CCC 2 So that this call should resound throughout the world, Christ sent forth the apostles he had chosen, commissioning them to proclaim the gospel: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”1 Strengthened by this mission, the apostles “went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that attended it.”2
CCC 75 “Christ the Lord, in whom the entire Revelation of the most high God is summed up, commanded the apostles to preach the Gospel, which had been promised beforehand by the prophets, and which he fulfilled in his own person and promulgated with his own lips. In preaching the Gospel, they were to communicate the gifts of God to all men. This Gospel was to be the source of all saving truth and moral discipline.”3
CCC 156 What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe “because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived”.4 So “that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit.”5 Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church’s growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability “are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all”; they are “motives of credibility” (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is “by no means a blind impulse of the mind”.6
CCC 161 Believing in Jesus Christ and in the One who sent him for our salvation is necessary for obtaining that salvation.7 “Since ”without faith it is impossible to please [God]“ and to attain to the fellowship of his sons, therefore without faith no one has ever attained justification, nor will anyone obtain eternal life ‘But he who endures to the end.’”8
CCC 434 Jesus’ Resurrection glorifies the name of the Savior God, for from that time on it is the name of Jesus that fully manifests the supreme power of the “name which is above every name”.9 The evil spirits fear his name; in his name his disciples perform miracles, for the Father grants all they ask in this name.10
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.”11 Christ’s body was glorified at the moment of his Resurrection, as proved by the new and supernatural properties it subsequently and permanently enjoys.12 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.13 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.14 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.15
CCC 670 Since the Ascension God’s plan has entered into its fulfillment. We are already at “the last hour”.16 “Already the final age of the world is with us, and the renewal of the world is irrevocably under way; it is even now anticipated in a certain real way, for the Church on earth is endowed already with a sanctity that is real but imperfect.”17 Christ’s kingdom already manifests its presence through the miraculous signs that attend its proclamation by the Church.18
CCC 699 The hand. Jesus heals the sick and blesses little children by laying hands on them.19 In his name the apostles will do the same.20 Even more pointedly, it is by the Apostles’ imposition of hands that the Holy Spirit is given.21 The Letter to the Hebrews lists the imposition of hands among the “fundamental elements” of its teaching.22 The Church has kept this sign of the all-powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit in its sacramental epicleses.
CCC 748 “Christ is the light of humanity; and it is, accordingly, the heart-felt desire of this sacred Council, being gathered together in the Holy Spirit, that, by proclaiming his Gospel to every creature, it may bring to all men that light of Christ which shines out visibly from the Church.”23 These words open the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church. By choosing this starting point, the Council demonstrates that the article of faith about the Church depends entirely on the articles concerning Christ Jesus. The Church has no other light than Christ’s; according to a favorite image of the Church Fathers, the Church is like the moon, all its light reflected from the sun.
CCC 846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?24 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:
Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.25
CCC 888 Bishops, with priests as co-workers, have as their first task “to preach the Gospel of God to all men,” in keeping with the Lord’s command.26 They are “heralds of faith, who draw new disciples to Christ; they are authentic teachers” of the apostolic faith “endowed with the authority of Christ.”27
CCC 977 Our Lord tied the forgiveness of sins to faith and Baptism: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”28 Baptism is the first and chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification, so that “we too might walk in newness of life.”29
CCC 1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan.30 After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”31
CCC 1253 Baptism is the sacrament of faith.32 But faith needs the community of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or the godparent is asked: “What do you ask of God’s Church?” The response is: “Faith!”
CCC 1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.33 He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them.34 Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament.35 The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are “reborn of water and the Spirit.” God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
CCC 1507 The risen Lord renews this mission (“In my name. .. they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”36) and confirms it through the signs that the Church performs by invoking his name.37 These signs demonstrate in a special way that Jesus is truly “God who saves.”38
1 Mt 28:19-20.
2 Mk 16:20.
3 DV 7; cf. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15.
4 Dei Filius: 3 DS 3008.
5 Dei Filius: 3 DS 3009.
6 Dei Filius: 3: DS 3008-3010; Cf. Mk 16 20; Heb 2:4.
7 Cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:36; 6:40 et al.
8 Dei Filius 3: DS 3012; cf. Mt 10:22; 24: 13 and Heb 11:6; Council of Trent: DS 1532.
9 Phil 2:9-10; cf. Jn 12:28.
10 Cf. Acts 16:16-18; 19:13-16; Mk 16:17; Jn 15:16.
11 Mk 16:19.
12 Cf Lk 24:31; Jn 20:19, 26.
13 Cf. Acts 1:3; 10:41; Mk 16:12; Lk 24:15; Jn 20:14-15; 21:4.
14 Cf. Acts 1:9; 2:33; 7:56; Lk 9:34-35; 24:51; Ex 13:22; Mk 16:19; Ps 110:1.
15 1 Cor 15:8; cf. 9:1; Gal 1:16.
16 I Jn 2:18; cf. I Pt 4:7.
17 LG 48 # 3; cf. I Cor 10:11.
18 Cf. Mk 16:17-18, 20.
19 Cf. Mk 6:5; 8:23; 10:16.
20 Cf. Mk 16:18; Acts 5:12; 14:3.
21 Cf. Acts 8:17-19; 13:3; 19:6.
22 Cf. Heb 6:2.
23 LG 1; cf. Mk 16:15.
24 Cf. Cyprian, Ep. 73.21:PL 3,1169; De unit.:PL 4,509-536.
25 LG 14; cf. Mk 16:16; Jn 3:5.
26 PO 4; cf. Mk 16:15.
27 LG 25.
28 Mk 16:15-16.
29 Rom 6:4; Cf. 4:25.
30 Cf. Mt 3:13.
31 Mt 28:19-20; cf. Mk 16:15-16.
32 Cf. Mk 16:16.
33 Cf. Jn 3:5.
34 Cf. Mt 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; LG 14; AG 5.
35 Cf. Mk 16:16.
36 Mk 16:17-18.
37 Cf. Acts 9:34; 14:3.
38 Cf. Mt 1:21; Acts 4:12.