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Papal audience topic: the image of the Church as mother

Catholic World News - September 11, 2013

The understanding of the Church as mother provides “the most beautiful image of the Church,” Pope Francis said at his weekly public audience on September 11.

Resuming his series of weekly talks on the Church, the Pope spoke about the image of the Church as “our mother in faith and in the supernatural life.” Like a biological mother, he explained, the Church gives life:

We do not become Christians alone and by our own efforts, but rather faith is a gift from God that is given in and through the Church. And the Church gives us life in Baptism.

Again like a mother, the Church “helps her children to grow,” the Pope continued. He explained that through the Word of God and the sacraments, the Church helps the faithful to grow stronger in faith, to become active apostles. He remarked that “a good mother helps her children to come out of themselves, not to stay comfortably tucked under the maternal wing.”

The Pope went on to say that while the Church “makes” Christians, the Church is also “made up” of Christians. “The Church is not something apart from us,” he said. Rather, the body of believers composes the Church. For that reason, the Pope remarked, “if you say that you believe in God but you do not believe in the Church, you are saying that you do not believe in yourself, which is a contradiction.”

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