9: CCC, 782). This new people of God are a Priestly and Kingly People. As a priestly people by reason of our Baptism, strengthened by Conformation and nourished by the Eucharist, we Christians offer spiritual worship for the glory of God and the salvation of men. As a prophetic people, we give witness to Christ by our understanding of the faith (sensus fidei) and the grace of speech so that the power of the Gospel may shine out in daily family and social life(LG,35). 3.) Body of Christ In the Gospels Jesus called men and women to follow him, to be his disciples and share his life and mission. He identified them with himself: He, who hears you, hears me .He that rejects you, rejects me (Lk 10:16).

By communicating his Spirit to his brothers and sisters, called together from all peoples, Christ made them mystically into his own body. Thus the Church is not just like a body, but IS the Body of Christ, really made one in him, in his mystical Body. Christs body, then, can refer to: 1) The physical body of his historical Jesus, assumed at the Incarnation; or 2) His Eucharistic body, making sacramentally present to us the Person of the Risen Christ in his saving sacrifice; or 3) His mystical body, the Church, the faithful united to Christ as their Head, and united and vivified by His Spirit. Unity in Diversity Within Christs Body, the Church, there is a great variety of members and functions. This means that the unity of the Body of Christ is not uniformity. It is the Holy Spirit whom Christ shares with us as the principle of life, the soul of his Body, who, existing as one and the same in head and members, gives life to, unifies and moves the whole body (LG, 7). 4.) Temple of the Holy Spirit St.Paul wrote to the Corinthians: You are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you. Animating the Church as the Body of Christ is the Holy Spirit. The Filipino value of close family unity and ties should help Catholic Filipinos to appreciate the Church as the Body of Christ. Body of Christ actually stresses first, the living unity of all the faithful among themselves through their union with Christ. Second, under Christ the Head, the organic relationships between the members through the grace and charisms of the Spirit. Third, the Church as Spouse of Christ All three aspects are actualized through Baptism and the Eucharist. As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. For in one Spirit we are all baptized into one body (1 Cor 12:13).Moreover by really sharing in the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up unto communion with him and with one number. ESSENTIAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHURCH The "essential characteristics" of the Church are known as the four marks of the Church. They are listed in the Nicene Creed and include: One - in belief, leadership, worship and morals Holy - able to sanctify and raise virtuous and holy members Catholic - found everywhere with the same belief and teachings I.

Apostolic - having succession from the apostles and thus retaining the legitimate authority and jurisdiction to preach and manage the Christian religion. The Church as One THE CHURCH IS ONE FIRST FROM HER VERY SOURCE, THE ONE LIVING GOD IN THREE PERSONS PEOPLE MADE ONE WITH THE UNITY OF THE FATHER, THE SON, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT SECOND, THE CHURCH IS ONE IN HER FOUNDER, JESUS CHRIST CAME TO REDEEM AND UNIFY THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE. PRAYED TO HIS FATHER THAT ALL MAY BE ONE EVEN AS YOU, FATHER, ARE IN ME AND I IN YOU (JN 17:21) INSTITUTED THE EUCHARIST WHICH BOTH SIGNIFIES AND EFFECTS THE UNITY OF THE CHURCH UNITED ALL BY HIS NEW COMMANDMENT OF MUTUAL LOVE POURED FORTH HIS SPIRIT THROUGH WHOM HE CALLS THE PEOPLE OF THE NEW COVENANT INTO A UNITY OF FAITH, HOPE AND CHARITY THE BONDS OF THE CHURCH UNITY ARE CLEARLY SET FORTH IN SCRIPTURE. CHRISTIANS FORM ONE BODY AND ONE SPIRIT, SINCE THERE IS ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM; ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, WHO IS OVER ALL AND WORKS THROUGH ALL AND IS IN ALL (EPH 4:4-6) IN BRIEF THE CHURCH IS ONE: IN THE CONFESSION OF ONE FAITH RECEIVED FROM THE APOSTLES COMMON CELEBRATION OF DIVINE WORSHIP, ESPECIALLY THE SACRAMENTS FRATERNAL HARMONY OF GODS FAMILY UNITY DIVISIONS AMONG CHRISTIANS CONSEQUENTLY REMAIN A MAJOR CAUSE OF SCANDAL BEFORE THE WORLD. OFFICIAL BREAKS WITH CHURCH COMMUNION INCLUDE: 1) HERESY- OBSTINATE DENIAL OR DOUBT BY BAPTIZED PERSON OF TRUTH WHICH MUST BE BELIEVED BY DIVINE AND CATHOLIC FAITH. 2) APOSTACY- TOTAL REPUDIATION OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH 3) SCHISM- WITHDRAWAL OF SUBMISSION TO THE SUPREME PONTIFF OR FROM

