Skip to comments.Fragments of Catholic Truth: Yes to Christ, No to the Church?
Posted on 12/14/2012 9:18:52 PM PST by Salvation
What are the sources or inspiration for these subjects?Basically they are inspired by the documents of the Holy See, and in particular by the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium. This was a deliberate choice so as to create an awareness of the vast richness, completeness and beauty of these documents which are, in some circles, hardly known at all. In this way, it is possible to present the essential and fundamental contents of the faith which are professed, not just by the individual Catholic, but by the Catholic Church throughout the world as it adheres to the Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops. It is this teaching that was willed by Christ himself in order to confirm the faith of individual believers, so that, through the centuries and in various different parts of the world, everyone should profess the one true Catholic and Apostolic Faith.
Why are the topics treated in this work presented in a dialogical way?From an editorial point of view, the arguments are presented in a dialogical manner, that is to say with questions, each of which is followed by a brief response. This dialogical format, while inviting us to continue reading, is born of and remains faithful to a constant and noble catechetical tradition in the history of the Church. It is well known that many catechisms responsible for the faith formation of entire generations used and in a very fruitful way this kind of pedagogical tool. It should not be forgotten that the same Christian faith, a special gift of God, can itself also be described as a continuous dialogue between God with man, and between man and God.
I am also convinced that this approach can help to meet the needs of the todays world, which certainly has an appetite for interviews of a journalistic type, let alone a taste for synthetic sound bites and catchphrases. This may be due in part to the fact that many people nowadays have little time and, even though they say they are Catholics, need to deepen their faith. This lack of time, unfortunately, often leads to religious ignorance, which in turn, results in a widespread relativism, an arbitrary subjectivism and, last but not least, an impressive reduction in mnemonic capacity regarding the contents of faith. This is not only the case in children and young people but also in adults, both in their catechetical journey and in their various and demanding activities and profession.
Why was the sub-title Fragments of Catholic Truth chosen?
The word Fragments was inserted as a sub-title in order to underline the fact that only some of the contents which form the rich and mysterious tapestry of the Catholic Faith, as well some of the challenges that grip the present world, were being presented in this volume. At the same time I would like to stress that, in dealing with each single topic, I do not intend to present all its aspects and contents. For this reason I do not wish due to a lack of space and time to give each subject a comprehensive and complete treatment but merely to offer some suggestions, fragments of reflections.
What is the purpose of this work?It is hoped that it may help people to know the beauty and the importance of the Christian faith that is offered to all in a better way by discussing certain of the issues that characterize our society at this point in time.
For this reason it is aimed at Christians in order to give them the opportunity to know and to deepen certain contents of their faith, and to every person who wishes to know what the Catholic Church, through some of her official documents, believes and lives, with the Lords help.
Rome, 8 April 2009
Anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood
of the Basilica of Saints Ambrose and Charles in Rome
Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli
Yes to Christ, No to the Church?
Can Christ be separated from the Church or the Church from the Christ?
Is there identification between Christ and the Church?
What does the word Church mean?"The word Church refers to the people whom God calls and gathers together from every part of the earth. They form the assembly of those who through faith and Baptism have become children of God, members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Spirit.
Are there other names and images with which the Bible speaks about the Church?In Sacred Scripture we find many images which bring out various complementary aspects of the mystery of the Church. The Old Testament favours those images that are bound to the people of God. The New Testament offers images that are linked to Christ as the Head of this people which is his Body. Other images are drawn from pastoral life (sheepfold, flock, sheep), from agriculture (field, olive grove, vineyard), from construction (dwelling place, stone, temple), and from family life (spouse, mother, family).
What is the origin and the fulfillment of the Church? The Church finds her origin and fulfillment in the eternal plan of God. She was prepared for in the Old Covenant with the election of Israel, the sign of the future gathering of all the nations. Founded by the words and actions of Jesus Christ, fulfilled by his redeeming death and Resurrection, the Church has been manifested as the mystery of salvation by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. She will be perfected in the glory of heaven as the assembly of all the redeemed of the earth.
