|Iglesias particulares sui iuris||Iglesia latina y 23 iglesias católicas orientales|
|Idioma||Latín eclesiástico y lenguas nativas|
|Liturgia||Occidental y oriental|
|Sede||Ciudad del Vaticano|
|Fundador||Jesús , según la |
Tierra Santa del siglo I , Imperio Romano  
|Miembros||1.345 millones (2019) |
|Escuelas primarias||95.200 |
|Página web oficial||Vatican.va|
|Parte de una serie sobre el|
|Portal de la iglesia católica|
La Iglesia Católica , a menudo conocida como la Iglesia Católica Romana , es la iglesia cristiana más grande , con aproximadamente 1.3 mil millones de católicos bautizados en todo el mundo en 2019 [update].  Como la institución internacional en funcionamiento continuo más grande y antigua del mundo,  ha desempeñado un papel destacado en la historia y el desarrollo de la civilización occidental .  La iglesia consta de 24 iglesias particulares y casi 3500 diócesis y eparquías en todo el mundo . El papa, que es el obispo de Roma (y cuyos títulos también incluyen Vicario de Jesucristo y Sucesor de San Pedro), es el pastor principal de la iglesia,  encargado del ministerio petrino universal de unidad y corrección. La administración de la iglesia, la Santa Sede , se encuentra en la Ciudad del Vaticano , un pequeño enclave de Roma , del cual el Papa es jefe de estado .
Las creencias centrales del catolicismo se encuentran en el Credo de Nicea . La Iglesia Católica enseña que es la única, santa, católica y apostólica iglesia fundada por Jesucristo en su Gran Comisión ,   [nota 1] que sus obispos son los sucesores de los apóstoles de Cristo , y que el Papa es el sucesor de San Pedro , a quien Jesucristo confirió el primado .  Sostiene que practica la fe cristiana original, reservando la infalibilidad , transmitida portradición sagrada .  La Iglesia Latina , las veintitrés iglesias católicas orientales e institutos como las órdenes mendicantes , las órdenes monásticas cerradas y las terceras órdenes reflejan una variedad de énfasis teológicos y espirituales en la iglesia.  
De sus siete sacramentos , la Eucaristía es el principal, celebrado litúrgicamente en la Misa .  La iglesia enseña que a través de la consagración por un sacerdote , el pan y el vino del sacrificio se convierten en el cuerpo y la sangre de Cristo . La Virgen María es venerada en la Iglesia Católica como Madre de Dios y Reina del Cielo , honrada en dogmas y devociones .  Su enseñanza incluye la Divina Misericordia ,la santificación por la fe y la evangelización del Evangelio , así como la doctrina social católica , que enfatiza el apoyo voluntario a los enfermos, los pobres y los afligidos a través de las obras de misericordia corporales y espirituales . La Iglesia Católica opera miles de escuelas , hospitales y orfanatos católicos en todo el mundo, y es el mayor proveedor no gubernamental de educación y atención médica del mundo.  Entre sus otros servicios sociales se encuentran numerosas organizaciones benéficas y humanitarias.
La Iglesia Católica ha influido en la filosofía , la cultura , el arte , la música y la ciencia occidentales . Los católicos viven en todo el mundo a través de misiones , diáspora y conversiones . Desde el siglo XX, la mayoría reside en el hemisferio sur , debido a la secularización en Europa y al aumento de la persecución en Oriente Medio . La Iglesia Católica compartió la comunión con la Iglesia Ortodoxa Oriental hasta el Cisma Este-Oeste en 1054, disputando particularmente elautoridad del Papa . Antes del Concilio de Éfeso en 431 d. C., la Iglesia de Oriente también participó en esta comunión, al igual que las iglesias ortodoxas orientales antes del Concilio de Calcedonia en 451 d. C. todos separados principalmente por diferencias en la cristología . En el siglo XVI, la Reforma provocó la ruptura del protestantismo . Desde finales del siglo XX, la Iglesia Católica ha sido criticada por sus enseñanzas sobre la sexualidad , su incapacidad para ordenar mujeres y su manejo de casos de abuso sexual que involucran al clero.
Católico (del griego : καθολικός , romanizado : katholikos , literalmente 'universal') se utilizó por primera vez para describir la iglesia a principios del siglo II.  El primer uso conocido de la frase "la iglesia católica" (en griego : καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία , romanizado : he katholike ekklesia ) ocurrió en la carta escrita alrededor del 110 d.C. de San Ignacio de Antioquía a los Esmirnos . [nota 2] En las Catequesis ( c. 350 ) de San Cirilo de Jerusalén, el nombre "Iglesia Católica" se usó para distinguirla de otros grupos que también se llamaban a sí mismos "la iglesia".   La noción "católica" se enfatizó aún más en el edicto De fide Catolica emitido 380 por Teodosio I , el último emperador que gobernó las mitades oriental y occidental del Imperio Romano , al establecer la iglesia estatal de el Imperio Romano . 
