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    Article 9 : " I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH. "     Back

  1. We see that in a man there are one soul and one body ; and of his body there are many members. So also the Catholic Church is one body and has different members. The soul which animates this body is the Holy Spirit. [ 1 ] Hence , after confessing our faith in the Holy Ghost , we are bid to believe in the Holy Catholic Church. Thus , in the Symbol it is said , " the Holy Catholic Church. " It must be known that " church " is the same as assembly. [ 2 ] So , the Holy Church is the same as the assembly of the faithful , and every Christian is a member of this Church , of which it is written :

  2. " Draw near to Me, ye unlearned ; and gather yourselves together into the house of discipline. " [ 3 ]
    The Church has four essential conditions , in that
    A. she is one , 126
    B. holy , 131
    C. catholic , 137
    D. and strong and firm , 140 [ 4 ]


  3. Of the first , it must be known that the Church is one. Although various heretics have founded various sects , they do not belong to the Church , since they are but so many divisions. Of her it is said : " One is My dove ; My perfect one is but one. " [ 5 ]
    The unity of the Church arises from three sources :

  4. ( 1 ) the unity of faith. All Christians who are of the body of the Church believe the same doctrine. " I beseech you . . that you all speak the same thing and that there be no schisms among you. " [ 6 ] And : " One Lord , one faith , one baptism ; " [ 7 ]

  5. ( 2 ) the unity of hope. All are strengthened in one hope of arriving at eternal life. Hence , the Apostle says : " One body and one Spirit , as you are called in one hope of your calling ; " [ 8 ]

  6. ( 3 ) the unity of charity. All are joined together in the love of God , and to each other in mutual love : " And the glory which Thou hast given Me , I have given them ; that they may be one , as We also are one. " [ 9 ] It is clear that this is a true love when the members are solicitous for one another and sympathetic towards each other : " We may in all things grow up in Him who is the head , Christ. From whom the whole body , being compacted , and fitly joined together , by what every joint supplieth , according to the operation in the measure of every part , maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in charity. " [ 10 ] This is because each one ought to make use of the grace God grants him , and be of service to his neighbor.

  7. No one ought to be indifferent to the Church , or allow himself to be cut off and expelled from it ; for there is but one Church in which men are saved , just as outside of the ark of Noah no one could be saved.


  9. Concerning the second mark , holiness , it must be known that there is indeed another assembly , but it consists of the wicked : " I hate the assembly of the malignant. " [ 11 ] But such a one is evil ; the Church of Christ , however , is holy : " For the temple of God is holy, which you are. " [ 12 ] Hence , it is said : " the Holy Church. "   Return    Top

  10. The faithful of this Church are made holy because of four things :
    ( 1 ) Just as a church is cleansed materially when it is consecrated , so also the faithful are washed in the blood of Christ : " Jesus Christ . . . who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. " [ 13 ] And : " That He might sanctify the people by his blood , suffered without the gate. " [ 14 ]

  11. ( 2 ) Just as there is the anointing of the church , so also the faithful are anointed with a spiritual unction in order to be sanctified. Otherwise they would not be Christians , for Christ is the same as Anointed. This anointing is the grace of the Holy Spirit : " He that confirmeth us with you in Christ and that hath anointed us , is God. " [ 15 ] And : " You are sanctified . . . in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. " [ 16 ]

  12. ( 3 ) The faithful are made holy because of the Trinity who dwells in the Church ; for wheresoever God dwells , that place is holy. " The place whereon thou standest is holy. " [ 17 ] And : " Holiness becometh Thy house , O Lord. " [ 18 ]

  13. ( 4 ) Lastly , the faithful are sanctified because God is invoked in the Church : " But Thou , O Lord , art among us , and Thy name is called upon by us ; forsake us not. "

  14. [ 19 ] Let us , therefore , beware , seeing that we are thus sanctified , lest by sin we defile our soul which is the temple of God : " Know you not that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? But if any man violate the temple of God , him shall God destroy. " [ 20 ]


  16. The Church is Catholic, that is, universal. Firstly , it is universal in place , because it is worldwide. This is contrary to the error of the Donatists. [ 21 ] For the Church is a congregation of the faithful ; and since the faithful are in every part of the world , so also is the Church : " Your faith is spoken of in the whole world. " [ 22 ] And also : " Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature. [ 23 ] Long ago , indeed , God was known only in Judea ; now , however , He is known throughout the entire world. The Church has three parts : one is on earth , one is in heaven , and one is in purgatory.

