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Pope Explains Catholicity of the Church

AP Photo Gregorio Borgia

Vatican Radio - published on 09/17/14

Weekly general audience gives Francis a chance to speak of universality.

"I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church," Catholics repeat at Sunday Mass.

Pope Francis today sought to help the faithful understand the words they pray in the Creed.

Speaking on Wednesday during his General Audience the Pope spoke of the universal and apostolic nature of the Catholic Church.

Being catholic, that is, universal, is something that the Church shows by speaking all languages, he said, the effect of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit gave to the Apostles and the whole Church the gift of proclaiming the Good News of God’s salvation and love to all, even to the ends of the earth.

And, speaking off-the-cuff to those present in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said we should all carry with us a “pocket” Gospel, so we can dip into it during the day.

The Pope also highlighted the missionary nature of the Catholic Church which, he said, is called to show the tenderness and power of God.

Turning his attention to the many missionaries the Church is blessed with, he said the Holy Spirit compels us to encounter our brothers and sisters, even those most distant from us, and to share with them God’s message of love, peace and joy.

Ours, Pope Francis said, is a Church that goes forth, impelled by the life-giving breath of the Spirit.

And speaking of the heroic lives of many missionaries who have left their homelands and have gone forth to proclaim the Gospel in distant lands, he recalled his conversations with a Brazilian cardinal who has worked at length in the Amazon area. The Pope revealed that, when possible, the cardinal goes to visit a cemetery in the Amazon where many missionaries are buried: “these brothers and sisters could all be canonized now” he said.

Thanking the Lord for the Church’s many missionaries; the Pope said “perhaps among the many young people present today in the Square there is someone who would like to become a missionary. May he go forth! This is good and courageous.”

Here is the official synopsis of the Pope’s catechesis:

Dear Brothers and Sisters: When we profess the Creed, we affirm that the Church is catholic and apostolic.  The word catholic signifies that she is universal.  This means that the Church is found everywhere and teaches the whole truth regarding the heavens and the earth.  The Church shows her catholicity by speaking all languages which is the effect of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit gave to the Apostles and the whole Church the gift of proclaiming the Good News of God’s salvation and love to all, even to the ends of the earth.  The Church then is of her nature missionary, given to evangelization and encounter; that is, she is apostolic.  Founded on the Apostles and in continuity with them, the Church is called to proclaim the Gospel to everyone, and to show the tenderness and power of God.  This too flows from Pentecost.  It is the Holy Spirit who prevents us from being self-absorbed, of thinking that the blessings of God are for us alone.  Rather, the Spirit compels us to encounter our brothers and sisters, even those most distant from us in every way, to share with them the love, peace, and joy of the Risen Lord.  May we always live in solidarity with all of humanity, and never closed in on ourselves.  May we go out, in communion with the Successors of the Apostles, to announce Christ and his love to all.  And may we always be a sign of the Church our Mother: holy, catholic and apostolic.  

encouraged Catholics go forth and bring the Gospel message to the world and to their communities.

Pope Francis
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