Desde el Cisma Este-Oeste de 1054, la Iglesia Oriental ha tomado el adjetivo "Ortodoxa" como su epíteto distintivo (sin embargo, su nombre oficial sigue siendo "Iglesia Católica Ortodoxa"  ) y la Iglesia Occidental en comunión con el De manera similar, la Santa Sede ha tomado "católico", manteniendo esa descripción también después de la Reforma Protestante del siglo XVI, cuando aquellos que dejaron de estar en comunión pasaron a ser conocidos como "Protestantes".  
Si bien la "Iglesia Romana" se ha utilizado para describir la Diócesis de Roma del Papa desde la caída del Imperio Romano Occidental y en la Alta Edad Media (siglos VI-X), la "Iglesia Católica Romana" se ha aplicado a toda la iglesia. en el idioma inglés desde la Reforma Protestante a finales del siglo XVI.  "Católico Romano" ha aparecido ocasionalmente también en documentos producidos tanto por la Santa Sede, [nota 3] aplicada notablemente a ciertas conferencias episcopales nacionales y diócesis locales. [nota 4]
El nombre "Iglesia Católica" para toda la iglesia se utiliza en el Catecismo de la Iglesia Católica (1990) y el Código de Derecho Canónico (1983). El nombre "Iglesia Católica" también se utiliza en los documentos del Concilio Vaticano II (1962-1965),  el Concilio Vaticano I (1869-1870),  el Concilio de Trento (1545-1563), [ 33] y muchos otros documentos oficiales.  
La religión cristiana se basa en las enseñanzas de Jesucristo , quien vivió y predicó en el siglo I d.C. en la provincia de Judea del Imperio Romano . La teología católica enseña que la Iglesia católica contemporánea es la continuación de esta primera comunidad cristiana establecida por Jesús.  El cristianismo se extendió por todo el Imperio Romano temprano, a pesar de las persecuciones debido a conflictos con la religión estatal pagana. El emperador Constantino legalizó la práctica del cristianismo en 313, y se convirtió en la religión del estado en 380. Invasores germánicos del territorio romano en los siglos V y VI, muchos de los cuales habían adoptado previamente el cristianismo arriano., finalmente adoptó el catolicismo para aliarse con el papado y los monasterios.
En los siglos VII y VIII, la expansión de las conquistas musulmanas tras el advenimiento del Islam llevó a una dominación árabe del Mediterráneo que rompió las conexiones políticas entre esa zona y el norte de Europa, y debilitó las conexiones culturales entre Roma y el Imperio Bizantino . Los conflictos que involucran la autoridad en la iglesia , particularmente la autoridad del obispo de Roma finalmente culminaron en el cisma Este-Oeste en el siglo XI, dividiendo a la iglesia en las iglesias católica y ortodoxa . Las divisiones anteriores dentro de la iglesia ocurrieron después del Concilio de Éfeso (431) y el Concilio de Calcedonia.(451). Sin embargo, algunas Iglesias orientales permanecieron en comunión con Roma, y porciones de algunas otras establecieron la comunión en el siglo XV y más tarde, formando lo que se llama Iglesias orientales católicas.
Los primeros monasterios de Europa ayudaron a preservar la civilización clásica griega y romana . La iglesia eventualmente se convirtió en la influencia dominante en la civilización occidental en la era moderna. Muchas figuras del Renacimiento fueron patrocinadas por la iglesia. Sin embargo, el siglo XVI comenzó a ver desafíos a la iglesia, en particular a su autoridad religiosa, por parte de figuras de la Reforma protestante , así como en el siglo XVII por parte de intelectuales seculares de la Ilustración. Al mismo tiempo, exploradores y misioneros españoles y portugueses difundieron la influencia de la iglesia por África, Asia y el Nuevo Mundo .
En 1870, el Concilio Vaticano I declaró el dogma de la infalibilidad papal y el Reino de Italia anexó la ciudad de Roma, la última porción de los Estados Pontificios en incorporarse a la nueva nación. En el siglo XX, los gobiernos anticlericalistas de todo el mundo, incluidos México y España, persiguieron o ejecutaron a miles de clérigos y laicos. En la Segunda Guerra Mundial, la iglesia condenó el nazismo y protegió a cientos de miles de judíos del Holocausto ; sus esfuerzos, sin embargo, han sido criticados por insuficientes. Después de la guerra, la libertad de religión fue severamente restringida en los países comunistas recién alineados con la Unión Soviética., varios de los cuales tenían grandes poblaciones católicas.
