Church and Jesus Are Inseparable, Says Pope

Begins a New Cycle of Catecheses

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 15, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI has begun a new cycle of catecheses at the general audiences, dedicated to explaining the "mystery of the relationship between Jesus and the Church."



"Between Christ and the Church there is no opposition: They are inseparable, despite the sins of the people who make up the Church," the Pope told the 30,000 people gathered today for the audience in St. Peter's Square.

"Therefore, there is no way to reconcile Christ's intentions with the slogan that was fashionable a few years ago, 'Christ yes, the Church no,'" he continued.

The Holy Father based his meditation on the third chapter of the Gospel according to St. Mark in which he presented Jesus' calling of the Twelve Apostles.

"The Church," Benedict XVI explained, "was initially established when some fishermen from Galilee met Jesus; they allowed themselves to be won over by his gaze, his voice and his strong and warm invitation, 'Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.'"

After concluding on Feb. 15 the cycle of catecheses on the psalms and canticles used in the Liturgy of the Hours, Benedict XVI announced that he now seeks to delve into the objective that Pope John Paul II had set forth for the Church at the start of the millennium: "To contemplate the face of Christ."

A fantasy

"Moving in this direction, in the catechesis I begin today," Benedict XVI said, "I would like to show that precisely the light of that Face is reflected in the face of the Church, despite the limitations and the shadows of our fragile and sinful humanity."

"The individualist Jesus is a fantasy," the Pope insisted. "We cannot find Jesus without the reality that he created and through which he communicates himself" -- the Church.

"Between the Son of God, made man and his Church, there is a profound, inseparable continuity, in virtue of which Christ is present today in his people," the Holy Father stated.

For this reason, he acknowledged that Jesus "is always our contemporary -- our contemporary in the Church built upon the foundation of the apostles. He is alive in the succession of the apostles."

"And his presence in the community, in which he himself always gives himself, is the reason for our joy," Benedict XVI added. "Yes, Christ is with us, the Kingdom of God is coming."