Christian - Not Catholic? Ecumenism?


#1

Has anyone else here noticed this? On Sunday my priest was giving his homily about Matthew 23, when about halfway through I noticed he used the word “Christian” several times to describe us. By the end of the homily he had used the word 5 times and the word “Catholic” 0 times even though he spoke of a few things very specific of Catholics. He did at the end of mass use the word “Catholic” to remind us of our Holy Day of Obligation that was coming up.

I don’t mind being called a “Christian”, don’t get me wrong, but what I have noticed recently is what seems an attempt to take away our Catholic identity. More and more we are “Christian” and not “Catholic”. We are already “Christian”, but we are also “Catholic”, and it is our “Catholic” faith which ultimately describes us.

Have those espousing ecumenism gone so far as to instruct our priests to push our “Catholic” identity to the back burner in a further attempt at unity with the other “Christians”? Why is ecumenism such an all motivating force behind what the Vatican does? What is the final goal of ecumenism?

I really wonder what your thoughts are on this topic. Dr. Bombay?

Stephen


#2

You have nothing to be concerned about here. The Catholic faith IS Christianity and is referred to as the Christian faith in many Church documents. Calling Catholics “Christians” is not in opposition to calling us Catholics nor is it a product of ecumenism. :wink:


#3

We are the original christians.

No problem from my angle.


#4

[quote=slewi]I don’t mind being called a “Christian”, don’t get me wrong, but what I have noticed recently is what seems an attempt to take away our Catholic identity. More and more we are “Christian” and not “Catholic”. We are already “Christian”, but we are also “Catholic”, and it is our “Catholic” faith which ultimately describes us.
[/quote]

You are probably right that there is an ecumenical aspect to this. But I suspect there may be more to it.

Many of the things Catholics are called to do are things that all Christians should be doing. This kind of common mission that all Christians share seems to be the major focal point of ecumanism today. Whether this is what the Vatican had it mind, I don’t know.

Also, there really are Catholics who haven’t figured out they are Christian and need to have it pointed out to them. The problem with hearing the word “Christian” at Mass is that Catholics who don’t understand that they are Christians likely as not either don’t go to Church or don’t bother to listen to the homily.

For what it’s worth, I hear the words “Catholic Christian” used together frequently during homilies.


#5

i agree that the word christian needs to be used more,
not just for our own sake, but also for the sake of
non-Catholic christians, who see Catholics as non-christian…

wanna hear something funny?? and this was a true
conversation…

a friend of mine asked me something about why
i decided to leave the christian faith when i
converted… i said…

“i didn’t leave anything, Catholics are THE christians.”

my friend responded " then why are the Catholics
and christians fighting in Northern Ireland’?

i was kinda in a daze for a moment… then asked,
"you mean the Catholics and Protestants? "

friend says “yeah”

:slight_smile:


#6

Yes, many protestants see themselves as Christians and us as a perverse amalgam of Christianity and paganism. But ironically, it was the Catholic Church that succeeded in making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, thus sweeping away all the ancient pagan gods. Protestants must be forgiven this amnesia since for them Christianity didn’t really take hold in the Western World until Martin Luther and later reformers (1,500+ years after Christ!).

But I have no objection to a priest calling us Christians from the altar. We are followers of Christ, and any protestant visiting a Catholic Church ought to be reminded by the priest that we consider ourselves the first Christians (history is surely on our side).


#7

[quote=SMHW]Also, there really are Catholics who haven’t figured out they are Christian and need to have it pointed out to them. The problem with hearing the word “Christian” at Mass is that Catholics who don’t understand that they are Christians likely as not either don’t go to Church or don’t bother to listen to the homily.
[/quote]

A few years ago my friend was playing summer softball for his baptist softball league–they were playing a Catholic team. One of the Catholic players intentionally spiked the third baseman while sliding into third base. The third baseman said, “That’s not a very Christian thing to do”. The baserunner responded, “I’m not Christian, I’m Catholic”!

