The word CATHOLIC (with lowercase c; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal" ) 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". The term CATHOLIC (usually written with uppercase C in English) was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope . In the context of Christian ecclesiology , it has a rich history and several usages.
The word in English can mean either "of the Roman Catholic faith " or
"relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church
". Many Christians use it to refer more broadly to the whole
Christian Church or to all believers in
In non-ecclesiastical use, it derives its English meaning directly from its root, and is currently used to mean the following:
* including a wide variety of things; all-embracing * universal or of general interest; * liberal , having broad interests, or wide sympathies; or * inclusive, inviting and containing strong evangelism.
The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Roman Catholic Church (also called the 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.
Distinguishing beliefs of Catholicism , 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, 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 , found the line of the Nicene Creed: "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."
During the medieval and modern times, additional distinctions arose
regarding the use of the terms Western Catholic and Eastern Catholic.
* 1 Historical use
Ignatius of Antioch
* 1.2 Other second-century uses
Cyril of Jerusalem
* 2 Contemporary use
* 3 Avoidance of use
* 4 Notes and references
* 4.1 See also * 4.2 Notes * 4.3 References
* 5 External links
IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH
The earliest recorded evidence of the use of the term "Catholic
Church" is the
Letter to the Smyrnaeans
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,
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.
OTHER SECOND-CENTURY USES
CYRIL OF JERUSALEM
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 19:14), 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
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,
AUGUSTINE OF HIPPO
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.
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), 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
CATHOLIC CHURCH AND EASTERN ORTHODOX CHURCH
See also: Western Catholic (other) and Eastern Catholic (other)
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
preserved until the great disputes that arose between 9th and 11th
century. After the
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".
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.
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".
The Augsburg Confession found within the Book of Concord , a compendium of belief of the Lutheran Churches , 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". 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".
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 . 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."
Catholic Church , led by the
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.
Regarding the relations with Eastern Christians,
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.
All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church , Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East ) are continuing to identify themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed . 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". Non of the Eastern Churches, Orthodox or Oriental, have any intention to abandon ancient traditions of their own Catholicity.
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
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 and Lutherans , 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.
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
The various Protestant sects can not constitute one church because
they have no intercommunion ...each Protestant Church, whether
As such, according to one viewpoint, for those who "belong to the
Church," the term
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". 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.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* Religion portal
* Anglo- Catholicism * Anglican Catholic Church * Anglican Use * Catechism of the Catholic Church * Catholicism * Christianity * Independent Catholic Churches * Liberal Catholic Church * List of popes * Old Catholic Church * Universal Catholic Church
* ^ 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
* ^ "Catholic".
Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford
University Press . September 2005. (Subscription or UK public library
* ^ (cf. Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English
* ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved
* ^ "On Being Catholic," by Claire Anderson M.Div.
* ^ "catholic". Oxford University Press. Retrieved 24 December
* ^ "Beliefs and Social Issues, FAQ". United
Look up CATHOLIC or CATHOLIC in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
* "Catholic". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). 1911.
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