Catholic Church

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, claiming over a billion members. Its spiritual and administrative head is the Pope. A communion of the Western and Eastern Catholic churches, it operates schools, universities, hospitals, missions, shelters and charities. The Catholic Church sees its bishops as successors of Christ's Apostles and the Pope of St. Peter, thus maintaining that by guidance of the Holy Spirit he can infallibly define dogma concerning faith and morals. The Church's beliefs are detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The central component of Catholic worship is the Eucharist.

The Greek word (katholikos), from which Catholic is derived, means "universal", the Greek word is a compound of the

words "kata" (according to) and "holos" (whole). It was first used to describe the Church in the early 2nd century Since the EastWest Schism of 1054, Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the church in "communion with the Bishop of Rome" used the term "Catholic" to distinguish itself from the various Protestant churches. The name "Catholic Church" appears in the title of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is also the term that Paul VI used when signing the sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council. Church documents both of the Holy See and of certain episcopal conferences occasionally refer to the Church by the name "Roman Catholic Church". In the Catechism of Pope Pius X the Church is called Roman.

Early Christianity
Catholic tradition and doctrine holds that the Church was founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century A.D. The New Testament records Jesus's activities and teaching, his claims and personal death and resurrection, appointment of the twelve Apostles and his instructions to them to continue his work and teaching The Church teaches that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, an event known as Pentecost, signaled the beginning of the public ministry of the Church. As preachers such as Paul of Tarsus began converting Gentiles, Christianity grew away from Jewish practices and established itself as a separate religion. The organization of dioceses was established mirroring the territories and cities of the Roman Empire. By at least the 3rd century, the Roman bishop already functioned as a court of appeals for problems that other bishops could not resolve. Beginning in the 2nd century, bishops often congregated in regional synods to resolve doctrinal and policy issues. Doctrine was further refined by a series of influential theologians and teachers, known collectively as the Church Fathers. A series of more centrally organized persecutions of Christians emerged in the late 3rd century, when emperors decreed that the Empire's military, political, and economic crises were caused by angry gods. All residents were ordered to give sacrifices or be punished. Relatively few Christians were executed, others were imprisoned, tortured, put to forced labor, castrated, or sent to brothels; others fled or managed to go undetected, and some renounced their beliefs. Disagreements over what role, if any, these apostates should have in the Church led to the Donatist and Novatianist schisms.

and declared the state religion of the Empire in 380. the belief that Jesus had not existed eternally but was a divine being created by and therefore inferior to God the Father. sought to reach anorthodox consensus and to establish a unified Christendom. who delivered the Vulgate± the Church was now "committed to think and worship in Latin. The Council of Rome in 382 established the first Biblical canon when it listed the accepted books of the Old and New Testament. the council promulgated a creed that became the basis of what is now known as the Nicene Creed In addition. Jerome. He chose his secretary St. In order to briefly express the basic tenets of the Christian belief. Church territory into geographical and administrative areas called dioceses." Latin continued to play a role as the liturgical language of the Roman Rite of the Church. The Council of Ephesus in 431 and the Council of Chalcedon in 451 defined the relationship of Christ's divine and human natures. . leading to splits with the Nestorians and Monophysites. The doctrinal formulations resulting from these ecumenical councils were pivotal in the history of Christianity. In 325. In the same century. After its legalization. and is still to this day used in the official documents of the Church. from the First Council of Nicaea (325) to the Second Council of Nicaea (787). The first seven Ecumenical Councils.Late antiquity Catholic Christianity was legalized in 313 under Constantine's Edict of Milan. the First Council of Nicaea convened in response to the rise of Arianism. a number of doctrinal disputes led to the calling of ecumenical councils. Pope Damasus I commissioned a new translation of the Bible in fine classical Latin.

