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Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.[1][2] Although for many the term usually refers to Christians and churches belonging to the Catholic Church in communion with the Holy See, for others it refers to continuity "back to the earliest churches",[3] as claimed even by churches in dispute with one another over doctrine and practice such as the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Assyrian Church of the East, the Old Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.[3] The claim of continuity may be based on Apostolic Succession, especially in conjunction with adherence to the Nicene Creed.[4] In this sense of indicating historical continuity, the term "catholicism" is at times employed to mark a contrast to Protestantism, which tends to look instead to the Bible as interpreted by the 16th-century Protestant Reformation as its ultimate standard.[5] It was thus used by the Oxford Movement.[6]

According to Richard McBrien, Catholicism is distinguished from other forms of Christianity in its particular understanding and commitment to tradition, the sacraments, the mediation between God, and communion.[1] Catholicism can include a monastic life, religious orders, a religious appreciation of the arts, a communal understanding of sin and redemption, missionary activity, and always "communion with the Bishop of Rome" and the degree or form of primacy that what he calls the Communion of Catholic Churches attribute to his chair or office.[7]

McBrien maintains that Eastern Catholic Churches should not come under the heading "Roman Catholic Church": "The Catholic Church itself is a communion of local churches, known as dioceses and patriarchates, of Roman and non-Roman Churches." Thus "to be Catholic—whether Roman/Latin or non-Roman/Latin—is to be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome and as such an integral part of the Communion of Catholic Churches."[8] Other writers, such as Kenneth D. Whitehead, disagree with McBrien by objecting to the use of the term "Roman Catholic Church" even for the Latin Rite. Whitehead has pointed out that this term appears nowhere in the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council.[9] Avery Dulles pointed out that in the dogmatic constitution Lumen Gentium the Council used instead of "Roman Catholic Church" the circumlocution, "the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in union with that successor", and referred only in a footnote to documents of similar authority that used the term "Roman" for the whole Church (the Profession of Faith of Trent and the documents of the First Vatican Council).[10] The Popes[11] continue to use the term "Roman Catholic Church", especially for identifying the Church unambiguously in written agreements with other churches, but even when addressing Catholics.[12] In all these references, the Popes apply the term "Roman Catholic Church" to the whole Church, not to the Latin or Western Church.[13] In popular usage also, "Catholic" usually means "Roman Catholic",[14] a usage decried by some, including certain Protestants.[15] "Catholic" usually refers to members of all the 23 constituent Churches, the one Western and the 22 Eastern. Newspaper reports generally reflect common usage.[16][17]

History of use of "Catholic Church"Edit

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."[18][19]

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 ἒκκλησία). 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.[20][21]

As indicated in this quotation, Cyril of Jerusalem (circa 315–386) used the term "Catholic Church" in opposition to other groups, whose right to call themselves ἐκκλησία (assembly or church) he admitted:

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 Jesus Christ, the Only-begotten Son of God.[22]

Only slightly later, Saint Augustine of Hippo (354–430) wrote:

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.[23]

On 27 February 380, by an edict issued in Thessalonica and published in Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius declared Catholic Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, and defined the term "Catholic" in Roman Imperial law as follows

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 divine condemnation and the second the punishment of our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven will decide to inflict.[24] Theodosian Code XVI.i.2

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:

"[I]n 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" (section 6, end of chapter II).

Divergent interpretations of the term "Catholic"Edit

Many individual Christians and Christian denominations consider themselves "catholic" on the basis, in particular, of Apostolic Succession. They fall into five groups:

  1. The Western and Eastern Churches of the Catholic Church in communion with the Bishop of Rome.[25] These understand "Catholic" to involve unity with the Bishop of Rome,[26] and hold that "the one Church of Christ ... subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure."[27]
  2. Those, like the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox, that claim unbroken Apostolic Succession from the early Church and identify themselves as the Catholic Church; they see themselves (along with the See of Rome) as part of a patriarchal structure that developed in the East but never developed in the West. To disassociate the See of Rome from this equalisation of the "five Patriarchal Sees," Pope Benedict XVI dropped the title "Patriarch of the West," seeing the designation as an attempt to Orientalize Western ecclesiology.[28][29]
  3. Those, like the Old Catholic, Anglican, and some Lutheran and other denominations, that claim unbroken Apostolic Succession from the early Church, and see themselves as a constituent part of the Church.
  4. Those who claim to be spiritual descendants of the Apostles but have no discernible institutional descent from the historic Church, and normally do not refer to themselves as catholic.
  5. Those who have acknowledged a break in Apostolic Succession, but have restored it in order to be in full communion with bodies that have maintained the practice. Examples in this category include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada vis-à-vis their Anglican and Old Catholic counterparts.

