Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The word Catholic

By c.pio

Why Catholic, where can we find it in the bible? Frequently asked question in every Catholic Apologetic forum and group I have joined.

Before answering this question, although similar in approach and partly tackled, I would like to point out first that this article is not intended to address the issue on whether or not Christ gave an Exclusive Specific Proper Name for his Church. (This is another issue to address with).

The word Catholic

The word Catholic was first coined by Ignatius of Antioch, a direct hearer and disciple of the Apostle John:

Where the bishop appears, there let the people be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. (ekklesia katholicos) [letter to the Smyrneans (35-107 A.D.)]

ekklesia katholicos soon became in many cases a mere appellative or proper name of the true Church founded by Christ.

The word katholicos is a Greek word derive from two words kata-, down, along, according to; + holou (from neuter genitive of holos, whole.) The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition Copyright 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company and the same explanation given by Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001 Douglas Harper

It is worthy to note that the original language of the New Testament books was written in Greek, so by going back to its original language we can find verses that deal to the question on where is that in the bible.

Acts 9:31


μν ον κκλησία καθ’ λης τς ουδαίας κα Γαλιλαίας κα Σαμαρείας εχεν ερήνην οκοδομουμένη κα πορευομένη τ φόβ το κυρίου κα τ παρακλήσει το γίου πνεύματος πληθύνετο.


ē men oun ekklēsia kath olēs tēs ioudaias kai galilaias kai samareias eichen eirēnēn oikodomoumenē kai poreuomenē tō phobō tou kuriou kai tē paraklēsei tou agiou pneumatos eplēthuneto.


Acts 5:11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these things.


Acts 15:22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders with the whole church to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas namely Judas surnamed Barsabas and Silas chief men among the brethren.


Therefore, ekklesia katholicos which means "Universal Church" can be trace within the core text of the bible: holen ten ekklesian means “The Whole Church” or ekklesia kath holes which simply means “The Church throughout the whole” which were both used by no less than the Apostles themselves.

Matthew 28:19 therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mark 16:15 He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.

Because the Church that Christ founded is a Universal Church – a Catholic Church… races from all nations gathered before him.


  1. Well explained.

  2. C. Pio,
    Very good article, it is well written and very informative.
    Only one thing I would like to add, that St. Ignatious may not be the one responsible in calling the Church founded by Christ as Catholic. In his letter to the Smyrneans it appears that the receipients of his letters are already aware of the term "catholic", in referring to the Church of God. Hence, at that time that term "catholic" is already common or wide spread. Although, it can be argued that he is the first one in writing outside the Bible(Act 9:31)calling and or describing Christ's Church as "catholic".

  3. thanks :)

    I will post this as addendum on this article.

    God bless Winnie

  4. May God bless us all Catholic defenders! May we remain faithful and good models of virtue. Faith, Hope and love!

    Thanks for your articles, I posted them on my Facebook, hope you don't mind:))

  5. sure no problem :)

    God bless once again.

  6. when Jesus built His church, is it already universal?

    1. Obviously YES! his followers no longer confine in one single race, ...Gentiles were already incorporated.


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