BFH: “The Church that Jesus founded 2000 years ago is the Catholic Church. All of the Protestant denominations broke away; first from the Catholic Church and then from other Protestant groups.”
Z: I agree that what we now call the Roman Catholic Chruch is -part- of the Church that Christ founded. However, the RCC didn’t become the RCC until the Great Schism. It is here that the RCC split from the Church and went one way, while the rest of the Church became known as the Orthodox Church and continued forward. 500 years later we have the Reformation and another group splitting from Roman Catholicism to become known as the Protestants.
SS: Zacharias it is difficult to accept that the Great Schism of the Greek Church was the foundation of a split that defines Rome as the RCC
Z: When then would you say the Roman Catholic Church became the ‘Roman Catholic Church” then? I don’t believe it was specifically referred to as that before the Great Schism (which wasn’t actually the defining time that the people recognized the schism of course).
BFH: The Roman Catholic Church was called the Catholic Church in the first century b/c we have
“Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop or by one whom he ordains. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church” (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 Ignatius of Antioch; 110 A.D. ).
The adjective catholic is not introduced as if it were a brand new idea but as if taken for granted that all will understand what he is talking about. Therefore, it would seem to predate even this early writing.
I have read that Roman was attached to Catholic Church at the time of the reformation in an attempt to create contempt for that foreign church in Rome. This helped to bolster the independent, local and national Protestant “churches”.
Of course an Orthodox would want to see that the Catholic Church split off from the True Church but we see it as otherwise, since the Eastern church split off from the Bishop of Rome the ancient see of Peter and the universally acknowledged seat of final authority in the Church.
Orthodox Churches, btw I believe are considered churches rather than ecclesial communities b/c they retain valid orders and a valid Eucharist.
Z: I think we’re using the same word in two different contexts… before the Great Schism, the East and the West were both the “Catholic” church, in that it was the Universal Church.
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