Why Catholic Church is better than the term Roman Catholic Church.


I know that some of you noticed that some Catholics don’t like the term “Roman Catholic Church” to describe our Church.

I am one them. I shall tell you one of the reasons why.

I object to the term Roman Catholic Church because it does not fully describe the universal Church. To describe the Church as Roman, would neglect the Eastern Rite Catholics, whose own rite is not Latin.

I dare not ignore the Byzantine Catholic Churches (all 22 of them) by just describing the Church as Roman Catholic Church.

I think the proper terminology is Catholic Church. It is whole, and universal. It describe one faith.

I also like to add the Catechism is title “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”


What is the meaning of the affirmation that the Church of Christ subsists in the Catholic Church?

Christ “established here on earth” only one Church and instituted it as a “visible and spiritual community”[5], that from its beginning and throughout the centuries has always existed and will always exist, and in which alone are found all the elements that Christ himself instituted.[6] “This one Church of Christ, which we confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic …]. This Church, constituted and organised in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him”.[7]

In number 8 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen gentium ‘subsistence’ means this perduring, historical continuity and the permanence of all the elements instituted by Christ in the Catholic Church[8], in which the Church of Christ is concretely found on this earth.

It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial Communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.[9] Nevertheless, the word “subsists” can only be attributed to the Catholic Church alone precisely because it refers to the mark of unity that we profess in the symbols of the faith (I believe… in the “one” Church); and this “one” Church subsists in the Catholic Church.[10]


If you want to describe Jesus Christ’s Church (our view) or the Catholic Church called it by its proper name. It is Catholic Church period.


If it’s good enough for the Popes, it’s good enough for me: :slight_smile:

“***The Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church ***believes and acknowledges that there is one true and living God, creator and lord of heaven and earth, almighty, eternal, immeasurable, incomprehensible, infinite in will, understanding and every perfection.”
[RIGHT]Pope Pius IX/Vatican I,
Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, Paragraph 1
“Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church”
[RIGHT]Pope Pius IX/Vatican I, First dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ, Chapter 3, Paragraph 1

“…This follows of necessity because in the City of God, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, a good citizen and an upright man are absolutely one and the same thing…”
[RIGHT]Pope Pius XI, Divini Illius Magistri, Paragraph 54

"Some say they are not bound by the doctrine, explained in Our Encyclical Letter of a few years ago, and based on the Sources of Revelation, which teaches that the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing."
Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, paragraph 27


Locally here in Minnesota, I work at a hospital historically was Lutheran based. On our admission is the question “** what religion are you**” and “what church” and "**do you want to be visited.’ **
3 parishes in the vicinity -Mary Mother of the Church, St. John the Baptist , and Church of the Risen Savior, all Catholic bring Holy Communion so that every day in covered.
Our “Spiritual Health” Department thinks if you belong to Risen Savior that the other 2 churches should not be told you are there or asked to give you Communion.
We on the other hand know if you belong to one you really belong to all! We are one Holy Catholic Church. the churches planned so every day a Catholic could recieve Holy Communion.



You are write. The church as a whole is the Catholic Church. But if you go to a Roman Rite Catholic Church you are referred to as a Roman Catholic aka I am a Catholic you participates in the Roman Rite. If you are a member of a Maronite rite Catholic Church then you are known as a Maronite Catholic.

You here Roman Catholic Church more often than just Catholic because the Pope who is the head of the Catholic Church presides over the Roman Rite Churches and also the since the vast majority of Catholics are Roman Rite Catholics you get the same result.


The term Roman Catholic negates Eastern Catholics. Catholic Church is more of a general and more accurate word than Roman Catholic Church, if you want to describe the whole Church of Christ.


No… the Roman Catholic Church meant the Pope whoever he may be. It meant Rome it meant the Vatican it did not mean "Eastern " it did not mean “Orthodox” .And we were never ever called Catholic " Christians " although I accept that term because so much has changed anyways . :slight_smile:


I also agree that the Catholic Chuech is more than just the Roman Rite Church. There are not 22 Byzantine Churches though.


First, to clarify – Protestants are not ignorant of the different rites in the Roman Catholic Church. The Latin rite is the largest of these, obviously, but is not what I refer to when I say “Roman Catholic”.

Nor would I ignore those rites as being part of the Roman Catholic Church. However, the issue comes down to the universality (catholicity) of the church. I, along with probably all protestants, do not hold that the church headquartered in Rome actually does represent the universal Christian church. Nor do I believe it alone is Orthodox. The same applies to the Eastern Orthodox church, which claims itself to be catholic, apostolic, and orthodox, just as the Roman Catholic Church claims.

