Catholic (term)

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The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 110 AD). Ignatius of Antioch is also attributed the earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Khristianismos
) (in Catalan)
100 A.D. He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano. Ignatius of Antiochie, poss. by Johann Apakass (17th c., Pushkin museum).jpg
The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 110 AD). Ignatius of Antioch is also attributed the earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" (Greek: Χριστιανισμός) (in Catalan) 100 A.D. He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano.

The word Catholic (usually written with uppercase C in English; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal") [3] [4] comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". [5] [6] The first use of "Catholic" was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 110 AD). [7] In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.

Late Latin Written Latin of late antiquity

Late Latin is the scholarly name for the written Latin of late antiquity. English dictionary definitions of Late Latin date this period from the 3rd to the 6th centuries AD, and continuing into the 7th century in the Iberian Peninsula. This somewhat ambiguously defined version of Latin was used between the eras of Classical Latin and Medieval Latin. There is no scholarly consensus about exactly when Classical Latin should end or Medieval Latin should begin. However, Late Latin is characterized by an identifiable style.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Ignatius of Antioch Early Christian writer, Patriarch of Antioch and martyr saint

Ignatius of Antioch, also known as Ignatius Theophorus or Ignatius Nurono, was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the Apostolic Fathers, of which he is considered one of the three chief ones together with Pope Clement I and Polycarp. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops.

Contents

The word in English can mean either "of the Catholic faith" or "relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church". [note 1] [8] Many Christians[ who? ] use it to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church or to all believers in Jesus Christ regardless of denominational affiliation; [9] [10] it can also more narrowly refer[ according to whom? ] to Catholicity, which encompasses several historic churches sharing major beliefs. "Catholicos", the title used for the head of some churches in Eastern Christian traditions, is derived from the same linguistic origin.

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Christian Church Term used to refer to the whole group of people belonging to the Christian religious tradition

The Christian Church, also called the holy catholic church, is a Christian ecclesiological concept of a church invisible comprising all Christians. In this understanding, "Christian Church" or "catholic church" does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the "body" of all "believers", both defined in various ways. Other Christian traditions believe that these terms apply only to a specific concrete Christian institution, such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East; or to a group of institutions, as in the branch theory taught by some Anglicans.

Jesus The central figure of Christianity

Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

In non-ecclesiastical use, it derives its English meaning directly from its root, and is currently used to mean the following:

Liberalism is a political and moral philosophy based on liberty, consent of the governed, and equality before the law. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but they generally support limited government, individual rights, capitalism, democracy, secularism, gender equality, racial equality, internationalism, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of religion. Yellow is the political colour most commonly associated with liberalism.

The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church). All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East) had always identified themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists also believe that their churches are "Catholic" in the sense that they too are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. However, each church defines the scope of the "Catholic Church" differently. For instance, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches, and Church of the East, each maintain that their own denomination is identical with the original universal church, from which all other denominations broke away.

Eastern Orthodox Church Christian Church

The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 260 million baptised members. It operates as a communion of autocephalous churches, each governed by its bishops in local synods. Roughly half of Eastern Orthodox Christians live in Russia. The church has no central doctrinal or governmental authority analogous to the Bishop of Rome, but the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople is recognised by all as primus inter pares of the bishops. As one of the oldest surviving religious institutions in the world, the Eastern Orthodox Church has played a prominent role in the history and culture of Eastern and Southeastern Europe, the Caucasus, and the Near East.

Church of the East an Eastern Christian Church that in 410 organised itself within the Sasanid Empire and in 424 declared its leader independent of other Christian leaders; from the Persian Empire it spread to other parts of Asia in late antiquity and the Middle Ages

The Church of the East, also called the Persian Church or Nestorian Church, was a Christian church of the East Syriac rite established c. 410. It was one of three major branches of Eastern Christianity that arose from the Christological controversies of the 5th and 6th centuries, alongside the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches. Since the Schism of 1552, there have been several different churches claiming the heritage of the Church of the East.

Nicene Creed Statement of belief adopted at the First Ecumenical Council in 325

The Nicene Creed is a statement of belief widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because it was originally adopted in the city of Nicaea by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. In 381, it was amended at the First Council of Constantinople, and the amended form is referred to as the Nicene or the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed.

