Please remember, though, Julie, that the meaning of the words "holy Catholic church" in the fourth century means something entirely different to what is commonly thought when we say "Catholic church" today.
It is not asking you to say that you believe that the Roman Catholic church is the one true church. This is a spin that some Roman Catholics think it says, but educated RC folks and those who have studied it have a different view of what it means. It effectively means that all believers, whatever grouping they might be in (including Roman Catholicism, but also all Orthodox and Protestants who believe the rest of the Creed) are all in reality one C hurch. Part of this Church is now on Earth, and part of this Church is at rest with Christ, or on the way here with Him now, hard to say exactly which, but it is still all one Church. It is a Catholic church because it means it is all-embracing. It covers all sorts of people regardless of organisation, who repented and believed in Jesus and are covered by His promises.
Oddly, the way some words are used by organisations, you end up with something untrue. I will give four examples.
1. Islam means "submission" to the will of God. But by denying the Deity of Christ and Him as Saviour, crucified as a propitiation for our sins, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, the so-called Muslims are in absolute rebellion against the will of God as perfectly revealed in the words of Jesus and the New Testament. Ironically, the name means the opposite of what they really are.
2. Jehovah's Witnesses - Watchtower deny that Jesus Christ is Jehovah bodily, and therefore they cannot possibly be witnessing about the true triune Jehovah. Ironically, the name means the opposite of what they really are.
3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints - they are a private money making organisation set up under Masonic influence and their Masonic provenance is seen to this day in their temple ordinances. They have nothing to do with the real Jesus whom they describe as someone who used to be an ordinary man and became God and that we will do the same. Ironically, the name means the opposite of what they really are.
4. Roman Catholics, who call themselves "the Catholic church" in many cases (but not all) behave as though they are the real Church and protestants might mean well but their sacraments are not actually valis and there may well be a question mark as to whether you can really be saved if you are in a different part of the Church to theirs. Again, ironically, for these people, what is in the name is the opposite of what they really are.
The odd ones out in the above four are the Roman Catholics, since obviously they do believe in the core truths of the Apostle's Creed and many of them are beautiful believing souls that put us all to shame. The issue I have is that even now, 500 years after the Reformation, there are still far too many "side shows" going on in RC church life, the whole Vatican thing and its wealth, the view of priesthood and apostolic succession, the praying to saints, especially Mary, and prayers for the dead, linked to the belief in purgatory. Against these negatives, we could , however point to a lot of positive aspects, especially as the rot of modern life seems to set in slower in countries like Poland where RC churches are still strong.
I may not believe in the Roman Catholic Church but as many of them know the Lord and have put their trust in Jesus are for sure part of the real Catholic church mentioned in this creed.
The irony is that I wanted to say 100% that I believe - but there’s no way I’m gonna say I “believe in the holy Catholic Church” (!), for the Church still means believers who belong to the body of Christ (with Christ as it’s Head), and NOT the Catholic Church denomination as implied in modern usage. Being nominally “Catholic” or even “Christian” doesn’t necessarily mean one believes in Jesus Christ and the Resurrection and so on. I wonder how many are voting no because they can’t in good conscience say “I believe in the Catholic Church!”
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