became a source of conflict with the eastern church. Efforts to mend the schism at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274 and the Council of Florence in 1439 were unsuccessful. and other tribes such as the Visigoths followed his example. while the West. Bulgarian missions. The invention of the Cyrillic alphabet in the 9th century "is attributed to" the Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were sent to greater Moravia. the destruction of religious images. becoming spiritual centers with workshops for the arts and crafts. iconoclasm. retained the name Catholic. which remained in communion with the Pope. By the end of the century Pope Gregory the Great initiated administrative reforms and the Gregorian missions to evangelize Britain. The 9th century conflicts over ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Byzantine-controlled southern Italy. . Clovis I. scriptoria and libraries. and agricultural centers in remote regions. The papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as the Holy Roman Emperor in 800 created a paradigm of Western emperors imposing control over the popes. converted to orthodox Catholicism. When the Frankish king. the eastern side came to be called the Orthodox Church. Beginning in the 6th century European monasteries followed the structure of the Rule of St Benedict. In the 8th century.Middle Ages After the decline of the Roman Empire. Early in the 7th century Muslim armies had conquered much of the southern Mediterranean posing a threat to western Christendom. barbarian tribes either converted to Arianism or to orthodox Catholic Christianity. led to further disagreements that created the East±West Schism which is generally considered to have become formalized in 1054 although there is no single date on which the schism started After the schism. thereby allying himself with the papacy and the monasteries he strengthening the position of the Franks.

By the early 14th century a centralized Church organization had been established. In 1095. after they were accused of murdering a papal legate. a gnostic Christian sect inLanguedoc. . the clergy were literate and celibacy was required. a Latin speaking culture was prevalent. Gregory IX instituted the Papal Inquisition in 1231. and his Summa Theologica was a key intellectual achievement in its synthesis of Aristotelian thought and Christianity. Byzantine emperor Alexius I appealed to Pope Urban II for help against renewed Muslim invasions.Mendicant orders were founded by Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzmán. In 1059 the college of cardinals was created to free papal elections from interference by Emperor and nobility. The 11th and 12th century saw internal efforts to reform the church. was attacked by reformers and under Pope Gregory VII.The Cluniac reform of monasteries sparked widespread monastic growth and renewal. the Knights Hospitaller. In 1208. These orders also played a large role in the development of cathedral schools into universities. erupted into theInvestiture Controversy between Pope and Emperor. Scholastic theologians such as the Dominican Thomas Aquinas studied and taught at such universities. and the Teutonic Knights. which caused Urban to launch the First Crusade aimed at aiding the Byzantine Empire and returning the Holy Land to Christian control. The crusades saw the formation of various military orders such as the Knights Templar. To root out those with Cathar sympathies. The matter was eventually settled with the Concordat of Worms in 1122 where it was agreed that bishops would be selected in accordance with Church law. Pope Innocent III declared the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathars. Lay investiture of bishops. a source of rulers' dominance over the Church. which brought consecrated religious life into urban settings. Up to a million people were killed in a conflict that combined both religious and political struggles.

was hesitantly accepted by Pope Clement VIII. In France. Consequently worldly men such as Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) were elected to the papacy. in England John Wycliffe wrote that the "eternal existing Church" was to be found in the Bible and available to all. Hus was charged with heresy and ordered to be executed by burning at the stake. In Germany. Survivors regrouped under Henry of Navarre who became Catholic and began the first experiment in religious toleration with his 1598 Edict of Nantes. . In Switzerland. Early in the 16th century. A more thoroughgoing doctrinal and liturgical Reformation was initiated at the end of Henry VIII's reign and continued through the reign of Edward VIunder Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. the writings of figures such as Teresa of Avila. making him head of the English Church. Avignon and (after 1409) Pisa. These challenges developed into the European movement called the Protestant Reformation. it reaffirmed central Catholic teachings such as transubstantiation. and others further criticized Catholic teachings. the Papacy came under French dominance. he had the Acts of Supremacy passed. viewing it as a "battleground for hearts and minds". Doctrinally. Pope Innocent XI reformed abuses that were occurring in the Church's hierarchy. When the pope denied Henry's petition for an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Henry initiated the confiscation of monasteries. John Calvin. Bartholomew's Day Massacre marking the turning point in the conflict. "included some biting criticisms of the unreformed Church. but Elizabeth I later restored a separate church that outlawed Catholic priests and prevented Catholics from educating their children and taking part in political life until new laws were passed in the late 18th and nineteenth centuries] The Council of Trent (1545±1563) became the driving force behind the Counter-Reformation. Martin Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses to several bishops. His work was brought to Bohemia. which granted civil and religious toleration to Protestants. but was overturned in 1417 at the Council of Constance with Martin V declared pope. At the same time. The Avignon Papacy ended in 1376 when the Pope returned to Rome but was followed in 1378 by the 38-year-long Western schism with claimants to the papacy in Rome." In Germany in 1517. England was briefly reunited with Rome. Huldrych Zwingli. 17th century. " The Society of Jesus was formally established in the mid-16th century. At the Council of Constance. the Thirty Years' War. and they quickly saw the importance of providing education during the Counter-Reformation. where in Prague. with Clement V moving to Avignon in 1305. written by Erasmus. This Edict. followed by Pope Julius II who presented himself as a secular prince. the publication of In Praise of Folly. Although he tried to maintain traditional Catholicism. Francis de Sales and Philip Neri spawned new schools of spirituality within the Church. Pope Pius II forbade further appeal for a general council. a series of conflicts termed the French Wars of Religion were fought from 1562 to 1598 between the Huguenots and the forces of the French Catholic League. and a decree issued that the Pope received authority "immediately from Christ". the reformation led to a nine-year war between the Protestant Schmalkaldic League and the Catholic Emperor Charles V. The Western Schism resulted in a call for a "collective authority rather than the single primacy of the bishop of Rome" which gained support. friaries. His theses protested key points of Catholic doctrine as well as the sale of indulgences. In reaction to the lack of authority created by the Great Schism. with the St. In 1618 a far graver conflict.Reformation and Counter-Reformation In the 14th century. The English Reformation during the reign Henry VIII began as a political dispute. Under Mary I. convents and shrines throughout his realm. Jan Hus embraced Wycliffe's ideas and gained wide support. followed.

