Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Roman Catholic Church/Archive 13

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Proposed alternatives

Below is a table which lists the options which have been discussed. It is transcluded from this page.

--Richard (talk) 18:00, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Proposed alternatives
Proposed text Support Oppose Oppose reasons
"Officially known as the Catholic Church" Xandar,
Implies that other churches and Chrisitans are not part of the "universal" Christian church.
Implies that there is a single "official name" for the church.
The RCC (in official usage, the Catholic Church)... Xandar

Supported by Xandar only with dashes, not brackets.
Implies that only one name is officially used (Defteri)
Implies that RCC in normal in non-official usage (SynKobiety)
The RCC, also known as the Catholic Church,... Richardshusr
Implies that "Roman Catholic Church" is the real name and "Catholic Church" is an abbreviation, alias or nickname
Roman Catholic Church, which titles itself "Catholic Church"(note 1)". NancyHeise Xandar,
Implies that this is a false or presumptuous claim.
Implies that RCC is proper and more common.
"which usually calls itself the Catholic Church"
"refers to itself as"
Implies that this is a false or presumptuous claim.
Implies that RCC is proper and more common.
The Catholic Church, sometimes called the Roman Catholic Church,... SynKobiety Implies that other churches and Chrisitans are not part of the "universal" Christian church.
"prefers to be called" Defteri,
Doesn't specify that this is the "proper" name.
Implies that RCC is more common and proper.
"strongly prefers to use" Richardshusr Marauder40,
Doesn't specify that this is the "proper" name.
Implies that RCC is more common and proper.
The Roman Catholic Church, which in its official documents usually calls itself the Catholic Church Defteri,
Implies that this is a false or presumptuous claim.
Implies that RCC is more common and that CC is only used in official contexts.
"The Roman Catholic Church, which in its official documents calls itself the 'Catholic Church'" NancyHeise Marauder40,
Implies that this is a false or presumptuous claim.
Implies that RCC is more common and that CC is only used in official contexts.
The Roman Catholic Church - in normal official usage, the Catholic Church Xandar Defteri, SynKobiety What is "normal" and what is "abnormal"?
Implies that RCC is more common and that CC is only used in official contexts.
Implies that other churches and Chrisitans are not part of the "universal" Christian church.
The Roman Catholic Church, more usually called, both informally and in the Church's official usage, the Catholic Church Soidi,
Long-winded and unencyclopedic.
Implies that RCC is more proper in secular contexts.
The Catholic Church (Roman Catholic) jbmurray Defteri,
Does not conform with WP:LEAD regarding the article name appearing in the first sentence
The (Roman) Catholic Church jbmurray SynKobiety Ugly
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church,... Gimmetrow,
Implies that other churches and Chrisitans are not part of the "universal" Christian church.
Is not in strict conformance with WP:LEAD regarding the article name appearing "as early as possible" in the first sentence but comes pretty close. Xandar only supports this providing article name reverts to "Catholic Church". As R, M and SK said above, "also known as" implies that the second name is an alias or nickname. WP:LEAD allows for common sense variations, it states " it should be followed except where common sense warrants an exception."

Updating the table

Thank you for pulling that together, Richard. My eyes are drawn to the last four alternatives - mainly because there are fewer reasons given for opposition. The last one by Soidi seems to me to be an attempt to pull together the recent threads of discussion. Comments? Sunray (talk) 21:20, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, thanks. Of all the alternatives I believe that Soidi's is by far the more appropriate so far and is one I can support. It may not be as precise and definite as some might want and some might also consider it a bit long and "wordy" but it's not really more so than much of the article is already, which is often unecessarily verbose (just like myself). Afterwriting (talk) 13:10, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I have a concern is that we may not get closer to consensus if people are not discussing options here before changing the table. Thus, I have a request: Would participants be willing to discuss alternatives on the talk page before adding them to the list? I also think it preferable that we have one list keeper. Richard has carried out that role and if he is willing to continue, would participants be willing to let him maintain the list? Sunray (talk) 19:43, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
I'm willing to continue updating. I agree that it is better to discuss and then add to the table if and only if the alternative shows some support (say about 3 or 4 people supporting). Otherwise the table could get very long with entries that have only one or two people supporting. --Richard (talk) 20:20, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

Apologies if my recent additions were not helpful. If I understand the above comments correctly then you are asking that further discussion is preferred before adding names ( votes ? ). If appropriate my additions can be removed. Afterwriting (talk) 14:53, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, I do think it would be helpful if participants could just add a brief statement (on the page, not the table), as Nancy does below, indicating wording they can agree with. Sunray (talk) 00:02, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I can support "The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church,..." but we still have to have a note that provides Whitehead's and Catholic Encyclopedia's explanations. NancyHeise talk 20:22, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

An attempt at a paradigm shift

I am frustrated that Defteri and Soidi oppose ""CC aka RCC" but, in retrospect, I guess I knew they might come down on that side. I guess I was just hoping for a different outcome. My feeling is that there is no way to reach a consensus that puts "RCC" in second position without some explanation of its relationship to "CC".

Here's a question for us to consider... IF (and I acknowledge it's a big "IF") this article were under Catholic Church, would it be necessary to include "Roman Catholic Church" in the first sentence at all? This approach completely sidesteps the naming question. It simply asserts that the name of the church is "Catholic Church" and leaves the discussion of what other names are also used for a later point in the article if we choose to discuss it at all.

Note here that the proposal is to drop any qualification of "Catholic Church" as "official", "proper", "usual", etc. The lead sentence would read something like "TheCatholic Church[note 1] is the world's largest Christian church, representing over half of all Christians and one-sixth of the world's population."

My insight here is that we have been busy discussing whether "Catholic Church" is somehow more proper/official/preferred than "Roman Catholic Church". A lot of this is motivated by dissonance caused by the title being Roman Catholic Church while there is a strong sense that the proper/official/preferred name is "Catholic Church". There are some sources which argue that CC is more proper/official/preferred than RCC. I have not seen any sources that argue the opposite. There are sources that support the notion that RCC is a proper and official name but not more proper/official/preferred than CC. Nobody maligns the use of CC the way some people malign the use of RCC.

Well, if we just make both article title and name in first sentence say "Catholic Church", we need not discuss "Roman Catholic Church" at this initial point in the article at all.

Now, if we do feel this article needs to discuss the name "Roman Catholic Church" and other names that have been used in official contexts, we can do so in a Note or in a separate section.

