The Church is Our Mother


Vatican_CityDear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I wish to continue our catechesis on the Church by reflecting on an image used by the early Fathers and the Second Vatican Council: the Church as our Mother. By reflecting on the human experience of maternity, we understand that the Church is like our own Mothers. First, like our Mothers, the Church gives us the gift of life.

Through the Sacrament of Baptism, we are reborn as children of God and receive his life. While faith is a personal act, we also recognize that faith comes to us through others – our families and communities who teach us how to believe. Second, like our Mothers, the Church nourishes us, helps us to grow, teaches us the path to follow, and accompanies us in life, especially in our illnesses and sufferings, through the Sacraments and the Word of God. Third, it is also our mission to go forth and share in the maternity of the Church by bringing others to a life of faith.

And so we ask ourselves, do we love the Church as our Mother, who helps us to grow as Christians? And how do we go beyond ourselves in order to bring Christ to others? As faithful children, let us bring the light of Christ to the ends of the earth.


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  • Struble

    With all due respect, Holy Father, I’m wondering about the prudence of one of your public pronouncements. I just had a former student, now lapsed Catholic, taunt me online about your much misunderstood statement about well meaning atheists. It is being widely interpreted to mean that atheists can go to heaven by performing good works. I’m sure that you’re not trying to create a radically different understanding about how one attains salvation, but I believe prudence is the watchword when there’s danger of scandalizing millions of people.

    • Struble

      Jimmy Akin, senior apologist at Catholic Answers, provides an astute analysis of the Holy Father’s homily. It turns out, given the more complete information obtained by Akin, that the Pope was not addressing the question of who goes to heaven at all: “What he’s saying is that even atheists need to do good on earth to build
      their part of the culture of encounter that promotes peace and allows
      people to ‘meet together’ in harmony.”

  • goral

    When the pope speaks Urbi et Orbi, he now needs to be very prudent.
    While the city is Catholic and understands his message as Catholics do, that is not the case with the orbiting cities. Most of them are now in their post-Christian era. The language is filtered through non-Christian definitions and experiences.
    Were he to espouse diversity as he probably does in the Catholic sense, I would have to disagree with him.
    Diversity now means more and even more perversity. The culture now assumes that unless those on the very fringes of acceptable behavior are accepted, there is no diversity.

    So yes, all of us should heed the scolding of Mother Church – watch your language!

    • Tomas Tesla

      The Catholic Church is an example of true diversity. The world of Satan tries clumsily to imitate the Church. The world fails, the Church does not. Diversity in the Church is not the forced diversity we see in the American university campus but the true diversity expressed in the ancient prophecy: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations“.

      I am personally tired of the blasts our Holy Father receives from the political left and the political right. The Church will never become the church of Russell Kirk or Ronald Reagan even if those respectable Conservatives heroically worked to save their country form ruin.

      If you have Our Eucharistic Lord, Our Blessed Mother, AND the Holy Father in Rome you are Catholic and belong to the Catholic Church. If you fail to perfectly hold on to any of those three, you have become your own pope, and you are now a self-ruling Protestant like all the other believers of free interpretation. Make no mistake.