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Ask Fr. Francis: With so many rites, What Does One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church Mean?

The following is an exerpt from askfrfrancis.orgFr. Francis Ching, CC answers tough questions about the Catholic faith.


What are the various Catholic churches with names like Maronite, Coptic and Slovak Catholic Church. In the Nicene Creed,”I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church”, so are churches just like CMCC serving the ethnic groups? Are these churches legit for Roman Catholics? How about Eastern and Orthodox?

Fr. Francis' Answer:

Within the family of the Catholic Church, there are currently 25 different “rites”, and the “Roman” Catholic, or the “Latin” rite, is only one of them. All of these are united under one Pope, who happens to be of the Latin rite.

The proper distinction is therefore not different “churches”, but different “rites”.

The word “rite” refers to the ritual and liturgies. We have to remember that in the early Church, they did not have email or telephone, and communication and transportation were often disrupted for long periods of time due to wars and unrest. The early Church also did not already have a standardized way to celebrate Mass or perform baptism etc. In fact, they often had to start from bits and pieces.

Read the full answer here!


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