Catholic church

of these articles treats the theological term „catholic church “generally. Details to the Roman-catholic church are in the own article. To further meanings see catholic church (term clarifying).

The word catholic comes from Greek καθολικος (katholikos) and means concerning the whole, generallyvalid.

Table of contents

the term “catholic”

in the broadest sense understand one by the catholic church the community of all Christians justified by Jesus Christ. It is abstractly seen of Christ the wanted, one, holy, general and apostolische church and as such the one church Christi or nut/mother church of all Christians. While in the first millenium the church was still relatively united, the theological controversy began at the same time with the first church splitting in the year 1054over the question, in which the respective partial churches the catholic church in this sense is to be found. The background is that there can be a only one general church. In the consequence of the reformation this question at complexity won, so that the term ofthe different Christian churches and communities one interprets different. In a closer sense, particularly since the reformation, one understands the Roman-catholic church, which cannot be simply identified however even in its self understanding with described church a Christi the above under catholic church.In this closer use, which developed in the consequence of the reformation, „catholic church marks “thus a certain denomination. Today sometimes in the ökumenischen motion instead of the word catholic the word is sobornost used, which is the Russian translation of the Greek word katholikos,in order to designate the general church, without the association “Roman-catholic church” connected catholic with the word.

If one speaks of the catholic church, one can do mine:

  1. the Roman-catholic church, see own article
  2. in a colloquial sense („the Zölibat of the catholic church “) latin church, their largest partial church. Besides belong to however still the rite eastern with Rome university Universities of churches , see own article
  3. in the Apostoli Glaubensbekenntnis of catholic churches the whole of all Christians

very rarely the term without further qualification for the following groups one uses:

  1. the orthodox churches, thosecall themselves rechtgläubige (orthodox , pravoslav) catholic church
  2. the oldcatholic church and/or. the member churches of the Utrechter union of the oldcatholic churches, whereby in Germany the church is called “catholic diocese of the old catholics” official and their bishop after the right of some countries (convention of1873) as a “catholic” bishop recognized is express.
  3. the Anglikani church
  4. many independent national churches like the Polish national one catholic church in the USA or the independent church of the Philippines, if they not already belong to the Utrechter union
  5. the oldholy-catholic church
  6. the Chinese catholic patriotic ones Combination (People's Republic of China)
  7. the renewed church (church of the Glorie)
  8. the freecatholic church
  9. the new Christians (community around the sword bishop)
  10. the Palmarianisch catholic church
  11. the Mariaviten
  12. the liberal catholic church (Theosophie)
  13. Gallikanismus
  14. the Germancatholic movement

it gives a number of further Christian churches, to of themDesignation the word catholic contains.

In addition understand themselves also all other churches, which recognize the old-church Glaubensbekenntnisse (e.g. Protestant churches, Anglikaner, old catholic), as parts „of the holy catholic church equivalent beside the Roman church “. After their self understanding the different churches form - also the Roman- a unit donated by the faith in Jesus Christ of God. The requirement on general validity plays no so large role with this however.

term history

earliest voucher

Ignatius of Antiochien (35 - 117) becomes as the earliest source for thoseUse of the term for the still recent church mentioned: “, where Jesus is Christ, is also the catholic church” (Smyrn. to the first

ökumenischen Konzilien

a special meaning

is attached to 8,2) [work on] the Glaubensbekenntnis beside other writing certifications. The Nicäno Konstantinopolitanum has in its Glaubensbekenntnis,which since that time the fundamental faith formula of nearly all Christians are, the substantial characteristics of the church established by Jesus Christ expressed:

„Credo in unam, sanctam, catholicam et Apostolicam Ecclesiam “

„I believes in the one, holy, catholic and apostolische church “

or completely eingedeutscht translated:

„I believe in oneholy, general and municipality “come out from

the reformation the currents which am due to God envoys tend to avoid the term „catholic " since it is used as konfessionelle designation above all the Roman-catholic church. In some Evangelist services (e.g. in the EKD) the Glaubensbekenntnis reads:

„Iholy, Christian and apostolische church believes " , sometimes also in the one:

„I believe holy, general and apostolische church in the one, ".

