Catholic Church

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Catholic Church
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{{Redirect2|Catholic|Catholicism|other uses|Catholic Church (disambiguation)|and|Catholic (disambiguation)|and|Roman Catholic Church (disambiguation)}}{{pp|small=yes}}{{short description|Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome}}{{Use British English|date=January 2013}}{{Use dmy dates|date=January 2018}}{{good article}}

}}|governance =Communion (religion)>Communion|leader_title = Pope|leader_name = {{incumbent pope}}|leader_title1 = Administration|leader_name1 = Roman CuriaCatholic particular churches and liturgical rites>Particular churchessui iuris|fellowships=24: Latin Church, and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches|fellowships_type1 =|fellowships1 =List of Catholic dioceses (structured view)>Dioceses
  • Archdioceses: 640
  • Dioceses: 2,851{edih}
Parish in the Catholic Church>Parishes|division1 = 221,700|division_type2 =|division2 =|division_type3 =|division3 =|associations =|area =|language = Ecclesiastical Latin and native languagesCatholic particular churches and liturgical rites#Rites>Western and Eastern|headquarters = Holy See|origin_link =Jesus, according toSacred tradition#In the Catholic and Orthodox churches>sacred traditionChristianity in the 1st century>1st centuryHoly Land, Roman EmpireSTANFORDTITLE=ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCHWEBSITE=BBC RELIGIONSACCESSDATE=1 FEBRUARY 2017, Bokenkotter, 2004, p. 18|parent =|merger =|absorbed =|separations =|merged_into =|defunct =|congregations_type =|congregations =DATE=6 MARCH 2019HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE>ACCESS-DATE=6 MARCH 2019ARCHIVE-DATE=7 MARCH 2019, Hierarchy of the Catholic Church>Clergy
  • Bishops: 5,304
  • Priests: 415,656
  • Deacons: 45,255{edih}|missionaries =|churches =|hospitals =|nursing_homes =|aid =|primary_schools =|secondary_schools =|tax_status =|tertiary =|other_names =|publications =|website = Holy See|slogan =|logo =|footnotes = }}
{{Catholic Church sidebar}}The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide {{as of|2017|lc=yes}}. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution,Mark A. Noll. The New Shape of World Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), 191. it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation.O'Collins, p. v (preface). The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.The Christian beliefs of Catholicism are based on the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission,WEB,weblinkweblink dead, 10 July 2007, Vatican congregation reaffirms truth, oneness of Catholic Church, Catholic News Service, 17 March 2012, BOOK, Bokenkotter, Thomas, A Concise History of the Catholic Church, 2004, Doubleday, New York, 7,weblink 978-0-307-42348-1, {{refn|group=note|While the Catholic Church considers itself to be the authentic continuation of the Christian community founded by Jesus Christ, it teaches that other Christian churches and communities can be in an imperfect communion with the Catholic Church.}} that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ.Holy Bible: Matthew {{bibleverse-nb||Matthew|16:19|ESV}} It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition.{{CCC|890|}} The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.{{CCC|pp = 835|quote=The rich variety of … theological and spiritual heritages proper to the local churches 'unified in a common effort shows all the more resplendently the catholicity of the undivided Church'.(cf. Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium, 23)}}Colin Gunton. "Christianity among the Religions in the Encyclopedia of Religion", Religious Studies, Vol. 24, number 1, page 14. In a review of an article from the Encyclopedia of Religion, Gunton writes: "[T]he article [on Catholicism in the encyclopedia] rightly suggests caution, suggesting at the outset that Roman Catholicism is marked by several different doctrinal, theological and liturgical emphases."Of its seven sacraments the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass.CCC, 1322–1327, "the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith" The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions.{{refn|name=marian_dogmas|WEB,weblink Catholic News Agency, The Four Marian Dogmas, 25 March 2017, |}} Its teaching includes Divine Mercy, sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.JOURNAL, Agnew, John, Deus Vult: The Geopolitics of Catholic Church, Geopolitics, 12 February 2010, 15, 1, 39–61, 10.1080/14650040903420388, The Catholic Church has influenced Western philosophy, culture, art, and science. Catholics live all over the world through missions, diaspora, and conversions. Since the 20th century the majority reside in the southern hemisphere due to secularisation in Europe, and increased persecution in the Middle East.The Catholic Church shared communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, disputing particularly the authority of the Pope. Before the Council of Ephesus in AD 431 the Church of the East also shared in this communion, as did the Oriental Orthodox churches before the Council of Chalcedon in AD 451, all separating primarily over differences in Christology. In the 14th century, the Reformation and Counter Reformation lead to further divisions with historic consequences. From the late 20th century, the Catholic Church has received criticism from some for its teaching on sexuality, its inability to ordain women, as well as the handling of sexual abuse cases involving clergy.{{TOC limit|3}}


{{Further|Catholic (term)|Roman Catholic (term)}}File:Ignatius of Antiochie, poss. by Johann Apakass (17th c., Pushkin museum).jpg|thumb|The first use of the term "Catholic Church" (literally meaning "universal church") was by the church father Saint Ignatius of Antioch in his Letter to the Smyrnaeans (circa 110 AD).John Meyendorff, Catholicity and the Church, St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1997, {{ISBN|0-88141-006-3}}, p. 7 Ignatius of Antioch is also attributed the earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" () {{ca}} 100 A.D.{{sfn|Elwell|Comfort|2001|pp=266, 828}} He died in Rome, with his relics located in the Basilica of San Clemente al LateranoBasilica of San Clemente al LateranoCatholic (from ) was first used to describe the church in the early 2nd century.MacCulloch, Christianity, p. 127. The first known use of the phrase "the catholic church" ( he katholike ekklesia) occurred in the letter written about 110 AD from Saint Ignatius of Antioch to the Smyrnaeans.{{refn|group=note|Quote of St Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans ({{Circa|110 AD}}): "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church."|}} In the Catechetical Lectures ({{Circa|350}}) of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, the name "Catholic Church" was used to distinguish it from other groups that also called themselves "the church".ENCYCLOPEDIA,weblink The Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic, Thurston, Herbert, Herbert Thurston, New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1908, 17 August 2012, Kevin, Knight, Knight, 3, WEB,weblink Cyril of Jerusalem, Lecture XVIII, 26,, 6 August 2004, 17 August 2012, The "Catholic" notion was further stressed in the edict De fide Catolica issued 380 by Theodosius I, the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire, when establishing the state church of the Roman Empire.Edictum de fide catholicaSince the East–West Schism of 1054, the Eastern Church has taken the adjective "Orthodox" as its distinctive epithet (however, its official name continues to be the "Orthodox Catholic Church""Eastern Orthodoxy", Encyclopædia Britannica online.) and the Western Church in communion with the Holy See has similarly taken "Catholic", keeping that description also after the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, when those who ceased to be in communion became known as "Protestants"."catholic, adj. and n." Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press, June 2014. Web. 7 August 2014. Excerpt: "After the separation of East and West 'Catholic' was assumed as its descriptive epithet by the Western or Latin Church, as 'Orthodox' was by the Eastern or Greek. At the Reformation the term 'Catholic' was claimed as its exclusive right by the body remaining under the Roman obedience, in opposition to the 'Protestant' or 'Reformed' National Churches. These, however, also retained the term, giving it, for the most part, a wider and more ideal or absolute sense, as the attribute of no single community, but only of the whole communion of the saved and saintly in all churches and ages. In England, it was claimed that the Church, even as Reformed, was the national branch of the 'Catholic Church' in its proper historical sense." Note: The full text of the OED definition of "catholic" can be consulted (Wikipedia talk:Requests for mediation/Roman Catholic Church/Archive 17|here).McBrien, Richard (2008). The Church. Harper Collins. p. xvii. Online version available {{webarchive|url= |date=27 August 2009 }}. Quote: "[T]he use of the adjective 'Catholic' as a modifier of 'Church' became divisive only after the East–West Schism... and the Protestant Reformation. … In the former case, the Western Church claimed for itself the title Catholic Church, while the East appropriated the name Orthodox Church. In the latter case, those in communion with the Bishop of Rome retained the adjective "Catholic", while the churches that broke with the Papacy were called Protestant."While the "Roman Church" has been used to describe the pope's Diocese of Rome since the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and into the Early Middle Ages (6th–10th century), the "Roman Catholic Church" has been applied to the whole church in the English language since the Protestant Reformation in the late 16th century.WEB,weblink Roman Catholic, n. and adj., Oxford English Dictionary, 24 October 2017, subscription, "Roman Catholic" has occasionally appeared also in documents produced both by the Holy See,Examples uses of "Roman Catholic" by the Holy See: the encyclicals Divini Illius Magistri {{webarchive |url= |date=23 September 2010 }} of Pope Pius XI and Humani generis {{webarchive |url= |date=19 April 2012 }} of Pope Pius XII; joint declarations signed by Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on 23 November 2006 {{webarchive |url= |date=2 March 2013 }} and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople on 30 November 2006. notably applied to certain national episcopal conferences, and local dioceses.Example use of "Roman" Catholic by a bishop's conference: The Baltimore Catechism, an official catechism authorised by the Catholic bishops of the United States, states: "That is why we are called Roman Catholics; to show that we are united to the real successor of St Peter" (Question 118) and refers to the church as the "Roman Catholic Church" under Questions 114 and 131 (Baltimore Catechism).The name "Catholic Church" for the whole church is used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1990) and the Code of Canon Law (1983). The names "Catholic Church" and "Roman Church" are also used in the documents of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965),The Vatican. Documents of the II Vatican Council {{webarchive|url= |date=5 June 2004 }}. Retrieved 4 May 2009. Note: The pope's signature appears in the Latin version. the First Vatican Council (1869–1870),WEB,weblink Decrees of the First Vatican Council – Papal Encyclicals, 29 June 1868, the Council of Trent (1545–1563),"The Bull of Indiction of the Sacred Oecumenical and General Council of Trent under the Sovereign Pontiff, Paul III." The Council of Trent: The Canons and Decrees of the Sacred and Oecumenical Council of Trent. Ed. and trans. J. Waterworth. London: Dolman, 1848. Retrieved from, 12 September 2018. and numerous other official documents.WEB,weblink Catholic Encyclopedia: Roman Catholic,, WEB,weblink Kenneth D. Whitehead,,


{{Anchor|Organization and demographics|Organisation and demographics}}File:Emblem of the Papacy SE.svg|thumb|"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven." Jesus to Peter in the Gospel of Matthew, {{bibleverse-nb||Matthew|16:19|ESV}}The crossed gold and silver keys of the Holy See symbolise the keys of Simon Peter, representing the power of the papal office to loose and bind. The triple crown papal tiara symbolises the triple power of the Pope as "father of kings", "governor of the world" and "Vicar of Christ". The gold cross on a monde (globe) surmounting the tiara symbolises the sovereignty of JesusJesusThe Catholic Church follows an episcopal polity, led by bishops who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders who are given formal jurisdictions of governance within the church.{{CCC|long=true|title=Christ's Faithful – Hierarchy, Laity, Consecrated Life: The episcopal college and its head, the Pope (880–883)|pp=880–883|note='[T]he Roman Pontiff [the Pope], ... has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered.' 'The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head.' As such, this college has 'supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.'}}CE1913, Hierarchy, Hierarchy, A., Van Hove, "It is usual to distinguish a twofold hierarchy in the Church, that of order and that of jurisdiction, corresponding to the twofold means of sanctification, grace, which comes to us principally through the sacraments, and good works, which are the fruit of grace." There are three levels of clergy, the episcopate, composed of bishops who hold jurisdiction over a geographic area called a diocese or eparchy; the presbyterate, composed of priests ordained by bishops and who work in local diocese or religious orders; and the diaconate, composed of deacons who assist bishops and priests in a variety of ministerial roles. Ultimately leading the entire Catholic Church is the Bishop of Rome, commonly called the pope, whose jurisdiction is called the Holy See. In parallel to the diocesan structure are a variety of religious institutes that function autonomously, often subject only to the authority of the pope, though sometimes subject to the local bishop. Most religious institutes only have male or female members but some have both. Additionally, lay members aid many liturgical functions during worship services.

Holy See, papacy, Roman Curia, and College of Cardinals

{{Further|List of popes}}File:Canonization 2014- The Canonization of Saint John XXIII and Saint John Paul II (14036966125).jpg|thumb|left|Francis is the 266th and current Pope of the Catholic Church, a title he holds ex officio as Bishop of Rome, and sovereign of Vatican City. He was elected in the papal conclave, 2013papal conclave, 2013File:Archbasilica of St. John Lateran HD.jpg|thumb|left|Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, the cathedral for the Diocese of RomeDiocese of RomeThe hierarchy of the Catholic Church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope (; "father"), who is the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church, Christ's Faithful – Hierarchy, Laity, Consecrated Life: The episcopal college and its head, the Pope, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City, 1993, 14 April 2013, The current pope, Francis, was elected on 13 March 2013 by papal conclave.WEB,weblink Habemus Papam! Cardinal Bergoglio Elected Pope Francis,, 14 March 2013, {{canon law}}The office of the pope is known as the papacy. The Catholic Church holds that Christ instituted the papacy upon giving the keys of Heaven to Saint Peter. His ecclesiastical jurisdiction is called the "Holy See" (Sancta Sedes in Latin), or the "Apostolic See" (meaning the see of the apostle Peter).BOOK, Jaroslav, Pelikan,weblink Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 4: Reformation of Church and Dogma (1300–1700), University of Chicago Press, 1985, 978-0-226-65377-8, 114, Robert Feduccia (editor), Primary Source Readings in Catholic Church History (Saint Mary's Press 2005 {{ISBN|978-0-88489-868-9}}), p. 85. Accessed at Google Books Directly serving the pope is the Roman Curia, the central governing body that administers the day-to-day business of the Catholic Church.The pope is also Sovereign of Vatican City,WEB,weblink Vatican City State – State and Government,, 11 August 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 July 2010, a small city-state entirely enclaved within the city of Rome, which is an entity distinct from the Holy See. It is as head of the Holy See, not as head of Vatican City State, that the pope receives ambassadors of states and sends them his own diplomatic representatives.British Foreign and Commonwealth Office. "Country Profile: Vatican City State/Holy See". Travel and Living Abroad, 27 February 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012 {{webarchive |url= |date=31 December 2010 }} The Holy See also confers orders, decorations and medals, such as the orders of chivalry originating from the Middle Ages.While the famous Saint Peter's Basilica is located in Vatican City, above the traditional site of Saint Peter's tomb, the papal cathedral for the Diocese of Rome is the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran, located within the city of Rome, though enjoying extraterritorial privileges accredited to the Holy See.The position of cardinal is a rank of honour bestowed by popes on certain clergy, such as leaders within the Roman Curia, bishops serving in major cities and distinguished theologians. For advice and assistance in governing, the pope may turn to the College of Cardinals.McDonough (1995), p. 227Following the death or resignation of a pope,{{refn|The last resignation occurred on 28 February 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI retired, citing ill health in his advanced age. The next most recent resignation occurred in 1415, as part of the Council of Constance's resolution of the Avignon Papacy.Duffy (1997), p. 415|group=note}} members of the College of Cardinals who are under age 80 act as an electoral college, meeting in a papal conclave to elect a successor.Duffy (1997), p. 416 Although the conclave may elect any male Catholic as pope, since 1389 only cardinals have been elected.Duffy (1997), pp. 417–418