For some confessions listed under category 3, the self-affirmation refers to the belief in the ultimate unity of the universal church under one God and one Saviour, rather than in one visibly unified institution (as with category 1, above). In this usage, "catholic" is sometimes written with a lower-case "c". The Western Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed, stating "I believe in ... one holy catholic ... church", are recited in worship services. Among some denominations in category 3, "Christian" is substituted for "catholic" in order to denote the doctrine that the Christian Church is, at least ideally, undivided.[30][31][32]

Brief organizational history of the Church Edit

Rome basilica st peter 011c

Ancient statue of Saint Peter in the Basilica dedicated to him in the Vatican.

According to the theory of Pentarchy, the early Catholic Church came to be organised under the three patriarchs of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch, to which later were added the patriarchs of Constantinople and Jerusalem. The Bishop of Rome was at that time recognized as first among them, as is stated, for instance, in canon 3 of the First Council of Constantinople (381)—many interpret "first" as meaning here first among equals—and doctrinal or procedural disputes were often referred to Rome, as when, on appeal by St Athanasius against the decision of the Council of Tyre (335), Pope Julius I, who spoke of such appeals as customary, annulled the action of that council and restored Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra to their sees. The Bishop of Rome was also considered to have the right to convene ecumenical councils. When the Imperial capital moved to Constantinople, Rome's influence was sometimes challenged. Nonetheless, Rome claimed special authority because of its connection to Saint Peter.[33][34] and Saint Paul, who, all agreed, were martyred and buried in Rome, and because the Bishop of Rome saw himself as the successor of Saint Peter.

The 431 Council of Ephesus, the Third Ecumenical Council, was chiefly concerned with Nestorianism, which emphasised the distinction between the humanity and divinity of Jesus and taught that, in giving birth to Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary could not be spoken of as giving birth to God. This Council rejected Nestorianism and affirmed that, as humanity and divinity are inseparable in the one person of Jesus Christ, his mother, the Virgin Mary, is thus Theotokos, God-bearer, Mother of God. The first great rupture in the Church followed this Council. Those who refused to accept the Council's ruling were largely Persian and are represented today by the Assyrian Church of the East and related Churches, which, however, do not now hold a "Nestorian" theology. They are often called Ancient Oriental Churches.

The next major break was after the Council of Chalcedon (451). This Council repudiated Eutychian Monophysitism which stated that the divine nature completely subsumed the human nature in Christ. This Council declared that Christ, though one person, exhibited two natures "without confusion, without change, without division, without separation" and thus is both fully God and fully human. The Alexandrian Church rejected the terms adopted by this Council, and the Christian Churches that follow the tradition of non-acceptance of the Council—they are not Monophysite in doctrine—are referred to as Pre-Chalcedonian or Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The next great rift within Christianity was in the 11th century. Longstanding doctrinal disputes, as well as conflicts between methods of Church government, and the evolution of separate rites and practices, precipitated a split in 1054 that divided the Church, this time between a "West" and an "East". England, France, the Holy Roman Empire, Poland, Bohemia, Slovakia, Scandinavia, the Baltic countries, and Western Europe in general were in the Western camp, and Greece, Romania, Russia and many other Slavic lands, Anatolia, and the Christians in Syria and Egypt who accepted the Council of Chalcedon made up the Eastern camp. This division between the Western Church and the Eastern Church is called the East-West Schism.

The fourth major division in the Church occurred in the 16th century with the Protestant Reformation, after which many parts of the Western Church either entirely rejected the teachings and structure of the Western Church at that time and became known as "Reformed" or "Protestant", or else repudiated papal authority in the Western Church for the authority of a civil ruler in religious matters (e.g., in Anglicanism and parts of the Lutheran Church).

A much less extensive rupture occurred when, after the Roman Catholic Church's First Vatican Council, in which it officially proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility, small clusters of Catholics in the Netherlands and in German-speaking countries formed the Old-Catholic (Altkatholische) Church.

Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches Edit

The Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches together form the "Catholic Church"[35] or "Roman Catholic Church",[36] the world's second largest single religious body after Sunni Islam and the largest Christian church, comprising over half of all Christians (1.1 billion Christians) and one-sixth of the world's population.[37][38] Richard McBrien would put the proportion even higher, extending it to those who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome only in "degrees".[39] It comprises 23 component "particular churches" (also called "rites" in the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches),[40] all of which acknowledge a primacy of jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome[41] and are in full communion with the Holy See and each other. These particular churches or component parts are the Latin Rite or Western Church (which uses a number of different liturgical rites, of which the Roman Rite is the best known) and 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. Of the latter particular churches, 14 use the Byzantine liturgical rite.[42] Within the Church as a whole, each "particular Church", whether Eastern or Western, is of equal dignity.[43] Finally, in its official documents, the Church, though made up of several particular Churches, "continues to refer to itself as the 'Catholic ChurchTemplate:'"[44] or, less frequently but consistently, as the 'Roman Catholic Church', owing to its essential[36] link with the Bishop of Rome.[45] Theologian Richard McBrien, in his book Catholicism, disagrees, saying: "But is 'Catholic' synonymous with 'Roman Catholic'? And is it accurate to refer to the Roman Catholic Church as simply the 'Roman Church'? The answer to both questions is no. The adjective 'Roman' applies more properly to the diocese, or see, of Rome than to the worldwide Communion of Catholic Churches that is in union with the Bishop of Rome. Indeed, it strikes some Catholics as contradictory to call the Church 'Catholic' and 'Roman' at one and the same time. Eastern-rite Catholics, of whom there are more than twenty million, also find the adjective 'Roman' objectionable. In addition to the Latin, or Roman, tradition, there are seven non-Latin, non-Roman ecclesial traditions: Armenian, Byzantine, Coptic, Ethiopian, East Syrian (Chaldean), West Syrian, and Maronite. Each to the Churches with these non-Latin traditions is as Catholic as the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, not all Catholics are Roman Catholic." Thus "to be Catholic—whether Roman or non-Roman—in the ecclesiological sense is to be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome and as such to be an integral part of the Catholic Communion of Churches.[46] In spite of the use of "Roman Catholic Church" by Popes and departments of the Holy See, McBrien affirms that, on an official level, the "Communion of Catholic Churches" always refers to itself as "The Catholic Church".[47]

Sui iuris (i.e., self-governing) Churches in communion with the Holy SeeEdit

Anglicans and other CatholicsEdit

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Within Western Christianity, the churches of the Anglican Communion, the Old Catholics, the Liberal Catholic Church, the Apostolic Catholic Church (ACC), the Aglipayans (Philippine Independent Church), the Polish National Catholic Church of America, and many Independent Catholic Churches, which emerged directly or indirectly from and have beliefs and practices largely similar to Latin Rite Catholicism, regard themselves as "Catholic" without full communion with the Bishop of Rome, whose claimed status and authority they generally reject. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, a division of the People's Republic of China's Religious Affairs Bureau exercising state supervision over mainland China's Catholics, holds a similar position, while attempting, as with Buddhism and Protestantism, to indoctrinate and mobilize for Communist Party objectives.[48]

AnglicanismEdit

Introductory works on Anglicanism, such as The Study of Anglicanism, typically refer to the character of the Anglican tradition as "Catholic and Reformed",[49] which is in keeping with the understanding of Anglicanism articulated in the Elizabethan Settlement and in the works of the earliest standard Anglican divines such as Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes. Yet different strains in Anglicanism, dating back to the English Reformation, have emphasized either the Reformed, Catholic, or "Reformed Catholic" nature of the tradition.

Anglican theology and ecclesiology has thus come to be typically expressed in three distinct, yet sometimes overlapping manifestations: Anglo-Catholicism (or "high church"), "Evangelicalism" (or "low church"), and Latitudinarianism (or "broad church"), whose beliefs and practices fall somewhere between the two. Though all elements within the Anglican Communion recite the same creeds, Evangelical Anglicans regard the word catholic in the ideal sense given above. In contrast, Anglo-Catholics regard the communion as a component of the whole Catholic Church, in spiritual and historical union with the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic and several Eastern Churches. Broad Church Anglicans tend to maintain a mediating view, or consider the matter one of adiaphora. These Anglicans, for example, have agreed in the Porvoo Agreement to interchangeable ministries and full eucharistic communion with Lutherans.[50][51]

The Catholic nature or strain of the Anglican tradition is expressed doctrinally, ecumenically (chiefly through organisations such as the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission), ecclesiologically (through its episcopal governance and maintenance of the historical episcopate), and in liturgy and piety. Anglicans (except neo-evangelicals) maintain belief in the Seven Sacraments. Many Anglo-Catholics practice Marian devotion, recite the rosary and the angelus, practice Eucharistic adoration, and seek the intercession of saints. In terms of liturgy, most Anglicans use candles on the altar and many churches use incense and sanctus bells in the Eucharist, which is often referred to by the Latin-derived word "Mass". In a small number of churches the Eucharist is still celebrated facing the altar (often with a tabernacle) by a priest assisted by a deacon and subdeacon. Some Anglicans believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Others do not. Likewise, different Eucharistic prayers contain different, if not necessarily contradictory, understandings of salvation. For this reason, no single strain or manifestation of Anglicanism can speak for the whole, even in ecumenical statements (as issued, for example, by the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission).[52][53][54] This "ecumenical inconsistency", to quote ecumenist, Edward Yarnold, is especially true in recent agreements made between parts of the Anglican Communion and different Lutheran churches, where decisions (pertaining to traditions and doctrines dating back to the churches of the first millennium) are entrusted to local and national Anglican church bodies.[55] To deal with other inconsistencies, the current archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has suggested a "two-tier system" in the Communion, putting some bishops on a lower tier than others (for "overturing centuries of Christian understanding of marriage and homosexuality without wider consensus from other Anglicans"), thus over time giving the lower tier bishops a "reduced role in the communion."[56]

