Why the Catholic Church is Roman
Why the Catholic Church is Roman probably makes you wonder a bit. As a Catholic who believes that this church was founded by Jesus who was born a Jew, you wonder why it became popularly known as Roman. Were not Romans pagans at the time of Jesus? They were actually the ones who persecuted the early Christians.
And that is why many anti-Catholics claim that the Catholic Church was started or influenced by pagans. And that it cannot be the church that Jesus founded. And that Catholics are not Christians at all. Of course, they are all wrong.
The Catholic Church is officially just the Catholic Church without the word Roman attached to it. Even her catechism doesn’t contain the word Roman. It is just plain Catechism of the Catholic Church.
However, you can find within the Catholic Church different rites or the way the mass or sacraments are done. There are four major rites in the Catholic Church: Roman/Latin, Antiochian, Alexandrian and Byzantine. So, when one says he is Roman Catholic, it just means that he was baptized in the Catholic Church with Roman rite.
It is believed that the Anglicans were the ones who started calling the Catholic Church as Roman Catholic. The Anglicans consider themselves Catholic and to distinguish themselves from the Catholic Church in communion with the Pope, they attached the word Roman, signifying that this Catholic Church is the one with the Pope in Rome.
But there is an interesting angle why the Catholic Church eventually became known as Roman. It must be the Lord’s will!
The Bible actually gives some clues that Rome really has a big part in God’s perfect plan for His church. And that must be the reason why the Catholic Church, though started in Jerusalem, ended up in Rome and became popularly known as Roman.
In Acts 23:11 St. Paul was told by the Lord to bear witness also at Rome as he has testified in Jerusalem.
The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rome.”
Rome was specifically mentioned by the Lord. The Lord really wanted Rome to become part of His Church, apparently the seat of His Church.
St. Paul wrote letters to Christians in different places but his letter to the Christians at Rome (N.T. Book of Romans) was the longest. He called the Romans beloved of God who were called to be saints. He also mentioned that their faith was spoken of in the whole world.
To all that are at Rome, the beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you, and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
First I give thanks to my God, through Jesus Christ, for you all, because your faith is spoken of in the whole world.
His letters to Christians of other places (Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Thessalonians) did not contain the same descriptions as ‘beloved of God’ and with ‘faith spoken of in the whole world’.
It is clear by St. Paul’s letter that the Romans were special! The Church of Rome must have been blessed by the Lord!
The Church of Rome was consecrated by the blood of both St. Peter and St. Paul during the persecution by Nero. This church is now where the Holy See is.
There used to be five Patriarchal Sees in the early Catholic Church namely Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria. These cities were all under the Roman Empire until four of them were conquered by Muslims. These Muslim conquests gave rise to Crusades, aimed to recapture these cities.
Antioch is no more. Constantinople is Istanbul in Turkey which is now a Muslim country. Alexandria is in Egypt which is now also a Muslim country. Jerusalem is now claimed by Israel and Palestine. The Muslims built the Dome of Rock on Temple Mount, a sacred site for Jews and Christians.
Only Rome remains unconquered by Muslims.
It almost fell to the Muslim hands in 849 AD. But Rome won eventually. And the Church of Rome, beloved of God and with faith spoken of in the whole world, is preserved until today.
So why is the Catholic Church Roman? Because Rome, beloved of God, is her home.
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