Roman Catholic Church

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Roman Catholic Church

Pope - Pope Benedict XVI
College of Cardinals
Ecumenical Councils
Episcopal polity  • Latin Rite
Eastern Catholic Churches


History  • Christianity
Catholicism  • Apostolic Succession
Four Marks of the Church
Ten Commandments
Crucifixion & Resurrection of Jesus
Ascension  • Assumption of Mary
Criticism of Roman Catholicism


Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
Theology  • Apologetics
Divine Grace  • Sacraments
Purgatory  • Salvation
Original sin  • Saints  • Dogma
Virgin Mary  • Mariology
Immaculate Conception of Mary

Liturgy and Worship

Roman Catholic Liturgy
Eucharist • Liturgy of the Hours
Liturgical Year  • Biblical Canon


Roman  • Armenian  • Alexandrian
Byzantine  • Antiochian  • East Syrian

Catholicism Topics

Ecumenism  • Monasticism
Prayer  • Music  • Art

Catholicism Portal

The Roman Catholic Church, officially known as the Catholic Church[note 1] is the world's largest Christian church, representing over half of all Christians and one-sixth of the world's population.[6][7] The Catholic Church is a communion of 23 sui juris particular churches. Among these are the Western Rite (Latin Rite) and Eastern Catholic Churches comprising 2,782 dioceses. The Church's highest earthly authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance is the pope,[8] currently Benedict XVI who holds supreme authority over the Church in concert with the College of Bishops, of which he is the head.[9][10][11] The community is made up of an ordained ministry and the laity; members of either group may belong to organized religious communities.[12]

The Church defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity.[13] It operates social programs and institutions throughout the world, including schools, universities, hospitals, missions and shelters, as well as organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Charities that help the poor, families, the elderly and the sick.[14]

Through apostolic succession, the Church believes itself to be the continuation of the Christian community founded by Jesus in his consecration of Saint Peter, a view shared by many historians.[15][16][17] It has defined its doctrines through various ecumenical councils, following the example set by the first Apostles in the Council of Jerusalem.[18] On the basis of promises made by Jesus to his apostles, described in the Gospels, the Church believes that it is guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected from falling into doctrinal error.[19][20][21]

Catholic beliefs are based on the Bible and on Traditions handed down from the time of the Apostles, which are interpreted by a teaching authority. Those beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed and formally detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[22] Formal Catholic worship, termed the liturgy, is regulated by Church authority. The Eucharist, one of seven Church sacraments and the key part of every Catholic Mass or Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy, is the center of Catholic worship.

With a history spanning almost two thousand years, the Church is one of the world's oldest institutions[23] and has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilization since at least the 4th century.[24] In the 11th century, a major split (the Great Schism) occurred between Eastern and Western Christianity, largely as a result of disagreements over papal primacy. The Eastern Orthodox churches became a separate entity from the Catholic Church in the resulting schism. Eastern Churches who remained in or later re-established communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, form the Eastern Catholic churches. In the 16th century, partly in response to the Protestant schism, the Church engaged in a substantial process of reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation.

Although the Church maintains that it is the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" founded by Jesus Christ where one can find the fullness of the means of salvation,[25][26] it acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of other Christian communities to bring people to salvation.[27][28] It believes that it is called by the Holy Spirit to work for unity among all Christians, a movement known as ecumenism.[28] Modern challenges facing the Church include the rise of secularism and opposition to its stances on abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia and contraception.[29]


[edit] Origin and mission

This detail of a fresco (1481–1482) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint Peter.

The Catholic Church traces its foundation to Jesus and the twelve Apostles.[30] It sees the bishops of the Church as the successors of the apostles and the pope in particular as the successor of Peter, the leader of the apostles.[31][32] Catholics cite Jesus' words in the Gospel according to Matthew, to support this view: "... you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church ... I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."[9][20][33] According to Catholic belief, this promised church was brought fully into the world when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles in the event known as Pentecost.[32]

Some scholars agree that the Church was founded by Jesus and that the historical record confirms that it was considered a Christian doctrinal authority from its beginning.[15][17] Henry Chadwick cites a letter from Pope Clement I to the church in Corinth (c. 95) as evidence of a presiding Roman cleric who exercised authority over other churches.[34] Other scholars disagree with these interpretations. Eamon Duffy for instance, affirms the existence of a Christian community in Rome and that Peter and Paul "lived, preached and died" there,[35] but doubts that there was a ruling bishop in the Roman church in the first century, and questions the concept of apostolic succession.[36]

The Church believes that its mission is founded upon Jesus' command to his followers to spread the faith across the world:[17] "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age".[37][38][39] Pope Benedict XVI summarized this mission as a threefold responsibility to proclaim the word of God, celebrate the sacraments, and exercise the ministry of charity.[40] As part of its ministry of charity the Church runs Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, Caritas Internationalis, Catholic schools, universities, hospitals, shelters and ministries to the poor, as well as ministries to families, the elderly and the marginalized.[14]

[edit] Beliefs

The Divine Name of God above an image of Christ crucified and surrounded by angelic hosts

The Catholic Church holds that there is one eternal God, who exists as a mutual indwelling of three persons: the Father; the Son, Jesus; and the Holy Spirit. Catholic beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed[41] and detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[22][42] The Nicene Creed also forms the central statement of belief of other Christian denominations.[43] Chief among these are Eastern Orthodox Christians, whose beliefs are similar to those of Catholics, differing mainly with regard to papal infallibility, the filioque clause (Latin meaning: "and from the son") and the immaculate conception of Mary.[44][45] Protestant churches vary in their beliefs, but generally differ from Catholics regarding the pope, church tradition, the Eucharist and issues pertaining to grace, good works and salvation.[46]

The Council of Jerusalem, convened by the apostles around the year 50 to clarify Church teachings, set the example for later councils of the Church, convened by Church leaders throughout history for similar purposes.[18][47][48] The most recent was the Second Vatican Council, which closed in 1965.[49]

[edit] Teaching authority, seven sacraments

Based on the promises of Jesus in the Gospels, the Church believes that it is continually guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected infallibly from falling into doctrinal error.[9][50] The Catholic Church teaches that the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium.[51] Sacred Scripture, or the Catholic Bible, consists of the same books found in the Greek version of the Old Testament—known as the Septuagint[52]—and the 27 New Testament writings first founded in the Codex Vaticanus and listed in Athanasius' Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter.[53] These scriptures make up the 73-book Catholic bible in contrast with the shorter, 66-book bible used by most Protestants.[52] The books and works that are upheld as canonical by the Catholic Church but not by some other groups are known as the Deuterocanonicals. Sacred Tradition consists of those teachings believed by the Church to have been handed down since the time of the Apostles.[50] Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are collectively known as the "deposit of faith" (depositum fidei). These are in turn interpreted by the Magisterium, the teaching authority of the Church, which derives through apostolic succession from the college of bishops in union with the pope.[54]

According to the Council of Trent, Jesus instituted seven sacraments and entrusted them to the Church.[55] These are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. Sacraments are important visible rituals which Catholics see as effective channels of God's grace to all those who receive them with the proper disposition (ex opere operato).[41][56]

[edit] God the Father, original sin and Baptism

God, in the teaching of the Nicene Creed, is the source and creator of nature and all that exists.[57] The Church teaches that God is a loving and caring entity who is directly involved in the world and in people's lives[58] desiring his creatures to love him and to love each other.[59][60] Catholicism teaches that while human beings live bodily in a visible, material world, their souls simultaneously occupy an invisible, spiritual world, in which spiritual beings called angels exist to "worship and serve God".[61] Some angels, however, chose to rebel against God, becoming demons who now seek to harm mankind.[62] Among other names, the leader of this rebellion has been called "Lucifer", "Satan" and the devil.[63] Satan is believed to have tempted the first humans, whose subsequent act of original sin brought suffering and death into the world.[64]

This event, known as the Fall of Man, separated humanity from its original intimacy with God according to Catholic belief. The Catechism states that the description of the fall, in Genesis 3, uses figurative language, but affirms "... a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man" and resulted in "a deprivation of original holiness and justice" that makes each person "subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death: and inclined to sin". Catholic doctrine accepts the possibility that God's creation occurred in a way consistent with evolution but rejects as outside the scope of science any efforts to use of the theory to deny supernatural divine creation.[65] The soul did not evolve, according to Catholic doctrine, but was infused into man and woman directly by God.[64] The Church believes that people can be cleansed of original sin and all personal sins through Baptism.[66] This sacramental act of cleansing admits a person as a full member of the natural and supernatural Church and can only be conferred on a person once.[66]

[edit] Jesus, sin and Penance

Modern confessional in the Church of the Holy Name, Dunedin, New Zealand. The penitent may kneel on the kneeler or sit in a chair facing the priest (not shown).

Catholics believe that Jesus is the Messiah of the Old Testament's Messianic prophecies.[67] The Nicene Creed states that he is "... the only begotten son of God, ... one in being with the Father. Through him all things were made ...". In an event known as the Incarnation, the Church teaches that God descended from heaven for the salvation of humanity, became man through the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of a Jewish virgin named Mary. It is believed that Jesus' mission on earth included giving people his word and example to follow, as recorded in the four Gospels.[68] Catholicism teaches that following the example of Jesus helps believers to become closer to him, and therefore to grow in true love, freedom, and the fullness of life.[69][70]

Falling into sin is considered the opposite to following Jesus, weakening a person's resemblance to God and turning their soul away from his love.[71] Sins range from the less serious venial sins, to more serious mortal sins which end a person's relationship with God.[71][72] Through the passion of Jesus and his crucifixion, the Church teaches that all people have an opportunity for forgiveness and freedom from sin, and so can be reconciled to God.[67][73] The Resurrection of Jesus, according to Catholic belief, gained for humans a possible spiritual immortality previously denied to us because of original sin.[74] John the Baptist called Jesus "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world",[75] in reference to the ancient Jewish practice of sacrificing lambs to God.[76][77] By reconciling with God and following Jesus' words and deeds, the Church believes one can enter the Kingdom of God, which is the "... reign of God over people's hearts and lives."[78][79]

After baptism, the sacrament of Penance (Confession) is the means by which Catholics believe they can obtain forgiveness for subsequent sin and receive God's grace. Catholics believe Jesus gave the apostles authority to forgive sins in God's name.[80] After making an examination of conscience that often involves a review of the ten commandments, the act involves confession by an individual to a priest, who then offers advice and imposes a particular penance to be performed. The penitent then prays an act of contrition and the priest administers absolution, formally forgiving the person of his sins.[81] The priest is forbidden under penalty of excommunication to reveal any sin or disclosure heard under the seal of confession. Penance helps prepare Catholics before they can licitly receive the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist.[82][83]

[edit] Holy Spirit and Confirmation

Bernini's alabaster window in St. Peter's Basilica depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove, a common motif in Christian art, referencing John the Baptist's proclamation that he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus at his baptism "like a dove".