Distinguishing beliefs of Catholicity, the beliefs of most Christians who call themselves "Catholic", include the episcopal polity, that bishops are considered the highest order of ministers within the Christian religion, [12] as well as the Nicene Creed of AD 381. In particular, along with unity, sanctity, and apostolicity, catholicity is considered one of Four Marks of the Church, [13] found the line of the Nicene Creed: "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."

Episcopal polity Hierarchical form of church governance

An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. It is the structure used by many of the major Christian Churches and denominations, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglican, and Lutheran churches or denominations, and other churches founded independently from these lineages.

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

During the medieval and modern times, additional distinctions arose regarding the use of the terms Western Catholic and Eastern Catholic. Before the East–West Schism, those terms had just the basic geographical meanings, since only one undivided Catholicity existed, uniting the Latin speaking Christians of West and the Greek speaking Christians of the East. After the split of 1054 terminology became much more complicated, resulting in the creation of parallel and conflicting terminological systems. [14]

The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, which had lasted until the 11th century. The Schism was the culmination of theological and political differences between the Christian East and West which had developed over the preceding centuries.

Etymology

The Greek adjective katholikos, the origin of the term "catholic" means "universal". Directly from the Greek, or via Late Latin catholicus, the term catholic entered many other languages, becoming the base for the creation of various theological terms such as catholicism and catholicity (Late Latin catholicismus, catholicitas).

The term "catholicism" is the English form of Late Latin catholicismus, an abstract noun based on the adjective "catholic". The Modern Greek equivalent καθολικισμός (katholikismos) is back-formed and usually refers to the Catholic Church. The terms "catholic", "catholicism" and "catholicity" is closely related to the use of the term Catholic Church. (See Catholic Church (disambiguation) for more uses.)

The earliest evidence of the use of that term is the Letter to the Smyrnaeans that Ignatius of Antioch wrote in about 108 to Christians in Smyrna. Exhorting Christians to remain closely united with their bishop, he wrote: "Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." [15] [16]

From the second half of the second century, the word "catholic" began to be used to mean "orthodox" (non-heretical), "because Catholics claimed to teach the whole truth, and to represent the whole Church, while heresy arose out of the exaggeration of some one truth and was essentially partial and local". [17] In 380, Emperor Theodosius I limited use of the term "Catholic Christian" exclusively to those who followed the same faith as Pope Damasus I of Rome and Pope Peter of Alexandria. [18] Numerous other early writers including Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315–386), Augustine of Hippo (354–430) further developed the use of the term "catholic" in relation to Christianity.

Historical use

Ignatius of Antioch

The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50-140) in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 110 AD). He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano. Ignjatije Antiohijski.jpg
The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch (c. 50–140) in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 110 AD). He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al Laterano.

The earliest recorded evidence of the use of the term "Catholic Church" is the Letter to the Smyrnaeans that Ignatius of Antioch wrote in about 107 to Christians in Smyrna. Exhorting Christians to remain closely united with their bishop, he wrote: "Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." [15] [20] [21]

Of the meaning for Ignatius of this phrase J.H. Srawley wrote:

This is the earliest occurrence in Christian literature of the phrase 'the Catholic Church' (ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία). The original sense of the word is 'universal'. Thus Justin Martyr (Dial. 82) speaks of the 'universal or general resurrection', using the words ἡ καθολικὴ ἀνάστασις. Similarly here the Church universal is contrasted with the particular Church of Smyrna. Ignatius means by the Catholic Church 'the aggregate of all the Christian congregations' (Swete, Apostles Creed, p. 76). So too the letter of the Church of Smyrna is addressed to all the congregations of the Holy Catholic Church in every place. And this primitive sense of 'universal' the word has never lost, although in the latter part of the second century it began to receive the secondary sense of 'orthodox' as opposed to 'heretical'. Thus it is used in an early Canon of Scripture, the Muratorian fragment (circa 170 A.D.), which refers to certain heretical writings as 'not received in the Catholic Church'. So too Cyril of Jerusalem, in the fourth century, says that the Church is called Catholic not only 'because it is spread throughout the world', but also 'because it teaches completely and without defect all the doctrines which ought to come to the knowledge of men'. This secondary sense arose out of the original meaning because Catholics claimed to teach the whole truth, and to represent the whole Church, while heresy arose out of the exaggeration of some one truth and was essentially partial and local. [22] [23]

