What is the difference between "catholic" and "ecumenical"?


From the time I was a child, I learned that catholic meant universal. When I was helping with RCIA I found in the book “This is our faith” by Michael Pennock that the root of the word ecumenical meant universal.

Hmm, I thought, two words of Greek origin meaning universal. I wonder how they are different.

Now I read that Benedict XVI in vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2007/july/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20070724_clero-cadore_en.html
says that "The exact meaning of “Catholic” is “synthesis”. "

Would someone be willing to define catholic and explain how it is different from the root of ecumenical? If catholic does mean universal, how does it mean synthesis, too?



Here’s “ecumenical”:ĕk’yə-mĕn’ĭ-kəl) also ec·u·men·ic (-mĕn’ĭk)
adj. Of worldwide scope or applicability; universal.

Of or relating to the worldwide Christian church.
Concerned with establishing or promoting unity among churches or religions.
[From Late Latin oecūmenicus, from Greek oikoumenikos, from (hē) oikoumenē (gē), (the) inhabited (world), feminine present passive participle of oikein, to inhabit, from oikos, house.]

Here’s “Catholic” from the original Catholic Encyclopedia.

I don’t know the context of the pope’s use of the wordl

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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.