Comments? --Richard (talk) 20:20, 7 March 2009 (UTC)

My main problem involves using the word "official". So long as "official" sources remain absent to support "official", anything which gets rid of that term is a huge improvement. Gimmetrow 20:50, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
There is indeed much sense in what Gimmetrow says. The whole problem arises from the insistence of some editors on presenting as fact their problematic claim about a single official name adopted by the Church. There may be reason to doubt their willingness to cease insisting that the article must, at least in a note, present this claim as fact; but if they were to cease to insist on presenting it as more than a viewpoint, even a faulty text would be welcomed as an improvement. But is that hope realistic? Would the two chief editors who do insist please indicate whether they accept Richard's proposed compromise without adding to it the same old claim in new guise? Only then will his proposal be worth taking seriously, leading, I would then confidently hope, to a conclusion of this discussion. On the other hand, if they do insist on keeping their claim in the article, the support at present indicated for Richard's proposal will largely vanish, and his proposal will prove to be no solution. Defteri (talk) 06:30, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Au contraire. The problem over the last six months has been a couple of extremely persistent single-issue participants, who have an extreme viewpoint against any form of article wording stating clearly the proper name of the worldwide Church. They may may indeed wish that the Church did not use that name. I can see no other reason for their extreme persistence on this issue against the majority of active contributors to this article. No-one gets quite so motivated about whether Sony Corporation or Sony Corporation of America is that organisation's proper or official name. A similar affair with regard to what is often known as the Mormon Church has resulted in the solution: "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often colloquially referred to as the Mormon Church) is". Adapting that to this article we would have: "The Catholic Church (often colloquially referred to as the Roman Catholic Church) is". Going on to Richard's suggestion. Returning the article title to Catholic Church and starting with Catholic Church would meet the majority of my concerns (namely RCC being taken to be the proper name). WP:BOLDTITLE does seem to indicate that other important names (such as RCC) should be mentioned. "also known as the RCC" would be suitable. Whatever the lead sentence says, we will still need a note. As far as Gimmetrow's objection to "official" goes, that word was chosen by editors as being the most neutral word to replace "proper" or "actual" which were the alternate descriptors available. "in official usage" was offered by me as a slightly weaker alternative to "official" which still stated the facts. Xandar 11:25, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
We await a word from Nancy, to see if she too upholds this position of Xandar's, demanding that the article declare it an objective fact that the Church has a single official name, like the documentable official names of the Mormon Church and Sony, and suggesting that other names used even by the Church itself are only "colloquial". A "neutral" position, according to him. Defteri (talk) 12:55, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Xandar speaks of "returning the article title to 'Catholic Church'". I have failed to find any log record that the article ever had "Catholic Church" as its title. Perhaps others know better than I do how to find a record of the alleged move. Or has "Roman Catholic Church" always been the title of the article? Defteri (talk) 13:12, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Xandar, I can't believe after all these months that you still misrepresent my position. In a nutshell: "Catholic Church is the official name" is unverified since no official sources have been provided. Since various editors refused any attempts at qualifying that statement to something which is verifiable, like "in some contexts" or "according to X and Y", it remains unverified. I would be fine with having the article at CC - indeed I spent months arguing for that as the more common name and because of problems with RCC. Nobody is going to debate that there is a long history of many Catholics finding the term RCC offensive - and we should just say so directly and educate readers. But trying to say that indirectly through "CC is official name" makes the article look like a piece of apologetics from the first line. (PS: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints can point to a specific legal act of incorporation when that name was officially adopted. Its article also has text explaining the modes in which various other names are used. The (R)CC article used to have text like that, too.) Gimmetrow 17:09, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't see how stating the name of the Church as verified in the Catechism and Constitution is "apologetics." And I have put up several wordings to qualify official, not because I doubt the officiality of the name, but in an attempt to satisfy you and others. However they have not been accepted. The "evidence" produced for the officiality of Church of Latter Day Saints over the Mormon Church is a website press-release. This press release itself states that the Church uses other names in official documents, and that Mormon is also used by the Church in certain circumstances. Yet strangely this has not prevented the clear and unambiguous statenmment of the proper name of the Church of Latter Day Saints, without yourself, Soidi and others camping out on the page demanding changes. Curious that. Perhaps we could apply the same common sense to the proper name of the Catholic Church. Xandar 23:24, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
That's question-begging, Xandar. Does the CCC or Lumen Gentium "verify" that CC is the official name of the church? Obviously, no, or we wouldn't be having this discussion. And I think you rather misrepresent the situation with the LDS church. Gimmetrow 01:32, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Folks, let's remember to comment on content, not contributors. Sunray (talk) 23:55, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The lessons of (Wikipedia) history

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. - Santayana

Defteri commented "I have failed to find any log record that the article ever had "Catholic Church" as its title. Perhaps others know better than I do how to find a record of the alleged move. Or has "Roman Catholic Church" always been the title of the article?"

Heh, heh. Touché. The reason that you could not find any record of the article having had "Catholic Church" as its title seems to be that it never did have that title.
I am guilty of the same error as Xandar. I assumed that the article had once been Catholic Church and had subsequently been moved to Roman Catholic Church as a result of the "CC vs. RCC" debate. After some research, I find that this is not the true history of this article.
The content for this article originated as part of the Catholicism article whose earliest Wikipedia revision was created on December 5, 2001 (ancient history by Wikipedia standards).
The Roman Catholic Church article was "spun off" from Catholicism on April 19/20, 2004 by User:Phil Sandifer. This is the April 19 revision.
Since then, there have been a number of proposals to move the article to Catholic Church. After much debate (reputed to be over 170k), the proposal was shelved with no consensus to move the article. A cursory review of the Talk Page archives reveals the major discussions to have taken place in these archives:

--Richard (talk) 16:33, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The original article that covered the Church was Catholicism (not Roman Catholicism). It was the WP article that dealt substantially with the Catholic Church. A more mature stage of the article can be seen [ here]. It states "The Catholic Church is actually a federation of 24 self-governing (sui juris) Churches in communion with each other under the leadership of the Pope. By far the largest Church is the Latin Church, popularly called the Roman Catholic Church. The other 23 Churches are in the collective called Eastern Catholic Churches."
Some time after this, the article was split between the concept and the organization, and the new article was entitled Roman Catholic Church. It was at this later stage that the prefix "Roman" was added into the title. As far as I can see the debates on name change back to Catholic Church did not really follow WP naming policy, but settled around arguments that RCC was allegedly "less controversial", or there would be less chance of ambiguity with RCC. Neither of which carry prime weight in WP naming policy, which is based on the name the organisation itself uses, and the frequency of use in the world - both of which favour "Catholic Church". Xandar 22:56, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

"Prefers to be called the Catholic Church"

Although I prefer "Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church", I see that there are difficulties in getting this agreed to.

Also, although I prefer this article to be named Catholic Church, I also see that there are difficulties in getting that agreed to based upon the Talk Page archives that I listed in the section above.

So, let's try another tack...

What's wrong with "prefers to be called the Catholic Church" or "strongly prefers to be called the Catholic Church"?

If desired, we could add "in official documents" or "in official contexts".

