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The apostolic Church is a river flowing through history, Pope tells audience

Catholic World News - October 16, 2013

Continuing his series of talks on the nature of the Church, Pope Francis told his October 16 public audience that the Church is apostolic because “she is based on the preachings and prayer of the apostles, on the authority given to them by Christ Himself.”

“The Apostles were chosen, called and sent by Jesus in order to continue his work-- that is, prayer, the first task of an apostle, and secondly, to proclaim the Gospel,” the Pope told his Wednesday audience. For any bishop—any successor to the apostles—it is essential first to pray, and next to spread the Gospel, the Pope continued. Next, one

Jesus entrusted the Church to the apostles, who had lived with Him and learned directly from Him, the Pope said. But how can Catholics today “connect with this testimony of those who lived with and listened to Him?” The Holy Father answered that question by saying that the Church “conserves over the centuries the valuable treasure of the Sacred Scripture, the doctrine, the sacraments, the ministry of the pastors.” He likened the Church to “a river flowing through history,” while stressing that “the water that flows is always that which emerges from the source, from Christ Himself.”

The Church is apostolic in another sense, the Pope continued: just as the apostles were sent out by Jesus to preach, so the Church today carries on the mission that Christ gave to the apostles: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

“He asks us to be on our way, to bring the joy of the Gospel to all,” Pope Francis told his audience. “A Church closed in on herself and the past, a Church who focuses only on minor rules and habits, betrays her own identity.”

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