This is the theme of my letter: the church is the Body of Christ in history. By this expression we understand that Christ has wished to himself the life of the church through the ages. The church’s foundation is not to be thought of in a legal or juridical sense, as if Christ gathered some persons together, entrusted them with a teaching, gave them a kind of constitution, but then himself remained apart from them. It is not like that. The church’s origin is something much more profound. Christ founded the church so that he himself could go on being present in the history of humanity precisely through the group of Christians who make up his church. The church is the flesh in which Christ makes present down the ages his own life and his personal mission.
Voice of the Voiceless: The Four Pastoral Letters and Other Statements, 69-70