Monday, August 10, 2009

Catholic churches -- Roman and otherwise

When I was a student at Moody Bible Institute, a church history professor that Rome was not "catholic" (in the "universal" sense) because of its name: The Roman Catholic Church.

Either Rome was Catholic or Roman, but it couldn't be both, or so he argued.

I repeated this once in an online discussion, and someone called me on the carpet, saying that Roman churches called themselves "Catholic," but not "Roman Catholic," and that RC was a term used by those who disagreed with Rome.

I started looking, and realized that the one who said that was right. Roman churches don't call themselves Roman Catholic.

But I saw something interesting yesterday. It was a young child's baptismal certificate, and while it said "Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church," it said that the baptism was "according to the rites of the Roman Catholic Church."

I'm guessing they used the term in contradistinction to the rites used by Eastern Catholic churches, which are in fellowship with Rome, but use a Byzantine rite. Anyone else seen Rome using "Roman Catholic" to describe herself?

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