  17. Secondly , the Church is universal in regard to all the conditions of mankind ; for no exceptions are made , neither master nor servant , neither man nor woman : " Neither bond nor free ; there is neither male nor female. " [ 24 ].

  18. Thirdly , it is universal in time. Some have said that the Church will exist only up to a certain time. But this is false , for the Church began to exist in the time of Abel and will endure up to the end of the world : " Behold , I am with you all days , even to the consummation of the world. " [ 25 ] Nay more , even after the end of the world , it will continue to exist in heaven.


  20. The Church is firm. A house is said to be firm if it has a solid foundation. The principal foundation of the Church is Christ : " For other foundation no men can lay but that which is laid , which is Christ Jesus. " [ 26 ] The secondary foundation , however , is the Apostles and their teaching. Therefore , the Church is firm. It is said in the Apocalypse that the city has " twelve foundations , " and therein were " written the names of the twelve Apostles. " [ 27 ] From this the Church is called Apostolic. Likewise , to indicate this firmness of the Church St. Peter is called the crowning head. [ 28 ]

  21. The firmness of a house is evident if , when it is violently struck , it does not fall. The Church similarly can never be destroyed , neither by persecution nor by error. Indeed , the Church grew during the persecutions , and both those who persecuted her and those against whom she threatened [ 29 ] completely failed : " And whosoever shall fall upon this stone , shall be broken ; but on whomsoever it shall fall , it shall grind him to powder. " [ 30 ] As regards errors , indeed , the more errors arise , the more surely truth is made to appear :  " Men corrupt in mind , reprobate in faith ; but they shall proceed no further. " [ 31 ]

     Nor shall the Church be destroyed by the temptations of the demons. For she is like a tower towards which all flee who war against  the devil : " The name of the Lord is a strong tower. " [ 32 ] The devil , therefore , is chiefly intent on destroying the Church , but he  will not succeed , for the Lord has said : " The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. " [ 33 ] 

    This is as if He said : " They shall make war against thee , but they shall not overcome thee. " And thus it is that only the Church of Peter ( to whom it was given to evangelize Italy when the disciples were sent to preach ) was always firm in faith. On the contrary , in other parts of the world there is either no faith at all or faith mixed with many errors. The Church of Peter flourishes in faith and is free from error. This , however , is not to be wondered at , for the Lord has said to Peter : " But I have prayed for thee , that thy faith fail not ; and thou , being once converted , confirm thy brethren. " [ 34 ]


  23. 1. " For as the body is one and hath many members ; and all the members of the body , whereas they are many , yet are one body , so also is Christ. For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body . . . For the body also is not one member, but many " ( I Cor., xii. 12-14 ).

    2. " The word " ecclesia " ( church ) which is borrowed by the Latins from the Greek has been applied since the preaching of the Gospel to sacred things. The word " ecclesia " ( church ) means a calling forth , but writers afterwards used it to mean a council or assembly . . . However , in the ordinary sense used in the Scriptures , the word was afterwards used to designate the Christian society only , and the assemblies of the faithful : that is , of those who were called by faith to the light of truth , and the knowledge of God " ( " Roman Catechism , " Ninth Article, 2 ).

  24. 3. Ecclus., li. 31.

    4. " The distinctive marks of the Church are also to be made known to the faithful that they thus may be able to appreciate the extent of the blessing conferred by God on those who have the happiness to be born and educated in her fold "
    ( " Roman Catechism," "loc. cit. , " 2 ).

    5. Cant., vi. 8.    6. I Cor., i. 10.    7. Eph., iv. 5.    8. "Ibid." 4.    9. John, xvii. 22.    10. Eph., iv. 15-16.    11. Ps. xxv. 5.
    12. I Cor., iii. 17.    13. Apoc., i. 5.    14. Heb., xiii. 12.    15. II Cor., i. 21.    16. I Cor., vi. 11.    17. Josue, v. 16; cfr. also Gen., xxviii. 16. 18. Ps. xcii, 5.    19. Jerem., xiv. 9.

    20. I Cor., iii. 16-17. " It should not be considered surprising that the Church , although among her children are many sinners , is called holy. For as those who profess any art , even though they may violate its rules , are still artists , so the faithful , although offending in many things and violating the promises which they have made , are still called holy , because they are made the people of God , and are consecrated to Christ by baptism and faith " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 15 ).