Canon law

{{See also|Catholic Church#Liturgy}}Canon law ()Black's Law Dictionary, 5th Edition, pg. 771: "Jus canonicum" is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the church.Della Rocca, Manual of Canon Law, p. 3. The canon law of the Latin Church was the first modern Western legal systemBerman, Harold J. Law and Revolution, pp. 86, 115. and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West,Edward N. Peters, Home Page, accessed 11 June 2013.Raymond Wacks, Law: A Very Short Introduction, 2nd Ed. (Oxford University Press, 2015) p. 13. while the distinctive traditions of Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.Positive ecclesiastical laws, based directly or indirectly upon immutable divine law or natural law, derive formal authority in the case of universal laws from promulgation by the supreme legislator—the Supreme Pontiff—who possesses the totality of legislative, executive and judicial power in his person,Canon 331, 1983 Code of Canon Law while particular laws derive formal authority from promulgation by a legislator inferior to the supreme legislator, whether an ordinary or a delegated legislator. The actual subject material of the canons is not just doctrinal or moral in nature, but all-encompassing of the human condition. It has all the ordinary elements of a mature legal system: laws, courts, lawyers, judges,Edward N. Peters, "A Catechist's Introduction to Canon Law",, accessed June-11-2013 a fully articulated legal code for the Latin ChurchManual of Canon Law, pg. 49 as well as a code for the Eastern Catholic Churches, principles of legal interpretation,WEB,weblink Code of Canon Law: text - IntraText CT,, and coercive penalties.St. Joseph Foundation newsletter, Vol. 30 No. 7, pg. 3WEB,weblink Conscience·and·Coercion, First·Things, 24 March 2015, The 1983 Code of Canon Law still teaches that the Church has a coercive authority over the baptized, with the authority to direct and to punish, by temporal as well as spiritual penalties, for culpable apostasy or heresy., Thomas, Pink, The Institute on Religion and Public Life, Canon law concerns the Catholic Church's life and organisation and is distinct from civil law. In its own field it gives force to civil law only by specific enactment in matters such as the guardianship of minors.BOOK, John P., Beal,weblink New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law, Paulist Press, 2000, 978-0-8091-4066-4, 85, Similarly, civil law may give force in its field to canon law, but only by specific enactment, as with regard to canonical marriages.WEB,weblink 3 February 1993, 6 August 2014, Agreement between the Holy See and the Republic of Malta on the recognition of civil effects to canonical marriages and to the decisions of the ecclesiastical authorities and tribunals about the same marriages,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 February 2014, dmy-all, Currently, the 1983 Code of Canon Law is in effect for the Latin Church.WEB,weblink 3 April 2015, Code of Canon Law: Book I General Norms (1–6), Intratext Library, The distinct 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO, after the Latin initials) applies to the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches.WEB,weblink 3 April 2015, 1990 Code of Canons of Oriental Churches, Canon 1,,

Latin and Eastern churches

{{anchor|Autonomous particular churches|Particular churches ''sui iuris'}}{{Major Sui Iuris Catholic Churches}}In the first thousand years of Catholic history, different varieties of Christianity developed in the Western and Eastern Christian areas of Europe. Though most Eastern-tradition churches are no longer in communion with the Catholic Church after the Great Schism of 1054, autonomous particular churches of both traditions currently participate, also known as "churches sui iuris" ("). The largest and most well known is the Latin Church, the only Western-tradition church, with more than 1 billion members worldwide. Relatively small in terms of adherents compared to the Latin Church, are the 23 self-governing Eastern Catholic Churches with a combined membership of 17.3 million {{As of|2010|lc=y}}.WEB,weblink Ronald G. Roberson, Eastern Catholic Churches Statistics 2010, CNEWA, 30 April 2011, Colin Gunton. "Christianity among the Religions in the Encyclopedia of Religion", Religious Studies, Vol. 24, number 1, p. 14. In a review of an article from the Encyclopedia of Religion, Gunton writes "... [T] he article [on Catholicism in the encyclopedia] rightly suggests caution, suggesting at the outset that Roman Catholicism is marked by several different doctrinal and theological emphases."WEB,weblink Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Vatican Council II, 30 April 2011, 2, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 September 2000, dmy, WEB,weblink The Other Catholics: A Short Guide to the Eastern Catholic Churches, Kevin R. Yurkus, Catholic Education Resource Center, 20 June 2017, dmy, The Latin Church is governed by the pope and diocesan bishops directly appointed by him. The pope exercises a direct patriarchal role over the Latin Church, which is considered to form the original and still major part of Western Christianity, a heritage of certain beliefs and customs originating in Europe and northwestern Africa, some of which are inherited by many Christian denominations that trace their origins to the Protestant Reformation."General Essay on Western Christianity", "Western Church/Roman Catholicism" Overview of World Religions. Division of Religion and Philosophy, University of Cumbria. 1998/9 ELMAR Project. Accessed 26 March 2015.The Eastern Catholic Churches follow the traditions and spirituality of Eastern Christianity and are churches which have always remained in full communion with the Catholic Church or who have chosen to re-enter full communion in the centuries following the East–West Schism and earlier divisions. These churches are communities of Catholic Christians whose forms of worship reflect distinct historical and cultural influences rather than differences in doctrine.A church sui iuris is defined in the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches as a "group of Christian faithful united by a hierarchy" that is recognised by the Pope in his capacity as the supreme authority on matters of doctrine within the church.{{refn|WEB,weblink Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, Title 2,, 1992, }} The term is an innovation of the CCEO to denote the relative autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches,WEB,weblink Malankara Catholic Church sui iuris: Juridical Status and Power of Governance, Scribd, who remain in full communion with the Pope, but have governance structures and liturgical traditions separate from that of the Latin Church. While the Latin Church's canons do not explicitly use the term, it is tacitly recognised as equivalent.Some Eastern Catholic churches are governed by a patriarch who is elected by the synod of the bishops of that church,"CCEO, Canons 55–150". (English Translation). 1990. others are headed by a major archbishop,"CCEO, Canons 151–154". 1990. others are under a metropolitan,"CCEO, Canons 155–173". 1990. and others are organised as individual eparchies."CCEO, Canons 174–176". 1990. Each church has authority over the particulars of its internal organisation, liturgical rites, liturgical calendar and other aspects of its spirituality, subject only to the authority of the pope."CCEO, Canon 27–28.". (English Translation). 1990. The Roman Curia has a specific department, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, to maintain relations with them.WEB,weblink Congregation for the Oriental Churches: Profile,, Rome, 2 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 May 2011, dmy-all, The pope does not generally appoint bishops or clergy in the Eastern Catholic Churches, deferring to their internal governance structures, but may intervene if he feels it necessary.Of Jesus' apostles, five are associated with apostolic sees of the Western Church (except titular sees): 1) Peter founded Rome (together with Paul), Jerusalem (together with 2) James) and Syracuse, 3) Paul also founded Malta, 4) Barnabas founded Milan, 5) James the Great founded Santiago de Compostela. Several others are associated within Eastern Catholic apostolic sees: 6) Mark founded Alexandra, Peter founded Antioch (Maronite/Syriac/Melkite), 7) Philip founded Ethiopia, 8) Andrew founded Kiev, 9/10) Thaddaeus (Jude the Apostle; Thaddeus of Edessa) and Bartholomew founded Cilicia and together with 10) Thomas also Babylon, the latter who also fonded India (Syro-Malabar/Syro-Malankara).

Dioceses, parishes, organisations and institutes

{{further|List of Catholic dioceses (structured view)|Parish in the Catholic Church|Religious institute|Catholic charities}}{{multiple image|align=right|direction=vertical|width=375|image1=Catholic population.svg|caption1=A map of Catholicism by population percentage (for absolute figures, see below)|image2=Catholicism by country.png|caption2=Countries by number of Catholics in 2010Hacket, Conrad and Grim, Brian J. "Global Christianity A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population", The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Washington, D.C. December 2011. Accessed June 2014. Note: The Pew methodology produced an estimated world Catholic population of 1.1 Billion in 2010. {{colbegin}}{{legend|black|More than 100 million}}{{legend|#555555|More than 50 million}}{{legend|#964B00|More than 20 million}}{{legend|#FF6700|More than 10 million}}{{legend|#FF7518|More than 5 million}}{{legend|#FFE5B4|More than 1 million}} {{colend}}}}Individual countries, regions, or major cities are served by particular churches known as dioceses in the Latin Church, or eparchies in the Eastern Catholic Churches, each overseen by a bishop. {{as of|2008}}, the Catholic Church has 2,795 dioceses.Vatican, Annuario Pontificio 2009, p. 1172. The bishops in a particular country are members of a national or regional episcopal conference.Annuario Pontifico per l'anno 2010 (Città di Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2010)Dioceses are divided into parishes, each with one or more priests, deacons or lay ecclesial ministers.Barry, p. 52 Parishes are responsible for the day to day celebration of the sacraments and pastoral care of the laity."Canon 519". 1983 Code of Canon Law. "The parish priest is the proper clergyman in charge of the congregation of the parish entrusted to him. He exercises the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling with the cooperation of other priests or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of Christ's faithful, in accordance with the law." {{as of|2016}}, there are 221,700 parishes worldwide.JOURNAL, 2016{{ndash, 2017|title=Laudato Si |journal=Vermont Catholic|edition=Winter |volume=8 |issue=4 |page=73|url={%22page%22:74,%22issue_id%22:365491} |accessdate=19 December 2016}}In the Latin Church, Catholic men may serve as deacons or priests by receiving sacramental ordination. Men and women may serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, as readers (lectors); or as altar servers. Historically, boys and men have only been permitted to serve as altar servers; however, since the 1990s, girls and women have also been permitted.Acta Apostolicae Sedis 86 (1994) pp. 541–542 (Official Latin {{webarchive |url= |date=21 July 2015 }}; English translation){{refn|group=note|In 1992, the Vatican clarified the 1983 Code of Canon Law removed the requirement that altar servers be male; permission to use female altar servers within a diocese is at the discretion of the bishop.}}Ordained Catholics, as well as members of the laity, may enter into consecrated life either on an individual basis, as a hermit or consecrated virgin, or by joining an institute of consecrated life (a religious institute or a secular institute) in which to take vows confirming their desire to follow the three evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience.WEB,weblink Canon 573–746, 1983 Code of Canon Law,, 9 March 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 18 April 2016, dmy, Examples of institutes of consecrated life are the Benedictines, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Missionaries of Charity, the Legionaries of Christ and the Sisters of Mercy."Religious institutes" is a modern term encompassing both "religious orders" and "religious congregations" which were once distinguished in canon law.WEB,weblink Google Scholar,, The terms "religious order" and "religious institute" tend to be used as synonyms colloquially.Cafardi, Nicolas P. "Catholic Law Schools and Ex Corde Ecclesiae", Theological Exploration, vol. 2. no. 1 of Duquesne University and in Law Review of University of Toledo, vol. 33By means of Catholic charities and beyond, the Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.


{{Further|List of Christian denominations by number of members}}{{Catholic Church by country}}Church membership, defined as baptised Catholics, was 1.272 billion at the end of 2014, which is 17.8% of the world population.WEB,weblink Pontifical Yearbook 2016 and the Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2014: dynamics of a Church in transformation,, Catholics represent about half of all Christians.WEB, Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents,weblink 5 July 2009,, Geographic distribution of Catholics worldwide continues to shift, with 17% in Africa, 48% in the Americas, 11% Asia, 23% in Europe, and 1% in Oceania.Catholic ministers include ordained clergy, lay ecclesial ministers, missionaries, and catechists. Also as of the end of 2014, there were 465,595 ordained clergy, including 5,237 bishops, 415,792 priests (diocesan and religious), and 44,566 deacons (permanent). Non-ordained ministers included 3,157,568 catechists, 367,679 lay missionaries, and 39,951 lay ecclesial ministers.WEB,weblink News – Agenzia Fides,, Catholics who have committed to religious or consecrated life instead of marriage or single celibacy, as a state of life or relational vocation, include 54,559 male religious, 705,529 women religious. These are not ordained, nor generally considered ministers unless also engaged in one of the lay minister categories above.


Catholic doctrine has developed over the centuries, reflecting direct teachings of early Christians, formal definitions of heretical and orthodox beliefs by ecumenical councils and in papal bulls, and theological debate by scholars. The church believes that it is continually guided by the Holy Spirit as it discerns new theological issues and is protected infallibly from falling into doctrinal error when a firm decision on an issue is reached.WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican, 28 April 2011, The teaching office, 889 in order to preserve the Church in the purity of the faith handed on by the apostles, Christ who is the Truth willed to confer on her a share in his own infallibility., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 April 2011, dmy-all, WEB, Second Vatican Council,weblink Lumen Gentium, Vatican, 24 July 2010, Chapter III, paragraph 25, by the light of the Holy Spirit ... vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock., dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 September 2014, dmy, It teaches that revelation has one common source, God, and two distinct modes of transmission: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition,WEB,weblink CCC, 80–81,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 June 2011, dmy-all, WEB, Paul VI, Pope, Lumen Gentium chapter 2, Paragraph 14, Vatican, 1964,weblink 9 March 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 September 2014, dmy, and that these are authentically interpreted by the Magisterium.WEB, The teaching office,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church, Vatican, 24 July 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 September 2010, dmy, WEB,weblink CCC, 85–88,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 June 2011, dmy-all, Sacred Scripture consists of the 73 books of the Catholic Bible, consisting of 46 Old Testament and 27 New Testament writings. Sacred Tradition consists of those teachings believed by the church to have been handed down since the time of the Apostles.Schreck, pp. 15–19 Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are collectively known as the "deposit of faith" (depositum fidei in Latin). These are in turn interpreted by the Magisterium (from magister, Latin for "teacher"), the church's teaching authority, which is exercised by the pope and the College of Bishops in union with the pope, the bishop of Rome.Schreck, p. 30 Catholic doctrine is authoritatively summarised in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published by the Holy See.Marthaler, prefaceWEB, John Paul II, Pope, Laetamur Magnopere, Vatican, 1997,weblink 21 March 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 14 March 2015, dmy-all,

Nature of God

File:PetrusPictaviensis CottonFaustinaBVII-folio42v ScutumFidei early13thc.jpg|thumb|C. 1210 manuscript version of the traditional Shield of the TrinityShield of the TrinityThe Catholic Church holds that there is one eternal God, who exists as a perichoresis ("mutual indwelling") of three hypostases, or "persons": God the Father; God the Son; and God the Holy Spirit, which together are called the "Holy Trinity".{{CCC|url=|pp=232–237, 252|accessdate=21 March 2015}}Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is the "Second Person" of the Trinity, God the Son. In an event known as the Incarnation, through the power of the Holy Spirit, God became united with human nature through the conception of Christ in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Christ, therefore, is understood as being both fully divine and fully human, including possessing a human soul. It is taught that Christ's mission on earth included giving people his teachings and providing his example for them to follow as recorded in the four Gospels.McGrath, pp. 4–6. Jesus is believed to have remained sinless while on earth, and to have allowed himself to be unjustly executed by crucifixion, as sacrifice of himself to reconcile humanity to God; this reconciliation is known as the Paschal Mystery.{{CCC|595|pp_range='Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried'|30 December 2014}} The Greek term "Christ" and the Hebrew "Messiah" both mean "anointed one", referring to the Christian belief that Jesus' death and resurrection are the fulfilment of the Old Testament's messianic prophecies.Kreeft, pp. 71–72The Catholic Church teaches dogmatically that "the Holy Spirit proceeds eternally from the Father and the Son, not as from two principles but as from one single principle".WEB,weblink Greek and Latin Traditions on Holy Spirit,, It holds that the Father, as the "principle without principle", is the first origin of the Spirit, but also that he, as Father of the only Son, is with the Son the single principle from which the Spirit proceeds.WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText – CCC 248,, 12 February 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2013, dmy-all, This belief is expressed in the Filioque clause which was added to the Latin version of the Nicene Creed of 381 but not included in the Greek versions of the creed used in Eastern Christianity.{{CCC|url=|pp=245–248|accessdate=7 August 2014}}