Jesus told his apostles that after his death and resurrection he would send them the "Advocate", the "Holy Spirit", who "... will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you."[84][85] Since the Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity, the Church teaches that receiving the Holy Spirit is an act of receiving God.[86]

Through the sacrament of Confirmation, Catholics ask for and believe they receive the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity" and is believed to increase and deepen the grace received at Baptism.[87] Spiritual graces or gifts of the Holy Spirit may include the wisdom to see and follow God's plan, as well as judgment, love, courage, knowledge, reverence and rejoicing in the presence of God.[88] The corresponding fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.[88] To be licitly confirmed, Catholics must be in a state of grace, in that they cannot be conscious of having committed a mortal sin. They must also have prepared spiritually for the sacrament, chosen a sponsor or godparent for spiritual support, and selected a saint to be their special patron and intercessor.[87] Baptism in the Eastern rites, including infant baptism, is immediately followed by the reception of Confirmation and the Eucharist.[89]

[edit] Final judgment and afterlife

Belief in an afterlife is part of Catholic doctrine. The Church teaches that immediately after death the soul of each person will be judged by Jesus, and will receive a particular judgment based on the deeds of that individual's earthly life.[90] This teaching also attests to another day when Jesus will sit in a universal judgment of all mankind.[14][91] This final judgment, according to Church teaching, will bring an end to human history and mark the beginning of a new and better heaven and earth ruled by God in righteousness.[92]

There are three states of afterlife in Catholic belief. Heaven is a time of glorious union with God and a life of unspeakable joy that lasts forever.[90] Purgatory is a temporary condition for the purification of souls who, although saved, are not free enough from sin to enter directly into heaven. It is a state requiring penance and purgation of sin through God's mercy aided by the prayers of others.[90] Finally, those who chose to live a sinful and selfish life, did not repent, and fully intended to persist in their ways are sent to hell, an everlasting separation from God.[93] The Church teaches that no one is condemned to hell without having freely decided to reject God and his love.[90] He predestines no one to hell and no one can determine whether anyone else has been condemned.[90] Catholicism teaches that through God's mercy a person can repent at any point before death and be saved "like the good thief who was crucified next to Jesus".[90][94]

[edit] Nature of the Church and social teaching

Catholic belief holds that the Church "... is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth."[95] To Catholics, the term "Church" refers to the people of God, who abide in Jesus and who, "... nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ."[96] Catholic teaching maintains that the Church exists simultaneously on earth (Church militant), in purgatory (Church penitent), and in heaven (Church triumphant); thus Mary and all other saints are alive and part of the living Church.[97] This unity of the Church in heaven and on earth is the "Communion of Saints".[97][98] The Church constitution, Lumen Gentium, affirms that the fullness of "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. It teaches that anyone who is saved is saved either directly through the Church or indirectly through the Church. One may be 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, for example), yet follows the morals God has dictated in his heart and would, therefore, join the Church if he understood its necessity.[99][100] It teaches that Catholics are called by the Holy Spirit to work for unity among all Christians.[99][100]

The Church operates numerous social ministries throughout the world, but teaches that individual Catholics are required to practice spiritual and corporal works of mercy as well. Corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, immigrants or refugees, clothing the naked, taking care of the sick and visiting those in prison. Spiritual works require the Catholic to share knowledge, to give advice, comfort those who suffer, have patience, forgive those who hurt them, give correction to those who need it, and pray for the living and the dead.[14] In conjunction with the work of mercy to visit the sick, the Church offers the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, performed only by a priest.[101] Church teaching on works of mercy and the new social problems of the industrial era led to the development of Catholic social teaching, which emphasizes human dignity and commits Catholics to the welfare of others.[14]

[edit] Prayer and worship

Catholic liturgy is regulated by Church authority[102] and consists of the Eucharist and Mass, the other sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours. At a minimum, the Catechism requires every Catholic to attend Mass on Sundays, confess sins at least once a year, receive the Eucharist at least once during Easter season, and observe days of fasting and of abstinence as established by the Church, and also help provide for the Church's needs.[103] Although all Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life of the Church, individual or communal prayer and devotions, while encouraged, are a matter of personal preference.[104] Frequent reception of the Eucharist, often daily, and monthly confession of sins, are common Catholic practices encouraged by the Church and the various religious orders.

[edit] Liturgical rites

Differing liturgical traditions, or rites, exist throughout the worldwide Church, reflecting historical and cultural diversity rather than a difference in beliefs.[105] The most commonly used liturgy is the Latin rite. Presently, this rite exists in two forms: the ordinary form following the 1969 missal of Paul VI, celebrated primarily in the vernacular, and an extraordinary form (termed the Tridentine or Latin Mass standardized by Pius V after the Council of Trent).[106][107][note 2] In 1980, Pope John Paul II issued a Pastoral Provision which allowed members of the Episcopal Church to retain many aspects of Anglican liturgical rites as a variation of the Latin rite when they joined the Catholic Church. Such Anglican Use parishes exist only in the United States. Other Western rites include the Ambrosian Rite and the Mozarabic Rite.

The Eastern Catholic Churches term the Eucharistic celebration the Divine Liturgy. These rites are the Byzantine rite, Alexandrian or Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Maronite, and Chaldean.

All rites follow a Liturgical year, an annual calendar of the Catholic Church, which sets aside certain days and seasons to celebrate key events in the life of Jesus.[109] Advent, Christmas and the Epiphany celebrate his expected coming, birth and manifestation. Lent is the period of purification and penance that ends during Holy Week with the Easter Triduum. These days recall Jesus' last supper with his disciples, death on the cross, burial and resurrection. The feast of the Ascension of Jesus is followed by Pentecost which recalls the account of the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus' disciples.[109]

[edit] Eucharist

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Holy Mass at the canonization of Frei Galvão in São Paulo, Brazil on 11 May 2007

The Eucharist, is celebrated at each Mass and is the center of Catholic worship.[110][111] The Words of Institution for this sacrament are drawn from the Gospels and a Pauline letter.[112] The Church teaches that the Old Testament promise of God's salvation for all peoples was fulfilled when Jesus established a New Covenant with humanity through the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper—a covenant then consummated by his sacrifice on the cross,[113] which in contrast to some Protestant belief is made truly present in the celebration of the Eucharist.[106] It is Catholic dogma that the bread and wine brought to the altar at each Mass are changed through the power of the Holy Spirit into the true body and the true blood of Christ (termed transubstantiation) and that, by consuming these, believers are spiritually nourished and deepen their union with Jesus, are cleansed of venial sins, helped to overcome and avoid sin, unite with the poor and promote Christian unity.[113][114]

Mass consists of two parts, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist.[115] According to professor Alan Schreck, in its main elements and prayers, the Catholic Mass celebrated today "bears striking resemblance" to the form of the Mass described in the Didache and First Apology of Justin Martyr in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries.[116][117]

Because the Church teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist,[106] there are strict rules about its celebration and reception. The ingredients of the bread and wine used in the Mass are specified and Catholics must abstain from eating for one hour before receiving Communion.[118] 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 Penance.[118] Because the Church respects their celebration of the Mass as a true sacrament, intercommunion with the Eastern Orthodox in "suitable circumstances and with Church authority" is both possible and encouraged.[119] Although the same is not true for Protestant churches, in circumstances of grave necessity, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Protestants if they freely ask for them, truly believe what the Catholic Church teaches regarding the sacraments, and have the proper disposition to receive them.[119] Catholics are not permitted to receive communion in Protestant churches because of their different beliefs and practices regarding Holy Orders and the Eucharist.[120]

[edit] Liturgy of the Hours

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus instructs his disciples to "pray always".[121] The Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office, is the Church's effort to respond to this request. It is considered to be an extension of the celebration of the Mass and is the official daily liturgical prayer of the Church.[122] It makes particular use of the Psalms as well as readings from the New and Old Testament, and various prayers.[122] It is an adaptation of the ancient Jewish practice of reading the Psalms at certain hours of the day or night. Catholics who pray the Liturgy of the Hours use a set of books issued by the Church that has been called a breviary. By canon law, priests and deacons are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day.[123] Religious orders often make praying the Liturgy of the Hours a part of their rule of life; the Second Vatican Council encouraged the Christian laity to take up the practice.[122][124]

[edit] Devotional life, prayer, Mary and the saints

Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus

In addition to the Mass, the Catholic Church considers prayer to be one of the most important elements of Christian life. The Church considers personal prayer a Christian duty, one of the spiritual works of mercy and one of the principal ways its members nourish a relationship with God.[125] The Catechism identifies three types of prayer: vocal prayer (sung or spoken), meditation, and contemplative prayer. Quoting from the early church father John Chrysostom regarding vocal prayer, the Catechism states, "Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls."[126] Meditation is prayer in which the "mind seeks to understand the why and how of Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking."[126] Contemplative prayer is being with God, taking time to be close to and alone with him.[126] Three of the most common devotional prayers of the Catholic Church are The Lord's Prayer, the Rosary and Stations of the Cross.[127] These prayers are most often vocal, yet always meditative and contemplative. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a common form of contemplative prayer, whereas Benediction is a common vocal method of prayer. Lectio divina, which means "sacred reading", is a form of meditative prayer. The Church encourages patterns of prayer intended to develop into habitual prayer. This includes such daily prayers as grace at meals, the Rosary, or the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as the weekly rhythm of Sunday Eucharist and the observation of the year-long liturgical cycle.[126]