    21. A sect which existed chiefly in Africa for about a century ( 311-411 ).
    22. Rom., i. 8.    23. Mark. xvi. 15.    24. Gal., iii. 28.    25. Matt., xxviii. 20.    26. I Cor., iii. 11.    27. Apoc., xxi. 14.

    28. As it is spoken of by Our Lord : " And I say to thee that thou art Peter ; and upon this rock I will build My Church , and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it " ( Matt., xvi. 18 ).

    29. That is , enemies of the Church who in one or other ways resisted the authority or teachings of the Church.

    30. Matt., xxi. 44.    31. Tim., iii. 8.    32. Prov., xviii. 10.    33. Matt., xvi. 18.    34. Luke, xxii. 32.


  25. As in our natural body the operation of one member works for the good of the entire body , so also is it with a spiritual body , such as is the Church. Because all the faithful are one body , the good of one member is communicated to another : " And every one members , one of another. " [ 1 ] So , among the points of faith which the Apostles have handed down is that there is a common sharing of good in the Church. This is expressed in the words , " the Communion of Saints. " [ 2 ] Among the various members of the Church , the principal member is Christ , because He is the Head : " He hath made Him head over all the Church , which is His body. " [ 3 ] Christ communicates His good , just as the power of the head is communicated to all the members.


  27. This communication takes place through the Sacraments of the Church in which operate the merits of the passion of Christ , which in turn operates for the conferring of grace unto the remission of sins.

    These Sacraments of the Church are seven in number.
    " Baptism. " -- The first is Baptism which is a certain spiritual regeneration.
    Just as there can be no physical life unless man is first born in the flesh , so spiritual life or grace cannot be had unless man is spiritually reborn. This rebirth is effected through Baptism : " Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost , he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. " [ 4 ] It must be known that , just as a man can be born but once , so only once is he baptized. Hence , the holy Fathers put into the Nicene Creed : " I confess one baptism. " The power of Baptism consists in this , that it cleanses from all sins as regards both their guilt and their punishment. For this reason no penance is imposed on those who are baptized , no matter to what extent they had been sinners. Moreover , if they should die immediately after Baptism , they would without delay go to heaven. Another result is that , although only priests " ex officio " may baptize , yet any one may baptize in case of necessity , provided that the proper form of Baptism is used. This is : " I baptize thee in the name of the Father , and of the Son , and of the Holy Ghost. " This Sacrament receives its power from the passion of Christ. " All we who are baptized in Christ Jesus are baptized in His death. " [ 5 ] Accordingly there is a threefold immersion in water after the three days in which Christ was in the sepulchre. [ 6 ]

  28. " Confirmation. " -- The second Sacrament is Confirmation. Just as they who are physically born need certain powers to act , so those who are reborn spiritually must have the strength of the Holy Spirit which is imparted to them in this Sacrament. In order that they might become strong , the Apostles received the Holy Spirit after the Ascension of Christ : " Stay you in the city till you be endowed with power from on high. " [ 7 ] This power is given in the Sacrament of Confirmation. They , therefore , who have the care of children should be very careful to see that they be confirmed , because great grace is conferred in Confirmation.
    He who is confirmed will , when he dies , enjoy greater glory than one not confirmed , because greater grace will be his.

  29. " Holy Eucharist. " -- The Eucharist is the third Sacrament.
    In the physical life , after man is born and acquires powers , he needs food to sustain and strengthen him. Likewise in the spiritual life , after being fortified , he has need of spiritual food ; this is the Body of Christ : " Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood , you shall not have life in you " [ 8 ] According to the prescribed law of the Church , therefore , every Christian must at least once a year receive the Body of Christ , and in a worthy manner and with a clean conscience : " For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily [ that is , by being conscious of unconfessed mortal sin on his soul , or with no intent to abstain from it ] eateth and drinketh judgment to himself. " [ 9 ]

  30. " Penance. " -- The fourth Sacrament is Penance.
    In the physical life , one who is sick and does not have recourse to medicine, dies ; so in the spiritual order , one becomes ill because of sin. Thus , medicine is necessary for recovery of health ; and this is the grace which is conferred in the Sacrament of Penance : " Who forgiveth all thy iniquities ; who healeth all thy diseases. " [ 10 ] Three things must be present in the Sacrament of Penance : contrition , which is sorrow for sin together with a resolution not to sin again ; confession of sins , as far as possible entire ; and satisfaction which is accomplished by good works.

