Catechism of the Catholic Church

226 Part One continues and, in the course of history, unfolds the mission of Christ, who was sent to evangelize the poor; so the Church, urged on by the Spirit of Christ, must walk the road Christ himself walked, a way of poverty and obedience, of service and self-sacri- fice even to death, a death from which he emerged victorious by his resurrection.” 346 So it is that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.” 347 853 On her pilgrimage, the Church has also experienced the “discrep- ancy existing between the message she proclaims and the human weak- ness of those to whom the Gospel has been entrusted.” 348 Only by taking the “way of penance and renewal,” the “narrow way of the cross,” can the People of God extend Christ’s reign. 349 For “just as Christ carried out the work of redemption in poverty and oppression, so the Church is called to follow the same path if she is to communicate the fruits of salvation to men.” 350 854 By her very mission, “the Church . . . travels the same journey as all humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world: she is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God.” 351 Missionary endeavor requires patience. It begins with the proclamation of the Gospel to peoples and groups who do not yet believe in Christ, 352 continues with the establishment of Christian communities that are “a sign of God’s presence in the world,” 353 and leads to the foundation of local churches. 354 It must involve a process of inculturation if the Gospel is to take flesh in each people’s culture. 355 There will be times of defeat. “With regard to indi­ viduals, groups, and peoples it is only by degrees that [the Church] touches and penetrates them, and so receives them into a fullness which is Catho- lic.” 356 855 The Church’s mission stimulates efforts towards Christian unity. 357 Indeed, “divisions among Christians prevent the Church from realizing in practice the fullness of catholicity proper to her in those of her sons who, though joined to her by Baptism, are yet separated from full communion with her. Furthermore, the Church herself finds it more difficult to express in actual life her full catholicity in all its aspects.” 358 346 AG 5. 347 Tertullian, Apol. 50, 13: PL 1, 603. 348 GS 43 § 6. 349 LG 8 § 3; 15; AG 1 § 3; cf. RMiss 12-20. 350 LG 8 § 3. 351 GS 40 § 2. 352 Cf. RMiss 42-47. 353 AG 15 § 1. 354 Cf. RMiss 48-49. 355 Cf. RMiss 52-54. 356 AG 6 § 2. 357 Cf. RMiss 50. 358 UR 4 § 8. 1428 2443 2105 1204 821