Or which is more appropriate, to call yourselves “Christians” or “Catholics”? Or you doubt you’re an indisputable Christian?
Would you believe both represent the same? (Read Are Catholics Christian?)
In fact, when you say, “I’m a Catholic” you imply you’re originally Christian and it doesn’t reduce you as “pagans” or “idol worshippers” or Mary fanatics. Catholics should be humbled with such a mockery for even Jesus was mocked and died for our sakes. The truth is that we Catholics are the bona fide Christians in its truest sense. We have history to back us up.
Ok so let’s go back to the pages of history.
This is what I know. The early Christians never like St. Paul and other Apostles of Jesus Christ never called themselves “Christians” as their official name. In fact, it was the nonbelievers and the pagans in Antioch who came to call them as such (Acts 11:26). That’s according to the Holy Scripture. Possibly early believers were deliberately named “Christians” to distinguish them from others who followed great philosophers and thinkers in Greece. Or perhaps it’s used as a mockery in opposition to the new circulated teachings about monotheism against their pagan beliefs.
From the time of the apostles who preached in Antioch, there was only ONE Church, not two or more. It was ONE! (Read Here)Soon, there came dissenting ideas and teachings which were not according to the apostolic teachings handed down through mouth or by deed for there wasn’t a Bible yet during those time. And the name of that only Church was “Church” with a capital “C” in it. There’s no need of registering it because everybody knows Jesus founded the true ONE Church upon the rock of Simon who was named Cephas, Petrus, Rock (or rock if you prefer it that way, if you mean “Rock” with a capital letter “R” solely for Christ.)(Read Four Marks of the Church).
That’s why when early dissenters in the Church led by Arius and Nestorius, immediately, the only true ONE Church condemned their teachings so as to protect the genuine teachings from the fake.
As a means to safeguard the authentic Church’ identity from the fake ones, early Church Fathers liek St. Ignatius of Antiochissued a letter addressed to the Smyrnaens to the only ONE true Church and called it “Catholic” meaning “Universal” not local, not global, not national, not international, but it’s UNIVERSAL as against those dissenting local churches claiming to be true (but not historically rooted to the time of the Apostles).
In the year 1054 during the East-West Schism the Eastern churches (Greek Rite) had doctrinal dispute over the Filioque Clause in the Nicene Creed and so it dissented from the Western churches (Latin Rite) from Rome. And because of this huge breaking up of the two great and apostolic churches, the Latin Church (Western) upheld its unique role as the absolute authority from solving any doctrinal disputes. Such authority was exercised by the See of Rome because of Papal authority (conferred by St. Peter as the first Pope) given to the Church of Rome, acknowledge by Church Fathers even before the split. (see the Primacy of Simon Peter).
The Church which was named Catholic—Universal, not local) as oppose to those local dissenting Protestant churches which were founded by men and women in the early 18th-19th century, some claimed to be prophets (like Joseph Smith, some angels (like Felix Manalo and some as “son” of god (like Apollo C. Quiboloy), whose faithful were identified as “Christians” by pagan Antiochians in Greece whose roots directly from Apostolic Tradition.
Such was the authority of this ONE, Holy, Universal—Catholic and Apostolic Church that it conferred in 393 at the Synod of Hyppo and put an end to the disputed New Testament books, and was repeated at the Councils at Carthage in 397AD and 419AD. The full articulation of the canon was confered on 1546AD at the Council of Trent 46 OT Books and 27 NT Books.
This same ONE true Universal—Catholic, Holy and Apostolic Christian Church which set the final canon of the Bible, made official the long been belief that Jesus was true God and true Man, which formulated the Apostole's Creed according to the writings of early Christians and members of the ONE true Universal Church which is Holy and Apostolic; that Mary, Christ’s mother was immaculately conceived and that during her last breath, she was assumed taken body and soul to heaven as the new ark of the new covenant.
In October 31, 1517, another dissenter Martin Luther broke from the ONE, true Holy, Universal Apostolic Church because of scandals he himself witnessed and made himself Lord over his newly founded protesting church. He was excommunicated by the Vicar of Christ (the Pope). By his own authority, he translated Lutheran Bible and removed 12 books from the original canon of the Bible and named it “Apocryphal” or “hidden” (Deuterocanonical). He wanted to hide the truth from his lies like the Church’ teachings on Purgatory (which is found in one of the books he took away -- 2 Mac. 12.43–46). He almost does away with Catholic Epistles like James, Jude, Letter of Peter, and Revelation because according to him, he found it to be less important and therefore should be removed. But God was protecting his Holy Word; he didn’t allow this dissenter to decide by his own authority that one of his words would be labeled “lesser”.
Because of him and other schisms, today there are more than 3,000 churches popping rapidly like mushrooms Christian Denominations and still continues to divide constantly and called themselves as “Born-Again” and tried to patent the word Christian as solely to them! All of them profess being Christians. Everyone use the Bible (the incomplete Protestant canon)! Everyone quoted the Bible as their sole authority!
But historical facts remain; that the present Catholic Church traces its root from the time of the Apostles to this present age; that the present Pope Benedict XVI is the legitimate successor of St. Peter, the first Pope of the Universal Church; that the Bible was a collection of books by Catholic Church Fathers sealed its canon and named it “Biblia”.
That the Catholic Church labored so hard to divide the Holy Book by Chapters by the then Archbishop of Canterbury Stephen Langton and Verses by a dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini.
That the Protestant Church simply took the freedom to copy and translate them without proper authority of the ONE, Universal, Holy, and Apostolic Church established by Christ through St. Peter, which have caused division among its own members and churches.
As I’ve mentioned earlier about the Indian national I’ve met, he was quick to answer that he’s a Christian and not a Catholic which only shows his immense historical ignorance about Christianity and Catholicism (are one and the same). Apparently he fell short in his understanding about the faith. When I asked him if he’s a Catholic, what I actually suggest is that “Is he a genuine Christian whose roots is Apostolic?” In fact, St. Thomas brought the faith in India so he must have known that Catholics are originally Christians.
Most of “Born-Again” groups sprouting from Protestant circles exclude Catholics from being called “Christians”. In my thoughts, I should be smiling and bless God for giving me this Church Christ built on a solid rock, which is genuinely ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC!
Whatever angle you may want to start, from History of Christianity to Timeline of Christianity, the Catholic Church is present! Therefore we are historical!
So with firmness, I say 'yes'! I am Catholic and I trace my roots to the times of the Apostles!
And Yes! I am 100% Christian!