first, people often wonder, and
which is more important? That is a
little like saying: Which came first,
your mother or your father? While
one may be older by calendar years,
neither was technically your parent
until they both came together and
you were conceived. In the same
way, while sacred texts of many
kinds were written by prophets and
between the church’s leadership and
faithful membership, in the words
of the Catechism of the Catholic
Church (CCC no. 84). The deposit
of faith doesn’t belong to the clergy
alone, guarded in a hallowed vault
of truth, but is the treasure of the
whole church. We maintain it by
professing and practicing together
what has “come to us from the
apostles,” as we say at Mass.
Pope John Paul II reminded the
church that an earlier pope, Pius
XII, once declared that “lay believers are in the front line of church
life; for them the church is the animating principle of human society.
Therefore, they in particular ought
to have an ever-clearer consciousness of not only belonging to the
church, but of being the church”
(CCC no. 899).
The quality by which persons or institutions make laws necessary for unity
and the common good (Catechism of
the Catholic Church nos. 1897-1912).
The teaching office of the church
entrusted to it by Jesus Christ since
the time of the apostles (Catechism
of the Catholic Church nos. 85-87).
The “sacred deposit” of the faith
contained in scripture and tradition.
Term introduced at the 16th-century
Council of Trent (Catechism of the
Catholic Church no. 84).
Closely bound elements that together contain the deposit of faith
(Catechism of the Catholic Church
The “sense of faith” shared by the
whole church, officially introduced in
the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium (nos. 12 and 35). First proposed
by John Henry Newman (Catechism
of the Catholic Church nos. 904-907).
How do we express the deposit of faith all together, then, as
church? Through thoughtful attention to and study of scripture. By
being informed about the long history of doctrine and the documents
that make up church teaching, including those being added regularly
by local bishops and the pope today.
By participating in the sacramental
life of the church and nourishing
our own spiritual growth. Speaking
of faith as a deposit might sound
like it’s something locked up for
safekeeping to prevent it from being
stolen or damaged. Actually, nothing could be further from the truth!
This is one treasure that needs to
get out more.
The deposit of faith comes
in two main containers, marked
scripture and tradition. Which came
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