to control all clerical appointments in the new colonies. Church growth in Japan came to a halt in 1597 when the Shogunate.including simony. Enforcement of these laws was lax. a Dominican friar. despite Jesuit efforts to find compromise. He promoted missionary activity. and. through the writings of Catholic clergy such as Bartolomé de Las Casas and Francisco de Vitoria. China. The issue resulted in a crisis of conscience in 16th-century Spain. Because of the prominent role the strongly-Catholic nations of Spain and Portugal played in Western Colonialism. led to debate on the nature of human rights and to the birth of modern international law. Elsewhere. conquistadors. not the Vatican. Catholicism was spread to the Americas. and some historians blame the Church for not doing enough to liberate the Indians. In China. who is particularly known for openly rebuking the Spanish rulers of Hispaniola in 1511 for their cruelty and tyranny in dealing with the natives. Pope Alexander VI had awarded colonial rights over most of the newly discovered lands to Spain and Portugal and the ensuing patronatosystem allowed state authorities. . tried to unite Europe against the Turkish invasion. it was Antonio de Montesinos. nepotism and the lavish papal expenditures that had caused him to inherit a large papal debt. as well as by the transformation of societies through the socio-political mechanisms of colonial rule. Portuguese missionaries under the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavierevangelized in India. An underground minority Christian population survived throughout this period of persecution and enforced an isolation that was eventually lifted in the 19th century. others point to the Church as the only voice raised on behalf of indigenous peoples. In 1521 the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made the first Catholic converts in the Philippines. and missionaries. King Ferdinand enacted the Laws of Burgos and Valladolid in response. Although the Spanish monarchs tried to curb abuses committed against the Amerindians by explorers and conquistadors. in an effort to isolate the country from foreign influences. prevented influential Catholic rulers. Asia and Oceania by explorers. Early modern period The Age of Discovery saw the expansion of Western Europe's political and cultural influence worldwide. launched a severe persecution of Christians or Kirishitan's. and Japan.