Nature of the church

File:Pentecost 01.jpg|thumb|Pentecost depicted in a 14th-century missalmissalThe Catholic Church teaches that it is the "one true church",WEB,weblink Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church, Rome, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 29 June 2007, William Cardinal Levada, 26 November 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2013, dmy, "the universal sacrament of salvation for the human race",WEB, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World GAUDIUM ET SPES § 45,weblink, 7 December 1965, 4 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 17 October 2012, dmy, WEB,weblink DOGMATIC CONSTITUTION ON THE CHURCH LUMEN GENTIUM, Pericle, Felici, 21 November 1964, 4 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 September 2014, dmy, and "the one true religion".Paragraph 2, second sentence: WEB,weblink Dignitatis humanae, 20 June 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 February 2012, dmy, According to the Catechism, the Catholic Church is further described in the Nicene Creed as the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church".WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText – CCC, 811,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2015, dmy-all, These are collectively known as the Four Marks of the Church. The church teaches that its founder is Jesus Christ.Kreeft, p. 98, quote "The fundamental reason for being a Catholic is the historical fact that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ, was God's invention, not man's;... As the Father gave authority to Christ (Jn 5:22; Mt 28:18–20), Christ passed it on to his apostles (Lk 10:16), and they passed it on to the successors they appointed as bishops." (see also Kreeft, p. 980)Bokenkotter, p. 30. The New Testament records several events considered integral to the establishment of the Catholic Church, including Jesus' activities and teaching and his appointment of the apostles as witnesses to his ministry, suffering, and resurrection. The Great Commission, after his resurrection, instructed the apostles to continue his work. The coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, in an event known as Pentecost, is seen as the beginning of the public ministry of the Catholic Church.Barry, p. 46. The church teaches that all duly consecrated bishops have a lineal succession from the apostles of Christ, known as apostolic succession.Barry, p. 46 In particular, the Bishop of Rome (the pope) is considered the successor to the apostle Simon Peter, a position from which he derives his supremacy over the church.CCC, 880 {{webarchive |url= |date=6 September 2010 }}. Retrieved 20 August 2011Catholic belief holds that the church "is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth"Schreck, p. 131 and that it alone possesses the full means of salvation.{{CCC|816|30 December 2014|quote=816':The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God. [Unitatis redintegratio 3 § 5.]}} Through the passion (suffering) of Christ leading to his crucifixion as described in the Gospels, it is said Christ made himself an oblation to God the Father in order to reconcile humanity to God;{{CCC|608|6 August 2014}} the Resurrection of Jesus makes him the firstborn from the dead, the first among many brethren.Colossians 1.18 By reconciling with God and following Christ's words and deeds, an individual can enter the Kingdom of God.Barry, p. 26 The church sees its liturgy and sacraments as perpetuating the graces achieved through Christ's sacrifice to strengthen a person's relationship with Christ and aid in overcoming sin.WEB,weblink The paschal mystery in the sacraments of the church, 2005, 14 December 2014, Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,,

Final judgement

File:Fra Angelico 024.jpg|thumb|Before his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ grants salvation to souls by the Harrowing of Hell. Fresco by Fra AngelicoFra AngelicoThe Catholic Church teaches that, immediately after death, the soul of each person will receive a particular judgement from God, based on their sins and their relationship to Christ.{{refn|name=1021_|{{CCC|1021|28 December 2014|pp_range=1021–22, 1039, 1051|quote=1039: ...The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly lifeZ|}}}}Schreck, p. 397 This teaching also attests to another day when Christ will sit in universal judgement of all mankind. This final judgement, according to the church's teaching, will bring an end to human history and mark the beginning of both a new and better heaven and earth ruled by God in righteousness.{{CCC|pp=1038–1041|accessdate=7 August 2014}}Depending on the judgement rendered following death, it is believed that a soul may enter one of three states of afterlife:
  • Heaven is a state of unending union with the divine nature of God, not ontologically, but by grace. It is an eternal life, in which the soul contemplates God in ceaseless beatitude.{{CCC|1023|30 July 2014|pp_range=1023–29, 1042–50}}
  • Purgatory is a temporary condition for the purification of souls who, although destined for Heaven, are not fully detached from sin and thus cannot enter Heaven immediately.{{CCC|1030|6 August 2014|pp=1030–1032, 1054}} In Purgatory, the soul suffers, and is purged and perfected. Souls in purgatory may be aided in reaching heaven by the prayers of the faithful on earth and by the intercession of saints.WEB,weblink Saints' Prayers for Souls in Purgatory,, 28 October 2010,
  • Final Damnation: Finally, those who persist in living in a state of mortal sin and do not repent before death subject themselves to hell, an everlasting separation from God.{{CCC|1033|7 August 2014|pp_range=1033–37, 1057}} The church teaches that no one is condemned to hell without having freely decided to reject God.{{CCC|1058|7 August 2014}} No one is predestined to hell and no one can determine with absolute certainty who has been condemned to hell.{{CCC|1037|7 August 2014}} Catholicism teaches that through God's mercy a person can repent at any point before death, be illuminated with the truth of the Catholic faith, and thus obtain salvation.Christian Bible, {{bibleverse||Luke|23:39–43}} Some Catholic theologians have speculated that the souls of unbaptised infants and non-Christians without mortal sin but who die in original sin are assigned to limbo, although this is not an official dogma of the church.WEB,weblink Library : The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die Without Being Baptized, Catholic Culture, 19 January 2007, 28 October 2010,
While the Catholic Church teaches that it alone possesses the full means of salvation, it also acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of Christian communities separated from itself to "impel towards Catholic unity""Christ's Church Subsists in the Catholic Church". Retrieved on 27 August 2015. and "tend and lead toward the Catholic Church", and thus bring people to salvation, because these separated communities contain some elements of proper doctrine, albeit admixed with errors. It teaches that anyone who is saved is saved through the Catholic Church but that people can be saved outside of the ordinary means known as baptism of desire, and by pre-baptismal martyrdom, known as baptism of blood, as well as when conditions of invincible ignorance are present, although invincible ignorance in itself is not a means of salvation.CE1913, Baptism, William, Fanning, (See: "Necessity of baptism" and "Substitutes for the sacrament")

Saints and devotions

A saint (also historically known as a hallow) is a person who is recognised as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness or closeness to God, while canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the "canon", or list, of recognised saints.WILSON>FIRST1=DOUGLASFIRST2=TY, Omnibus II: Church Fathers Through the Reformation,weblink 13 January 2013publisher=Veritas Presspage=101, The word 'hallow' means 'saint,' in that 'hallow' is just an alternative form of the word 'holy' ('hallowed be Thy name')., DIEHL>FIRST1=DANIELFIRST2=MARK, Medieval Celebrations,weblink 13 January 2013publisher=Stackpole Bookspage=13martyrs. Pious legends of their deaths were considered affirmations of the truth of their faith in Christ. By the fourth century, however, "confessors"—people who had confessed their faith not by dying but by word and life—began to be veneration>venerated publicly.In the Catholic Church, both in Latin and Eastern Catholic churches, the act of canonization is reserved to the Apostolic See and occurs at the conclusion of a long process requiring extensive proof that the candidate for canonization lived and died in such an exemplary and holy way that he is worthy to be recognised as a saint. The church's official recognition of sanctity implies that the person is now in Heaven and that he may be publicly invoked and mentioned officially in the liturgy of the church, including in the Litany of the Saints. Canonization allows universal veneration of the saint in the liturgy of the Roman Rite; for permission to venerate merely locally, only beatification is needed."Beatification, in the present discipline, differs from canonization in this: that the former implies (1) a locally restricted, not a universal, permission to venerate, which is (2) a mere permission, and no precept; while canonization implies a universal precept" (Beccari, Camillo. "Beatification and Canonization". The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. New York, New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. Accessed 27 May 2009.).Devotions are "external practices of piety" which are not part of the official liturgy of the Catholic Church but are part of the popular spiritual practices of Catholics.BOOK, Carroll, Michael P.,weblink Catholic Cults and Devotions: A Psychological Inquiry, McGill-Queen's University Press, 7, 1989, 978-0-7735-0693-0, These include various practices regarding the veneration of the saints, especially veneration of the Virgin Mary. Other devotional practices include the Stations of the Cross, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Holy Face of Jesus,WEB,weblink Catholic Prayers, Novenas, Prayers of Jesus, Marian Prayers, Prayers of the Saints, EWTN, 4 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 7 April 2015, dmy-all, the various scapulars, novenas to various saints,WEB,weblink Popular Devotions, New Advent, 4 April 2015, pilgrimagesWEB,weblink Pilgrimages, New Advent, 4 April 2015, and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, and the veneration of saintly images such as the santos.WEB,weblink Christopher, Knight, Art Review : Images of 'Santos': Fascinating Portrait of Catholic Devotion, LA Times, 15 September 1994, 4 April 2015, The bishops at the Second Vatican Council reminded Catholics that "devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonise with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them."Sacrosanctum Concilium, 13

Virgin Mary

{{Further|Mary, mother of Jesus}}{{Catholic mariology sidebar}}File:LaPurisimaInmaculadaConcepciondeRibera.jpg|left|thumb|upright|The Blessed Virgin Mary is highly regarded in the Catholic Church, proclaiming her as Mother of God, free from original sin and an intercessorintercessorCatholic Mariology deals with the doctrines and teachings concerning the life of the Mary, mother of Jesus, as well as the veneration of Mary by the faithful. Mary is held in special regard, declared the Mother of God (), and believed as dogma to have remained a virgin throughout her life.WEB,weblink Pope Benedict XVI. 1 January 2012 – Feast of Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary,, 1 January 2012, 17 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 July 2012, dmy-all, Further teachings include the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception (her own conception without the stain of original sin) and the Assumption of Mary (that her body was assumed directly into heaven at the end of her life). Both of these doctrines were defined as infallible dogma, by Pope Pius IX in 1854 and Pope Pius XII in 1950 respectively,Barry, p. 106 but only after consulting with the Catholic bishops throughout the world to ascertain that this is a Catholic belief.Schaff, Philip (2009). The Creeds of Christendom. {{ISBN|1-115-46834-0}}, p. 211.Devotions to Mary are part of Catholic piety but are distinct from the worship of God.Schreck, pp. 199–200 Practices include prayers and Marian art, music, and architecture. Several liturgical Marian feasts are celebrated throughout the Church Year and she is honoured 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. Because of her influential role in the life of Jesus, prayers and devotions such as the Hail Mary, the Rosary, the Salve Regina and the Memorare are common Catholic practices.Barry, pp. 122–123 Pilgrimage to the sites of several Marian apparitions affirmed by the church, such as Lourdes, Fátima, and Guadalupe,Schreck, p. 368 are also popular Catholic devotions.NEWS, Baedeker, Rob, World's most-visited religious destinations, USA Today, 21 December 2007,weblink 3 March 2008,


{{anchor|Celebration of the sacraments|Doctrine of the sacraments}}File:Seven Sacraments Rogier.jpg|thumb|Seven Sacraments Altarpiece by 1448}}File:Mass at Lourdes.jpg|thumb|Mass at the Grotto at Lourdes, France. The chalicechaliceThe Catholic Church teaches that it was entrusted with seven sacraments that were instituted by Christ. The number and nature of the sacraments were defined by several ecumenical councils, most recently the Council of Trent.{{CCC|pp=1113–1114, 1117|accessdate=3 August 2014}}{{refn|group=note|Other councils that addressed the sacraments include the Second Council of Lyon (1274); Council of Florence (1439); as well as the Council of Trent (1547)|}} These are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick (formerly called Extreme Unction, one of the "Last Rites"), Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. Sacraments are visible rituals that Catholics see as signs of God's presence and effective channels of God's grace to all those who receive them with the proper disposition (ex opere operato).Kreeft, pp. 298–299 The Catechism of the Catholic Church categorises the sacraments into three groups, the "sacraments of Christian initiation", "sacraments of healing" and "sacraments at the service of communion and the mission of the faithful". These groups broadly reflect the stages of people's natural and spiritual lives which each sacrament is intended to serve.WEB,weblink CCC, 1210–1211,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy-all, The liturgies of the sacraments are central to the church's mission. According to the Catechism:|}}According to church doctrine, the sacraments of the church require the proper form, matter, and intent to be validly celebrated.{{CathEncy|wstitle=Sacraments}} In addition, the Canon Laws for both the Latin Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches govern who may licitly celebrate certain sacraments, as well as strict rules about who may receive the sacraments.NEWS, CoCC 291,, To receive Holy Communion one must be fully incorporated into the Catholic Church and be in the state of grace, that is, not conscious of being in mortal sin. Anyone who is conscious of having committed a grave sin must first receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before going to Communion. Also important for those receiving Holy Communion are a spirit of recollection and prayer, observance of the fast prescribed by the Church, and an appropriate disposition of the body (gestures and dress) as a sign of respect for Christ., Notably, because the church teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist,Kreeft, p. 326 those who are conscious of being in a state of mortal sin are forbidden to receive the sacrament until they have received absolution through the sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance). Catholics are normally obliged to abstain from eating for at least an hour before receiving the sacrament.Kreeft, p. 331 Non-Catholics are ordinarily prohibited from receiving the Eucharist as well.WEB,weblink CCC, 1400–1401,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, dmy, Catholics, even if they were in danger of death and unable to approach a Catholic minister, may not ask for the sacraments of the Eucharist, penance or anointing of the sick from someone, such as a Protestant minister, who is not known to be validly ordained in line with Catholic teaching on ordination.WEB,weblink Principles and Norms on Ecumenism – 132,, 12 February 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 August 2010, dmy, WEB,weblink CCC, 1400,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, dmy, Likewise, even in grave and pressing need, Catholic ministers may not administer these sacraments to those who do not manifest Catholic faith in the sacrament. In relation to the churches of Eastern Christianity not in communion with the Holy See, the Catholic Church is less restrictive, declaring that "a certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."WEB,weblink CCC, 1399,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, dmy,

Sacraments of initiation


File:Baptême Cathédrale de Troyes 290308.jpg|thumb|Baptism of Augustine of Hippo as represented in a sculptural group in Troyes Cathedral (1549), FranceFranceAs viewed by the Catholic Church, Baptism is the first of three sacraments of initiation as a Christian.WEB,weblink CCC, 1275,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy-all, It washes away all sins, both original sin and personal actual sins.WEB,weblink CCC, 1263,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy, It makes a person a member of the church.WEB,weblink CCC, 1267,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy, As a gratuitous gift of God that requires no merit on the part of the person who is baptised, it is conferred even on children,WEB,weblink CCC, 1282,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy-all, who, though they have no personal sins, need it on account of original sin.WEB,weblink CCC, 1250,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 29 June 2011, dmy-all, If a new-born child is in a danger of death, anyone—be it a doctor, a nurse, or a parent—may baptise the child.BOOK, Lazowski, Philip, Understanding Your Neighbor's Faith: What Christians and Jews Should Know About Each Other,weblink 2 December 2012, 2004, KTAV Publishing House, 978-0-88125-811-0, 157, Baptism marks a person permanently and cannot be repeated.WEB,weblink CCC, 1272,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy, The Catholic Church recognises as valid baptisms conferred even by people who are not Catholics or Christians, provided that they intend to baptise ("to do what the Church does when she baptises") and that they use the Trinitarian baptismal formula.WEB,weblink CCC, 1256,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy-all,


The Catholic Church sees the sacrament of confirmation as required to complete the grace given in baptism.WEB,weblink CCC, 1285,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy, When adults are baptised, confirmation is normally given immediately afterwards,WEB,weblink Canon 883, 1983 Code of Canon Law,, 4 May 2007, 30 June 2011, a practice followed even with newly baptised infants in the Eastern Catholic Churches.WEB,weblink CCEO, Canon 695, (English translation), 1990, 30 June 2011, In the West confirmation of children is delayed until they are old enough to understand or at the bishop's discretion.WEB,weblink Canon 891, 1983 Code of Canon Law,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, dmy-all, In Western Christianity, particularly Catholicism, the sacrament is called confirmation, because it confirms and strengthens the grace of baptism; in the Eastern Churches, it is called chrismation, because the essential rite is the anointing of the person with chrism,WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 267,, 30 June 2011, a mixture of olive oil and some perfumed substance, usually balsam, blessed by a bishop.WEB,weblink Council of Florence: Bull of union with the Armenians,, 30 June 2011, Those who receive confirmation must be in a state of grace, which for those who have reached the age of reason means that they should first be cleansed spiritually by the sacrament of Penance; they should also have the intention of receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to show in their lives that they are Christians.WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText – CCC 1310,, 12 February 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2016, dmy-all,


File:BentoXVI-51-11052007 (frag).jpg|thumb|Pope Benedict XVI celebrates the Eucharist at the canonisation of Frei Galvão in São PauloSão PauloFor Catholics, the Eucharist is the sacrament which completes Christian initiation. It is described as "the source and summit of the Christian life".WEB,weblink CCC, 1322–1324,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 9 June 2011, dmy, The ceremony in which a Catholic first receives the Eucharist is known as First Communion.WEB,weblink Catholic Activity: Preparing for First Holy Communion,, 25 March 2015, The Eucharistic celebration, also called the Mass or Divine liturgy, includes prayers and scriptural readings, as well as an offering of bread and wine, which are brought to the altar and consecrated by the priest to become the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, a change called transubstantiation.CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Joseph, Pohle, For an outline of the Eucharistic liturgy in the Roman Rite, see the side bar in the "Worship and liturgy". The words of consecration reflect the words spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper, where Christ offered his body and blood to his Apostles the night before his crucifixion. The sacrament re-presents (makes present) the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross,WEB,weblink CCC, 1365–1372,, 30 June 2011, 1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is also a sacrifice, thus, in the ritual text of the Mass, the priest asks of the congregation present, "Pray, brothers and sisters, that this my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father." the sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested in the very words of institution: "This is my body which is given for you" and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my blood." [Lk 22:19–20.] In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." [Mt 26:28.], dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 January 2015, dmy, and perpetuates it. Christ's death and resurrection gives grace through the sacrament that unites the faithful with Christ and one another, remits venial sin, and aids against committing moral sin (though mortal sin itself is forgiven through the sacrament of penance).{{CCC|pp=1392–1395|accessdate=23 November 2014}}File:Convento de San Francisco - Ciudad de México - Creyente.jpg|left|thumb|upright|A Catholic believer prays in a church in MexicoMexico

Sacraments of healing

The two sacraments of healing are the Sacrament of Penance and Anointing of the Sick.