COMMUNION WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH SUBJECT TO HIM. ECUMENISM CONCERNED WITH RESTORING UNITY OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES. Mainly refers to initiatives aimed at greater Christian unity or cooperation. It is used predominantly by and with reference to Christian denominations and Christian Churches separated by doctrine, history, and practice. Within this particular context, the term ecumenism refers to the idea of a Christian unity in the literal meaning: that there should be a single Christian Church. HOLY

THE FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES. SECOND, BECAUSE SHE GUARDS AND TRANSMITS THEIR TEACHING AND WITNESS. THIRD, SHE CONTINUES TO BE INSTRUCTED, SANCTIFIED AND GUIDED BY THE APOSTLES THROUGH THEIR SUCCESSORS. MISSION AND MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH MISSION 1412. Christ founded his Church to continue his saving mission on earth. The Church, endowed with the gifts of her founder, receives the mission to proclaim and to establish among all people the Kingdom of Christ and of God. This mission is built into her very nature as originating from the Blessed Trinity. The mission flows from the Church as Sacrament of salvation, the sign and instrument for achieving intimate union with God. Briefly then, the Church has: A mission mandate Whose origin and goal is the Blessed Trinity Motivated by Gods love With the Holy Spirit as Principal Agent

IN FAITH WE BELIEVE THE CHURCH IS

HOLY IN A WAY THAT CAN NEVER FAIL. FIRST BECAUSE CHRIST LOVED THE CHURCH AS HIS BRIDE AND GAVE HIMSELF UP FOR HER, TO MAKE HER HOLY. FAITH IS CALLED DIVINE BECAUSE IT IS A SUPERNATURAL VIRTUE WHEREBY, INSPIRED AND ASSISTED BY THE GRACE OF GOD, WE BELIEVE THAT WHICH HE HAS REVEALED IS TRUE, NOT BECAUSE THE INTRINSIC TRUTH OF THINGS IS RECOGNIZED BY THE NATURAL LIGHT OF REASON.

CATHOLIC THE TERM CATHOLIC HERE MEANS UNIVERSAL, COMPLETE, ALL EMBRACING. IT APPLIES TO THE CHURCH IN TWO DIFFERENT WAYS. FIRST, THE CHURCH IS WORLD- WIDE, SENT TO ALL PEOPLE. SECOND, BEING ENDOWED WITH THE FULLNESS OF THE MEANS FOR SALVATION THE CHURCH IS CATHOLIC ACCORDING TO A CHURCH FATHER BECAUSE SHE: IS SPREAD THROUGHOUT THE WORLD POSSESSES ALL SAVING TRUTH IS SENT TO ALL PEOPLES CAN HEAL ALL KINDS OF SINS ABOUNDS IN EVERY KIND OF VIRTUE AND SPIRITUAL GIFT APOSTOLIC THE CHURCH IS APOSTOLIC IN THREE BASIC WAYS: FIRST BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST GROUNDED HER PERMANENTLY ON

1413. This mission of the People of God


is a central theme in all four Gospels: Mark presents mission as proclaiming the Gospel to lead others to the faith Matthews mission stresses the teaching of the Christian community, the Church. Luke emphasizes the Gospels transforming power to work conversion to Gods merciful love, and liberation from the root of all evil, sin. In Johns Gospel, Jesus sends forth his disciples on mission, just as the Father sent him. 1414. PCP II describes the Church in the Philippines as a Community in Mission. Since mission is at the center of Churchs being, the whole Church is missionary. This means that we are missionaries above all because of what we are as a Church... even before we become missionaries in a word of deed.

