CCC 186 From the beginning, the apostolic Church expressed and handed on her faith in brief formula normative for all.1 But already very early on, the Church also wanted to gather the essential elements of her faith into organic and articulated summaries, intended especially for candidates for Baptism:
This synthesis of faith was not made to accord with human opinions, but rather what was of the greatest importance was gathered from all the Scriptures, to present the one teaching of the faith in its entirety. And just as the mustard seed contains a great number of branches in a tiny grain, so too this summary of faith encompassed in a few words the whole knowledge of the true religion contained in the Old and the New Testaments.2
CCC 519 All Christ’s riches “are for every individual and are everybody’s property.”3 Christ did not live his life for himself but for us, from his Incarnation “for us men and for our salvation” to his death “for our sins” and Resurrection “for our justification”.4 He is still “our advocate with the Father”, who “always lives to make intercession” for us.5 He remains ever “in the presence of God on our behalf, bringing before him all that he lived and suffered for us.”6
CCC 552 Simon Peter holds the first place in the college of the Twelve;7 Jesus entrusted a unique mission to him. Through a revelation from the Father, Peter had confessed: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Our Lord then declared to him: “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.”8 Christ, the “living Stone”,9 thus assures his Church, built on Peter, of victory over the powers of death. Because of the faith he confessed Peter will remain the unshakable rock of the Church. His mission will be to keep this faith from every lapse and to strengthen his brothers in it.10
CCC 601 The Scriptures had foretold this divine plan of salvation through the putting to death of “the righteous one, my Servant” as a mystery of universal redemption, that is, as the ransom that would free men from the slavery of sin.11 Citing a confession of faith that he himself had “received”, St. Paul professes that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures.”12 In particular Jesus’ redemptive death fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy of the suffering Servant.13 Indeed Jesus himself explained the meaning of his life and death in the light of God’s suffering Servant.14 After his Resurrection he gave this interpretation of the Scriptures to the disciples at Emmaus, and then to the apostles.15
CCC 624 “By the grace of God” Jesus tasted death “for every one”.16 In his plan of salvation, God ordained that his Son should not only “die for our sins”17 but should also “taste death”, experience the condition of death, the separation of his soul from his body, between the time he expired on the cross and the time he was raised from the dead. The state of the dead Christ is the mystery of the tomb and the descent into hell. It is the mystery of Holy Saturday, when Christ, lying in the tomb,18 reveals God’s great sabbath rest19 after the fulfillment20 of man’s salvation, which brings peace to the whole universe.21
CCC 627 Christ’s death was a real death in that it put an end to his earthly human existence. But because of the union which the person of the Son retained with his body, his was not a mortal corpse like others, for “it was not possible for death to hold him” 22 23 and therefore “divine power preserved Christ’s body from corruption.” Both of these statements can be said of Christ: “He was cut off out of the land of the living”,24 and “My flesh will dwell in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let your Holy One see corruption.”25 Jesus’ resurrection “on the third day” was the sign of this, also because bodily decay was held to begin on the fourth day after death.26
CCC 639 The mystery of Christ’s resurrection is a real event, with manifestations that were historically verified, as the New Testament bears witness. In about A.D. 56 St. Paul could already write to the Corinthians: “I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. ..”27 The Apostle speaks here of the living tradition of the Resurrection which he had learned after his conversion at the gates of Damascus.28
CCC 641 Mary Magdalene and the holy women who came to finish anointing the body of Jesus, which had been buried in haste because the Sabbath began on the evening of Good Friday, were the first to encounter the Risen One.29 Thus the women were the first messengers of Christ’s Resurrection for the apostles themselves.30 They were the next to whom Jesus appears: first Peter, then the Twelve. Peter had been called to strengthen the faith of his brothers,31 and so sees the Risen One before them; it is on the basis of his testimony that the community exclaims: “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”32
CCC 642 Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles – and Peter in particular – in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary “witnesses to his Resurrection”, but they are not the only ones – Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.33
CCC 652 Christ’s Resurrection is the fulfillment of the promises both of the Old Testament and of Jesus himself during his earthly life.34 The phrase “in accordance with the Scriptures”35 indicates that Christ’s Resurrection fulfilled these predictions.