Prayers and devotions to the Virgin Mary and the saints are a common part of Catholic life but are distinct from the worship of God.[128] Explaining the intercession of saints, the Catechism states that the saints "... do not cease to intercede with the Father for us ... so by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."[98][128] The Church holds Mary, as ever Virgin and Mother of God, in special regard. She is believed to have been conceived without original sin, and was assumed into heaven. These teachings, the focus of Roman Catholic Mariology, are considered infallible. Several liturgical Marian feasts are celebrated throughout the Church Year and she is honored with many titles such as Queen of Heaven. Pope Paul VI called her Mother of the Church, because by giving birth to Christ, she is considered to be the spiritual mother to each member of the Body of Christ.[129] Because of her influential role in the life of Jesus, prayers and devotions, such as the Rosary, the Hail Mary, the Salve Regina and the Memorare are common Catholic practices.[127] The Church has affirmed the validity of Marian apparitions (supernatural experiences of Mary by one or more persons) such as those at Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe[130] while others such as Međugorje are still under investigation. Affirmed or not, however, pilgrimages to these places are popular Catholic devotions.[131]

Pilgrimage has been an important element of Catholic spirituality since at least the second century. Devotional journeys to the sites of biblical events or to places strongly connected with Jesus, Mary or the saints are considered an aid to spiritual growth, and can become meritorious acts if performed with the right intention. Western Europe alone has more than 6,000 pilgrimage destinations which generate around 60 million faith-related visits a year.[132]

[edit] Church organization and community

While the Church considers Jesus to be its ultimate spiritual head, the spiritual leader and head of the Church organization is the pope.[133] The pope governs from Vatican City in Rome, a sovereign nation of which he is also the civil head of state.[134] Each pope is elected for life by the College of Cardinals, a body composed of clerics (recently almost exclusively bishops) elevated to the status of cardinal by the Pope. The cardinals, who also serve as papal advisors, may select any male member of the Church as pope, but if the candidate is not already a bishop, he must become one before taking office.[135] The pope is assisted in the Church's administration by the Roman Curia, or civil service. The Church community is governed according to formal regulations set out in the Code of Canon Law. The official language of the Church is Latin, although Italian is the working language of the Vatican administration.[136]

Worldwide, the Catholic Church comprises 2,782 dioceses (also called sees or, in the East, eparchies) grouped into 23 particular rites - the Latin Rite and 22 Eastern rites - each with distinct traditions regarding the liturgy and the administering the sacraments.[137]

Each diocese is divided into individual communities called parishes, each staffed by one or more priests.[138] The community is made up of ordained members and the laity. Members of religious orders such as nuns, friars and monks are lay members unless individually ordained as priests.[139]

[edit] Ordained members and Holy Orders

Candidates for the Catholic diaconate prostrate themselves before the altar of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles, California during a 2004 diaconal ordination. Some will remain permanent deacons. Others will be ordained priests after a year as transitional deacons.

Men become ordained through the sacrament of Holy Orders. Ordained clergy form a three-part hierarchy of bishops, priests and deacons. All clergy having the rank of bishop [note 3] form the College of Bishops and are considered the successors of the apostles.[140][141] Only bishops are able to perform the sacrament of Holy Orders, and Confirmation is ordinarily reserved to them as well.[142] Bishops are responsible for teaching and governing the faithful of their diocese, sharing these duties with the priests and deacons who serve under them. Only priests and bishops may celebrate the Eucharist and administer the sacraments of Penance and Anointing of the Sick. They and deacons may preach, teach, baptize, witness marriages and conduct funeral services.[143] Baptism is normally performed by clergy but is the only sacrament that may be administered in emergencies by any Catholic or even a non-Christian "who has the intention of baptizing according to the belief of the Catholic Church".[144]

Married men may become deacons, but only celibate men are ordinarily ordained as priests in the Latin Rite.[145][146] Married clergymen who have converted to the Church from other denominations are sometimes exempted from this rule.[147] The Eastern Catholic Churches ordain both celibate and married men.[148][149] All rites of the Catholic Church maintain the ancient tradition where marriage is not allowed after ordination. Men with transitory homosexual leanings may be ordained deacons following three years of prayer and chastity, but homosexual men who are sexually active, or those who have deeply rooted homosexual tendencies cannot be ordained.[150] [note 4]

All programs that aim to prepare men for the priesthood are governed by canon law, and are usually designed by national bishops' conferences, so they can vary from country to country.[154] The conferences consult Vatican documents such as Pastores Dabo Vobis, Novo Millennio Ineunte, Optatam Totius, and others to create these programs.[155] In some countries, priests are required to have a college degree plus another four years of full time theological study in a seminary or other approved institution. In other countries a degree is not strictly required, but seminary education is longer. Candidates for the priesthood are also evaluated in terms of human, spiritual and pastoral formation.[156] The sacrament of Holy Orders is always conferred by a bishop through the laying-on of hands, following which the newly ordained priest is formally clothed in his priestly vestments.[142]

Since the twelve apostles chosen by Jesus were all male, only men may be ordained in the Catholic Church.[157] While some consider this to be evidence of a discriminatory attitude toward women,[158] the Church believes that Jesus called women to different yet equally important vocations in Church ministry.[159] Pope John Paul II, in his apostolic letter Christifideles Laici, states that women have specific vocations reserved only for the female sex, and are equally called to be disciples of Jesus.[160] This belief in different and complementary roles between men and women is exemplified in Pope Paul VI's statement "If the witness of the Apostles founds the Church, the witness of women contributes greatly towards nourishing the faith of Christian communities".[160]

[edit] Lay members, Marriage

A Catholic wedding at Manila Cathedral in the Philippines

The laity consists of those Catholics who are not ordained clergy. Saint Paul compared the diversity of roles in the Church to the different parts of a body, all being important to enable the body to function.[12] The Church therefore considers that lay members are equally called to live according to Christian principles, to work to spread the message of Jesus, and to effect change in the world for the good of others. The Church calls these actions participation in Christ's priestly, prophetic and royal offices.[161] Marriage and the consecrated life are lay vocations. The sacrament of Holy Matrimony in the Latin rite is not conferred by a priest—the spouses mutually confer the sacrament upon each other by expressing their consent before the priest who serves as a witness. In the Eastern liturgies the minister of this sacrament, which is called "Crowning", is the priest or bishop who, after receiving the mutual consent of the spouses, successively crowns the bridegroom and the bride as a sign of the marriage covenant.[162] Church law makes no provision for divorce, but annulment may be granted when proof is produced that essential conditions for contracting a valid marriage were absent. Since the Church condemns all forms of artificial birth control, married persons are expected to be open to new life in their sexual relations.[163] Natural family planning is approved.[164]

Lay ecclesial movements consist of lay Catholics organized for purposes of teaching the faith, cultural work, mutual support or missionary work.[165] Such groups include: Communion and Liberation, Neocatechumenal Way, Regnum Christi, Opus Dei, Life Teen and many others.[165] Some non-ordained Catholics practice formal, public ministries within the Church.[166] These are called lay ecclesial ministers, a broad category which may include pastoral life coordinators, pastoral assistants, youth ministers and campus ministers.[167]

[edit] Consecrated Life

[edit] Religious orders

Both the ordained and the laity may enter the cloistered consecrated life as monks or nuns. There are also friars and sisters who engage in teaching and missionary activity and charity work such as the various mendicant orders. A candidate takes vows confirming their desire to follow the three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience.[168]

The majority of those wishing to enter the consecrated life join one of the religious institutes which are also referred to as monastic or religious orders. They follow a common rule such as the Rule of St Benedict and agree to live under the leadership of a superior.[169][170] They usually live together in a community but individuals may be given permission to live as hermits, or to reside elsewhere, for example as a serving priest or chaplain.[171] Examples of religious institutes include the Sisters of Charity, Dominicans, Franciscans, Carmelites, Cistercians, Marist Brothers, Paulist Fathers and the Society of Jesus, but there are many others.[168]

[edit] Tertiaries and Oblates

Tertiaries and "Oblates (regular)" are laypersons who live according to the third rule of orders such as those of the Secular Franciscan Order or Lay Carmelites, either within a religious community or outside.[165] Although all tertiaries make a public profession, participate in the good works of their order and in some cases may wear the habit, they are not bound by public vows unless they live in a religious community. They must not be confused with "Oblates (secular)", who are not members of the consecrated life but are laypersons (married or single) or secular priests that have individually affiliated themselves in prayer with a House of their choice without making public vows. They make a formal private promise (annually renewable or for life, depending on the house with which they are affiliated) to follow the rule of prayer in their private life as closely as their individual circumstances and prior commitments permit.

[edit] Other Forms of Consecrated Life

The Church recognizes several other forms of consecrated life, including secular institutes, societies of apostolic life and consecrated widows and widowers.[168] It also makes provision for the approval of new forms.[172]

[edit] Membership

Baptism of an infant by affusion

Membership of the Catholic Church is attained through Baptism.[173] For those baptized as children, First Communion is a particular rite of passage when, following instruction, they are allowed to receive the sacrament of the Eucharist for the first time. Christians baptized outside of the Catholic Church or those never baptized may be received by participating in a formation program such as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.[174][175] In all rites, after going through formation and making a profession of faith, candidates receive the sacraments of initiation. This ordinarily occurs at the Easter vigil on Holy Saturday.[174]

Members of the Church can excommunicate themselves or be excommunicated by committing particularly grave sins.[176][177] Examples include violating the seal of confession (committed when a priest discloses the sins heard in the sacrament of Penance), persisting in heresy, creating schism, becoming an apostate, or having or performing an abortion.[178] Throwing away or retaining for a sacrilegious purpose the Eucharist is considered an excommunicable offense.[179] Excommunication is the most severe ecclesiastical penalty because it prevents a person from validly receiving any sacrament. Such offences can only be forgiven by the Pope, the bishop of the diocese where the person resides, or a priest authorized by the bishop to do so.[180]

[edit] Catholic institutions, personnel and demographics

The number of Catholic institutions and personnel as of 2000[181]
Institutions #
Parishes and missions 408,637
Primary and secondary schools 125,016
Universities 1,046
Hospitals 5,853
Orphanages 8,695
Homes for the elderly and handicapped 13,933
Dispensaries, leprosaries, nurseries and other institutions 74,936
Total 638,116
Religious sisters 769,142
Religious brothers 55,057
Diocesan and religious priests 405,178
Lay Ecclesial Ministers 30,632
Bishops 3,475
Archbishops 914
Cardinals 183
Permanent deacons 27,824
Seminarians (men studying for the priesthood) 110,583
Pope 1
Total 1,402,989