En la década de 1960, el Concilio Vaticano II condujo a reformas de la liturgia y las prácticas de la iglesia, descritas como "abrir las ventanas" por los defensores, pero criticadas por los católicos tradicionalistas . Ante el aumento de las críticas tanto internas como externas, la iglesia ha defendido o reafirmado en varias ocasiones posiciones doctrinales controvertidas con respecto a la sexualidad y el género, incluida la limitación del clero a los hombres y las exhortaciones morales contra el aborto , la anticoncepción , la actividad sexual fuera del matrimonio, el nuevo matrimonio. tras un divorcio sin anulación y contra el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo .
Era apostólica y papado
El Nuevo Testamento , en particular los Evangelios , registra las actividades y la enseñanza de Jesús, su nombramiento de los Doce Apóstoles y su Gran Comisión de los apóstoles, instruyéndoles para que continúen su obra.   El libro Hechos de los Apóstoles , habla de la fundación de la iglesia cristiana y la difusión de su mensaje al imperio romano.  La Iglesia Católica enseña que su ministerio público comenzó en Pentecostés , cincuenta días después de la fecha en que se cree que Cristo resucitó . En Pentecostés, se cree que los apóstoles recibieron el Espíritu Santo, preparándolos para su misión de dirigir la iglesia.   La Iglesia Católica enseña que el colegio de obispos , dirigido por el Obispo de Roma, son los sucesores de los Apóstoles. 
En el relato de la Confesión de Pedro que se encuentra en el Evangelio de Mateo , Cristo designa a Pedro como la "roca" sobre la cual se edificará la iglesia de Cristo.   La Iglesia Católica considera que el obispo de Roma, el Papa, es el sucesor de San Pedro .  Algunos eruditos afirman que Pedro fue el primer obispo de Roma.  [nota 5] Otros dicen que la institución del papado no depende de la idea de que Pedro fue obispo de Roma o incluso de que alguna vez haya estado en Roma. Muchos eruditos sostienen que una estructura de iglesia de presbíteros / obispos plurales persistió en Roma hasta mediados del siglo II, cuando se adoptó la estructura de un solo obispo y presbíteros plurales,  y que los escritores posteriores aplicaron retrospectivamente el término "obispo de Roma "a los miembros más destacados del clero en el período anterior y también al propio Peter.  Sobre esta base, Oscar Cullmann ,  Henry Chadwick ,  y Bart D. Ehrman  cuestionan si hubo un vínculo formal entre Peter y el papado moderno. Raymond E. BrownTambién dice que es anacrónico hablar de Pedro en términos de obispo local de Roma, pero que los cristianos de ese período habrían considerado que Pedro tenía "roles que contribuirían de manera esencial al desarrollo del papel del papado en la iglesia subsiguiente ". Estos roles, dice Brown, "contribuyeron enormemente a ver al obispo de Roma, el obispo de la ciudad donde murió Pedro y donde Pablo fue testigo de la verdad de Cristo, como el sucesor de Pedro en el cuidado de la iglesia universal". 
Antigüedad e Imperio Romano
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de la Iglesia católica
|Antigüedad ( c. 50 - 451)|
|Alta Edad Media (553–870)|
|Edad media alta y tardía (1122-1517)|
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Las condiciones del Imperio Romano facilitaron la difusión de nuevas ideas. La red de carreteras y vías fluviales del imperio facilitó los viajes, y la Pax Romana hizo que viajar fuera seguro. El imperio fomentó la difusión de una cultura común con raíces griegas, lo que permitió que las ideas se expresaran y entendieran más fácilmente. 
Sin embargo, a diferencia de la mayoría de las religiones del Imperio Romano, el cristianismo requería que sus seguidores renunciaran a todos los demás dioses, una práctica adoptada del judaísmo (ver Idolatría ). La negativa de los cristianos a unirse a las celebraciones paganas significó que no podían participar en gran parte de la vida pública, lo que provocó que los no cristianos, incluidas las autoridades gubernamentales, temieran que los cristianos estaban enojando a los dioses y, por lo tanto, amenazaban la paz y la prosperidad del Imperio. Las persecuciones resultantes fueron una característica definitoria de la autocomprensión cristiana hasta que se legalizó el cristianismo en el siglo IV. 
