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Roman Catholicism - The Name of the Church

Discussion in 'Catholic DIR' started by Katzpur, Nov 6, 2005.

  1. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    My husband just asked me, "How did the Catholic Church get its name?" I said that the word "catholic" means "universal." (Would that be in Latin or what?) He then asked me how long the Roman Catholic Church has officially been known by that name. I told him I didn't know, but that I knew a whole lot of really smart Catholics who could probably tell me. And that raises one more question in my mind. Before being called "the Roman Catholic Church," by what name did the Church called? Thanks for your help!
     
  2. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    Katzpur,

    Catholic is Greek derived, not Latin. It comes from kata holos, which means according to the whole. Roman Catholics will generally tell you this means universal, but this is not strictly true. If it were, how could a parish be Catholic? For us, the word Catholic means that we follow the Catholic faith, that which has been believed by all, always and everywhere, to paraphrase St. Vincent of Lerins. Incidentally, the Greek word for universal is ecumenical, although as the Empire was known in the Greek speaking world as the Oekumene, this can also mean Imperial, as in the title of the Patrirach of Constantinople.

    The undivided Church was known simply as the Catholic Church (though the adjectives Roman - referring to the Empire - and Orthodox were also used at times by certain people). Since the Great Schism we have referred to ourselves as the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church (Orthodox meaning right-believing and right-worshipping) to differentiate ourselves from the See of Rome, though westerners refer to us as Eastern Orthodox. I believe that the Roman Catholic name is not officially used by RCs, who call themselves simply Catholic, but was first used by Protestants. We tend to use it also when referring to RCs as it is a useful name for distinguishing them from us, though far less charitable names have also been used at times. Hope that's of some help, even though I'm not totally clear on the development of the post-Schism term Roman Catholicism.

    James
     
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  3. glasgowchick

    glasgowchick Gives Glory to God !!!

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    Biblical names for the church..

    Assembly of the saints Psalm 89:7.
    Assembly of the upright Psalm 111:1.
    Body of Christ Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:24.
    Branch of God's planting Isaiah 60:21.
    Bride of Christ Revelation 21:9.
    Church of God Acts 20:28.
    Church of the Living God 1Timothy 3:15.
    Church of the first-born Hebrews 12:23.
    City of the Living God Hebrews 12:22.
    Congregation of saints Psalm 149:1.
    Congregation of the Lord's poor Psalm 74:19.
    Dove Song of Solomon 2:14; 5:2.
    Family in heaven and earth Ephesians 3:15.
    Flock of God Ezekiel 34:15; 1Peter 5:2.
    Fold of Christ John 10:16
    General assembly of the first-born Hebrews 12:23.
    Golden candlestick Revelation 1:20.
    God's building 1Corinthians 3:9.
    God's husbandry 1Corinthians 3:9.
    God's heritage Joel 3:2; 1Peter 5:3.
    Habitation of God Ephesians 2:22.
    Heavenly of Jerusalem Gal. 4:26; Hebrews 12:22.
    Holy city Revelation 21:2.
    Holy mountain Zechariah 8:3.
    Holy hill Psalm 15:1.
    House of God 1Timothy 3:15; Heb. 10:21
    House of the God of Jacob Isaiah 2:3.
    House of Christ Hebrews 3:6.
    Household of God Ephesians 2:19.
    Inheritance Psalm 28:9; Isaiah 19:25.
    Israel of God Galatians 6:16.
    King's daughter Psalm 45:13.
    Lamb's wife Revelation 19:7; 21:9.
    Lot of God's inheritance Deuteronomy 32:9.
    Mount Zion Psalm 2:6; Hebrews 12:22.
    Mountain of the Lord's house Isaiah 2:2
    New Jerusalem Revelation 21:2.
    Pillar and ground of the truth 1Timothy 3:15.
    Sanctuary of God Psalm 114:2.
    Spiritual house 1Peter 2:5.
    Spouse of Christ Song of Solomon 4:12; 5:1.
    Sought out, a city not forsaken Isaiah 62:12.
    Temple of God 1Corinthians 3:16,17.
    Temple of the Living God 2 Corinthians 6:16.
    Vineyard Jeremiah 12:10; Matthew 21:41. ​

    Not forgetting the churches of christ salute you Romans 16:16...The churches in the bible were not known for having the names of the RC Church, LDS, Kingdomhalls, catholic church, they were known simply as churches..
     
  4. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    glasgowchick,

    Whilst your answer is not incorrect, it doesn't actually clear up Katzpur's question does it? Do you actually see something wrong in using the adjective Catholic with reference to the Church? After all, all it implies is that a local church shares the faith of the whole rather than being a schismatic or heretical church going it alone. Seems like a perfectly reasonable adjective to me and its use is very early in Church history.

    James
     
  5. glasgowchick

    glasgowchick Gives Glory to God !!!

