* 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
* 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...
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
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
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