I always have to roll my eyes when I here about a church that tries so hard to separate early Christianity from the Catholic Church. American Papist notes a case in point from Kyle Potter's blog.
I have a lot of non-Catholic Christian friends, and I find that none of them exhibit some of the extreme anti-Catholic sentiment that I encounter on the Web. I did have one student way back when I was an agnostic who occasionally directed an anti-Catholic jab at me. It was sort of funny given that I wasn't practicing my faith at the time, so it made the holes in his claims all the easier to deflect. However, most of my Christian friends simply know nothing about the Church. I'm teaching them little by little.
Anyhoo, when people start claiming the ECFs as non-Catholics or pre-Catholics or whatever, I have to wonder how they justify 1800 years of missing lineage in their own religious traditions. The argument is invariably from silence: Ignatius never mentioned priests; Polycarp didn't saying anything about water baptism; St. Patrick wasn't a Catholic bishop.
Can't wait to take my first Patristics class.