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Catechism of the Catholic Church

III. THE CHURCH IS THE TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

797 "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church." 243 "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members." 244 The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God": 245

Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted.... In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace. 246

798 The Holy Spirit is "the principle of every vital and truly saving action in each part of the Body." 247 He works in many ways to build up the whole Body in charity: 248 by God's Word "which is able to build you up"; 249 by Baptism, through which he forms Christ's Body; 250 by the sacraments, which give growth and healing to Christ's members; by "the grace of the apostles, which holds first place among his gifts"; 251 by the virtues, which make us act according to what is good; finally, by the many special graces (called "charisms"), by which he makes the faithful "fit and ready to undertake various tasks and offices for the renewal and building up of the Church." 252

Charisms

799 Whether extraordinary or simple and humble, charisms are graces of the Holy Spirit which directly or indirectly benefit the Church, ordered as they are to her building up, to the good of men, and to the needs of the world.

800 Charisms are to be accepted with gratitude by the person who receives them and by all members of the Church as well. They are a wonderfully rich grace for the apostolic vitality and for the holiness of the entire Body of Christ, provided they really are genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and are used in full conformity with authentic promptings of this same Spirit, that is, in keeping with charity, the true measure of all charisms. 253

801 It is in this sense that discernment of charisms is always necessary. No charism is exempt from being referred and submitted to the Church's shepherds. "Their office [is] not indeed to extinguish the Spirit, but to test all things and hold fast to what is good," 254 so that all the diverse and complementary charisms work together "for the common good." 255

IN BRIEF:

802 Christ Jesus "gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own" (Titus 2:14).

803 "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people" (1 Pet 2:9).

804 One enters into the People of God by faith and Baptism. "All men are called to belong to the new People of God" (LG 13), so that, in Christ, "men may form one family and one People of God" (AG 1).

805 The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body.

806 In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted.

807 The Church is this Body of which Christ is the head: she lives from him, in him, and for him; he lives with her and in her.

808 The Church is the Bride of Christ: he loved her and handed himself over for her. He has purified her by his blood and made her the fruitful mother of all God's children.

809 The Church is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the soul, as it were, of the Mystical Body, the source of its life, of its unity in diversity, and of the riches of its gifts and charisms.

810 "Hence the universal Church is seen to be 'a people brought into unity from the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit'" (LG 4 citing St. Cyprian, De Dom. orat. 23: PL 4, 553).

Notes:

243 St. Augustine, Sermo 267, 4: PL 38, 1231D.

244 Pius XII, encyclical, Mystici Corporis: DS 3808.

245 2 Cor 6:16; cf. I Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:21.

246 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 24, 1: PG 7/1, 966.

247 Pius XII, encyclical, Mystici Corporis: DS 3808.

248 Cf. Eph 4:16.

249 Acts 20:32.

250 Cf. I Cor 12:13.

251 LG 7 § 2.

252 LG 12 § 2; cf. AA 3.

253 Cf. I Cor 13.

254 LG 12; cf. 30; I Thess 5:12, 19-21; John Paul II, Christifideles Laici, 24.

255 I Cor 12:7.

English Translation of the Cathechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1997, United States Catholic Conference, Inc.

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