Those who had embraced the initial status of ‘quasi’ Roman identity, like the Roman Britanni on Great Britain and elsewhere throughout the empire would be the first to embrace this religion of Rome during the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries spreading the faith, bestowing a universal Roman identity.
The word Catholic comes from the Greek language and translates as ‘universal.’
For decades the Roman Empire, spread far across Europe, North Africa and the margins of Asia had been plagued as the wealth Rome had plundered was regularly seized back by the conquered populace in mid transport to Rome.
Successive Roman Emperors had endeavoured to overcome this problem which was draining Rome of the wealth required to maintain, let alone expand, it’s vast Empire
The preferred solution for those in Roman authority was to instil a sense of loyalty to and identification with, Rome. Quintessentially, to make people Roman.
Proposals to grant Roman citizenship to those beyond Rome, within the Empire, had been rejected by the Senate which decreed only those born of Rome, or living in Rome and granted a Roman name, could be counted as Romans.
The quasi-Roman ‘associate’ Roman identity granted to many in the Empire was not attractive enough to reduce the robberies
A new form of Roman identity that fell short of Roman citizenship had to be found for the salvation and prosperity of Rome.
And in, what we now record under the Gregorian calendar as 311AD Constantine found the solution in the religion that is called Christianity.
Rome would build churches, or chapels, within the Empire, enticing the quasi/associate Romans initially to join this religion and accepting this new universal Roman identity. Each church/chapel would serve as an administrative centre; a school for teaching the children of the new universal/Catholic Romans and the focal point for converting, plus preaching to the converted as this new religion grew.
The creation of Romans universally, numbered 1.2 billion worldwide when the current pope Francis succeeded Pope Benedict but that number will have increased significantly over the ensuing years and will continue to expand; approaching the phenomenal Chinese population that was numbered as 1.4 billion at the time of Francis’ succession.
Pioneers of the universal Roman identity and faith would be beatified: many during the 7th century, beginning 600AD.