The growth of Anglo-Catholicism is strongly associated with the Oxford Movement of the nineteenth century. Two of its leading lights, John Henry Newman and Henry Edward Manning, both priests, ended up joining the Roman Catholic Church, becoming cardinals. Others, like John Keble, Edward Bouverie Pusey, and Charles Gore became influential figures in Anglicanism. The current Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is a patron of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism, a more liberal movement within Catholic Anglicanism. Conservative Catholic groups also exist within the tradition, such as Forward in Faith. There are about 80 million Anglicans in the world, comprising 3.6% of global Christianity.[57]

Provinces of the Anglican CommunionEdit

As in Orthodoxy, all thirty-eight provinces of the Anglican Communion are independent, each with its own primate and governing structure. These provinces may take the form of national churches (such as in Canada, Uganda, or Japan) or a collection of nations (such as the West Indies, Central Africa, or Southeast Asia). All are in union with the see of Canterbury.

The 38 provinces include:

In addition, there are six extraprovincial churches, five of which are under the metropolitical authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Protestant churchesEdit

United States Christian bodies

There are Catholic groups among the Protestant churches. For example, The 20th century "High Church Lutheranism" movement developed an Evangelical Catholicity, combining justification by faith with Catholic doctrine on sacraments, in some cases also restoring lacking Apostolic Succession, especially in Germany.

In Reformed churches there is a Scoto-Catholic grouping within the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Such groups point to their churches' continuing adherence to the "Catholic" doctrine of the early Church Councils. The Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland of 1921 defines that church legally as "part of the Holy Catholic or Universal Church".[49]

The Roman Catholic Church, which views Christians not in communion with itself as "non-Catholics" and which sees a valid episcopate and Eucharist as necessary for being a church, does not consider these denominations and the Anglican Communion as churches "in the proper sense".[58][59][60]

Distinctive beliefs and practices Edit

Due to the divergent interpretations of the word "Catholicism," any listing of beliefs and practices that distinguish Catholicism from other forms of Christianity must be preceded by an indication of the sense employed. If Catholicism is understood as the Roman Catholic Church understands it, identification of beliefs is relatively easy, though preferred expressions of the beliefs vary, especially between the Latin Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches of Greek tradition, and the other Eastern Catholic Churches. Liturgical and canonical practices vary between all these particular Churches constituting the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches (or, as Richard Mc Brien states, the "Communion of Catholic Churches.")[61]

In the understanding of another Church that identifies Catholicism with itself, such as the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, clear identification of certain beliefs may sometimes be more difficult, because of the lack of a central authority like that of the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches. On the other hand, practices are more uniform, as indicated, for instance, in the single liturgical rite employed, in various languages, within the Eastern Orthodox Church, in contrast to the variety of liturgical rites in the Roman Catholic Church.

In all these cases the beliefs and practices of Catholicism would be identical with the beliefs and practices of the Church in question. If Catholicism is extended to cover all who consider themselves spiritual descendants of the Apostles, a search for beliefs and practices that distinguish it from other forms of Christianity would be meaningless. Only if Catholicism is understood in the sense given to the word by those who use it to distinguish their position from a Calvinistic or Puritan form of Protestantism is it meaningful to attempt to draw up a list of common characteristic beliefs and practices of Catholicism. In this interpretation, evidently by no means shared by all, Catholicism includes the Roman Catholic Church, the various Churches of Eastern Christianity, the Old Catholic Church, Anglicanism, and at least some of the "independent Catholic Churches".

The beliefs and practices of Catholicism, as thus understood, include:

  • Direct and continuous organizational descent from the original church founded by Jesus Matthew 16:18, who, according to tradition, designated the Apostle Peter as its first leader.[62]
  • Belief that Jesus Christ is Divine, a doctrine officially clarified in the First Council of Nicea and expressed in the Nicene Creed.
  • Belief that the Eucharist is really, truly, and objectively the Body and Blood of Christ, through the Real Presence. Many Catholics additionally believe that adoration and worship is due to the Eucharist, as the body and blood of Christ.
  • Possession of the "threefold ordained ministry" of Bishops, Priests and Deacons.
  • All ministers are ordained by, and subject to, Bishops, who pass down sacramental authority by the "laying-on of hands", having themselves been ordained in a direct line of succession from the Apostles (see Apostolic Succession).
  • Belief that the Church is the vessel and deposit of the fullness of the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles from which the Scriptures were formed. This teaching is preserved in both written scripture and in unwritten tradition, neither being independent of the other.
  • A belief in the necessity and efficacy of sacraments.
  • The use of sacred images, candles, vestments and music, and often incense and water, in worship.
  • Veneration of Mary, the mother of Jesus as the Blessed Virgin Mary or Theotokos (i.e., "God-bearer" or "Mother of God"), and veneration of the saints.
  • A distinction between adoration (latria) for God, and veneration (dulia) for saints. The term hyperdulia is used for a special veneration accorded to the Virgin Mary among the saints.
  • The use of prayer for the dead.
  • The acceptance of canonizations.
  • Requests to the departed saints for intercessory prayers.