The Sacrament of Penance (also called Reconciliation, Forgiveness, Confession, and ConversionWEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 296,, 30 June 2011, ) exists for the conversion of those who, after baptism, separate themselves from Christ by sin.WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 297,, 30 June 2011, Essential to this sacrament are acts both by the sinner (examination of conscience, contrition with a determination not to sin again, confession to a priest, and performance of some act to repair the damage caused by sin) and by the priest (determination of the act of reparation to be performed and absolution).WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 302–303,, 30 June 2011, Serious sins (mortal sins) should be confessed at least once a year and always before receiving Holy Communion, while confession of venial sins also is recommended.WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 304–306,, 30 June 2011, The priest is bound under the severest penalties to maintain the "seal of confession", absolute secrecy about any sins revealed to him in confession.WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 309,, 30 June 2011,

Anointing of the sick

File:Extreme Unction Rogier Van der Weyden.jpg|right|upright=1.35|thumb|The Seven Sacraments Altarpiece triptych painting of Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) with oil being administered by a priest during last rites. Rogier van der WeydenRogier van der WeydenWhile chrism is used only for the three sacraments that cannot be repeated, a different oil is used by a priest or bishop to bless a Catholic who, because of illness or old age, has begun to be in danger of death.WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 316,, 30 June 2011, This sacrament, known as Anointing of the Sick, is believed to give comfort, peace, courage and, if the sick person is unable to make a confession, even forgiveness of sins.WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 319,, 30 June 2011, The sacrament is also referred to as Unction, and in the past as Extreme Unction, and it is one of the three sacraments that constitute the last rites, together with Penance and Viaticum (Eucharist).CE1913, Extreme Unction, Patrick, Toner,

Sacraments at the service of communion

According to the Catechism, there are two sacraments of communion directed towards the salvation of others: priesthood and marriage.{{CCC|1534|30 July 2014|set_page=p2s2c3.htm}} Within the general vocation to be a Christian, these two sacraments "consecrate to specific mission or vocation among the people of God. Men receive the holy orders to feed the Church by the word and grace. Spouses marry so that their love may be fortified to fulfill duties of their state".{{CCC|1535|30 July 2014|set_page=p2s2c3.htm}}

Holy Orders

(File:Priesterweihe in Schwyz 2.jpg|thumb|Priests lay their hands on the ordinands during the rite of ordination.)The sacrament of Holy Orders consecrates and deputes some Christians to serve the whole body as members of three degrees or orders: episcopate (bishops), presbyterate (priests) and diaconate (deacons).WEB,weblink Canon 1008–1009, 1983 Code of Canon Law,, 12 February 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 March 2016, dmy-all, (As modified by the 2009 motu proprio {{webarchive|url= |date=16 June 2011 }} Omnium in mentem){{CCC|1536|7 August 2014|url=}} The church has defined rules on who may be ordained into the clergy. In the Latin Church, the priesthood is generally restricted to celibate men, and the episcopate is always restricted to celibate men.Karl Keating, "What Catholics Really Believe: Setting the Record Straight: Chapter 46: Priestly Celibacy". Retrieved on 27 August 2015. Men who are already married may be ordained in certain Eastern Catholic churches in most countries,NEWS, Niebuhr, Gustav, Bishop's Quiet Action Allows Priest Both Flock And Family, The New York Times, 16 February 1997,weblink 4 April 2008, and the personal ordinariates and may become deacons even in the Western ChurchCanon 1031 {{webarchive|url= |date=21 February 2008 }} Catholic Church Canon Law. Retrieved 9 March 2008.Canon 1037 {{webarchive |url= |date=18 February 2008 }}, Catholic Church Canon Law. Retrieved 9 March 2008. (see Clerical marriage). But after becoming a Catholic priest, a man may not marry (see Clerical celibacy) unless he is formally laicised.All clergy, whether deacons, priests or bishops, may preach, teach, baptise, witness marriages and conduct funeral liturgies.WEB, Frequently Asked Questions About Deacons,weblink Committee on the Diaconate, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 9 March 2008, Only bishops and priests can administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Reconciliation (Penance) and Anointing of the Sick.Canon 42 Catholic Church Canon Law. Retrieved 9 March 2008.Canon 375 {{webarchive |url= |date=19 February 2008 }}, Catholic Church Canon Law. Retrieved 9 March 2008. Only bishops can administer the sacrament of Holy Orders, which ordains someone into the clergy.Barry, p. 114.


{{Anchor|Sacrament of marriage}}{{See also|Catholic teachings on sexual morality}}File:Jf9694Wedding San Nicolas Church Tolentine Marriage Pampangafvf 02.JPG|thumb|Wedding mass in the PhilippinesPhilippinesThe Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a social and spiritual bond between a man and a woman, ordered towards the good of the spouses and procreation of children; according to Catholic teachings on sexual morality, it is the only appropriate context for sexual activity. A Catholic marriage, or any marriage between baptised individuals of any Christian denomination, is viewed as a sacrament. A sacramental marriage, once consummated, cannot be dissolved except by death.{{CCC|1601|15 November 2014|pp_range=1601,1614|quote=The matrimonial covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring; this covenant between baptised persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.}}{{refn|Marriages involving unbaptised individuals are considered valid, but not sacramental. While sacramental marriages are insoluble, non-sacramental marriages may be dissolved under certain situations, such as a desire to marry a Catholic, under Pauline or Petrine privilege.||group="note"}} The church recognises certain conditions, such as freedom of consent, as required for any marriage to be valid; In addition, the church sets specific rules and norms, known as canonical form, that Catholics must follow.WEB,weblink CCC, 1631,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, dmy-all, The church does not recognise divorce as ending a valid marriage and allows state-recognised divorce only as a means of protecting the property and well being of the spouses and any children. However, consideration of particular cases by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal can lead to declaration of the invalidity of a marriage, a declaration usually referred to as an annulment.WEB,weblink CCC, 1629,, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 June 2011, dmy-all, Remarriage following a divorce is not permitted unless the prior marriage was declared invalid.


File:Thebible33.jpg|thumb|Catholic religious objects – Holy Bible, crucifix and rosaryrosaryAmong the 24 autonomous (sui iuris) churches, numerous liturgical and other traditions exist, called rites, which reflect historical and cultural diversity rather than differences in belief.{{CCC|pp=1200–1209|accessdate=6 August 2014}} In the definition of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, "a rite is the liturgical, theological, spiritual, and disciplinary patrimony, culture and circumstances of history of a distinct people, by which its own manner of living the faith is manifested in each Church sui iuris"."CCEO, Canon 28 § 1". (official text {{webarchive|url= |date=4 June 2011 }}). (English translation). 1990. Excerpt: "Ritus est patrimonium liturgicum, theologicum, spirituale et disciplinare cultura ac rerum adiunctis historiae populorum distinctum, quod modo fidei vivendae uniuscuiusque Ecclesiae sui iuris proprio exprimitur." (A rite is the liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage, differentiated by peoples' culture and historical circumstances, that finds expression in each sui iuris Church's own way of living the faith).The liturgy of the sacrament of the Eucharist, called the Mass in the West and Divine Liturgy or other names in the East, is the principal liturgy of the Catholic Church.WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church – IntraText – 1362–1364,, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 1 January 2015, dmy, This is because it is considered the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ himself.{{CCC|p=1367|base_url=||url=|}} Its most widely used form is that of the Roman Rite as promulgated by Paul VI in 1969 and revised by Pope John Paul II in 2002. In certain circumstances the 1962 form of the Roman Rite remains authorised in the Latin Church. Eastern Catholic Churches have their own rites. The liturgies of the Eucharist and the other sacraments vary from rite to rite, reflecting different theological emphases.

Western rites

{{anchor|Roman Rite of Mass}}{{Roman Rite of Mass}}The Roman Rite is the most common rite of worship used by the Catholic Church. Its use is found worldwide, originating in Rome and spreading throughout Europe, influencing and eventually supplanting local rites.BOOK,weblink The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite, Laszlo, Dobszay, 3, 3–5, 2010, T&T Clark International, New York, 978-0-567-03385-7, The present ordinary form of Mass in the Roman Rite, found in the post-1969 editions of the Roman Missal, is usually celebrated in the local vernacular language, using an officially approved translation from the original text in Latin. An outline of its major liturgical elements can be found in the side bar.File:Missa tridentina 002.jpg|thumb|left|Elevation of the chalice before an altar after the consecration during a Solemn Mass of Tridentine MassTridentine MassIn 2007, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed the licitness of continued use of the 1962 Roman Missal as an "extraordinary form" (forma extraordinaria) of the Roman Rite, speaking of it also as an usus antiquior ("older use"), and issuing new more permissive norms for its employment.Letter of Pope Benedict XVI to bishops on 7 July 2007 {{webarchive |url= |date=29 September 2010 }} "The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. [...] As for the use of the 1962 Missal as a forma extraordinaria of the liturgy of the Mass, I would like to draw attention to the fact that this Missal was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted." — Pope Benedict XVI An instruction issued four years later spoke of the two forms or usages of the Roman Rite approved by the pope as the ordinary form and the extraordinary form ("the forma ordinaria" and "the forma extraordinaria").WEB,weblink Instruction on the application of the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI given Motu Proprio,, 12 February 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 February 2016, dmy-all, The 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, published a few months before the Second Vatican Council opened, was the last that presented the Mass as standardised in 1570 by Pope Pius V at the request of the Council of Trent and that is therefore known as the Tridentine Mass. Pope Pius V's Roman Missal was subjected to minor revisions by Pope Clement VIII in 1604, Pope Urban VIII in 1634, Pope Pius X in 1911, Pope Pius XII in 1955, and Pope John XXIII in 1962. Each successive edition was the ordinary form of the Roman Rite Mass until superseded by a later edition. When the 1962 edition was superseded by that of Paul VI, promulgated in 1969, its continued use at first required permission from bishops;WEB,weblink BBC Religions: What is the Tridentine Mass?, 23 June 2009, 27 March 2015, but Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 motu proprio Summorum Pontificum allowed free use of it for Mass celebrated without a congregation and authorised parish priests to permit, under certain conditions, its use even at public Masses. Except for the scriptural readings, which Pope Benedict allowed to be proclaimed in the vernacular language, it is celebrated exclusively in liturgical Latin.Summorum Pontificum (English translation {{webarchive|url= |date=1 January 2015 }}). 7 July 2007. Accessed=27 March 2015Since 2014, clergy in the small personal ordinariates set up for groups of former Anglicans under the terms of the 2009 document Anglicanorum CoetibusApostolic Constitution of Pope Benedict XVI: "Anglicanorum Coetibus: Providing for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans Entering into Full Communion with the Catholic Church" {{webarchive|url= |date=27 October 2014 }}. 4 November 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2011. are permitted to use a variation of the Roman Rite called "Divine Worship" or, less formally, "Ordinariate Use",WEB,weblink Latest News – Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham,, 12 February 2016, which incorporates elements of the Anglican liturgy and traditions, The Divine Worship variant of the Roman Rite differs from the "Anglican Use" variant, which was introduced in 1980 for the few United States parishes established in accordance with a pastoral provision for former members of the Episcopal Church (the American branch of the Anglican Communion). Both uses adapted Anglican liturgical traditions for use within the Catholic Church. an accommodation protested by Anglican leaders.In the Archdiocese of Milan, with around five million Catholics the largest in Europe,WEB,weblink News Headlines,, Mass is celebrated according to the Ambrosian Rite. Other Latin Church rites include the MozarabicWEB, Mozarabic Rite,weblink New Advent, 29 March 2015, and those of some religious institutes.WEB, Western Catholic Liturgics/Early Western Liturgics,weblink, 29 March 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 21 May 2015, These liturgical rites have an antiquity of at least 200 years before 1570, the date of Pope Pius V's Quo primum, and were thus allowed to continue.WEB, Quo primum,weblink New Advent, 29 March 2015,

Eastern rites

File:Crowning in Syro-Malabar Nasrani Wedding by Mar Gregory Karotemprel.jpg|thumb|East Syrian Rite wedding crowning celebrated by a bishop of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church in India, one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the PopePopeThe Eastern Catholic Churches share common patrimony and liturgical rites as their counterparts, including Eastern Orthodox and other Eastern Christian churches who are no longer in communion with the Holy See. These include churches that historically developed in Russia, Caucasus, the Balkans, North Eastern Africa, India and the Middle East. The Eastern Catholic Churches are groups of faithful who have either never been out of communion with the Holy See or who have restored communion with it at the cost of breaking communion with their associates of the same tradition.CE1913, Eastern Churches, Adrian, Fortescue, See "Eastern Catholic Churches"; In part: "The definition of an Eastern-Rite Catholic is: A Christian of any Eastern Catholic churches in union with the pope: i.e. a Catholic who belongs not to the Roman, but to an Eastern rite. They differ from other Eastern Christians in that they are in communion with Rome, and from Latins in that they have other rites."The rites used by the Eastern Catholic Churches include the Byzantine Rite, in its Antiochian, Greek and Slavonic varieties; the Alexandrian Rite; the Syriac Rite; the Armenian Rite; the Maronite Rite and the Chaldean Rite. Eastern Catholic Churches have the autonomy to set the particulars of their liturgical forms and worship, within certain limits to protect the "accurate observance" of their liturgical tradition.WEB, CCEO, Canon 40, (English translation), 1990,weblink In the past some of the rites used by the Eastern Catholic Churches were subject to a degree of liturgical Latinisation. However, in recent years Eastern Catholic Churches have returned to traditional Eastern practices in accord with the Vatican II decree Orientalium Ecclesiarum.BOOK, Parry, Ken, David Melling, etal, The Blackwell Dictionary of Eastern Christianity, 357–385, Blackwell Publishing, 1999, Malden, MA, 978-0-631-23203-2, Each church has its own liturgical calendar.WEB, Eastern Rite Catholicism,weblink Catholic Conference of Kentucky, 4 April 2015,

{{anchor|Social and cultural issues|Social, environmental and cultural issues}}Social and cultural issues

