VATICAN CITY — During his weekly general audience Pope Francis explored the different elements of what makes the Church catholic, reflecting on why we call ourselves by that name.
“Dear brothers and sisters: In the Creed, we profess that the Church is ‘catholic;’ in other words, she is universal,” the Pope said during his Oct. 9 audience in a rainy St. Peter’s Square.
He told the thousands of pilgrims present that the Catholic identity of the Church can be understood in many ways, first of all because “she proclaims the apostolic faith in its entirety.”
“She is the place where we meet Christ in his sacraments and receive the spiritual gifts needed to grow in holiness together with our brothers and sisters.”
He then explained that the Church is universal because “her communion embraces the whole human race,” urging that “she is sent to bring to the entire world the joy of salvation and the truth of the Gospel.”
“She reconciles the wonderful diversity of God’s gifts to build up his people in unity and harmony.”
He concluded his reflections by urging those gathered to pray to God, asking him to “make us more catholic.”
“Enable us, like a great family, to grow together in faith and love, to draw others to Jesus in the communion of the Church, and to welcome the gifts and contributions of everyone, in order to create a joyful symphony of praise to God for his goodness, his grace and his redemptive love.”
The Holy Father then offered his greetings to pilgrims from several different countries, including Australia, England, Ireland, Nigeria and the United States.