CCC 84 The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei),1 contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. “By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful.”2
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,”3 the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself;4
– with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching,5 the “good deposit,” the salutary words she has heard from the apostles;6
– 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”:7
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. ..8
CCC 1202 The diverse liturgical traditions have arisen by very reason of the Church’s mission. Churches of the same geographical and cultural area came to celebrate the mystery of Christ through particular expressions characterized by the culture: in the tradition of the “deposit of faith,”9 in liturgical symbolism, in the organization of fraternal communion, in the theological understanding of the mysteries, and in various forms of holiness. Through the liturgical life of a local church, Christ, the light and salvation of all peoples, is made manifest to the particular people and culture to which that Church is sent and in which she is rooted. The Church is catholic, capable of integrating into her unity, while purifying them, all the authentic riches of cultures.10
CCC 1556 To fulfill their exalted mission, “the apostles were endowed by Christ with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit coming upon them, and by the imposition of hands they passed on to their auxiliaries the gift of the Spirit, which is transmitted down to our day through episcopal consecration.”11
CCC 1577 “Only a baptized man (vir) validly receives sacred ordination.”12 The Lord Jesus chose men (viri) to form the college of the twelve apostles, and the apostles did the same when they chose collaborators to succeed them in their ministry.13 The college of bishops, with whom the priests are united in the priesthood, makes the college of the twelve an ever-present and ever-active reality until Christ’s return. The Church recognizes herself to be bound by this choice made by the Lord himself. For this reason the ordination of women is not possible.14
CCC 2471 Before Pilate, Christ proclaims that he “has come into the world, to bear witness to the truth.”15 The Christian is not to “be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord.”16 In situations that require witness to the faith, the Christian must profess it without equivocation, after the example of St. Paul before his judges. We must keep “a clear conscience toward God and toward men.”17
1 DV 10 § 1; cf. 1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:12-14 (Vulg.).
2 DV 10 § 1; cf. Acts 2:42 (Greek); Pius XII, apostolic constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, 1 November 1950:AAS 42 (1950), 756, taken along with the words of St. Cyprian, Epist. 66, 8:CSEL 3/2,733: “The Church is the people united to its Priests, the flock adhering to its Shepherd.”
3 Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14.
4 Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.
5 Cf. Acts 2:42.
6 Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14.
7 AG 5.
8 Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I.
9 2 Tim 1:14 (Vulg.).
10 Cf. LG 23; UR 4.
11 LG 21; cf. Acts 1:8; 24; Jn 20:22-23; 1 Tim 4:14; 2 Tim 1:6-7.
12 CIC, can. 1024.
13 Cf. Mk 3:14-19; Lk 6:12-16; 1 Tim 3:1-13; 2 Tim 1:6; Titus 1:5-9; St. Clement of Rome, Ad Cor. 42,4; 44,3:PG 1,292-293; 300.
14 Cf. John Paul II, MD 26-27; CDF, declaration, Inter insigniores: AAS 69 (1977) 98-116.
15 Jn 18:37.
16 2 Tim 1:8.
17 Acts 24:16.