{{Catholic social teaching}}

Catholic social teaching

Catholic social teaching, reflecting the concern Jesus showed for the impoverished, places a heavy emphasis on the corporal works of mercy and the spiritual works of mercy, namely the support and concern for the sick, the poor and the afflicted.CE1913, Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy, Joseph, Delany, WEB,weblink Compendium of the CCC, 388,, 30 June 2011, Church teaching calls for a preferential option for the poor while canon law prescribes that "The Christian faithful are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor."WEB,weblink Canon 222 § 2, 1983 Code of Canon Law,, 12 February 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2016, dmy-all, Its foundations are widely considered to have been laid by Pope Leo XIII's 1891 encyclical letter Rerum novarum which upholds the rights and dignity of labor and the right of workers to form unions.Catholic teaching regarding sexuality calls for a practice of chastity, with a focus on maintaining the spiritual and bodily integrity of the human person. Marriage is considered the only appropriate context for sexual activity.{{CCC|2337|17 November 2014|pp_range=2337,2349|quote="People should cultivate [chastity] in the way that is suited to their state of life. Some profess virginity or consecrated celibacy which enables them to give themselves to God alone with an undivided heart in a remarkable manner. Others live in the way prescribed for all by the moral law, whether they are married or single." (CDF, Persona humana 11.) Married people are called to live conjugal chastity; others practise chastity in continence: "There are three forms of the virtue of chastity: the first is that of spouses, the second that of widows, and the third that of virgins. We do not praise any one of them to the exclusion of the others. ... This is what makes for the richness of the discipline of the Church." (St. Ambrose, De viduis 4,23:PL 16,255A.)|}} Church teachings about sexuality have become an issue of increasing controversy, especially after the close of the Second Vatican Council, due to changing cultural attitudes in the Western world described as the sexual revolution.The church has also addressed stewardship of the natural environment, and its relationship to other social and theological teachings. In the document Laudato si', dated 24 May 2015, Pope Francis critiques consumerism and irresponsible development, and laments environmental degradation and global warming.NEWS, Jim, Yardley, Laurie, Goodstein,weblink Pope Francis, in Sweeping Encyclical, Calls for Swift Action on Climate Change, The New York Times, 18 June 2015, The pope expressed concern that the warming of the planet is a symptom of a greater problem: the developed world's indifference to the destruction of the planet as humans pursue short-term economic gains.NEWS,weblink The Pope's Ecological Vow, Paul, Vallely, Paul Vallely, 28 June 2015, 29 June 2015,

Social services

File:MotherTeresa 090.jpg|thumb|upright|left|Saint Teresa of Calcutta advocated for the sick, the poor and the needy by practising the acts of corporal works of mercycorporal works of mercyThe Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and medical services in the world. In 2010, the Catholic Church's Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers said that the church manages 26% of health care facilities in the world, including hospitals, clinics, orphanages, pharmacies and centres for those with leprosy.WEB,weblink Catholic hospitals comprise one quarter of world's healthcare, council reports, Catholic News Agency, 10 February 2010, 17 August 2012, The church has always been involved in education, since the founding of the first universities of Europe. It runs and sponsors thousands of primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities throughout the worldWEB,weblink Catholic Education, JOURNAL, Laudato Si, Vermont Catholic, 8, 4, 2016–2017, Winter, 73,weblink{%22page%22:74,%22issue_id%22:365491}, 19 December 2016, and operates the world's largest non-governmental school system.{{Citation | last =Gardner | first =Roy | first2 =Denis |last2=Lawton |first3=Jo |last3=Cairns | title =Faith Schools | publisher = Routledge| year =2005|page=148 | isbn =978-0-415-33526-3}}Religious institutes for women have played a particularly prominent role in the provision of health and education services,WEB,weblink Nuns Worldwide, J. J., Zieglera, 12 May 2012, Catholic World Report, as with orders such as the Sisters of Mercy, Little Sisters of the Poor, the Missionaries of Charity, the Sisters of St. Joseph of the Sacred Heart, the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul.WEB,weblink Vocations Online Internet Directory of Women's Religious Communities, 2010, Joliet Diocese Vocation Office, The Catholic nun Mother Teresa of Calcutta, India, founder of the Missionaries of Charity, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work among India's poor.WEB,weblink Press Release – The Nobel Peace Prize 1979,, 27 October 1979, 28 October 2010, Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo won the same award in 1996 for "work towards a just and peaceful solution to the conflict in East Timor".WEB,weblink Press Release – Nobel Peace Prize 1996,, 11 October 1996, 28 October 2010, The church is also actively engaged in international aid and development through organisations such as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas International, Aid to the Church in Need, refugee advocacy groups such as the Jesuit Refugee Service and community aid groups such as the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.WEB,weblink International Catholic Peacebuilding Organizations (directory), Catholic Peacebuilding Network, Notre Dame, IN, 2015, 2 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 April 2015, dmy-all,

Sexual morality

{{Anchor|chastity and marriage}}File:Hans Memling - Allegory with a Virgin - WGA14896.jpg|thumb|right|upright=0.9|Allegory of chastity by Hans MemlingHans MemlingThe Catholic Church calls all members to practise chastity according to their state in life. Chastity includes temperance, self-mastery, personal and cultural growth, and divine grace. It requires refraining from lust, masturbation, fornication, pornography, prostitution and, especially, rape. Chastity for those who are not married requires living in continence, abstaining from sexual activity; those who are married are called to conjugal chastity.{{CCC|2332|17 November 2014|pp_range=Part 3, Section 2, Chapter 2, Article: The Sixth Commandment|quote=2332: Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul. It especially concerns affectivity, the capacity to love and to procreate, and in a more general way the aptitude for forming bonds of communion with others.}}In the church's teaching, sexual activity is reserved to married couples, whether in a sacramental marriage among Christians, or in a natural marriage where one or both spouses are unbaptised. Even in romantic relationships, particularly engagement to marriage, partners are called to practise continence, in order to test mutual respect and fidelity.{{CCC|2348|20 December 2014|end=50}} Chastity in marriage requires in particular conjugal fidelity and protecting the fecundity of marriage. The couple must foster trust and honesty as well as spiritual and physical intimacy. Sexual activity must always be open to the possibility of life;WEB,weblink Church teaching about contraception, Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena, 19 December 2014, the church calls this the procreative significance. It must likewise always bring a couple together in love; the church calls this the unitive significance.WEB,weblink Humanae Vitae (July 25, 1968),, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2011, dmy, Contraception and certain other sexual practices are not permitted, although natural family planning methods are permitted to provide healthy spacing between births, or to postpone children for a just reason.{{CCC|2364|17 November 2014|end=72|pp_range="Conjugal fidelity": 2364–65; "The fecundity of marriage": 2366–72}} Pope Francis said in 2015 that he is worried that the church has grown "obsessed" with issues such as abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception and has criticised the Catholic Church for placing dogma before love, and for prioritising moral doctrines over helping the poor and marginalised.New York Times, Pope Says Church Is 'Obsessed' With Gays, Abortion and Birth ControlCNN, Pope hands GOP climate change dilemma

Divorce and declarations of nullity

{{further|Divorce law by country}}Canon law makes no provision for divorce between baptised individuals, as a valid, consummated sacramental marriage is considered to be a lifelong bond.{{CCC|1640|15 November 2014|quote=Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptized persons can never be dissolved. This bond, which results from the free human act of the spouses and their consummation of the marriage, is a reality, henceforth irrevocable, and gives rise to a covenant guaranteed by God's fidelity. The Church does not have the power to contravene this disposition of divine wisdom. (Cf. Code of Canon Law 1983, can. 1141)|}} However, a declaration of nullity may be granted when proof is produced that essential conditions for contracting a valid marriage were absent from the beginning—in other words, that the marriage was not valid due to some impediment. A declaration of nullity, commonly called an annulment, is a judgement on the part of an ecclesiastical tribunal determining that a marriage was invalidly attempted.{{CCC|pp=1625–1632|accessdate=15 November 2014|quote=For this reason (or for other reasons that render the marriage null and void) the Church, after an examination of the situation by the competent ecclesiastical tribunal, can declare the nullity of a marriage, i.e., that the marriage never existed. (Cf. Code of Canon Law 1983, cann. 1095–1107)}} In addition, marriages among unbaptised individuals may be dissolved with papal permission under certain situations, such as a desire to marry a Catholic, under Pauline or Petrine privilege.Rev. Mark J. Gantley. "Petrine or Pauline Privilege". EWTN Global Catholic Network. 3 September 2004. Accessed 15 November 2014."Canon 1141–1143". 1983 Code of Canon Law. An attempt at remarriage following divorce without a declaration of nullity places "the remarried spouse ... in a situation of public and permanent adultery". An innocent spouse who lives in continence following divorce, or couples who live in continence following a civil divorce for a grave cause, do not sin.{{CCC|2384|17 November 2014|end=86}}Worldwide, diocesan tribunals completed over 49000 cases for nullity of marriage in 2006. Over the past 30 years about 55 to 70% of annulments have occurred in the United States. The growth in annulments has been substantial; in the United States, 27,000 marriages were annulled in 2006, compared to 338 in 1968. However, approximately 200,000 married Catholics in the United States divorce each year; 10 million total {{As of|2006|lc=y}}.WEB, Soule, W. Becket, Preserving the Sanctity of Marriage,weblink 2009, Knights of Columbus, 6 January 2014, {{refn|group=note|With regard to divorce in the United States, according to the Barna Group, among all who have been married, 33% have been divorced at least once; among American Catholics, 28% (the study did not track religious annulments).WEB, New Marriage and Divorce Statistics Released, 2008,weblink Barna Group, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 19 December 2014, |}} Divorce is increasing in some predominantly Catholic countries in Europe.WEB, Divorces rising in Catholic Europe,weblink Los Angeles Times, 24 May 2006, In some predominantly Catholic countries, it is only in recent years that divorce was introduced (e.g. Italy (1970), Portugal (1975), Brazil (1977), Spain (1981), Ireland (1996), Chile (2004) and Malta (2011), while the Philippines and the Vatican City have no procedure for divorce. (The Philippines does, however, allow divorce for Muslims.)

{{anchor|Sex and contraception|contraception}}Contraception

{{see also|Catholic Church and HIV/AIDS|Religious response to assisted reproductive technology#Catholicism}}File:Paulaudenece1977.jpg|upright=0.8|thumb|Pope Paul VI issued Humanae vitaeHumanae vitaeThe church teaches that sexual intercourse should only take place between a man and woman who are married to each other, and should be without the use of birth control or contraception. In his encyclical Humanae vitaeWEB, Paul VI, Pope, Humanae vitae, Vatican, 1968,weblink 2 February 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 March 2011, dmy, (1968), Pope Paul VI firmly rejected all contraception, thus contradicting dissenters in the church that saw the birth control pill as an ethically justifiable method of contraception, though he permitted the regulation of births by means of natural family planning. This teaching was continued especially by John Paul II in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, where he clarified the church's position on contraception, abortion and euthanasia by condemning them as part of a "culture of death" and calling instead for a "culture of life".Bokenkotter, pp. 27, 154, 493–494Many Western Catholics have voiced significant disagreement with the church's teaching on contraception.A summary and restatement of the debate is available in Roderick Hindery. "The Evolution of Freedom as Catholicity in Catholic Ethics." Anxiety, Guilt, and Freedom. Eds. Benjamin Hubbard and Brad Starr, UPA, 1990. Catholics for Choice, a political lobbyist group which is not associated with the Catholic Church, stated in 1998 that 96% of U.S. Catholic women had used contraceptives at some point in their lives and that 72% of Catholics believed that one could be a good Catholic without obeying the church's teaching on birth control.WEB,weblink A Matter of Conscience: Catholics on Contraception, 1 October 2006, Catholics for a Choice, 1998, Catholics for a Choice, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 October 2006, dmy-all, Use of natural family planning methods among United States Catholics purportedly is low, although the number cannot be known with certainty.{{refn|group=note|Regarding use of natural family planning, in 2002, 24% of the U.S. population identified as Catholic,Largest Religious Groups in the USA. Accessed 13 November 2005. but according to a 2002 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of sexually active Americans avoiding pregnancy, only 1.5% were using NFP.JOURNAL, Chandra, A, Martinez GM, Mosher WD, Abma JC, Jones J., Fertility, Family Planning, and Reproductive Health of U.S. Women: Data From the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, National Center for Health Statistics, Vital and Health Statistics, 23, 25, 2005,weblink 20 May 2007, See Table 56.|}} As Catholic health providers are among the largest providers of services to patients with HIV/AIDS worldwide, there is significant controversy within and outside the church regarding the use of condoms as a means of limiting new infections, as condom use ordinarily constitutes prohibited contraceptive use.NEWS, Pope speaks out on condoms, The Catholic Leader, CNS,weblink 29 March 2009, 27 March 2017, Pope Benedict XVI's declaration that distribution of condoms only increases the problem of AIDS is the latest and one of the strongest statements in a simmering debate inside the church... he was asked whether the church's approach to AIDS prevention—which focuses primarily on sexual responsibility and rejects condom campaigns—was unrealistic and ineffective. ... The pope did not get into the specific question of whether in certain circumstances condom use was morally licit or illicit in AIDS prevention, an issue that is still under study by Vatican theologians., Similarly, the Catholic Church opposes in vitro fertilisation (IVF), saying that the artificial process replaces the love between a husband and wife.{{Citation|newspaper=Medical news today |url= |title=Pope Benedict XVI Declares Embryos Developed For In Vitro Fertilization Have Right To Life |url-status=dead |archiveurl= |archivedate=29 December 2008 }} In addition, it opposes IVF because it might cause disposal of embryos; Catholics believe an embryo is an individual with a soul who must be treated as such.Allen, John L., The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church, p. 223. For this reason, the church also opposes abortion.WEB,weblink Steven, Ertelt, Catholic Church Issues Condemnation of Abortion, In-Vitro Fertilization, Life News Site, 6 June 2006, 2 April 2015, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 3 April 2015, dmy-all,


The Catholic Church also teaches that "homosexual acts" are "contrary to the natural law", "acts of grave depravity" and "under no circumstances can they be approved", but that persons experiencing homosexual tendencies must be accorded respect and dignity.{{CCC|url=|pp=2357–2359 |accessdate=5 February 2014}}WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church - the sixth commandment, 2 August 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2013, dmy-all, According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,WEB,weblink Catechism of the Catholic Church - the sixth commandment, 2 August 2013, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 August 2013, dmy, }}This part of the Catechism was quoted by Pope Francis in a 2013 press interview in which he remarked, when asked about an individual:}}This remark and others made in the same interview were seen as a change in the tone, but not in the substance of the teaching of the church,NEWS,weblink CNN, Pope on gays: A shift in tone, not substance, 29 July 2013, which includes opposition to same-sex marriage.{{CCC|pp=1601–1605|accessdate=6 August 2014}} Certain dissenting Catholic groups oppose the position of the Catholic Church and seek to change it.Sources regarding opposition to the church's position on homosexuality:
  • NEWS,weblink NY Daily News, 22 December 2012, Pope Benedict denounces gay marriage during his annual Christmas message, Carol, Kuruvilla, New York,
  • NEWS,weblink The New York Times, Catholic Group Provokes Debate on Homosexuals, 26 September 1982, 4 May 2010,
  • WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink 8 July 2011, Boulder Colorado, News, Business, Sports, Homes, Jobs, Cars & Information, Boulder Daily Camera, 5 December 2011,
  • WEB,weblink WYD site limits gay debate, Star Observer, 5 December 2011, 8 July 2008,

{{anchor|Women and clergy}}Holy orders and women

Women and men religious engage in a variety of occupations, from contemplative prayer, to teaching, to providing health care, to working as missionaries.NEWS,weblink Europe | Catholic nuns and monks decline, BBC News, 5 February 2008, 12 March 2013, While Holy Orders are reserved for men, Catholic women have played diverse roles in the life of the church, with religious institutes providing a formal space for their participation and convents providing spaces for their self-government, prayer and influence through many centuries. Religious sisters and nuns have been extensively involved in developing and running the church's worldwide health and education service networks.NEWS,weblink The New York Times, Kevin, Sack, Nuns, a 'Dying Breed,' Fade From Leadership Roles at Catholic Hospitals, 20 August 2011, Efforts in support of the ordination of women to the priesthood led to several rulings by the Roman Curia or Popes against the proposal, as in Declaration on the Question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood (1976), Mulieris Dignitatem (1988) and Ordinatio sacerdotalis (1994). According to the latest ruling, found in Ordinatio sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II affirmed that the Catholic Church "does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination".Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of John Paul II to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone {{webarchive |url= |date=25 November 2015 }} Copyright 1994 Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 25 March 2015 In defiance of these rulings, opposition groups such as Roman Catholic Womenpriests have performed ceremonies they affirm as sacramental ordinations (with, reputedly, an ordaining male Catholic bishop in the first few instances) which, according to canon law, are both illicit and invalid and considered mere simulationsWEB,weblink Canon 1379, 1983 Code of Canon Law,, 17 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 October 2012, dmy-all, of the sacrament of ordination."Ordinations: Response Regarding Excommunication Decree". 2011 Roman Catholic Womenpriests-USA, Inc. Retrieved 5 June 2011{{refn|According to Roman Catholic Womanpriests: "The principal consecrating Roman Catholic male bishop who ordained our first women bishops is a bishop with apostolic succession within the Roman Catholic Church in full communion with the pope."|group=note}} The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith responded by issuing a statement clarifying that any Catholic bishops involved in ordination ceremonies for women, as well as the women themselves if they were Catholic, would automatically receive the penalty of excommunication (latae sententiae, literally "with the sentence already applied", i.e. automatically), citing canon 1378 of canon law and other church laws."Vatican decrees excommunication for participation in 'ordination' of women", Catholic News Agency. 29 May 2008. Retrieved 6 June 2011.

