Mother, teacher, family: The nature and role of the Church

For many, understanding the broad concept of “the Church” can be confusing, as it is certainly a large tree with many branches: the Vatican, the Holy See, the Roman Curia, dioceses and archdioceses, parishes, priests, religious, etc.

A deeper understanding of the Church and her true mission is the focus of the latest in our series exploring the themes of “Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” the catechesis for the World Meeting of Families — Philadelphia 2015. In three words, the title of Chapter 9 sums up Christ’s vision for the Church he established: “Mother, Teacher, Family.”

Our three commentaries on Chapter 9 elaborate on the Church’s role in our lives. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle explains how a true understanding of the Church is essential to completely living a Christian life, because it is only through the Church that we are given the fullness of Christ’s saving grace in the sacraments. Biblical scholar Scott Hahn focuses on the Church’s familial role, noting how we are all called to sainthood and to live as brothers and sisters of Christ, united by the Church he gave us. Catholic author and blogger Simcha Fisher sees the family as an analogy for the Church: While its members can be flawed, it is certainly a gift from God.

In his latest update from Philadelphia, seminarian Eric Banecker reports that youths and young adults will play a major role in September’s World Meeting of Families.

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain: Knowing the Church leads to knowing Christ

Scott Hahn: The family of the Church doesn’t exist only on this earth, but also as the Communion of Saints in heaven

Simcha Fisher: Family snapshots capture mystery of the Church as both human and divine

Eric Banecker: World Meeting of Families: Not just for adults

“In the words of St. John XXIII, [the Church] is our mother and teacher, our comforter and guide, our family of faith. Even when her people and leaders sin, we still need the Church’s wisdom, sacraments, support, and proclamation of the truths, because she is the body of Jesus himself in the world — the family of God’s people writ large.”

“Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” Chapter 9