Apostolic | Apostolicity
Forth Mark of the Church
4th Mark of the Church
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Question / Issue:
What does it mean that
the Catholic Church is Apostolic?
Answer / Resources:
[click link(s) below, as applicable]
Apostolicity is the
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
According to the
Catechism of the Council of Trent...
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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