Why is the word "catholic" not capitalized in the Creed?


#1

Why is the word "catholic" not capitalized in the (Nicene) Creed?
I know that in the new translation introduced last Advent it is not.

I had thought it was capitalized in the EF, but when I checked my missal "Catholic" was only capitalized on the English side. :shrug:

Et unam, sanctam, catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. And in one holy, **C**atholic and Apostolic Church.

This suggests to me that we are only professing belief in the "church" as in the protestant belief that the church consists of all believers.

I had always thought (since my conversion at least) that we were professing belief in the Church instituted by Jesus Christ himself.

Your thoughts please.


#2

[quote="The_Reginator, post:1, topic:297402"]
Why is the word "catholic" not capitalized in the (Nicene) Creed?
I know that in the new translation introduced last Advent it is not.

I had thought it was capitalized in the EF, but when I checked my missal "Catholic" was only capitalized on the English side. :shrug:
This suggests to me that we are only professing belief in the "church" as in the protestant belief that the church consists of all believers.

I had always thought (since my conversion at least) that we were professing belief in the Church instituted by Jesus Christ himself.

Your thoughts please.

[/quote]

Because when the Creed was written, the context of "Catholic" that we have today does not exist.


#3

It’s the common adjective meaning universal and not the proper noun referring to the Church.


#4

My understanding is that when the creed was written, there was only one universal Church, and thereby by definition catholic. It was only when groups broke off from the universal Church that there was a need even to capitalize the word to designate it as a proper name. There is only one Church that is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.


#5

Uh, there are two churches who profess this belief: O rthodox, and C atholic churches. Each make the claims of being catholic, and orthodox in faith.


#6

The word 'catholic' means universal. The creeds are used by almost all Christian denominations, all of which are part of the Body of Christ. When capitalised, the word is a proper noun--The Catholic Church.


#7

Maybe it is because it isn't the actual name of our Church. Like when we say, "Catholic Church" we capitalize Catholic because it is a part of the name. Yet, when we use it as an adjective like it does in the Creed, it isn't capitalized because it isn't being used as the name of the Church. But why it is capitalized in English I do not know. It could possibly just be an error in the translation. Maybe the translator believed that "Catholic" should be capitalized while the writer of the original Latin didn't think so using the reasoning I just gave. :shrug:


#8

When the Creed was written, none of the Apostolic Churches has broken away. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Churches, and Eastern Churches and the Roman Church were all in communion with one another back then.


#9

[quote="RedDuke50, post:7, topic:297402"]
Maybe it is because it isn't the actual name of our Church. Like when we say, "Catholic Church" we capitalize Catholic because it is a part of the name. Yet, when we use it as an adjective like it does in the Creed, it isn't capitalized because it isn't being used as the name of the Church. But why it is capitalized in English I do not know. It could possibly just be an error in the translation. Maybe the translator believed that "Catholic" should be capitalized while the writer of the original Latin didn't think so using the reasoning I just gave. :shrug:

[/quote]

One thought I've had is that perhaps when translating to English the translators wanted to treat the word as a noun (which is how I had been interpreting it) and therefore stress the fact that there is only one Church and not a number of churches. Perhaps.


#10

[quote="ConstantineTG, post:8, topic:297402"]
When the Creed was written, none of the Apostolic Churches has broken away. The Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Churches, and Eastern Churches and the Roman Church were all in communion with one another back then.

[/quote]

Yeah, I know. But, I was responding more to the person I responded to, directly. Therein, he made the statement, after the split of these churches, there is only one catholic church, that's all.


#11

When I was a child, we said the Apostles' Creed in church, I was raised in the United Church of Christ faith. I asked my pastor why we used the word catholic in our creed since we weren't catholic. He said that the word catholic meant universal and included all Christians.


#12

[quote="gh4, post:11, topic:297402"]
When I was a child, we said the Apostles' Creed in church, I was raised in the United Church of Christ faith. I asked my pastor why we used the word catholic in our creed since we weren't catholic. He said that the word catholic meant universal and included all Christians.

[/quote]

It's true that there are churches that broke unity with the universal catholic and apostolic church. In doing so, they broke unity, and so there really is still only ONE holy catholic and apostolic church!


#13

Our orthodox brethren will say the same thing, JimG.


#14

[quote="martininthefiel, post:6, topic:297402"]
The word 'catholic' means universal. The creeds are used by almost all Christian denominations, all of which are part of the Body of Christ. When capitalised, the word is a proper noun--The Catholic Church.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:

This pretty much nails it.


#15

[quote="The_Reginator, post:9, topic:297402"]
One thought I've had is that perhaps when translating to English the translators wanted to treat the word as a noun (which is how I had been interpreting it) and therefore stress the fact that there is only one Church and not a number of churches. Perhaps.

[/quote]

This is probably true. Capitalization rules are different per language they are used. In Spanish, for example, there is far less capitalization, such as days of the week, religions, and nationality which are normally all lower case. So whether it's Catholic or catholic seems to be strictly an Anglophone distinction. Perhaps because most English-speakers aren't Catholic would be my guess. :)


#16

[quote="The_Reginator, post:1, topic:297402"]
Why is the word "catholic" not capitalized in the (Nicene) Creed?
I know that in the new translation introduced last Advent it is not.

I had thought it was capitalized in the EF, but when I checked my missal "Catholic" was only capitalized on the English side. :shrug:
This suggests to me that we are only professing belief in the "church" as in the protestant belief that the church consists of all believers.

I had always thought (since my conversion at least) that we were professing belief in the Church instituted by Jesus Christ himself.

Your thoughts please.

[/quote]

When I was a child in Catholic school back in the 1960s we were specifically taught that "catholic" in the creed did not refer to the Catholic Church but rather was to be interpreted as "universal".

It used to be much more common for people to capitalize words that they though were important. My old missal has "Catholic" for the Nicene creed but "Apostolic" is also capitalized. (I think someone already noted that.)


#17

[quote="lssanjose, post:13, topic:297402"]
Our orthodox brethren will say the same thing, JimG.

[/quote]

Yes, but there is no denying that they lack unity with the See of Peter. Now, they might even deny that, seeing the Petrine primacy as one of honor and not jurisdiction. Still, unity with Rome is a mark of Catholicity although I realize the Orthodox would not accept that.


#18

It is the mark of the Church, meaning this Church is the faith that is for all (ie. for Jews and Gentiles).


#19

"Catholic" is a Greek word, but I don't think the writer of the original Greek or Latin capitalized it because capitalization was uncommon at that time.


#20

[quote="Digitonomy, post:19, topic:297402"]
"Catholic" is a Greek word, but I don't think the writer of the original Greek or Latin capitalized it because capitalization was uncommon at that time.

[/quote]

Also, because it wasn't a Proper name at that time.


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