Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St Peter’s Square. His catechetical remarks focused on the Church’s Apostolic character and nature: through the chain of leadership from Peter and the 12 that has remained unbroken down to the present day and that shall remain unbroken until the end of time; through the Church’s care for and transmission of the whole teaching of Christ; through the Church’s accomplishment in history of the mission of teaching and baptizing all nations, with which Christ entrusted the Apostles and their successors. Below, please fin the English-language summary, which was read after the Holy Father delivered his main catechesis in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters: In the Creed, we profess in faith that the Church is “Apostolic”. We can understand this in three ways. First, the Church is apostolic because Jesus founded her upon the Apostles whom he chose and sent forth to continue his work; thus Saint Paul compares the Church to a temple which has the Apostles as its foundation and Christ as its cornerstone (Eph 2:19-20). The Church is also apostolic because she preserves and hands down the fullness of Christ’s teaching and the means of salvation which he instituted. Finally the Church is apostolic because she accomplishes in history the mission which Christ entrusted to the Apostles: making disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them his commands (cf. Mt 28:19-20). May we come to appreciate and love the Church as the place where we encounter the Risen Lord, who sends us forth as his missionaries, inviting all whom we meet to know the truth of the Gospel, the joy of faith and the promise of eternal life proclaimed by the Apostles.
I cordially greet all the English-speaking pilgrims present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, Israel, Ghana, Nigeria, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada and the United States. My particular greeting goes to the delegation from the NATO Defense College and the pilgrims from Norway. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!