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 Definition 1. A large group of Christian denominations which view themselves as being in historical and doctrinal continuity with Catholic Christianity as it existed before the Great Schisms that separated the church universal into different communions. It is taken from the word catholic, used in the sense of universal, or all-embracing. 2. Adherence, membership or affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church. To use the term "Catholic" to describe only Roman Catholics is standard among many, but may offend Christians of other denominations who also view themselves as "Catholic", such as many Anglicans, Orthodox Christians and High Lutherans. [d] [e]

Point of view

Not sure how to do it, but this article should probably be redirected to Roman Catholic Church, or vice versa. --Adam P. Verslype 01:14, 14 March 2007 (CDT)

Actually, it occurs to me that the Roman Catholic Church is one of several Churches with in Catholicism (including the Byzantine Catholic Church, for example) so never mind on the previous comment.--Adam P. Verslype 02:35, 14 March 2007 (CDT)
Yea, there are some problems with this. Catholicism is a perspective, a defined body of theology and a philosophy from many POVs. The Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, the Oriental Catholic Church are all Catholic. Needs a little more clarity on the matter. Thomas Simmons 08:11, 17 March, 2007 (EPT)
Well, I agree the scope of the article needs to be much larger than I've laid out here... As for POV, I also agree that Catholicism can be viewed from many different aspect. But when people talk about Catholicism they are talking about what's really a well defined group. And more importantly a group that considers itself a group (more specifically, a Church). Since that's the internal logic that Catholicism applies to itself, I suggest that that be what we try to present here.--Adam P. Verslype 20:37, 16 March 2007 (CDT)
There have been (word to the wise) voluminous discussions on Wikipedia about the appropriate terminology to use when discussing this subject. It seems that there will always be some ambiguity regardless of which terms we use. Some people use "catholicism" to refer to any Christian group that believes in "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church", i.e. Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Anglicans, Lutherans, etc., while others treat it specifically as the name for the organisation headed by the Bishop of Rome. Some consider "Roman Catholic Church" to be offensive, while others see it as the neutral name of said body. Some use "Roman Catholic Church" to refer to the entire body headed by the Pope, including the Eastern Catholics, while others use it to refer specifically to the Latin church. It would be desireable to keep in mind these potential pitfalls as Citizendium makes its decisions on how to name things.—Nat Krause 00:28, 28 March 2007 (CDT)
Well, by including Catholicism as part of Christianity, filled under a list of world religions, on the religion workgroup page. So at some level at least its an issue that's been decided (or this conversation need kicked up to a higher level). At the same time, I think the term "Catholic" as a theological term is open to many pitfalls. Catholicism (as opposed to Catholicity) however, has a very common sense meaning. I doubt there are many groups of Christians who wouldn't think of the Catholic Church when the term is used. I haven't been doing this wiki thing long enough to know how these issues pan out. But I would think that the "common" sense of the word would take precedence.--Adam P. Verslype 00:46, 23 April 2007 (CDT)
Adam, your first comment (14 March 2007) was on the money. "Catholism" is not the exclusive purvue of the Roman Catholic Church. With respect to this quote " I doubt there are many groups of Christians who wouldn't think of the Catholic Church when the term is used.... But I would think that the "common" sense of the word would take precedence" - well, in a word, no.
For example, that princess was NOT named "Princess Diana". Almost the entire media and most of the world called her that. They were all wrong. Every last one of them. Careful writers and speakers called her by her correct name, to absolutely no avail. But that doesn't mean that an encyclopaedia article about her should be about "Princess Diana".
If the general are wrong, then the encyclopedia must say something like "A popular misconception is..."
If there is more than one definition or interpretation, then the article must say that.
Aleta Curry 19:45, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