Doesn't this proposal capture the truth? It states the strong preference expressed by Whitehead, Madrid et al. The Church sometimes concedes to be called "Roman Catholic Church" in official contexts, especially in situations where Anglicans are involved. The note could explain the relationship of the names "CC" and "RCC" establishing that RCC is often used within the church without opprobrium and used outside the church sometimes with respect and other times as a derogatory or, at least, sectarian intent.

The crux of the issue is that some people do call the Church the "Roman Catholic Church", even those within the church laity, clergy and all the way up to the Popes themselves. And this is done in some official documents thus arguing that RCC is at least AN "official name" (among others) though no one really argues that it is THE official name. Some people use the name RCC proudly and with love and devotion. Others use it for polemical sectarian purposes.

Xandar has objected that "prefers" suggests illegitimacy. I would suggest that the word "prefers" suggests that some people call the Church the "Roman Catholic Church" when the Church prefers to be called the "Catholic Church". This is true. The fact that some people call the Church RCC in order to call into question the legitimacy of the the name "CC" requires a deeper explanation and cannot be captured or explained in the first sentence.

Saying that "Catholic Church" is the official name of the Church does not make legitimate its claims to be the universal, catholic church of Jesus Christ. Those claims are made legitimate by something else than its name (e.g. apostolic succession, primacy of the Pope, etc.)

Saying that the church prefers to be called the "Catholic Church" simply opens the door for us to explain that the Church does claim to be the sole legitimate claimant to be the universal, catholic church of Jesus Christ. We must explain this and we must explain that there are challenges to this claim from the Orthodox and the Anglicans (among others). This then also allows us to explain why some people like to prepend "Roman" as part of sectarian polemic and why the Church takes offense when "Roman" is prepended for this purpose.

--Richard (talk) 18:40, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

"The RCC which prefers to be called the Catholic Church," still leaves the impression that Roman Catholic is the Church's proper name, and "Catholic" is just something it "prefers" to be called. Compare "Lord Salisbury who prefers to be called Jim." That doesn't give the reader the facts about the proper name of the Church. Xandar 23:15, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Too many problems. Who says the Church prefers this, as opposed to church members? Does it universally prefer to be called "CC", or does it only prefer "CC" over "RCC"? Remember, there are other options besides CC and RCC. Gimmetrow 01:34, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church

I can support "Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church" but we need to include that note that allows Reader to see Whitehead and Catholic Encyclopedia's explanations of the term "Roman Catholic". I do not support any of the other suggestions except the current consensus of "Roman Catholic Church officially known as Catholic Church" NancyHeise talk 20:25, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Is there any chance, Nancy, that you would accept a note that allows the reader to see Whitehead's view, but does not present his view as absolute fact? That, I think, is all that most of us are asking. Defteri (talk) 20:30, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Defteri, the present note presents Whitehead's view as the view used by Catholic media to explain the Church's name to its worldwide audience. It is a significant fact that Reader should be allowed to know when they wonder what explanation the megalithic Catholic media has chosen, a media whose editorial staff includes academic experts on Catholic Church issues. NancyHeise talk 20:40, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The fact remains that Whitehead's view is NOT universal and - without even really looking - here are about 50 uses of "Roman Catholic Church" by the Roman Catholic Church.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] The site uses both, one right after the other The site uses both, one right after the other The site uses both, one right after the other [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26] [27] Scroll to the legal copyright at the bottom Scroll to the legal copyright at the bottom Scroll to the legal copyright at the bottom Scroll to the legal copyright at the bottom Scroll to the legal copyright at the bottom [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34] [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43]

How many uses do we need to see? 100? 1,000? When I pointed out that my mother's copy of the Baltimore Catechism not only used the term, but explained why the universal Church is Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic, I was dismissed as a "liar". Nancy, the fact is there is a wing of the Church that abhores this usage, but they have not succeded in making their view "offical". We can report that some Roman Catholics don't like the term Roman Catholic Church and want to see Catholic Church used exclusively, but we can't say that the Church does not use Roman Catholic to refer to themselves, because they do and to present Whitehead's polemic as fact distorts that.--Secisek (talk) 21:23, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Secisek. It has been explained MANY times that this article is about the WORLDWIDE Catholic Church, not about individual congregations in the US or other English-speaking countries, particularly if it is where use of the term RCC was historically mandated by government, or where "Roman" refers to the Roman rite. Your lengthy labour of searching out a list of websites of various anglophone local parishes where that local historically-enforced usage may have lingered is completely irrelevant. It makes no difference to the name used by the World Church itself, and by 1,000 million Catholics around the world. For the Worldwide Church, and even for the national chuurch organisations throughout the world the evidence is clear. The name of the Church is the Catholic Church, as explained quite forcefully in the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Catechism, the Constitution of the Church and elsewhere.
On the subject of the Baltimore Catechism, I certainly never called you a liar. I did point out however that you were not quoting the standard version of the Baltimore Catechism, which I linked to, to show that it did not have the usages you claimed. I suggested your version might be a variant, possibly a variant of a special version with additional notes for Catechists. However even this, in its web version, did not make the points you made with reference to "Roman Catholic". In any event it was an obsolete and regional work. It's all back there in the talk pages. Xandar 23:11, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Xandar, it seems to me that it might be possible to include all uses of the two names (see next section). Also, with respect to Nancy's comment, I wonder if participants could agree that a note could include both references to official Church documents and secondary sources, such as Whitehead. Sunray (talk) 23:42, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

The problem using secondary sources such as Whitehead is how to characterize what they say. Based on the fact that Whitehead's writing is used by EWTN to explain the church's name to the world, Xandar and NancyHeise wish to simply state that "the official name of the church is 'the Catholic Church'". This takes what Whitehead has written and asserts it as fact. Other editors including myself are willing to cite Whitehead but only to support the assertion "According to Kenneth Whitehead, the proper name of the church is 'the Catholic Church'". This attributes an opinion to Whitehead. The same situation applies to the work of Patrick Madrid.

