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The Ninth Article of the Creed
St Peters Square: I believe in the Holy Catholic Church

The Ninth Article of the Creed

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  1. What is the ninth article of the Creed?

The ninth article of the Creed is, ‘the Holy Catholic Church; the Communion of Saints’.

  1. What is the Catholic Church?

The Catholic Church is the union of all the faithful under one Head.

  1. Who is Head of the Catholic Church?

The Head of the Catholic Church is Jesus Christ our Lord.

  1. Has the Church a visible Head on earth?

The Church has a visible Head on earth – the Bishop of Rome, who is the Vicar of Christ.

  1. Why is the Bishop of Rome the Head of the Church?

The Bishop of Rome is the Head of the Church because he is the successor of St Peter, whom Christ appointed to be the Head of the Church.

  1. How do you know that Christ appointed St Peter to be the Head of the Church?

I know that Christ appointed St Peter to be the Head of the Church because Christ said to him: ‘You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven’. (Matt. 16:18.19)

  1. What is the Bishop of Rome called?

The Bishop of Rome is called the Pope, which signifies Father.

  1. Is the Pope the Spiritual Father of all Christians?

The Pope is the Spiritual Father of all Christians.

  1. Is the Pope the Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians?

The Pope is the Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians, because Christ made St Peter the Shepherd of the whole flock when he said: ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep’. He also prayed that his ‘faith’ might never fail, and commanded him to ‘strengthen’ his brothers. (John 21:15-17, Luke 22:32)

  1. Is the Pope infallible?

The Pope is infallible.

  1. What do you mean when you say that the Pope is infallible?

When I say that the Pope is infallible, I mean that the Pope cannot err when, as Shepherd and Teacher of all Christians, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals, to be held by the whole Church.

  1. Has the Church of Christ any marks by which we may know her?

The Church of Christ has four marks by which we may know her: she is One – she is Holy – she is Catholic – she is Apostolic.

  1. How is the Church One?

The Church is One because all her members agree in one Faith, have all the same Sacrifice and Sacraments, and are all united under one Head.

  1. How is the Church Holy?

The Church is Holy because she teaches a holy doctrine, offers to all the means of holiness and is distinguished by the eminent holiness of so many thousands of her children.

  1. What does the word Catholic mean?

The word Catholic means universal.

  1. How is the Church Catholic or universal?

The Church is Catholic or universal because she subsists in all ages, teaches all nations, and is the one Ark of Salvation for all.

  1. How is the Church Apostolic?

The Church is Apostolic because she holds the doctrines and traditions of the Apostles, and because, through the unbroken succession of her Pastors, she derives her Orders and her Mission from them.

  1. Can the Church err in what she teaches?

The Church cannot err in what she teaches as to faith or morals, for she is our infallible guide in both.

  1. How do you know that the Church cannot err in what she teaches?

I know that the Church cannot err in what she teaches because Christ promised that the gates of hell should never prevail against his Church; that the Holy Spirit should teach her all things; and that he himself would be with her always, even to the end of time. (Matt. 16:18. .lohn 14:16-26. Matt. 28:20)

  1. What do you mean by the Communion of Saints?

By the Communion of Saints I mean that all the members of the Church, in heaven, on earth, and in purgatory, are in communion with each other, as being one body in Jesus Christ.

  1. How are the faithful on earth in communion with each other?

The faithful on earth are in communion with each other by professing the same faith, obeying the same authority. and assisting each other with their prayers and good works.

  1. How are we in communion with the Saints in heaven?

We are in communion with the Saints in heaven by honouring them as the glorified members of the Church, and also by praying to thern, and by their praying for us.

  1. How are we in communion with the souls in purgatory?

We are in communion with the souls in purgatory by helping them with our prayers and good works: ‘It is a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins’. (2 Macc. 12:46)

  1. What is purgatory?

Purgatory is a place where souls suffer for a time after death on account of their sins.

  1. What souls go to purgatory?

Those souls go to purgatory that depart this life in venial sin; or that have not fully paid the debt of temporal punishment due to those sins of which the guilt has been forgiven.

  1. What is temporal punishment?

Temporal punishment is punishment which will have an end, either in this world, or in the world to come.

  1. How do you prove that there is a purgatory?

I prove that there is a purgatory from the constant teaching of the Church; and from the doctrine of Holy Scripture, which declares that God will render to every man according to his works; that nothing defiled shall enter heaven; and that some will be saved, ‘as one who has gone through fire. (Matt. 16:27. Apoc. 21:27. 1 Cor. 3:15)

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