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Are Catholics Christian? / Should Catholics be called Catholic Christians?

 

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Regarding these questions...

* All Catholics are Christians, but not all who call themselves 'Christian' are Catholic.

* All the earliest followers of Christ were either members of the Catholic Church or were heretics (or schismatics). There was (and is) no other option.

* Catholics are the "original Christians." In fact, "If you wanted to be Christian back in 100 A.D., Catholicism was the only option. All others professing Christ were heretics." In fact, the very earliest Christians were not called Christian until later. They were originally called "Nazoreans" (see Acts 24:5) and later "Christian" (see Acts 11:26) and finally "Catholic" (meaning "universal"). These Nazoreans and Christians and Catholics were all members of the same Church (ultimately called the Catholic Church). 

* Before the Protestant Rebellion of the 16th century, Christian was synonymous with Catholic (excluding the 'Orthodox' who broke away from the Catholic Church several hundred years previously yet call themselves Christian). This is simply a fact of history.

* Up until a few decades ago, even Protestants were wont to call themselves "Protestant" rather than Christian. Now, however, they seem to prefer to claim the title 'Christian', even while rejecting the only Church Christ founded – the Catholic Church.

* Like it or not, all who claim the name 'Christian' may ultimately be traced back to the Catholic Church [e.g. to a group or an individual who broke away from her (or one that had previously broken away from her)]. Such "break away" groups arrogate to themselves the name 'Christian', yet they reject the one and only church Christ founded - the Catholic Church. 

* At best, non-Catholics who call themselves 'Christian' have a 'partial Christianity'. And, in truth, this may be likened to "having no Christianity", since one must accept all Christ's teachings to be truly Christian. As Pope Leo XIII said...

"For such is the nature of faith that nothing can be more absurd than to accept some things and reject others. Faith, as the Church teaches, is 'that supernatural virtue by which, through the help of God and through the assistance of His grace, we believe what he has revealed to be true, not on account of the intrinsic truth perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, the Revealer, who can neither deceive nor be deceived' (Conc. Vat., Sess. iii., cap. 3). If then it be certain that anything is revealed by God, and this is not believed, then nothing whatever is believed by divine Faith: for what the Apostle St. James judges to be the effect of a moral delinquency, the same is to be said of an erroneous opinion in the matter of faith. 'Whosoever shall offend in one point, is become guilty of all' (Ep. James ii., 10)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

And as St. Athanasius said...

"The very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the apostles and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded, and if anyone departs from this, he neither is, nor any longer ought to be called, a Christian." (St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church)

As to whether Catholics should be called Catholic Christians, this is a bit like saying a "male man" – it is redundant and unnecessary. There can be no true man that is not male, nor any true male that is not man.

+ + +

"And, if I finally must explain the word 'Catholic' and translate it from the Greek into the Roman idiom, Catholic means 'one everywhere' or, as the more learned think, 'obedience to all the commandments of God.'" (St. Pacian of Barcelona, 4th century A.D.)


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