Church membership in 2007 was 1.147 billion people;[182] an increase over the 1950 figure of 437 million[183] and the 1970 figure of 654 million.[184] The Catholic population increase of 139% outpaced the world population increase of 117% from 1950-2000.[183] It is the largest Christian church, and encompasses over half of all Christians, one sixth of the world's population, the largest organized body of any world religion.[7][185] It is known for its ability to use its transnational ties and organizational strength to bring significant resources to needy situations[186] and operates the world's largest non-governmental school system.[187] Although the number of practicing Catholics worldwide is not reliably known,[188] membership is growing particularly in Africa and Asia.[6]

Some parts of Europe and the Americas have experienced a shortage of priests in recent years as the number of priests has not increased in proportion to the number of Catholics.[189] The Church in Latin America, known for its large parishes where the parishioner to priest ratio is the highest in the world, considers this to be a contributing factor in the rise of Pentecostal and evangelical Christian denominations in the region.[190] Secularism has seen a steady rise in Europe, yet the Catholic presence there remains strong.[190]

With a high number of adult baptisms, the Church is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else.[191] It also operates a greater number of Catholic schools per parish here (3:1) than in other areas of the world.[192] Challenges faced include suppression of non-Islamic religious practices by Muslims in Sudan and a high rate of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa.[193]

The Church in Asia is a significant minority among other religions, comprising only 3% of all Asians, yet it has a large proportion of religious sisters, priests and parishes relative to the total Catholic population.[190] From 1975 to 2000, total Asian population grew by 61% with an Asian Catholic population increase of 104%.[194] Challenges faced include oppression in communist countries like North Korea and China.[195]

Oceania is overwhelmingly Christian with Roman Catholicism as the majority denomination. There, the Church faces challenges in reaching indigenous populations where over 715 different languages are spoken.[190] Of Catholics worldwide, 12% reside in Africa, 50% in the American continents, 10% are in Asia, 27% in Europe and 1% live in Oceania.[196]

[edit] Cultural influence

The first recorded baptisms in Alta California were performed in "The Canyon of the Little Christians".[197]

The influence of the Catholic Church on world culture and society has been vast, first and foremost in the development of European civilization from Greco-Roman times to the modern era.[24] In addition, the church has played a significant role in the Westernization of many other nations through its missionary efforts, often associated with the colonial era. By spreading Christianity it battled, and in certain cases eventually ended, practices such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide, and polygamy, within evangelized cultures beginning with the Roman Empire.[198][199][200][201][202] Historians note that Catholic missionaries, popes, and religious, were among the leaders in campaigns against slavery.[203][204][205] Christianity affected the status of women in evangelized cultures such as the Roman Empire by condemning infanticide (female infanticide was more common), divorce, incest, polygamy and counting the marital infidelity of men as equally sinful to that of women.[198][199][206] However, "the critics of Christian tradition" say Church teachings have perpetuated a notion that female inferiority was divinely ordained[207] even though official Church teaching[208] considers women and men to be equal, different, and complementary.

Catholic universities and many priests including Copernicus, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus, Robert Grosseteste, Nicholas Steno, Francesco Grimaldi, Giambattista Riccioli, Roger Boscovich, Athanasius Kircher, Gregor Mendel and others, were responsible for many important scientific discoveries. The Jesuits produced the large majority of priest-scientists, who contributed to worldwide cultural exchange by spreading their developments in knowledge to Asia, Africa, and the Americas.[209][210] Most research took place in Catholic universities that were staffed by members of religious orders who had the education and means to conduct scientific investigation.[209] The 1633 Church condemnation of Galileo Galilei restricted scientific development in some European countries and created the perception of antagonism between the Church and science of that era.[209] In part because of lessons learned from the Galilei affair, the Church created the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a scientific organization that essentially began in 1603 but developed over time to reach its present form by 1936.[211]

The Catholic Church was the dominant influence on the development of Western art, at least up to the Protestant Reformation. Important contributions include its consistent opposition to Byzantine iconoclasm, its cultivation and patronage of individual artists, as well as development of the Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles of art and architecture.[212] Renaissance artists such as Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci, were among a multitude of innovative virtuosos sponsored by the Church.[213] In music, Catholic monks developed the first forms of modern Western musical notation in order to standardize liturgy throughout the worldwide Church,[214] and an enormous body of religious music has been composed for it through the ages. This led directly to the emergence and development of European classical music, and its many derivatives. The Baroque style, which encompassed music, art, and architecture, was particularly encouraged by the post-Reformation Catholic Church as such forms offered a means of religious expression that was stirring and emotional, intended to stimulate religious fervor.[215]

[edit] History

[edit] Roman Empire

The Catholic Church considers Pentecost to be the beginning of its own history.[216][217] According to historians, the Apostles traveled to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and Rome to found the first Christian communities,[216][218] over 40 of which had been established by the year 100.[219] Early Christians refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods or to worship Roman rulers as gods and were thus subject to persecution.[220] This began under Nero in the first century and persisted through the great persecution of Diocletian and Galerius, which was seen as a final attempt to wipe out Christianity.[221] Nevertheless, Christianity continued to spread and was eventually legalized in 313 under Constantine's Edict of Milan.[222]

Early Christians were slaughtered as entertainment in the Colosseum in Rome. Jean-Léon Gérôme, 1883.

During this era of persecution, the early Church evolved both in doctrinal and structural ways. The apostles convened the first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem, in or around the year 50 to resolve issues concerning evangelization of Gentiles.[48] While competing forms of Christianity emerged early, the Roman Church retained this practice of meeting in ecumenical councils to ensure that any internal doctrinal differences were quickly resolved, which facilitated broad doctrinal unity within the mainstream churches.[47][223] From as early as the first century, the Church of Rome was recognized as a doctrinal authority because it was believed that the Apostles Peter and Paul had led the Church there.[17][34][224] The concept of the primacy of the Roman bishop over other churches was increasingly recognized by the church at large from at least the second century.[225][226] From the year 100 onward, teachers like Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus defined Catholic teaching in stark opposition to Gnosticism.[227] Church teachings and traditions were influenced over time by other Church Fathers such as Pope Clement I, Justin Martyr, Augustine of Hippo.[228] In 325, the First Council of Nicaea convened in response to the threat of Arianism, formulated the Nicene Creed as a basic statement of Christian belief,[229] and divided the church into geographical and administrative areas called dioceses.[230] Although this council sanctioned the primacy of three dioceses—Rome, Alexandria, and Antioch—Rome had certain qualities that destined it for particular prominence; it was considered the see of Peter and Paul, it was located in the capital of the empire, church scholars were desirous of obtaining the Roman bishop's support in doctrinal disputes, and it was wealthy and known for supporting other churches around the world.[231]

Emperor Constantine I commissioned the first Basilica of St. Peter and several other sites of lasting importance to Christianity.[232] By this time, the altar as the focal point of each church, the sign of the cross, and the liturgical calendar had been established[233] and in 380, Christianity was declared the sole religion of the Empire.[234] The Council of Rome in 382 created the first Bible when it listed the accepted books of the Old and New Testament.[235] The Council of Ephesus in 431[236] and the Council of Chalcedon in 451 defined the relationship of Christ's divine and human natures, leading to split with the Nestorians and Monophysites.[47] The Council of Chalcedon also elevated the See of Constantinople to a position "second in eminence and power to the bishop of Rome".[237][238]

[edit] Early Middle Ages

During the Migration Period, the Catholic faith competed with Arianism for the conversion of the barbarian tribes.[239] The 496 conversion of Clovis I, pagan king of the Franks, marked the beginning of a steady rise of the Catholic faith in the West.[240] The Rule of St Benedict, composed by Benedict in 530, became a blueprint for the organization of monasteries throughout Europe.[241] The new monasteries preserved classical craft and artistic skills while maintaining intellectual culture within their schools, scriptoria and libraries. As well as providing a focus for spiritual life, they functioned as agricultural, economic and production centers, particularly in remote regions, becoming major conduits of civilization.[242]

Pope Gregory the Great reformed church practice and administration around 600 and launched renewed missionary efforts[243] which were complemented by other missionary efforts[244] from the Celtic monks of the British Isles.[245] Missionaries such as Augustine of Canterbury, Saint Boniface, Willibrord and Ansgar took Christianity to the Anglo-Saxons and other Germanic peoples.[244] In the same period the Visigoths and Lombards moved from Arianism toward Catholicism,[240] and in Britain the full reunion of the Celtic churches with Rome was effectively marked by the Synod of Whitby in 664.[245] Later missionary efforts by Saints Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century reached greater Moravia and introduced, along with Christianity, the Cyrillic alphabet used in the southern and eastern Slavic languages.[246] While Christianity continued to expand in Europe, Islam presented a significant military threat to Western Christendom.[247] By 715, Muslim armies had conquered Syria, Jerusalem, Caesarea, Alexandria, Iraq and Persia, Carthage and all of Spain.[248]

A conflict arose in the Eastern Church in the 8th century, over the use of images in religious worship.[249][250] In 787, the Second Council of Nicaea ruled in favor of icons but the dispute continued into the early 9th century.[250] The militant support of most of the Byzantine emperors for the iconoclasts led to a growing estrangement from the Papacy, which sided strongly with the supporters of images, the iconodules. The consequent alliance between the Pope and the Franks resulted in the creation of the papal states and the coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Western Emperor in 800. This created its own problems for the Church as succeeding Western emperors sought to impose an increasingly tight control over the popes.[251][252]

Eastern and Western Christendom grew further apart in the 9th century. Conflicts arose over ecclesiastical jurisdiction in the Byzantine-controlled south of Italy, missionaries to Bulgaria and a brief schism revolving around Photios of Constantinople.[249][253] Although this was resolved, further disagreements led to Pope and Patriarch excommunicating each other in 1054, commonly considered the date of the East–West Schism.[254] The Western (Latin) branch of Christianity has since become known as the Catholic Church, while the Eastern (Greek) branch became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church.[255][256] Efforts to mend the rift were attempted at the Second Council of Lyon in 1274 and Council of Florence in 1439 and, even though in each case both the Eastern Emperor and Eastern Patriarch agreed to the reunion, both failed to heal the schism[257] because "they never affected the general life of the Churches".[258] Some Eastern churches have subsequently reunited with the Catholic Church.[256] In spite of recent attempts at reunification, the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church remain in schism although excommunications were mutually lifted in 1965.[259]

