In spite of the holy Law that again and again their Holy God gives them - "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy" - and although the Lord shows patience for the sake of his name, the people turn away from the Holy One of Israel and profane his name among the nations. For this reason the just ones of the old covenant, the poor survivors returned from exile, and the prophets burned with passion for the name.
"Christ, 'holy, innocent, and undefiled,' knew nothing of sin, but came only to expiate the sins of the people. The Church, however, clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification, follows constantly the path of penance and renewal." 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:
- The Church is therefore holy, though having sinners in her midst, because she herself has no other life but the life of grace. If they live her life, her members are sanctified; if they move away from her life, they fall into sins and disorders that prevent the radiation of her sanctity. This is why she suffers and does penance for those offenses, of which she has the power to free her children through the blood of Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- CCC 827