Sacraments or Sacred Mysteries Edit

Churches in the Catholic tradition administer seven sacraments or "sacred mysteries": Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. In some Catholic churches this number is regarded as a convention only.

In Catholicism, a sacrament is considered to be an efficacious visible sign of God's invisible grace. While the word mystery is used not only of these rites, but also with other meanings with reference to revelations of and about God and to God's mystical interaction with creation, the word sacrament (Latin: a solemn pledge), the usual term in the West, refers specifically to these rites.

  • Baptism - the first sacrament of Christian initiation, the basis for all the other sacraments. Churches in the Catholic tradition consider baptism conferred in most Christian denominations "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (cf. Matthew 28:19) to be valid, since the effect is produced through the sacrament, independently of the faith of the minister, though not of the minister's intention. This is not necessarily the case in other churches. As stated in the Nicene Creed, Baptism is "for the forgiveness of sins", not only personal sins, but also of original sin, which it remits even in infants who have committed no actual sins. Expressed positively, forgiveness of sins means bestowal of the sanctifying grace by which the baptized person shares the life of God. The initiate "puts on Christ" (Galatians 3:27), and is "buried with him in baptism ... also raised with him through faith in the working of God" (Colossians 2:12).
  • Confirmation or Chrismation - the second sacrament of Christian initiation, the means by which the gift of the Holy Spirit conferred in baptism is "strengthened and deepened" (see, for example, Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1303) by a sealing. In the Western tradition it is usually a separate rite from baptism, bestowed, following a period of education called catechesis, on those who have at least reached the age of discretion (about 7) and sometimes postponed until an age when the person is considered capable of making a mature independent profession of faith. It is considered to be of a nature distinct from the anointing with chrism (also called myrrh) that is usually part of the rite of baptism and that is not seen as a separate sacrament. In the Eastern tradition it is usually conferred in conjunction with baptism, as its completion, but is sometimes administered separately to converts or those who return to Orthodoxy. Some theologies consider this to be the outward sign of the inner "Baptism of the Holy Spirit," the special gifts (or charismata) of which may remain latent or become manifest over time according to God's will. Its "originating" minister is a validly consecrated bishop; if a priest (a "presbyter") confers the sacrament (as is permitted in some Catholic churches) the link with the higher order is indicated by the use of chrism blessed by a bishop. (In an Eastern Orthodox Church, this is customarily, although not necessarily, done by the primate of the local autocephalous church.)
  • Eucharist - the sacrament (the third of Christian initiation) by which the faithful receive their ultimate "daily bread," or "bread for the journey," by partaking of and in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ and being participants in Christ's one eternal sacrifice. The bread and wine used in the rite are, according to Catholic faith, in the mystical action of the Holy Spirit, transformed to be Christ's Body and Blood—his Real Presence. This transformation is interpreted by some as transubstantiation or metousiosis, by others as consubstantiation or Sacramental Union.
  • Penance (also called Confession and Reconciliation) - the first of the two sacraments of healing. It is also called the sacrament of conversion, of forgiveness, and of absolution. It is the sacrament of spiritual healing of a baptized person from the distancing from God involved in actual sins committed. It involves the penitent's contrition for sin (without which the rite does not have its effect), confession (which in highly exceptional circumstances can take the form of a corporate general confession) to a minister who has the faculty to exercise the power to absolve the penitent,[63] and absolution by the minister. In some traditions (such as the Roman Catholic), the rite involves a fourth element — satisfaction — which is defined as signs of repentance imposed by the minister. In early Christian centuries, the fourth element was quite onerous and generally preceded absolution, but now it usually involves a simple task (in some traditions called a "penance") for the penitent to perform, to make some reparation and as a medicinal means of strengthening against further sinning.
  • Anointing of the Sick (or Unction) - the second sacrament of healing. In it those who are suffering an illness are anointed by a priest with oil consecrated by a bishop specifically for that purpose. In past centuries, when such a restrictive interpretation was customary, the sacrament came to be known as "Extreme Unction", i.e. "Final Anointing", as it still is among traditionalist Catholics. It was then conferred only as one of the "Last Rites". The other "Last Rites" are Penance (if the dying person is physically unable to confess, at least absolution, conditional on the existence of contrition, is given), and the Eucharist, which, when administered to the dying, is known as "Viaticum", a word whose original meaning in Latin was "provision for a journey".
  • The Sacrament of Holy Orders - that which integrates someone into the Holy Orders of bishops, priests (presbyters), and deacons, the threefold order of "administrators of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1), giving the person the mission to teach, sanctify, and govern. Only a bishop may administer this sacrament, as only a bishop holds the fullness of the Apostolic Ministry. Ordination as a bishop makes one a member of the body that has succeeded to that of the Apostles. Ordination as a priest configures a person to Christ the Head of the Church and the one essential Priest, empowering that person, as the bishops' assistant and vicar, to preside at the celebration of divine worship, and in particular to confect the sacrament of the Eucharist, acting "in persona Christi" (in the person of Christ). Ordination as a deacon configures the person to Christ the Servant of All, placing the deacon at the service of the Church, especially in the fields of the ministry of the Word, service in divine worship, pastoral guidance and charity. Deacons may later be further ordained to the priesthood, but only if they do not have a wife. In some traditions (such as those of the Roman Catholic Church), while married men may be ordained, ordained men may not marry. In others (such as the Anglican), clerical marriage is permitted, as is the ordination of women.[64] Moreover, some sectors of Anglicanism "in isolation of the whole" have approved the ordination of openly active homosexuals to the priesthood and episcopacy, in spite of the support that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, voiced for the Anglican Church's teaching on homosexuality, which he said the Church "could not change simply because of a shift in society's attitude", noting also that those churches blessing same-sex unions and consecrating openingly gay bishops would not be able "to take part as a whole in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue." Thus in ecumenical matters, only if the Roman Catholic as well as Orthodox churches come to an understanding with first tier or primary bishops of the Anglican Communion can those churches (representing 95% of global Catholicism) implement an agreement with second tier or secondary Anglican bishops and their respective Anglican communities.[65][66][67][68]
  • Marriage (or Holy Matrimony) - is the sacrament of joining a man and a woman (according to the churches' doctrines) for mutual help and love (the unitive purpose), consecrating them for their particular mission of building up the Church and the world, and providing grace for accomplishing that mission. Western tradition sees the sacrament as conferred by the canonically expressed mutual consent of the partners in marriage; Eastern and some recent Western theologians not in communion with the see of Rome view the blessing by a priest as constituting the sacramental action.