What is the mission of the Church?The mission of the Church is to proclaim and establish the Kingdom of God begun by Jesus Christ among all peoples. The Church constitutes on earth the seed and beginning of this salvific Kingdom.
In what way is the Church a mystery?The Church is a mystery in as much as in her visible reality there is present and active a divine spiritual reality which can only be seen with the eyes of faith.
What does it mean to say that the Church is the universal sacrament of salvation?This means that she is the sign and instrument both of the reconciliation and communion of all of humanity with God and of the unity of the entire human race.
Why is the Church the 'people of God'?The Church is the 'people of God' because it pleased God to sanctify and save men and women not in isolation but by making them into one people gathered together by the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
What are the characteristics of the people of God?One becomes a member of this people through faith in Christ and Baptism. This people has for its origin God the Father; for its head Jesus Christ; for its hallmark the dignity and freedom of the sons of God; for its law the new commandment of love; for its mission to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world; and for its destiny the Kingdom of God, already begun on earth.
Why is the Church called the "Bride of Christ"? She is called the "Bride of Christ" because the Lord himself called himself her "Spouse" (Mark 2:19). The Lord has loved the Church and has joined her to himself in an everlasting covenant. He has given himself up for her in order to purify her with his blood and "sanctify her" (Ephesians 5:26), making her the fruitful mother of all the children of God. While the term "body" expresses the unity of the "head" with the members, the term "bride" emphasizes the distinction of the two in their personal relationship.
Why is the Church called the temple of the Holy Spirit? She is so called because the Holy Spirit resides in the body which is the Church, in her Head and members. He also builds up the Church in charity by the Word of God, the sacraments, the virtues, and charisms" (Compendium, 147-154; 158-159).
What are the key characteristics of the Church?
Why is the Church always in need of purification?Since it is made up of sinners. All the members of the pilgrim Church here on earth, including its ministers, are sinners and must recognise that they are such. They must accept God's pardon in all humility and conquer sin in themselves and in each other with greater resolve. "While Christ, holy, innocent and undefiled knew nothing of sin, but came to expiate only the sins of the people, the Church, embracing in its bosom sinners, at the same time holy and always in need of being purified, always follows the way of penance and renewal" (LG, 8)
Who belongs to the Catholic Church?"All human beings in various ways belong to or are ordered to the Catholic unity of the people of God. Fully incorporated into the Catholic Church are those who, possessing the Spirit of Christ, are joined to the Church by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, ecclesiastical government and communion. The baptized who do not enjoy full Catholic unity are in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church" (Compendium, 168).
Why did Christ institute an ecclesiastical hierarchy?Christ entrusted the mission of teaching, sanctifying and governing to his sacred ministers. They exercise this mission as "servants of Christ" (Rm 1,1), in the imitation of Christ himself, "who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil 2,6-8).
What is the meaning of the affirmation "Outside the Church there is no salvation"?"This means that all salvation comes from Christ, the Head, through the Church which is his body. Hence they cannot be saved who, knowing the Church as founded by Christ and necessary for salvation, would refuse to enter her or remain in her. At the same time, thanks to Christ and to his Church, those who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ and his Church but sincerely seek God and, moved by grace, try to do his will as it is known through the dictates of conscience can attain eternal salvation" (Compendium, 171).
Why must the Church proclaim the Gospel to the whole world?"The Church must do so because Christ has given the command: "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" (Matthew 28:19). This missionary mandate of the Lord has its origin in the eternal love of God who has sent his Son and the Holy Spirit because «he desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth» (1 Timothy 2:4)" (Compendium, 172).
of the Basilica of Saints Ambrose and Charles, Rome
Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli
My mistake — I’m getting the title fixed.
Fragments of Catholic Truth: Yes to Christ, No to the Church?
Advent series ping.