[edit] High Middle Ages

The Cluniac reform of monasteries that had begun in 910 sparked widespread monastic growth and renewal.[260] Monasteries introduced new technologies and crops, fostered the creation and preservation of literature and promoted economic growth. Monasteries, convents and cathedrals still operated virtually all schools and libraries.[261][262] Despite a church ban on the practice of usury the larger abbeys functioned as sources for economic credit.[263] The 11th and 12th century saw internal efforts to reform the church. The college of cardinals in 1059 was created to free papal elections from interference by Emperor and nobility. Lay investiture of bishops, a source of rulers' dominance over the Church, was attacked by reformers and under Pope Gregory VII, erupted into the Investiture Controversy between Pope and Emperor. 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.[264][265]

Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont (1095), where he preached the First Crusade; later manuscript illumination of c. 1490

In 1095, Byzantine emperor Alexius I appealed to Pope Urban II for help against renewed Muslim invasions,[266] which caused Urban to launch the First Crusade aimed at aiding the Byzantine Empire and returning the Holy Land to Christian control.[267][258] The goal was not permanently realized, and episodes of brutality committed by the armies of both sides left a legacy of mutual distrust between Muslims and Western and Eastern Christians.[268] The sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade, conducted against papal authorisation, left Eastern Christians embittered and was a decisive event that permanently solidified the schism between the churches.[269][270]

The crusades also saw the formation of military orders which included the Hospitallers, Templars and later, the Teutonic Knights all of whom provided social services as well as guardianship of pilgrim routes.[271] The Teutonic Knights conquered the then-pagan Prussia.[271] The Templars became noted bankers and creditors who were eliminated by a debtor, King Philip IV of France shortly after 1300.[272] Later, mendicant orders were founded by Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzmán which brought consecrated religious life into urban settings.[273] Theses orders also played a large role in the development of cathedral schools into universities, the direct ancestors of the modern Western institutions.[274] Notable scholastic theologians such as the Dominican Thomas Aquinas worked at these universities, his Summa Theologica was a key intellectual achievement in its synthesis of Aristotelian thought and Christianity.[275]

12th century France witnessed the emergence of Catharism, a belief which stated that matter was evil, "prohibited marriage, encouraged suicide, and ... combined asceticism with immorality."[276] After a papal legate was put to death by the Cathars in 1208, Pope Innocent III declared the Albigensian Crusade.[277] Abuses committed during the crusade prompted Innocent III to informally institute the first papal inquisition to prevent future abuses and to root out the remaining Cathars.[278][279] Formalized under Gregory IX, this Medieval inquisition put to death an average of three people per year for heresy at its height.[279][272]

Over time, other inquisitions were launched by secular rulers to prosecute heretics, often with the approval of Church hierarchy, to respond to the threat of Muslim invasion or for political purposes.[280] King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain formed an inquisition in 1480, originally to deal with distrusted converts from Judaism and Islam to Catholicism.[281] Over a 350-year period, this Spanish Inquisition executed between 3,000 and 4,000 people,[282] representing around two percent of those accused.[283] In 1482 Pope Sixtus IV condemned the excesses of the Spanish Inquisition, but Ferdinand ignored his protests.[284] Some historians agree that for centuries Protestant propaganda and popular literature exaggerated the horrors of the inquisitions in an effort to associate the entire Catholic Church with crimes most often committed by secular rulers.[285][286][287] Over all, one percent of those tried by the inquisitions received death penalties, leading some scholars to consider them rather lenient when compared to the secular courts of the period.[282][288] The inquisition played a major role in the final expulsion of Islam from Sicily and Spain.[247]

At the end of the 13th century, Pope Boniface VIII was involved in a heated conflict with the French king. Subsequently, the Papacy came under French dominance, with Clement V in 1309 moving to Avignon, then located just outside the French borders.[289] The Avignon Papacy ended in 1376 when the Pope returned to Rome[290][291] but was soon followed in 1378 by the 38-year-long Western schism with separate claimants to the papacy in Rome, Avignon and (after 1409) Pisa, backed by conflicting secular rulers.[292] The matter was finally resolved in 1417 at the Council of Constance where the three claimants either resigned or were deposed and held a new election naming Martin V Pope.[292] The council could not prevent religious schism and the Hussite Wars in Bohemia.

[edit] Late Medieval and Renaissance

Just before the Fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire in 1453,[293] in an effort to combat the spread of Islam, Pope Nicholas V granted Portugal the right to subdue and even enslave Muslims, pagans and other unbelievers in the papal bull Dum Diversas (1452). Several decades later European explorers and missionaries spread Catholicism to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Pope Alexander VI had awarded colonial rights over most of the newly discovered lands to Spain and Portugal[294] and the ensuing patronato system allowed state authorities, not the Vatican, to control all clerical appointments in the new colonies.[295] Although the Spanish monarchs tried to curb abuses committed against the Amerindians by explorers and conquerors,[296] Antonio de Montesinos, a Dominican friar, openly rebuked the Spanish rulers of Hispaniola in 1511 for their "cruelty and tyranny" in dealing with the American natives.[297][298] King Ferdinand enacted the Laws of Burgos and Valladolid in response. The issue resulted in a crisis of conscience in 16th-century Spain[299][298] and, through the writings of Catholic clergy such as Bartolomé de Las Casas and Francisco de Vitoria, led to debate on the nature of human rights[298] and to the birth of modern international law.[300][301] Enforcement of these laws was lax, and some historians blame the Church for not doing enough to liberate the Indians; others point to the Church as the only voice raised on behalf of indigenous peoples.[302] Nevertheless, Amerindian populations suffered serious decline due to new diseases, inadvertently introduced through contact with Europeans, which created a labor vacuum in the New World.[296]

In 1521 the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made the first Catholic converts in the Philippines.[303] The following year, the first Franciscan missionaries arrived in Mexico, establishing schools, model farms and hospitals. When some Europeans questioned whether the Indians were truly human and worthy of baptism, Pope Paul III in the 1537 bull Sublimis Deus confirmed that "their souls were as immortal as those of Europeans" and they should neither be robbed nor turned into slaves.[304][305][306] Over the next 150 years, missions expanded into southwestern North America.[307] Native people were often legally defined as children, and priests took on a paternalistic role, sometimes enforced with corporal punishment.[308] Elsewhere, Portuguese missionaries under the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavier evangelized in India and Japan.[309] By the end of the 16th century tens of thousands of Japanese followed Roman Catholicism. Church growth came to a halt in 1597 under the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu who, in an effort to isolate the country from foreign influences, launched a severe persecution of Christians or Kirishitan's.[310] An underground minority Christian population survived throughout this period of persecution and enforced isolation which was eventually lifted in the 19th century.[310][311]

Whitby Abbey England, one of hundreds of European monasteries destroyed during the Reformation

In 1509, the scholar Erasmus wrote In Praise of Folly, a work which captured a widely held unease about corruption in the Church.[312] The Council of Constance, the Council of Basel and the Fifth Lateran Council had all attempted to reform internal Church abuses but had failed.[313] As a result, rich, powerful and worldly men like Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) were able to win election to the papacy.[313][314] In 1517, Martin Luther included his Ninety-Five Theses in a letter to several bishops.[315][316] His theses protested key points of Catholic doctrine as well as the sale of indulgences.[315][316] Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and others further criticized Catholic teachings. These challenges developed into a large and all encompassing European movement called the Protestant Reformation.[317][231] In Germany, the reformation led to a nine-year war between the Protestant Schmalkaldic League and the Catholic Emperor Charles V. In 1618 a far graver conflict, the Thirty Years' War, followed.[318] In France, 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. The St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre marked the turning point in this war.[319] Survivors regrouped under Henry of Navarre who became Catholic and began the first experiment in religious toleration with his 1598 Edict of Nantes.[319] This Edict, which granted civil and religious toleration to Protestants, was hesitantly accepted by Pope Clement VIII.[318][320]

The English Reformation under Henry VIII began more as a political than as a theological dispute. When the annulment of his marriage was denied by the pope, Henry had Parliament pass the Acts of Supremacy which made him, and not the pope, head of the English Church.[321][322] Although he strove to maintain the substance of traditional Catholicism, Henry initiated and supported the confiscation and dissolution of monasteries, friaries, convents and shrines throughout England, Wales and Ireland.[321][323][324] Under Henry's daughter, Mary I, England was reunited with Rome, but the following monarch, Elizabeth I, restarted a separate church which outlawed Catholic priests[325] and prevented Catholics from educating their children and taking part in political life[326][327] until the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 began the process of eliminating many of the anti-Catholic laws.[328]

The Catholic Church responded to doctrinal challenges and abuses highlighted by the Reformation at the Council of Trent (1545–1563), which became the driving force of the Counter-Reformation. Doctrinally, it reaffirmed central Catholic teachings such as transubstantiation, and the requirement for love and hope as well as faith to attain salvation.[329] It also made important structural reforms, most importantly by improving the education of the clergy and laity and consolidating the central jurisdiction of the Roman Curia.[330][329][331][note 5] To popularize Counter-Reformation teachings, the Church encouraged the Baroque style in art, music and architecture,[215] and new religious orders were founded. These included the Theatines, Barnabites and Jesuits, some of which became the great missionary orders of later years.[334] The Jesuits quickly "assumed a leading role in education as a battleground for hearts and minds" during the Counter-Reformation[335] and the writings of figures such as Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales and Philip Neri spawned new schools of spirituality within the Church.[336] In central Europe, the Counter-Reformation presented the Habsburg dynasty with an opportunity to "combat Protestantism and consolidate their realms in the name of God".[335]

[edit] Enlightenment

Toward the latter part of the 17th century, Pope Innocent XI reformed abuses by the Church, including simony, nepotism and the lavish papal expenditures that had caused him to inherit a large papal debt.[337] He promoted missionary activity, tried to unite Europe against the Turkish invasions, and condemned religious persecution of all kinds.[337] In 1685 King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes, ending a century-long experiment in religious toleration. This and other religious conflicts of the Reformation era provoked a backlash against Christianity, which helped spawn the violent anti-clericalism of the French Revolution. Direct attacks on the wealth of the Church and associated grievances led to the wholesale nationalisation of church property in France.[338] Large numbers of French priests refused to take an oath of compliance to the National Assembly, leading to the Church being outlawed and replaced by a new religion of the worship of "Reason".[338][note 6] Napoleon later re-established the Catholic Church in France through the Concordat of 1801.[339] The end of the Napoleonic wars brought Catholic revival, renewed enthusiasm, and new respect for the papacy.[340]