Sexual abuse cases

From the 1990s, the issue of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and other church members has become the subject of civil litigation, criminal prosecution, media coverage and public debate in countries around the world. The Catholic Church has been criticised for its handling of abuse complaints when it became known that some bishops had shielded accused priests, transferring them to other pastoral assignments where some continued to commit sexual offences.In response to the scandal, formal procedures have been established to help prevent abuse, encourage the reporting of any abuse that occurs and to handle such reports promptly, although groups representing victims have disputed their effectiveness.NEWS, David Willey,weblink Vatican 'speeds up' abuse cases, BBC News, 15 July 2010, 28 October 2010, In 2014, Pope Francis instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for the safeguarding of minors.WEB,weblink Comunicato della Sala Stampa: Istituzione della Pontificia Commissione per la Tutela dei Minori, Holy See Press Office, 22 March 2014, 30 March 2014,


{{Further|History of early Christianity|Historiography of early Christianity}}File:Perugino - Entrega de las llaves a San Pedro (Capilla Sixtina, 1481-82).jpg|thumb|upright=1.25|alt=Painting a haloed Jesus Christ passing keys to a kneeling man.|This fresco (1481–82) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine Chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint PeterSaint PeterFile:Última Cena - Da Vinci 5.jpg|thumb|The Last Supper, a late 1490s mural painting by Leonardo da Vinci, depicting the last supper of Jesus and his twelve apostles on the eve of his crucifixion. Most apostles are buried in RomeRomeThe Christian religion is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, who lived and preached in the 1st century AD in the province of Judea of the Roman Empire. Catholic doctrine teaches that the contemporary Catholic Church is the continuation of this early Christian community established by Jesus. Christianity spread throughout the early Roman Empire, despite persecutions due to conflicts with the pagan state religion. Emperor Constantine legalised the practice of Christianity in 313, and it became the state religion in 380. Germanic invaders of Roman territory in the 5th and 6th centuries, many of whom had previously adopted Arian Christianity, eventually adopted Catholicism to ally themselves with the papacy and the monasteries.In the 7th and 8th centuries, expanding Muslim conquests following the advent of Islam led to an Arab domination of the Mediterranean that severed political connections between that area and northern Europe, and weakened cultural connections between Rome and the Byzantine Empire. Conflicts involving authority in the church, particularly the authority of the Bishop of Rome finally culminated in the East–West Schism in the 11th century, splitting the church into the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Earlier splits within the church occurred after the Council of Ephesus (431) and the Council of Chalcedon (451). However, a few Eastern Churches remained in communion with Rome, and portions of some others established communion in the 15th century and later, forming what are called the Eastern Catholic Churches.Early monasteries throughout Europe helped preserve Greek and Roman classical civilisation. The church eventually became the dominant influence in Western civilisation into the modern age. Many Renaissance figures were sponsored by the church. The 16th century, however, began to see challenges to the church, in particular to its religious authority, by figures in the Protestant Reformation, as well as in the 17th century by secular intellectuals in the Enlightenment. Concurrently, Spanish and Portuguese explorers and missionaries spread the church's influence through Africa, Asia, and the New World.In 1870, the First Vatican Council declared the dogma of papal infallibility and the Kingdom of Italy annexed the city of Rome, the last portion of the Papal States to be incorporated into the new nation. In the 20th century, anti-clerical governments around the world, including Mexico and Spain, persecuted or executed thousands of clerics and laypersons. In the Second World War, the church condemned Nazism, and protected hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Holocaust; its efforts, however, have been criticised as inadequate. After the war, freedom of religion was severely restricted in the Communist countries newly aligned with the Soviet Union, several of which had large Catholic populations.In the 1960s, the Second Vatican Council led to reforms of the church's liturgy and practices, described as "opening the windows" by defenders, but criticised by traditionalist Catholics. In the face of increased criticism from both within and without, the church has upheld or reaffirmed at various times controversial doctrinal positions regarding sexuality and gender, including limiting clergy to males, and moral exhortations against abortion, contraception, sexual activity outside of marriage, remarriage following divorce without annulment, and against same-sex marriage.

Apostolic era and papacy

File:DambachVille StEtienne 14.JPG|thumb|Jesus' commission to Saint PeterSaint PeterThe New Testament, in particular the Gospels, records Jesus' activities and teaching, his appointment of the twelve Apostles and his Great Commission of the Apostles, instructing them to continue his work.Kreeft, p. 980. The book Acts of Apostles, tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman empire.Burkett, p. 263 The Catholic Church teaches that its public ministry began on Pentecost, occurring fifty days following the date Christ is believed to have resurrected. At Pentecost, the Apostles are believed to have received the Holy Spirit, preparing them for their mission in leading the church.{{CCC|1076|11/8/14|url=|quote=§ 1076: The Church was made manifest to the world on the day of Pentecost by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit....}}CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, Holy Ghost, "He [the Holy Spirit] is essentially the Spirit of truth (John 14:16–17; 15:26), Whose office it is to teach the Apostles the full meaning of it [of the truth] (John 14:26; 16:13). With these Apostles He will abide for ever (John 14:16). Having descended on them at Pentecost, He will guide them in their work (Acts 8:29)... The Catholic Church teaches that the college of bishops, led by the Bishop of Rome are the successors to the Apostles.{{CCC|880|11/1/14|pp_range=880, 883}}In the account of the Confession of Peter found in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ designates Peter as the "rock" upon which Christ's church will be built.Christian Bible, {{Bibleverse|Matthew|16:13–20}}WEB,weblink Saint Peter the Apostle: Incidents important in interpretations of Peter, Encyclopædia Britannica, 8 November 2014, The Catholic Church considers the Bishop of Rome, the pope, to be the successor to Saint Peter.{{CCC|880|11/1/14|end=881}} Some scholars state Peter was the first Bishop of Rome.CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Pope, George, Joyce, {{refn|group=note|CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA, The Pope, George, Joyce, Regarding Peter as the first Bishop of Rome, "It is not, however, difficult to show that the fact of his [Peter's] bishopric is so well attested as to be historically certain. In considering this point, it will be well to begin with the third century, when references to it become frequent, and work backwards from this point. In the middle of the third century St. Cyprian expressly terms the Roman See the Chair of St. Peter, saying that Cornelius has succeeded to "the place of Fabian which is the place of Peter" (Ep 55:8; cf. 59:14). Firmilian of Caesarea notices that Stephen claimed to decide the controversy regarding rebaptism on the ground that he held the succession from Peter (Cyprian, Ep. 75:17). He does not deny the claim: yet certainly, had he been able, he would have done so. Thus in 250 the Roman episcopate of Peter was admitted by those best able to know the truth, not merely at Rome but in the churches of Africa and of Asia Minor. In the first quarter of the century (about 220) Tertullian (De Pud. 21) mentions Callistus's claim that Peter's power to forgive sins had descended in a special manner to him. Had the Roman Church been merely founded by Peter and not reckoned him as its first bishop, there could have been no ground for such a contention. Tertullian, like Firmilian, had every motive to deny the claim. Moreover, he had himself resided at Rome, and would have been well aware if the idea of a Roman episcopate of Peter had been, as is contended by its opponents, a novelty dating from the first years of the third century, supplanting the older tradition according to which Peter and Paul were co-founders, and Linus first bishop. About the same period, Hippolytus (for Lightfoot is surely right in holding him to be the author of the first part of the "Liberian Catalogue" – "Clement of Rome", 1:259) reckons Peter in the list of Roman bishops...."|}} Others say that the institution of the papacy is not dependent on the idea that Peter was Bishop of Rome or even on his ever having been in Rome.WEB,weblink Was Peter in Rome?, Catholic Answers, 10 August 2004, if Peter never made it to the capital, he still could have been the first pope, since one of his successors could have been the first holder of that office to settle in Rome. After all, if the papacy exists, it was established by Christ during his lifetime, long before Peter is said to have reached Rome. There must have been a period of some years in which the papacy did not yet have its connection to Rome., 9 November 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 12 December 2016, dmy-all, Many scholars hold that a church structure of plural presbyters/bishops persisted in Rome until the mid-2nd century, when the structure of a single bishop and plural presbyters was adopted, and that later writers retrospectively applied the term "bishop of Rome" to the most prominent members of the clergy in the earlier period and also to Peter himself. On this basis, Oscar Cullmann,Oscar Cullmann (1962), Peter: Disciple, Apostle, Martyr (2 ed.), Westminster Press p. 234 Henry Chadwick,Henry Chadwick (1993), The Early Church, Penguin Books p. 18 and Bart D. Ehrman{{refn|name=ehrman|BOOK,weblink Ehrman, Bart D, Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend, Oxford University Press, US, 2006, 978-0-19-530013-0, 84, Peter, in short, could not have been the first bishop of Rome, because the Roman church did not have anyone as its bishop until about a hundred years after Peter's death., |}} question whether there was a formal link between Peter and the modern papacy. Raymond E. Brown also says that it is anachronistic to speak of Peter in terms of local bishop of Rome, but that Christians of that period would have looked on Peter as having "roles that would contribute in an essential way to the development of the role of the papacy in the subsequent church". These roles, Brown says, "contributed enormously to seeing the bishop of Rome, the bishop of the city where Peter died, and where Paul witnessed to the truth of Christ, as the successor of Peter in care for the church universal".Raymond E. Brown, 101 Questions and Answers on the Bible (Paulist Press 2003 {{ISBN|978-0-8091-4251-4}}), pp. 132–134

Antiquity and Roman Empire

{{Catholic Ecumenical Councils}}Conditions in the Roman Empire facilitated the spread of new ideas. The empire's network of roads and waterways facilitated travel, and the Pax Romana made travelling safe. The empire encouraged the spread of a common culture with Greek roots, which allowed ideas to be more easily expressed and understood.Bokenkotter, p. 24.Unlike most religions in the Roman Empire, however, Christianity required its adherents to renounce all other gods, a practice adopted from Judaism (see Idolatry). The Christians' refusal to join pagan celebrations meant they were unable to participate in much of public life, which caused non-Christians—including government authorities—to fear that the Christians were angering the gods and thereby threatening the peace and prosperity of the Empire. The resulting persecutions were a defining feature of Christian self-understanding until Christianity was legalised in the 4th century.MacCulloch, Christianity, pp. 155–159, 164.File:Basilica di San Pietro 1450.jpg|thumb|19th-century drawing of Old Saint Peter's Basilica, originally built in 318 by Emperor ConstantineEmperor ConstantineIn 313, Emperor Constantine I's Edict of Milan legalised Christianity, and in 330 Constantine moved the imperial capital to Constantinople, modern Istanbul, Turkey. In 380 the Edict of Thessalonica made Nicene Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire, a position that within the diminishing territory of the Byzantine Empire would persist until the empire itself ended in the fall of Constantinople in 1453, while elsewhere the church was independent of the empire, as became particularly clear with the East–West Schism. During the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils, five primary sees emerged, an arrangement formalised in the mid-6th century by Emperor Justinian I as the pentarchy of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria.Paul Valliere, Conciliarism (Cambridge University Press 2012 {{ISBN|978-1-107-01574-6}}), p. 92Patriarch Bartholomew, Encountering the Mystery (Random House 2008 {{ISBN|978-0-385-52561-9}}), p. 3 In 451 the Council of Chalcedon, in a canon of disputed validity,George C. Michalopulos,"Canon 28 and Eastern Papalism: Cause or Effect?" {{webarchive |url= |date=10 January 2013 }} elevated the see of Constantinople to a position "second in eminence and power to the bishop of Rome".Noble, p. 214. From c. 350 to c. 500, the bishops, or popes, of Rome, steadily increased in authority through their consistent intervening in support of orthodox leaders in theological disputes, which encouraged appeals to them."Rome (early Christian)". Cross, F. L., ed., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005 Emperor Justinian, who in the areas under his control definitively established a form of caesaropapism,BOOK,weblink A Source Book for Ancient Church History: From the Apostolic Age to the Close of the Conciliar Period, Joseph Cullen, Jr., Ayer, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1913, 538, in which "he had the right and duty of regulating by his laws the minutest details of worship and discipline, and also of dictating the theological opinions to be held in the Church",Ayer, p. 553 reestablished imperial power over Rome and other parts of the West, initiating the period termed the Byzantine Papacy (537–752), during which the bishops of Rome, or popes, required approval from the emperor in Constantinople or from his representative in Ravenna for consecration, and most were selected by the emperor from his Greek-speaking subjects,BOOK,weblink Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections, Frederic J., Baumgartner, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003, 978-0-312-29463-2, 10–12, resulting in a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions in art as well as liturgy.Duffy, Eamon. 1997. Saints & Sinners: A History of the Popes. Yale University Press. pp. 66–67Most of the Germanic tribes who in the following centuries invaded the Roman Empire had adopted Christianity in its Arian form, which the Catholic Church declared heretical.Le Goff, p. 14: "The face of the barbarian invaders had been transformed by another crucial fact. Although some of them had remained pagan, another part of them, not the least, had become Christian. But, by a curious chance, which was to leave serious consequences, these converted barbarians—the Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Burgundians, Vandals, and later the Lombards—had been converted to Arianism, which had become a heresy after the council of Nicaea. They had in fact been converted by followers of the 'apostle of the Goths', Wulfilas." The resulting religious discord between Germanic rulers and Catholic subjectsLe Goff, p. 14: "Thus what should have been a religious bond was, on the contrary, a subject of discord and sparked off bitter conflicts between Arian barbarians and Catholic Romans." was avoided when, in 497, Clovis I, the Frankish ruler, converted to orthodox Catholicism, allying himself with the papacy and the monasteries.Le Goff, p. 21: "Clovis' master-stroke was to convert himself and his people not to Arianism, like the other barbarian kings, but to Catholicism." The Visigoths in Spain followed his lead in 589,Le Goff, p. 21 and the Lombards in Italy in the course of the 7th century.BOOK, Drew, Katherine Fischer, The Lombard Laws, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014, xviii,weblink 978-0-8122-1055-2, Western Christianity, particularly through its monasteries, was a major factor in preserving classical civilisation, with its art (see Illuminated manuscript) and literacy.How The Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill, 1995.Cahill, Thomas. How the Irish Saved Civilization. Hodder and Stoughton, 1995. Through his Rule, Benedict of Nursia (c. 480–543), one of the founders of Western monasticism, exerted an enormous influence on European culture through the appropriation of the monastic spiritual heritage of the early Church and, with the spread of the Benedictine tradition, through the preservation and transmission of ancient culture. During this period, monastic Ireland became a centre of learning and early Irish missionaries such as St Columbanus and St Columba spread Christianity and established monasteries across continental Europe.{{ref|name=Cahill_Thomas}}

