Talk:Thomas More

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Why "Roman Catholic" is wrong per WP:BRD[edit]

The origins of the term "Roman Catholic" and "Catholic" are both disputed, but that dispute is not relevant to this discussion, the question is which construction is most accurate in terms of this article. I'll will attempt to be succinct below:

1. I agree and completely accept the usage of the term "Catholic" has a wider use than merely those in communion with the bishop of Rome, and in that sense my first edit could have been better. However in that sense the term "catholic" (with a small "c") is more commonly used.
2. Specifically in order to specify what was meant by "Catholic" in this context, and in response to the feedback of other users, I inserted a link specifically to the Wikipedia page describing the church which is in communion with the bishop of Rome. I deliberately avoided ambiguity by linking directly to it, not to "23 entries on the Catholic Church disambiguation page".
3. The term "Roman Catholic" is an erroneous term which is seldom (if ever) used by the church itself today. Where it is used it usually refers to Catholics of the Latin Church. However Thomas More is recognised as a saint not only by the Latin Church but by ALL who are in communion with the bishop of Rome. That is to say not only Latin Catholics, but the 22 Eastern Catholic churches as well. That is exactly why I linked to the page which describes all of these 23 churches.
4. I contend my formulation clearly specifies a recognition of sainthood by the 23 churches in communion with the bishop of Rome, this is a wider group than "Roman Catholics". This is true whether you think "Roman Catholic" is an appropriate formulation or not.
5. In my view the imprecision and contested nature of the term "Roman Catholic" makes it inappropriate for use in Wikipedia. The final edits I submitted (which were reversed) deliberately set out to avoid such imprecision whilst simultaneously not engaging with the controversy itself. I contend these edits or some similar compromise ought to be restored.
6. I would accept "Catholics in communion with the Bishop of Rome" as an agreeable compromise. This specifies precisely what is meant, and is not contested terminology. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.25.253.207 (talk) 12:52, 3 January 2015 (UTC)


Chris McLaughlin

At least at a first glance, "Catholics in communion with the Bishop of Rome" seems wordy but informative and essentially fine by me, if suitably Wikilinked, though others (and possibly me after further thought) may well object that it's actually likely to be confusing to many readers. To where would you wikilink it? A wordier but arguably more informative (or more easily understood) alternative might be "Roman Catholics (meaning the Latin Church and all other Catholics in communion with the Bishop of Rome)", with Roman Catholics wikilinked as standard (which currently redirects to Catholic Church, which is there described as 'also known as the Roman Catholic Church'), and "all other Catholics in communion with the Bishop of Rome" wikilinked to the relevant part of the Disambiguation page (an anchor can easily be added there if necessary to link to the exact desired spot).Tlhslobus (talk) 20:14, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Also you seem to be implying (for instance in your point 4) that Roman Catholic Church refers only to the Latin Church, whereas it normally refers to the whole Church, at least as per Roman Catholic Church (disambiguation), which says:
-------------------------
The Roman Catholic Church is the church in communion with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope)
Roman Catholic Church may also refer to:
Latin Church, the largest of the particular churches that constitute the Catholic Church
Diocese of Rome, the local church of Rome
------------------------
So another less wordy possible option might be to Wikilink Roman Catholics in our current text to that disambiguation article, or to a new anchor added in front of 'The Roman Catholic Church is the church in communion with the Bishop of Rome (the Pope)'. Tlhslobus (talk) 20:36, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Also, are we quite sure that the non-Latins in communion with Rome all know him as 'St Thomas More'? I'm no expert on this, but the veneration of saints and their precise naming seems to be the sort of non-doctrinal ritual matter on which some non-Latins might be allowed differ from Rome, and might choose to do so - for instance, when it's the other way round, I know that St Maroun is a major saint in the Maronite Church in Lebanon, which is in communion with Rome, but I've never heard of him in a Latin context. So it seems at least possible that something similar may well apply in some non-Latin churches to some Latin saints such as More, though I'm not quite sure precisely how that should affect our wording. (Having now checked, St Maroun is in fact also a Latin (and Orthodox) saint, but 'Maron, known to Latin Catholics as St Maroun' sounds somewhat misleading - to that extent your 'venerated by the ... Church as' seems like a real improvement).Tlhslobus (talk) 21:04, 3 January 2015 (UTC)
Also we should perhaps wait a few days to see if anybody else wants to have their say, especially Andreas Philopater, who has already supported the reversion in the previous section. As for Wikipedia's use of 'Roman Catholic' in general, that seems to be a matter you might want to raise elsewhere, perhaps on the Talk Page of WP:MOS, though possibly with unpredictable consequences (for instance, I suspect that lots of people, especially Northern Ireland Catholics, may be rather offended that Wikipedians eventually decided that 'Ireland' was normally preferable to 'Republic of Ireland' - or at least I think I'd probably be pretty offended if I were a Northern Ireland Catholic, or any other Northern Irish person who thought of himself or herself as Irish - as somebody from the Republic I think I should perhaps feel vaguely offended on their behalf, but I'd probably better stop this digression).Tlhslobus (talk) 20:14, 3 January 2015 (UTC)