See also Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 McBrien, Richard P. (1994). Catholicism. HarperCollins. pp. 3–19. ISBN 9780060654054. 
  2. For McBrien, the "broad term" refers exclusively and specifically to that "Communion of Catholic Churches" in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Richard McBrien, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 6, 281-2, and 356. In its Letter on Some Aspects of the Church Understood as Communion the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stressed that the idea of the universal Church as a communion of Churches must not be presented as meaning that "every particular Church is a subject complete in itself, and that the universal Church is the result of a reciprocal recognition on the part of the particular Churches". It insisted that "the universal Church cannot be conceived as the sum of the particular Churches, or as a federation of particular Churches".
  3. 3.0 3.1 Pierre Whalon, What is the difference between Anglicanism and Roman Catholicism
  4. Parsons, Evelyn C. (2007). It Makes a Difference Being a Catholic. AuthorHouse. p. 40. ISBN 9781434314772. 
  5. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Catholic, p. 308
  6. Connor, Charles Patrick (2001). Classic Catholic Converts. Ignatius Press. ISBN 9780898707878. 
  7. Richard McBrien, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism, 6, 281, 356.
  8. McBrien, p. 356
  9. Whitehead, "How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?"
  10. Avery Dulles, The Catholicity of the Church, p. 132
  11. For example, Pope Benedict XVI in the 23 November 2006 Common Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury, His Grace Dr Rowan Williams
  12. The 1950 encyclical Humani Generis is an example; another is the talk that Pope John Paul II gave at the general audience of 26 June 1985, in which he spoke of the division between "the Catholic (Roman Catholic) Church and the Orthodox Church or Churches".
  13. In a speech by John Paul II to President Hillery of Ireland, the Pope referred to the church he headed both as the "Roman Catholic Church" and as the "Catholic Church".
  14. J.C. Cooper, Dictionary of Christianity (Taylor & Francis, Inc. 1996 ISBN 9781884964497), p. 47
  15. James Hastings Nichols, Primer for Protestants (Kessinger Publishing Company 2004 ISBN 9781417998241), p. 9
  16. the New York Times.
  17. See also the Second Vatican Council Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite, "Orientalium Ecclesiarum" (Latin, "Of the Eastern Churches"). The document proclaims the equality of the Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity (no. 3), as well as the importance of preserving the spiritual heritage of the Eastern Churches (no. 5), "for it is the mind of the Catholic Church that each individual Church or Rite should retain its traditions whole and entire and likewise that it should adapt its way of life to the different needs of time and place" (no. 2).
  18. "Chapter VIII.—Let nothing be done without the bishop". Christian Classics Ethereal Library. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.vii.viii.html. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  19. Angle, Paul T. (2007). The Mysterious Origins of Christianity. Wheatmark, Inc.. ISBN 9781587368219. 
  20. [J.H. Srawley, The Epistles of St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, vol. II,] pp. 41-42
  21. another edition, p.97
  22. Knight, Kevin. "Catechetical Lecture 18 - #26". New Advent. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310118.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  23. "Chapter 5.—Against the Title of the Epistle of Manichæus". Christian Classics Ethereal Library. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf104.iv.viii.vi.html?. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  24. Bettenson, Henry (1967). Documents of the Christian Church. Oxford University Press US. p. 22. ISBN 9780195012934. http://books.google.com/books?id=k9L2UaDJLGkC&pg=PP1&dq=. 
  25. This Church is commonly referred to by this name even by others (see for instance Cultural Portraits: A Synoptic Guide, by Byron P. Palls (AuthorHouse, 2008 ISBN 1434388670) and even by those who are hostile to it mention that it is "commonly called the Catholic Church" (A discourse on the worship of Priapus, and its connection with the mystic theology of the ancients).
  26. Porvaznik, Phil. "Papal Authority and the Primacy of Rome". Evangelical Catholic Apologetics. http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/num12.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  27. "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church - Chapter 1: The Mystery of the Church". The Vatican. 1964-11-21. http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  28. John Allen, "the 'Patriarch of the West' retires," The National Catholic Reporter April 7, 2006, 21.
  29. Joseph Ratzinger, "Sister Churches," The Tablet 9 September, 2000, 1205.
