History of the term "Catholic"

The word catholic comes from the Greek καθολικός ( Catholicos from κατά Kata to ... 's sake ' and ὅλον Holon, the whole ') and means, the whole thing concerning ',' general '. It marked the early Christian church, in a narrower sense today mostly the Roman Catholic Church in contrast to the Orthodox and Protestant churches.

The term "Catholic"

As earliest evidence point for the theological use of the term may Ignatius of Antioch ( 35-117 ) are given: " For where Jesus Christ is the Catholic Church."

Justin Martyr ( 100-165 ) speaks in his Dialogue with Trypho the fact that it would be " for all without exception, the general [= Catholic ] and so-called eternal resurrection."

Clement of Alexandria ( 150-215 ) refers to the Apostolic Decree in Acts 15.22-29 EU as a " Catholic letter " all the apostles, as the " joint letter of all the apostles ."

In the broadest sense, is today understood the Catholic ( all-inclusive ) Church founded by Jesus Christ communion among all Christians. She's seen the abstract willed by Christ, one, holy, universal and apostolic Church, and as such the one Church of Christ or Mother Church of all Christians. During the first millennium, the church was still in relative agreement, began with the schism in 1054 at the same time the theological controversy over the question of how the respective particular Churches, the Catholic Church is to be found in this sense. The background is that there can be only one general church. In the wake of the Reformation, this question has gained in complexity, so that the term is interpreted differently by the various Christian churches and communities.

In a narrower sense, especially since the Reformation, is understood in German under " Catholic Church " the Roman Catholic Church. Even in their own self- understanding, they can not simply be identified with the above, one Church of Christ. In this narrower use, which has developed in the wake of the Reformation, called " Catholic Church " ie a specific denomination. In the ecumenical movement sometimes the word is today instead of the word "Catholic" used sobornost, this is the Russian translation of the Greek word katholikos to denote the general church, without the association of Catholic associated with the word " Roman Catholic Church ".

When speaking of the Catholic Church, following churches can refer to:

  • The Roman Catholic Church
  • In a colloquial sense ( " the celibacy of the Catholic Church " ) the Latin Church, the largest part of the church. In addition, however, nor the churches united with Rome belong to the Eastern rite, see separate article
  • In the Nicene - Constantinopolitan and Apostles' Creed in the totality of all Christians

Since the name is protected in Germany catholic name legally without additive can be assumed that this means the Roman Catholic Church has always meant. An exception is the Catholic Diocese of the Old Catholics in Germany, a public corporation, whose bishop is equal before the law in some countries of the German Empire and its successors, today's federal states, recognized as a Catholic bishop and the Roman Catholic bishops.

Furthermore, lead several ecclesiastical communities whose legal status is unclear or doubtful in some cases and their bishops are attributable to the so-called Vagantenbischöfen, the term catholic in their name (see List of Christian denominations ).

In addition, all churches that recognize the early church creeds, such as the Protestant churches, as in addition to the Roman Catholic Church understand their equivalent of " a holy general or Christian ( = Catholic ) Church." After her self-image form the various churches - the Roman Catholic - one donated by the faith of Jesus Christ of God unit. The claim to universality, however, does not play a big role in this. On the emerged from the Reformation churches, the term "Catholic" but rarely applied in order to avoid confusion with the Roman Catholic Church.

The catholicity in the original sense of the word has a special meaning in ecumenical dialogue. The original meaning of the Greek Catholic has received to date, it means there universal, provided that no other adjective it restricts.

The Creed

In addition to other written documents the first ecumenical councils is of particular importance. The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, has expressed the essential features of the established Church of Jesus Christ in his creed, which has since been the basic formula of faith almost all Christians:

"Credo in unam ..., sanctam, Catholicam et ecclesiam apostolicam I believe / We believe in ... the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church "

Linguistically possible is the use of the German term " generally " for " Catholic." In German-speaking countries make it exclusively Reformed churches use. In the Protestant Churches in Germany (for example, in the EKD ), the term "catholic" "general" reproduced in the Creed with "Christian" or, for example:

"I believe in ... the holy catholic church. "

"I believe in ... the one, holy, universal and apostolic Church. "

In other languages ​​, however, the use of the term has remained Catholic.

Essentials of catholicity

The catholicity in the original sense of the word is thus one of the essentials of the Christian Church. Catholic, so generally, the church was mentioned in many different respects:

  • Because of the generality of the doctrine that is proclaimed in it ( Cyril of Jerusalem, Catecheses )
  • Because of the generality of all the virtues that are practiced in it (Francisco Suárez )
  • Because of the time of Adam to the end of the world ( Augustine)
  • For their predisposition to sanctify the lives of all people in all situations and at all times,
  • Because of their temporal extent over the world and the quantity of their members from all nations.

