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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > M > Mystical Body of the Church

Mystical Body of the Church

The analogy borne by any society of men to an organism is sufficiently manifest. In every society the constituent individuals are united, as are also the members of a body, to effect a common end; while the parts they severally play correspond to the functions of the bodily organs. They form a moral unity. This, of course, is true of the Church, but the Church has also a unity of a higher order; it is not merely a moral but a mystical body. This truth, that the Church is the mystical body of Christ, all its members being guided and directed by Christ the head, is set forth by St. Paul in various passages, more especially in Ephesians 4:4-13 (cf. John 15:5-8). The doctrine may be summarized as follows:

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APA citation. Joyce, G. (1911). Mystical Body of the Church. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10663a.htm

MLA citation. Joyce, George. "Mystical Body of the Church." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10663a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Elizabeth T. Knuth. Dedicated to Bro. Odo Nanyanje, O.S.B.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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