PCP II asserts: All are called to mission... all-without exception-are called to evangelize. 1415. PCP II goes further to describe the particular mission of the lay faithful within the one universal mission of the Church. It grounds the Lay Apostolate in Vatican IIs teaching. PCP II then develops the mission of the laity in terms of being called to: 1. A community of families 2. Christian presence in the world 3. Service and evangelization 4. Social transformation 1416. The Churchs mission toward nonChristians is based on two firm convictions. First, Christ is the one Savior of all, the one mediator between God and man. Second, God established the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation, sent on mission to the whole world as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Therefore, it is necessary to keep these two truths together, namely, the real possibility of salvation in Christ for all mankind, and the necessity of the Church for salvation 1417. The mission of every Filipino Catholic derives from both the Lords mandate and the life of Gods grace within us. As Catholics we are privileged to receive the Lords charge of bearing witness to the Faith and to the Christian way of life as a service to our brothers and sisters, and as a fitting response to God. As members of a missionary Church, we are called to confess the Faith in full adherence to the Word of God, celebrated in the Sacraments, and lived in charity, the principle of Christian moral existence. 1418. Church of the Poor. This mission involves a balance between the essential inculturation of the Faith in Filipino culture and the mission to all peoples, or the Churchs international outreach.

Has Pastors and leaders who will learn to be with, work with, and learn from, the poor; Not only evangelizes the poor, but recognizes that the poor will themselves become true evangelizers, and Orients and tilts the center of gravity of the entire community in favor of the needy

maintained between the evangelizing mission of proclaiming the Gospel and the thrust for justice and liberation. Evangelization and human liberation, while not identical, are clearly intimately connected PCP II seeks to transform the whole fabric of society according to the values of the Kingdom and of Christ. Thus, the Church promotes human development, integral liberation, justice and peace in society and the integrity of creation. MINISTRIES OF THE CHURCH 1420. Ministry means service, and Christian ministry refers to serving the people of God in a stable fashion. Thus, ministry is characterized by: a) doing something, b) for Gods Kingdom, c) in public, d) on behalf of the Christian community, e) empowered by a gift of faith received in baptism, or ordination, and f) identifiable within the diversity of ministerial activities. Ministry in its most general sense, therefore, is not the privilege of a selected few, but the vocation of all baptized Christians. 1422. Ordained Ministry. There are first of all the ordained ministries that arise from the Sacrament of Orders. These ministers receive the authority and power to serve the Church, acting in the person of Christ, the Head. The three degrees of the Sacrament of Orders: bishop, priest and deacon.

1419. A further balance must be

Church of the Poor This means a Church that: Embraces and practices the spirit of evangelical poverty; combines detachment from possessions with profound trust in the Lord; Shows special love, a love of preference, for the poor; Does not discriminate against the poor, but vindicates their rights; Gives preferential attention and time to the poor;

1423. Infallibility. The most important


duty of the Bishop is preaching the Gospel The Bishops are the authentic teachers, endowed with the authority of Christ, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff. 1424. In promising to be with the Church to the end of time, Christ, the divine Redeemer, willed this charism of infallibility for his Church. This simply means that Christ, the Way, the Truth, the Life, through his Holy Spirit,

will preserve Church from error in its solemn, definitive teaching of the deposit of faith. 1425. Lay Apostolate. Different not simply in degree but in essence are the ministries of the lay faithful, founded in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, and for a good many of them, in the Sacrament of Matrimony. It is clear, then, that the laitys apostolate cannot be exclusively described in terms of ministry. 1426. The Religious. Besides the ordained and lay ministries, there are the Religious Brothers and Sisters, those faithful who bind themselves to Christ in a state of life consecrated to God by the profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Church recognizes various forms of consecrated life: monastic, eremitic, religious institutes, secular institutes, etc., and different societies of apostolic life. 1427. Basic Ecclesial Communities. Filipino Catholics need to see that the Churchs Mission and all her Ministries are directly for the service of the Kingdom. Besides the primary task of evangelization through preaching the Word, this service means establishing communities, local Churches, and forming Basic Ecclesial Communities which become centers for Christian formation and missionary outreach. COMMUNION of SAINTS and MARY, MOTHER and MODEL of the CHURCH A. The Communion of Saints To the holy Catholic Church the Apostles Creed adds the explicitation: the Communion of Saints communion in holy things (sancta) Communion with the holy people (sancti) Two meanings: 1. Communion in holy things They devoted themselves to: the teaching of the apostles: communion in the faith received from the apostles; communal life: fellowship in the Lord, supported by the charisms of the Holy Spirit; the breaking of bread and to prayers: communion in the sacraments, especially Baptism ( the door to the Church), and the Eucharist ( nourishes and perfects the communion);

