Catholicism is the entirety of the beliefs and practices of the Western and Eastern Churches that are in full communion with the pope as the Bishop of Rome and successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, united as the Catholic Church.
The first known written use of "Catholic Church" appears in a letter by Ignatius of Antioch about A.D. 107 to the church of Smyrna, whose bishop, Polycarp, visited Ignatius during his journey to Rome as a prisoner: in his letter to Smyrna, Ignatius wrote, "Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8) His use of "Catholic Church" suggests that it was already in current use, for he sees no need to explain himself and uses the expression as one already known to his readers. It gives expression to St. Paul's teaching that all baptized in Christ are one body in Christ (Gal.3:28; Eph.4:3-6, 12-16). Dissenting groups breaking away from this universal unity were already known to the Apostles: in his letters Paul refers to the "Judaizers" (those requiring observance of the Jewish Law), and in his Book of Revelation St. John calls them "Nicolaitans". They believe that it is a small step for those faithful to the teaching of the Apostles to identify themselves as the Catholic Church ("the one Church everywhere"), and not to include those dissenting and breaking away from unity with her.
The term Catholic Christianity entered into Roman law by force of edict under the Roman Emperor Theodosius on February 27 AD 380 in the Theodosian Code XVI.i.2: "It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our clemency and moderation, should continue the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation and the second the punishment of [as] our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven, shall decide to inflict."
[Extract of English translation from Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1943), p. 31, cited at Medieval Sourcebook: Theodosian Code XVI by Paul Halsall, Fordham University. Retrieved Jan 5, 2007. The full Latin text of the code is at IMPERATORIS THEODOSIANI CODEX Liber Decimus Sextus (170KB download), archived from George Mason University. Retrieved Jan 5, 2007.]
Feast Day of September 18
Saint Joseph of Cupertino
(or Giuseppe da Copertino
, born Giuseppe Maria Desa
) (June 17, 1603 – September 18, 1663) was an Italian
saint. He was said to have been remarkably unclever, but prone to miraculous levitation
and intense ecstasies that left him gaping.
Joseph was born in Copertino, Apulia. As a child, Joseph was a remarkably slow witted. He is also said to have had a violent temper.
When he was 17, Joseph attempted to join the Friars Minor Conventuals, but his lack of education prevented him from gaining admittance. Eventually, in his early twenties, he was admitted into a Franciscan friary near Cupertino. He had a learning disability, and legend has it that he would study intently for one small section of the material, because that was all he was able to do, and prayed that the material he studied would be what he was tested on.
On hearing the names of Jesus or Mary, the singing of hymns, during the feast of St. Francis, or while praying at Mass, he would go into dazed state and soar into the air, remaining there until a superior commanded him under obedience to revive.
Among other paranormal events associated with him, Joseph is said to have possessed the gift of healing. Legend holds he once cured a girl who was suffering from a severe case of measles. Another story holds that an entire community suffering from a drought asked Joseph to pray for rain, which he did with success.
When he accompanied his provincial on his visitations, Joseph would fall into ecstasy and inspire other friars to a greater evangelical perfection. Joseph was made an honorary citizen of Assisi and a full member of the Franciscan community.
Over time, Joseph attracted a huge following. To stay this, Pope Innocent X decided to move Joseph from Assisi and place him in a secret location. Pope Alexander VIII released Joseph to the friary in Osimo, where the Pope's nephew was the local bishop. There, Joseph was ordered to live in seclusion.
He died on the evening of September 18, 1663.
Attributes: Levitation, dullness
Patronage: Aviation, astronomy, mental handicaps, test taking