The word catholic (with lowercase c; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal") comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The term Catholic (usually written with uppercase C in English) was first used in the early 2nd century to indicate Christendom as a whole. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages.

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  • The word catholic (with lowercase c; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal") comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The term Catholic (usually written with uppercase C in English) was first used in the early 2nd century to indicate Christendom as a whole. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages. The word in English can mean either "of the Catholic faith" or "relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church". Many Christians use it to refer more broadly to the whole Christian Church or to all believers in Jesus Christ regardless of denominational affiliation; it can also more narrowly refer to Catholicity, which encompasses several historic churches sharing major beliefs. "Catholicos", the title used for the head of some churches in Eastern Christian traditions, is derived from the same linguistic origin. In non-ecclesiastical use, it derives its English meaning directly from its root, and is currently used to mean the following: * including a wide variety of things; all-embracing * universal or of general interest; * liberal, having broad interests, or wide sympathies; or * inclusive, inviting and containing strong evangelism. The term has been incorporated into the name of the largest Christian communion, the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church). All of the three main branches of Christianity in the East (Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church and Church of the East) had always identified themselves as Catholic in accordance with Apostolic traditions and the Nicene Creed. Anglicans, Lutherans, and some Methodists also believe that their churches are "Catholic" in the sense that they too are in continuity with the original universal church founded by the Apostles. However, each church defines the scope of the "Catholic Church" differently. For instance, the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox churches, and Church of the East, each maintain that their own denomination is identical with the original universal church, from which all other denominations broke away. Distinguishing beliefs of Catholicity, the beliefs of most Christians who call themselves "Catholic", include the episcopal polity, that bishops are considered the highest order of ministers within the Christian religion, as well as the Nicene Creed of AD 381. In particular, along with unity, sanctity, and apostolicity, catholicity is considered one of Four Marks of the Church, found the line of the Nicene Creed: "I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church." During the medieval and modern times, additional distinctions arose regarding the use of the terms Western Catholic and Eastern Catholic. Before the East–West Schism, those terms had just the basic geographical meanings, since only one undivided Catholicity existed, uniting the Latin speaking Christians of West and the Greek speaking Christians of the East. After the split of 1054 terminology became much more complicated, resulting in the creation of parallel and conflicting terminological systems. (en)
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  • The word catholic (with lowercase c; derived via Late Latin catholicus, from the Greek adjective καθολικός (katholikos), meaning "universal") comes from the Greek phrase καθόλου (katholou), meaning "on the whole", "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words κατά meaning "about" and ὅλος meaning "whole". The term Catholic (usually written with uppercase C in English) was first used in the early 2nd century to indicate Christendom as a whole. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages. (en)
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  • Catholic (term) (en)
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