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The Four Marks Of The Catholic Church

Decent Essays
The four (4) marks of the Catholic Church are one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. These marks date back to the ecumenical councils of Nicea in 325 and First Constantinople in 381 and were reaffirmed at the Council of Trent in the 16th century and echoed by the Holy Vatican Office in the 19th century (Suprenant 1). These are distinctive characteristics of the church because of its oneness of doctrine (one), ability to dispense sanctification (holy), mission to the world (catholic), and succession of ministry (apostolic) (Catholic Encyclopedia 371). These marks are professed every time the Nicene Creed is prayed and proclaims the Church “serves as a leaven and as a kind of soul for human society as it is to be renewed in Christ and transformed…show more content…
The two marks to be discussed are one and apostolic.
The Church as One
The historical basis for the Church as One can be found in the New Testament in a variety of different books to include Ephesians, 1 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians, and John. Ephesians talks about “the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (4:4-6). This statement in Ephesians reinforces our unity as one through our baptism, through the work of the Holy Spirit residing in us, and our call as one to bring others to baptism (as linked to our apostolic action). 1 Corinthians highlights the idea of unity from a Eucharistic perspective stating “we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf” (10:17). 1 Corinthians reinforces how the Eucharist unites us in the body and blood of Christ because we become what we receive and are asked to take this out to the world (once again linked to our apostolic action). In Romans, Paul states “for as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function, so we, though many, are one
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Matthew talks about the establishment of the Church when Jesus stated “and so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church” (16:18). This proclamation of Peter as the head of the church begins the line of apostolic succession that continues today within the Catholic Church. It is in this succession the Catholic Church can clearly state being the one true Church. Luke exemplifies how the work of those sent out on mission represent Him when saying “whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me” (10:16). Once again, Luke provides a clear signal those sent by Christ are endowed with carrying forth His mission with the same resolve and intent of Christ and those who reject their teaching also rejects both Jesus and His Father. Once again in John, Jesus reaffirms the role of the apostles when stating “did I not choose you twelve” (6:70). Preceded by this is Peter’s acknowledgement that Jesus has the words of eternal life in the face of many disciples returning to their former life. More so today, Christianity is faced with many people exiling to a secular way of life. In the meantime, the Church remains a rock that echoes the fact that indeed God did choose us and this continues to be upheld by those who
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