Middle Ages and Renaissance

{{Further|History of Christianity during the Middle Ages|Christianity in the 16th century#Renaissance Church}}File:Chartres Cath+Gare.JPG|left|upright=1.2|thumb|Chartres CathedralChartres Cathedral{{Catholic philosophy}}The Catholic Church was the dominant influence on Western civilisation from Late Antiquity to the dawn of the modern age. It was the primary sponsor of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque styles in art, architecture and music.Woods, pp. 115–27 Renaissance figures such as Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Fra Angelico, Tintoretto, Titian, Bernini and Caravaggio are examples of the numerous visual artists sponsored by the church.Duffy, p. 133.The massive Islamic invasions of the mid-7th century began a long struggle between Christianity and Islam throughout the Mediterranean Basin. The Byzantine Empire soon lost the lands of the eastern patriarchates of Jerusalem, Alexandria and Antioch and was reduced to that of Constantinople, the empire's capital. As a result of Islamic domination of the Mediterranean, the Frankish state, centred away from that sea, was able to evolve as the dominant power that shaped the Western Europe of the Middle Ages.BOOK,weblink Medieval Cities: Their Origins and the Revival of Trade, Henri, Pirenne, Frank D. Halsey (trans.), Princeton, NJ, Princeton University Press, 1980, 1925, 27–32, 978-0691007601, The battles of Toulouse and Poitiers halted the Islamic advance in the West and the failed Siege of Constantinople halted it in the East. Two or three decades later, in 751, the Byzantine Empire lost to the Lombards the city of Ravenna from which it governed the small fragments of Italy, including Rome, that acknowledged its sovereignty. The fall of Ravenna meant that confirmation by a no longer existent exarch was not asked for during the election in 752 of Pope Stephen II and that the papacy was forced to look elsewhere for a civil power to protect it.BOOK,weblink Jeffrey, Richards, The Popes and the Papacy in the Early Middle Ages, Routledge, 2014, 978-1-317-67817-5, 230, In 754, at the urgent request of Pope Stephen, the Frankish king Pepin the Short conquered the Lombards. He then gifted the lands of the former exarchate to the pope, thus initiating the Papal States. Rome and the Byzantine East would delve into further conflict during the Photian schism of the 860s, when Photius criticised the Latin west of adding of the filioque clause after being excommunicated by Nicholas I. Though the schism was reconciled, unresolved issues would lead to further division.BOOK, Walker, Willston, History of the Christian Church, Simon and Schuster, 1985, 250–251,weblink 978-0-684-18417-3, In the 11th century, the efforts of Hildebrand of Sovana led to the creation of the College of Cardinals to elect new popes, starting with Pope Alexander II in the papal election of 1061. When Alexander II died, Hildebrand was elected to succeed him, as Pope Gregory VII. The basic election system of the College of Cardinals which Gregory VII helped establish has continued to function into the 21st century. Pope Gregory VII further initiated the Gregorian Reforms regarding the independence of the clergy from secular authority. This led to the Investiture Controversy between the church and the Holy Roman Emperors, over which had the authority to appoint bishops and popes.Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 107–11Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 78, quote: "By contrast, Paschal's successor Eugenius II (824–7), elected with imperial influence, gave away most of these papal gains. He acknowledged the Emperor's sovereignty in the papal state, and he accepted a constitution imposed by Lothair which established imperial supervision of the administration of Rome, imposed an oath to the Emperor on all citizens, and required the pope–elect to swear fealty before he could be consecrated. Under Sergius II (844–7) it was even agreed that the pope could not be consecrated without an imperial mandate, and that the ceremony must be in the presence of his representative, a revival of some of the more galling restrictions of Byzantine rule."In 1095, Byzantine emperor Alexius I appealed to Pope Urban II for help against renewed Muslim invasions in the Byzantine–Seljuk Wars,Riley-Smith, p. 8 which caused Urban to launch the First Crusade aimed at aiding the Byzantine Empire and returning the Holy Land to Christian control.Bokenkotter, pp. 140–141 In the 11th century, strained relations between the primarily Greek church and the Latin Church separated them in the East–West Schism, partially due to conflicts over papal authority. The Fourth Crusade and the sacking of Constantinople by renegade crusaders proved the final breach.BOOK, Phillips, Jonathan, The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople, Penguin Books, 2005,weblink 978-1-101-12772-8, In this age great gothic cathedrals in France were an expression of popular pride in the Christian faith.In the early 13th century mendicant orders were founded by Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzmán. The studia conventualia and studia generalia of the mendicant orders played a large role in the transformation of Church sponsored cathedral schools and palace schools, such as that of Charlemagne at Aachen, into the prominent universities of Europe.Woods, pp. 44–48 Scholastic theologians and philosophers such as the Dominican priest Thomas Aquinas studied and taught at these studia. Aquinas' Summa Theologica was an intellectual milestone in its synthesis of the legacy of Ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle with the content of Christian revelation.Bokenkotter, pp. 158–159A growing sense of church-state conflicts marked the 14th century. To escape instability in Rome, Clement V in 1309 became the first of seven popes to reside in the fortified city of Avignon in southern FranceDuffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 122 during a period known as the Avignon Papacy. The Avignon Papacy ended in 1376 when the pope returned to Rome,Morris, p. 232 but was followed in 1378 by the 38-year-long Western schism, with claimants to the papacy in Rome, Avignon and (after 1409) Pisa. The matter was largely resolved in 1415–17 at the Council of Constance, with the claimants in Rome and Pisa agreeing to resign and the third claimant excommunicated by the cardinals, who held a new election naming Martin V pope.McManners, p. 240File:Chapelle sixtine plafond.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.25|The Renaissance period was a golden age for Catholic art. Pictured: the Sistine Chapel ceiling painted by MichelangeloMichelangeloIn 1438, the Council of Florence convened, which featured a strong dialogue focussed on understanding the theological differences between the East and West, with the hope of reuniting the Catholic and Orthodox churches.BOOK, Constantinople and the West, Geanakoplos, Deno John, University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, 978-0-299-11880-8, 1989, Several eastern churches reunited, forming the majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches.BOOK, Collinge, William J., Historical Dictionary of Catholicism, Scarecrow Press, 2012, 169,weblink 978-0-8108-5755-1,

Age of Discovery

The Age of Discovery beginning in the 15th century saw the expansion of Western Europe's political and cultural influence worldwide. Because of the prominent role the strongly Catholic nations of Spain and Portugal played in Western Colonialism, Catholicism was spread to the Americas, Asia and Oceania by explorers, conquistadors, and missionaries, as well as by the transformation of societies through the socio-political mechanisms of colonial rule. Pope Alexander VI had awarded colonial rights over most of the newly discovered lands to Spain and PortugalKoschorke, pp. 13, 283 and the ensuing patronato system allowed state authorities, not the Vatican, to control all clerical appointments in the new colonies.Hastings (1994), p. 72 In 1521 the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made the first Catholic converts in the Philippines.Koschorke, p. 21 Elsewhere, Portuguese missionaries under the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavier evangelised in India, China, and Japan.Koschorke, pp. 3, 17

Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation

{{multiple image
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}}In 1415, Jan Hus was burned at the stake for heresy, but his reform efforts encouraged Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk in Germany, who sent his Ninety-five Theses to several bishops in 1517.Bokenkotter, p. 215 His theses protested key points of Catholic doctrine as well as the sale of indulgences, and along with the Leipzig Debate this led to his excommunication in 1521.Vidmar, p. 184. In Switzerland, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and other Protestant Reformers further criticised Catholic teachings. These challenges developed into the Reformation, which gave birth to the great majority of Protestant denominationsBokenkotter, pp. 223–224 and also crypto-Protestantism within the Catholic Church.JOURNAL, Martínez Fernández, Luis, Crypto-Protestants and Pseudo-Catholics in the Nineteenth-Century Hispanic Caribbean, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 51, 2, 347–365, 2000, 10.1017/S0022046900004255, Meanwhile, Henry VIII petitioned the pope for a declaration of nullity concerning his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. When this was denied, he had the Acts of Supremacy passed to make him head of the Church of England, spurring the English Reformation and the eventual development of Anglicanism.Bokenkotter, pp. 235–237The Reformation contributed to clashes between the Protestant Schmalkaldic League and the Catholic Emperor Charles V and his allies. The first nine-year war ended in 1555 with the Peace of Augsburg but continued tensions produced a far graver conflict—the Thirty Years' War—which broke out in 1618. In France, a series of conflicts termed the French Wars of Religion was fought from 1562 to 1598 between the Huguenots (French Calvinists) and the forces of the French Catholic League, which were backed and funded by a series of popes.Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 177–178 This ended under Pope Clement VIII, who hesitantly accepted King Henry IV's 1598 Edict of Nantes granting civil and religious toleration to French Protestants.Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 233The Council of Trent (1545–1563) became the driving force behind the Counter-Reformation in response to the Protestant movement. Doctrinally, it reaffirmed central Catholic teachings such as transubstantiation and the requirement for love and hope as well as faith to attain salvation.Bokenkotter, pp. 242–244 In subsequent centuries, Catholicism spread widely across the world, in part through missionaries and imperialism, although its hold on European populations declined due to the growth of religious scepticism during and after the Enlightenment.Maxwell, Melvin. Bible Truth or Church Tradition, p. 70

Enlightenment and modern period

{{Modern persecutions of the Catholic Church}}File:São Miguel das Missões (Brazil).jpg|thumb|left|Ruins of the Jesuit Reduction at São Miguel das MissõesSão Miguel das MissõesFrom the 17th century onward, the Enlightenment questioned the power and influence of the Catholic Church over Western society.Pollard, pp. 7–8 In the 18th century, writers such as Voltaire and the Encyclopédistes wrote biting critiques of both religion and the Catholic Church. One target of their criticism was the 1685 revocation of the Edict of Nantes by King Louis XIV of France, which ended a century-long policy of religious toleration of Protestant Huguenots. As the papacy resisted pushes for Gallicanism, the French Revolution of 1789 shifted power to the state, caused the destruction of churches, the establishment of a Cult of Reason,Bokenkotter, pp. 283–285 and the martyrdom of nuns during the Reign of Terror.{{CathEncy|wstitle=The Sixteen Blessed Teresian Martyrs of Compiègne}} In 1798, Napoleon Bonaparte's General Louis-Alexandre Berthier invaded the Italian Peninsula, imprisoning Pope Pius VI, who died in captivity. Napoleon later re-established the Catholic Church in France through the Concordat of 1801.Collins, p. 176 The end of the Napoleonic Wars brought Catholic revival and the return of the Papal States.Duffy, pp. 214–216In 1854, Pope Pius IX, with the support of the overwhelming majority of Catholic bishops, whom he had consulted from 1851 to 1853, proclaimed the Immaculate Conception as a Dogma in the Catholic Church.WEB,weblink John Paul II, General Audience, March 24, 1993,, 24 March 1993, 30 June 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 August 2011, In 1870, the First Vatican Council affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when exercised in specifically defined pronouncements,Leith, Creeds of the Churches (1963), p. 143Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 232 striking a blow to the rival position of conciliarism. Controversy over this and other issues resulted in a breakaway movement called the (Old Catholic Church#Impact of the First Vatican Council: second stage|Old Catholic Church),Fahlbusch, The Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001), p. 729The Italian unification of the 1860s incorporated the Papal States, including Rome itself from 1870, into the Kingdom of Italy, thus ending the papacy's temporal power. In response, Pope Pius IX excommunicated King Victor Emmanuel II, refused payment for the land, and rejected the Italian Law of Guarantees, which granted him special privileges. To avoid placing himself in visible subjection to the Italian authorities, he remained a "prisoner in the Vatican".BOOK,weblink David I., Kertzer, Prisoner of the Vatican, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006, 978-0-547-34716-5, This stand-off, which was spoken of as the Roman Question, was resolved by the 1929 Lateran Treaties, whereby the Holy See acknowledged Italian sovereignty over the former Papal States in return for payment and Italy's recognition of papal sovereignty over Vatican City as a new sovereign and independent state.BOOK, 'Utterly Faithless Specimens': Italians in the Catholic Church in America, Peter R., D'Agostino, Connell, William J., Gardaphé, Fred, Anti-Italianism: Essays on a Prejudice, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, 33–34,weblink 978-0-230-11532-3,

20th century

File:Members of the Royal 22e Regiment in audience with Pope Pius XII.jpg|thumb|Members of the Canadian Royal 22e Regiment in audience with Pope Pius XII, following the Liberation of Rome in 1944 during World War IIWorld War IIA number of anti-clerical governments emerged in the 20th century.The 1926 Calles Law separating church and state in Mexico led to the Cristero WarChadwick, Owen, pp. 264–265 in which more than 3,000 priests were exiled or assassinated,Scheina, p. 33. churches desecrated, services mocked, nuns raped, and captured priests shot. Following the 1917 October Revolution, persecution of the church and Catholics in the Soviet Union continued into the 1930s, with the execution and exiling of clerics, monks and laymen, the confiscation of religious implements, and closure of churches.Riasanovsky 617Riasanovsky 634 In the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, the Catholic hierarchy allied with Franco's Nationalists against the Popular Front government,Payne, p. 13 citing as justification Republican violence against the church.Alonso, pp. 395–396Blood of Spain, Ronald Fraser p. 415, collective letter of bishops of Spain, addressed to the bishops of the world. {{ISBN|0-7126-6014-3}} Pope Pius XI referred to these three countries as a "terrible triangle".Fontenelle, Mrg R (1939), Seine Heiligkeit Pius XI, p. 164. Alsactia, FranceEncyclical Divini Redemptoris, § 18 (AAS 29 [1937], 74). 1937. Libreria Editrice Vaticana (English translation {{webarchive|url= |date=9 September 2015 }})After violations of the 1933 Reichskonkordat between the church and Nazi Germany, Pope Pius XI issued the 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge, which publicly condemned the Nazis' persecution of the church and their ideology of neo-paganism and racial superiority.Rhodes, pp. 182–183Rhodes, p. 197Rhodes, pp. 204–205 The church condemned the 1939 Invasion of Poland that started World War II and other subsequent wartime Nazi invasions.Cook, p. 983 Thousands of Catholic priests, nuns and brothers were imprisoned and murdered throughout the countries occupied by the Nazis, including Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein.WEB,weblink Non-Jewish Victims of Persecution in Germany, Yad Vashem, 28 October 2010, While Pope Pius XII has been credited with helping to save hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust,Bokenkotter p. 192Deák, p. 182 the church has also been accused of having encouraged centuries of antisemitism by its teachingsNEWS, Eakin, Emily, New Accusations Of a Vatican Role In Anti-Semitism; Battle Lines Were Drawn After Beatification of Pope Pius IX, The New York Times, 1 September 2001,weblink 9 March 2008, and not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities.Phayer, pp. 50–57During the post-war period, Communist governments in Eastern Europe severely restricted religious freedoms.NEWS, Pope Stared Down Communism in Homeland â€“ and Won, CBC News, April 2005,weblink 31 January 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 23 December 2007, Although some priests and religious people collaborated with Communist regimes,NEWS, Smith, Craig, In Poland, New Wave of Charges Against Clerics, The New York Times, 10 January 2007,weblink 23 May 2008, many others were imprisoned, deported, or executed. The church was an important player in the fall of Communism in Europe, particularly in the Polish People's Republic.WEB,weblink Untold story of 1989, The Tablet, 28 October 2010, In 1949, the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries.Bokenkotter, pp. 356–358 The new government also created the Patriotic Church and appointed its bishops. These appointments were initially rejected by Rome, before many of them were accepted.NEWS,weblink China installs Pope-backed bishop, BBC News, 21 September 2007, 28 October 2010, In the 1960s during the Cultural Revolution, the Chinese Communists closed all religious establishments. When Chinese churches eventually reopened, they remained under the control of the Patriotic Church. Many Catholic pastors and priests continued to be sent to prison for refusing to renounce allegiance to Rome.Chadwick, p. 259