--Richard (talk) 01:14, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, totally agreed! It really doesn't prove too much, if anything, how some (and, of course, it's only some) sections of the "Catholic media" refer to Whitehead as his writings are still only his own opinions / assessments / evaluations / assumptions. Invoking Whitehead as at present devalues the encyclopedia standard of the article. Until a significant Vatican church document can be unambiguously cited on this issue the article should not be making the sort of claims about "officially called" that it does at present. Afterwriting (talk) 06:53, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

This doesn't seem too complicated to me. If we stay at the level of fact, there shouldn't be a problem. We can cite some primary sources to show how "CC" is used, then cite a secondary source or two - keep it simple; work out the wording here (as I've also suggested below). Sunray (talk) 08:04, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Afterwriting is not disputing that "CC" is used officially. There are primary sources in abundance, and secondary too that say it is so used. That's not what the dispute is about. What the dispute is about is whether "CC" is the only official name of the Church. No primary source says it is. No secondary source points to any declaration by the Church that it has chosen that (or any) particular name as the official name by which it is to be called. This is in strong contrast to, for instance, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
I agree fully with what Richard said just above. And, by the way, it seems that EWTN is given far greater weight in the United States than elsewhere. I don't see what is so significant about its publication of the opinion of some writer. It seems even less important than the publication by the American Ecclesiastical Review of the views of two writers, one affirming and one denying that "RCC" was an official name. Defteri (talk) 10:15, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

My reading of various church documents suggests that the most "proper", "official" or "full" name of the church ( if it officially has any at all ) may actually be the "Holy Roman Catholic Church" and that "Catholic Church" is its more usual name. The argument that "Roman Catholic Church" is only used in certain circumstances due to ecumenical sensitivies or because of English legal requirements ( one of Whitehead's more erroneous opinions as I recall ) is not defensible due to its use - less frequently but sometimes with apparently more formal weight - when such sensitivities or legal requirements don't enter into the issue. Afterwriting (talk) 12:17, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

Summary of discussion and next steps

I think that a great deal of progress has been made and want to recognize the efforts of participants to work collaboratively at solving this. The general tone is civil and constructive.

It seems to me that there is consensus that "Catholic Church" is generally used in official communications of the Vatican (i.e., Lumen Gentium, The Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Code of Canon Law). However, the point has been clearly made that "Roman Catholic Church" is also used, particularly in ecumenical communications of the Vatican and also, in the name of, and use by, many individual churches. Usage surveys show that "Catholic Church" is more commonly used than Roman Catholic Church, but that both terms are in frequent usage.

In recent discussions, seven participants have indicated that they would be willing to accept "The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church." However, there are some concerns with this proposal. A question remains about whether the first-used term should be the name of the article. As has been pointed out, renaming the article has been discussed in the past. In 2006 a proposal to rename the article to "Catholic Church" did not gain consensus. That is not to say that such a proposal wouldn't succeed now (particularly if we had a strong consensus here, which was not the case in the past). The process for requesting potentially controversial moves is here. The key to this process is allowing for community-wide discussion.


  1. Would participants either a) agree to the wording "The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church," or, b) agree to stand aside and remove their objection to it?
  2. If not, would participants agree to make such a change to the lead if a page move to "Catholic Church" was made via the process outlined in the previous paragraph?
  3. If participants favor neither of these approaches, what would their preferred choice be for wording of the lead?

In response to the latter question, I think it would be helpful if participants now indicated: a) their preferred choice and b) choices they could live with. Sunray (talk) 23:38, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

