Continuing through the Catechism of the Catholic Church as it relates to prophecy:
830 The word “catholic” means “universal,” in the sense of “according to the totality” or “in keeping with the whole.” The Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.” In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.
831 Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race:
All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God’s will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one…. the character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit.
“Parousia” is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ – the end of time as we know it, and the fulfillment of the promise of eternal life to come with the completion and perfection of God’s Kingdom finally to be had. The catechism is very careful to note (not all items have been presented here, since I am focusing on the prophetic elements) that “non-Catholic” churches are looked upon as brothers and sisters in Christ. Those born into other faiths who had nothing to do with division or schism, and are faithful Christians are believed to serve a real Christian purpose through the Holy Spirit, and we are unified in many ways, despite our differences. The reality is that there is still a schism there that needs healing, but we need to constantly move one another towards unity of Spirit and away from division. And in this way, the term “catholic” applies to all Christians who put their faith in Christ – we universally worship one God. In a sense, they are still a branch to the tree, though this isn’t a perfect analogy as long as teachings in areas of truth differ. However, the Church will remain until Christ comes, despite the enemy’s best efforts to the contrary, and even perhaps in what might appear for a time as a victory over and destruction of the Church in a time of great Tribulation to come.
I am often amazed when I consider the fact that our Church has persevered with here teachings intact despite all the different eras and pressures and a stretch of unseemly Popes and all that stuff. Whenever people want to point to individuals who have failed in some respect (even in deeply sinful, scandalous ways, such as the sex-abuse scandal that emerged in great detail a decade ago) as somehow being indicative of a Church that is in error, I can’t make sense out of the argument. The Church has done so much good in the world that people either fail or refuse to recognize that can be used to counter such arguments. But those things, while great, are insufficient. In the end, the teachings of Christ, the gospel message, and the faith has remained intact. Even today, we live in a world that embraces many evils as good, and provides well-constructed arguments that can even confuse the faithful into wondering if the Church is being a bit to inflexible. The attacks come from all sides. It is easy to see how a nearly complete animosity towards the Church can occur, as secular humanism becomes more and more entrenched as the favored gospel of the planet. And yet, the teachings remain. Where others see weakness, I see strength.
And so it will continue until the Second Coming. The Church may well, at some point, appear so weak as to be near death. But as long as the teachings continue to be the truth, the ultimate victory will be Christ’s. Somehow, some way.