Four Marks of the Catholic Church
Every time a Catholic recites the Nicene Creed, he is proclaimingbelief in the “Four Marks of the Church.” He joins with all other believers and professes a faith which says, “We believe in one,holy,catholic, and apostolic church…”These “four marks” are called “indelible” in that they cannot be changed or removed. They are the same as when Christ founded the church and will remain the same until his return. As indicated in the Nicene Creed, they bind together the believers in a unique and significant way.
The first mark: the church is one.
As diverse as we are, we are also considered one in that we are one body in Christ. Even as we bring our different cultures to the one body of Christ, we all believe that this Christ is our Lord and Savior; in him we have our redemption. All who have been baptized are part of his one, true church.The second mark: the church is holy.
The teachings of the church lead each believer to holiness. They never lead away from God—who calls all to holiness.While we continue to stumble and often even grope our way to our eternal reward in heaven, we can look towards the church to aid us in our call to holiness. The teachings of the Magisterium help us unwrap the Truths of our faith as we seek holiness.
The third mark: the church is catholic.Catholic means “universal.” It beckons all men—throughout the ages and across the globe—towards the truths of Christ. Its universality began at Pentecost with men of every nation gathered and has since retained the same fullness of faith throughout time.
The fourth mark: the church is apostolic.The Catholic Church is apostolic in nature. It began with the teachings of Christ given to the apostles and will remain the same until Christ’s second coming. It is the only Church which can trace its roots back to the first apostles—and the first Vicar of Christ: Peter.
These four indelible marks of the Catholic Church are proclaimed by believers in communion with other believers and are meant to inspire the humility of Christ in each one. They are immutable gifts from God, established by Christ, that exist because of his grace and mercy. These four marks of the Catholic Church (one, holy, catholic, and apostolic) and are meant for our sanctification and his glory.