Catholic or Roman Catholic


What is the name of the Church? Is it Catholic or Roman Catholic? Even many Catholics get it wrong! To set everyone straight I have some excerpts from EWTN and many other sites. By the way, do not bring up which “Rite” we are. This concerns the NAME of the Church, not the Rite.

A qualification of the name Catholic commonly used in English-speaking countries by those unwilling to recognize the claims of the One True Church. Out of condescension for these dissidents, the members of that Church are wont in official documents to be styled “Roman Catholics” as if the term Catholic represented a genus of which those who owned allegiance to the pope formed a particular species.
Accordingly, at the Newcastle Conference of the Catholic Truth Society (Aug., 1901) the cardinal explained clearly to his audience that “the term Roman Catholic has two meanings; a meaning that we repudiate and a meaning that we accept.” The repudiated sense was that dear to many Protestants, according to which the term Catholic was a genus which resolved itself into the species Roman Catholic, Anglo-Catholic, Greek Catholic, etc. But, as the cardinal insisted, “with us the prefix Roman is not restrictive to a species, or a section, but simply declaratory of Catholic.” The prefix in this sense draws attention to the unity of the Church, and “insists that the central point of Catholicity is Roman, the Roman See of St. Peter.”

Similarly, nowhere in the 16 documents of the Second Vatican Council will you find the term Roman Catholic. Pope Paul VI signed all the documents of the Second Vatican Council as “I, Paul. Bishop of the Catholic Church.” Simply that – Catholic Church. There are references to the Roman curia, the Roman missal, the Roman rite, etc., but when the adjective Roman is applied to the Church herself, it refers to the Diocese of Rome!

The Creed which we recite on Sundays and holy days speaks of one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. As everybody knows, however, the Church referred to in this Creed is more commonly called just the Catholic Church. It is not, by the way, properly called the Roman Catholic Church, but simply the Catholic Church.


I understand what you are trying to say but you will have a very difficult time changing things. Many Catholics refer to it as the Roman Catholic Church as in and , and

I think I have even seen quotes from Popes where they refer to the RCC.

It is such a matter of common useage that it will be difficult to change.

It does come across as specific when you have umpteen “Catholic” denominations calling themselves "Catholic.

When someon says I am Roman Catholic I have no doubt which church they are referring to.


Even I had the notion that the Church was called the misnomer of the Roman Catholic Church - until I was corrected otherwise (Catholic Church, Latin Rite).


There are many variations of the Catholic Church. I had a friend who was a Bishop in the Old Catholic Episcopal Church. He considered himself Catholic and traced his Apostolic Succession back to St. Peter and then to Jesus Christ.


To me, this difference is like how many Forms use the term Partner instead of Spouse. Personally, I object and frequently cross out “Partner” and insert “Spouse”.

It may not seem to be a big deal but I believe it has to do with social engineering, imposed on married people by those who accept partnerships of the unmarried kind to be as valid as a marital commitment between one man and one woman, and so I make a stand.

It is the same, IMO, with Roman Catholic v. Catholic. I am a Catholic who belongs to the Catholic Church, the same one that has been around since the beginning of Christianity.

Those other denominations who have broken away can call themselves what they want, but I do not choose to go by a label imposed from OUTSIDE the Church I belong to.


I should add that growing up I was always impressed by the dignity of the words "Roman Catholic’. To me they conveyed a sense of immense presence and history as the Church in union with the Bishop of Rome. It was different than being “a catholic” of which Anglicans are and many others claim to be.

Rev North


That’s the spirit Eileen! That is exactly the way I feel. Catholic is the name of the Church that Christ established. Now every Johnny-come-lately wants to lay claim to it. Everybody wants to be called Catholic but nobody wants to do what is required to BE Catholic. We should not let another name be pinned on the Church which is not of our choosing. Amen.


The true Church is Catholic in the sense of its greek meaning-katholikos or universal.


We’ve been over this territory once before.
You have your pick: it’s “The Church”, or, “The Roman Catholic Church”; or, “The Catholic Church”; or, "The Mystical Body of Christ.

Take your pick.


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