These events added fuel to growing criticism of the Jesuits. In Las Californias. citing Republican violence against the Church and "foreign elements which have brought us to ruin". He also condemned slavery and the slave trade in the 1839 papal bull In Supremo Apostolatus. who were seen to symbolize the independent power of the Church. Pope Gregory XVI challenged the power of the Spanish and Portuguese monarchs by appointing his own candidates as colonial bishops. In the Soviet Union following the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Frederic Ozanam began the work of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Paris to assist the poor created by the industrial revolution. monks and laymen. The end of the Napoleonic wars brought Catholic revival and the return of the Papal States. In the 1936±39 Spanish Civil War. the confiscation of religious implements and closure of churches was common. In addition to the execution and exiling of clerics. churches desecrated. In 1833. imprisoning Pope Pius VI. nuns raped and captured priests shot. the First Vatican Council. who died in captivity. In 1872. Industrial age Industrial Revolution. Reaction to the pronouncement resulted in the breakaway of a group of mainly German churches.the Chinese Rites controversy led the Kangxi Emperor to outlaw Christian missions in 1721. The French Revolution of 1789 brought about a shifting of powers from the Church to the State. missionaries had taken Catholicism to the neighbouring islands of Oceania. Pope Pius XI referred to these three countries as a "Terrible Triangle" and the failure to protest in Europe and the United States as a Conspiracy of Silence. John Bosco and Maria Mazzarello founded the Salesian Sisters of Don Bosco in Italy which would grow to be the largest Catholic institute for women in the world. It set out Catholic social teaching in terms that rejected socialism but advocated the regulation of working conditions. affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when exercised under specific conditions. This decision gave the pope "enormous moral and spiritual authority over the worldwide" Church. which convened in 1870. and in 1773 European rulers united to forcePope Clement XIV to dissolve the order The Jesuits were eventually restored in the 1814 papal bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum. The loss of the papal states to the Italian unification movement created what came to be known as the Roman Question. The spread of the British Empire brought the first Catholics to Australia with the arrival of Irish convicts at Sydney in 1788. destruction of churches and the establishment of a Cult of Reason. which subsequently formed the Old Catholic Church.420 members in 2009. and approved the ordination of native clergy in the face of government racism. The 1926 Calles Law separating church and state in Mexico led to the Cristero War in which over 3. The society would grow to more than 1 million members in 142 countries by the year 2010.000 priests were exiled or assassinated. . By the close of the 19th century. a succession of anti-clerical regimes came to power beginning in the 1830s. Napoleon later re-established the Catholic Church in France through the Concordat of 1801. Although the infallibility of the Church in doctrinal matters had always been a Church dogma. persecution of the Church and Catholics continued well into the 1930s. services mocked. with 14. In South America. Franciscan priestJunípero Serra founded a series of missions. The 20th century saw the rise of various politically radical and anti-clerical governments. the establishment of a living wage and the right of workers to form trade unions. Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy. In Latin America. the Catholic hierarchy allied itself with Franco's Nationalists against the Popular Front government. Jesuit missionaries sought to protect native peoples from enslavement by establishing semi-independent settlements called reductions. In 1799. a territorial dispute between the papacy and the Italian government that was not resolved until the 1929 Lateran Treaty granted sovereignty to the Holy See over Vatican City. Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Rerum Novarum.

influenced by exponents of Nouvelle Théologie such as Karl Rahner. the last premier of the Soviet Union. where Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was gunned down at the altar in 1980. A so-called Spirit of Vatican II followed the council. particularly dialogue with the Eastern Orthodox Church. which publicly condemned the Nazis' persecution of the Church and their ideology of neopaganism and racial superiority After the Second World War began in September 1939. he established World Youth Day. credited him with hastening the fall of Communism in Europe. The new government also created the Patriotic Church whose unilaterally appointed bishops were initially rejected by Rome before many of them were accepted. On the other hand. arguing that it defiled the sanctity of the Latin Mass. . he said the Church should not work for the poor and oppressed through partisan politics or revolutionary violence. he made Opus Dei a personal prelature. The rise to power of the Communists in China in 1949 led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries.more than all his predecessors combined. While Pius XII has been credited with helping to save hundreds of thousands of Jews by some historians the Church has also been accused of encouraging centuries of antisemitism and Pius himself of not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities. Contemporary The Second Vatican Council initiated by Pope John XXIII in 1962 was described by its advocates as an "opening of the windows".notably in Latin America. nuns and brothers were imprisoned and murdered throughout the areas occupied by the Nazis including Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein. He worked for reconciliation with Jews and Muslims. women. The encyclicals Humanae Vitae and Evangelium Vitae. Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo won the same award in 1996 for "work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor". Traditionalist Catholics represented by figures such as Marcel Lefebvre strongly criticized the council. Disapproving of the influence of Marxism on the Liberation Theology prevalent in Latin America during the 1980s. describing these views as part of a "culture of life". The Catholic nun Mother Teresa of Calcutta was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work among India's poor. He canonised 483 saints . offering forgiveness to persecutors of the Church. promoted religious indifferentism towards "false religions" and compromised historical Catholic dogma and tradition. the poor and the unborn. It led to changes in liturgy within the Latin Church. the Anglican Communion. and Protestant denominations. He also supported debt relief in the Third World and the campaign against the Iraq War. Mikhail Gorbachev. The Cultural Revolution of the 1960s led to the closure of all religious establishments. including religious intolerance and injustice toward Jews. have opposed contraception and abortion respectively. and six Jesuits of the University of Central America were assassinated in 1989. Pope Pius XII directed the Church hierarchy to help protect Jews from the Nazis. Pope Pius XI issued the 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge. Some dissident liberals such as Hans Küng claimed Vatican II had not gone far enough. Pope John Paul II became the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years. A staunch conservative on questions of sexual morality. and asking forgiveness for the historical errors of the Church. indigenous peoples. Campaigns for human rights and social justice led to the martyrdom of Catholics during this period . In the Holocaust. immigrants. the Church condemned the invasion of Poland and subsequent 1940 Nazi invasions Thousands of Catholic priests. His 27-year pontificate was one of the longest in history.After violations of the 1933 Reichskonkordat that had guaranteed the Church in Nazi Germany some protection and rights. In 1978. In 1986. a re-focusing of its mission and a redefinition of ecumenism.

