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Mary Anne wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Are Catholics considered Christians?

Mary Anne

  { Are Catholics considered Christians? }

Paul replied:

Dear Mary Anne,

Not only are Catholics Christian, but they are the fullness of Christianity. All others non-Catholic Christians are partial-Christians.

The Catholic Church is the Church that Christ established, and sent His Spirit to form and animate.

Paul

Mike replied:

Hi, Mary Anne —

Just to add to what my colleague Paul has said.

In the Early Church, the term Catholic had to be used to distinguish the true Christian Church
from other man-made churches that were named after various heretics of that time.

Pacian of Barcelona who lived from A.D. c.310-375) and was bishop of Barcelona tells us in his writings:

On the origin of the word Catholic

"But, under the Apostles, you will say, "no one was called a Catholic".
Grant this to have been the fact; or suppose it to have been so.

  • When heresies, after the Apostles days, arose, and, under divers names, strove to tear and scatter piecemeal the dove of God, and His queen, did not the apostolic people require a peculiar name whereby to distinguish the unity of the people that had not been corrupted, for fear lest the error of a few might tear limb by limb the unstained virgin of God?
  • Was it not beseeming that the principal head should be designated by a suitable title?

Suppose I entered, this very day, into a populous city, and found there Marcionites, Apollinarists, Cataphrygians, Novatians, and others of the same sort, all calling themselves Christians.

  • By what name should I be able to recognize the congregation of my own people, were it not from its being called Catholic?

Come, tell me, you who bestowed so many names on the other peoples!

  • Why have so many cities, so many nations, each their own description?
  • The very man who calls in question the name Catholic, will he be ignorant of the cause of his own name, if I shall inquire its origin?
  • Whence was it delivered to me?

Assuredly, that which has stood during so many ages was not borrowed from man.

This name Catholic sounds not of Marcion, nor of Apelles, nor of Montanus, nor does it take heretics as its authors. . . . . Christian is my name, but Catholic my surname. That names me, this describes me; by this I am approved; by that designated. And if at last we must give an account of the word Catholic, and express it, from the Greek, by a Latin interpretation, Catholic is "everywhere one", or, as the more learned think, obedience in all the commandments of God. . . . Therefore he who is a Catholic, the same is obedient to what is right. He who is obedient, the same is a Christian, and thus the Catholic is a Christian.

Wherefore when our people are named Catholic, they are separated by this appellation from the [other] heretical names.

St. Pacian of Barcelona, (c.310-375 A.D.), bishop of Barcelona, Jerome praises his eloquence, learning, chastity, and holiness of life.

The Catechism tells us:

830 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."
— St. Ignatius of Antioch, In A.D. 107

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.

831 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.

Hope this helps,

Mike

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The Early Church Fathers Church Fathers on the Primacy of Peter. The Early Church Fathers on the Catholic Church and the term Catholic. The Early Church Fathers on the importance of the Roman Catholic Church centered in Rome.