Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Capitalize "Catholic Church"?

When people say the "Catholic Church", should the two words be capitalized? Yes. Very often in the media, I see people write "The Catholic church", but I would argue this is incorrect. "Catholic Church" is a single entity and it is a proper name. Catholic is not an adjective describing one particular church. Rather, the whole term signifies one entity.

The only time "Catholic church" could be legitimately used is in reference to a solitary church building. For example, "The Catholic church down the street". I think sometimes this error is made out of ignorance, but other times I think it is a subtle jab at the Church, a way of diminishing it somehow. You'll notice I wrote "the Church", because again, it is referring to a specific entity, a proper noun.

If you know a lot about grammar, and would like to challenge what I've written here, feel free. This is not iron-clad, but I think I am correct.

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