I wasn’t sure if this belonged here or in GQ. I decided since religious topics often go all wahoonie shaped, I’d put it here.
I know there’s a Greek Orthodox church and a Russian Orthodox church. I assume there are differences besides the language. Maybe the liturgy, the music, some practices, etc. Anyway, if there is a Roman Catholic church, does that imply there are other Catholic churches?
Wikipedia: Catholic Church (disambiguation). Knock yourself out, in nomine Patri et Fili et Spiritu Sancti, Kyrie Eleison, Who Put the Bomp in the Bomp-Ba-Bomp-Ba-Bomp, Who Put the Ram in the Ram-A-Lama-Ding-Dong, Amen, Selah.
The church headed by the Bishop of Rome (the Pope) calls itself the Catholic Church, and excludes from that term members of Orthodox churches and members of Protestant churches (e.g., Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists).
However, those other Christian churches subscribe to the Niceno–Constantinopolitan Creed, which refers to “one holy catholic and apostolic Church”, just as the Catholic Church headed by the Pope does. But for them, that “catholic and apostolic Church” includes their branches of the church, so they refer to the “Roman Catholic Church” to make the distinction between the “catholic church” and the “Catholic Church”.
It all depends on what you think “one” means in the phrase “one, holy, catholic and apostolic church”. There are those who reckon that the “one church” is united by shared baptism; that’s all that is needed, so all baptised christians are part of one catholic church. Others have other views, one of which is that the oneness of the church is (or ought to be) constituted by baptism plus a relationship of eucharistic communion. I am in communion with my bishop through my participation in a eucharistic community of which he is the head, and he is in communion with the Bishop of Rome and, through him, with all the other bishops of all the particular churches throughout the world which are in communion with the Bishop of Rome, and with the communities which they head, and it’s this network of relationships of communion which establishes the oneness of the church.
Those who are of this view are referred to as Roman Catholics, to distinguish them from Christians who hold differing views as to how all the diverse particular churches throughout the world constitute one church.
The Anglican Church (Church of England) defines itself as a Catholic Church, hence the term Roman Catholic to distinguish the Church headed by the Pope. The first eight of the C of E’s 39 Articles are called the Catholic Articles.
WayTooLong;DR: these are churches that acknowledge the primacy of the Pope, but may use different liturgical languages or practices. They are not Eastern Orthodox, or Oriental Orthodox, or Protestant, or other.
Another edit: also many of their Priests can be married.
Christopher Tietjens, hero of Ford Madox Ford’s Parades End, gave his Catholic wife permission to raise their son as Catholic. But he requested she teach him to say that he was “Roman Catholic.” Tietjens was Anglican & a bit pedantic…
Just since nobody’s really said it so far, “Catholic” means “universal” more or less, and it’s a word used in both the Nicene and Apostolic creeds in that sense.
Granted, at the time the creeds were written, the RCC was pretty much the only church in much of the world, so by definition it was the “catholic church” referred to in the creeds. People just called it “the Church” though.
Later, as other churches came around with the Reformation, etc… the Roman Catholic Church as a term was started to refer to the big Church in Rome. I’m not sure exactly where the term came from, or who actually started using it first- the Church or the Protestants though. I do know that it’s a term that isn’t really used in internal Church documents much; if you do see it, it’ll be in terms of it’s corporate identity in places like the US, not in its own internal references.
Just to be clear, the different Catholic churches didn’t all start with the Reformation. Some of the Eastern Catholic churches, like the Marionite predate the East-West schism of Catholicism & Orthodoxy.
Well, to be frank, isn’t the One Universal Truth™ that is shared by all religions and denominations “We are, by the Grace of [insert Name of Supreme Being], the One True Faith and everyone else is just plain wrong.”
Actually, at the time that the Nicene Creed was adopted, the majority of bishops attending the council were from places that are now generally “Orthodox” rather than “Catholic.”
Orthodox, (“correct teaching”), generally consider themselves catholic and Catholics generally consider themselves to be orthodox. As the Eastern and Western churches drifted apart between the tenth and fifteenth centuries, the label Orthodox came to be associated with the Eastern Church and Catholic with the Western Church, even though each group would assert that they were both catholic and orthodox.
Both groups follow the Nicene Creed in proclaiming to be “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.”
Nothing in the Reformation challenged the beliefs expressed in the Creed–the fights were over other issues–so the various groups that sprang up separate from Rome had no reason to change or abandon the Creed. Catholic, (i.e., universal), means that the mission of the church is to all people, not just to specific nations, tribes, or ethnicities, and the Reformers certainly believed that.
Since the people of England still considered themselves to be catholic after they stopped looking to Rome for religious matters and the word catholic had already become an identifier for the Western branch of Christianity, they began to use the phrase “Roman Catholic” to identify those who still were associated with Rome. (I am not sure that “Roman Catholic” is a common expression in French, German, Spanish, Italian, or the Scandinavian languages. It may have been a particularly English expression.)
Internally, “Roman Catholic” really has no particular meaning. The various groups who accept the authority of the pope are generally known by the rites of the mass that they follow. In that case, the elephant in the room is known as the Latin Rite (not Roman), to distinguish it from the Maronites, Chaldean Rite Catholics, Greek Catholics, Byzantine Catholics, (the two latter groups share a name but not an association with like-named Orthodox groups), and several others.