With the title and the first sentence, the article is already deeply biased in favor of Roman Catholics, who want to claim exclusivity to the word catholic. Instantly, without reading further, one knows that the article was written by a Roman Catholic. Catholic means the universal church. Every Christian that recites the Apostles' Creed, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, or whatever, considers himself a catholic in the deepest sense. However, most of these would also be gracious enough to grant the other groups the same courtesy ie. that all are a part of the universal church - except for the Roman Catholics, who would consider the others heretical, or at least not true catholics (officially at least - a lot of individual Roman Catholics would not make that claim). The bias needs to be fixed by changing the article title to Roman Catholic. The term "Roman Catholic" is not a perfect fix, but it is the most logical, since the papacy is based in Rome. Then the article needs some serious rewriting to remove the present bias. David L Green 21:14, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

The Title of the article isn't Catholic. It isn't Catholicity. Its CatholicISM. Its organized into the grander theme of Citizendium under the section world religions, it was a world religions article before there was anything in it. CatholicISM does not refer to a theological aspect of the Church, Catholicity refers to that. CatholicISM does not refer to the quality of being universal, Catholic does that. You are right to suggest that Roman Catholics can not claim that. CatholicISM, though, means a specific group with a specific historical continuity. I am unaware of anybody ever using this word to mean something else. Also, changing this article's title to Roman Catholic is a poor solution. There are Eastern Churches that are in communion with the Vatican, and it would be harmfully to represent The Catholic Church by limit the article's scope to preclude them.--Adam P. Verslype 21:30, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

If they are in communion with Rome, they are Roman in fact, if not in name. So how would that be harmful?
(Now that I think about it, there is a Protestant group that would recognize your definition - but only in a negative sense. The Fundamentalist would accept that definition - and then distinguish it from "Christian.") But your play on words is ignoring my point. Whether you talk "Catholic," "Catholicity," or "Catholocism," is not relevant. What is relevant is the exclusivity which is already apparent in the very title, and which, in a neutral encyclopedic article, would not be allowable. There is agreement with those who apply it exclusively, and other veiwpoints are suppressed. David L Green 21:46, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

By similar logic to some that appears above, we could look at the term "Eastern Orthodox" and observe that all (give or take) Christians consider themselves to orthodox, and many other Christians live further east than the main Eastern Orthodox countries. This would imply that "Eastern Orthodox" is also an incorrect name.—Nat Krause 22:28, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

They aren't Roman, because they have never considered themselves Roman. Nobody who has even a mild understanding about how the Roman Church and Eastern Catholic Churches operates in relation to one another would ever call them Roman.
For your second point, there is no "play" here. I have never claimed to want to suppress anybody. But neutrality is not pristine concept free from formal difficulties. Much like the post above said, everybody saying "Diana" does not make them right. Eventually, a quest for to much neutrality makes language banal. Much the same, there are key differences in how the words Catholic, Catholicity, and Catholicism are used. There always have been. This is not play, its just language. Also, There has to be some recognition that the burden of proof for the meaning of word does not rest upon its common sense meaning. I don't mean to say that the common sense meaning is always correct, mind you, but there has to be some space for what people first think when they hear a word.
Well, to clarify - "what people first think" - would depend on their background. A Roman Catholic would likely first think of his own denomination. Many Protestants would think of the Apostle's Creed, and perhaps secondarily a specific branch of Christianity that claims to be THE Catholic Church. A Fundamentalist Protestant would likely think of an evil empire, but that's another story. There would, of course,be other groups. As now written, the first group is the only one represented in the article. David L Green 21:32, 4 May 2007 (CDT)
Anecdotally, I grew up in Lutheran church in the U.S.; our liturgy included the phrase "one holy, catholic, and apostolic church". However, if you used the word catholic in any other context, I have no doubt that the listener would have understood you to mean Roman Catholicism. I wonder how many of the parishoners had any idea at all why the word "catholic" appeared in the liturgy.—Nat Krause 11:04, 5 May 2007 (CDT)
I suppose the best solution would be to set up a disambigfication page, and change link on the world religions page to Catholicism(ecllesial body), or something to that effect.--Adam P. Verslype 22:33, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

