Some of the basic gifts given by God to the Catholic Church are: (1) the apostolic ministries of bishops, priests, and deacons, (2) the truths of the Faith, and (3) the Seven Sacraments.
1. Among the basic gifts given by God to the Catholic Church are the apostolic ministries of bishops, priests, and deacons.
Christ gave the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, assisted by priests and deacons, the power to be His witnesses in the world. Jesus said to His Apostles before ascending into Heaven, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
2. Among the basic gifts given by God to the Catholic Church are the truths of the faith.
In order that His teaching might be carried on, Jesus gave the Apostles the authority and responsibility to teach the truths of the faith to the whole world. They were appointed as the chief teachers of the Church, as shepherds, so that through them and their successors, Christ could guide the peoples of the world to the Kingdom of Heaven with the manna of His heavenly doctrine.
Our Lord Jesus said, “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
3. Among the basic gifts given by God to the Catholic Church are the Seven Sacraments.
Christ taught the Apostles that through them His grace was to be given to men, especially by means of the Seven Sacraments. For example, through the Apostles, He would forgive sins through the Sacrament of Penance: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23).
Through the Apostles, Christ would also give the world the precious gift of His Body and Blood. “And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood’” (Luke 22:19-20).
Through the authority and power to dispense grace that Christ gave to the Apostles and their successors, together with the priests and deacons, the Catholic Church administers the Seven Sacraments for the Salvation of the People of God.
Jesus continues, through the gifts of His Apostles and their successors, to be King, Priest, and Teacher to His people. Through the Apostles and their successors, believers are gathered into the Catholic Church and are united to Christ and to each other.