.. The New Testament records the activities and teaching of Christ's appointment of the twelve Apostles and giving them authority to continue his work. nourished with the Body of Christ. elected in 2005. It teaches that anyone who is saved is saved indirectly through the Church if the person has invincible ignorance of the Catholic Church and its teachings (as a result of parentage or culture. and the Holy Spirit.[189] In an event known as the Incarnation.In the 1980s. therefore. is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth.... he has called for a new evangelization of Europe. . Catholics believe that Christ is the Messiah of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecies. therefore. the Eucharist. Catholic belief holds that the Church ". God the Son. and they hand on the Sacred Tradition received from the apostles. encourage reporting of any abuse that occurs and to handle such reports promptly. signaled the beginning of the public ministry of the Church. Sacraments are important visible rituals that Catholics see as signs of God's presence and effective channels of God's grace to all those who receive them with the proper disposition (ex opere operato). In response to the scandal. to be both fully divine and fully human. Confirmation. the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ. Christ is believed. To Catholics. Christ instituted seven sacraments and entrusted them to the Church These are Baptism." The Church teaches that the fullness of the "means of salvation" exists only in the Catholic Church but acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of Christian communities separated from itself to bring people to salvation. join the Church if he understood its necessity. legal action and public debate in the United States. for example). become the Body of Christ. yet follows the morals God has dictated in his heart and would. Pope Benedict XVI.. who exists as a mutual indwelling of three persons: God the Father.I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven . the issue of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy became the subject of media coverage. Reconciliation (Penance). transferring them to other pastoral assignments where some continued to commit sexual offenses. Doctrine The Catholic Church holds that there is one eternal God. It teaches that Catholics are called by the Holy Spirit to work for unity among all Christians. through the power of the Holy Spirit. God became united with human nature when Christ was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. which make up theTrinity.. According to the Council of Trent. Australia and other countries. The Church was criticized for its handling of abuse complaints when it became known that some bishops had shielded accused priests. regularly receives heads of state and as the representative of the Holy See has permanent observer status at the United Nations. although groups representing victims have disputed their effectiveness. The Church teaches that Jesus designated Simon Peter as the leader of the apostles by proclaiming "upon this rock I will build my church . According to its doctrine.Anointing of the Sick (formerly Extreme Unction or the "Last Rites"). the Church teaches that. in an event known as Pentecost." The Church teaches that the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. ".. All duly consecrated bishops since then are considered the successors to the apostles. the Church has established formal procedures to prevent abuse. Ireland. the term "Church" refers to the people of God. Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. It is taught that Christ's mission on earth included giving people his teachings and providing his example for them to follow as recorded in the four Gospels. During his pontificate. who abide in Christ and who.

