Catechism of the Catholic Church

220 Part One 829 “But while in the most Blessed Virgin the Church has already reached that perfection whereby she exists without spot or wrinkle, the faithful still strive to conquer sin and increase in holiness. And so they turn their eyes to Mary”: 306 in her, the Church is already the “all-holy.” III. T he C hurch I s C atholic What does “catholic” mean? 830 The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.” 307 In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” 308 which he has willed: correct and complete confes- sion of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apos- tolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost 309 and will always be so until the day of the Parousia. 831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race: 310 All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one. . . . The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit. 311 306 LG 65; cf. Eph 5:26-27. 307 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 311. 308 UR 3; AG 6; Eph 1:22-23. 309 Cf. AG 4. 310 Cf. Mt 28:19. 311 LG 13 §§ 1-2; cf. Jn 11:52. 1172 972 795 815-816 849 360 518