Real Clear Catholic

“There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church — which is, of course, quite a different thing.”

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen, Foreword to Radio Replies Vol. 1, (1938) page ix

What is Catholic?

The word Catholic comes from the Greek kath-oh-lee-kos (καθολικός) meaning “universal” and it’s a reference to the universal expression and practice of Christianity that was known throughout the ancient world, as opposed to various sectarian groups at the time (1 Corinthians 1:10-17). “Catholic” was the ancient Greek way of saying “nondenominational.” We see the word first appear in ancient literature back in AD 110, written by St Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, in a letter he wrote to the Church in Smyrna just before his martyrdom. Ignatius was ordained a bishop by St John the Apostle, who wrote the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John and the Book of Revelation.

The Catholic Church is the world’s oldest Christian body, tracing its origin to St Peter and St Paul who both planted the Church in Rome before being martyred there under the reign of Nero Caesar. The word Catholic was used in antiquity to describe all churches (throughout the known world) who held the common faith and practice of all Christians, in all nations, and were in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, who was the successor of St Peter.

Today, Christianity is divided between many denominations, sects, affiliations and independent congregations. Jesus Christ, however, calls us to unity, so that our witness may not be hindered in this world (John 17:20-21). For divisions among Christians is a scandal that causes nonbelievers to doubt our witness. The Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ, and established by Saints Peter and Paul in Rome, is the largest Christian body in the world (1.3 billion members) serving as a witness to Christian unity that, in spite of many trials and setbacks, has stood the test of time.

Still, here in North America, where denominations are plentiful beyond measure, there is much confusion concerning the Catholic Church. This website is designed to clear up much of that confusion. Welcome to Real Clear Catholic, the apologetics blog of Shane Schaetzel, an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church through Anglicanism. Shane is a trained catechist and apologist, whose columns have been featured on LifeSiteNews.Com, ChurchMilitant.Com, RemnantNewspaper.Com, as well as many other Catholic news and information websites.


In addition to the free articles below, Shane has written this highly-praised book of short-answers to Evangelical questions about the Catholic Church. The book is designed to help Evangelical (“Born-Again” or “Bible”) Christians better understand the Catholic faith, as well as help Catholics get a better grasp on how to explain the Catholic faith to Evangelicals.

At 178 pages, the book is small enough to digest in one evening, yet the answers cover a wide range of topics. Many Catholics recommend this book, and it comes highly praised by Catholic priests and catechists from all over North America. Portions of this book have been reprinted for RCIA classes and parish bulletins. Click Here to learn more and to order your copy today. This resource is essential reading and is highly useful for effective Catholic evangelism.