Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Catholic Church

Catholic Church, a somewhat vague and elastic term. Strictly it implies the whole or universal church, and is used sometimes to denote the whole body of Christian believers, at other times to denote those who take as authoritative the first four general councils, and again, especially in England, to denote the Roman Catholic Church, i.e. those who accept the authority and doctrine of the Pope. Hence we have the anomaly of people who recite their belief in the Catholic Church in their creed, and yet repudiate the name of Catholic. If the definition of Catholic belief, put forth in 434, quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, be taken as the test of the Church Catholic, its limits must now be very contracted. However, most churches now only declare themselves branches of the Catholic Church, and admit that other churches may have an equal right to the name.