No such thing…

When I want to grab people’s attention in a discussion about one of the myriad topics of “church”, I am given to say, “You know…there is no such thing as the Roman Catholic Church.” That generally gets people’s attention.

Technically I think I stand on pretty solid ground. There are 24 churches in the Catholic Church, all of whom acknowledge the Pope as their temporal and spiritual leader. Each of the churches have their own canon law, their own liturgies, their own organization, their own rules about married priests, and more – they are called eclessia sui juris – self-governing churches. Here’s the list

  • Latin Catholic Church (which is popularly called the Roman Catholic Church)
  • Coptic Catholic Church
  • Eritrean Catholic Church
  • Ethiopian Catholic Church
  • Maronite Catholic Church
  • Syriac Catholic Church
  • Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
  • Armenian Catholic Church
  • Chaldean Catholic Church
  • Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
  • Albanian Catholic Church
  • Belarusian Catholic Church
  • Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church
  • Križevci Catholic Church (or Byzantine Church of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro)
  • Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
  • Hungarian Greek Catholic Church
  • Italo-Albanian Catholic Church
  • Macedonian Catholic Church
  • Melkite Greek Catholic Church
  • Romanian Catholic Church
  • Russian Catholic Church
  • Ruthenian Catholic Church (also known as the Byzantine Catholic Church in America)
  • Slovak Catholic Church
  • Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

Our own Fr. Salim was born into the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, was ordained in that Church, and only later was granted the privilege to celebrate Mass and sacraments in the Latin Catholic Church. He has bi-ritural faculties – he can celebrate the Rites associated with each Church. But he has always been Catholic, a word derived from the Greek katholika – universal.

Just thought you would want to know.


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