  • Option 2. Move the article name to Catholic Church. This would end the bickering over "official" and "proper", and details of positions can go in the note. This also complies with the Mormon_Church/LDS solution. Option 1 is NOT acceptable since it would be challenged at Featured Article stage, and the whole row would start again. This needs sorting now. Failing that, the current wording "officially known as," or my compromise proposal, "in official usage." Xandar 00:01, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Option 2 is my preferred choice - rename the article Catholic Church. Option 1 is also good, and can be implemented whether the article is renamed or not.
It's now been over two years since the great debates over renaming the article. Some of the participants in that debate are no longer active. Wikipedia has evolved since then. Many of the arguments back then on both sides were focused on POV views rather than interpretation of Wikipedia naming conventions. I am cautiously optimistic that if we revisit the issue that we may see a different outcome. Majoreditor (talk) 02:02, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I approve of that wording, it seems like it takes the stress off of finding the right linking words by placing CC first. But I'd have to explore the implications of a move further before I'd be willing to endorse the idea. --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 03:00, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, good point. We would want to map the process out here before we launched it. Sunray (talk) 06:25, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Kraftlos, what do you mean by "implications of a move"? Do you mean "implications of changing the article title to Catholic Church"? Issues like which other article titles might change and which titles might stay the same? --Richard (talk) 14:12, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd need look into the implications, I hadn't really thought about a move before. Anyway, I'm catching up on this discussion now, so I'll readdress this when I'm caught up (if its still relevant). --Kraftlos (Talk | Contrib) 09:09, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Both Xandar and Nancy have indicated that they will insist on keeping, in the form of a note, the statement that CC is the official name. Therefore the proposed change, in either form, will do absolutely nothing to solve the dispute in which we are involved. It is only a useless distraction. Even if it is adopted, the discussion will continue unchanged. (Its adoption might even raise a parallel dispute, but I leave that aside, since it is enough for us to consider our present discussion.) Of the other proposals, I prefer Soidi's: "The Roman Catholic Church, more usually called, both informally and in the Church's official usage, the Catholic Church", with its gesture of bringing in, in a neutral way, the word "official"; but any of the other formulas that recognize the frequency but not exclusiveness of the Church's use of CC as its name would be fine. Even the proposal put forward here would be fine, if only it would solve the dispute. But it wouldn't. And so it is only leading us up a side alley, from which we will have to turn back to what the discussion is really about, and continue as before. Defteri (talk) 05:34, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Here's a way to look at the note: It should, essentially, provide sources to support the use of both names. It would have to present those sources in a factual and neutral manner. Since we have not yet found an official document of the church that says "the CC is the official name...", don't see how it could say that. It could, however, point to documents such as Lumen Gentium and also cite any secondary sources (that participants agree on). I think we could work out the wording here without too much difficulty. Sunray (talk) 06:25, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
If Xandar and Nancy were to accept this ("use of both names"), I would accept almost any change of the wording, in spite of believing that the Church does not limit itself to using only two names officially. But shouldn't we first make sure that they do accept this? Isn't that what we should be working on? Haven't they both said that they do not accept it? Defteri (talk) 09:56, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Exactly what are you proposing that we should accept? - and its not just me and Nancy. Xandar 10:31, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
That the note "should, essentially, provide sources to support the use of both names". Defteri (talk) 10:40, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
Isn't that what it already does? A precise wording has to be agreed dependant on the article text. Legitimate sources can be quoted within the note within reason to back up all positions, but not in a way that over-weights one point of view beyond its actual backing in the real world. Xandar 16:23, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
If only you would accept that one point of view does not "over-weight" the other(s) out of existence, we could quickly solve this problem, since all that the rest of us are asking is that the view that you favour should be presented as a view, not as an unquestionable fact. I could add that the documents of the Church are "real world" far more than the arguments of a Whitehead. Defteri (talk) 20:47, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I still have to say that we cannot okay a form of words without seeing it. Xandar 21:06, 9 March 2009 (UTC)
I can live with either option 1 or option 2, whatever everyone agrees with. However, I am not OK with some editors trashing of Whithead above. He is the only source used by Catholic media to explain the Church's name. That media has academic experts on its editorial staff and is piped into homes in over 140 countries! We will not be respecting "modern scholarship" requirements of WP:RS if we don't allow Reader to see this - many of whom will expect to see it. His view is supported by 6 other scholarly sources listed under my opening statement above including Academic American Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica. I do not understand the rush by some editors here to do away with Whithead. It seems to be too much POV pushing for me to take those arguments seriously. NancyHeise talk 02:52, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Option 2 is my preference but I would agree with either option 1 or option 2. Marauder40 (talk) 17:26, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
  • Shouldn't we be discussing what Nancy, Xandar and Defteri are arguing about here? We were called together to try to work out a mediated agreement on the official name question. If that question will be dealt with in a note, then it is a waste of time to discuss Options 1 and 2 or any other proposal for the article's text that takes up no position on that question. The only text proposals that do take up a position are Nancy's and Xandar's, which claim that CC is not merely an official name, but the only official name. The other text proposals state neither that there is a single official name, nor that there is no one official name. If what we are called together to discuss will be dealt with in a note formula, it is the note formula we should be discussing (what Xandar called "a form of words"), not wasting time in picking and choosing between different neutral text formulas that avoid the real question. I oppose adoption by us of either of the Options, not only as a pointless waste of time, but also as possibly giving rise to further disputes, once the change becomes known more widely. Option 2 would have this limited group in a remote corner of Wikipedia taking it on itself to consider changing even the title of the article, a matter of lively interest to a much vaster circle of editors. Soidi (talk) 19:55, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Xandar's latest comment: "Option 1 is NOT acceptable since it would be challenged at Featured Article stage, and the whole row would start again." The same holds for Option 2. He rightly concludes: "This needs sorting now." We should not be ignoring what we are supposed to be discussing, and involving ourselves instead in matters that will stir up other controversies. Soidi (talk) 20:45, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Soidi, would you be able to indicate your preferred choice (or, preferably choices) for wording? Sunray (talk) 00:45, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Including the proposed note or not? If I am being asked for my preferred choice among formulas unrelated to the topic on which we are supposed to be trying to reach agreement, and which will only be dealt with when we get to discussing the proposed note, I reject them all as useless and indeed harmful distractions, including the one I myself proposed.
If instead we are discussing a formula that is intended to settle the matter, I would still prefer: The Roman Catholic Church, more usually called, both informally and in the Church's official usage, the Catholic Church.
If the matter we are supposed to be discussing is to be dealt with instead in a note, I would prefer something like Richard's proposal below: The Church uses a number of names in official documents and contexts. Of these, "the Catholic Church" is most frequently employed to distinguish it from other Christian groups and is held by some to be the only proper name (cite Whitehead). "Roman Catholic Church" is used officially (cite a couple of documents that use it), but is often avoided in English because of the meaning attached to it by those who held that Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics and Anglicans are branches of a single church (see Branch Theory). With this note, almost any of the neutral text formulas already proposed would be acceptable. However, if Options 1 and 2 are to be considered, they should be discussed in a broader forum, not by a group that is supposed to be dealing with the "official name" question, and that should stick to that task. Soidi (talk) 05:20, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks. I guess it wasn't clear which I was asking for. I was trying to separate the discussion in these two sections, so that this section would refer to my three questions. Thus, when you said you were not in favor of options one or two, I wondered if you would indicate which version(s) of the lead you favored. I see the primary decision as being the wording of the lead (which you have now given). Once the lead is determined, we can decide on a note. Sunray (talk) 06:17, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I think what Soidi is trying to say is that the wording of the lead cannot be meaningfully separated from the wording of the note. If I have captured his meaning correctly, I would agree that the various editors in this dispute cannot agree to the wording of the lead without assurances that their concerns will be addressed in the note. Together the lead and the note present an integrated message. Some wordings of the lead are unacceptable to one or more parties to the dispute. Several wordings of the lead are acceptable IF and ONLY IF the note addresses their concerns. Xandar has expressed this view on several occasions, most recently in the section below titled "Whitehead as a source". Despite Defteri's exhortation to come up with a lead that does not require exegesis via a note, I fear that is unattainable. And thus, I think we must consider the lead and the note together. --Richard (talk) 14:46, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Thank you, Richard. Soidi (talk) 15:01, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
OK, I think I've got it. Soidi and others want to address both issues together. I certainly agree that that would be ideal. There seems to be a bit of a "chicken and egg" thing here that we don't know what the note will say until we know what the lead will say. However, my sense is that we are making progress on both those fronts. It may be possible to provide alternatives that give lead X + note vs. lead Y + note. Would that work? Sunray (talk) 17:16, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Whitehead as a source

Note to participants: This is a side discussion which may have importance later. If you have not yet indicated a preference in the section above, would you be willing to do that now? Sunray (talk) 16:32, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

[In response to Nancy] From the discussion thus far, I don't see a problem using Whitehead to support references to Vatican documents. The combination may be the best way to achieve WP:NPOV. I think we should remain open to the presentation of sources that support the use of "Roman Catholic Church" consistent with the usage presented on this page (Encyclicals pertaining to ecumenical relations; names of individual churches, etc.). Does this make sense? Anyone have any concerns with such an approach? Sunray (talk) 06:52, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

The reason why some of us are objecting to giving too much weight to Whitehead's opinions is because it is clearly obvious to us that his opinions represent a highly biased and polemical POV and are also in various important respects factually incorrect. The reasons that Nancy gives for defending him seem to be an example of special pleading. What possible relevance does her statement about EWTN being "piped into homes in over 140 countries" have to this particular issue? No one, I think, is asking that Whitehead's opinions are excluded - what we are asking is that they are balanced by other sources and are also not presented as infallible truth or the final word (because they aren't!). Afterwriting (talk) 15:10, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
I've made an assumption that we should be able to agree to use Whitehead as a source. If I'm not wrong, how could you see incorporating a citation to his book or paper? Sunray (talk) 16:28, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Whitehead's piece is an opinion piece, one that I happen to agree with for the most part (i.e. I believe that "Catholic Church" is the proper name of the Church). Whitehead's piece is clearly written in a polemical, argumentative style rather than as a dispassionate statement of fact. I don't think anyone will oppose the use of Whitehead as a source to establish that there is a vocal group who insist that "Catholic Church" is the proper name of the Church. It is a fact that people have this opinion and vociferously assert it.

However, I think it is important to represent opinion as opinion and fact as fact. Whitehead is a reputable scholar and I am no scholar at all but that does not make his opinion into fact. Instead of saying "X is true (cite Whitehead)", we should say "Whitehead argues that X should be true". Note that there is a hint that X is not universally true. This is a bit of OR but my personal opinion is that Whitehead would not have had to argue quite so polemically if X were simply universally true. If it were, he could have been quite dispassionate and objective in stating X as true. In fact, he might not have had to write the article at all if X were true. Polemic argues against an opposite stance which must have some credibility or support. Otherwise, the opposite stance would not need to be attacked.