Second Vatican Council

File:Second Vatican Council by Lothar Wolleh 003.jpg|thumb|Bishops listen during the Second Vatican CouncilSecond Vatican CouncilThe Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) introduced the most significant changes to Catholic practices since the Council of Trent, four centuries before.The Second Vatican Council Celebrating Its Achievements and the Future p. 86 Initiated by Pope John XXIII, this ecumenical council modernised the practices of the Catholic Church, allowing the Mass to be said in the vernacular (local language) and encouraging "fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations".WEB,weblink Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium,, 4 December 1963, 12 January 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 21 February 2008, dmy, It intended to engage the church more closely with the present world (aggiornamento), which was described by its advocates as an "opening of the windows".Duffy, pp. 270–276 In addition to changes in the liturgy, it led to changes to the church's approach to ecumenism,Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 272, 274 and a call to improved relations with non-Christian religions, especially Judaism, in its document Nostra aetate.Pope Paul VI. Nostra aetate: Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions {{webarchive |url= |date=20 December 2008 }}. 28 October 1965. Retrieved 16 June 2011. According to Section 4: "True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ; still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures."The council, however, generated significant controversy in implementing its reforms: proponents of the "Spirit of Vatican II" such as Swiss theologian Hans Küng said that Vatican II had "not gone far enough" to change church policies.Bauckham, p. 373 Traditionalist Catholics, such as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, however, strongly criticised the council, arguing that its liturgical reforms led "to the destruction of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the sacraments", among other issues.O'Neel, Brian. "Holier Than Thou: How Rejection of Vatican II Led Lefebvre into Schism", This Rock, Volume 14, Number 4. San Diego: Catholic Answers, April 2003. {{webarchive |url= |date=10 May 2010 }}Several teachings of the Catholic Church came under increased scrutiny both concurrent with and following the council; among those teachings was the church's teaching regarding the immorality of contraception. The recent introduction of hormonal contraception (including "the pill"), which were believed by some to be morally different from previous methods, prompted John XXIII to form a committee to advise him of the moral and theological issues with the new method.BOOK, May, John F., World Population Policies: Their Origin, Evolution, and Impact, Springer, 2012, 202–203,weblink 978-94-007-2837-0, BOOK, Kinkel, R. John, Papal Paralysis: How the Vatican Dealt with the AIDS Crisis, Lexington, 2014, 2,weblink 978-0-7391-7684-9, Pope Paul VI later expanded the committee's scope to freely examine all methods, and the committee's unreleased final report was rumoured to suggest permitting at least some methods of contraception. Paul did not agree with the arguments presented, and eventually issued Humanae vitae, saying that it upheld the constant teaching of the church against contraception. It expressly included hormonal methods as prohibited.While ruling contraception to be prohibited, Pope Paul VI did, however, consider natural family planning methods to be morally permissible if used with just cause. This document generated a largely negative response from many Catholics.{{From whom?|date=September 2016}}WEB,weblink Germain Grisez on "Humanae Vitae", Then and Now: The Dust Still Hasn't Settled, But There Are Signs of Hope, Zenit: The World Seen from Rome, 14 July 2003, 16 November 2014,

John Paul II

File:President and Mrs. Reagan meet Pope John Paul II 1982.jpg|thumb|Pope John Paul II was credited as a major influence to the end of the Cold War and the fall of communism. Here with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, in 1982.]]In 1978, Pope John Paul II, formerly Archbishop of Kraków in the Polish People's Republic, became the first non-Italian pope in 455 years. His 26 1/2-year pontificate was one of the longest in history.WEB,weblink 2 April – This Day in History,, 28 October 2010, Mikhail Gorbachev, the president of the Soviet Union, credited the Polish pope with hastening the fall of Communism in Europe.NEWS, Peter and Margaret Hebblethwaite and Peter Stanford,weblink Obituary: Pope John Paul II, The Guardian, 2 April 2005, 28 October 2010, London, John Paul sought to evangelise an increasingly secular world. He instituted World Youth Day as a "worldwide encounter with the pope" for young people; it is now held every two to three years.WEB,weblink WYD 2011 Madrid – Official Site – What is WYD?,, 15 June 2011, 17 August 2012, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 22 June 2012, He travelled more than any other pope, visiting 129 countries,Maxwell-Stuart, P.G. (2006). Chronicle of the Popes: Trying to Come Full Circle. London: Thames & Hudson. p. 234. {{ISBN|978-0-500-28608-1}}. and used television and radio as means of spreading the church's teachings. He also emphasised the dignity of work and natural rights of labourers to have fair wages and safe conditions in Laborem exercens.WEB, John Paul II,weblink Laborem exercens, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 15 May 1981, 16 November 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 October 2014, dmy, He emphasised several church teachings, including moral exhortations against abortion, euthanasia, and against widespread use of the death penalty, in Evangelium Vitae.WEB, John Paul II,weblink Evangelium Vitae, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 25 March 1995, 16 November 2014, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 27 October 2014, dmy, From the late 20th century, the Catholic Church has been criticised for its doctrines on sexuality, its inability to ordain women, and its handling of sexual abuse cases.

21st century

File:Benoit_xvi_octobre_2008.jpg|thumb|Pope Benedict XVI, who strengthened the relationship between the Catholic Church and art, has been called "the pope of aestheticsaestheticsIn 2005, following the death of John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under John Paul, was elected. He was known for upholding traditional Christian values against secularisation,WEB,weblink Benedict's encyclical offers hope for world, Deseret News, Jerry Earl, Johnston, 18 February 2006, 12 September 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2 April 2015, dmy, weblink" title="">WebCitation archive and for liberalising use of the Tridentine Mass as found in the Roman Missal of 1962.Gledhill, Ruth "Pope set to bring back Latin Mass that divided the Church" The Times 11 October 2006. Retrieved 21 November 2010 weblink" title="">WebCitation archive In 2012, the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, an assembly of the Synod of Bishops discussed re-evangelising lapsed Catholics in the developed world.{{Citation | contribution = Summary of the synod assemblies | date = 9 March 2005 | contribution-url =weblink | title = Synodal Information | place = Rome, IT | publisher = The Vatican}} Citing the frailties of advanced age, Benedict resigned in 2013, the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years.NEWS,weblink Laura, Smith-Spark, Hada, Messia, Pope's resignation was not forced by health issues, spokesman says, CNN, 13 February 2013, 30 March 2015,

Pope Francis

File:Pope Franciscus & Patriarch Bartholomew I in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (1).JPG|thumb|Pope Francis, noted for his ecumencial efforts, meeting Patriarch Bartholomew I of the Eastern Orthodox Church at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, during pilgrimage to the Holy LandHoly LandPope Francis, the current pope of the Catholic Church, succeeded Pope Benedict XVI in 2013 as the first pope from the Americas, the first from the Southern Hemisphere, and the first Pope from outside Europe since the Syrian Gregory III, who reigned in the 8th century. Pope Francis has been noted for his humility, emphasis on God's mercy, concern for the poor and the environment, as well as his commitment to interfaith dialogue. He is credited with having a less formal approach to the papacy than his predecessors.Pope Francis is recognised for his efforts "to further close the nearly 1,000-year estrangement with the Orthodox Churches".Ritter, Karl, "Pope Francis reaches out to Jews",, 16 March 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013. His installation was attended by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church,Demacopoulos, George E., "The extraordinary historical significance of His Holiness' presence at Pope Francis' installation as Bishop of Rome", Archon News (Order of St. Andrew the Apostle), 19 March 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2013. the first time since the Great Schism of 1054 that the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has attended a papal installation.NEWS, Our Eastern Brothers, Alton J., Pelowski, Columbia, May 2013, 20–23,weblink On 12 February 2016, Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, head of the largest Eastern Orthodox church, met in Havana, Cuba, issuing a joint declaration calling for restored Christian unity between the two churches. This was reported as the first such high-level meeting between the two churches since the Great Schism of 1054.NEWS,weblink Unity call as Pope Francis holds historic talks with Russian Orthodox Patriarch, BBC, 12 February 2016, 13 February 2016, In 2014, the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops addressed the church's ministry towards families and marriages and to Catholics in "irregular" relationships, such as those who divorced and remarried outside of the church without a declaration of nullity.MAGAZINE,weblink Dias, Elizabeth, Pope Francis Calls Extraordinary Synod on Family and Marriage, Time Magazine, 8 October 2013, 17 November 2014, WEB,weblink Fr. D. Vincent, Twomey, The "media synod" has eclipsed the real one, Catholic Herald, 24 October 2014, 17 November 2014, While welcomed by some, it was criticised by some for perceived ambiguity, provoking controversies among individual representatives of differing perspectives.Echeverria, Eduardo (17 October 2014). "The Synod's Interim Report: Ambiguity and Misinterpretation", Crisis Magazine.In 2017 during a visit in Egypt, Pope Francis reestablished mutual recognition of baptism with the Coptic Orthodox Church.NEWS, Miille, Andrew, Catholics and Copts Recognize Shared Baptism,weblink 22 May 2017, The Philadelphia Trumpet, 3 May 2017, en,

See also

{{Spoken Wikipedia|Catholic Church Spoken Version.ogg|23 October 2013}}{hide}Wikipedia books
|1=Catholic Church





{{Div col}}
  • Asci, Donald P. (2002) The Conjugal Act as Personal Act. A Study of the Catholic Concept of the Conjugal Act in the Light of Christian anthropology, San Francisco: Ignatius Press. {{ISBN|0-89870-844-3}}.
  • Ayer, Joseph Cullen (1941). A Source Book for Ancient Church History. Mundus Publishing. {{ISBN|978-1-84830-134-4}}.
  • WEB, Canon 42,weblink Vatican, 1983 Canon law (Catholic Church), Code of Canon Law, 9 March 2008, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 20 February 2008, dmy,
  • WEB, Catechism of the Catholic Church, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1994,weblink 1 May 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 6 February 2012, dmy,
  • Barry, Rev. Msgr. John F (2001). One Faith, One Lord: A Study of Basic Catholic Belief. Gerard F. Baumbach, Ed.D. {{ISBN|0-8215-2207-8}}.
  • Bauer, Susan Wise (2010). The History of Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade. Norton. {{ISBN|978-0-393-05975-5}}.
  • Baumgartner, Frederic J. (2003). Behind Locked Doors: A History of the Papal Elections. Palgrave Macmillan. {{ISBN|0-312-29463-8}}.
  • Bethell, Leslie (1984). The Cambridge history of Latin America. Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|0-521-23225-2}}.
  • Bokenkotter, Thomas (2004). A Concise History of the Catholic Church. Doubleday. {{ISBN|0-385-50584-1}}.
  • Bunson, Matthew (2008). Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Almanac. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. {{ISBN|1-59276-441-X}}.
  • Bruni, Frank; Burkett, Elinor (2002). A Gospel of Shame: Children, Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church. Harper Perennial. p. 336. {{ISBN|978-0-06-052232-2}}.
  • Chadwick, Owen (1995). A History of Christianity. Barnes & Noble. {{ISBN|0-7607-7332-7}}.
  • Clarke, Graeme (2005), "Third-Century Christianity", in Bowman, Alan K., Peter Garnsey and Averil Cameron. The Cambridge Ancient History 2nd ed., volume 12: The Crisis of Empire, A.D. 193–337, Cambridge University Press, pp. 589–671, {{ISBN|978-0-521-30199-2}}.
  • Collinge, William J. Historical dictionary of Catholicism (1997) online free
  • Collins, Michael; Price, Mathew A. (1999). The Story of Christianity. Dorling Kindersley. {{ISBN|0-7513-0467-0}}.
  • Coriden, James A; Green, Thomas J; Heintschel, Donald E. (1985). The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, Study Edition. Paulist Press. {{ISBN|978-0-8091-2837-2}}.
  • Davidson, Ivor (2005). The Birth of the Church. Monarch. {{ISBN|1-85424-658-5}}.
  • Derrick, Christopher (1967). Trimming the Ark: Catholic Attitudes and the Cult of Change. New York: P.J. Kennedy & Sons. {{ISBN|978-0-09-096850-3}}.
  • Duffy, Eamon (1997). Saints and Sinners, a History of the Popes. Yale University Press. {{ISBN|0-300-07332-1}}.
  • Dussel, Enrique (1981). A History of the Church in Latin America. Wm. B. Eerdmans. {{ISBN|0-8028-2131-6}}.
  • Fahlbusch, Erwin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Christianity. Wm. B. Eerdmans. {{ISBN|0-8028-2415-3}}.
  • Froehle, Bryan; Mary Gautier (2003). Global Catholicism, Portrait of a World Church. Orbis books; Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University. {{ISBN|1-57075-375-X}}.
  • Gale Group. (2002) New Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 vol, with annual supplements; highly detailed coverage
  • Hastings, Adrian (2004). The Church in Africa 1450–1950. Oxford University Press. {{ISBN|0-19-826399-6}}.
  • Herring, George (2006). An Introduction to the History of Christianity. Continuum International. {{ISBN|0-8264-6737-7}}.
  • Koschorke, Klaus; Ludwig, Frieder; Delgado, Mariano (2007). A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, 1450–1990. Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Co. {{ISBN|978-0-8028-2889-7}}.
  • Kreeft, Peter (2001). Catholic Christianity. Ignatius Press. {{ISBN|0-89870-798-6}}.
  • Latourette, by Kenneth Scott. Christianity in a Revolutionary Age: A History of Christianity in the 19th and 20th centuries (5 vol. 1969); detailed coverage of Catholicism in every major country
  • Ulrich L. Lehner, (2016) The Catholic Enlightenment. The Forgotten History of a Global Movement {{ISBN 978-0190232917}}
  • Leith, John (1963). Creeds of the Churches. Aldine Publishing Co. {{ISBN|0-664-24057-7}}.
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid (2010). Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years. Viking. {{ISBN|978-0-670-02126-0}}. originally published 2009 by Allen Lane, as A History of Christianity
  • MacCulloch, Diarmaid (2003). The Reformation. Viking. {{ISBN|0-670-03296-4}}.
  • MacMullen, Ramsay (1984), Christianizing the Roman Empire: (A.D. 100–400). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, {{ISBN|978-0-585-38120-6}}
  • Marthaler, Berard (1994). Introducing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Traditional Themes and Contemporary Issues. Paulist Press. {{ISBN|0-8091-3495-0}}.
  • McBrien, Richard and Harold Attridge, eds. (1995) The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism. HarperCollins. {{ISBN|978-0-06-065338-5}}.
  • McManners, John, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity. (Oxford University Press 1990). {{ISBN|0-19-822928-3}}.
  • Norman, Edward (2007). The Roman Catholic Church, An Illustrated History. University of California Press. {{ISBN|978-0-520-25251-6}}.
  • O'Collins, Gerald; Farrugia, Maria (2003). Catholicism: The Story of Catholic Christianity Oxford University Press. {{ISBN|978-0-19-925995-3}}.
  • Perreau-Saussine, Emile (2012). Catholicism and Democracy: An Essay in the History of Political Thought. {{ISBN|978-0-691-15394-0}}.
  • Phayer, Michael (2000). The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930–1965. Indiana University Press. {{ISBN|0-253-33725-9}}.
  • Pollard, John Francis (2005). Money and the Rise of the Modern Papacy, 1850–1950. Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|978-0-521-81204-7}}.
  • Rhodes, Anthony (1973). The Vatican in the Age of the Dictators (1922–1945). Holt, Rinehart and Winston. {{ISBN|0-03-007736-2}}.
  • Riley-Smith, Jonathan (1997). The First Crusaders. Cambridge University Press. {{ISBN|978-0-511-00308-0}}.
  • Schreck, Alan (1999). The Essential Catholic Catechism.Servant Publications. {{ISBN|1-56955-128-6}}.
  • Schwaller, John Frederick. (2011) The history of the Catholic Church in Latin America: from conquest to revolution and beyond (NYU Press)
  • Smith, Janet, ed. (1993) Why "Humanae Vitae" Was Right, San Francisco: Ignatius Press.
  • Smith, Janet (1991) "Humanae Vitae", a Generation Later, Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press,
  • Stewart, Cynthia (2008) The Catholic Church: A Brief Popular History 337 pages
  • Tausch, Arno, Global Catholicism in the Age of Mass Migration and the Rise of Populism: Comparative Analyses, Based on Recent World Values Survey and European Social Survey Data (24 November 2016). Available atweblink IDEAS/RePEc, University of Connecticut
  • Tausch, Arno, The Effects of 'Nostra Aetate:' Comparative Analyses of Catholic Antisemitism More Than Five Decades after the Second Vatican Council (8 January 2018). Available at SSRN:weblink
  • Tausch, Arno, Are Practicing Catholics More Tolerant of Other Religions than the Rest of the World? Comparative Analyses Based on World Values Survey Data (21 November 2017). Available at SSRN:weblink orweblink
  • Vatican, Central Statistics Office (2007). Annuario Pontificio (Pontifical Yearbook). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. {{ISBN|978-88-209-7908-9}}.
  • Vidmar, John (2005). The Catholic Church Through the Ages. Paulist Press. {{ISBN|0-8091-4234-1}}.
  • Wilken, Robert (2004). "Christianity". in Hitchcock, Susan Tyler; Esposito, John. Geography of Religion. National Geographic Society. {{ISBN|0-7922-7317-6}}.
  • Woods Jr, Thomas (2005). How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization. Regnery Publishing, Inc. {{ISBN|0-89526-038-7}}.
{{Div col end}}

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