The baptist team got a real laugh out of this incident and they still tell the story even today. So, yes, more Catholics need to hear that they are the original Christians. :slight_smile:


#8

I also actually sometimes like using “Christians” intead of "Catholic for purely non-Ecumenical reasons. :stuck_out_tongue: You know, for example, Christians must confess their sins to a priest in order to receive absolution.

All the moral obligations that apply to us Catholics, apply to all Christians–it’s just many of them fail to fulfill those obligations.


#9

[quote=slewi]Has anyone else here noticed this? On Sunday my priest was giving his homily about Matthew 23, when about halfway through I noticed he used the word “Christian” several times to describe us. By the end of the homily he had used the word 5 times and the word “Catholic” 0 times even though he spoke of a few things very specific of Catholics. He did at the end of mass use the word “Catholic” to remind us of our Holy Day of Obligation that was coming up.

I don’t mind being called a “Christian”, don’t get me wrong, but what I have noticed recently is what seems an attempt to take away our Catholic identity. More and more we are “Christian” and not “Catholic”. We are already “Christian”, but we are also “Catholic”, and it is our “Catholic” faith which ultimately describes us.
[/quote]

Hi All
This is realy a misunderstanding from the catholic church. First of all the word ‘‘Catholic’’ means “Universal”. That doesn’t sound to me like only ONE group of people. It sounds to me like anyone calls upon and professes the name of Christ and follows the scriptures are Christians. It is Christ’s church and neither you nor I have the right to say who belong’s and who doesn’t belong to HIS church. If you want to know the truth you could say that anyone who is a Christian belongs to Christ’s Catholic or Universal church. The reason that you are not looked at by some as being Christians is because you have chose to not be called Christian, but rather Catholic.
Thanks


#10

[quote=NonDenom]Hi All
This is realy a misunderstanding from the catholic church. First of all the word ‘‘Catholic’’ means “Universal”. That doesn’t sound to me like only ONE group of people. It sounds to me like anyone calls upon and professes the name of Christ and follows the scriptures are Christians. It is Christ’s church and neither you nor I have the right to say who belong’s and who doesn’t belong to HIS church. If you want to know the truth you could say that anyone who is a Christian belongs to Christ’s Catholic or Universal church. The reason that you are not looked at by some as being Christians is because you have chose to not be called Christian, but rather Catholic.
Thanks
[/quote]

The authority to “bind and loose” (which includes the “right”, as you call it, to say who does and who doesn’t belong to His Church) was given to Peter and his successors. This is why the Church has the authority to excommunicate.

You are absolutely correct, however, when you say that “anyone who is a Christian belongs to Christ’s Catholic or Universal Church”–this is Catholic teaching: “The Church knows that she is joined in many ways to the baptized who are honored by the name of Christian, but do not profess the Catholic faith in its entirety or have not preserved unity or communion under the successor of Peter. Those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.”—CCC 838


#11

[quote=NonDenom]Hi All
This is realy a misunderstanding from the catholic church. First of all the word ‘‘Catholic’’ means “Universal”. That doesn’t sound to me like only ONE group of people. It sounds to me like anyone calls upon and professes the name of Christ and follows the scriptures are Christians. It is Christ’s church and neither you nor I have the right to say who belong’s and who doesn’t belong to HIS church. If you want to know the truth you could say that anyone who is a Christian belongs to Christ’s Catholic or Universal church. The reason that you are not looked at by some as being Christians is because you have chose to not be called Christian, but rather Catholic.
Thanks
[/quote]

The Church is universal because it is the true Church and open to anyone who would like to join. All who are Baptised into the Body of Christ are Christians and are members of the Church. They can choose to leave the Church through heresy, schism, and apostacy.


#12

I have read that the Church is trying to “take back” the term Christian, as the first Christians were Catholics and there is a feeling the protestants are trying to disassociate Catholics with Christians - as others have said here in they are Christians but we are Catholics.

