Mariano: You are not sure what my distinction is when I differentiated the “catholic church” from the “Roman Catholic Church.” Your error is quite common: you think that any mention of the “catholic church” is referring to the “Roman Catholic Church” with its particular doctrines. Thus, anywhere in history that you see reference to “catholic church” you read it as “Roman Catholic Church.” This is not so.
BFHU: I would have to disagree with you there. There was no catholic -small “c” -church, except the CATHOLIC Church historically until the Eastern Schism and the Protestant rebellion.
Mariano: The term “catholic” refers to “universal” and “church” to called out ones: the people all over the world who have been called out to serve God. This is not a statement about a hierarchical bishopric or anything else particular to the “Roman Catholic Church.” The Nicene Creed states, “I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church” and yet, this creed is agreed to by The Orthodox Church, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. But why would the Orthodox Church and Protestantism agree that there is “one holy catholic and apostolic Church”? Because this not a reference to the “Roman Catholic Church.”
BFHU: But it certainly was a reference to the Roman Catholic Church. It was the only Christian Church on the face of the Earth at the time the Creed was written. The Creed was NOT referring to the Protestant Churches, they did not exist. Ditto for the Eastern Churches.
I realize that catholic means universal and that this is how Protestants and Orthodox are able to say the Nicean Creed. However, until the Eastern schism the catholic church was the CATHOLIC CHURCH synonomous with the Roman Catholic Church.
“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. ).