Application Comment Details


Brian Elliott


Pontificium Consilium de Comunicationibus Socialibus (PCCS) (Pontifical Council for Social Communication)



Community Objection Ground

Church of England Policy

14 August 2012 at 17:10:05 UTC

The Church of England and her sister Churches in the Anglican Communion have for centuries denied the Roman Catholic Church the exclusive use of the term "Catholic".

A recent enunciation of this position is found in the formal response of the Church of England's House of Bishops to the Papal Encyclical "Ut unum sint"

See Note 4 appended to

I quote:


4.It will be noticed that where the Encyclical refers to ‘the Catholic

Church’, we have attempted to distinguish between the one, holy,

catholic and apostolic Church of the Creeds (the Catholic Church) on the

one hand, and the church (and particular churches) in full visible

communion with the Church of Rome on the other (the Roman Catholic

Church). The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ, a theological

reality, created by God and participating in his own communion of love.

It is not a ‘denomination’ or any other merely terrestrial institution.

The marks and identity of this Church remain one of the underlying

ecumenical questions. It will not, therefore, surprise anyone that while

we are eager to discuss seriously all themes of theological importance,

we are not willing to accept in advance any particular interpretation of

the points at issue. An example of the ecumenical seriousness of this

point may be seen in the Encyclical’s statement that ‘the Catholic

Church thus affirms that during the two thousand years of her history

she has been preserved in unity’. Our concern that unity should be fully

visible makes it difficult for us simply to accept such a statement, as

the divisions within the Church are painfully obvious to all.

For this reason, in this paper we continue our usual

description of the church in communion with Rome as ‘the

Roman Catholic Church’. We are well aware that the Holy

See has substantial ecclesiological reasons for

preferring an alternative expression. Nevertheless,

those reasons are themselves matters of ecumenical

discussion. In the meantime, the assertion that ‘the

communion of the particular Churches with the Church of

Rome, and of their Bishops with the Bishop of Rome, is –

in God’s plan – an essential requisite of full and

visible communion’, justifies the description ‘Roman’

and makes it inappropriate for other churches to accept

the Roman Catholic Church’s preferred usage.


Please deny the Vatican ownership of the string ".catholic"