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15 Marks of the Church

Developed by St. Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621)

  1. Catholicity
. The Church’s Name, Catholic, Universal, and world wide, and not confined to any particular nation or people.
  2. Antiquity. 
In tracing her ancestry directly to Jesus Christ.
  3. Constant Duration
. In lasting substantially unchanged for so many centuries.
  4. Extensiveness. 
In the number of her loyal members.
  5. Episcopal Succession
. Of her Bishops from the first Apostles at the Last Supper to the present hierarchy.
  6. Doctrinal Agreement. 
Of her doctrine with the teaching of the ancient Church.
  7. Unity
. Of her members among themselves, and with their visible head, the Roman Pontiff.
  8. Holiness. 
Of doctrine in reflecting the holiness of God.
  9. Efficacy of Doctrine
. In its power to sanctify believers, and inspire them to great moral achievement.
  10. Holiness of Life
. Of the Church’s representative writers and defenders.
  11. Miracles
. Worked in the Church and under the Church’s auspices.
  12. The gift of Prophecy
. Found among the Church’s saints and spokesmen.
  13. Opposition. Aroused On the Same Ground As Christ Was Opposed
  14. The Unhappy End. Of the Church’s Enemies
  15. The Temporal Peace and Earthly Happiness. 
Of those who live by the Church’s teaching and defend her interests.
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