What does “Catholic” mean?

When someone says “Catholic” are you sure what they are talking about?

*A term literally meaning “universal” or “worldwide.” The word is most often associated with Roman Catholicism but originally became standardized in Christian theology through the formula appearing in early Christian creeds that affirms belief in “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” To affirm the church’s catholicity is to suggest that the church is universal in scope. In other words, the church is not restricted to any one ethnic group or geographical location but is open to Jew and Greek, slave and free, male or female (Gal 3: 28), with its gospel message being directed to “all nations.”

God Bless

Brian Mason

*Stanley J. Grenz, David Guretzki & Cherith Fee Nordling, Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999), p. 24