Church History

The Catholic Church and Her 23 Liturgical Rites

by Steve Ray on August 24, 2020

I was recently asked if there was a difference between the “Catholic Church” and the “Roman Catholic Church”. Are they the same thing? What is the correct name of our Church?

So I provided this simple answer (PDF version here).

The official name of our church is “Catholic Church”. But the Church has 23 different rites. The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines a rite as “The diverse liturgical traditions in which the one catholic and apostolic faith has come to be expressed and celebrated in various cultures and lands.”

As part of this one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Catholic Church there are twenty-three individual rites which are equally valid with different liturgical traditions with different forms of liturgy, often based on cultural and language differences, but all in union with the Bishop of Rome.

Those of us in the West, are mostly members of the Latin or Roman Rite, which is named the Roman Catholic Church. There are others rites with unique names within the Catholic Church: the Maronite Catholic Church , the Greek Catholic Church, the Melkite Catholic Church, etc.

Roman Catholic Church is not the name of the whole Church, only the name of the Roman rite of the Catholic Church.

So the official name of our universal Church is “Catholic Church”. Roman Catholic Church is the Roman rite within the larger Catholic Church. But all the various liturgical rites are one and in union with Rome.

23-Catholic-Rites

This is very different than the Orthodox churches of the East which are in schism from the Catholic Church, having broken their union with Rome in 1054 A.D. They broke with the Universal Catholic Church and took a new name—Orthodox Church(es). It should be remembered that there is no such thing as “the Orthodox Church”; rather, there are Orthodox churches that are divided up along national lines. So there is the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Romanian Orthodox Church, etc. They are not in union with each other like the rites of the Catholic Church.

Here is the list of rites that are integral parts of the one, Holy, Catholic and apostolic Church:

For a more detailed history and explanation, click here.

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Crisis Magazine has come out with a good and insightful article debunking the idea that the Catholic Church endorsed and promoted slavery. The modern anti-Christian, anti-history narrative takes it for granted that the Church was either a promoter of slavery, or at best complicit or it turned a blind eye.

This article by Paul Kengor puts that lie to bed and again affirms that the Church is correct and has always been. There are a lot of comments and discussion after the article on the website.

“Roman Catholics: the First Abolitionists” begins

FE13BEFBA30F4F64BB77DA807D255DC9Progressives eagerly remind America of its past of slavery and racism. So much so that The New York Times’ 1619 Project literally dates America that way, defining the country’s start by the year 1619 (rather than 1620 or 1776), with the arrival of the first Africans to Virginia that year. Mobs target statues of everyone from Washington and Jefferson to (curiously) Union generals like Ulysses S. Grant, who defeated the Confederacy before battling the KKK, and even Abraham Lincoln and (most bizarre of all) Frederick Douglass, the great black abolitionist.

Very often, the mob engages in bad history, targeting literal saints who sought to protect natives from persecution, such as Saint Junípero Serra, who is being hunted and torn down throughout California. For a downright chilling display, watch the video of a raging mob in Sacramento blowtorching Serra’s face, spray-painting the statue with obscenities, and then pouncing on it with hammers while cheering, chanting, and cursing in the dark of night.

The problem with mobs, you see, is that they behave like, well, mobs.

Screen Shot 2020-07-27 at 9.50.06 AMWe Catholics know this will not stop with Saint Serra. Also in the crosshairs are the likes of Saint Louis, Christopher Columbus (obviously), and who knows who else. Last weekend, one of Serra’s mission churches in California went up in flames, with the cause of the fire not yet known. In the last few days, a statue of Mary was set on fire in Boston and another was vandalized in Brooklyn (among others). As to what Mary has to do with the modern anti-statue-racism movement is anyone’s guess.

Nonetheless, if the issue is (rightly so) a just condemnation of slavery and racism, and if one is genuinely seeking accurate history, then today’s activists ought to look back in admiration at the impressive track record of the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, now is a good time for Catholics to step up with a teachable moment regarding how their Church has long condemned human enslavement. This history goes back to at least 1435, over a half-century before Columbus set sail for the New World. This rich record spans from the 1400s into the modern era with Pope Francis.

For the whole article, CLICK HERE.

See below for my previous post about slavery and the Catholic Church….

Did the Church Ever Support Slavery?