Two comments, without having read all of the above comments in depth. (1) "Roman Catholic Church" is, in my opinion, a name, like "Democratic Party" or "Republican Party" or "National Socialist Party," which may or may not reflect any facts. Do we reject to a cult's name if it calls itself "God's Emissaries," on grounds that they aren't actually God's emissaries? No, it's just a silly name. It seems to me that the old argument, that the Catholic church isn't really catholic (in the common meaning of this English word) and hence has no business calling itself "Catholic," usually just reflects a highly argumentative anti-Catholic bigotry. I say this as an agnostic who went to Lutheran churches as a kid--but who has a highly fine-tuned sense of fair play. (2) Surely there is an important difference between Catholicism, the concept and/or movement, and the Catholic Church. The topics are big enough that we can have articles on each. --Larry Sanger 23:48, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

By the way, the way to resolve such disputes is to stick doggedly to our policy to use the most common name for a thing in the main article about it. This is the most neutral way to solve disputes. I hate the thought that we might have weird, idiosyncratic names for articles just because the people who happen to be working on the articles just happened to be able to agree on those names. Then, of course, if the name is a source of contention, you talk about it in the article. --Larry Sanger 23:51, 3 May 2007 (CDT)

Okay, boys--let's not derail the discussion with a semantics spitting contest. The issue at hand is not whether or not Roman Catholics have the right to refer to their church as the Roman Catholic Church,it is whether or not an article on "Catholicisn" should refer only to the Roman Catholic Church. It shouldn't; not in an encyclopaedia, because there are Christians who are not Roman Catholic who nonetheless are Catholic (Anglo-Catholic, Orthodox Catholic...whatever) as opposed to the 'catholic' spoken of above.
"Episcopalian" means "governed by bishops" but no one would suggest that only Episcopalians have, use, or can call their clergy "bishops". By the same token, no one should suggest that Episcopalians' use of the word "Episcopalian" is disingenuous. "Catholicism" and "Roman Catholic Church" should both be written. Right now this particular article mixes the two, and the stub at Roman Catholic Church has just a few lines. We need to fix this, and fast, without casting aspersions.
Aleta Curry 06:24, 4 May 2007 (CDT)

Before we get into more semantics, the article itself is a bit brave. Is it possible to actually write such an article and still be coherent? I appreciate the attempt and hope that it comes to fruition. Meanwhile, keep at it. --Thomas Simmons 23:49, 6 May 2007 (CDT) +17 hours (EPT)

Point of Fact

I do not know who is writing this but it is very Vatican Centric and to that extent wholly in error

For example the statement:

"Catholicism is structured into 22 distinct Churches, all of which are in communion with the Pope."

A. List those 22 churches and show the reference.
B. Last I heard is that everyone including those not in communion with the Pope (in Rome) are in communion with Pavel and he is the Orthodox Archbishop of Pec, Metropolitan of Belgrade-Karlovci and the Serbian Patriarch.
C. There is another Pope and he is in Alexandria.

For example:

"the Pope was canonically required to have his ordination approved by the Eastern Roman Emperor until the title was bestowed on Charlemagne in 800."

Source needed. If it is canonical--and I can not remember reading this one--then it is more than likely still canonical since there have only been a few repeals of Canons of the Ecumenical Councils which can not categorically be unilaterally repealed or amended and there were in fact no councils after the 8th century which means this one is referring to a canon that would have been changed when? The 9th century? Which means it would definitley not be Ecumenical. I ran through the canons of the Seventh Council and did not find this. Has any one got an actual reference?

FYI The Pope or the Bishop of Rome actually placed the Crown on Charlemagne's head at that ceremony in Reims and if I remember correctly it was purely a political move that caught Charlemagne by surprise. See for example Will Durant's Version

And this one is just plain wrong:

“With the exception of the Maronite Catholic Church, Catholicism would remain a strictly Western Institution until after the Counter-Reformation.
  • The Eastern Orthodox Church has, since its beginning, been Catholic – Universal - and has provided the liturgy in the language of the parishioners and made a point of educating and ordaining the indigenous peoples, unlike the Latin Church.
  • The counter-reformation had what effect upon the Eastern Orthodox Church that made it Catholic?

--Thomas Simmons 21:34, 5 May 2007 (CDT) +17 hours