Are there really many churches within the Catholic Church?
Answer: In a sense Yes.
There are a number of particular or sui iuris Churches within the Universal Church, of which the Roman Catholic Church is one of them. These particular Churches have distinctive rites, which term refers to a liturgical, theological, and spiritual heritage. All these particular churches, though distinct in customs and rubrics, adhere to the Pope and have essentially one doctrine. The external modes of worship differ, but the basic underlying beliefs are basically the same. All are under the “One flock and One Shepherd”.
There are 24 such autonomous Catholic churches: One Latin Church (i. e. Western) and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches.
I shall give a list of rites and the particular Churches that practice them:
- Latin liturgical tradition:
- Latin Church
- Alexandrian liturgical tradition:
- Coptic Catholic Church
- Ethiopian Catholic Church
- Eritrean Catholic Church
- Antiochian liturgical tradition:
- Maronite Church
- Syrian Catholic Church
- Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
- Armenian liturgical tradition:
- Armenian Catholic Church
- Chaldean or East Syrian liturgical tradition:
- Chaldean Catholic Church
- Syro-Malabar Catholic Church
- Byzantine liturgical tradition:
- Albanian Greek Catholic Church
- Belarusian Greek Catholic Church
- Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church
- Byzantine Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia
- Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
- Hungarian Greek Catholic Church
- Italo-Albanian Catholic Church
- Macedonian Greek Catholic Church
- Melkite Greek Catholic Church
- Romanian Church United with Rome, Greek-Catholic
- Russian Greek Catholic Church
- Ruthenian Catholic Church
- Slovak Greek Catholic Church
- Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church
This goes on to show the beauty of the Universal Church; a garden of a variety of flowers and colors, but all gathered in the one house of God.