  31. " Extreme Unction. " -- Extreme Unction is the fifth Sacrament.
    In this life there are many things which prevent one from a perfect purification from one's sins. But since no one can enter into eternal life until he is well cleansed , there is need of another Sacrament which will purify man of his sins , and both free him from sickness and prepare him for entry into the heavenly kingdom. This is the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. That this Sacrament does not always restore health to the body is due to this , that perhaps to live is not to the advantage of the soul's salvation. " Is any man sick amongst you ? Let him bring in the priests of the Church and let them pray over him , anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick man. And the Lord shall raise him up ; and if he be in sins , they shall be forgiven him. " [ 11 ] It is now clear that the fullness of life is had from these five Sacraments.

  32. " Holy Orders. " -- It is necessary that these Sacraments be administered by chosen ministers. Therefore , the Sacrament of Orders is necessary , by whose powers these Sacraments are dispensed. Nor need one note the life of such ministers , if here and there one fail in his office , but remember the virtue of Christ through whose merits the Sacraments have their efficacy , and in whose Name the ministers are but dispensers : " Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. " [ 12 ] This then is the sixth Sacrament , namely , Orders.

  33. " Matrimony. " --The seventh Sacrament is Matrimony , and in it men , if they live uprightly , are saved ; and thereby they are enabled to live without mortal sin. Sometimes the partners in marriage fall into venial sin , when their concupiscence does not extend beyond the rights of matrimony ; but if they do go beyond such rights , they sin mortally. [ 13 ]


  35. By these seven Sacraments we receive the remission of sins , [ 14 ]
    and so in the Creed there follows immediately ... " the forgiveness of sins. "

  36. The power was given to the Apostles to forgive sins. We must believe that the ministers of the Church receive this power from the Apostles ; and the Apostles received it from Christ ; and thus the priests have the power of binding and loosing. Moreover , we believe that there is the full power of forgiving sins in the Church , although it operates from the highest to the lowest , i.e. , from the Pope down through the prelates. [ 15 ]


  38. We must also know that not only the efficacy of the Passion of Christ is communicated to us , but also the merits of His life ; and , moreover , all the good that all the Saints have done is communicated to all who are in the state of grace , because all are one : " I am a partaker of all them that fear Thee. " [ 16 ] Therefore , he who lives in charity participates in all the good that is done in the entire world ; but more specially does he benefit for whom some good work is done ; since one man certainly can satisfy for another. [ 17 ]

  39. Thus , through this communion we receive two benefits. One is that the merits of Christ are communicated to all ; the other is that the good of one is communicated to another. Those who are excommunicated , however , because they are cut off from the Church , forfeit their part of all the good that is done , and this is a far greater loss than being bereft of all material things. There is a danger lest the devil impede this spiritual help in order to tempt one ; and when one is thus cut off , the devil can easily overcome him. Thus it was in the primitive Church that , when one was excommunicated , the devil even physically attacked him. [ 18 ]


    1. Rom., xii. 5.

    2. " The evangelist St. John , writing to the faithful on the divine mysteries , tells them that he undertook to instruct them on the subject ; ' that you , ' he says , ' may have fellowship with us , and our fellowship be with the Father and with His Son , Jesus Christ ' ( I John, i. 3 ). Now , this fellowship consists in the Communion of Saints . . . This Article is , as it were , a sort of explanation of the preceding one , which takes up the unity , sanctity , and catholicity of the Church. For the unity of the Spirit , by which she is governed , establishd among all her members a community of spiritual blessings , whereas the fruit of all the Sacraments , particularly Baptism , the door , as it were , by which we are admitted into the Church , are so many connecting links which bind and unite them to Jesus Christ. " The " Roman Catechism " makes the Communion of Saints the last part of the Ninth Article of the Creed ; and the Tenth Article is the forgiveness of Sins ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 24-25 ).

    3. Eph. i. 22..    4. John iii. 5..    5. Rom., vi. 3.

    6. Immersion is the act of dipping or plunging the subject into the water used in the administration of Baptism. It was a method generally employed in the early Church , and was still in vogue at the time ot St. Thomas. The Greek Church still retains it ; but though valid , for obvious reasons immersion is practically no longer employed in the Latin Church.
    It is practiscd by some sects to-day in America.

    7. Luke, xxiv. 49.    8. John, vi. 54.    9. I Cor., xi. 29.    10. Ps. cii. 3.    11. James, v. 1 4- 15.    12. Cor., iv. 1.

