In some of the answers I’ve been getting to my questions about the universality of the church and its mystical body v. its visible body, one thing I keep getting reminded of by people is that Martin Luther came up with today’s protestant idea of the Church being an invisible, “spiritual brotherhood” of all “true believers” which transcends denominational barriers regardless of differing beliefs about Christ, the church, the sacraments/ordinances, or anything else religious. I just want to be clear and scrap off all my confusion (sometimes I think I have residual protestantism in me that clouds my thinking): Do I, as a Catholic, have no “spiritual brotherhood” with protestants or other non-Catholics? Does the Mystical Body of the Church only refer to a an invisible spiritual connection I share with every other faithful man, woman, and child in the Roman Catholic Church? And please guys, be honest and blunt, you’re not going to hurt my feelings. I’m just trying to get to the bottom of this so I can know the truth. If the Mystical Body only applies to myself and other faithful Catholics, that’s just fine by me.
I’m not sure what sort of definition you’re looking for. Since Protestants share some of the truth found (in its fullness) in the Catholic Church, then we share some kind of basic “spiritual brotherhood”. We share a belief in Christ. I wouldn’t say that we form some kind of “invisible church” together, because frankly I don’t see that being what Christ instituted, but what Protestants instituted, and I have no compelling reason to adopt this particular Protestant concept.
[quote=Sherlock]I’m not sure what sort of definition you’re looking for. Since Protestants share some of the truth found (in its fullness) in the Catholic Church, then we share some kind of basic “spiritual brotherhood”. We share a belief in Christ. I wouldn’t say that we form some kind of “invisible church” together, because frankly I don’t see that being what Christ instituted, but what Protestants instituted, and I have no compelling reason to adopt this particular Protestant concept.
Nor do I. I’m basically just trying to make sure that the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Mystical Body only applies to full members of the Church (or if that’s wrong correct me), and to see if the the Church says anything about a some kind of supernatural connection with other Christians or even non-Catholics, beyond calling Protestants “separated brethren.”
I got a little more confused after reading this, b/c of the part about baptized heretics with good will belonging to the soul of the church.
“Many baptized heretics have been educated in their erroneous beliefs. Their case is altogether different from that of those who have voluntarily renounced the Faith. They accept what they believe to be the Divine revelation. Such as these belong to the Church in desire, for they are at heart anxious to fulfill God’s will in their regard. In virtue of their baptism and good will, they may be in a state of grace. They belong to the soul of the Church, though they are not united to the visible body. As such they are members of the Church internally, though not externally.”
Is the soul of the Church the Mystical Body?
All baptized persons are baptized into the body of Christ. The body of Christ includes the Church Militant(all baptized Christians working out their salvation on earth), the Church suffering (all who are in purgatory) and the Church Triumphant (all those who have joined our Lord in Heaven with Christ as its head. Paul in the epistles talks about the body of Christ. Bishop Sheen has written a book where he speaks of the Mystical Body of Christ( Title I believe is The Mystical Body). Rollheiser in a book called The Great Longing (?) writes about the body of Christ. It is a body not in the sense of belonging to a club but a body in which we are actually living parts of the Body of Christ interdependent on one another. As adopted children of God we are all brothers and sisters in the Lord and of the Lord.
The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. We are the body, and the Holy Ghost is the soul.
From Ott, pp.270-313
*] The Church is the Mystical Body of JEsus Christ (Sent. certa)
*] The Holy Ghost is the Soul of the Church (Sent. communis)
*] Christ is the Head of the Church (De fide)
*] The members of the Church are those who have validly received the Sacrament of Baptism and who are not separated from the unity of the confession of the Faith, and from the unity of the lawful communion of the Church (Sent. certa)
More good information can be culled from the encyclical
MYSTICI CORPORIS CHRISTI
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XII ON THE MISTICAL BODY OF CHRIST
Something else to read up on would be the “Communion of Saints”, which is the common supernatural life shared by members of the whole Church (heaven, purgatory, earth) with Christ and one another. But maybe that is for another thread.
Thanks Hurst. That makes it more clear.