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Understanding Our Catholic Faith

How the Church Continue Christ’s Work:  Church as Teacher

Church as Teacher
 

Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve?"
John 6:70

Founded on the Apostles

The Apostles are the "foundation stones" of the Church. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 860). Chosen by Jesus to be his companions, the Apostles could speak with authority about the Lord's deeds and preaching. They were the primary witnesses to the Resurrection—the event upon which Christian faith rests. From the Risen Jesus the Apostles received a commission to preach the Good News to all nations and a promise that the Spirit would be with them as their guide.

The Teaching Office of the Church

Christ revealed to the Apostles all the truths necessary for salvation, yet that revelation was so rich that the Twelve made only a start at sorting through its implications. With the passage of centuries, the Church has entered more deeply into the revelation that the Apostles received. This deeper understanding of the Gospel has been the work of many people—from popes and bishops to great theologians to ordinary believers—but it is the Church's official teaching office that has played the most crucial role in the development of doctrine.

The Apostles were promised the assistance of the Holy Spirit in preserving the Church from error. This promise was inherited by the Apostles' chosen successors, the college of bishops, headed by the bishop of Rome, the pope. By this means Jesus ensured that his revelation is not distorted over time, and that the Church's understanding of the Gospel is in accord with the fundamental truths of the faith.

Reflect

  • How do you respond to authority in your daily life?
  • When do you call upon the Holy Spirit's power and authority for yourself and your decision making?
  • How does the teaching authority of the Church help you?

Prayer

Spirit of the living God, be a light to me and fill the teachers of the Church with your power and presence. Amen.

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