Catholic

(Gr. katholikos, “according to the whole,” hence “general”). In Ignatius the church was “wherever Jesus Christ is present.” Thereafter no definition for the term more completely summarizes both its intent and the inherent problems that emerge therefrom than does the usage of Vincent of Lérins* (fifth century): “that which has been believed everywhere, always, by everyone”-a condition which historically has never been met. By analogy the concept appears also in the Athanasian Creed* applied to the Christian faith itself, but even earlier the church had been referred to as “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.” Subsequent, more limited, understanding of “catholic” has separated the Roman Church from those protesting for its reform, the Western Church from its Eastern counterpart called “ecumenical” or “orthodox,” and an assumed orthodoxy from an assumed heterodoxy which, as in Valentinian practice, also dared to use the term.