Thank you for engaging in the discussion and the points you make are generally reasonable. I will try not to repeat myself, but I will attempt to deveolp a couple of points:

I wouldn't really object to your suggestion to link to the "Roman Catholic" disambigulation page however I think that the very existence of that page is proof positive that this particular term is troublesome, and in my view simply adds to the case that it ought to be avoided. In answer to your question as to where to link "Catholics in communion with the bishop of Rome" then the answer is precisely the place I linked to previously which is specific to this group. The name of the link could be easily rendered to look like this: "Catholics in communion with the bishop of Rome". This article points out in its first line that this group is also sometimes refered to as the "Roman Catholic Church".

I have certainly always understood the term "Roman Catholic" to refer to Latin Church (i.e. Western) Catholics in communion with the Pope. Although Latin Catholics are by far the majority of those in communion with the bishop of Rome there are 22 other autonomous Catholic Churches which are just as Catholic, just as in communion with the bishop of Rome and yet are not at all "Roman" in any other way whatsoever. It fact it is this very exclusion of such a large element of the Catholic world that is in my view the most objectionable problem with the term.

I am still not clear why exactly the term "Roman" is necessary at all. Eastern Catholics definitely do recognise Latin Church saints (and vice versa) so the use of the term "Roman" in this respect simply does not represent the reality of the situation. If the intention is to distinguish those Catholics in communion with the bishop of Rome from others such as Anglicans etc. who claim the term Catholic then the specificity should relate to ALL of those in communion with the bishop of Rome, not only the "Roman" ones.

Without wishing to labour the point I think this debate illustrates precisely the problem with the term "Roman Catholic". Despite the fact that it is common usage, even among many Latin Catholics, it is not really accurate in any meaningful way. My own view is that Wikipedia should aspire to agreed and accepted terminology which is accurate to the maximum degree possible. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chris McLaughlin (talkcontribs) 12:31, 4 January 2015 (UTC)

Chris, I share the ignorance of Tlhslobus on this point about whether ALL RC saints are recognized by Orthodox churches in communion, and it would be good to confirm it would be sourced.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:34, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Chris. I'll leave the good news till near the end.
1) On reflection "Catholics in communion with the bishop of Rome" now seems a bad idea, being both harder for many readers to understand and too wordy for the lead - that sort of clarification might be added as a foot note. But as Andrew Lancaster has pointed out (thanks, Andrew) that particular formulation would need an RS citation, and it might not be easy to find a 'clarifying' footnote that didn't need a probably hard-or-impossible-to-find RS citation.
2) You appear to be very much in a minority, and in disagreement with the usage of most modern Popes, when saying that "Roman Catholic Church" only means the Latin Church. This is documented in great detail with many citations at Roman_Catholic_(term). But of course none of that would of itself make 'Roman' necessary.
3) You are of course right that 'Roman Catholic' is 'troublesome'. But so is 'Catholic' without 'Roman', partly because so many other churches claim to be Catholic, etc (see History of the term "Catholic"). And that is presumably why 'Roman' has long being the consensus here.
4) I also still suspect dropping 'Roman' will require more readers to have to check it out than necessary, but I could easily be wrong on that, and in any case it's probably more inconvenient for me to argue that than it is for them to sometimes have to make unnecessary checks. And I myself don't greatly care about the other issues of 'Catholic' v 'Roman Catholic'.
5) So I am now dropping my objections to your changes, regardless of whether it's just changing 'Roman Catholics' to 'Catholics' or changing it to 'venerated by the Catholic Church'.
6) However that doesn't necessarily mean that others won't object to them, perhaps because of something like item 3 above. But I'm now leaving that up to them, if there are any of them.
Regards. Tlhslobus (talk) 15:28, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
  • My own view is that "Roman Catholic" is the least ambiguous option as well as the least likely to give offence to the subset of Anglicans who will insist that they too are Catholic. Now that the reasons for the change have been given, I am prepared not to insist. --Andreas Philopater (talk) 17:52, 5 January 2015 (UTC)
I do object to the basic premise in the headingt of this section. Roman Catholic is not "wrong" it is normal usage for a large number of people who do not accept that the self-described "Catholic Church" uis the only Catholic church. It is also usual usage in many places when discussing that denomination to ensure that it is correctly identified. It is also used by that denomination is its dealings with other churches, e.g. Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission. If it is necessary to ensure that Eastern Catholics are included in the statement then the words "Roman and Eastern Catholics" is a shorter and easier to understand formulation than "Catholics in communion with the bishop of Rome". Dabbler (talk) 21:00, 5 January 2015 (UTC)




