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Catholicity Research Papers

Catholicity research papers are about the spiritual stance inherent in the Catholic Church’s claim to be the true, universal Church.  Paper Masters can explicate Catholicity for you in a custom research paper.

However, the idea of Catholicity has involved the Catholic Church in endless wars against heresy, wars that have tarnished its reputation. In modern times Pope John Paul II has insisted that the doctrines of the Catholic Church are still the true faith; this has seemed to some to be contrary to the ecumenical spirit of the times.  But the claim to catholicity has been, I would argue, a source of great strength for these reasons:

  • CatholicityCatholicism is not a narrow creed
  • Catholicism, spiritually, is a huge concept
  • There is room in it for mystics like John of the Cross and Joachim on Flora and for logicians like Aquinas.  To borrow a couple of phrases from James’ Varieties, there have been great and influential “sick souls” and great and influential practitioners of “the religion of healthy mindedness” in it. 
  • Catholicism is aggressive and self-confident assertion of the primacy of its doctrines, coupled with its institutional power, have allowed many people to find in it a spiritual space in which they placed a high degree of confidence; that spiritual confidence is called “faith”.

Catholicity and Church History

Nor should the fact be ignored that this claim to  “catholicity” had a great deal to do with its success in the world. After all, the Church’s history might have been far different; it might have existed in the tolerant world of the Roman Empire as a rather obscure sect, just as another great monotheism, Judaism, did.  Instead, in a space of less than four centuries it became the dominant faith in the Roman Empire.  It was able to do this, in part, because it was an aggressive, proselytizing faith that believed zealously that it was the one true faith.  It was not a passive mode of worship.  In the words of MacMullen, “…Christianity presented ideas that demanded a choice, not tolerance…” and, because this was so, it was able to muster the fervor and devotion from its followers that enabled it to achieve such spectacular success.

The Claim to Catholicity

The claim to catholicity has thus been both a strength and weakness to the Church.  It has given it great strength in terms of both spiritual self-confidence and bureaucratic staying power.  It has also, at times, made it arrogant, aloof from the spiritual needs of its followers, and too slow to respond to human needs in a rapidly changing world.

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