What is meant by Catholic Church?


#1

I was struck by the definition of “Christian Church” on wikipedia:

'Christian Church' is an ecclesiological term generally used by Protestants to refer to the whole group of people belonging to Christianity throughout the history of Christianity. In this understanding, Christian Church; does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the body of all believers. Some Christian traditions, however, believe that the term Christian Church or Church applies only to a specific historic Christian body or institution (e.g., the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East). The Four Marks of the Church first expressed in the Nicene Creed are that the Church is One (a unified Body of Particular Churches in full communion of doctrines and faith with each other), Holy (a sanctified and deified Body), Catholic (Universal and containing the fullness of Truth in itself), and Apostolic (its hierarchy, doctrines, and faith can be traced back to the Apostles).[1]

Thus, the majority of Christians globally (particularly of the apostolic churches listed above, as well as some Anglo-Catholics) consider the Christian Church as a visible and institutional  societas perfecta enlivened with supernatural grace, while Protestants generally understand the Church to be an invisible reality not identifiable with any specific earthly institution, denomination, or network of affiliated churches.[citation needed] Others equate the Church with particular groups that share certain essential elements of doctrine and practice, though divided on other points of doctrine and government (such as the branch theory as taught by some Anglicans).

Is this implying that the Protestant Church is meta-physical while the Catholic church is physical / historical in nature?

And yet the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia seems to define the Catholic church as BOTH metaphysical and historical:

The analogy borne by any society of men to an organism is sufficiently manifest. In every society the constituent individuals are united, as are also the members of a body, to effect a common end; while the parts they severally play correspond to the functions of the bodily organs. They form a moral unity. This, of course, is true of the Church, but the Church has also a unity of a higher order; it is not merely a moral but a mystical body. This truth, that the Church is the mystical body of Christ, all its members being guided and directed by Christ the head, is set forth by St. Paul in various passages,

Is the wikipedia article incorrect or have I overlooked something? I wonder if someone could shed more light.

Thanks.


#2

(Here’s the Wikipedia definition in an easier-to-read format)
‘Christian Church’ is an ecclesiological term generally used by Protestants to refer to the whole group of people belonging to Christianity throughout the history of Christianity. In this understanding, Christian Church; does not refer to a particular Christian denomination but to the body of all believers. Some Christian traditions, however, believe that the term Christian Church or Church applies only to a specific historic Christian body or institution (e.g., the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East). The Four Marks of the Church first expressed in the Nicene Creed are that the Church is One (a unified Body of Particular Churches in full communion of doctrines and faith with each other), Holy (a sanctified and deified Body), Catholic (Universal and containing the fullness of Truth in itself), and Apostolic (its hierarchy, doctrines, and faith can be traced back to the Apostles).[1]

Thus, the majority of Christians globally (particularly of the apostolic churches listed above, as well as some Anglo-Catholics) consider the Christian Church as a visible and institutional societas perfecta enlivened with supernatural grace, while Protestants generally understand the Church to be an invisible reality not identifiable with any specific earthly institution, denomination, or network of affiliated churches.[citation needed] Others equate the Church with particular groups that share certain essential elements of doctrine and practice, though divided on other points of doctrine and government (such as the branch theory as taught by some Anglicans).


#3

Wiki is a good place to learn about the specifics of Sardinia and the details of your favorite TV series.

Don’t go there to learn about religion, faith, etc.

Begin with this article in the Catechism, read the documents in the footnotes.

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p3.htm


#4

Depends if you mean catholic church with Capital C, or lower case…definition for each has some similarities, but also differences.


#5

Yes, that is what it’s implying. More than that, it’s making the statement. And yes, that is (generally) the Protestant view of the Church (‘the’ Church, not the local assembly or building); that is a non-specific, ambiguous, collection or assembly of various Christian beliefs. It’s nothing more than the collective sum of all Christians.

Yes, the Church is both metaphysical and historical.

The Church is not just a collection of all beliefs. She is, instead, the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The very one, the only one, founded by Christ. There can be, and there is, only one Church—not a collection of several Churches (nb: not talking here about the other, related, definitions of Church, such as local parish or diocese or sui iuris). That one Church is the Body of Christ and is the only Catholic (or catholic, it makes no difference) Church.

This goes beyond mere historic continuity. The very substance of the Church is that She is founded by Christ and is the Body of Christ. That’s why we say that the Catholic Church not only “is” the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, but that this one Church subsists in the Catholic Church. It cannot exist in any other way.

Baptized non-Catholic Christians are not members of the Church, but are instead united to the Church, by their beliefs, and especially by their baptism.


#6

This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.