A widely used definition comes from Vincent of Lérins:

"In addition, we have in the Catholic Church itself apply all possible care to ensure that we adhere to the faith that was everywhere, always, believed by all. "

The meaning of the term has been the subject of debate throughout the history of theology. He was given a special meaning by the schisms of the 2nd millennium, when the separated churches of their actual particularity were aware. Therefore, the use of the term is difficult in general usage.

The Catholic doctrine, which sees itself as the benchmark among the Christian teachings and example, the common Eucharist is contrary to other churches, is called orthodoxy.

Mark of catholicity

Mark of catholicity are according to the understanding of the Roman Catholic Church, which fully agrees with the Old Catholic and Orthodox churches as well as subject with the churches of the Anglican tradition:

  • Apostolic Succession
  • Emphasis on the sacraments
  • Recognition of the Church's tradition ( tradition ) in addition to the Scriptures as a source of revelation ( for example, the Apostolic Fathers )
  • Recognition of the results of the generally accepted Ecumenical Councils:

The individual themselves Catholic understanding in this sense, churches differ in some points in their self-understanding. These differences are set out in the articles on.

View of the Evangelical Lutheran Churches

The Lutheran Reformation sees itself as a reform movement within the Catholic. This fact finds its justification and development initially in the 7th and 8th article of the Augsburg Confession from 1530., Where it is stated that " always had to be a holy Christian church and stay." The Latin text than the dogmatically binding confesses and defined una sancta ecclesia as the church.

Characteristics of a holy catholic and apostolic Church are thus the pure doctrine ( pure docetur ) and the investiture proper administration of the sacraments (recte administrantur sacramenta ). Human traditions, rites or ceremonies are not necessary for the true unity of the Church.

Dogmatic is of the una sancta catholica et apostolica as a church in the broader sense (large dicta ) spoken, which experiences its visible written form in the pure doctrine and the investiture proper administration of the sacraments and thereby be recognized. Nevertheless, it remains a Catholic church. The one holy catholic and apostolic Church is an article of faith, as she confesses it in the three early Church symbols and the Confessions of the Lutheran Church.

The pure doctrine and understanding of the investiture proper administration of the sacraments is set forth in the Lutheran churches in the confessional writings of the Lutheran church because this teaching there wrote to the Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testament agree. Teaching and teachers, so the formula of Concord in its first article that contradict the Holy Scriptures, are outside the Catholic Church. The data compiled in the Book of Concord Confessions understand themselves Catholic in the sense that the statements made ​​therein binding of the will a holy catholic and apostolic Church at all times and all places have believed and known. The Lutheran confessional writings see, therefore, not as a specific denominational doctrine, but as a true doctrine in the sense of catholicity.

The Holy Scriptures as the source of revelation is fully committed as the teaching authority. Religious traditions and teaching ideas are according to the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church catholic then, if these are in line with the Scriptures. Consequently, can be found in the corpus of the confessions numerous quotations from Church Fathers and Popes. Consequently, knows and recognizes the Lutheran Church, the ecclesiastical tradition, binds to the same when it is in harmony with the Scriptures. But Revelation source remains scripture alone ( sola scriptura ). A Equivalence of Holy Scripture and Tradition as a second source of revelation alongside Scripture, therefore it can not give for Lutheran churches.

Significantly, the catholicity of Lutheran churches in their consecration understanding of how it is to be found, for example, in the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church:

"After the ordination vows stored from you I will reply as appointee and prescribed servants of our Lord Jesus Christ to you herewith the holy ministry of Word and sacraments and devote thyself to a servant of, a, holy, Christian Church ', in the name of God the Father the Son and the Holy Spirit. "

In this Lutheran consecration formula, the term "catholic" rendered " Christian."

From Rome independent, Catholic churches in their own eyes

Members of the World Council of Churches

In the World Council of Churches:

  • Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht
  • Anglican Church
  • Orthodox churches
  • Some independent national churches such as the Polish National Catholic Church in the U.S. and Canada or the Philippine Independent Church

Churches and religious communities outside the World Council of Churches

  • Old Holy Catholic Church
  • Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association ( People's Republic of China)
  • Renewed Church ( Church of the glory )
  • New Christians ( fellowship to the Sword-Bishop Nikolaus Schneider )
  • Palmarian Catholic Church
  • Mariavites
  • Catholic - Reformed Church ( formed in Austria Community )
  • Liberal Catholic Church ( Theosophy )

Churches and movements of the past

  • Gallican
  • German Catholic movement

( This list is not exhaustive. )