    13. See the " Explanation of the Sacraments , " p. 130 ; and " The Commandments. " p. 99.

    14. Baptism and Penance are called Sacraments of the dead , because they take away sin and give the first grace of justification. The other five Sacraments are called Sacraments of the living , because one who receives them worthily is already living the life of grace. But the Sacraments of the living produce the first grace when the subject , guilty of a grievous fault , approaches the Sacraments in good faith , that is to say , with the invincible ignorance of his fault , and with attrition ( cfr. Pourrat , " Theology of the Sacraments , " St. Louis , 1914, p. 201 ).

    15. " For Our Lord did not give the power of so sacred a ministry to all , but to bishops and priests only. The same must be said regarding the manner in which the power is to be exercised ; for sin can be forgiven only through the Sacraments , when duly administered. The Church has received no power otherwise to remit sins. Hence it follows that in the forgiveness of sins both priests and Sacraments are , as it were , the instruments which Christ , Our Lord , the Author and giver of salvation , make use of to accomplish in us pardon of sin and the grace of justification " ( " Roman Catechism. " loc. cit. , 6 ).

    16. Ps. cxviii. 63.

    17. " But there is also another Communion in the Church which demands attention ; every pious and holy action done by one belongs to and becomes profitable to all , through charity which ' seeks not her own ' " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 25 ).

    18. " The advantage of so many and such exalted blessings bestowed by Almighty God are especially enjoyed by those who lead a Christian life in charity and are just and beloved of God " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 26 ).

    Article 11: THE RESURRECTION OF THE BODY     Back    Top

  41. Not only does the Holy Spirit sanctify the Church as regards the souls of its members , but also our bodies shall rise again by His power : " We believe in Him that raised up Jesus Christ , Our Lord , from the dead. " [ 1 ] And : " By a man came death : and by a Man the resurrection of the dead. " [ 2 ]

  42. In this there occur four considerations :
    1° - the benefits which proceed from our faith in the resurrection ;
    2° - the qualities of those who shall rise , taken all in general ;
    3° - the condition of the blessed ;
    4° - the condition of the damned.


  44. 1° - Concerning the first , our faith and hope in the resurrection is beneficial in four ways.
    Firstly , it takes away the sorrow which we feel for the departed. It is impossible for one not to grieve over the death of a relative or friend ; but the hope that such a one will rise again greatly tempers the pain of parting : " And we will not have you ignorant , brethren , concerning them that are asleep , that you be not sorrowful , even as others who have no hope. " [ 3 ]

  45. Secondly , it takes away the fear of death. If one does not hope in another and better life after death , then without doubt one is greatly in fear of death and would willingly commit any crime rather than suffer death. But because we believe in another life which will be ours after death , we do not fear death , nor would we do anything wrong through fear of it : " That , through death He might destroy him who had the empire of death , that is to say , the devil. And might deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject of servitude. " [ 4 ]

  46. Thirdly , it makes us watchful and careful to live uprightly. If , however , this life in which we live were all , we would not have this great incentive to live well , for whatever we do would be of little importance , since it would be regulated not by eternity , but by brief , determined time. But we believe that we shall receive eternal rewards in the resurrection for whatsoever we do here. Hence , we are anxious to do good : " If in this life only we have hope in Christ , we are of all men most miserable. " [ 5 ]

  47. Finally, it withdraws us from evil. Just as the hope of reward urges us to do good , so also the fear of punishment , which we believe is reserved for wicked deeds , keeps us from evil : " But they that have done good things shall come forth unto the resurrection of life ; but they that have done evil , unto the resurrection of judgment. " [ 6 ]


  49. There is a fourfold condition of all those who shall take part in the resurrection.
    ( a ) The Identity of the Bodies of the Risen. -- It will be the same body as it is now , both as regards its flesh and its bones. Some , indeed , have said that it will not be this same body which is corrupted that shall be raised up ; but such view is contrary to the Apostle : " For this corruptible must put on incorruption. " [ 7 ] And likewise the Sacred Scripture says that by the power of God this same body shall rise to life : " And I shall be clothed again with my skin ; and in my flesh I shall see my God. " [ 8 ]

  50. ( b ) The Incorruptibility of the Risen Bodies. -- The bodies of the risen shall be of a different quality from that of the mortal body , because they shall be incorruptible , both of the blessed , who shall be ever in glory , and of the damned , who shall be ever in punishments : " For this corruptible must put on incorruption ; and this mortal must put on immortality. " [ 9 ] And since the body will be incorruptible and immortal , there will no longer be the use of food or of the marriage relations : " For in the resurrection they shall neither marry nor be married , but shall be as the Angels of God in heaven. " [ 10 ] This is directly against the Jews and Mohammedans : " Nor shall he return any more into his house. " [ 11 ]