  30. "Apostles' Creed". The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod. http://www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=3355. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  31. "Nicene Creed". Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?2617&collectionID=711&contentID=4334&shortcutID=2077#nicene. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  32. "Texts of the Three Chief Symbols are taken from the Book of Concord, Tappert edition". The International Lutheran Fellowship. http://www.ilflutheran.org/page11.html. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  33. Radeck, Francisco; Dominic Radecki (2004). Tumultuous Times. St. Joseph's Media. p. 79. ISBN 9780971506107. 
  34. "The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church - 880-881". The Vatican. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/_P2A.HTM#RC. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  35. McBrien, The Church, 356. McBrien also says they form the "Communion of Catholic Churches", a name not used by the Church itself, which has pointed out the ambiguity of this term in a 1992 letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith "on some aspects of the Church understood as communion", 8.
  36. 36.0 36.1 "The Catholic Church is also called the Roman Church to emphasize that the centre of unity, which is an essential for the Universal Church, is in the Roman See" (Thomas J. O'Brien, An Advanced Catechism of Catholic Faith and Practice, Kessinger Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1417984473, page 70)
  37. "Number of Catholics and Priests Rises". Zenit News Agency. 12 February 2007. http://www.zenit.org/article-18894?l=english. Retrieved 21 February 2008. 
  38. "CIA World Factbook". United States Government Central Intelligence Agency. 2008. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/xx.html#People. Retrieved 22 December 2008. 
  39. Richard McBrien, The Church: The Evolution of Catholicism, 6. ISBN 978-0-06-124521-3 McBrien says this: Vatican II "council implicitly set aside the category of membership and replaced it with degrees." "...it is not a matter of either/or—either one is in communion with the Bishop of Rome, or one is not. As in a family, there are degrees of relationships: parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews, neices, in-laws. In many cultures, the notion of family is broader than blood and legal relationships."
  40. Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 2
  41. Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, canon 43
  42. Annuario Pontificio, 2007 edition, pages 1169–1170 (ISBN 978-88-209-7908-9).
  43. Orientalium Ecclesiarum, 3
  44. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Catholicism in the Third Millennium (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press), xii.
  45. For example, in his encyclical Humani Generis, 27-28 Pope Pius XII decried the error of those who denied that they were bound by "the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing"; and in his Divini Illius Magistri Pope Pius XI wrote: "In the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same thing." On other occasions too, both when signing agreements with other Churches (e.g. that with Patriarch Mar Ignatius Yacoub III of the Syrian Orthodox Church) and in giving talks to various groups (e.g. Benedict XVI in Warsaw, the Popes refer to the Church that they head as the Roman Catholic Church.
  46. Richard McBrien, The Church, 6.
  47. McBrien, The Church, 351-371
  48. Simon Scott Plummer, "China's Growing Faiths" in The Tablet, March, 2007. Based on a review of Religious Experience in Contemporary China by Kinzhong Yao and Paul Badham (University of Wales Press).
  49. 49.0 49.1 Fahlbusch, Erwin; Geoffrey William Bromiley (2005). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. David B. Barrett. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 269,494. ISBN 9780802824165. 
  50. Anglican-Lutheran agreement signed," The Christian Century 13 November, 1996, 1005.
  51. "Two Churches Now Share a Cleric," New York Times, 20 October, 1996, 24.
  52. Rowan A. Greer," "Anglicanism as an ongoing argument," The Witness May, 1998, 23.
  53. Matt Cresswell, "Anglican conservatives say 'second reformation' is already under way," The Tablet 28 June, 2008, 32.
  54. Philip Jenkins, "Defender of the Faith," The Atlantic Monthly Novermber, 2003, 46-9.
  55. Edward Yarnold, S.J., "A word in due season", The Tablet 18, July 1998, 935-6. Yarnold, a Jesuit ecumenist and former member of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, says this: "The recent agreements made between parts of the Anglican Communion and different Lutheran Churches are a case in point [of this inconsistency] -- in Germany (Meissen), in northern Europe (Provoo), and in the United States (though the Lutherans failed to ratify this third scheme). Each of these documents involves not only the mutual participation of Anglican and Lutheran bishops in future ordinations, but in the interim recognizes orders as they stand, even though there was an acknowledged breach in the episcopal succession. Yet when Anglicans are talking to Catholics, a different principle is accepted: both the Final Report of the first Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and the Clarifications to that report affirm the need for ordination to take place within an unbroken episcopal succession. I am glad to acknowledge that the drafters of Porvoo made an effort not to contradict ARCIC, but although I have looked again and again, I cannot see that they were successful. The problem once again illustrates the impossibility of deciding which voice speaks for the Anglican Communion."