No, we are the original Christians, our religion is Catholicism.


#13

One thing that many people (Catholics & non-Catholics alike) do not know is that the early church referred to itself as “the Catholic Church”.

St. Ignatius of Antioch was the bishop that city’s church and more importantly, was a close friend and disciple of St. John (who died about 100 AD). He paid for his faith with his blood by being thrown to wild animals.

Note here what he wrote to the church at Smyrna in 107 AD:

CHAP. VIII.–LET NOTHING BE DONE WITHOUT THE BISHOP.

See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out[through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper(18) Eucharist, which is[administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.(2) even as where Christ is, there does all the heavenly host stand by, waiting upon Him as the Chief Captain of the Lord’s might, and the Governor of every intelligent nature. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize, or to offer, or to present sacrifice, or to celebrate a love-feast.(1) But that which seems good to him, is also well-pleasing to God, that everything ye do may be secure and valid. (emphasis mine of course)
Pax vobiscum,


#14

On linguistic grounds, the Priest is right to refer to the believer as Christian. In the early Church, the Church was always refered to as the Catholic Church becasue of its universiality. The individual believer or member of the Catholic Church was always refered to as a Christian which means “little Christ”.


#15

We are Christians, we are followers fo Christ. Let’s always keep his name. I think though that Catholic Christian is the best name to describe ourselves.

Non Denom your right Cathoilic meaning whole does in a sense describe all followers of Christ. That’s why we’d say all true believers are really Catholic.

However, Catholic is also the name and has always been the name of a paritcular Church that believes certain things. What I mean by this is from the very beginning there were sects, claiming to follow Jesus that broke away from the Church leadership . They would then name themselves after whoever they were following.

Augustine criticized these people saying they call themselves by their followers rather than naming themselves Catholic. Showing they don’t follow the True faith. Other followers talked about how these groups wished they could call themselves Catholic but don’t dare.

They argued that if someone ever wanted to find the real Christian Church and in their minds there would always be a real Christian Church. She will go by the name Catholic, and her enemies will call her Catholic. She will be everywhere throughout the world. And wherever you go in whatever country, her worship will be universal. If you go into any Catholic Church while we have our differences our general patterns of worship are the same. We say the same words and follow the same patterns of worship. We also hold to the same doctrine and leadership. Yes we have diversity we are “of the whole” but to be Catholic is to hold to certain dogmas and truths.

She will also be holy, apostolic. The Early Church found this doctrine to be so important. That they put in the Creeds one holy, apostolic Catholic Church. We call it the four marks of the Catholic Church.

So, when we say Catholic. We are basically saying, I belong to the Church Christ started. The apostolic Church. The Church whose basically has held to the same beliefs for 2,000 years. It’s a powerful thing for us to be saying… I think Catholic Christian is the best term because we want to say, you know what we also very much follow our Lord Jesus too.


#16

We are not really dealing with the essence of my original post.

What I have noticed recently is what seems an attempt to take away our Catholic identity. Little by little the things that make us Catholic are falling by the wayside. There seems to be less and less stress on things that set us apart as Catholics.

Have those espousing ecumenism gone so far as to instruct our priests to push our “Catholic” identity to the back burner in a further attempt at unity with the other “Christians”? Why is ecumenism such an all motivating force behind what the Vatican does? What is the final goal of ecumenism?

Does anyone have any thought on these issues?

Stephen


#17

Where I live, ecumenism is a reality, not just a desire. Here there is a fairly close association between a number of different denominations. This I see as good. For one thing, it puts us as Catholics in a good position to be an influence in the lives of the other Christians. Thus, in part because of my involvement in such an ecumenical community, I converted to the Church a year or so ago.

I, however, dislike the phrase “Catholic Christian”, as it smacks too much of C.S. Lewis’s “mere Christianity” model, in which each church is a room in a house, all sharing a common hallway.

