Another important "Catholic Principle": Communio

In fact, I wouldn’t call it a “principle”, but rather an “aspect” of being “catholic”. Acroamaticus, like many non-Catholics trying to be “small-c catholic”, concentrates on dogmatic characteristics. But the Creeds remind us that there is something else in view: that Church which is Holy, Catholic and Apostolic is also One. This means the ecclesiological question cannot be dodged.

Catholic ecclesiology speaks of the One-ness of the Church in terms of an “ecclesiology of communion” (as does the Orthodox Church – this is something we share with them, thus proving that it is indeed a “catholic principle”). My assertion that there is no meaning to the term “catholic” if it does not include “communion with the Bishop of Rome” may give rise to argumentation on the “bishop of Rome” side of the equation, but noone can deny the necessity of the “communion” aspect if we are seeking to understand what we mean when we say “catholic”. For indeed, how can the church be “catholic” in the sense of “according to the whole” or “universal” without entering into the question of how local churches are united in one visible communion?

One of the chief reasons that I became Catholic is because, despite my deep Lutheran spirituality, I could no longer continue in a church body in which the universality of communion of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church was given no concrete expression whatsoever. That, and the fact that I became equally convinced of the other end of the equation, the necessity for this universal communion to be united in communion with the Successor of the one to whom Christ said “I give you the keys of the Kingdom” and “On this Rock I will build by Church”.

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3 Responses to Another important "Catholic Principle": Communio

  1. An Liaig says:

    This is also conected to the understanding of salvation. In the Catholic (and Orthodox – and I am aware of the irony of using thoise terms in this context) understanding we are saved As members of the Church while the classic protestant (not necessarily Lutheran) position is that salvation is an individual thing. To the Calvanist the church is a group of people who have been saved while to the Catholic the Church is the body you join in oreder to be saved – “Look not on our sins Lord but on the faith of your Church.”

  2. matthias says:

    .When we take Holy Communion ,we Remember His Death ;we are expressing our Unity with the Risen Lord Who is the Head of the Church;we are expressing our unity with each other.I take great joy in knowing that when we say the Creed at Communion we are speaking as individuals saved by Grace but corporately identifying with each other and our Brothers and Sisters both now and who have gone before us.

  3. Not “trying to be catholic”, David, but “being catholic”, according to the ancient definition that prevailed up until 1563 and beyond as far as I am concerned. Even if, for argument’s sake, I was to concede to the RCC the right to determine what is catholic, it itself acknowledges that those “who believe in Christ and have been baptised are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church” [Unitatis redintegratio].

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