  56. Daniel Burke, "Williams suggests secondary role for rebel Episcopal church", National Catholic Reporter 7 August, 2009, 6.
  57. David Barrett, "Christian World Communities: Five Overviews of Global Christianity, AD 1800-2025," in International Bulletin of Missionary Research January, 2009, Vol. 33, No 1, pp. 31.
  58. Fowler, Jeaneane D. (1997). World Religions. Sussex Academic Press. p. 82. ISBN 9781898723486. 
  59. "The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Dominus Iesus, 17
  60. "(The expression sister Churches) has been applied improperly by some to the relationship between the Catholic Church on the one hand, and the Anglican Communion and non-catholic ecclesial communities on the other. ... it must also be borne in mind that the expression sister Churches in the proper sense, as attested by the common Tradition of East and West, may only be used for those ecclesial communities that have preserved a valid episcopate and Eucharist" (Note on the expression "sister Churches" issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on 30 June 2000).
  61. Mc Brien, The Church, 6.
  62. "And I tell you, you are Peter [Πετρός, meaning "rock"], and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." (Mt 16:18)
  63. "Chapter II : The Minister of the Sacrament of Penance". IntraText. http://www.intratext.com/IXT/ENG0017/_P3F.HTM. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  64. In regard to the ordination of women to the episcopacy, one cannot underestimate the chasm that is currently developing between the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental and Roman Catholic Chuches, on the one hand, and the Lutheran, Anglican and Independent Catholic Churches, on the other hand. Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for example, noted this when he addressed some Anglican bishops in 2006. Quoting St Cyprian of Carthage (d. 258), he said the episcopate is one, which means that "each part of it is held by each one for the whole"; that bishops were instruments of unity not only within the contemporary Church, but also across time, within the universal Church. This being the case, he continued, "the decision for the ordination of women to the Episcopal office ... must not in any way involve a conflict between the majority and the minority." Such a decision should be made "with the consensus of the ancient Churches of the East and West." To do otherwise "would spell the end" to any kind of unity. James Roberts, "Women bishops 'would spell the end of unity hopes'" in The Tablet, 10 June 2006, 34.
  65. "Rowan Williams predicts schism over homosexuality" (The Tablet 1 August 2009, 33).
  66. The Russian Orthodox Church, which because of the episcopal ordination of Gene Robinson severed its dialogue with the United States Episcopal Church, while declaring itself open to "contacts and cooperation with those American Episcopalians who remain faithful to the gospel’s moral teaching", stated that it was willing to restore relations with those Episcopal dioceses that refused to recognize the election of Katharine Jefferts Schori as their Church's presiding bishop (Letter of Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad).
  67. Stan Chu Ilo, "An African view on ordaining Gene Robinson," The National Catholic Reporter, 12 December, 2003, 26.
  68. Matthew Moore, "Archbishop of Canterbury foresees a 'two-tier' church to avoid gay schism," The Telegraph.co.uk, 27 July, 2009.

Further readingEdit

  • Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam by Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Basic Books, 0465006345, 2006).
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church English translation (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000). ISBN 1-57455-110-8
  • H. W. Crocker III, Triumph—The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History (Prima Publishing, 2001). ISBN 0-7615-2924-1
  • Leo J. Trese, The Faith Explained Third Edition (Fides/Claretian, 2001). ISBN 1-889334-29-4
  • Eamon Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (Yale Nota Bene, 2002). ISBN 0-300-09165-6
  • K. O. Johnson, Why Do Catholics Do That? (Ballantine, 1994). ISBN 0-345-39726-6
  • Ludwig von Pastor, History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages; Drawn from the Secret Archives of the Vatican and other original sources, 40 vols. St. Louis, B.Herder 1898
  • Basic Catechism Seventh Revised Edition (Pauline Books & Media, 1999). ISBN 0-8198-0623-4
  • Peter Lynch, The Church's Story: A History of Pastoral Care and Vision (Pauline Books & Media, 2005). ISBN 0-8198-1575-6

External linksEdit

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