By Catholic Church Ignatius designated the universal church. Ignatius considered that certain heretics of his time, who disavowed that Jesus was a material being who actually suffered and died, saying instead that "he only seemed to suffer" (Smyrnaeans, 2), were not really Christians. [24]

Other second-century uses

The term is also used in the Martyrdom of Polycarp (155) and in the Muratorian fragment (about 177).

Cyril of Jerusalem

Saint Cyril of Jerusalem.jpg

As mentioned in the above quotation from J.H. Srawley, Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315–386), who is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion, distinguished what he called the "Catholic Church" from other groups who could also refer to themselves as an ἐκκλησία (assembly or church):

Since the word Ecclesia is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly (Acts 19:41), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists and Manichees, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to you now the Article, "And in one Holy Catholic Church"; that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God(Catechetical Lectures, XVIII, 26). [25]

Theodosius I

Theodosius I. Theodosius.jpg
Theodosius I.

Theodosius I, Emperor from 379 to 395, declared "Catholic" Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, declaring in the Edict of Thessalonica of 27 February 380:

It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our clemency and moderation, should continue the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one Deity of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation, and in the second the punishment which our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven, will decide to inflict. [26] Theodosian Code XVI.i.2

Jerome

Jerome wrote to Augustine of Hippo in 418: "You are known throughout the world; Catholics honour and esteem you as the one who has established anew the ancient Faith" [27]

Augustine of Hippo

Augustine of Hippo. Augustinus 1.jpg
Augustine of Hippo.

Only slightly later, Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430) also used the term "Catholic" to distinguish the "true" church from heretical groups:

In the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15–19), down to the present episcopate.

And so, lastly, does the very name of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.

Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should ... With you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me... No one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion... For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. —St. Augustine (354–430): Against the Epistle of Manichaeus called Fundamental, chapter 4: Proofs of the Catholic Faith.

— St. Augustine (354–430): Against the Epistle of Manichaeus called Fundamental, chapter 4: Proofs of the Catholic Faith. [28]

St Vincent of Lerins

A contemporary of Augustine, St. Vincent of Lerins, wrote in 434 (under the pseudonym Peregrinus) a work known as the Commonitoria ("Memoranda"). While insisting that, like the human body, church doctrine develops while truly keeping its identity (sections 54-59, chapter XXIII), [29] he stated:

In the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense 'catholic,' which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors.

A Commonitory for the Antiquity and Universality of the Catholic Faith Against the Profane Novelties of All Heresies, section 6, end of chapter II [30]

Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church

During early centuries of Christian history, majority of Christians who followed doctrines represented in Nicene Creed were bound by one common and undivided Catholicity that was uniting the Latin speaking Christians of West and the Greek speaking Christians of the East. In those days, terms "eastern Catholic" and "western Catholic" had their basic geographical meanings, generally corresponding to existing linguistic distinctions between Greek East and Latin West. In spite of various and quite frequent theological and ecclesiastical disagreements between major Christian sees, common Catholicity was preserved until the great disputes that arose between 9th and 11th century. After the East–West Schism, the notion of common Catholicity was broken and each side started to develop its own terminological practice. [14]

All major theological and ecclesiastical disputes in the Christian East or West have been commonly accompanied by attempts of arguing sides to deny each other the right to use the word "Catholic" as term of self-designation. After the acceptance of Filioque clause into the Nicene Creed by the Rome, Orthodox Christians in the East started to refer to adherents of Filioquism in the West just as "Latins" considering them no longer to be "Catholics". [14]

The dominant view in the Eastern Orthodox Church, that all Western Christians who accepted Filioque interpolation and unorthodox Pneumatology ceased to be Catholics, was held and promoted by famous Eastern Orthodox canonist Theodore Balsamon who was patriarch of Antioch. He wrote in 1190:

