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Catholic Church History Facts

When did the Church established by Jesus Christ get the name Catholic?

Christ left the adoption of a name for His Church to those whom he commissioned to teach all nations. Christ called the spiritual society He established, "My Church" (Mt. xvi, 18), "the Church" (Mt. xviii, 17).

In order to have a distinction between the Church and the Synagogue and to have a distinguishing name from those embracing Judaic and Gnostic errors we find St. Ignatius (50-107 AD) using the Greek word "Katholicos" (universal) to describe the universality of the Church established by Christ. St. Ignatius was appointed Bishop of Antioch by St. Peter, the Bishop of Rome. It is in his writings that we find the word Catholic used for the first time. St. Augustine, when speaking about the Church of Christ, calls it the Catholic Church 240 times in his writings.

St. Ignatius of Antioch, disciple of the Apostle John, concerning the heretics of his day wrote: "They have abstained from the Eucharist and prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ."

St. Justin Martyr, another Church Father of the second century wrote: "This food is known among us as the Eucharist... We do not receive these things as common bread and common drink; but as Jesus Christ our Savior, being made flesh by the Word of God."

"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting and I will raise Him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (John 6:54-56) "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" they argued. (John 6:53) "And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. THIS IS MY BODY. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. FOR THIS IS MY BLOOD." (cf. Matt. 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20).

In the most unequivocal language the Apostles affirmed that the bread and wine duly consecrated on the altar did in fact become the actual Substance of the Savior. Declared the Apostle Paul: "The chalice of benediction which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?" (1 Cor. 10:16)

....Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20:19-23). "Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven." (Matt. 18:18) "Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God ..." (Acts. 20:28) "And when they had ordained to them priests in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, in whom they believed." (Acts 14:22). " He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth Him that sent me." - Luke 10:16

Catholic Church is the church most united in Christ. The spectacle of one billion Catholics, three-fifths of all professed Christians, perfectly, indomitably united in belief, in organization, and in worship - the historical fact that Catholics, consistently the largest body of Christians in the world, have always been thus perfectly united - was evidence nobody can not ignore. Here is the unity of Bible prophecy - nowhere else on the Christian scene was there a unity nearly so compact, nearly so long-lived. Nowhere else on the Christian scene was there a unity so obviously permanent.

Wrote the great St. Cyprian in the third century: "God is one and Christ is one, and one is His Church, and the faith is one, and one His people welded together by the glue of concord into a solid unity of body. Unity cannot be rent asunder, nor can the one body of the Church, through the division of its structure, be divided into separate pieces" (St. Cyprian, On the Unity of the Church, chap 23).

Like His glorified body in Heaven, Christ's Mystical Body on earth never was and never will be a disjoined body. St. Paul said, a member of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. (Eoh. 5:30) ...Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth. ...That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us... I in them, and thou in me; that they maybe made perfect in one." (John 17:1-23).

You can see in Sacred Scripture that Christ's true church is not the "learning" church but is manifestly a TEACHING church. Moreover, it is evident that Christ's true church is an INFALLIBLE teacher, never liable to teach false doctrine "All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching then to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." (Matt.28:18-20). "As the Father hath sent me, I also send you." (John 20:21). Here again is a clear, unmistakable reference to the teaching mission of His Church; for here He is telling the Apostles that they had fallen heir to His own teaching mission. His Church was to be no less of a teacher than He was.

Here is another evidence that Catholic Church is an INFALLIBLE teacher, never liable to teach false doctrine: "These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you. ... when the Paraclete cometh, whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceedeth from the Father, he shall give testimony of me. And you shall give testimony, because you are with me from the beginning." (John 14:25-26; 15:26-27).

Compiled by Rafael Brom from: "True Church", "Radio Replies" by Fr. Chas. M. Carty & Rev. Dr. L. Rumble, M.S.C. and "Confession of a Roman Catholic" by Paul Whitcomb, a former Protestant Minister. Published by TAN Books and Publishers, Inc. Available in Apologetics Sections of marianland.com

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