In the Americas, Franciscan priest Junípero Serra founded a series of new missions in cooperation with the Spanish government and military.[341] These missions brought grain, cattle and a new way of living to the Indian tribes of California. San Francisco was founded in 1776 and Los Angeles in 1781. In a challenge to Spanish and Portuguese policy, Pope Gregory XVI, began to appoint his own candidates as bishops in the colonies, condemned slavery and the slave trade in the 1839 papal bull In Supremo Apostolatus, and approved the ordination of native clergy in the face of government racism.[205] Yet in spite of these advances, the Amerindian population continued to suffer decline from exposure to European diseases.[342]

In South America, Jesuit missionaries tried to protect native peoples from enslavement by establishing semi-independent settlements called reductions. In China, despite Jesuit efforts to find compromise, the Chinese Rites controversy led the Kangxi Emperor to outlaw Christian missions in 1721.[343] These events added fuel to growing criticism of the Jesuits, who were seen to symbolize the independent power of the Church, and in 1773 European rulers united to force Pope Clement XIV to dissolve the order.[344] The Jesuits were eventually restored in the 1814 papal bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.[345]

[edit] Industrial age

By the close of the 19th century, European powers had managed to gain control of most of the African interior.[346] The new rulers introduced cash-based economies which created an enormous demand for literacy and a western education—a demand which for most Africans could only be satisfied by Christian missionaries.[346] Catholic missionaries followed colonial governments into Africa, and built schools, hospitals, monasteries and churches.[346] At the same time, in response to growing concern about the deteriorating working and living conditions brought about by the Industrial Revolution, Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Rerum Novarum. This set out Catholic social teaching in terms that rejected socialism but advocated the regulation of working conditions, the establishment of a living wage and the right of workers to form trade unions.[347]

Although the infallibility of the Church in doctrinal matters had always been a Church dogma, the First Vatican Council, which convened in 1870, affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when exercised in certain specifically defined pronouncements.[348][349] This decision in many eyes gave the pope "enormous moral and spiritual authority over the worldwide" Church.[350] Reaction to the pronouncement resulted in the break-away of a group of mainly German churches which subsequently formed the Old Catholic Church.[351] The loss of the papal states to the Italian unification movement created what came to be known as the Roman Question,[352] 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.[353] Church power and influence over Western society declined during this period with the rise of rationalism, secularism, nationalism, anti-clericalism, liberalism and freemasonry.[350]

In Latin America, a succession of anti-clerical regimes came to power beginning in the 1830s.[354] One such regime emerged in Mexico in 1860. Church properties were confiscated and basic civil and political rights were denied to religious orders and the clergy. The even more severe Calles Law introduced during the rule of atheist Plutarco Elías Calles eventually led to the "worst guerilla war in Latin American History", the Cristero War.[355] Between 1926 and 1934, over 3,000 priests were exiled or assassinated.[356][357] In an effort to prove that "God would not defend the Church", Calles ordered Church desecrations where services were mocked, nuns were raped and captured priests were shot.[355] Calles was eventually deposed[355] and despite the persecution, the Church in Mexico continued to grow. A 2000 census reported that 88 percent of Mexicans identify as Catholic.[358] In the twentieth century, General Juan Perón's, Argentina and Fidel Castro's Cuba saw extensive persecution of the priesthood, and confiscation of Catholic properties.[359][360] In Europe a particularly violent outbreak of anti-clerical persecution took place in 1936 Spain. Because priests and nuns were symbols of conservatism, they were murdered in "large numbers" during the Spanish Civil War by republicans and anarchists.[361] Confiscation of Church properties and restrictions on people's religious freedoms have generally accompanied secularist and Marxist-leaning governmental reforms.[362]

Surviving prisoners at Dachau concentration camp wave on liberation day. Of the 2700 ministers who were ultimately imprisoned there during World War II, over 2600 were Roman Catholic priests; 2000 were ultimately put to death.[363]

Before the outbreak of World War II in the 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, Pope Pius XI "condemned the neopaganism of the Nazi ideology-especially its theory of racial superiority...".[364] Drafted by the future Pope Pius XII[365] and read from the pulpits of all German Catholic churches, it described Adolf Hitler as an insane and arrogant prophet and was the first official denunciation of Nazism made by any major organization.[366] Pius XI later warned a group of pilgrims that antisemitism is incompatible with Christianity.[364] Nazi reprisals against the Church in Germany followed thereafter, including "staged prosecutions of monks for homosexuality, with the maximum of publicity".[367] When Dutch bishops protested against the wartime deportation of Jews, the Nazis responded with harsher measures[366] rounding up 92 converts including Edith Stein who were then deported and murdered.[368] "The brutality of the retaliation made an enormous impression on Pius XII."[368] In Poland, the Nazis murdered over 2,500 monks and priests and even more were imprisoned.[367] In the Soviet Union an even more severe persecution occurred.[367] After the war, historians such as David Kertzer accused the Church of encouraging centuries of antisemitism, and Pope Pius XII of not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities.[369] Prominent members of the Jewish community contradicted the criticisms of Pius and spoke highly of his efforts to protect Jews;[370] Pinchas Lapide declared Pius XII "was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands".[371] Even so, in 2000 Pope John Paul II on behalf of all people, apologized to Jews by inserting a prayer at the Western Wall that read "We're deeply saddened by the behavior of those in the course of history who have caused the children of God to suffer, and asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant."[372] This papal apology, one of many issued by Pope John Paul II for past human and Church failings throughout history, was especially important because John Paul II emphasized Church guilt for, and the Second Vatican Council's condemnation of, anti-Semitism.[373] The papal letter We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, urged Catholics to repent "of past errors and infidelities" and "renew the awareness of the Hebrew roots of their faith."[373][374]

The aftermath of World War II saw atheistic communist governments in Eastern Europe severely restrict religious freedoms. Even though some clerics collaborated with the regime,[375] the Church's resistance and the leadership of Pope John Paul II have been credited with hastening the downfall of communist governments across Europe in 1991.[376] The Communist rise to power in China of 1949 led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries, "often after cruel and farcical 'public trials'."[377] In an effort to further detach Chinese Catholics, the new government created the Patriotic Church independent of the worldwide Catholic Church.[377] Rome subsequently rejected its bishops.[378] The Cultural Revolution of the 1960s encouraged gangs of teenagers to eliminate all places of worship and turn their occupants into labourers. When Chinese churches eventually reopened they remained under the control of the Communist party's Patriotic Church, and many Catholic pastors and priests continued to be sent to prison for refusing to break allegiance with Rome.[378]

[edit] Second Vatican Council and beyond

The Catholic Church engaged in a comprehensive process of reform following the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).[379] Intended as a continuation of Vatican I, under Pope John XXIII the council developed into an engine of modernisation, making pronouncements on religious freedom, the nature of the church and the mission of the laity.[379] It also permitted the Latin liturgical rites to use vernacular languages as well as Latin during mass and other sacraments.[380] Christian unity became a greater priority.[381] In addition to finding more common ground with Protestant Churches, the Catholic Church has again discussed the possibility of unity with the Eastern Orthodox Church.[382]

Changes to old rites and ceremonies following Vatican II produced a variety of responses. Although "most Catholics ... accepted the changes more or less gracefully", some stopped going to church and others tried to preserve the old liturgy with the help of sympathetic priests.[383] The latter form the basis of today's Traditionalist Catholic groups, which believe that the reforms of Vatican II have gone too far. Liberal Catholics form another dissenting group, and feel that the Vatican II reforms did not go far enough. The liberal views of theologians such as Hans Küng and Charles Curran, led to Church withdrawal of their authorization to teach as Catholics.[384]

In the 1960s, growing social awareness and politicization in the Latin American Church gave birth to liberation theology. The Peruvian priest, Gustavo Gutiérrez, became a primary theorist and, in 1979, the bishops' conference in Mexico officially declared the Latin American Church's "preferential option for the poor".[385] Archbishop Óscar Romero, a supporter of the movement, became the region's most famous contemporary martyr in 1980, when he was murdered while saying mass by forces allied with the government.[386] Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger) denounced the movement.[387] The Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff was twice ordered to cease publishing and teaching.[385] Pope John Paul II was criticized for his severity in dealing with proponents of the movement, but he maintained that the Church, in its efforts to champion the poor, should not do so by resorting to violence or partisan politics.[388] The movement is still alive in Latin America today, although the Church now faces the challenge of Pentecostal revival in much of the region.[387]

The sexual revolution of the 1960s precipitated Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae which rejected the use of contraception, including sterilization, claiming these work against the intimate relationship and moral order of husband and wife by directly opposing God's will.[389] It approved Natural Family Planning as a legitimate means to limit family size.[389] Abortion was condemned by the Church as early as the first century, again in the fourteenth century and again in 1995 with Pope John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae.[390] This encyclical condemned the "culture of death" which the pope often used to describe societal embrace of euthanasia, contraception, genocide, suicide, capital punishment and abortion.[390][391] The Church's rejection of the use of condoms has provoked criticism, especially with respect to countries where the incidence of AIDS and HIV has reached epidemic proportions. The Church maintains that in countries like Kenya and Uganda, where behavioral changes are encouraged alongside condom use, greater progress in controlling the disease has been made than in those countries solely promoting condoms.[392][393] Feminists disagreed with these and other Church teachings and worked together with a coalition of American nuns to lead the Church to consider the ordination of women.[207] They noted that many of the major Church documents were full of anti-female prejudice and a number of studies were conducted to discover how this prejudice developed when it was deemed contrary to the openness of Jesus.[207] These events led Pope John Paul II to issue the 1988 encyclical Mulieris Dignitatem, which declared that women had a different, yet equally important role in the Church.[394][395] In 1994 the encyclical Ordinatio Sacerdotalis further explained that the Church follows the example of Jesus, who chose only men for the specific priestly duty.[159][396][397]

Major lawsuits emerged in 2001 claiming some priests had sexually abused minors.[398] In the US, the country with the vast majority of sex abuse cases,[399] the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned a comprehensive study that found that four percent of all priests who served in the US from 1950 to 2002 faced some sort of sexual accusation.[400][401] The Church was widely criticized when it emerged that some bishops had known about abuse allegations, and reassigned accused priests after first sending them to psychiatric counseling.[398][401][402][403] Some bishops and psychiatrists contended that the prevailing psychology of the times suggested that people could be cured of such behavior through counseling.[402][404] Pope John Paul II responded by declaring that "there is no place in the priesthood and religious life for those who would harm the young".[2] The US Church instituted reforms to prevent future abuse including requiring background checks for Church employees and volunteers;[405][406] and, because the vast majority of victims were teenage boys, the worldwide Church also prohibited the ordination of men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies".[150][404] Some commentators, such as journalist Jon Dougherty, have argued that media coverage of the issue has been excessive, given that the same problems plague other institutions, such as the US public school system, with much greater frequency.[407][408][409]

[edit] Present

World Youth Day is a popular Catholic faith themed international youth event initiated by Pope John Paul II.