Besides, Whitehead doesn't actually say "official name". He says "proper name" which lends to the overall feeling that he is arguing that the proper name for the Church should be "the Catholic Church" rather than arguing that the "official name" of the Church is "the Catholic Church".

The fact that his book has Nihil obstat and Imprimatur allows us to conclude that his opinions are not outside the acceptable range of Church teaching but it does not mean that it represents the church's one and only teaching. This comment explains the issue about Nihil obstat and Imprimatur in greater detail.

--Richard (talk) 16:56, 10 March 2009 (UTC)

Let me give this another shot and be more specific in my answer. First of all, I would not mention "official name" in the lead at all. Let us assume we have a lead sentence that reads something like "The Catholic Church[note 1], also known as the Roman Catholic Church,...".
Note 1 would say something like
Although the Catholic Church uses and accepts the use of a number of names in official documents and contexts, some church authorities argue that the only proper name for the Church is "the Catholic Church"(cite Whitehead). In particular, the use of the name "Roman Catholic Church" is controversial due to the fact that it is sometimes used by those outside the Church to suggest a Branch Theory view which is rejected by the Church. However, the name "Roman Catholic Church" is used without opprobrium by Catholic laity and clergy alike as long as it is free from this sectarian connotation.
--Richard (talk) 21:08, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
"How could you see incorporating a citation to his book or paper?" (Sunray). Incorporate it as his opinion. Defteri (talk) 17:02, 10 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that makes sense. Sunray (talk) 06:19, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks, Richard ( and also Sunray ), for your sensible comments and suggestions regarding the use of Whitehead's opinions. Although I don't have much confidence in Whitehead's scholarship on this issue his opinions do represent a certain viewpoint within the church ( though not the practice of many actual church authorities ). This viewpoint is entitled to be articulated within the article but it isn't entitled - as at present - to be represented as the "truth" as it is blindingly obvious to many of us that it isn't. Afterwriting (talk) 08:21, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Whitehead is more than just an individual "opinion", he speaks from a position within the Church, which is the prime arbiter on this issue, and of expertise in explaining the views and teachings of the Church. Richard's proposed note, in my opinion leans too far towards the "Church has no proper name" POV, and does not sufficiently emphasise the vast weight of usage and opinion including all major documents and pronouncements. The statement "Although the Catholic Church uses and accepts the use of a number of names in official documents and contexts" is misleading, since overwhelmingly the principal name used is the "Catholic Church." Xandar 11:38, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
"Overwhelmingly" doesn't mean "only". Defteri (talk) 12:56, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Of course Whitehead's opinions are only those of an individual. He does not speak with any personal authority of any real substance on behalf of the church. He only speaks on this issue as an individual scholar and one, regretably, who has a POV agenda and gets important facts wrong in the process of pushing it. Afterwriting (talk) 14:04, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
One thing that we should resolve is the specific question of what "position within the church" Whitehead can be characterized to have and more generally, who believes that "Catholic Church" is the only proper name for the Church. As to the first question: does Whitehead have a "position within the church" (per Xandar) or is he a "scholar" or is he just a writer for a popular Catholic audience? As to the second question, we have few sources from "positions within the church" that address the question of the Church's official name directly. The only two that I've seen so far are Cardinal Vaughan and Monsignor Fenton and neither of them addresses the Church's official name directly. Whitehead and Madrid are not "church authorities". Thus, I am inclined to remove "church authorities" from my proposed note and replace it with "some". --Richard (talk) 14:15, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
No. I'm afraid not. The church does not constantly discuss its official name because it is not something that constantly needs discussing, having been used since the 2nd Century. Finessing Whitehead and Madrid, along with Lumen gentium, the Catechism and the standard usage of the Church for 1800 years is too much. Catholic Church is the Church's official and proper name, and that is what has been firmly referenced from Catholic sources. We are not suppressing that information. Xandar 23:59, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Xandar. I can not believe the assertions of some here that say that Whitehead is an opinion piece, it is a book, not a letter to the editor. WP:RS says that expert sources are considered more reliable than non-expert sources. Sources that are cited more often than others are also considered more worthy. Whitehead's book explanation of the Church name is cited by not one but two of the worlds most respected Catholic media outlets. These have academic scholarly experts on their editorial staff. The show, Catholic Answers on EWTN which cites Whitehead, is overseen by an academic expert on the Catholic Church. None of the sources saying Roman Catholic is an official name are experts on the Catholic Church and none have been cited by Catholic experts as explanations for the Church's name, only Whitehead fills this void. We are being asked to ignore modern scholarship when editors here are personally deciding to rely on non-Catholic Church experts when we actually have better sources that are written and supported and cited by experts.NancyHeise talk 01:11, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Compendium of sources presented in this discussion

Quite a number of sources have been presented and critiqued in the months of discussion on this topic. Unfortunately, this means that one has to read through all of the disputatious discussion to find the sources and this is complicated by the fact that most sources have been presented more than once.

I decided to read through the archives of Talk:Roman Catholic Church and collect all the sources that have been presented into a single page here.

My underlying motivation is that I'm collecting sources for an article whose title is tentatively proposed to be Names of the Catholic Church. Yes, I know this has been proposed before (here) and that the suggestion was to expand Catholicism instead. I don't think this topic will fit into that article comfortably.

I recognize that discussing the advisability of creating such an article is a little out of the scope of this mediation. I wanted to make you aware of the existence of this page because I thought that it might help things if editors knew that there was a place to provide the reader with a more detailed explanation than would comfortably fit into the lead or even into a note.

I present the existence of this page as a resource to all of you as a sort of "one stop shop" for all the sources relevant to this mediation. I seek your help in determining if I have compiled a complete list (I'm already aware that there are some sources that I have missed) and also in determining if I have accurately presented the information provided by those sources.

If you wish to add sources or edit the description of a source, please feel free to do so. If you wish to comment on a source or on the overall organization of the page, please do so on the talk page.


--Richard (talk) 02:49, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for pulling that together Richard. It should be an excellent resource. 06:18, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I've added more, including the ref to Snell: In the first place, the name of the Universal Christian Society presided over by the successors of S. Peter is simply "the Church." Gimmetrow 13:12, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Richard and Gimmetrow, we can not use sources that are not experts on the Church. I have already provided a bad review for one of Gimmetrows sources and the other is a WP:fringe view (Arthur Piepkorn) that we can not consider a WP:RS. Are you seriously asking us to consider these non-Church experts to be reliable sources? Oxford English Dictionary's interpretation of Roman Catholic Church as the official name is specifically identified in Catholic Encyclopedia (scholarly church experts) which calls that very explanation "unsatisfactory". There are no sources calling any of my 7 solid scholarly sources "unsatisfactory" and none can be considered fringe views because they are experts on the Church. Also we can not cite original documents such as the treaties with different countries as evidence of official name because that is WP:OR. I would like to ask Gimmetrow if the bishops of Vatican I decided on an official name for the Church, then why is that official name nowhere to be found in any of the Church documents that are all signed "Catholic Church" - the Catechism is just called Catechism of the Catholic Church. Gosh, is it not obvious that the Church calls itself "Catholic Church" - officially? Do we want to rely on Arthur Piepkorn rather than Academic American Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica? I can not stomach that reasoning, sorry. NancyHeise talk 01:04, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Is there a scholarly peer-reviewed article where Whitehead presents the specific view on which you are claiming him as an authority? Does Whitehead have any relevant academic credentials? Does he have a canonical doctorate in theology or canon law? Does he even have a licentiate? Gimmetrow 03:09, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Reviewing the bidding

For those of you who are not familiar with Bridge (card game) terminology, "reviewing the bidding" means going back and restating who said what.