CCC 659 “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”36 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.37 But during the forty days when he eats and drinks familiarly with his disciples and teaches them about the kingdom, his glory remains veiled under the appearance of ordinary humanity.38 Jesus’ final apparition ends with the irreversible entry of his humanity into divine glory, symbolized by the cloud and by heaven, where he is seated from that time forward at God’s right hand.39 Only in a wholly exceptional and unique way would Jesus show himself to Paul “as to one untimely born”, in a last apparition that established him as an apostle.40
CCC 752 In Christian usage, the word “church” designates the liturgical assembly,41 but also the local community42 or the whole universal community of believers.43 These three meanings are inseparable. “The Church” is the People that God gathers in the whole world. She exists in local communities and is made real as a liturgical, above all a Eucharistic, assembly. She draws her life from the word and the Body of Christ and so herself becomes Christ’s Body.
CCC 857 The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways:
– she was and remains built on “the foundation of the Apostles,”44 the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;45
– with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,46 the “good deposit,” the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;47
– she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ’s return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, “assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church’s supreme pastor”:48
You are the eternal Shepherd
who never leaves his flock untended.
Through the apostles
you watch over us and protect us always.
You made them shepherds of the flock
to share in the work of your Son. ..49
1 Cf. Rom 10:9; I Cor 15:3-5, etc.
2 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. illum. 5, 12: PG 33, 521-524.
3 John Paul II, RH II.
4 I Cor 15:3; Rom 4:25.
5 I Jn 2:1 Heb 7:25.
6 Heb 9:24.
7 Cf Mk 3:16; 9:2; Lk 24:34; I Cor 15:5.
8 Mt 16:18.
9 I Pt 2:4.
10 Cf. Lk 22:32.
11 Is 53:11; cf. 53:12; Jn 8 34-36; Acts 3:14.
12 1 Cor 15:3; cf. also Acts 3:18; 7:52; 13:29; 26:22-23.
13 Cf. Is 53:7-8 and Acts 8:32-35.
14 Cf. Mt 20:28.
15 Cf. Lk 24:25-27, 44-45.
16 Heb 2:9.
17 I Cor 15:3.
18 Cf. Jn 19:42.
19 Cf. Heb 4:7-9.
20 Cf. Jn 19:30.
21 Cf Col 1: 18-20.
22 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 51, 3.
23 Acts 2:24.
24 Is 53:8.
25 Acts 2:26-27; cf. Ps 16:9-10.
26 Cf. I Cor 15:4; Lk 24:46; Mt 12:40; Jon 2:1; Hos 6:2; cf. Jn 11:39.
27 I Cor 15:3-4.
28 Cf. Acts 9:3-18.
29 Mk 16:1; Lk 24:1; Jn 19:31,42.
30 Cf Lk 24:9-10; Mt 28:9-10; Jn 20:11-18.
31 Cf I Cor 15:5; Lk 22:31-32.
32 Lk 24:34, 36.
33 I Cor 15:4-8; cf. Acts 1:22.
34 Cf. Mt 28:6; Mk 16:7; Lk 24:6-7, 26-27, 44-48.
35 Cf. I Cor 15:3-4; cf. the Nicene Creed.
36 Mk 16:19.
37 Cf Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26.
38 Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4.
39 Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1.
40 1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16.
41 Cf. 1 Cor 11:18; 14:19,28,34,35.
42 Cf. 1 Cor 1:2; 16:1.
43 Cf. 1 Cor 15:9; Gal 1:13; Phil 3:6.
44 Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14.
45 Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.
46 Cf. Acts 2:42.
47 Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14.
48 AG 5.
49 Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I.