For many years the once illustrious congregation of the Western Church, that is to say, the Church of Rome, has been divided in spiritual communion from the other four Patriarchates, and has separated itself by adopting customs and dogmas alien to the Catholic Church and to the Orthodox ... So no Latin should be sanctified by the hands of the priests through divine and spotless Mysteries unless he first declares that he will abstain from Latin dogmas and customs, and that he will conform to the practice of the Orthodox. [31]

On the other side of the widening rift, Eastern Orthodox were considered by western theologians to be Schismatics. Relations between East and West were further estranged by the tragic events of the Massacre of the Latins in 1182 and Sack of Constantinople in 1204. Those bloody events were followed by several failed attempts to reach reconciliation (see: Second Council of Lyon, Council of Florence, Union of Brest, Union of Uzhhorod). During the late medieval and early modern period, terminology became much more complicated, resulting in the creation of parallel and confronting terminological systems that exist today in all of their complexity.

During the Early Modern period, a special term "Acatholic" was widely used in the West to mark all those who were considered to hold heretical theological views and irregular ecclesiastical practices. In the time of Counter-Reformation the term Acatholic was used by zealous members of the Catholic Church to designate Protestants as well as Eastern Orthodox Christians. The term was considered to be so insulting that the Council of the Serbian Orthodox Church, held in Temeswar in 1790, decided to send an official plea to emperor Leopold II, begging him to ban the use of the term "Acatholic". [32]

Lutheranism

The Augsburg Confession found within the Book of Concord, a compendium of belief of the Lutheranism, teaches that "the faith as confessed by Luther and his followers is nothing new, but the true catholic faith, and that their churches represent the true catholic or universal church". [33] When the Lutherans presented the Augsburg Confession to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor in 1530, they believe to have "showed that each article of faith and practice was true first of all to Holy Scripture, and then also to the teaching of the church fathers and the councils". [33]

Contemporary use

The term "Catholic" is commonly associated with the whole of the church led by the Roman Pontiff, the Catholic Church. Other Christian churches that use the description "Catholic" include the Eastern Orthodox Church and other churches that believe in the historic episcopate (bishops), such as the Anglican Communion. [34] [35] Many of those who apply the term "Catholic Church" to all Christians object to the use of the term to designate what they view as only one church within what they understand as the "whole" Catholic Church. In the English language, the first known use of the term is in Andrew of Wyntoun's Orygynale Cronykil of Scotland , "He was a constant Catholic/All Lollard he hated and heretic." [36]

Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, led by the Pope in Rome, usually distinguishes itself from other churches by calling itself the "Catholic", however has also used the description "Roman Catholic". Even apart from documents drawn up jointly with other churches, it has sometimes, in view of the central position it attributes to the See of Rome, adopted the adjective "Roman" for the whole church, Eastern as well as Western, as in the papal encyclicals Divini illius Magistri and Humani generis. Another example is its self-description as "the holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church" [37] (or, by separating each adjective, as the "Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church" [38] ) in the 24 April 1870 Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith of the First Vatican Council. In all of these documents it also refers to itself both simply as the Catholic Church and by other names. The Eastern Catholic Churches, while united with Rome in the faith, have their own traditions and laws, differing from those of the Latin Rite and those of other Eastern Catholic Churches.

The contemporary Catholic Church has always considered itself to be the historic Catholic Church, and consider all others as "non-Catholics". This practice is an application of the belief that not all who claim to be Christians are part of the Catholic Church, as Ignatius of Antioch, the earliest known writer to use the term "Catholic Church", considered that certain heretics who called themselves Christians only seemed to be such. [39]

Regarding the relations with Eastern Christians, Pope Benedict XVI stated his wish to restore full unity with the Orthodox. The Roman Catholic Church considers that almost all of the ancient theological differences have been satisfactorily addressed (the Filioque clause, the nature of purgatory, etc.), and has declared that differences in traditional customs, observances and discipline are no obstacle to unity. [40]

Recent historic ecumenical efforts on the part of the Catholic Church have focused on healing the rupture between the Western ("Catholic") and the Eastern ("Orthodox") churches. Pope John Paul II often spoke of his great desire that the Catholic Church "once again breathe with both lungs", [41] [42] thus emphasizing that the Roman Catholic Church seeks to restore full communion with the separated Eastern churches. [43]

Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Nestorianism

All of the three main branches of Eastern Christianity (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Nestorianism; Ayssyrian Church of the East and Ancient Church of the East) continue to identify themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. [44] The Eastern Orthodox Church firmly upholds the ancient doctrines of Eastern Orthodox Catholicity and commonly uses the term Catholic, as in the title of The Longer Catechism of the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church. So does the Coptic Orthodox Church that belongs to Oriental Orthodoxy and considers its communion to be "the True Church of the Lord Jesus Christ". [45] Non of the Eastern Churches, Orthodox or Oriental, have indicated any intention to abandon ancient traditions of their own Catholicity.

Protestantism

Most Reformation and post-Reformation churches use the term Catholic (often with a lower-case c) to refer to the belief that all Christians are part of one Church regardless of denominational divisions; e.g., Chapter XXV of the Westminster Confession of Faith refers to the "catholic or universal Church". It is in line with this interpretation, which applies the word "catholic" (universal) to no one denomination, that they understand the phrase "one holy catholic and apostolic Church" in the Nicene Creed, the phrase the Catholic faith in the Athanasian Creed and the phrase "holy catholic church" in the Apostles' Creed.[ citation needed ]

The terms "Roman Catholics" or "Roman Catholic Church" imply that the Church which follows the Pope, who is based in Rome, is not the only Catholic Church and that others are also entitled to be called such - for example, the Anglican Church. This assumption is not is not accepted by the Roman Church itself, which usually calls itself "The Catholic Church" without qualification and recognizes no other contenders for the title.

The term is used also to mean those Christian churches that maintain that their episcopate can be traced unbrokenly back to the apostles and consider themselves part of a catholic (universal) body of believers. Among those who regard themselves as Catholic but not Roman Catholic are Anglicans [46] and Lutherans, [33] who stress that they are both Reformed and Catholic. The Old Catholic Church and the various groups classified as Independent Catholic Churches also lay claim to the description Catholic. Traditionalist Catholics, even if they may not be in communion with Rome, consider themselves to be not only Catholics but the "true" Roman Catholics.[ citation needed ]

Some use the term "Catholic" to distinguish their own position from a Calvinist or Puritan form of Reformed-Protestantism. These include a faction of Anglicans often also called Anglo-Catholics, 19th century Neo-Lutherans, 20th century High Church Lutherans or evangelical-Catholics and others.

Methodists and Presbyterians believe their denominations owe their origins to the Apostles and the early church, but do not claim descent from ancient church structures such as the episcopate. However, both of these churches hold that they are a part of the catholic (universal) church. According to Harper's New Monthly Magazine :

The various Protestant sects can not constitute one church because they have no intercommunion...each Protestant Church, whether Methodist or Baptist or whatever, is in perfect communion with itself everywhere as the Roman Catholic; and in this respect, consequently, the Roman Catholic has no advantage or superiority, except in the point of numbers. As a further necessary consequence, it is plain that the Roman Church is no more Catholic in any sense than a Methodist or a Baptist. [47]

Henry Mills Alden, Harper's New Monthly Magazine Volume 37, Issues 217-222

As such, according to one viewpoint, for those who "belong to the Church," the term Methodist Catholic, or Presbyterian Catholic, or Baptist Catholic, is as proper as the term Roman Catholic. [48] It simply means that body of Christian believers over the world who agree in their religious views, and accept the same ecclesiastical forms. [48]

Independent Catholicism

Some Independent Catholics accept that, among bishops, that of Rome is primus inter pares, and hold that conciliarism is a necessary check against ultramontanism. They are however, by definition, not recognised by the Catholic Church.

Avoidance of use

Some Protestant churches avoid using the term completely, to the extent among many Lutherans of reciting the Creed with the word "Christian" in place of "catholic". [49] [50] [51] The Orthodox churches share some of the concerns about Roman Catholic papal claims, but disagree with some Protestants about the nature of the church as one body.

