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122 • Part I. The Creed: The Faith Professed


• The word


is based on both the Greek word


and the

Hebrew word


, which mean the gathering of the community.

It was first applied to the people of Israel, whom God called into

existence. The Church was planned and formed by God, who called

together into one those who accepted the Gospel.

• The Father prepared for the Church through a series of covenant

events described in the Old Testament. Jesus fulfilled the divine plan

for the Church through his saving death and Resurrection. The Holy

Spirit manifested the Church as a mystery of salvation.

• The Church is a visible society and a spiritual community; she is

a hierarchical institution and the Body of Christ; she is an earthly

Church and one filled with heavenly treasures. Hence the Church is

a complex reality that has human and divine elements.

The reality of the mystery of the Church is expressed in a variety of

ways as follows:

• The Church is the sacrament of salvation, the sign and instrument of

our communion with God (cf. CCC, nos. 774-776).

• The Church is the People of God. “You are a chosen race, a royal

priesthood, a holy nation. . . . Once you were ‘no people,’ / but now

you are God’s people” (1 Pt 2:9-10). We become members of God’s

People through faith and Baptism (cf. CCC, nos. 781-786).

• The Church is the Body of Christ. Christ is the head, and we are the

members. In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members

and roles, yet everyone is linked together by Christ’s love and grace,

especially the poor, the suffering, and the persecuted (cf. CCC, nos.


• The Church is the Bride of Christ. “Christ loved the Church and

handed himself over [to death] for her that he might sanctify her”

(Eph 5:25-26; cf. CCC, no. 796).

• The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. “We are the temple of

the living God” (2 Cor 6:16; cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17, Eph 2:21; cf. CCC,

nos. 797-801).