Archive | 2:30 am

More Light to the Nations

4 Dec

light of ChristLast week, I offered a reflection on the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium), the central document of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which sets forth how the Church is called to bring the light of Christ to the world (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 1). I focused on the document’s emphasis on the Church as the “People of God,” or “Family of God.”

Before continuing to the next document in this “Year of Faithseries on the sixteen documents of Vatican II, I thought I would point out some additional significant teachings from Lumen Gentium, which is incredibly packed with beautiful teaching on the nature and mission of the Church. I limited myself to a “top ten list” of other teachings found in that document that I have found to be especially significant. I’ve obviously omitted many topics, but I hope this approach nonetheless gives readers some helpful “snapshots.” I have chosen to let the quotes speak for themselves rather than “spin” them through the use of commentary.

 (1) Church as sacrament of our “family unity” with God and with one another (no. 1)

“Since the Church is in Christ like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race, it desires now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission.”

(2) The Catholic Church is “not just another Christian denomination” (no. 8)

“This is the one Church of Christ which in the Creed is professed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic, which our Savior, after His Resurrection, commissioned Peter to shepherd, and him and the other apostles to extend and direct with authority, which He erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth.’ This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”

(3) The ordained priesthood is distinct from the priesthood of the laity (no. 10)

“Though they differ from one another in essence and not only in degree, the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical priesthood are nonetheless interrelated: each of them in its own special way is a participation in the one priesthood of Christ.” Continue reading