Thank you for the broadly positive feedback. I will try not to repeat any of the arguments above but in will respond to comments made since my last posting:
1. No-one here contests that the word "catholic" is claimed by some Protestant churches (and others). The issue here is not the word "catholic", but rather the word "Roman".
2. My contention all along has been that the word "Roman" is at best ambiguous and at worst erroneous. I therefore don't see much benefit in changing the text to "Roman and Eastern Catholics". This implies the existance of two different groups, whereas in this particular instance they share one communion of saints.
3. I would question the use of the term "Roman Catholic" as being used by recent Popes. I have examined the article mentioned but would like to see the texts of these statements in their original languages to see if the word "Roman" is there and how it is used. In some situations where the term has been used it has a particular meaning, such as when Popes have met Orthodox Patriarchs and wish to emphasise their historical communion. I am not aware of any Church document in modern times which uses the "Roman" prefix when referring to the whole Catholic Church.
4. I note the objections to the term "Catholics in communion with the bishop of Rome". I too consider this term wordy, however I would argue that it is more precise and more accurate than "Roman" and that precision and accuracy should be more important than concision. If someone can formulate a term which is more concise but which at the same time is sufficiently accurate then I would be quite prepared to consider it.
5.In an attempt at compromise and taking on board feedback I suggest "Catholics in communion with the Pope", which in my view has exactly the same meaning, is shorter, and is more immediately clear to the less well-informed reader. Nonetheless, I can imagine that someone may object to that term too.

Chris McLaughlin

I've fixed the many incorrect URLs for the Papal References in Roman Catholic (term). They all have Roman Catholic in the languages to which I've linked (English if possible, else Italian, else French). You can usually see the other available languages by clicking on the Uparrow to go to the monthly Index. On rare occasions 'Roman' is dropped from one of the translations, perhaps because Catholic and Roman Catholic are interchangeable.

For instance: Index: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/november/index_it.htm date: 1980-11-17 (speech to Jews in Mainz, Germany)

Italian (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/november/documents/hf_jp_ii_spe_19801117_ebrei-magonza_it.html Un segno incoraggiante fu anche il raduno del comitato di collegamento internazionale tra la Chiesa romana-cattolica ed il giudaismo l’anno scorso a Ratisbona.

Translation: An encouraging sign was also the session of the International Commission of contact between the (Roman) Catholic Church and Judaism last year at Ratisbon.

Portuguese (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/november/documents/hf_jp_ii_spe_19801117_ebrei-magonza_po.html Sinal encorajador foi igualmente a reunião da Comissão de aliança internacional entre a Igreja romana-católica e o Hebraísmo no ano passado em Ratisbona.

Spanish (no Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/november/documents/hf_jp_ii_spe_19801117_ebrei-magonza_sp.html Un signo esperanzador fue también la sesión del Comité Internacional de contacto entre la Iglesia católica y el judaísmo, que tuvo lugar el año pasado en Ratisbona.

German (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/november/documents/hf_jp_ii_spe_19801117_ebrei-magonza_ge.html Ein ermutigendes Zeichen war auch die Tagung des Internationalen Verbindungskomitees zwischen der römisch-katholischen Kirche und dem Judentum im vergangenen Jahr in Regensburg.


Date: 1980-06-25 Italian (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19800625_confessio-augustana_it.html

Portugues (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19800625_confessio-augustana_po.html

Spanish (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19800625_confessio-augustana_sp.html

German (has Roman): http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/speeches/1980/june/documents/hf_jp-ii_spe_19800625_confessio-augustana_ge.html

Here (if I checked right) all 4 say Roman Catholic, including the Spanish one.

