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Card. Ratzinger:
Sin is Present in the Essence of the Church

One of the progressivist attacks against the sanctity of the Spouse of Christ is to affirm that sin is present in the essence of the Church. That the Church is a sinner and in constant need of reform are affronts made by the heresiarch Martin Luther.

These affronts were heard again at Vatican II and are repeated by significant representatives of the Church.

As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Card. Joseph Ratzinger made clear that he considers that the note of sin exists in the essence of the Church. He said these words in a speech to the Pontifical Faculty of Theology, Lima, Peru, in July 1986.

At right top, an inside page of the magazine Iglesia-Mundo reproducing the complete speech of the Cardinal; bottom, a photocopy of an excerpt on page 19; below in blue, our translation from Spanish of the part marked in yellow.

The idea of the Body of Christ developed in the Catholic Church with the meaning that the Church presents herself as 'the Christ who continues to live on earth.' She is described as the Incarnation of the Son that will continue until the end of time.

This raised the opposition of the Protestants, who saw this as an insupportable identification of the Church with Christ, an identification in which the Church, so to speak, would adore herself and consider herself to be infallible.

Some Catholic thinkers, without reaching this point, also began to conclude that this formula would attribute a definitive character to every ministerial word and action of the Church, which would make any critique of her seem an attack on Christ himself, thus forgetting her human element.

For this reason, it was affirmed that it is necessary for the difference between Christ and the Church to become clearly manifest, that is to say, that the Church is not identical to Christ but is different from Him.

She is the Church of sinners, which incessantly needs to purify and renew herself. Thus, the idea of 'reform' - which could not develop easily in the notion of the Body of Christ - became a decisive element of the concept of People of God. 

(J. Ratzinger, "La eclesiología del Vaticano," Iglesia-Mundo, Madrid, October 1986, p. 19

Sinful Church 01

Sinful Church 02

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted on January 5, 2013