The entire Church consists of the Church Militant (i.e. us), the Church Glorified (heaven) and the Church Suffering (Purgatory).
The Catholic Church Teaches that the Church Militant, is visible. But the rest of the Church is invisible (Spiritual).
Protestants teach that the entire Church is invisible and that there is no Church suffering.
I"d never heard of an “invisible” church until I came on CAF. After asking about it on another thread (discussing being saved and altar calls in non-Catholic churches), the answer led me to believe that the “invisible” church is a “protestant” belief.
Correct. That is one of the reasons they deny the authority of the Magisterium and the Pope.
And I was always taught that one must be a member of the “visible” Catholic Church, apart from which there is no salvation.
On earth, true.
Lately, I’ve been seeing references to the “invisible” church in Catholic apologetics here on CAF and tried to find it in the Catechism and couldn’t. Perhaps it’s called something else in the CCC?
The “Mystical” body of Christ?
779 The Church is both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. She is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine. That is her mystery, which only faith can accept.
Can anyone tell me where the “invisible” church is taught in the Catechism or in any official Church document? It must be a Vatican II or post-Vat II belief, but I really don’t know. This really interests me.
The Church - both visible and spiritual
771 "The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men."184 The Church is at the same time:
a "society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
the visible society and the spiritual community;
the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches."185
These dimensions together constitute “one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element”:186
The Church is essentially both human and divine, visible but endowed with invisible realities, zealous in action and dedicated to contemplation, present in the world, but as a pilgrim, so constituted that in her the human is directed toward and subordinated to the divine, the visible to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, the object of our quest.187
O humility! O sublimity! Both tabernacle of cedar and sanctuary of God; earthly dwelling and celestial palace; house of clay and royal hall; body of death and temple of light; and at last both object of scorn to the proud and bride of Christ! She is black but beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, for even if the labor and pain of her long exile may have discolored her, yet heaven’s beauty has adorned her.188
I hope that helps!