The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide as of 2019. It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization.
- 1.378 billion (2021)
4. Nov. 2003 · THE CHURCH IN GOD'S PLAN. Paragraph 2. THE CHURCH - PEOPLE OF GOD, BODY OF CHRIST, TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Paragraph 3. THE CHURCH IS ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC, AND APOSTOLIC. Paragraph 4. CHRIST'S FAITHFUL - HIERARCHY, LAITY, CONSECRATED LIFE. Paragraph 5. THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.
- The emergence of Catholic Christianity
Roman Catholicism, Christian church that has been the decisive spiritual force in the history of Western civilization. Along with Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism, it is one of the three major branches of Christianity. It is led by the pope, as the bishop of Rome, and the Holy See forms the church’s central government, making decisions on issues of faith and morality for the some 1.3 billion Catholics throughout the world; the Holy See is assisted by the Roman Curia, a group of dicasteries (also known as departments), congregations, and councils with specific functions and responsibilities relating to church matters such as liturgy and worship, religious education, missionary activities, doctrine of the faith, or bishops and clergy. This administrative structure is often likened to a president and prime minister system, with the pope serving as president or head of state and the cardinal secretary of state serving as prime minister or head of government. The pope and Holy See reside in Vatican City, an enclave in Rome, situated on the west bank of the Tiber River. Vatican City is the world’s smallest fully independent nation-state. The Vatican Palace, the papal residence in Vatican City north of St. Peter’s Basilica, one of the most renowned works of Renaissance architecture, is a major site of tourism. The lavish building is home to a number of public chapels, notably the Sistine Chapel; the four Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael’s Rooms), with extensive frescoes by the artist and his successors; Vatican Museums and Galleries; and the Vatican Apostolic Library.
The Roman Catholic Church traces its history to Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Over the course of centuries it developed a highly sophisticated theology and an elaborate organizational structure headed by the papacy, the oldest continuing absolute monarchy in the world.
The number of Roman Catholics in the world is greater than that of nearly all other religious traditions. There are more Roman Catholics than all other Christians combined and more Roman Catholics than all Buddhists or Hindus. Although there are more Muslims than Roman Catholics, the number of Roman Catholics is greater than that of the individual traditions of Shiʿi and Sunni Islam.
These incontestable statistical and historical facts suggest that some understanding of Roman Catholicism—its history, its institutional structure, its beliefs and practices, and its place in the world—is an indispensable component of cultural literacy, regardless of how one may individually answer the ultimate questions of life and death and faith. Without a grasp of what Roman Catholicism is, it is difficult to make historical sense of the Middle Ages, intellectual sense of the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, literary sense of The Divine Comedy of Dante, artistic sense of the Gothic cathedrals, or musical sense of many of the compositions of Haydn and Mozart.
At least in an inchoate form, all the elements of catholicity—doctrine, authority, universality—are evident in the New Testament. The Acts of the Apostles begins with a depiction of the demoralized band of the disciples of Jesus in Jerusalem, but by the end of its account of the first decades, the Christian community has developed some nascent criteria for determining the difference between authentic (“apostolic”) and inauthentic teaching and behaviour. It has also moved beyond the geographic borders of Judaism, as the dramatic sentence of the closing chapter announces: “And thus we came to Rome” (Acts 28:14). The later epistles of the New Testament admonish their readers to “guard what has been entrusted to you” (1 Timothy 6:20) and to “contend for the faith that was once for all handed down to the holy ones” (Jude 3), and they speak about the Christian community itself in exalted and even cosmic terms as the church, “which is [Christ’s] body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way” (Ephesians 1:23). It is clear even from the New Testament that these catholic features were proclaimed in response to internal challenges as well as external ones; indeed, scholars have concluded that the early church was far more pluralistic from the very beginning than the somewhat idealized portrayal in the New Testament might suggest.
As such challenges continued in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, further development of catholic teaching became necessary. The schema of apostolic authority formulated by the bishop of Lyon, St. Irenaeus (c. 130–c. 200), sets forth systematically the three main sources of authority for catholic Christianity: the Scriptures of the New Testament (alongside the Hebrew Scriptures, or “Old Testament,” which Christians interpret as prophesying the coming of Jesus); the episcopal centres established by the Apostles as the seats of their identifiable successors in the governance of the church (traditionally at Alexandria, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Rome); and the apostolic tradition of normative doctrine as the “rule of faith” and the standard of Christian conduct. Each of the three sources depended on the other two for validation; thus, one could determine which purportedly scriptural writings were genuinely apostolic by appealing to their conformity with acknowledged apostolic tradition and to the usage of the apostolic churches, and so on. This was not a circular argument but an appeal to a single catholic authority of apostolicity, in which the three elements were inseparable. Inevitably, however, there arose conflicts—of doctrine and jurisdiction, of worship and pastoral practice, and of social and political strategy—among the three sources, as well as between equally “apostolic” bishops. When bilateral means of resolving such conflicts proved insufficient, there could be recourse to either the precedent of convoking an apostolic council (Acts 15) or to what Irenaeus had already called “the preeminent authority of this church [of Rome], with which, as a matter of necessity, every church should agree.” Catholicism was on the way to becoming Roman Catholic.
28. Feb. 2002 · Here we consider the Internet's implications for religion and especially for the Catholic Church. 3. The Church has a two-fold aim in regard to the media. One aspect is to encourage their right development and right use for the sake of human development, justice, and peace—for the upbuilding of society at the local, national, and ...
3. Okt. 2023 · Catholicism Topic The term 'Catholicism' alludes to the beliefs and practices of Christian denominations that refer to themselves as Catholic. Reports & Analysis What do Germans eat for the Feast...