|When did the term "Catholic", as used for The
Catholic Church, come about?
|"Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which
is [administered] either by the bishop, or by
one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the
bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people]
even as, wherever Jesus Christ is,
there is the Catholic Church."
St Ignatius of Antioch
When did the term "Catholic" come about?
The oldest writing of the term is from St. Ignatius of Antioch.
I have heard as early as 107 AD or as late as 110 AD. Either way it happened
before St. Ignatius died in 117 AD.
St. John died in 96 AD. The word Catholic was probably being used orally before
it was written down. One can assume this due to the context of the letter.
Ignatius doesn't explain what he means by "catholic", he just uses the term as
though everyone knew what he is talking about.
It is conceivable that the term was being used by Christians while St. John was
The term was written down by St. Ignatius of Antioch. Antioch is where the term
"Christian" was first used.
New Advent - Early Church Fathers
St. Ignatius of Antioch
Also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros); born in Syria, around the year 50; died
at Rome between 98 and 117.
from THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE SMYRAEANS
CHAPTER VIII.--LET NOTHING BE DONE WITHOUT THE BISHOP.
"See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the
presbytery as ye would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the
institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without
the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is[administered] either
by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall
appear, there let the multitude[of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus
Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either
to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that
is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and
valid." (110 AD)
Britannica - Online
(from Greek katholikos, "universal"), the characteristic that, according to
ecclesiastical writers since the 2nd century, distinguished the Christian Church at
large from local communities or from heretical and schismatic sects.
Catholic Church, The term catholic (Greek katholikos, universal, from katholou, in
general) was first used in the letter of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans
(about ad110). The term was later used by Clement of Alexandria in his
Stromata (Miscellanies). The technical use of the word seems to have been
established by the beginning of the 3rd century. The formal principle of the
Catholic church was expressed by the French theologian Vincent of Lérins as
follows: That which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all. This is
what is truly and properly catholic.
What's in a name??
First the followers of Jesus were called Jews... then by the Jews - heretics...
then they were followers of "the Way" -Acts 9:2 "and asked him for letters to
the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to "the Way",
men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem."
Then in Antioch the term Christian (Acts 11:26), at least a year (maybe as late as 40 years
later) after the "Birthday of the Church" on Pentecost. Then within two generations of the
"Birthday of the Church" they were referred to as Catholic.
This was done for 2 reasons.
One: was to distinguish the true teachings from heretical teachings that were
beginning to pop up.
Two: the call from God to mankind started with the Jews and was supposed to
go from them (the Jews) to all mankind. When the call went from the Jews (the
"Firstborn" sons of God) to the whole world, through Jesus, it became a
"universal" call - or what we know as a "catholic=universal" call.
So, my point is that "Catholic" is known as the true church not because it was
called "Catholic" by Christ. He didn't give a name to His group. They are called
Catholic because they teach what He taught! They are called Catholic because
the Catholic Church can trace in an unbroken line from our present day Pope all
the way back to St. Peter! No other church can make and back up either of these
Also, a common sense argument.
There is a road in the Bronx that goes all the way up to Boston. Where I lived it
was known as the "Boston Post Road". So named because Ben Franklin himself
laid out the route for the "postal" riders on horseback, from NY to Boston.
As one travels from NY to Boston the name of the road changes from Boston
Post Road to Post Road to Main Street and back again to Post Road, but on a
map it can be seen that it is all one and the same road irregardless of what it is
The "name" isn't the important point!!!
What is important, is whether we see the teachings of the present Catholic
Church in the New Testament.
Which we have ample evidence of!
Of further importance, is whether or not the Catholic Church has an unbroken line
of Bishops and Popes all the way back through the centuries to the Apostles.
Which it does!
The "Church" started by Jesus exists regardless of the "names" it has
been called throughout the centuries.
The Protestant way is a "free-for-all" with each individual or group doing what is
"right in their own eyes" (Judges 19:1). This is a quote from Judges when the
Israelites went in every direction of faith and morals which brought great
calamities upon Israel.
JEWISH FOLLOWERS OF THE WAY CHRISTIAN CATHOLIC