My latest Godson is getting all kinds of flax from his devout but non practicing family about his leaving the Catholic Church. Here is my latest email to him on the matter -
I couldn't help but reflect on our conversation on Monday where you stated some in your family don't agree with you classifying yourself as 'Orthodox Catholic'. I'm sure that they, as well as others, will try and tell you that you turned your back on the Catholic Church when you became Orthodox. Nothing could be further from the truth and I know you already are aware of that. However, since you will be faced with this accusation in the future I thought I'd send you some interesting articles that I recommend you read when you have the time. As your Godfather I think you will appreciate them and it will show you that I take my responsibility of Godfather seriously. Which means to teach the faith to you. Knowledge of Orthodox Catholicity is a life long journey.
Excerpt from the above site -
For further insight into the word "catholic," consider the following excerpt from Ch. 2 of The Mind of the Orthodox Church, by Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos:
The term 'catholic' originates with Aristotle and means whole, entire, "the common name in contrast to that of each one". Furthermore, we can say that the term 'catholic' is identified and linked with what is Orthodox.
When we say that the Church is catholic, we mean it in three particular respects. First, that it exists in the whole world, second, that it has all the truth about God, man and man's salvation, and third, that the life which the Church has is common for all Christians, for all its members.
In the first place it is called catholic because it is in the whole world. There is no place in which the Orthodox Church does not exist. St. Kyril of Jerusalem gives this definition: "It is called catholic because it is spread throughout the world... because it is everywhere in the world from end to end of the earth... because of the unity of the Churches spread everywhere, all of which make up one catholic whole in the bond of the Holy Spirit". So then the presence of the Church in the whole world and its unity with the power and energy of the Holy Spirit characterise it as catholic.
Then it is called catholic because it has the whole truth, as it was revealed on the day of Pentecost. Here we must point out that the scholastic theology of the West teaches that through the ages we have greater deepening in the dogmas of the faith and that they are still developing further. But this is not orthodox teaching. We believe that on the day of Pentecost the Apostles reached deification, experienced Revelation and so reached the whole truth. Those who through the ages reach deification share in the same experience of revelation. But this truth is formulated and expressed in every epoch, as heresies appear. Thus we have not developed and gone deeper in the faith, but on the one hand, we struggle to live the faith, and on the other hand we are preserving the expression of faith in terms that will protect it from wrongdoings and distortions.
St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, writes: "The Church, having received this message and this faith, although spread throughout the world, carefully keeps it, as living in one house: and nevertheless it trusts all, as it has one and the same heart".
In this sense catholicity is bound up with Orthodoxy. Orthodoxy preserves the whole truth, both as revealed and dogmatic, and as experience, while heresy breaks the catholicity of the truth, because it takes up one side of the truth and overlooks the other. For example, Arios did not deny that the Angel of the Lord appears in the Old Testament, but he denied the divinity of the Word. The Monophysites did not deny the divine nature, but they overemphasised it at the expense of the human nature, whereby they did away with the possibility of salvation. We observe this in all the heresies. They take one part of the truth, separate it from its catholicity, and overemphasise it at the expense of the whole. Thus the Orthodox-Catholic Church teaches, as St. Kyril of Jerusalem says, "In a catholic and complete way all the dogmas which should come into the knowledge of men".
Likewise, the Church is said to be catholic because the life which it offers belongs to all; that is to say, all Christians have the possibility of attaining deification, regardless of their way of life, their occupation and the place where they live. The Orthodox person is one believing in a catholic way, a virtuous person living in a catholic way, one who applies to his life all the commandments of Christ. As Father Justin Popovich teaches, the members of the Church "live with what is His own (Christ's), they have what is His own and they know through His own knowledge, because they think with the catholic mind of the Church, and they feel with the catholic heart of the Church, and they desire with the catholic desire of the Church, and they live with the catholic life of the Church". We are members of the Church "through living the one, holy and catholic life of the Church, through the holy and catholic faith of the Church, through the holy and catholic soul of the Church, through the holy and catholic conscience of the Church, through the holy and catholic mind of the Church, through the holy and catholic will of the Church. And thus let us have everything common and catholic, the faith, and love, and righteousness, and prayer, and fasting, and truth, and sorrow and joy and salvation and deification and godmanhood, and immortality, and eternity, and blessedness."
St Vincent of Lerins on the catholicity of the church -
St Vincent's description of a Catholic is as follows:
(3) Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly 'Catholic,' as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality [i.e. oecumenicity], antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.
Note: Who better fits that description? The Church of Rome or the Orthodox Catholic Church?