the Church believes one can enter the Kingdom of God. In the Eastern Catholic Churches. including infant baptism. They must also have prepared spiritually for the sacrament. TheResurrection of Jesus. Pilgrimages to these sites are popular Catholic devotions. will bring an end to human history and mark the beginning of a new and better heaven and earth ruled by God in righteousness. An indugence is believed to effect a partial or full remission (known as a plenary indulgence) of the temporal punishment still due for them in Purgatory. The Church has affirmed the credibility of certain Marian apparitions (supernatural experiences of Mary by one or more persons) such as Our Lady of Lourdes. By reconciling with God and following Christ's words and deeds.. reign of God over people's hearts and lives". such as the Rosary. prayer and Marian art. Falling into sin is considered the opposite to following Christ. while others are under investigation and some outright condemned as unworthy of belief. Catholic beliefs concerning Mary include her Immaculate Conception without the stain of original sin and bodily Assumption into heaven at the end of her life. Catholics may obtain forgiveness for subsequent sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance or Confession). The basis on which each person's soul is judged is detailed in . the Salve Regina and the Memorare are common Catholic practices. based on the deeds of that individual's earthly life. Several liturgical Marian feasts are celebrated throughout the Church Year and she is honored with many titles such as Queen of Heaven. the "Holy Spirit". or the messages received from them. This teaching also attests to another day when Christ will sit in a universal judgment of all mankind.[192] Because of her influential role in the life of Jesus. After baptism. the Hail Mary. immediately after death. which means they cannot be conscious of having committed an unconfessed mortal sin. nor can they add anything to the deposit of faith received from the apostles. an individual confesses his sins to a priest. according to Catholic belief.. in special regard. The priest administers absolution. To be properly confirmed. This final judgment. Sins range from the less serious venial sins to more serious mortal sins that end a person's relationship with God. is immediately followed by Confirmation²referred to as Chrismation²and the reception of the Eucharist.Prayers and devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary are part of Catholic piety but are distinct from the worship of God.[206] An indulgence may be granted by the church after the sinner has confessed and received absolution for their sins. Catholics must be in a state of grace. prayers and devotions. according to Church teaching. Catholics believe that they receive the Holy Spirit through the sacrament of Confirmation and that the grace received at baptism is strengthened. Pope Paul VI called her Mother of the Church. who then offers advice and imposes a particular penance to be performed. Christ told his apostles that²after his death and resurrection²he would send them the "Advocate". Fátima and Guadalupe. because by giving birth to Christ.. as Perpetual Virgin and Mother of God. formally forgiving the person of his sinsThe priest is forbidden² under penalty of excommunication²to reveal any sin or disclosure heard under the seal of confession. The Church teaches that. the soul of each person will receive a particular judgment from God. which is the ". and selected a saint to be their special patron and intercessor.. by Pope Pius IX in 1854 and Pope Pius XII in 1950 respectively. The Church holds Mary. baptism. gained for humans a possible spiritual immortality previously denied to them because of original sin. music and architecture. she is considered to be the spiritual mother to each member of the Body of Christ. are binding on the larger body of the faithful. will teach you all things". all people have an opportunity for forgiveness and freedom from sin. weakening a person's resemblance to God and turning their soul away from his love. In this sacrament. chosen a sponsor for spiritual support. and so can be reconciled to God. both of which have been infallibly defined as dogma.] Regardless of their status none of these apparitions. The Church teaches that through the passion (suffering) of Christ and his crucifixion. Mariology deals not only with her life but also her veneration in daily life. who ".

