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Catholic Church

Catholic Church Term used in Christianity with one of several connotations: (1) It is the Universal Church, as distinct from local Churches. (2) It means the Church holding ‘orthodox’ doctrines, defined by St Vincent of Lérins as doctrines held “everywhere, always, and by all” – in this sense the term is used to distinguish the church from heretical bodies. (3) It is the undivided Church as it existed before the schism of East and West in 1054. Following this, the Western Church called itself ‘Catholic’, the Eastern Church ‘Orthodox’. (4) Since the Reformation, the term has usually been used to denote the Roman Catholic Church, although the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholics use it for themselves as well.

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catholic church

catholic church [Gr.,=universal], the body of Christians, living and dead, considered as an organization. The word catholic was first used c.110 to describe the Church by St. Ignatius of Antioch. In speaking of the time before the Reformation in Western Europe, Catholic is technically used to mean orthodox (i.e., those who accept the tradition as mediated by the Roman Church). Today in English it usually means the Roman Catholic Church. Protestants use the word catholic in its original sense to designate the Christian Church taken as a whole.

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