For me to ascribe the title of Universal Church to the organization headed by the Pope is to be dishonest. It also introduces confusion in others, as there are many churches aside from your own which claim to be “Catholic”.

If you want to describe Jesus Christ’s Church (our view) or the Catholic Church called it by its proper name. It is Catholic Church period.

For one to claim a title for itself is not necessarily the same as claiming the truth. I have no doubt that you believe the Roman Catholic Church to be the one and only legitimate Christian body. However, it is a view I do not share.

What if I were to claim the title of Pope (or the more formal pontifex maximus) for myself? Would you call me by that title? Of course not! Why not? Very simply, because you don’t believe that I am what I claim to be – the supreme pontiff. Likewise I do not believe the Roman Catholic Church to be what it claims to be. Thus, in good conscience, I cannot call it by a name that lends credence to that in the minds of those who read what I write.

To say “Catholic Church” is to implicitly communicate that it is the one and only universal church.

Now this, no doubt, leads you to question why I would leave the term “Catholic” in the title at all, and why adding “Roman” alleviates things from my perspective. Let’s compare…

The [that is, one and only] Catholic [Universal, exists everywhere, and by extension, is the one and only] Church [gathering of called out followers]

The [that is, one and only] Roman [in connection with Rome] Catholic [Universal, exists everywhere, and by extension, is the one and only] Church [gathering of called out followers]

The term Roman Catholic Church states that it is the one and only church which is in connection with Rome (a position affirmed by the RCC, as I understand it). This is an accurate term.

Those who claim that we’re intentionally ignoring the non-Latin-Rite churches by using this name are simply looking to pick a fight because Protestants disagree with the label Roman Catholics wish to have.


There is ONLY ONE Universal Church. The same Church called “Catholic” in the beginning of the 100’s by St. Ignatius of Antioch in the Letter to the Smyrnaeans. The Church holding to and teaching all that was believed and taught by the Church in the first centuries. Including the belief of Peter being the bishop of Rome and pope and his successors in that office




ISTM both have their uses - meaning very often depends on context, & many bodies claim to be Catholic or even catholic; not all of these claim or want or mean to be in communion with Rome :slight_smile: Some uses of the word “Catholic” are denials that Rome is Catholic. :eek: :slight_smile:

There are so many different ways in which the word is used, that it is helpful to have those two phrases; they have different associations, & associations contribute to meaning.


The Church in Rome is Catholic. To generalize the entire Church, the Word Catholic Church makes it fully Catholic because Eastern Rite Catholic aren’t Roman Rite.


Which is exactly why we call it the Catholic Church.


I put my vote in for “Catholic Orthodox Church.” After all, we do hold the fullness of the Truth…


And it is all of this that Protestants (and other non-Roman-Catholics) disagree with. The modern Roman Catholic Church is not the sole legitimate church in my opinion.

Agreed, more or less.

To generalize the entire Church, the Word Catholic Church makes it fully Catholic because Eastern Rite Catholic aren’t Roman Rite.

I believe the official term is Latin Rite, not Roman Rite, and the use of the term Roman there would seem to just confuse the issue.

And that’s exactly why I don’t call it that.


First, to clarify – Protestants are not ignorant of the different rites in the Roman Catholic Church. The Latin rite is the largest of these, obviously, but is not what I refer to when I say “Roman Catholic”.

Actually the vast majority of Protestants have no idea that there are more rites in Catholicism than the Latin one. In fact it normally comes as a shock that other ancient churches are in communion with Rome. Most evangelical Christians typically are brought up with idea that Catholicism’s beliefs are a unique phenomenon that was invented by Rome whole cloth with no historical or biblical context. This is one reason that sticking strictly with the term Catholic is both more accurate but also less confusing. It is beneficial for those who are unaware to know that the ancient Church is more or less in agreement in practice and doctrine.


During most of my university classes on Western Civ, it was simply called "the Church."
I believe that has been how it has been known throughout most of history.


True this is the best of all titles for Catholic and Orthodox Christianity. However, as the last couple of centuries has seen such an explosive amount of new sects and denominations that it would probably just cause confusion now.


Well, we could call it “the only Church,” or “the true Church,” but nowadays that is considered to be too much chutzpah.


I agree with Mannyfit75, (sorry, I don’t have the whole quote thing down yet!)

I think the Latin Rite Church excludes at its spiritual peril the Eastern Church in claiming it alone has the whole truth. The Eastern Rite has elements of theological truth which are missing in the Roman Church. The church was one for 1000 years and there is sin on both sides in the separation, as a result, neither can claim sole proprietorship of Truth. Just because the Pope is “first among equals,” does not mean that Rome had no culpability in splitting the church, in fact, simply because Peter is first, may place even more culpability on Rome.

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