from KATHOLISCH (trans. In the Fullness of Faith: On the Centrality of the Distinctively Catholic, Copyright 1988 Ignatius Press)

"... When [Christ] rises from the dead and goes back to the Father, he sends the Holy Spirit from the Father. This Holy Spirit is the one, whole, personal manifestation and confirmation of this baffling unity between Father and Son, the divine 'We' that is more than the mere 'I' and 'Thou.' It leads beyond the endless process of counting up, of supplementary definitions, to the reality of mutual presence and indwelling, without causing Father and Son to submerge the Spirit. The Spirit comes to the aid of our helplessness in the face of the unity of opposites so clearly expressed in the gospel. He rewards us for not trying to resolve this apparent contradiction by our own efforts."

"So, in the distinction between the Father and Son, we discern simultaneously the unity of the divine essence, and, within it, the possibility of uniting those qualities that seem to us irreconcilable. The famous Catholic 'and' -- Scripture 'and' Tradition, etc. -- which is the object of Protestant criticism, has its true origin here, and here alone."

"The believer knows that, on the cross, Jesus 'took away the sins of the world.' Guilt cannot simply be blown away; it must be expiated; it must be dissolved in the pain of sorrow for sin and the confession of guilt. We have an embryonic grasp of this, even if what happens on the cross remains infinitely mysterious and can only be accepted in faith."

"It can happen that an individual possesses the objective holiness of mission and authority and yet has no subjective holiness. This is a grave misfortune, dangerously obscuring the Church's mission. But the Church as a whole can never fail to possess both gifts at the same time. This equally applies to the Church in its visible aspect. Consequently it will not do to divide the Catholic Church into two churches: an empirical Church with her authority and her ascertainable membership, and an invisible Church of saints, whose number is known only to God. Augustine saw very clearly that the visible bearer of the power of the keys cannot receive a sinner back into the Communio Sanctorum without the forgiveness of the Church of the saints, which the Song of Songs calls the 'one dove.' But he does not draw the same conclusion as that Augustinian friar, Luther, namely, that only the Church of the saints with its 'priesthood of all believers' has the true power of the keys. In Augustine the tension persists: Christ's Church has objective and subjective holiness, but they coincide perfectly only in Christ, the Church's head."

"It is only because the Church's internal structure has authority and an official dimension that she can admonish and encourage the imperfect Christian to pursue his own special mission. Of course it is important for the 'official' side of the Church to react with understanding to the distress, difficulties and helplessness of Christians, but it is even more important that the Christian should continually aspire to the authoritatively presented norm that is mediated and rendered concrete in everyday life by manifold Church practices. (Nowadays, the tendency is to loosen, abolish, or spiritualize a large part of these mediatory practices. The question is: Does this not cause the gospel norm to become abstract, remote from daily life, and ultimately forgotten?)... In this respect, the 'institution' is a 'necessary evil' (but could this not be said of Christ's cross too?), since human nature, crawling on the ground, needs to be held up by a trellis if it is to bear fruit."

"The post-Christian state will continue, for a time, to be supported by the religiosity and ethics of its Christian citizens. If their strength fails, the institution society needs lest it sink into anarchy will become iron-plating, leaving the individual no room to breathe as a person. It makes no difference to the enslaved person whether the institution is totalitarian at a national or international level. In regions such as this the institution of the Church, insofar as it still has any room to maneuver, becomes an island of freedom."

"Faith is a movement of the entire person away from himself, through the gift of grace; thereby he lays hold of the mercy of God given to him in Christ--in the form of the forgiveness of sins, justification, and sanctification. In this movement away from himself man has done all that he, through grace, can do; he has done all that God requires of him. Since his intention is to leave himself, without reservation, and hand himself over entirely, this movement implicitly contains all the 'works' that he will eventually do. They are not some second entity beside faith; if they are performed in a Christian spirit, they are only forms in which faith expresses itself."

"The mediocre Christian allots himself a measure that seems appropriate to him and considers anyone who gives more to be a professional saint. It is important to realize that the genuine saint never sees his offer to God as something beyond the norm, as a work beyond what is required."

"Even if a man were fully justified through God's grace in Christ, this would still not tell us how far he was also sanctified, to what extent he had overcome his resistance to the Holy Spirit, who had been given him."

"The Petrine principle is the sole or decisive principle of unity in the Catholica... And the more worldwide the Church becomes, the more threatened she is in the modern states with their fascism of the right and of the left, the more she is called upon to incarnate herself in the most diverse, non-Mediterranean cultures, and the wider theological and episcopal pluralism she contains, the more indispensable this reference-point becomes. Anyone who denies this is either a fanatic or an irrational sentimentalist."

"Religion is the world in its journey toward God. Christianity is God journeying toward the world, and people who believe in him taking the same direction as he. Catholicism is Christianity which, with utmost seriousness, allows God in his fullness, the whole God, to pursue this destination right up to the bitter end -- and ultimately to the end of blessedness. The other forms of Christianity become anxious about this degree of radicality. At some point or other they come to a full stop; at the religious and sacral level (the Eastern Churches) or in a mixture of spiritualism, which remains in its lofty elevation about material things, and secularism, which refuses to accept God's sanctification of matter (like the churches of the Reformation)."

"The objection to the Catholic priest's celibacy is that it is very difficult to maintain. The spiritual resolve has to descend again and again into the rebellious body and become incarnate. Day by day, year by year, the decision to follow the virginal Christ, to cling to the equally virginal (and hence maternal) Church, must show itself stronger than the most plausible objections of sensual man. This is truly a following of Christ in the act of incarnation, and hence also a following of the 'lowly handmaid' who, right down to her least spiritual faculties, is at God's disposal and is rendered fruitful by him. And as for celibacy's aspect of 'rule,' it is this: a person is privileged to make an irrevocable decision to follow Christ, just as the Son's choosing to become incarnate remains irrevocable."

"In Jesus Christ, God has engraved his name upon matter; he has inscribed it so deeply that it cannot be erased, for matter took him into its innermost self... It was surely a Catholic instinct that caused Christian generations to cut their name in stone, building huge cathedrals that, with their immense prodigality, mock modern man's obsession with utility... But it would be even more Catholic if Christians tried to inscribe the name of Jesus Christ into the formless matter of human society, even at the risk of seeing the inscription dissipate in its ceaseless swell."