Tlhslobus (talk) 12:51, 7 January 2015 (UTC)




That's an impressive amount of work there and I admire your industriousness, however these examples are more than thirty years old. Can anyone point to recent use of the term "Roman Catholic" in official contexts when referring to the whole Catholic church? I think it ought to be remembered that even if such examples can be found that in itself does make the term any less incorrect. David Cameron often refers to himself as "Prime Minister of Britain", but in fact he is no such thing and no country called Britain exists. Similarly the Vatican often gets its own documents wrong. It has been official Church policy since at the Fist Vatican Council in 1870 to avoid the careless use of the "Roman" prefix. Chris McLaughlin

Oh dear, are you planning to get rid of 'Britain' too? And 'America'? And 'American'? And 'Europe'? And 'European'? And of course 'Blacks' are really brown, and 'Whites' are really a delicate shade of pink, and we're going to need to add 'maybe' to every statement in the encyclopedia because it's always possible that any given statement is in error for reasons possibly too subtle for the human mind to grasp. Wikipedia can't work like that. Instead it works with the balance of so-called reliable sources. The most recent examples in the article are from Pope Benedict and are less than 10 years old. I have seen no authoritative document saying that Roman Catholic Church means the Latin Church (as distinct from one book saying some people have 'even' used it to mean the Latin Church). Whereas there are plenty of reliable sources (including Popes, but these are vastly outnumbered by non-Popes) using 'Roman Catholic Church' to mean 'Catholic Church'. And even if they are all wrong that's irrelevant according to long-established and thoroughly sensible Wikipedia rules banning Original Research in favour of Reliable Sources. And in any case Church documents aren't necessarily all that relevant except as a possible means of persuading you: this article is written in 21st century English (a language spoken mainly by non-Catholics), not 1870 Church Latin. If 21st century English speakers still called Catholics 'Papists', then 'Papists' would probably be the right term to use here. Instead they call them Roman Catholics, so ... But it doesn't worry me what they get called here - my 'industriousness' was just trying to helpfully answer some of the questions raised by you as a minor side effect of fixing the Roman Catholic (term) article that badly needed fixing - so thanks for prompting me to do so. And please don't let anything in this paragraph stop you changing this article - I've already said I no longer care, though that doesn't mean others don't. Tlhslobus (talk) 15:31, 7 January 2015 (UTC)
I do not see consensus above, so I reverted the change. The term "roman catholic" while perhaps theoretically inelegant in some measure, is widely understood as the church run by the Holy See. I see no point in changing references to the wordier term which is actually less comprehensible. In the discussion above, I see what has been described elsewhere as a "wall of text", demonstrating strong conviction by a single individual, but not showing consensus from other readers. Regards, Tarl.Neustaedter (talk) 03:33, 8 January 2015 (UTC)

Please note that Roman Catholic (term) has been updated since the above discussion i a way which I find clearly supports the first proposal. Chicbyaccident (talk) 11:35, 7 February 2017 (UTC)

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Order of Honorifics[edit]

I've looked at the extant discussion surrounding honorifics for Thomas More. The issue I wish to raise is strictly separate however. Another editor misdirected me to the archived discussion on honorifics in the name of the article itself and on the presence or absence of certain honorifics ("Saint", "Sir", etc.). However, that is not directly relevant to the changes I propose. The changes I attempted to make are primarily to the order in which the honorifics initially occur and not to the extent to which they occur at all.

I see no reason to have "Sir" before "Saint", as the title of the page is simply "Thomas More". I do see reason for having "Saint" before "Sir", however, namely that that is undoubtedly the order which More himself would have preferred, and that it is no hindrance either to historical accuracy or to the clarity of the article. Furthermore there should be no more controversy surrounding the title of "Sir" than "Saint" - all religious titles being controversial. (The idea that "Sir" is not a religious title resists about as much scrutiny as would dislodge a similar view about almost any other royal title.)

So I propose the order of honorifics be changed in the first full line of text in the lead section.

2601:14A:C000:5326:4D84:CC9C:A32:46F4 (talk) 06:41, 7 February 2017 (UTC) DuFond

Historically Thomas More was known as Sir in his own lifetime and for four centuries after his death until he was eventually canonised. As for debating his posthumous preferences, it is hardly encyclopedic. What reference can you provide that he would have preferred to be dead and a Saint rather than alive and a knight? "Sir" is a secular title at the time of his life, it was granted to him by the King for his secular activities, so suggesting it has religious connections seems very dubious. In his homeland, I would suggest that he is better known as Sir Thomas rather than St. Thomas as that is the name he is taught by in schools, but I can offer no proof. Finally the wording as written indicates that the title Saint is not universally used and in fact many people find his actions abhorrent and far from saintly as can be seen on the earlier Talk pages edits. Dabbler (talk) 09:20, 7 February 2017 (UTC)
My fault if I pointed to the wrong archived conversation. I think the current listing of Sir before Saint is a fair compromise which the majority of editors are fine with. What More himself would have preferred doesn't matter on Wikipedia. Pushing the religious title to the fore is going to upset some. There is plenty of coverage about canonization in the article and the lede has the bolded title of saint. Making this change is parochial, picayune, and unnecessary. Chris Troutman (talk) 14:59, 7 February 2017 (UTC)