Catholic

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The word catholic (derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal"[1][2]) comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (kath'holou), meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and όλος meaning "whole".[3][4] The word in English can mean either "including a wide variety of things; all-embracing" or "of the Roman Catholic faith." as "relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church."[5]

It was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages. In non-ecclesiastical use, it derives its English meaning directly from its root, and is currently used to mean

  • universal or of general interest; or
  • liberal, having broad interests, or wide sympathies.[6]
  • inclusive, inviting and containing strong evangelism.

The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church, which consists of 23 churches sui iuris, in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. The largest of these, the Latin Rite, consists of nearly 95% of the population of the Catholic Church. The remaining 5% consist of the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches.

Many Protestants sometimes use the term "Catholic Church" to refer broadly to the Christian Church and all believers in Jesus Christ across the world and the ages, regardless of denominational affiliation.[7] [8] Generally, to avoid confusion between this concept and the Catholic Church, above, theologians (in English) will refer to the latter as the Church catholic, utilizing the lower-case.

The Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans and some Methodists believe that their churches are catholic in the sense that they are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. The Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox churches all believe that their church is the only original and universal church. In "Catholic Christendom" (including the Anglican Communion), bishops are considered the highest order of ministers within the Christian religion, as shepherds of unity in communion with the whole church and one another.[9] Catholicity is considered one of Four Marks of the Church, the others being unity, sanctity, and apostolicity.[10] according to the Nicene Creed of 381: "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church."

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