I do greatly respect Lewis, but that is not Catholic teaching: “There is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church.” There is only one Church and it is the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is the entire property: yard, house, rooms, hallway, etc. Other non-Catholics are in varying degrees of relationship with the Church – some have pitched tents in the yard and some are hesitating before walking into the house.


#18

It would appear to me that acknowledging that Christianity in general has been so divided and askewed, the Vatican’s motivation towards ecumenism is to unite all Christians back into to the ONE True Church of Christ - Catholicism. It’s a big, complicated task - working through theological, doctrinal issues between many of the different denominations, etc. It would also appear to me that approaching these difference, the most logical thing the Church must do is to focus on the basic truths of Christianity that most all hold within their denominations.

The fullness of Christian Truth held in the Catholic Church cannot be wholly understood by many non-Catholic Christians. The customs and traditions we practice to respond to these Truths can be introduced slowly to the other denominations (as it appears it is starting to) as we work slowly towards uniting. I really don’t see the ecumenical process as “ignoring” or “putting-aside” Catholic identity. I think the Church as a whole **is ** standing firm on it’s identity as the One True Church. I would say that the more we expose this Truth, as passed on by Christ through his Apostles, the more non-Catholic Christians can understand, identify and practice those customs and traditions we as Catholics (Holy, One, Apostolic, Universal) do to respond and glorify this Truth. (Thus once again making us united under one Church again.)

That’s my take on this. :slight_smile:


#19

[quote=slewi]We are not really dealing with the essence of my original post.

What I have noticed recently is what seems an attempt to take away our Catholic identity. Little by little the things that make us Catholic are falling by the wayside. There seems to be less and less stress on things that set us apart as Catholics.

Have those espousing ecumenism gone so far as to instruct our priests to push our “Catholic” identity to the back burner in a further attempt at unity with the other “Christians”? Why is ecumenism such an all motivating force behind what the Vatican does? What is the final goal of ecumenism?

Does anyone have any thought on these issues?

Stephen
[/quote]

I disagree that calling ourselves Christians is taking away our Catholic identity.

Whenever I personally use the term Christian, or specifically Catholic Christian it is usually not for ecumenical reasons, but apologetic ones.

Kind of like throwing the glove down on the ground and daring the other to say Catholics are not Christians.

I think calling ourselves Christians is taking back our identity not abandoning it.

Maybe I am wrong, but as to the goal of ecumenism is to make the Church one again. ie. all Catholic Christians. I have always felt that if one truly studies Christianity, one will become Catholic. Opening the dialogue between Catholics and Protestants helps good people actually look into what the Catholic Church really teaches. Arrogant? Maybe. Ethnocentric? Very possibly. But if I didn’t believe the Catholic Church was right, I woulnd’t be a Catholic Christian.

God bless,
Maria


#20

[quote=slewi]We are not really dealing with the essence of my original post.

What I have noticed recently is what seems an attempt to take away our Catholic identity. Little by little the things that make us Catholic are falling by the wayside. There seems to be less and less stress on things that set us apart as Catholics.

Have those espousing ecumenism gone so far as to instruct our priests to push our “Catholic” identity to the back burner in a further attempt at unity with the other “Christians”? Why is ecumenism such an all motivating force behind what the Vatican does? What is the final goal of ecumenism?

Does anyone have any thought on these issues?

Stephen
[/quote]

I tend to agree with you- if I’m understanding the underlying tone of your post correctly. I’ve noticed this in my parish, to the extent that we have, for all practical purposes, removed the name ‘Catholic’ from our parish name. I worry about our Catholic identity. I can’t remember the last time I heard the word ‘Catholic’ in a homily. I think we need to remind poorly catechized Catholics that we are Christians - and the original Christians - and I think this needs to be emphasized because as someone said above, there are people who say they are ‘Catholic’ and ‘not Christian’.
From what I’ve witnessed, the natural progression of not stressing our ‘Catholicity’ is a gradual watering down of the faith and loyalty to the Magisterium. Just my own personal observation.


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