See also

Notes and references

Notes

  1. Western Christianity includes both the (Roman) Catholic Church, Protestant Churches that share historic ties with the Catholic Church, as well as independent Catholic Churches that split later.

Related Research Articles

Filioque is a Latin term added to the original Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed, and which has been the subject of great controversy between Eastern and Western Christianity. It is not in the original text of the Creed, attributed to the First Council of Constantinople (381), the second ecumenical council, which says that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father", without additions of any kind, such as "and the Son" or "alone".

Polycarp Christian bishop of Smyrna

Polycarp was a 2nd-century Christian bishop of Smyrna. According to the Martyrdom of Polycarp he died a martyr, bound and burned at the stake, then stabbed when the fire failed to consume his body. Polycarp is regarded as a saint and Church Father in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran churches. His name 'Polycarp' means 'much fruit' in Greek.

Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.

Eastern Catholic Churches Autonomous, self-governing particular Churches in full communion with the Pope

The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, and in some historical cases Uniate Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian particular churches sui iuris in full communion with the Pope in Rome, as part of the worldwide Catholic Church. Headed by patriarchs, metropolitans, and major archbishops, the Eastern Catholic Churches are governed in accordance with the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, although each church also has its own canons and laws on top of this, and the preservation of their own traditions is explicitly encouraged. The total membership of the various churches accounts for about 18 million, according to the Annuario Pontificio, thus making up about 1.5 percent of the Catholic Church, with the rest of its more than 1.3 billion members belonging to the Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church.

A Christian denomination is a distinct religious body within Christianity, identified by traits such as a name, organization, leadership and doctrine. The Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodoxy, meaning the large majority, all self-describe as churches, whereas many Protestant denominations self-describe as congregations or fellowships. Divisions between one group and another are defined by authority and doctrine; issues such as the nature of Jesus, the authority of apostolic succession, ecclesiology, eschatology, and papal primacy may separate one denomination from another. Groups of denominations—often sharing broadly similar beliefs, practices, and historical ties—are sometimes known as "branches of Christianity". These branches differ in many ways, especially through differences in practices and belief.

Papal primacy, also known as the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, is an ecclesiastical doctrine concerning the respect and authority that is due to the Pope from other bishops and their Episcopal sees.

Catholic may refer to:

The term "Evangelical Catholic" is used by Christians who consider themselves both "catholic" and "evangelical".

Ecumenical creeds umbrella term used in the Western Church to refer to the Nicene Creed, the Apostles Creed and, less commonly, the Athanasian Creed

Ecumenical creeds is an umbrella term used in Lutheran tradition to refer to three creeds: the Nicene Creed, the Apostles' Creed and the Athanasian Creed. These creeds are also known as the catholic or universal creeds.

Four Marks of the Church four adjectives—“one, holy, catholic and apostolic”—attributed to the Church according to the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed

The Four Marks of the Church, also known as the Attributes of the Church, is a term describing four distinctive adjectives—"one, holy, catholic and apostolic"—of traditional Christian ecclesiology as expressed in the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed completed at the First Council of Constantinople in AD 381: "[We believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church." This ecumenical creed is today recited in the liturgy of the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Church of the East, the Moravian Church, the Lutheran Churches, the Methodist Churches, the Presbyterian Churches, the Anglican Communion and by members of many Reformed Churches.

First seven ecumenical councils

In the history of Christianity, the first seven ecumenical councils include the following: the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and finally, the Second Council of Nicaea in 787.

A number of Christian denominations assert that they alone represent the one true church – the church to which Jesus gave his authority in the Great Commission. The Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox communion and the Assyrian Church of the East each understands itself as the one and only original church. The claim to the title of the "one true church" relates to the first of the Four Marks of the Church mentioned in the Nicene Creed: "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church". The concept of schism somewhat moderates the competing claims between some churches – one can potentially repair schism. For example, the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches each regard the other as schismatic rather than heretical.

Roman Catholic is a term sometimes used to differentiate members of the Catholic Church in full communion with the Pope in Rome from other Christians who also self-identify as "Catholic", especially Anglo-Catholics and Independent Catholics. It is also sometimes used to differentiate adherents to the Latin Church and its Roman rite from other Catholics, i.e. adherents of the Eastern Catholic Churches of various Eastern rites. It is not an official name used by the Holy See or bishops in full communion with the Pope as a designation for their faith or institution.

