The Catholic Church



There are still a surprising number of people who think that the Catholic Church is exactly the same as the Roman Catholic Church, but this is not so.  The Roman Catholic Church is that part of the Catholic Church which obeys and is ruled by the Pope or Bishop of Rome.

In the Apostles’ Creed we say that we believe in the Catholic Church.  The word ‘Catholic’ comes from a Greek word which means ‘complete’ or ‘whole’.  Over fifteen hundred years ago (in around 440 AD), St Vincent of Lérins explained it by saying, “We within the Catholic Church…hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all men (that is, by all Christians)”. (1)  In other words, the Catholic Faith is the whole Christian Faith; and the Catholic Church is the same as that which Jesus founded.  This can be seen from the fact that it has the same Ministry and Sacraments and teaches the same Faith as it did for the first 1,000 years of its existence when Christendom was still united.

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