As in ages past, the pope remains an international leader who regularly receives heads of state from around the world. As the representative of the Holy See, he also holds a seat at, and occasionally addresses, the United Nations.[410] The 2005 election of Pope Benedict XVI saw a continuation of the policies of his predecessors. His first encyclical Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) discussed the various forms of love re-emphasizing marriage and the centrality of charity to the Church's mission.[40] On his 2008 visit to the United States he was received with special dignity by the president and his Masses were televised live on the major national news networks. Even though the Vatican condemned the Iraq War as a "defeat for reason and for the Gospel",[411] when asked why the Pope received such special attention, George W. Bush said, "One, he speaks for millions. Two, he doesn't come as a politician; he comes as a man of faith...".[412]

Following Muslim offense over his Regensburg address, where he quoted a Byzantine emperor's remarks that criticized Islam, a May 2008 summit between the pope and a delegation of Muslims came to an agreement that religion is essentially non-violent, and that violence can be justified neither by reason nor by faith.[413] In contrast with periods of perceived religious and scientific intolerance in the past, today's Church seeks dialogue like this with other faiths and Christian denominations. It also sponsors the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, a body whose international membership includes Stephen Hawking and Nobel laureates such as Charles Hard Townes among many others, and which provides the pope with valuable insights into scientific matters.[211] In politics, the Church actively encourages support for candidates who would "protect human life, promote family life, pursue social justice, and practice solidarity" which translate into support for traditional views of marriage, welcoming and support for the poor and immigrants, and those who would work against abortion.[414]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ The Greek word "catholic" means "universal" and was first used to describe the Church by Ignatius in the late first, early second century.[1][2] Some different Christian denominations not in communion with The Catholic Church describe themselves as "catholic" (see Catholicism), but in common usage it refers to the body also known as the Roman Catholic Church and its members.[2] The Church itself in its official documents since the first Council of Nicea in 325, including the documents of the most recent ecumenical councils, Vatican I and Vatican II, uses the name "Catholic Church".[3][4] According to Kenneth Whitehead, in his book One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic which was used by Catholic media to explain the Church's name to worldwide viewers, "The term 'Roman Catholic' is not used by the Church herself; it is a relatively modern term, confined largely to the English language."[3] The Catholic Encyclopedia states "With regard to the modern use of the word, Roman Catholic is the designation employed in the legislative enactments of Protestant England, but Catholic is that in ordinary use on the Continent of Europe, especially in Latin countries. ... From about the year 1580, besides the term papist, employed with opprobrious intent, the followers of the old religion were often called Romish or Roman Catholics. ... Neither do the Catholics always seem to have objected to the appellation, but sometimes used it themselves."[5] Within the Church, the term refers to the Diocese of Rome or to the Roman Rite (Latin Rite) which comprises the largest part but not all of the worldwide Catholic Church which includes other rites as well (see Eastern Catholic Churches).[3]
  2. ^ The Tridentine Mass was the ordinary form of the Mass since the 16th century and though superseded in 1969 by the Missal of Paul VI, it continues to be offered according to the missal of 1962, as authorised by the documents Quattuor Abhinc Annos (1984), Ecclesia Dei (1988)[108] and Summorum Pontificum (2007).
  3. ^ Clergy holding the rank of bishop include the pope, cardinals, patriarchs, primates, archbishops and metropolitans.
  4. ^ Based on the Christ's example and his teaching as given in Matthew 19:11-12 and to St. Paul, who wrote of the advantages celibacy allowed a man in serving the Lord,[151] celibacy was "held in high esteem" from the Church's beginnings. It is considered a kind of spiritual marriage with Christ, a concept further popularized by the early Christian theologian Origen. Clerical celibacy began to be demanded in the 4th century, including papal decretals beginning with Pope Siricius.[152] In the 11th century, mandatory celibacy was enforced as part of efforts to reform the medieval church.[153]
  5. ^ The Roman Curia is a "bureaucracy that assists the pope in his responsibilities of governing the universal Church. Although early in the history of the Church bishops of Rome had assistants to help them in the exercise of their ministry, it was not until 1588 that formal organization of the Roman Curia was accomplished by Pope Sixtus V. The most recent reorganization of the Curia was completed in 1988 by Pope John Paul II in his apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus".[332] The Curia functioned as the civil government of the Papal States until 1870.[333]
  6. ^ In this period, all monasteries were destroyed, 30,000 priests were exiled and hundreds more were killed.[338] When Pope Pius VI sided against the revolution in the First Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy. The pope was imprisoned by French troops, and died in 1799 after six weeks of captivity.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. ^ Woodhead, Linda (2004). "An Introduction to Christianity". Cambridge University Press. Retrieved on 18 Nov 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c Walsh, Michael (2005). "Roman Catholicism". Routledge.,M1. Retrieved on 27 Oct 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c Whitehead, Kenneth (1996). "How Did the Catholic Church Get Her Name?". Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved on 9 May 2008. 
  4. ^ McClintock, p. 71, quote: "The name may be found in a number of Roman Catholic writers, and is generally used in the constitution of those states in which the Roman Catholic Church is recognized as one of the recognized or tolerated State churches. It is, however, not the official name used by the authorities of the Church who rather dislike it, and substitute for it the name 'Catholic' or 'Holy Catholic' Church. The name 'Roman Church' is applied, in the language of the Church, to the Church or diocese of the Bishop of Rome."
  5. ^  Thurston, Herbert (1913). "Catholic". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 
  6. ^ a b "Number of Catholics and Priests Rises". Zenit News Agency. 12 February 2007. Retrieved on 21 February 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "CIA World Factbook". United States Government Central Intelligence Agency. 2008. Retrieved on 22 December 2008. 
  8. ^ Schreck, p. 158-159.
  9. ^ a b c Paul VI, Pope (1964). "Lumen Gentium chapter 3, section 22". Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  10. ^ Code of Canon Law, canons 331 and 336
  11. ^ Teaching with Authority, by Richard R. Gaillardetz, p. 57
  12. ^ a b Schreck, p. 153.
  13. ^ Barry, p. 50–51.
  14. ^ a b c d e Barry, p. 98–99.
  15. ^ a b Derrett, p. 480, quote: "... the activities of Jesus, and of Paul of Tarsus, cannot be understood without a knowledge of the peculiar world in which they operated. Some believe that Christianity was not founded by Jesus, called Christ, but rather by Peter with such of his associates who were apostles after Jesus's anastasis, which is usually called 'resurrection'. The faith of Peter, and the subsequent faith of Paul, are the rocks upon which the early churches were founded. Their psychosociological position at any rate must be known if one is to understand their proceedings. Others, this writer included, take Jesus as the inspiring force of the church."
  16. ^ Wilken, p. 281, quote: "Some (Christian communities) had been founded by Peter, the disciple Jesus designated as the founder of his church. ... Once the position was institutionalized, historians looked back and recognized Peter as the first pope of the Christian church in Rome"
  17. ^ a b c d Norman, p. 11, 14, quote: "The Church was founded by Jesus himself in his earthly lifetime.", "The apostolate was established in Rome, the world's capital when the church was inaugurated; it was there that the universality of the Christian teaching most obviously took its central directive—it was the bishops of Rome who very early on began to receive requests for adjudication on disputed points from other bishops."
  18. ^ a b Schreck, p. 152.
  19. ^ Barry, p. 37, 43–44.
  20. ^ a b Matthew 16:18–19
  21. ^ John 16:12–13
  22. ^ a b Marthaler, preface
  23. ^ O'Collins, p. v (preface).
  24. ^ a b Orlandis, preface
  25. ^ Vatican Council, Second (1964). "Lumen Gentium paragraph 14". Vatican. Retrieved on 17 December 2008. 
  26. ^ Paragraph number 846 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 27 December 2008. 
  27. ^ Paragraph number 865 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  28. ^ a b Kreeft, p. 110-112.
  29. ^ Shorto, Russel (8 April 2007). "Keeping the Faith". The New York Times. Retrieved on 29 March 2008. 
  30. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 33-34.
  31. ^ Paragraph number 881 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  32. ^ a b Barry, p. 46.
  33. ^ Duffy, p. 1.
  34. ^ a b Chadwick, Henry p. 361, quote: "Towards the latter part of the first century, Rome's presiding cleric named Clement wrote on behalf of his church to remonstrate with the Corinthian Christians ... Clement apologized not for intervening but for not having acted sooner. Moreover, during the second century the Roman community's leadership was evident in its generous alms to poorer churches. About 165 they erected monuments to their martyred apostles ... Roman bishops were already conscious of being custodians of the authentic tradition or true interpretation of the apostolic writings. In the conflict with Gnosticism, Rome played a decisive role and likewise in the deep division in Asia Minor created by the claims of the Montanist prophets to be the organs of the Holy Spirit's direct utterances."
  35. ^ Duffy, p. 6, quote: "For all these reasons, most scholars accept the early Christian tradition that Peter and Paul died in Rome. Yet, though they lived, preached and died in Rome, they did not strictly 'found' the Church there. Paul's Epistle to the Romans was written before either he or Peter ever set foot in Rome, to a Christian community already in existence."
  36. ^ Duffy, p. 7.
  37. ^ Matthew 28:19–20
  38. ^ Paragraph number 849 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  39. ^ Norman, p. 12.
  40. ^ a b Benedict XVI, Pope (2005). "Deus Caritas Est". Vatican. Retrieved on 6 May 2008. 
  41. ^ a b Kreeft, p. 17.