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    Hi James, I do believe that the word catholic means universal however I dont understand why one would use there own name to describe their church..If in the bible the churches where just known as churches of christ or churches of God etc, why the split..why cant it not be just one big church wearing the one name and be united instead of I belong to this church, or I belong to that church..shouldnt we not all be one..and all say together " the churches of christ salute you "...maybe it didnt clear up Katz question. I apoligise for that, but why be known by any other name, why seperate ourseleves...
     
  6. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    The point of the use of the adjective Catholic (which doesn't mean universal, but according to the whole) is precisely that by using it we say that we are one in faith. My parish is Catholic because it holds to the faith of the whole Church but it is far from universal, serving just those Romanian Orthodox Christians in the north of England. The fact that the word has been misused as a badge of separation is not an argument against using it in its correct context. From our point of view, it is the adjective Roman in the term Roman Catholic that is the badge of separation in that it refers to only one See of the Pentarchy and excludes the other four. As for your one big church idea, that only works if you hold to a Protestant idea of the invisible Church and accept the branch theory. We, like the Roman Catholics, do not accept such ideas as we believe Christ founded on e visible Church. I have no difficulty in accepting that there are many Christians who are outside of the Church but it is impossible to accept that all of their churches comprise a part of the same overall Church when they do not all adhere to the Catholic faith but have deviated from it in various ways.

    James
     
  7. glasgowchick

    glasgowchick Gives Glory to God !!!

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    Hi James, Thanks for clearing your side of it up, however I beg to differ on what the church should be and what the church has become....
     
  8. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    That's alright. I don't expect you to agree with me. If you did you'd not be able to remain a Protestant (or whatever you prefer to be called) would you? I just have a hard time understanding why some people object to the use of the term catholic.

    James
     
  9. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify... from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
    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.

    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. (830-831)
     
  10. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Thanks, James.

    That was helpful -- at least as far as you went. I apologize to the Roman Catholics on the forum for posting this quick question in the wrong forum, but what would you prefer that we call your Church, James? The Holy Orthodox Catholic Church? Or could we somehow abbreviate that? (Maybe that's why we just refer to it as the Eastern Orthodox Church.) That's almost as much of a mouthful as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!

    I'm still not quite clear as to what the "Church" was known at in, say, the first and second centuries. Anyone? And was it with the Schism that the "Roman Catholic Church" came to be called by that name? (That's what would make sense to me.) When is the first recorded use of the words "The Catholic Church"?

    Kathryn
     
  11. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    I apologize. It was not really my intention, when starting this thread, to debate what the Church should be called. But aside from the fact that these many ways of referring to Christ's Church are interesting to know, it seems to be to be quite obvious that the early followers of Jesus Christ would have called His Church, "The Church of Jesus Christ."
     
  12. Scott1

    Scott1 Well-Known Member

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    Same as it is today= The Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ and the Temple of the Holy Spirit.

    All other names "Roman Catholic/ Eastern Orthodox etc." are merely functions of a diverse world that needs to specify what group of Christians are being refered to.

    To us, all Christians are catholic... we are all the "People of God".
    "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church."
    St. Ignatius of Antioch @107 AD
     
  13. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Wow! That's the first time I've ever been called a catholic (note the lower-case "c"). Makes sense to me, though. ;)

    Thanks. That is essentially what I was looking for.
     
  14. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    I quite agree with your first two paragraphs, Scott, but I'm dubious about the last one. To me, in order to be catholic you must hold to the Catholic faith (and I'm not talking here about minor details, but the basic truths of the faith - I have no problem in accepting RCs as catholic, despite what I believe are certain errors in your beliefs). Some who call themselves Christian, such as those who deny the Trinity, the Resurrection or the Divinity of Christ are well outside of the Catholic faith and so I could not bring myself to call them catholic, though I wouldn't deny them the title of Christian. I hope that makes sense.

    James
     
  15. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    If you want to be absolutely correct then, yes, my Church is called the Holy Orthodox Catholic Church and we are Orthodox Catholics. If you're referring to my local church, it's really the Orthodox Church of Romania (the ethnic part is very much secondary). Having said that, Eastern Orthodox is acceptable because everyone knows who it refers to, though I'm not a fan of the adjective eastern being tacked on as it's no longer really accurate, one of the local churches being the Orthodox Church in America, which is decidedly western. Personally, I prefer that it be shortened just to Orthodox unless a comparison is being made with the Oriental Orthodox, when leaving out eastern just gets confusing.

    James

    P.S.
    I'm fairly sure that the term Roman Catholic is a Reformation era term. After the Schism we tended to refer to the RCC as the Latins (ironically my own local church is both Latin and Orthodox) and they referred to us as Greeks. The two modern designations for our churches seem to have both been given to us by outsiders from western Europe at a later date.
     
  16. glasgowchick

    glasgowchick Gives Glory to God !!!

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    Hi Katz, no it was my mistake, I miss read your post Im sorry.. :(
     
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