About the "Roman" Moniker. . .


. . . I’ve always been uncomfortable when folks say “The Roman Catholic Church” with the verbal emphasis on “Roman”, as if to say either that (a) it’s Italian and some Italian political scheme to subvert the United States, or (b) it has something to do with the old Roman Empire, or © it’s un-American and unwholesome.

I always get the chilly feeling of this being a kind of insinuated slam. If I were Italian, I’m not sure what I’d feel!:slight_smile:

I suppose there are dialogues in which that kind of verbal refinement is needed, but these don’t crop up often. The Yellow Pages frequently list both “Roman Catholic” and “Catholic” churches. Anyone else feel this terminology has the smack of old-fashioned anti-Catholicism?:confused:


People use the term “Roman Catholic” to indicate the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, which is by far the largest of the 21 or so Rites of the Catholic Church. Most Catholic Americans are Latin Rite, as I am. But I also know some Byzantine Catholics, Chaldean Catholics and Marionite Catholics. But in reality all Catholics are “Roman” in that they are all in communion with the Pope in Rome.

Anyway, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” (W. Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet).

God bless,


I don’t really feel anti-Catholicism there.
on another point, the churches listed as “Catholic” instead of “Roman Catholic” are often either schismatic or heretical.


Exactly. I think in this age of ‘SSPX Catholics’, ‘SSPV Catholics’, ‘True Catholics’, ‘Old Catholics’, ‘Polish National Catholics’, ‘Anglo-Catholics’ and ‘Pastor Joe’s Down-Home Bible-Believing Southern Baptist Catholics’, such clarifications as ‘Roman’ Catholic are very much a necessity and not usually meant as an insult.


So have I, because many times it’s meant to refer to a ‘foreign religion’ in their minds.

I suppose there are dialogues in which that kind of verbal refinement is needed, but these don’t crop up often.

True, because others want to claim the catholic title.

Anyone else feel this terminology has the smack of old-fashioned anti-Catholicism?:confused:

YES, especially on the fundamental/antiCatholic web sites. (See above.)

Kotton :frowning:


The actual is “Roman rite”, is it not?


I have been around Roman Catholics all my life, and that’s how they identify themselves. I live in the Metro Chicago area, and we have plenty around here!

My mother, father, brother and sister were raised Roman Catholic, and always self-identified that way.

From my experience there is no cause for concern.

For the record, I identify the Roman Catholic church as being of the Latin Rite. I think that would be more correct according to the church standard nomenclature.



“Roman Catholic” was invented by Anglicans as a deliberate insult implying that Catholics are both traitors to their country and not “real Catholics” (i.e. their own denomination). It is NOT a synonym for “the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church”. Non-Catholics who use the term “Roman Catholic” probably would also refer to Maronite or Ukrainian-rite Catholics as “Roman Catholics”.

I am amazed that your bishops in the US accept this insulting designation in the phone books and elsewhere. In Australia we know that every parish, school, organisation and order which is a real part of the Catholic Church is listed in the phone book under the main heading “CATHOLIC CHURCH”. All schismatic groups and organisations are listed elsewhere. Our priests also instruct us to write “Catholic” on census forms, hospital admission forms etc., not “Roman Catholic”.

Few Australian Catholics refer to themselves as “Roman Catholics”. Those who do are nearly always non-practising and use it in a deprecating tone.

We have been called “The Catholic Church” since the first century. Don’t throw that away for an insulting name invented by Catholicophobes.


In different eras it has had different significance. It was a beloved term to signify communion with the Pope in Rome for a while. Then the heretical “branch theorists” used it to mean part of the "c"atholic Church along with the other branches, Eastern Orthodox and Anglicans. The true Catholicity of our Church has been emphasized more now by dropping the Roman (as well to respect the Eastern Catholics) although many churches still use Roman (my diocese uses it).


I don’t like the “Roman” Moniker either.

The Catechism is the Catechism of the Catholic Church not the Roman Catholic Church just Catholic Church.
From the Catechism

The liturgical traditions or rites presently in use in the Church are the Latin (principally the Roman rite, but also the rites of certain local churches, such as the Ambrosian rite, or those of certain religious orders) and the Byzantine, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, and Chaldean rites. In "faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, and that she wishes to preserve them in the future and to foster them in every way."69

The Roman rite is part of the Latin rite.
Rite has nothing to do with the name. I am Catholic.


I was always under the impression that it simply clarifies that it is the Roman Catholic Church as opposed to the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church?


I feel more offended when someone uses the the term “the Roman Church.” What church is that? Is it a separate denomination? Sure don’t sound Catholic to me!


This is interesting because I don’t know any Catholics, irl, that refer to themselves as Roman Catholics. They simply refer to themselves as Catholic. I have never called myself Roman Catholic but simply Catholic. I was never taught that I was a “Roman” Catholic but that I was simply a Catholic who was a member of the Catholic Church.


Um, so is the Vatican not in Italy?


That’s right, it’s **not **any part of Italy, it’s a different country.

I’d like to know where and when the term “Roman Catholic” was allegedly “a beloved term to signify communion with the Pope in Rome”??

So in the 14th century were we “Avignon Catholics”??


So the Vatican is not anywhere near Rome or Italy?


Would you describe the members of the United Nations Organization as “New Yorkers”?

The Church’s HQ is at the Vatican as a result of historical circumstances. During WW2 the Church made contingency plans to move the papal curia to Portugal, Ireland or America in case the Nazis invaded the Vatican and arrested the pope. Would we then have become “Dubliner Catholics” or “Lisboan Catholics” or “Bostonian Catholics”? When Pius VII slipped through Napoleon’s net and fled to Venice, were we “Venetian Catholics”?

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