The Marks of the Church

In the Nicene Creed, Catholics profess their belief in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Jesus founded only one Church and He wanted his followers to share the same true faith. In spite of division, all baptized Christians remain bound to each other and to God in faith and love.

As head of the Church, Jesus is holy. All Catholics are called to be holy so they can be in communion with Him and reach Heaven. The Church provides the teaching that is necessary to live a life of holiness.

The Church is a universal church. It is catholic because it was founded for everyone and for all time.

The Apostles were entrusted with Jesus’ Church and they passed on their teaching and authority to bishops who succeeded them. Even today, Catholic bishops have the same authority and continue to hand down the same faith of the Apostles who knew Jesus. Like the Apostles, we too are sent to share the faith with others.

These four marks are qualities of Jesus that He will always share with the Catholic Church.

Catholics profess that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic:

For over 17 centuries, the Creed has included the marks of the Church:

“This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.” These four characteristics, inseparably linked with each other, indicate essential features of the Church and her mission. The Church does not possess them of herself; it is Christ who, through the Holy Spirit, makes his Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, and it is he who calls her to realize each of these qualities.

Catechism of the Catholic Church 811

There are 4 marks of the true Church:

The marks reveal which Church was founded by Jesus:

They devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles and to the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and to the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their property and possessions and divide them among all according to each one’s need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking bread in their homes. They ate their meals with exultation and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying favor with all the people. And every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Acts 2: 42-47

4 characteristics of Jesus that He passed on to his Church:

This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Saviour, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as “the pillar and mainstay of the truth”. This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.

Pope Paul VI, Lumen Gentium, November 21, 1964

What difference does it make?:

The true Church will bear these marks like a fingerprint:

Many Protestant Churches recite the Nicene Creed:

Truth, Goodness, and Beauty of the Catholic Church

What has our faith produced?:

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