What is the "Church"?


Sometimes I get to feeling pretty good about my faith knowledge, and then I start thinking more and God humbly brings me back to realizing I have sooooo far to go.

*]I know that most non-Catholics consider “the Church” to be all believers - an invisible Church.
*]We Catholics, on the other hand, know that Jesus founded a true, visible Church - the Catholic Church.[/LIST]
But my question is…is it also correct for Catholics to explain to non-Catholics that if they are baptized and are Christians, they are part of the “Church” (the Catholic Church), but just not in full communion with it.

I’m trying hard to explain what “Church” means to a non-Catholic who insists he is part of Christ’s Church (invisible to him) because he is a Christian. I’m wondering if there is some common ground here - yes, he is part of the Church - but just not in full communion with it. Is that correct? (he won’t like it, but is it true?)



From the CCC:

838 “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter.” Those “who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.” With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound “that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration of the Lord’s Eucharist.”



I just finished listening to the Tim Staples - Steve Gray debate. Steve seems to be somewhat of a non-denominational Christian, he has a radio show. He seemed to be a pretty upright guy, at times I thought Tim’s arguments were making him think. He seems to pride himself on his “search for the truth”. Anyway, I enjoyed the debate because it didn’t get into a lot of mud-slinging and people not listening to each other.

That said, this was the first time I really got a comprehensive earful of a knowledgeable Protestant in a legitimate debate that was civil. I found that the overall position of the Protestant could be summarized as a lack of belief in a real Church - it is an invisible Church. Once that is established, each Protestant MUST be their own judge of what is the real truth, and no man should be listened to unless they preach the word of God (and I judge it).

Listening to this debate reaffirms that faith cannot be PROVEN, it is a gift that also must be accepted. While we see the logic in our faith, others do not. It’s discouraging.

I pray we are all always open to the will of God.


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