No one is predestined to hell and no one can determine whether anyone else has been condemned.[219] The most commonly used liturgy is the Roman Rite. which is exercised by the pope and the College of Bishops in union with the pope. Based on the promises of Christ in the Gospels. an everlasting separation from God. the language of the people. Latin for "teacher"). Other Western rites (non-Roman) include the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite. but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven". are not free enough from sin to enter directly into heaven. which is now the ordinary form of the rite and is celebrated mostly in the vernacular." Depending on the judgement rendered. "The Last Judgement will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life. In the United States. certain "Anglican Use" parishes use a variation of the Roman rite that retains many aspects of the Anglican liturgical rites. According to the Catechism. Traditions of worship Differing liturgical traditions. those who chose to live a sinful and selfish life. 'Lord. The rites used by . or rites. Finally. Catholic beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed and detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. i. which lists works of mercy to be performed even to people considered "the least". Some Catholic theologians have speculated that the souls of unbaptised infants who die in original sin are assigned to limbo although this is not an official doctrine of the Church. Purgatory is a temporary condition for the purification of souls who. a soul may enter one of three states of afterlife. Catholicism teaches that through God's mercy a person can repent at any point before death and be saved. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are collectively known as the "deposit of faith" (depositum fidei). Two forms of the Roman Rite are authorized at present: that of the post-1969 editions of the Roman Missal (Mass of Paul VI). Implementation is still awaited of the authorization granted in 2009 for the creation wherever appropriate of ordinariates for Anglicans who enter into communion with the Church and who may then use a rite that incorporates elements of Anglican tradition. Sacred Tradition consists of those teachings believed by the Church to have been handed down since the time of the Apostles. reflecting historical and cultural diversity rather than differences in beliefs. and the Eastern Catholic Churches have distinct rites. Emphasis is upon Christ's words that "Not everyone who says to me. did not repent. The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth throughSacred Scripture. Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium] Sacred Scripture consists of the 73 book Catholic Bible. exist throughout the Catholic Church. Souls in purgatory may be aided in reaching heaven by the prayers of the faithful on earth and by the intercession of saints.. the Church's teaching authority. but even in the Latin Catholic Church a few other rites are in use. although saved. These are in turn interpreted by the Magisterium (from magister. and that of the 1962 edition (the Tridentine Mass).' shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Lord. This is made up of the 46 books found in the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament²known as the Septuagint²and the 27 New Testament writings first found in the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 1209 and listed in Athanasius' Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter.e. and fully intended to persist in their ways are sent to hell. the Church believes that it is continually guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected infallibly from falling into doctrinal error. now an extraordinary form).the Gospel of Matthew. Heaven is a time of glorious union with God and a life of unspeakable joy that lasts forever. The Church teaches that no one is condemned to hell without having freely decided to reject God.

A candidate takes vows confirming their desire to follow the three evangelical counsels of chastity. Those who are conscious of being in a state of mortal sin are forbidden from this sacrament unless they have received absolution through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) Catholics are not permitted to receive communion in Protestant churches because of their different beliefs and practices regarding Holy Orders and the Eucharist. as well as members of the laity. In the Church. each staffed by one or more priests. Pontifex Maximus. the Pope holds primacy of jurisdiction in matters of faith. Carmelites. the Alexandrian or Coptic rite. the bread and wine become supernaturally transubstantiated into the true Body and Blood of Christ. 2. may preach. as of 2008. which ordains someone into the clergy. each overseen by a bishop. personnel and institutions The Church's hierarchy is headed by the Pope. The Words of Institution for this sacrament are drawn from the Gospels and a Pauline letter. Franciscans. For advice and assistance in governing. Most monks and nuns join a monastic or religious order. the Maronite rite. When a pope dies or resigns. Catholics give many titles to the Pope. Only bishops can administer the sacrament of Holy Orders. baptize.795 dioceses. the next highest level in the hierarchy. priests. and the Chaldean rite. Ordained Catholics. including Bishop of Rome. since 1389 only cardinals have been elevated to that position. Although the papal conclave can theoretically elect any male Catholic as pope. members of the College of Cardinals who are under age 80 meet to elect a new pope. All clergy. Catholics believe that at each Mass. Dominicans. The Eucharist. Priests may be assisted by deacons. Only priests and bishops are allowed to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist. the Syriac rite. Because the Church teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist. Reconciliation (Penance) and Anointing of the Sick. discipline and Church governance and is the head of state of the Vatican City. such as the Benedictines. including deacons. may enter consecrated life as monks or nuns. poverty and obedience. teach. The Church teaches that Christ established a New Covenant with humanity through the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. successor to Saint Peter. Organization and demographics Hierarchy. the Armenian rite. Dioceses are divided into individual communities called parishes. witness marriages and conduct funeral liturgies. is the center of Catholic worship. morals. there are strict rules about its celebration and reception. The Catholic Church comprised. Catholics must abstain from eating for at least an hour before receiving Communion. and bishops. . and the Sisters of Mercy. Prince of the Apostles. Vicar of Christ and Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.the Eastern Catholic Churches include the Byzantine rite. the Pope may turn to the College of Cardinals. or Mass.

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