The Nicene Creed was written centuries ago to help Christians remember the important beliefs of the faith. In the Nicene Creed we identify the four marks of the Church. The four marks of the Church are not characteristics that the Church creates or develops or learns. They are qualities that Jesus Christ shares with his Church through the Holy Spirit. The four marks of the Church are that it is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.
The Church Is One
Just as God is one in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, so also is the Church one. The founder of the Church is Jesus Christ, who brought us back to God and made us into the family of God. The Church is one in the Holy Spirit, who dwells in those who believe.
The Church Is Holy
The Church is holy because the Church lives in union with Jesus Christ, the source of holiness. Through the Holy Spirit the Church leads others to holiness. The holiness of the Church is seen in the love that the members of the Church have toward one another and the many sacrifices they make for the sake of the world.
The Church Is Catholic
Catholic means “universal.” The Church is universal in two ways. First, the Church is catholic because all baptized people are part of the Church and the Church possesses the means of salvation. Second, the mission of the Church is universal because the Church has been sent to proclaim Christ to the entire human race.
The Church Is Apostolic
The Church traces its tradition directly from the apostles; therefore, the Church is considered apostolic. With the Holy Spirit the Church preserves and continues the teaching of the apostles. The pope and bishops are the successors of the apostles.