Yes, as Richard noted, they were seen as a part of the catholic visible church (or the catholic visible church was within Rome). Does your term "de facto" refer to the catholic visible church that consists of professors and their children (that is, not an institutional or organizational church but existing within and beyond institutions and organizations), or do you not have room for such in your terminology (I notice that your original use of the term "de facto" includes some sort of organization for its essence)?mhausam said:However, the Reformed have also typically granted that this does not mean that there are no true Christians in the Roman church and no manifestation at all to any degree of the visible church in her. They did say that any true Christians in the Roman church are true Christians only to the extent that they reject the full implications of Rome's heresies in their own beliefs and lives.
I only just understood what you were saying. That's a good point. If a church must exist within a particular institution in order to exist as a part of the catholic visible church by right and not by fact only, then that certainly does seem to put the church in the place of Christ. And of course, if one made the catholic visible church an institution or at least believed that the only rightful catholic visible church was an institution, then one would not see that one is doing such.armourbearer said:One should beware of putting the church in the place of (anti) Christ.