  42. ^ John Paul II, Pope (1997). "Laetamur Magnopere". Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  43. ^ Richardson, p. 132.
  44. ^ Langan, p. 118.
  45. ^ Parry, p. 292.
  46. ^ Collinson, p. 254–260.
  47. ^ a b c Chadwick, Henry p. 371, quote: "The 'synod' or, in Latin, 'council' (the modern distinction making a synod something less than a council was unknown in antiquity) became an indispensable way of keeping a common mind, and helped to keep maverick individuals from centrifugal tendencies. During the third century synodal government became so developed that synods used to meet not merely at times of crisis but on a regular basis every year, normally between Easter and Pentecost."
  48. ^ a b Chadwick, Henry p. 37, quote: "In Acts 15 scripture recorded the apostles meeting in synod to reach a common policy about the Gentile mission."
  49. ^ Duffy, p. 275, 281.
  50. ^ a b Schreck, p. 15–19.
  51. ^ Brodd, Jefferey (2003). World Religions. Winona, MN: Saint Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5. 
  52. ^ a b Schreck, p. 21.
  53. ^ Schreck, p. 23.
  54. ^ Schreck, p. 30.
  55. ^ Paragraph number 1131 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  56. ^ Mongoven, p. 68.
  57. ^ Schreck, p. 45.
  58. ^ Barry, p. 7.
  59. ^ Matthew 22:37–40
  60. ^ Barry, p. 91–92.
  61. ^ Kreeft, p. 51.
  62. ^ Paragraph numbers 390, 392, 405 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  63. ^ Schreck, p. 57.
  64. ^ a b Schreck, p. 68.
  65. ^ Kreeft, p. 49.
  66. ^ a b Kreeft, p. 308.
  67. ^ a b Kreeft, p. 71–72.
  68. ^ McGrath, p. 4–6.
  69. ^ John 10:1–30
  70. ^ Schreck, p. 264–265.
  71. ^ a b Paragraph numbers 1850, 1857 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  72. ^ Barry, p. 77.
  73. ^ Paragraph number 608 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  74. ^ Schreck, p. 113.
  75. ^ John 1:29
  76. ^ Leviticus 4:35
  77. ^ Numbers 15:5
  78. ^ Barry, p. 26.
  79. ^ Schreck, p. 100.
  80. ^ Schreck, p. 242.
  81. ^ Kreeft, p. 343–344.
  82. ^ Paragraph number 1310 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 11 February 2008. 
  83. ^ Paragraph numbers 1385, 1389 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 11 February 2008. 
  84. ^ John 14:26
  85. ^ Barry, p. 37.
  86. ^ Kreeft, p. 88.
  87. ^ a b Schreck, p. 230.
  88. ^ a b Schreck, p. 277.
  89. ^ Paragraph number 1233 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 12 May 2008. 
  90. ^ a b c d e f Schreck, p. 379–386.
  91. ^ Matthew 25:35–36
  92. ^ Schreck, p. 397.
  93. ^ Barry, p. 105.
  94. ^ Luke 23:39–43
  95. ^ Schreck, p. 131.
  96. ^ Paragraph numbers 777–778 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  97. ^ a b Kreeft, p. 113–114.
  98. ^ a b Paragraph number 956 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  99. ^ a b Paul VI, Pope (1964). "Lumen Gentium chapter 2". Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  100. ^ a b Schreck, p. 146–147.
  101. ^ Kreeft, p. 373.
  102. ^ Schreck, p. 141.
  103. ^ Paragraph numbers 2041–2043 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  104. ^ Schreck, p. 193.
  105. ^ Paragraph number 1200–1209 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 12 May 2008. 
  106. ^ a b c Kreeft, p. 326–327.
  107. ^ Benedict XVI, Pope (2007). "Summorum Pontificum". Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved on 27 March 2008. 
  108. ^ John Paul II, Pope (1988). "Ecclesia Dei". Vatican. Retrieved on 27 March 2008. 
  109. ^ a b Barry, p. 116.
  110. ^ Kreeft, p. 320.
  111. ^ Paragraph numbers 1324–1331 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 11 June 2008. 
  112. ^ See Luke 22:19, Matthew 26:27–28, Mark 14:22–24, 1Corinthians 11:24-25
  113. ^ a b Schreck, p. 232–239.
  114. ^ Kreeft, p. 328.
  115. ^ Kreeft, p. 325.
  116. ^ Schreck, p. 189–190, quote: "Some of the earliest Christian writings, such as the Didache, or the 'Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,' chapters 9–10 (late first and early second century), and the First Apology of Justin Martyr, chapters 65–67 (about A.D. 155), describe the primitive form of the Mass and its prayers in a way that bears striking resemblance to the basic format of the Mass today. In fact, the main elements of St. Justin's description of the Mass are almost identical to the form Catholics now employ."
  117. ^ Paragraph numbers 1345–1346 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 12 May 2008. 
  118. ^ a b Kreeft, p. 331.
  119. ^ a b Paragraph numbers 1399–1401 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 12 May 2008. 
  120. ^ Paragraph numbers 1400 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 5 June 2008. 
  121. ^ Luke 18:1
  122. ^ a b c Schreck, p. 198.
  123. ^ "Canon 276". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  124. ^ Paragraph numbers 1174–1178, 1196 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  125. ^ Barry, p. 86, 98.
  126. ^ a b c d Paragraph numbers 2697–2724 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  127. ^ a b Barry, p. 122–123.
  128. ^ a b Schreck, p. 199–200.
  129. ^ Barry, p. 106.
  130. ^ Schreck, p. 368.
  131. ^ Baedeker, Rob (21 December 2007). "World's most-visited religious destinations". USA Today. Retrieved on 3 March 2008. 
  132. ^ Nolan, p. 1-3.
  133. ^ Kreeft, p. 109.
  134. ^ "Country profile: Vatican". BBC News. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  135. ^ Thavis, John (2005). "Election of new pope follows detailed procedure". Catholic News Service. Retrieved on 11 February 2008. 
  136. ^ "Vatican Introduces Latin to 21st Century With New Dictionary". The New York Times. 14 May 2003. Retrieved on 13 May 2008. 
  137. ^ Vatican, Annuario Pontificio p. 1172.
  138. ^ Barry, p. 52.
  139. ^ "Canon 207". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  140. ^ "Canon 42". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  141. ^ "Canon 375". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  142. ^ a b Barry, p. 114.
  143. ^ Committee on the Diaconate. "Frequently Asked Questions About Deacons". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  144. ^ Schreck, p. 227.
  145. ^ "Canon 1037". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  146. ^ "Canon 1031". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  147. ^ Cholij, Roman (1993). "Priestly Celibacy in Patristics and in the History of the Church". Vatican. Retrieved on 6 April 2008. 
  148. ^ Niebuhur, Gustav (16 February 1997). "Bishop's Quiet Action Allows Priest Both Flock And Family". The New York Times. Retrieved on 4 April 2008. 
  149. ^ "1990 Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, Canons 285, 373, 374, 758". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 1990. Retrieved on 12 September 2008. 
  150. ^ a b Pope Benedict XVI (4 November 2005). "Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders". Vatican. Retrieved on 9 March 2008. 
  151. ^ Schreck, p. 255.
  152. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 54.
  153. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 145.
  154. ^ "Canons 232–293". 1983 Code of Canon Law. Vatican. Retrieved on 5 May 2008. 
  155. ^ USCCB, Program for Priestly Formation (2006), preface
  156. ^ USCCB, Program for Priestly Formation (2006), paras. 72, 243
  157. ^ Paragraph number 1577 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  158. ^ Bokenkotter, p. 496.
  159. ^ a b Pope Benedict XVI, p. 180–181, quote: "The difference between the discipleship of the Twelve and the discipleship of the women is obvious; the tasks assigned to each group are quite different. Yet Luke makes clear—and the other Gospels also show this in all sorts of ways—that 'many' women belonged to the more intimate community of believers and that their faith-filled following of Jesus was an essential element of that community, as would be vividly illustrated at the foot of the Cross and the Resurrection."
  160. ^ a b John Paul II, Pope (1988). "Christifideles Laici". Vatican. Retrieved on 17 March 2008. 
  161. ^ Paragraph numbers 871–872, 899, 901, 905, 908–909 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 8 February 2008. 
  162. ^ Paragraph numbers 1623 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved on 5 June 2008. 
  163. ^ Schreck, p. 350.
  164. ^ Schreck, p. 315.
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  219. ^ Wilken, p. 281, quote: "By the year 100, more than 40 Christian communities existed in cities around the Mediterranean, including two in North Africa, at Alexandria and Cyrene, and several in Italy."
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  223. ^ Davidson, p. 155, quote: "For all the scattered nature of the churches, a very large number of believers in apostolic times lived no more than a week or so's travel from one of the main hubs of the Christian movement: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Ephesus, Corinth or Philippi. Communities received regular visits from itinerant teachers and leaders. This unity was focussed upon the essentials of belief in Jesus.
  224. ^ Vidmar, p. 40–42, quote: "Several pieces of evidence indicate that the Bishop of Rome even after Peter held some sort of preeminence among other bishops. ...(lists several historical documents) ... None of these examples, taken by themselves, would be sufficient to prove the primacy of the successors of Peter and Paul. Taken together, however, they point to a Roman authority which was recognized in the early church as going beyond that of other churches."
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  226. ^ Schatz, p. 9-20.
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  228. ^ Norman, p. 27–28, quote: "A distinguished succession of theological apologists added intellectual authority to the resources at the disposal of the papacy, at just that point in its early development when the absence of a centralized teaching office could have fractured the universal witness to a single body of ideas. At the end of the first century there was St. Clement of Rome, third successor to St. Peter in the see; in the second century there was St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus of Lyons and St. Justin Martyr; in the fourth century St. Augustine of Hippo, the greatest theologian of the Early Church."
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  279. ^ a b Bokenkotter, p. 132, quote: "A crusade was proclaimed against these Albigenses, as they were sometimes called ... It was in connection with this crusade that the papal system of Inquisition originated-a special tribunal appointed by the Popes and charged with ferreting out heretics. Until then the responsibility devolved on the local bishops. However, Innocent found it necessary in coping with the Albigensian threat to send out delegates who were entrusted with special powers that made them independent of the episcopal authority. In 1233 Gregory IX organized this ad hoc body into a system of permanent inquisitors, who were usually chosen from among the mendicant friars, Dominicans and Franciscans, men who were often marked by a high degree of courage, integrity, prudence, and zeal."
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