“For the Church to be divided… is as impossible for Christ to be divided”

Sisto Badalocchio, The Entombment of Christ (1610), Galleria Borghese, Rome

According to the New Testament there is and can be only one Body of Christ, one Bride, one flock, one new Temple, one new Israel, one new People of God. All these images connote unity. It would be out of the question for Christ to have several bodies, several brides, or for there to be several new Temples or new Israels. Jesus, moreover, prayed for that there might be one flock and one shepherd (Jn 10:16) and that his disciples might be one, as he and the Father are one (Jn 17:21). Paul gloried in the fact that Christians, since they know only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph 4:5), are all members of one another (Rom 12:5). So intimate is this fellowship, he declared, that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor freeman, male nor female (Gal 3:28). All national and racial differences, all distinctions of sex, age, and social class, pale to insigificane in the light of the transcendent unity of the faithful in Christ. For the Church to be divided, Paul implies, is as impossible for Christ to be divided (1 Co 1:13).

— Avery Cardinal Dulles, Models of the Church (New York: Doubleday, 2002), p. 131


13 responses to ““For the Church to be divided… is as impossible for Christ to be divided”

  1. So true. I would like to add one thing, which is the ultimate symbol of Christ’s unity…

    “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” – St. Paul (1 Corinthians 10:17)

    And sorry, I don’t mean to hog your comments tonight, but wordpress is a good way for me to stay out of trouble on a Friday night. 🙂

    • The imagery of the one loaf is beautiful – and eucharistic! Thanks for pointing that out!

      I wondering though, why do you say it is the ultimate symbol? I hadn’t thought about which one was the “best” or “most powerful symbolically?” Would be keen to hear your thoughts!

      And you are always welcome to hog my comments – on Friday nights or any other nights! Thanks again for reading and contributing! 🙂

      • I believe the Eucharist is the symbol of the life and unity of the Church to which all others submit. It is hard for me to explain, but I plan on getting into the details on my blog in the near future. 🙂

        And thank you!

        • Interesting! I’d love to hear more. 🙂

          Obviously, I agree that the Eucharist is “the source and summit” of our Christian life but it sounds like you’re saying that flows over into being the matrix through which every other symbol is viewed. One question immeadiately jumps to mind: can we say that the Eucharist is the ultimate symbol when it itself is actually two, united symbols: bread and wine?

          I’m keen to hear more! I’ll be keeping an eye for your post. It sounds like you have a deep love for Our Lord in the Eucharist. Something I’m slowly – very slowly! – growing in. 🙂

  2. Good comment Laura. One day we shall all see clearly, until then, we can just pray and help each other to understand more about the Infinite love He gives us.

    • So true Jess, we have so far to go in achieving the unity which Christ gives us and prays for us. I love how it is both – both something we truly have and something we are still striving toward.

      It all reminds me of this quirky Sunday School song that goes “it’s the es-chat-tol-olg-ical tension between the now and the not yet, that’s what it is!” The things we did in Sunday School… 😀

  3. Though they are two species, the Body and Blood are substantially one, because Christ is wholly and entirely contained in both. Some may partake of the Body and not the Blood, but the Eucharist can not be divided (similar to how the Trinity is three persons yet one being).

    Thanks for your post. It has helped me fit together puzzle pieces that I have had since I began studying Eucharistic Theology. I am looking forward to posting. 🙂

  4. And it took me a while to fall in love with the Eucharist. Next to Mary and the pope, it gave me a lot of trouble. Scripture tells us that lot of Jesus’ followers walked away after he said, “This is my body. This is my blood.”… but what Scripture doesn’t tell us is how a lot of them probably turned around, watching him and scratching their heads.

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