Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God.”
It is often said that the church is not a museum of saints, but a hospital for sinners. But we are sinners called to sainthood.
But if one of the four marks of the Catholic Church is “Holy,” and the Church is made up of sinners, how can the Church claim to uphold that mark?
The answer is simple: Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, and we are one body in Christ. Given that Jesus is sinless and blameless and therefore Holy, the Church herself is holy.
The Church document Lumen Gentium says that, “This is because Christ, the Son of God, who with the Father and the Spirit is hailed as ‘alone holy,’ loved the Church as his Bride, giving himself up for her so as to sanctify her; he joined her to himself as his body and endowed her with the gift of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God.”
Even the early Church, the Church of the apostles, was holy despite being full of sinners, as well. The Great News is that Christ died on the Cross for the forgiveness of our sins and that by his death and resurrection, we are redeemed and made holy.
So if you ever feel unworthy, if you ever feel like you’re no good and can never be worthy of God, you’re in good company! But also keep in mind that “unworthiness” pretty much defines every Christian who ever lived, and yet the Church remains holy because Christ is at the head.
“All members of the Church, including her ministers, must acknowledge that they are sinners. In everyone, the weeds of sin will still be mixed with the good wheat of the Gospel until the end of time. Hence the Church gathers sinners already caught up in Christ’s salvation but still on the way to holiness.” (CCC 827).
The Catholic Church is lead by Jesus Christ and guided by His Holy Spirit so that we would have the means to achieve holiness. Additionally, we are blessed with the gifts of the Sacraments themselves, with the Eucharist as the source and summit of them all, given to us by Jesus through the Church to provide the graces necessary to strengthen us in our spiritual journey to sainthood and make us holy.