Catholic and Christian

In Catholic, Christianity on February 21, 2009 at 8:31 pm

This title of this post will seem odd to Catholics, and improbable to fundamentalist and some evangelical Christians. I ask forbearance.  Since I regularly use the term “Catholic Christian” in posts to Christianity Richly, it deserves explanation.

The two words are redundant for anyone who has entered the Church.  To say Catholic is to say Christian—and to say it with intensity, a sense of history, deep reverence, and spiritual vitality.  “Catholic” is not an adjective.  Catholic is a noun meaning “Christian of the all-embracing (Greek katholikos, ‘universal’) Church, the Body of Christ.”

Yet some still outside the Church view the term “Catholic Christian” as an oxymoron—contradictory terms used in connection with each other.  I encountered this not long ago, talking with a homeless man.  After we chatted for a bit, he said, “You’ve been so kind.  You must have a good church.”  I replied that I did, St. Mary’s Catholic Church.  He quickly countered, “Oh, well.  That may be OK for you, but I prefer the Christian religion.”  

Some will smile at this anecdote.  Others will find nothing ironic at all, but rather that the man’s statement mirrors their impression of the Catholic Church.  If you are in the latter group (and I was at one time in my life), please be patient.  You’ve found your way to this post.  Read others.  See what the Holy Spirit and your own sense of fairness say to you.

If you are a Catholic, I apologize for using two words where one should do.

  1. […] the riches of the Church then. I don’t today. But by the grace and mercy of God I became a Catholic Christian and was received into full […]

  2. […] Topic Probably no other topic prompts more division between Catholic Christians and those who left the Church in the 16th century to become followers of Luther, or Calvin (or […]

  3. […] in my Catholic Christian days, I was faced with “saying grace” before a meal with others in my parish. […]

  4. […] does this have to do with community? With the Communion of Saints? Just this: as Catholic Christians celebrate and remember the lives of Saints daily, whose faith and holiness we are to imitate (1 […]

  5. […] In January 2014, I wrote two posts on community for Christianity Richly:  Community, Part 1, and Community, Part 2. In those posts I began to explore how Our Lord used community as one of the means by which He drew me into the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. The importance of community, the degree to which it is integral to the Church, has become increasingly clear—so clear I now consider it a vitally important sixth reason why I am a Catholic Christian. […]

  6. […] authority remains foremost among the reasons for becoming a Catholic Christian, the importance of the communion of saints was always clear.  A simple example: from the first […]

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