In this summary, I am focusing only on the most recent agreements and open issues rather than reviewing the entire history of the debate.

  1. We seem generally agreed that the article belongs at Catholic Church instead of at Roman Catholic Church although we do not agree as to whether a consensus can be formed among the wider group of Wikipedia editors to do make this change.
  2. We seem generally agreed that "Catholic Church" is an official name
  3. We are less in agreement that "Roman Catholic Church" is an official name although there is general acceptance that it is, in fact, used in official documents (though some have argued that, in these contexts, RCC applies to the Latin-rite churches or the Church of Rome).
  4. We seem generally agreed that a completely neutral lead such as "The Roman Catholic Church, or Catholic Church,..." would be acceptable as long as the lead neither asserts nor denies that "Catholic Church" IS the only official name and as long as the lead does not deny that "Roman Catholic Church" is an official name.
  5. With a few exceptions (e.g. Defteri), we seem agreed on having a Note which explains the status of the two names as "official names of the Church"

I think this captures the points of agreement so far. It also seems that, if we can agree to the contents of the Note, arriving at a mutally agreeable lead sentence is well within our reach.

If you disagree with this assessment, please indicate what the nature of your disagreement is.

--Richard (talk) 21:30, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

On the last, say "are official names of the Church" and I object at the ambiguity. Formulate as an observational fact - "appear in official documents" or similar - and I probably don't object. Gimmetrow 22:08, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
I think my variation on Soidi's proposed note (presented in the section below) addresses this concern. --Richard (talk) 23:56, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

Because we have so many sources that say Catholic Church is the name of the Church and several use the word "official name" we need to let Reader know this - hiding it as Gimmetrow and friends suggest is very unencyclopedic and appears very POVish. NancyHeise talk 00:24, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Is it sufficient to have it mentioned in the Note instead of the lead? Is it acceptable for the text to be worded as it is in point #2 of my proposal? --Richard (talk) 00:37, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes. I already agreed to this when I voted in favor of "Catholic Church, also known as Roman Catholic Church (note 1)" NancyHeise talk 01:51, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Towards construction of a mutually agreeable Note

Using Soidi's proposal as a foundation, here are the points that we seem to be agreed upon:

  1. The Church uses a number of names in official documents and contexts.
  2. Of these, "the Catholic Church" is the name most frequently employed by the Church to distinguish it from other Christian groups and is held by some to be the only proper name (cite Whitehead, Madrid).
  3. "Roman Catholic Church" is used in the Church's own official documents (cite a couple of documents that use it)
  4. "Roman Catholic Church" is also used in official documents such as treaties between the Church and other states (cite treaties and concordats)
  5. However, "Roman Catholic Church" is sometimes used by those outside the church to advance a theory that the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches are but branches of a single Catholic Church (see Branch Theory)
  6. For this reason, the name "Roman Catholic Church" is often avoided when its use is susceptible of being interpreted as acceptance of Branch Theory
  7. In addition, Eastern Catholics object to being labeled as "Roman Catholic", preferring to be called "Eastern Catholic"

I have modified Soidi's proposal in a couple of places so even he may not agree 100% with the above. Do we all agree on these points? Is the list complete or does anybody want to add any thing to this list? Or take away anything?

--Richard (talk) 21:59, 11 March 2009 (UTC)

I certainly do not support this new note as it stands.
First let's look at the current note, on which we should be basing amendments:.
The Greek word "catholic" means "universal" and was first used to describe the Church by Ignatius in the late first, early second century.[1][2] Some different Christian denominations not in communion with The Catholic Church describe themselves as "catholic," (see Catholicism), but in common usage it refers to the body also known as Roman Catholic Church and its members.
The Church herself in her official documents since the first Council of Nicea in 325 and including the documents of the most recent ecumenical councils, Vatican I and Vatican II, uses the name "Catholic Church". According to Kenneth Whitehead, in his book One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic which was used by Catholic media to explain the Church's name to worldwide viewers, "The term 'Roman Catholic' is not used by the Church herself; it is a relatively modern term, confined largely to the English language."
The Catholic Encyclopedia states "With regard to the modern use of the word, Roman Catholic is the designation employed in the legislative enactments of Protestant England, but Catholic is that in ordinary use on the Continent of Europe, especially in Latin countries. ... From about the year 1580, besides the term papist, employed with opprobrious intent, the followers of the old religion were often called Romish or Roman Catholics. ... Neither do the Catholics always seem to have objected to the appellation, but sometimes used it themselves."
Within the Church, the term refers to the Diocese of Rome or to the Roman Rite (Latin Rite) which comprises the largest part but not all of the worldwide Catholic Church which includes other rites as well (see Eastern Catholic Churches).[3]
Richard's suggestions above make several major changes to the agreed text of the current note, which are unwarranted. The first is the unattributed claim that the Church uses a number of names in official douments and contexts. This is a highly misleading statement as currently worded, and should certainly not be the lead statement. The fact is, as stated in the current note, that the Church has used the name Catholic Church at least since Nicea. The claim that the church uses many names is seriously misleading. Similarly the statement that Roman Catholic Church is used in the Church's official documents is entirely misleading. To be factual it would have to say "very occasionally used in a few mainly ecumenical documents". Similarly the name "Roman Catholic" is not generally used in treaties except for "Holy Roman Catholic" in a few historic variants. Catholic Church is the standard usage in treaties. So the proposed note needs substantial amendment to present the facts in an accurate and acceptable manner. Xandar 23:49, 11 March 2009 (UTC)
Richards suggestion dissected:
1. The Church uses a number of names in official documents and contexts.
Where is the source we can reference that supports this statement? There are none so putting this into the article is WP:OR. NancyHeise
2.Of these, "the Catholic Church" is the name most frequently employed by the Church to distinguish it from other Christian groups and is held by some to be the only proper name (cite Whitehead, Madrid).
What source says "most frequently"? Zero. Both Whitehead and Madrid do not say "most frequently employed" they say it is the "official name" and that "Roman Catholic is not used by the Church herself". NancyHeise
3."Roman Catholic Church" is used in the Church's own official documents (cite a couple of documents that use it)
What scholarly source says that Roman Catholic Church is used in the Church's own official documents? Zero sources say that and we have 7 that say the opposite!. Some sources do say that it is used in the "legislative enactments of Protestant England" but that is not "the Church's own official documents". There are zero WP:RS reliable sources we can cite to support this statement.NancyHeise
4."Roman Catholic Church" is also used in official documents such as treaties between the Church and other states (cite treaties and concordats)
What WP:RS says this? We only have sources that say Protestant England. NancyHeise
5.However, "Roman Catholic Church" is sometimes used by those outside the church to advance a theory that the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican churches are but branches of a single Catholic Church (see Branch Theory)
This is OK because we have sources that say this. NancyHeise
6.For this reason, the name "Roman Catholic Church" is often avoided when its use is susceptible of being interpreted as acceptance of Branch Theory
Where is the source that says this? Whitehead? Zero sources say "often avoided". NancyHeise
7.In addition, Eastern Catholics object to being labeled as "Roman Catholic", preferring to be called "Eastern Catholic"
What source says this? It would be more correct to say what we do have sources for that say that within the Church, the term Roman Catholic refers to the Roman rite which distinguishes from Eastern rites. I can not support changes to the note that do not have proper WP:RS sources to cite. We will get hammered at FAC over that!
NancyHeise talk 00:18, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
The various Eastern Catholic Churches refer to themsleves as churches, not rites. See, for example, Professor Serge Descy's The Melkite Church (1993), just to name one (I could also cite Ignatios Dick, Joseph Raya, or most anything by Zohgby, along with various scholarly articles in publications like Ecumenical Review or St. Vladimir's Theological Quarterly. ) To cite Edward Falk's 101 Questions & Answers on Eastern Catholic Churches (2007, Paulist Press) "Most Eastern Catholics would deny that they are "Roman Catholics" (p. 7). Finding other citations like this won't be difficult. Majoreditor (talk) 02:14, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Sources which support "Roman Catholic" as official are not WP:RS

