Catholics: Catholic Church or Roman Catholic?


Which best describe you the most?


Roman Catholic is a term imposed on the Church from those outside it who want to lay claim to their denomination being catholic.


You didn’t give me MY favorite option: I just call Her “The Church”.

Almost no one knows what “catholic” means these days, so to call The Church “catholic”, especially to non-Nicene Creed Christians, is pointless.


I voted:* I’m not Catholic, I think Catholic Church is best.

*Frankly, I don’t care what it’s called. I leave out the Roman just because some Catholics told me it was offensive and I’m nice that way. IF I ever DO say Roman Catholic Church, it’s never meant as a slight. Sometimes PCness starts getting on my nerves…


I just say “Catholic Church”, and if someone queries which rite then I say I belong to the Roman Rite of it.


I occasionally use “Roman Catholic Church” because there are other churches claiming to be “Catholic” so I like using the “Roman” to describe the true universal Church, which happens to have it’s earthly headquarters at the Vatican(hence “Roman Catholic”).


When talking with other Catholics, I just say “the Church”.
When talking with others or when distinguishing from the Orthodox Church or Protestant denominations, I say “the Catholic Church”.
Normally the I use “the Roman Catholic” when distinguishing from Easter Catholic rites. I don’t find “Roman” offensive (even though some Protestants use it as a derogatory term), as I belong to the Roman rite of the Catholic Church. The only times I’d object to this usage is when people use “Roman” to refer to the entire Catholic Church, thus ignoring the Easter rites.


Catholic would be a more accurate description than Roman Catholic. Let’s just call the Church the Catholic Church.


:wave: Another write-in vote for the Church.



Do you have a reference you can point to to back up this assertion? There must be some kind of historical trail marker indicating when the term was first used.

I find internet sites all over identifying themselves as Roman Catholic. People too, most don’t seem to identify their church name as an outside imposition. I never did and my relatives never thought of it that way.

I find the simple term “Catholic Church” is often misused when discussing things that are exclusive to the Latin rite church. It is offensive to eastern Catholics who already have to deal with the fact that they are usually forgotten by most of their brothers and sisters in Faith. They have been made to feel inferior through much of their history (sort of like resident aliens). To correct this I suggest using ‘Latin Catholic’ or ‘Roman Catholic’ or ‘western Catholic’ as a simple courtesy.

To illustrate: Byzantine Catholics never say that the Catholic church uses leavened bread for the Eucharist, or that the Catholic church gives communion with a golden spoon, or that the Catholic church allows married men to be ordained priests! They know very well these absolutes don’t really apply. They always qualify their statements to be recognizing that they do not speak for ALL Catholic practices, just their own.

But Latin Catholics routinely speak of their own practices as the standard! Such as “the Catholic church uses unleavened bread for the Eucharist” or “The Catholic church used to use Latin in the Mass”. These should be qualified as to their own rite out of respect for the eastern churches.

It may not seem like a big deal…but it is.



Happens to everybody…Lutherans, Methodists, Quakers, Mormons, etc., etc.


I voted The Catholic Church, because whenever I read “Pope Benedict 16, head of the Roman Catholic Church” or “Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestantism are the 3 branches of Christianity” or “We don’t believe that Roman Catholics have the fullness of faith…” etc. it drives me nuts.

If you’re saying “I’m Roman Catholic” or “Roman Catholics use unleavened bread for the Eucharist” then fine (even if I think you should say “The Roman Rite uses unleavened bread”). When referring to the entire church I think it’s incredibly rude to say “Roman” when you obviously mean to include the Eastern Catholics too.

Of course, when talking to other Catholics, I say “The Church” or “Holy Mother Church” (which I think is a great saying that seems to be leaving our speech and is unfortunate :stuck_out_tongue: )


But bear in mind when speaking with non-Catholics that many of them hold themselves to be Catholic as well, albeit in an understanding that is different from yours. Therefore, there is some value in referring to the “Roman Catholic Church” because it is easier to say than “those bodies of believers that are in communion with the Pontiff in Rome and which acknowledge him to be the Vicar of Christ on Earth”


I am sure you know which I voted for.




I just tripped over this in another thread:

Catechism of St Pius X

**20 Q: And why is the true Church called Roman? **

A: The true Church is called Roman, because the four marks of Unity, Sanctity, Catholicity and Apostolicity are found in that Church alone which acknowledges as Head the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St. Peter.

**27 Q: Can one be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church? **

A: No, no one can be saved outside the Catholic, Apostolic Roman Church, just as no one could be saved from the flood outside the Ark of Noah, which was a figure of the Church.

Looks like the term has the official endorsement of a sanctified Pope!


Catholic Church would be far more accurate than “Roman” Catholic in recognition if the fact that there are other rites within the Catholic Church, for instance the Maronites and Melkites, whom we generally refer to as Eastern Catholics, not “Roman”, and are in full communion with Rome.

Besides, anyone who reads a papal encyclical will see that the Popes generally use the term “Catholic Church” to refer to THE Church.


Yes. Unfortunately, in recent time there has been a greater increase in those who subscribe to the “branch theory” and of other groups who want to lay claim also to the name Catholic. The term “Roman Catholic” is often used to insinuate it is one type of Catholicism, rather than THE type.



Besides, is there anyone out there that TRULY - in all sincerity and not being contentious or combatitive - be confused by a headline that read “Catholic Church Isssues Statement…” Would even the most high-minded Ango-Catholic be confused as to what was being talked about?

BTW - small point - Eastern Catholics are Catholics with a church that uses a rite. I know that there are antiquated ways of thinking on this that calls us “the eastern rites” but no such dog really can be understood to exisit… “Rite” reflects a liturgical tradition. Church is what a parish under a bishop, under an archbishop/patriarch" belongs to. I belong to the Ruthenian Church, it practices the Byzantine Rite, and we are in communion with the Universal Church as a particular sui juris church. We’re all Catholics, we’re not all Romans.

Confusing? I know.

Just go with “Eastern Catholic Churches”… likely few will misunderstand who you are talking about. While the Orthodox frequently do use “Catholic” in their references to themselves, amongst each other, it is understood who is meant when it is said “Catholic” or “Orthodox”…


Interesting. I mostly though not exclusively use ‘Roman Catholic’ in order to acknowledge that my Church (along with those of my Eastern Catholic brothers and sisters) has at its head the Bishop of Rome. Not to imply that the Latin Rite is the only Rite.

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