The Katholizität in the original sense of word comes in the ökumenischen dialogue a special meaning.

features of the Katholizität

the Katholizität in the original sense of wordheard with it to the features of the Christian church. Catholic, thus generally, the church in different relationship was called:

  • because of the public of the teachings, those in it one announces (Cyrill of Jerusalem, Catecheses)
  • because of the public of all virtues, which are practiced in it(Suarez)
  • because of the duration from Adam to the end of the world (Augustinus)
  • because of its assessment, the life of all humans in all situations in life and at all times to holy,
  • because of their temporal expansion over the whole world and the quantity of their members from all peoples.

Onefrequently used definition comes from Vinzenz from Lérins, which is often quoted in shortened form. Here the whole paragraph: „Beyond that we must use in the catholic church all possible care that we adhere to the faith, that everywhere, always, from allone believed. Because that is real and in the strictest sense catholic, which, as the name and reason of the thing explain, all altogether covers. We will obey this rule, if we on universality, age and agreement to depend. We depend on universality, if weadmit that the faith is true, which the entire church in the whole world admits after age, if we deviate in no way from the interpretations, which well-known-measured from our holy ancestors and fathers to represent became agreement, in the same way, if we usBy the agreeing definitions and regulations hold for the old teachings, which became to represent from all or at least nearly all priests and scholars. “

All these more or less indefinite ideal conceptions unfold their explosiveness, if they are to be filled with concrete contents: Which teachings are to be announced?What is virtue? What is sanctifying? Who are our faith fathers, who, who believed, how we, or the others, so that like us to their faith must turn? What is called universal, is to depend we on the mass? And not least: Which faith becomes ofall Christian represent?

The meaning of the term is also by entire theology history the subject of the discussion. He got a special meaning by the church splitting 2. Millenium, when the separate churches of their actual Partikularität became conscious. Therefore the use of the term prepares ingeneral linguistic usage difficulties.

The catholic teachings, as yardstick under the Christian teachings understand themselves and z. B. the common Eucharistie with other churches against stands, than Orthodoxie is designated.

The Katholizität is marked generally by the following theological characteristics:

  1. First council of Nicäa
  2. first council of Konstantinopel
  3. council of Ephesos
  4. councilfrom Chalcedon
  5. from Konstantinopel third council
  6. from Konstantinopel second council
  7. from Nicäa the particulars

as catholic churches understanding in this sense differ second council in some points in their self understanding. These differences are continued to state in the individual articles.

View of the reformation

the Katholizität is marked generally by the following theological characteristics:

by the reformation was konfessionalisiert the church term, so that differences in the church teachings no influencehave on the Katholizität. The catholic church in the sense church a Christi consists of different confessions.

of Rome independent churches [work on] of members

working group of Christian churches in Germany oldcatholic church, catholic after

union [work on

] outside of the world church advice

churches in other tradition, which likewise catholic liberals

  • catholic church ( Theosophie) call themselves

Churches and movements of the past

(this list raises no requirement on completeness.)


  • Balthasar, Hans Urs of: Catholic: Aspects of the Mysteriums; Freiburg (mash gau): Johannes publishing houses, 3 1993; ISBN 3-89411-072-4
  • Berkhof, Hendrikus: The Katholizität of the church; Zurich: EVZ, 1964
  • High-church combination of Augsburgi confession:Around the one church: Evangelist Katholizität; Anniversary publication for Hans Joachim mouth to 70. Birthday; Munich Gräfelfing: Work publishing house Banaschewski, 1984; ISBN 3-8040-0337-0
  • Kelly, J. N. D. among other things: Katholizität and Apostolizität: Theological studies of a common working group between the Roman-catholic church and the Ökumeni advicethe churches; Kerygma and dogma, supplement 2; Goettingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1971; ISBN 3-525-56133-4
  • stone field, Peter: The characteristics of the church: a study to its unit, holyness, Katholizität and Apostolizität; Berlin - New York: de Gruyter, 1982; ISBN 3-11-008493-7

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