What is the Catholic Church?

What is the Catholic Church?

            The Catholic Church is more wonderful and complex than the colors of a kaleidoscope.  While it is old, it is always new as it continues to be challenged to become more authentically the presence of Jesus Christ in the world. 

            First and foremost the Catholic Church is a Trinitarian church, believing and professing that God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The Catholic Church is a Christian Church rooted in the teachings of Jesus who comes to reveal the depth of God’s love for humanity, which is created in the image and likeness of God.   Catholics believe that all people belong to God and therefore all are the People of God in all of humanity’s wonder and diversity.  When individuals acknowledge God or not, whether baptized or not, whether saint or sinner, all belong to the People of God.

            Catholics are united with all Christians, called by God and sealed into one family through the Sacrament of Baptism.  The Catholic Church believes that there are unique celebrations of faith that makes God and Jesus unique present to every age.  These celebrations of faith are called Sacraments – encounters with God united in Jesus.

            The gathering of believers is the Catholic Church.  St. Paul reminds us that we are the Body of Christ, each with a particular role to play but all equally important.    From the Pope, to the bishops, to clergy and to the people – all collectively are the Church – the Body of Christ, making Jesus present and alive in the world each and every day. The nature of the Church is the gathering together of individuals who believe that when two or three gather in the name of Jesus, Jesus is present.  Catholics continue to gather as often as possible to be nourished by Jesus’ presence and challenge to be authentic in their understanding of who Jesus is and why he was sent by God, the Father.

            The visible structure of the Catholic Church more often than not seems to define the Church but the Church is more than Vatican, the pope, the bishops.  The visible structure keeps the Church united in striving to be faithful to the God who is ever faithful and to the authentic teaching of Jesus.