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Had another great evening with William Albrecht and Michael Lofton on their popular and wide-ranging Reason & Theology show. It was a great time of discussion, challenge and digging deep into the issue of the primage of Peter and Rome in Scripture and the Church Fathers – East and West.

Enjoy the lively discussion….

Throughout the show we referred repeatedly to my book Upon this Rock.upon_this_rock_1__38891.1364146522.1280.1280

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Baptists at the Council of Nicea?

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Written by Fr. Hugh Barbour, O.Praem. Nicea, August 24, A.D. 325, 7:41 p.m.    “That was powerful preaching, Brother Athanasius. Powerful! Amen! I want to invite any of you folks in the back to approach the altar here and receive the Lord into your hearts. Just come on up. We’ve got brothers and sisters up here […]

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The Dark Side of Luther  (View online version at Steve Woods site here)     This is the last of my newsletters responding to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. I’m sending you some of the overlooked statements of Luther revealing his thoughts on Catholics, his claim to infallibility, and his hatred of the […]

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Catherine of Siena and Leaving the Church

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What this 14th-century mystic can teach us about fidelity to Christ and to a Church in crisis Thomas McDermott, OP In the wake of so many clerical sex abuse scandals, too many people the Catholic Church appears hypocritical and bankrupt morally and spiritually. In the midst of such trying times, how can Catholics justify remaining […]

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A friend and fellow pilgrim got in a row with a friend on Facebook and asked for my help. You might enjoy the question and the answer. My friend wrote: “I have a quick apologetic question.  A Protestant Facebook page was denying the Eucharist and I pasted St Ignatius’ quote about the Eucharist, “Let us […]

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Aztecs, Human Sacrifice, Abortion and Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 12, 2019

Today we visited the Aztec Temple in Mexico City. The cathedral of Mexico City was built right next to the 500-year temple. I did a lot of study on the Aztecs and their massive human sacrifices and cannibalism. I realized there was a great tie-in with the Catholic faith, the sacrifice of Christ and abortion […]

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Did the Church Ever Support Slavery?

October 20, 2019

By Steve Weidenkopf   September 18, 2017 Many years ago I attended a conference organized by a national Catholic organization on the topics of marriage and human sexuality. One of the speakers was a professor from Creighton University who, in the middle of his talk on contraception, launched into a long tangent about how the Church had […]

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My EWTN Live Show on the Papacy now on YouTube

August 16, 2019

On August 14, I was in Birmingham Alabama to do the EWTN Live show with Fr. Mitch Pacwa. He’s a classy guy, by the way, and I really enjoyed my time with him again. He’s a hunter and outdoorsman and a pleasure to be with — lots of great stories. (Courtesy of EWTN Global Catholic […]

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In 1521 “Reformers” Disagreed among themselves – was it really THAT bad?

August 8, 2019

A friend named Philip wrote and asked me this question: Christ is Risen. And we with him. I was talking to Evangelical friends who directed me to some historical websites about the Marburg meeting of the Protestant Reformers. You have just finished your Dr. Luther tour of Germany. It seems that the Protestants did agree […]

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Steve “Appearance” on Catholic Answers Live – Martyrs!

July 25, 2019

Steve Ray discusses the Catholic Church’s history of martyrs who refused to deny Christ. Questions Covered: 18:20 – How can you historically prove that the writings of the martyrs are theirs? Do most Protestants believe that these writings existed and were true?  21:55 – How can we defend the bad practices of popes in the early Church?      […]

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In response to a “Bible Christian’s“ Critique & Criticism of Catholics Reading the Bible

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A man named and Alan posted a comment on my blog. He claims that he was once a Catholic and therefore he is eminently qualified to comment on Catholics reading Bibles. He said they don’t read Bibles and they “don’t even own Bibles”. His ignorant exaggerations discredit everything else he says but I still thought […]

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One of my favorite 1-minute videos about the Church! Swelling with pride again…

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This short one-minute video is a few years old now, but it always makes me swell with pride. I am sharing it again to remind us that the Catholic Church is a blessed and elegant and universal Church that needs to be loved and defended. Enjoy, again! Maybe share with a friend or family that […]

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How We REALLY Got the Bible – the Facts Simply Presented (print this out, hand it out)

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This is just one page of Bob Sullivan’s excellent little tri-fold handout to explain how we got the Bible. It is from the Catholic and historical perspective without all the Protestant biases and twisting of history. I think you enjoy the whole thing which you can see here. You can print this out, fold it […]

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