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'Quick Help' Page: What Does It Mean That The Catholic Church Is Apostolic?

 

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4th Mark of the Church

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What does it mean that the Catholic Church is Apostolic?

 

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Apostolicity is the fourth mark of the Church. It concerns the ability to authentically trace the Church directly back to the Apostles. As defined...

"This is the mark of the Church which depends upon her apostolic origin. The Church has a three-fold apostolicity: (a) of doctrine, in that she teaches the same doctrine as the Apostles taught; (b) of mission or authority, in that she has inherited her mission and authority from the Apostles through a legitimate and uninterrupted succession of pastors; (c) of society, in that she is the same society as that of which the Apostles were the foundation." (Catholic Dictionary)

According to the Catechism of the Council of Trent...

"The true Church is also to be recognized from her origin, which can be traced back under the law of grace to the Apostles; for her doctrine is the truth not recently given, nor now first heard of, but delivered of old by the Apostles, and disseminated throughout the entire world. Hence no one can doubt that the impious opinions which heresy invents, opposed as they are to the doctrines taught by the Church from the days of the Apostles to the present time, are very different from the faith of the true Church. That all, therefore, might know which was the Catholic Church, the Fathers, guided by the Spirit of God, added to the Creed the word Apostolic. For the Holy Ghost, who presides over the Church, governs her by no other ministers than those of Apostolic succession. This Spirit, first imparted to the Apostles, has by the infinite goodness of God always continued in the Church. And just as this one Church cannot err in faith or morals, since it is guided by the Holy Ghost; so on the contrary, all other societies abrogating to themselves the name of church, must necessarily because guided by the spirit of the devil, be sunk in the most pernicious errors, both doctrinal and moral."


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