<<extensive, universal>>

The word Catholic is derived from the Greek meaning universal. It was Christ’s desire that all peoples would embrace the message (Mt 28:19,20). In the 2nd century, the Christian church was called Catholic. The Reformation in the 16th century was when the Protestants broke away from what they saw as wrong teaching coming from the church headed by the Pope of Rome. (Rome was the political center of the world at that time). This rejection of undue authority by the Pope and erroneous doctrine was spearheaded by Martin Luther. The resulting Christian denominations or streams of belief are sometimes referred to as the Holy Catholic Church, and the Protestant with its many branches tracing their origins back to this initial separation from the Roman Catholic Church, which is headed by the Pope. Normally when the word Catholic is used now days it refers to the Roman Catholic Church, which is denoted by the initials RC.

See also: Luther, Protestant, reformation, Roman Catholicism.