Catechism of the Catholic Church

The Profession of Faith 215 everywhere one and the same; there is also one virgin be- come mother, and I should like to call her “Church.” 262 814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gath- ered together. Among the Church’s members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. “Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions.” 263 The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church’s unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 264 815 What are these bonds of unity? Above all, charity “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” 265 But the unity of the pilgrim Church is also assured by visible bonds of communion: — profession of one faith received from the Apostles —common celebration of divine worship, especially of the sacraments; — apostolic succession through the sacrament of Holy Orders, maintaining the fraternal concord of God’s family. 266 816 “The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter’s pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it. . . . This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, sub- sists in ( subsistit in ) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him.” 267 The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism explains: “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God.” 268 262 St. Clement of Alexandria, Paed. 1, 6, 42: PG 8, 300. 263 LG 13 § 2. 264 Eph 4:3. 265 Col 3:14. 266 Cf. UR 2; LG 14; CIC, can. 205. 267 LG 8 § 2. 268 UR 3 § 5. 791, 873 1202 832 1827 830, 837 173 830