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On This Rock

I joined my parents for daily Mass this morning. There was both a different feel and a sameness to attending Mass 1500 miles from my home parish. Their band of daily communicants gathered in the small Eucharistic adoration chapel instead of the larger sanctuary. The congregation was primarily composed of retirees instead of mothers with children. The altar server was an elderly gentleman in street clothes instead of young boys in cassock and surplice.

Yet the variations could not obscure the oneness. In both parishes we hear the same Word of God and make present the same Sacrifice of Christ. In both parishes we partake of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. It is very comforting to know that I can find Christ, truly present, in any Catholic Church.

This is the message promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in its most recent communication.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe... in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.

While elements of this communion may be found in other faith communities, the wholeness of Christ’s Church exists only in the Catholic Church. Those are strong words. They are very difficult for a culture accustomed to eschewing absolutes. We are far more comfortable allowing each to worship (or not worship) as he pleases and according equality to individual preferences. Yet Christ did not build his Church on shifting sand. He did not leave the particulars to be worked out by a committee of his disciples with each free to fashion a Church after his own preferences. Rather he founded His One, Holy Catholic Apostoic Church on a rock. A rock named Peter.


Micki said…
I have a friend who travels frequently and always goes to the church in that city for daily Mass. When the priest calls on the Holy Spirit and makes the sign of the cross over the bread and wine and it becomes the body and blood of Jesus, she always says at that moment "Hello Jesus, it's (insert her name) and I'm here with you in (insert city.) She thinks when she dies Jesus will say "Hello (insert name) it's Jersus in Heaven! :-)

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