  51. ( c ) The Integrity of the Risen Bodies. -- Both the good and the wicked shall rise with all soundness of body which is natural to man. He will not be blind or deaf or bear any kind of physical defect : " The dead shall rise again incorruptible , " [ 12 ] this is to mean , wholly free from the defects of the present life. [ 13 ]

  52. ( d ) The Age of the Risen Bodies. -- All will rise in the condition of perfect age , which is of thirty-two or thirty-three years. This is because all who were not yet arrived at this age , did not possess this perfect age , and the old had already lost it. Hence , youths and children will be given what they lack , and what the aged once had will be restored to them : " Until we all attain the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God , unto a perfect man , unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ. " [ 14 ]


  54. It must be known that the good will enjoy a special glory because the blessed will have glorified bodies which will be endowed with four gifts.
    ( a ) Brilliance.-- " Then shall the just shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. "[ 15 ]
    ( b ) Impassibility ( i.e., Incapability of Receiving Action ). -- " It is sown in dishonor ; it shall rise in glory. " 16 " And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes ; and death shall be no more. Nor mourning , nor crying , nor sorrow shall be anymore , for the former things are passed away. " [ 17 ]
    ( c ) Agility.--" The just shall shine and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. " [ 18 ]
    ( d ) Subtility. -- " It is sown a natural body ; it shall rise a spiritual body. " [ 19 ] This is in the sense of not being altogether a spirit , but that the body will be wholly subject to the spirit.


  56. It must also be known that the condition of the damned will be the exact contrary to that of the blessed. Theirs is the state of eternal punishment , which has a fourfold evil condition. The bodies of the damned will not be brilliant : " Their countenances shall be as faces burnt. " 20 Likewise they shall be passible , because they shall never deteriorate and , although burning eternally in fire , they shall never be consumed : " Their worm shall not die and their fire shall not be quenched. " [ 21 ] They will be weighed down , and the soul of the damned will be as it were chained therein : " To bind their kings with fetters , and their nobles with manacles of iron. " [ 22 ] Finally , they will be in a certain manner fleshly both in soul and body : " The beasts have rotted in their dung. " [ 23 ]


    1. Rom., iv. 24.

    2. I Cor., xv. 21. " In this Article the resurrection of mankind is called ' the resurrection of the body. ' The Apostles had for object thus to convey an important truth , the immortality of the soul. Lest , therefore , contrary to the Sacred Scripturess , which in many places clearly teach the soul to be immortal , any one may imagine that it dies with the body , and denies that both are to be raised up , the Creed speaks only of ' the resurrection of the body ' " ( " Roman Catechism , " Eleventh Article, 2 ).

    3. I Thess., iv. 12.    4. Heb., ii. 14.    5. I Cor., xv. 19.    6. John, v. 29.    7. I Cor., xv. 53.

    8. Job, xix. 26. " The identical body which belongs to each one of us during life shall , though corrupt , and dissolved into its original dust , be raised up again to life . . . Man is , therefore , to rise again in the same body with which he served God , or was a slave to the devil that in the same body he may experience rewards and a crown of victory , or endure the severest punishments and everlasting torments " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 7).

    9. I Cor., xv. 53.    10. Matt., xxii. 30.

    11. Job. vii. 10. " To omit many other points , the chief difference between the state of all bodies when risen from the dead , and what they had previously been , is that before the resurrection they were subject to dissolution ; but when reanimated they shall all , without distinction of good and bad , be invested with immortality. This marvellous restoration of nature is the result of the glorious victory of Christ over death " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 12).

    12. I Cor., xv. 52.

    13. " Not only will the body rise , but it will rise endowed with whatever constitutes the reality of its nature and adorns and ornaments man . . . The members , because essential to the integrity of human nature , shall all be restored . . . For the resurrection like the creation , is clearly to be accounted among the chief works of God. And as at the creation all things came perfect from the hand of God , so at the resurrection all things shall be perfectly restored by the same omnipotent hand " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 9 ).

    14. Eph., iv. 13.

    15. Matt., xiii. 43. " This brightness is a sort of refulgence reflected from the supreme happiness of the soul ; it is an emanation of the beatitude which it enjoys and which shines through the body. Its communication is like to the manner in which the soul itself is made happy , by a participation of the happiness of God " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 13).