Here is a list of sources cited by Gimmetrow and friends which say Roman Catholic is the official name, none of these sources can be considered WP:RS, none of them are experts on the Catholic Church, several are written by authors who are sincere proponents of the Branch Theory which is expressly rejected by the Catholic Church. I don't see how we can be asked to consider these sources as equals to Academic American Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Whithead, Madrid or Hillaire Belloc:

  • "The Roman Catholic Church has the two adjectives, Roman and Catholic, in its official name."[1]
Here is an unflattering book review by Saturday Review of Literature of the above source [44] see page 173. This is not a reliable source as this review states that the book contains inaccuracies.
Text of review below. Comparing it to the description above is enough said, I think. Gimmetrow 03:37, 12 March 2009 (UTC)
Sterling Power Lamprecht's Our Religious Traditions, an interpretation of the three religious traditions of the Western world, was also a dignified, thoughtful volume. Nevertheless, it was felt that the book dealt with much material in too brief a compass. By its omissions, too, it engendered great dissatisfactions among the adherents of each faith, and many of its points were subject to disagreement. But for the general reader Our Religious Traditions was viewed as "a helpful and enlightening book." (Saturday Review of Literature, February 18, 1950.)
  • The adjective 'Roman' is part of its official name"[2]
Arthur Piepkorn is a Lutheran minister and enthusiastic supporter of the Branch theory, not an expert on the Catholic Church. The same page of this book calling Roman Catholic the official name says that the Church did not have its beginning until the Council of Trent - a WP:fringe view.
  • "The official name of the organization is 'The Roman Catholic Church'."[3]
Published by the Unitarian Sunday School Society, 1892. [45]
  • "By the end of the 16th century the term 'Roman Catholic Church' is used extensively as a title for the Roman Church and soon becomes the legal and official name of the Roman Catholic Church."[4]
A criticism book of the Catholic Church written by a non-Catholic Church expert educated at a Protestant seminary. [46]
  • "To avoid monotony, Catholic with capital 'C' is frequently used throughout the book for Roman Catholic. 'Roman' is used without prejudice, being part of the full official name."[5]
Written by an author whose expertise on the Catholic Church is explained as a person "who spent 20 years in Rome as a YMCA secretary became very familiar with Vatican practices" [47]
  • "Her official name is 'The Holy Catholic Apostolic Roman Church'".[6]
Written by an Anglican Church bishop in 1899. [48]

NancyHeise talk 01:47, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

One of the issues for mediation is Nancy's inconsistent application of WP:RS. Here we have numerous sources which say something explicitly contrary to the POV Nancy prefers. Yet Nancy refuses to have any mention of any of this in the text, while at the same time accepting the ramblings of Whitehead (who has apparently no relevant credentials and whose work has never had any scholarly peer review, let alone a peer review of the point in question). Yet she also refuses to place any reference to the stated opinion of an actual Catholic bishop at Vatican I, or to the view of other Catholics who happen to disagree with the one and only POV she is willing to place in the article. Apparently WP:RS is defined as any source Nancy likes. So, since Nancy likes the 1913 Britannica, I assume she will accept without hesitation any and all statements that may be found in the 1913 Britannica? Gimmetrow 02:54, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Gimmetrow, the only sources that qualify as WP:RS are those that support Catholic Church as the official name. None of these sources have Catholic approval for their claims, they are written by non-Catholic Church experts who are clearly not knowledgeable in the Church but very knowledgeable in Protestant claims. We could state in the note that Protestant writers claim that the Church's official name is "Roman Catholic Church" if you want to include them but maybe we should state that these writers are not cited by Catholic media, directly contradict both Catholic writers and Academic American Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia Brittanica as well as Catholic Encyclopedia and some are considered controversial. The 1913 Encyclopedia Brittanica just supports what the 2007 Academic American Encyclopedia states so I don't think we can trash EB so readily as you seem to want to do. Please note that most of your sources are from the 1800's. NancyHeise talk 06:29, 12 March 2009 (UTC)

Review of progress and new direction

It seems to me that we are now going around in circles. Rather than listening to one another, participants are engaged in point/counterpoint. We may be getting into too much detail on the construction of the note before agreeing on the lead sentence.

Since we have taken this turn, though, I think it will be important to agree on the policy that should guide us. Some things to bear in mind:

  1. Policy trumps guidelines. When there is disagreement between applicable policy and a guideline, we must follow the policy.
  2. There is specific policy that governs naming conventions.
  3. That policy, (WP:NAME), has a section on controversial names.
  4. Roman Catholic Church vs. Catholic Church is specifically given as an example of a controversial name.
  5. The policy on naming conventions refers to the guideline Wikipedia:Naming conflict for dealing with cases such as ours.
  6. The policy that governs determination of reliable sources is WP:Verifiability.