Saturday, March 3, 2007

Roman Catholic or Catholic?

Over on the Kansas City Catholic blog site a bit of a discussion erupted in the comments section over the correct use of "Roman Catholic." An Anonymous writer said that the Catholic priest should not have allowed the Protestant to call him "Roman" as in "Roman Catholic." He said that such a designation was a result of the 16th Reformation, especially as a designation to differentiate them from those in England. Anonymous stated that the term was not used by the Catholic church, and it was not correct usage, since "Roman" runs counter to "Catholic." True enough. For as many known, catholic means "universal." "Roman" indicates a singular location. Still, is there Catholic without Rome?

I will grant that the Catholic church does not employ the use of "Roman" as part of its official title. However, is it wrong for others to use it in referring to the Catholic church? My initial difficulty is that the term "catholic" is not the sole domain of just one communion. Lutherans, technically, have seen themselves as part of the "church catholic," and except for a change in the translation of the Creed from Greek to German, we would probably still be using the term "catholic." Yet, for the sake of argument, say we Lutherans wanted to use the term "catholic" in our church's name or title. We certainly would have to qualify it, wouldn't we?

Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church does have its center located in Rome. This is where the Vatican is and the pope resides. I don't think that the Catholics could envision their church without the holy see in Rome anymore than we could. So, again, Rome seems appropriate.

Oh, well. This wasn't a huge issue for me. But it was nice to talk it out......

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