    16. I Cor., xv. 43

    17. Apoc., xxi. 4. " The first is ' impassibility , ' which shall place them beyond the reach of pain or inconvenience of any sort . . . This quality the Scholastics called ' impassibility , ' not incorruption , in order to distinguish it as a property peculiar to a glorified body. The bodies of the damned shall not be impassible , though incorruptible ; they shall be capable of experiencing heat and cold and of feeling pain. " ( " Roman Catechism , " " ibid. " ).

    18. Wis., iii. 7. " Agility , as it is called , is a quality by which the body shall be freed from the heaviness that now presses it down ; and shall acquire a capability of moving with the utmost ease and quickness wheresoever the soul pleases " ( " Roman Catechism , " " ibid. " ).

    19. I Cor., xv. 44. " Another quality is that of subtility , a quality which subjects the body to the absolute dominion of the soul , and to an entire obedience to her control " ( " Roman Catechism , " " ibid. ").

    20. Isa., xiii. 8.    21. "Ibid., lxvi. 24.    22. Ps. cxlix. 8.    23. Joel, i. 17.

    Article 12: LIFE EVERLASTING. AMEN     Back   Top

  58. The end of all our desires , eternal life , is fittingly placed last among those things to be believed ; and the Creed says : " life everlasting. Amen. " They wrote this to stand against those who believe that the soul perishes with the body. If this were indeed true , then the condition of man would be just the same as that of the beasts. This agrees with what the Psalmist says : " Man when he was in honor did not understand ; he hath been compared to senseless beasts , and made similar to them. " [ Ps. xlviii. 21 ] The human soul , however , is in its immortality made like unto God , and in its sensuality alone is it like the brutes. He , then , who believes that the soul dies with the body withdraws it from this similarity to God and likens it to the brutes. Against such it is said : " They knew not the secrets of God , nor hoped for the wages of justice , nor esteemed the honor of holy souls. For God created man incorruptible , and to the image of His own likeness He made him. " [ 2 ]


  60. We must first consider in this Article what is everlasting life. And in this we must know that in everlasting life man is united to God. God Himself is the reward and the end of all our labors : " I am thy protector , and thy reward exceeding great. " [ Gen., xv. 1. ] This union with God consists , firstly , in a perfect vision : " We see now through a glass in a dark manner ; but then face to face. " [ 4 ] Secondly , in a most fervent love ; for the better one is known , the more perfectly is one loved : " The Lord hath said it , whose fire is in Sion , and His furnace in Jerusalem. " [ 5 ] Thirdly , in the highest praise. " We shall see , we shall love , and we shall praise , " as says St. Augustine. [ 6 ] " Joy and gladness shall be found therein , thanksgiving and the voice of praise. " [ Isa., li. 3. ]

  61. Then , too , in everlasting life is the full and perfect satisfying of every desire ; for there every blessed soul will have to overflowing what he hoped for and desired. The reason is that in this life no one can fulfill all his desires , nor can any created thing fully satisfy the craving of man. God only satisfies and infinitely exceeds man's desires ; and, therefore , perfect satiety is found in God alone. As St. Augustine says : " Thou hast made us for Thee , O Lord , and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee. " [ "Confessions," Book I, 1. ] Because the blessed in the Fatherland will possess God perfectly , it is evident that their desires will be abundantly filled , and their glory will exceed their hopes. The Lord has said : " Enter thou into the joy of the Lord. " [ Matt., xxv. 21. ] And as St. Augustine says : " Complete joy will not enter into those who rejoice , but all those who rejoice will enter into joy. " " I shall be satisfied when Thy glory shall appear." [ Ps. xvi. 15. ] And again : " Who satisfieth thy desire with good things. " [ Ps. cii. 5. ]


  63. Whatever is delightful will be there in abundant fullness. Thus , if pleasures are desired , there will be the highest and most perfect pleasure , for it derives from the highest good , namely , God : " Then shalt thou abound in delights in the Almighty. " [ Job, xxii. 26. ] " At the right hand are delights even to the end. " [ 13 ] Likewise , if honors are desired , there too will be all honor. Men wish particularly to be kings , if they be laymen ; and to be bishops , if they be clerics. Both these honors will be there : " And hath made us a kingdom and priests. " [ Apoc., v. 10 ] " Behold how they are numbered among the children of God. " [ 15 ] If knowledge is desired , it will be there most perfectly , because we shall possess in the life everlasting knowledge of all the natures of things and all truth , and whatever we desire we shall know. And whatever we desire to possess , that we shall have , even life eternal : " Now , all good things come to me together with her. " [ Wis.. vii. 11 ] " To the just their desire shall be given. " [ Prov., x. 24. ]

  64. Again , most perfect security is there. In this world there is no perfect security ; for in so far as one has many things , and the higher one's position , the more one has to fear and the more one wants. But in the life everlasting there is no anxiety , no labor , no fear.

