Sunday, July 22, 2007
Ott on Unity
The Unity of the Church
By unity is to be understood not merely numerical unity or unicity, but above all the inner unity or unicity in the sense of being undivided.
The Church founded by Christ is unique and one (De fide.)
...One may, with the Vatican Council, distingush a two-fold unity of the Church:
1. Unity of Faith
This consists in the fact that all members of the Church inwardly believe the truths of the faith proposed by the teaching office of the Church, at least implicitly, and outwardly confess them...Unity of Faith leaves room for various opinions in those controversial questions which the Church has not finally decided.
Incompatible with the Catholic conception of the unity of Faith is the Protestant theory of the Fundamental Articles, which demand agreement in the basic truths of faith only, so that within the framework of the one Christian Church varying confessions of faith can exist side-by-side.
2. Unity of Communion
This consists, on the one hand, in the subjection of the members of the Church to the authority of the bishops and the Pope (unity of government or hierarchical unity); on the other hand, in the binding of the members among themselves to a social unity by participation in the same cult and in the same means of grace (unity of cult or liturgical unity).
The unity both of faith and of communion is guaranteed by the Primacy of the Pope, the Supreme Teacher and Pastor of the Church. One is cut off from the unity of the Faith by heresy and from the unity of communion by schism.
...St. Thomas declares that the unity of the Church is founded on three elements: The common faith of all members of the Church, the common hope of eternal life, and the common love of God and of one another in mutual service. Fidelity to the unity of the Church is a condition for the attaining of eternal salvation.
-Ludwig Ott, Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, pgs 302-303