History of Eastern Orthodox theology

The history of Eastern Orthodox Christian theology begins with the life of Jesus and the forming of the Christian Church. Major events include the Chalcedonian schism with the Oriental Orthodox miaphysites, the Iconoclast controversy, the Photian schism, the Great Schism between East and West, and the Hesychast controversy. The period after the Second World War saw a re-engagement with the Greek, and more recently Syriac, Fathers that included a rediscovery of the theological works of St. Gregory Palamas, which has resulted in a renewal of Orthodox theology in the 20th and 21st centuries.

References

  1. John Meyendorff, Catholicity and the Church, St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1997, ISBN   0-88141-006-3, p. 7
  2. Elwell & Comfort 2001, pp. 266, 828.
  3. "Catholic". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
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  13. Christliche Religion, Oskar Simmel Rudolf Stählin, 1960, 150
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  15. 1 2 "Chapter VIII.—Let nothing be done without the bishop". Christian Classics Ethereal Library. Retrieved 21 November 2008.
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  22. [J.H. Srawley, The Epistles of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, vol. II,] pp. 41-42
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  24. "As certain unbelievers maintain, that He only seemed to suffer, as they themselves only seem to be Christians". Ignatius said these heretics did not believe in the reality of Christ's flesh, which did suffer and was raised up again: "They confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again" (Smyrnaeans, 7) and called them "beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with" (Smyrnaeans, 4).
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  33. 1 2 3 Ludwig, Alan (12 September 2016). "Luther's Catholic Reformation". The Lutheran Witness. When the Lutherans presented the Augsburg Confession before Emperor Charles V in 1530, they carefully showed that each article of faith and practice was true first of all to Holy Scripture, and then also to the teaching of the church fathers and the councils and even the canon law of the Church of Rome. They boldly claim, “This is about the Sum of our Doctrine, in which, as can be seen, there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church Catholic, or from the Church of Rome as known from its writers” (AC XXI Conclusion 1). The underlying thesis of the Augsburg Confession is that the faith as confessed by Luther and his followers is nothing new, but the true catholic faith, and that their churches represent the true catholic or universal church. In fact, it is actually the Church of Rome that has departed from the ancient faith and practice of the catholic church (see AC XXIII 13, XXVIII 72 and other places).
  34. Steven Kovacevich, Apostolic Christianity and the 23,000 Western Churches, especially p. 15[ dead link ]
  35. Basic Principles Of The Attitude of The Russian Orthodox Church toward the Other Christian Confessions, adopted by the Jubilee Bishops’ Council of the Russian Orthodox Church, 14 August 2000
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  37. English translation by Henry Edward Manning in Philip Schaff , Creeds of Christendom: Volume II. The History of Creeds
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  39. Smyrnaeans, 2
  40. Second Vatican Council Decree on Ecumenism Archived 6 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine , 16
  41. Encyciclical Ut unum sint, 54
  42. Apostolic Constitution Sacri Canones
  43. Obituary of Pope John Paul II
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  45. Characteristics of Our Coptic Church
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  47. Alden, Henry Mills (1868). Harper's new monthly magazine, Volume 37, Issues 217-222. Harper's Magazine Co. Retrieved 25 March 2007. The various Protestant sects can not constitute one church because they have no intercommunion...each Protestant Church, whether Methodist or Baptist or whatever, is in perfect communion with itself everywhere as the Roman Catholic; and in this respect, consequently, the Roman Catholic has no advantage or superiority, except in the point of numbers. As a further necessary consequence, it is plain that the Roman Church is no more Catholic in any sense than a Methodist or a Baptist.
  48. 1 2 Harper's magazine, Volume 37. Harper's Magazine Co. 1907. Retrieved 25 March 2007. For those who "belong to the Church," the term Methodist Catholic, or Presbyterian Catholic, or Baptist Catholic, is as proper as the term Roman Catholic. It simply means that body of Christian believers over the world who agree in their religious views, and accept the same ecclesiastical forms.
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