common : the common in possessions; With exultation and sincerity of heart they ate their meals: communion of charity. 2. Communion of holy people Three states are those who are: pilgrims on earth; are being purified; and Already in glory. All are in communion in loving the same God and neighbor, being disciples of the same Lord, and animated by the same Spirit. Filipino Catholics are culturally attuned to communion with saints, communion with the departed, in one family of God. B. MARY: Daughter, Mother and Model of the Church 1. Mary, Daughter of the Church -Mary is a daughter of the Church, and our sister as well but the Vatican Council immediately adds that Mary is clearly the mother of the members of Christ 2. Mary, Mother of the Church -the reflection and extension of her being the mother of God and the associate in Christs saving work. Mary is the Mother of the Church because: *As Mother of Jesus Christ - she is Mother of the Head of the Church, Her mystical body and thus mother of all members of Her body, all Her disciples. Therefore as Disciples of Christ and as members of Her Body, we have Mary as our spiritual mother. * As associate in Christs saving work -Mary cooperated in an utterly singular way by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity in the work of the Savior...She is a mother to us in the order of grace. Marys motherhood in the order of grace continues without interruption, since taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving role but by her intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. Motherhood of Mary and of Church Relative of Christ Mary and the Church mutually clarify each other. The pattern Word of God---Faith---birth of Christ. A. o Mary brought forth Christ, the Life of the world; o The Church regenerates people in the Christ-life.

they shared all things in

B. o Mary was overshadowed by the Spirit of the Annunciation and Christ was conceived; The Church received the outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost and Christ is born in his members, the Church; Mary is a Virginal Mother, that is, entirely dependent on God not on man; The Church is likewise; Mary, the redeemed, is missioned to be the mother of the redeemed; Churchs mission is to be mother of redeemed.

C. o o D. o o

Paul VI did not hesitate to affirm that knowledge of the true Catholic doctrine regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary will always be a key to the exact understanding of the mystery of Christ and of the Church. John Paul II develops this mutual relation of Mary and the Churchs maternity. The church learns to be Mother and Virgin from Mary. The Church learned to imitate Marys faith and love in carrying out the Fathers will. The Church thereby became virginal mother in her own right. Through the ministry of Word and Sacrament, she brings forth adopted sons and daughters of the Father, receiving the Word of God in faith. In her new motherhood in the Spirit, Mary embraces each and everyone in the Church and through the Church. Mary, Model of the Church - Mary is Model of the Church because she shines forth to the whole community of the elect as the model of virtues. Mary is the first to be evangelized, and the first evangelizer. As the first to be evangelized and redeemed: o in her relationship to Christ, she is the most admirable fruit of Christs redemption; o In relationship to the life of the Church and each member, she is model of Faith as both virgin and mother, and the perfect disciple of Christ. She is blest among women, raised to a dignity of unimagined heights, our fallen natures solitary boast. As the first evangelizer: Mary is Christs God-chosen sharer in mediating it. She is the model of ecclesial service, the handmaid of the Lord who

proclaimed her service in her Magnificat, and collaborated with her Son to evangelize for the liberation of all. Mary then, is present in the mystery of the Church as model. Indeed, with the maternal love she cooperates in the birth and education of the sons and daughters of mother Church. For Filipino Catholics, the central experience of Mary, Mother and Model of the Church, is her constant help and protection through her maternal mediation, interceding for all her children. Mary is our model in many ways, especially in her interior attitude of service and sacrifice. A total obedience to Gods will and the desire to help others marked her daily life. In that way, God was preparing her for the final sacrifice of the cross. PCP II declares that we need to consider Marys qualities such as faith, generosity at the Annunciation and Crucifixion, her intercessory role at Cana and at the Upper Room before Pentecost, her gentleness and nurturing love. Paul VI clarified how Mary can be truly a model for the modern woman. He highlighted her decision making; her free choice of virginity for total self-consecration to God, her proclamation of Gods vindicating the humble and oppressed, her courageous stand in flight, exile, and persecution of her Son, and her support of the apostolic community. Therefore, Mary can rightfully be considered as: An example to be imitated, not precisely in the type of life she led, and much less for the socio-cultural background in which she lived but as an example for the way in which in her own particular way of life, she fully and responsibly accepted the will of God. She heard the word of God and acted on it. She is the first and most perfect of Christs disciples. This also refutes those who erroneously are led to conceived of Christ as the model of men and Mary as the model of women. Christ is the Lord and Savior of all men and women. Those who consider Mary only in her attitude of service and obedience, supposedly representing the ideal values of femininity, forget that Christ is THE model of service and obedience. Marys yes is Christs, leading to the struggle of the Cross. Mary, then is the fulfillment of Israel raised to a new level, following Christ, she is model for both men and women.