"Roman" as a Mark of the Church?

Hello my friends,
The thought had never occurred to me beforehand, but while I was reading through H.W. Crocker III’s book, Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church, when he was explaining the foundation of the Church, he noted that a characteristic of the Church was that it was Roman, that the Church was founded, grew within the confines of the Roman Empire et cetera. While Mr. Crocker is no theologian, the thought of the Church having the mark of being Roman was an interesting point. Would it necessarily be incorrect to assume that the Church has a Roman character, excluding the fact that See of Peter was in Rome? Forgive me if my inquiry sounds a little discombobulated but hopefully you ascertain the gist of what I’m trying to say.

Thank you very much for reading.
God bless you.

My first thought is wouldn’t a ‘Roman’ mark ignore and exclude 23 Eastern Churches?

Roman influence for a vast majority of us, sure; but not in totality enough to make it a distinctive mark.

But even the Eastern churches are in communion with Rome at the end. Also, “Roman” might be kind of like “Apostolic” (if we were to see that it was founded by Peter; then again, so does every other ancient church have an apostolic claim).

I would view the Roman mark as being one that denotes the location upon which the Church was instigated by Christ, which was in Palestine which found itself under the jurisdiction of the Roman Empire. The Church has its historical roots within Roman Palestine, the growth of His Church sustained and brought along by the interconnection that existed within the empire itself. As the previous commentator noted, I believe this concept of a Roman mark would be similar to the Apostolic mark, wherein Churches can link themselves to this historical Church established within Palestine by being linked to those whom Christ endowed with authority to teach His ways. But now, it would seem rather redundant seeing as heavily linked it would to be with apostolic succession. It seemed a lot clearer in my head when I was thinking about it earlier!


In a sense, yes, but I absolutely abhor being called a “Roman” Catholic. But in a sense we are in communion with Rome, yes.

I’ve heard that the term “Roman Catholic” was first used by Anglicans to describe the difference between catholic (in the sense of being a non-heretical Christian, sort of like “orthodox” with a little O) and Roman (“Romish” or “Papist”). Either way, “Latin Catholic” sounds a little nicer to me.

I know this is off topic my friend, but why do you despise being called “Roman”?

I’m Roman Catholic. Proud of it.
Obedient to the Pope.
There’s nothing Latin about me except for my Spanish heritage, so that does not describe my faith at all.

Aye; it would almost be the same as referring to yourself as a “Frankish Catholic”, both insults being spewed at us if I remember correctly.

Yet you are a Latin Catholic. That’s how canon law describes the particular Church sui iuris to which you belong: the Latin Church. Yes many local parishes / dioceses, at least in English, use the term “Roman Catholic Church”, but that term does not appear in canon law. There is the Latin Church and 23 or so Eastern Churches that together comprise the Catholic Church. Since antiquity, the “Latin Church” has been a common moniker for the Western Church as its traditions and praxis developed within the confines of the Latin speaking Western Empire. Church documents also speak of the “Latin rites” which includes our own Roman Rite as well as other Western rites traditionally observed in Latin (Ambrosian, Mozarabic, etc.). I am 100% Anglo but I typically prefer to describe myself as a “Latin Catholic” over and above the term “Roman Catholic”, but that is just a personal preference.
Your theologian, devotions…your entire spiritual life is, I assume, that of the Latin Church, not the Eastern Churches.

I wouldn’t use it for this reason - too prone to misunderstandings. That being said, if the definition of “Roman”, as per the OP, is “developed within the confines of the Roman Empire” that certainly does include the “Eastern” tradition. The Byzantine tradition of our Eastern Catholic and Eastern Orthodox brethren is the tradition of the Eastern Roman Empire. Constantinople was called the “new Rome” and the citizens of the Byzantine Empire self-identified as “Romans” right through to the Empire’s final demise in the 15th century, a thousand years after the Western Roman Empire had fallen.
Of course, this definition of Roman still doesn’t apply to the entire ancient Church. The Assyrian Church, for example, was always beyond the influence of the Roman Empire. Assyrian / Chaldean Christians could say they are more Persian than Roman.

Understood friend. :thumbsup:
But in the context of CAF… the Latin proponents tend be of a schismatic group, and I don’t want to be categorized like that by the casual reader. :o

Fair enough. I’m used to speaking of the “Latin tradition” in the context of discussions with Eastern Christians - I have relatives who are Orthodox. Discussions with “the East” have made me very self-aware of being a “Latin” lol.


There have always been “FOUR MARKS OF THE CHURCH”.

“One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman” just sounds wrong to me.

The Christian Church developed in three areas: Europe, Africa, and Asia. For a thousand years, Jerusalem was at the center with the Western church as just one of three geographical locations. The other areas are Africa and Asia.

Right, it’s like saying the Church is Italian. While there may be Italians in the Church, the whole Church is not Italian.

Okay, time for facts and less conjecture.

Check out the following links…
Pillar of Fire, Pillar of Truth
The Four Positive Notes of the True Church
The Mark of Holiness
On Your Marks: The Church Is One
On Your Marks: The Church is Holy
The Term “Catholic”
The Church of the Apostles

I don’t think Roman is needed as a mark of the Church. So, does this mean the Roman Orthodox Church is the true Church? Not really. Or maybe the protestant church that is located in Rome is the true Church? Not really.

Rome is not the mark. I think Petrine authority is important, and that is related to the authority of the Apostles given by Christ - and that is part of the 4th mark: Apostolic.

It also means the Roman or even the entire Catholic Church stopped being a true church when the Papacy moved to Avignon.

Better to keep it the way it is. In addition to screwing up relations with the East, it screws up history.

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