    " And My people shall sit in the beauty of peace , " [ 18 ] and " shall enjoy abundance , without fear of evils. " [ Prov., i. 33. ]

  65. Finally , in heaven there will be the happy society of all the blessed , and this society will be especially delightful. Since each one will possess all good together with the blessed , and they will love one another as themselves , and they will rejoice in the others' good as their own. It will also happen that , as the pleasure and enjoyment of one increases , so will it be for all : " The dwelling in thee is as it were of all rejoicing. " [ Ps. lxxxvi. 7. ]


  67. The perfect will enjoy all this in the life everlasting , and much more that surpasses description. But the wicked , on the other hand , will be in eternal death suffering pain and punishment as great as will be the happiness and glory of the good.

  68. The punishment of the damned will be increased , firstly , by their separation from God and from all good. This is the pain of loss which corresponds to aversion , and is a greater punishment than that of sense : " And the unprofitable servant , cast ye out into the exterior darkness. " [ Matt., xxv. 30. ] The wicked in this life have interior darkness , namely sin ; but then they shall also have exterior darkness.

  69. Secondly , the damned shall suffer from remorse of conscience : " I will reprove thee , and set before thy face. " [ Ps. xlix. 21.] " Groaning for anguish of spirit. " [ Wis., v. 3. ] Nevertheless , their repentance and groaning will be of no avail , because it rises not from hatred of evil , but from fear and the enormity of their punishments.

    Thirdly , there is the great pain of sense. It is the fire of hell which tortures the soul and the body ; and this , as the Saints tell us , is the sharpest of all punishments. They shall be ever dying , and yet never die ; hence it is called eternal death , for as dying is the bitterest of pains , such will be the lot of those in hell : "They are laid in hell like sheep; death shall feed upon them." [ Ps. xlviii. 15. ]

    Fourthly, there is the despair of their salvation. If some hope of delivery from their punishments would be given them , their punishment would be somewhat lessened ; but since all hope is withdrawn from them , their sufferings are made most intense : " Their worm shall not die , and their fire shall not be quenched. [ Isa., lxvi. 24. ]

  70. We thus see the difference between doing good and doing evil. Good works lead to life , evil drags us to death. For this reason , men ought frequently to recall these things to mind , since they will incite one to do good and withdraw one from evil. Therefore , very significantly , at the end of the Creed is placed " life everlasting , " so that it would be more and more deeply impressed on the memory. To this life everlasting may the Lord Jesus Christ , blessed God for ever , bring us ! Amen.


    2. Wis., ii. 22-23. Note also: "And though in the sight of men they suffer torments their hope is full of immortality" ( " ibid. , " iii. 4 ).

    4. I Cor., xiii. 12. " The blessed always see God present , and by this greatest and most exalted of gifts , ' being made partakers of the divine nature ' ( II Peter, i. 4 ) , they enjoy true and solid happiness " ( " Roman Catechism , " Twelfth Article , 9)

    5. Isa., xxxi. 9. Note : This second consideration is found in the vives edition Chapter XV

    6. "Ibi vacabimus , et videbimus : videbimus , et amabimus : amabimus , et laudabimus "
    ( " There we shall rest and we shall see ; we shall see and we shall love ; we shall love and we shall praise , "
    in " The city of God , " Book XXII, Chapter xxx ).

    13. Ps. xv. 11. " To enumerate all the delights with which the souls of the blessed will be filled , would be an endless task. We cannot even conceive them in thought. The happiness of the Saints is filled to overflowing of all those pleasures which can be enjoyed or even desired in this life , whether they pertain to the powers of the mind or the perfection of the body " ( " Roman Catechism , " " loc. cit. , " 12 ).

    15. Wis., v. 5. " How distinguished that honor must be which is conferred by God Himself , who no longer calls them servants , but friends , brethren , and sons of God. Hence , the Redeemer will address His elect in these infinitely loving and highly honorable words : ' Come , ye blessed of My Father , possess you the kingdom prepared for you ' " ( " Roman Catechism. " " loc. cit. , " 11 ).

    18. Isa., xxxii. 10.    This is in the Vives edition, Chapter XV.