En 313, el Edicto de Milán del emperador Constantino I legalizó el cristianismo, y en 330 Constantino trasladó la capital imperial a Constantinopla , la actual Estambul, Turquía . En 380, el Edicto de Tesalónica convirtió al cristianismo de Nicea en la iglesia estatal del Imperio Romano , una posición que, dentro del territorio en disminución del Imperio Bizantino , persistiría hasta que el imperio mismo terminara con la caída de Constantinopla en 1453, mientras que en otros lugares la iglesia era independiente de el imperio, como quedó particularmente claro con el cisma Este-Oeste . Durante el período de laSurgieron siete concilios ecuménicos , cinco sedes primarias, un arreglo formalizado a mediados del siglo VI por el emperador Justiniano I como la pentarquía de Roma, Constantinopla , Antioquía , Jerusalén y Alejandría .   En 451 el Concilio de Calcedonia , en un canon de validez disputada,  elevó la sede de Constantinopla a una posición "segunda en eminencia y poder al obispo de Roma".  Desde c. 350 ac. 500, los obispos, o papas, de Roma, aumentaron constantemente en autoridad a través de su constante intervención en apoyo delíderes ortodoxos en disputas teológicas, lo que alentó las apelaciones a ellos.  El emperador Justiniano , quien en las áreas bajo su control estableció definitivamente una forma de cesaropapismo ,  en la que "tenía el derecho y el deber de regular por sus leyes los más mínimos detalles del culto y la disciplina, y también de dictar el opiniones teológicas que se sostendrán en la Iglesia ",  restableció el poder imperial sobre Roma y otras partes de Occidente, iniciando el período denominado el papado bizantino(537-752), durante la cual los obispos de Roma, o papas, requerían la aprobación del emperador en Constantinopla o de su representante en Rávena para su consagración, y la mayoría fueron seleccionados por el emperador entre sus súbditos de habla griega,  resultando en un "crisol" de tradiciones cristianas occidentales y orientales tanto en el arte como en la liturgia. 
La mayoría de las tribus germánicas que en los siglos siguientes invadieron el Imperio Romano habían adoptado el cristianismo en su forma arriana , que la Iglesia Católica declaró herética .  La discordia religiosa resultante entre gobernantes germánicos y súbditos católicos  se evitó cuando, en 497, Clovis I , el gobernante franco , se convirtió al catolicismo ortodoxo, aliándose con el papado y los monasterios.  Los visigodos en España siguieron su ejemplo en 589,  y los lombardos en Italia en el transcurso del siglo VII. 
El cristianismo occidental , particularmente a través de sus monasterios , fue un factor importante en la preservación de la civilización clásica , con su arte (ver manuscrito iluminado ) y alfabetización.   A través de su Regla , Benito de Nursia (c. 480-543), uno de los fundadores del monaquismo occidental , ejerció una enorme influencia en la cultura europea mediante la apropiación de la herencia espiritual monástica de la Iglesia católica primitiva y , con la difusión de la tradición benedictina, a través de la preservación y transmisión de la cultura antigua. Durante este período, la Irlanda monástica se convirtió en un centro de aprendizaje y los primeros misioneros irlandeses comoColumbanus y Columba difundieron el cristianismo y establecieron monasterios por toda Europa continental. 
Edad Media y Renacimiento
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Portal del catolicismoPortal de la filosofía
La Iglesia Católica fue la influencia dominante en la civilización occidental desde la Antigüedad tardía hasta los albores de la edad moderna.  Fue el patrocinador principal de los estilos románico, gótico, renacentista, manierista y barroco en el arte, la arquitectura y la música.  Figuras renacentistas como Rafael , Miguel Ángel , Leonardo da Vinci , Botticelli , Fra Angelico , Tintoretto , Tiziano , Bernini y Caravaggio son ejemplos de los numerosos artistas visuales patrocinados por la iglesia.  El historiador Paul Legutko deLa Universidad de Stanford dijo que la Iglesia Católica está "en el centro del desarrollo de los valores, ideas, ciencia, leyes e instituciones que constituyen lo que llamamos civilización occidental ". 
Las masivas invasiones islámicas de mediados del siglo VII iniciaron una larga lucha entre el cristianismo y el islam en toda la cuenca mediterránea. El Imperio Bizantino pronto perdió las tierras de los patriarcados orientales de Jerusalén , Alejandría y Antioquía y quedó reducido a la de Constantinopla , la capital del imperio. Como resultado de la dominación islámica del Mediterráneo , el estado franco, centrado lejos de ese mar, pudo evolucionar como el poder dominante que dio forma a la Europa occidental de la Edad Media.  Las batallas de Toulouse yPoitiers detuvo el avance islámico en Occidente y el fallido Asedio de Constantinopla lo detuvo en Oriente. Dos o tres décadas después, en 751, el Imperio Bizantino perdió ante los lombardos la ciudad de Rávena desde la que gobernaba los pequeños fragmentos de Italia, incluida Roma, que reconocía su soberanía. La caída de Rávena significó que no se pidió la confirmación por un exarca ya desaparecido durante la elección en 752 del Papa Esteban II y que el papado se vio obligado a buscar en otra parte un poder civil para protegerlo.  En 754, a petición urgente del Papa Esteban, el rey franco Pipino el Breve conquistó a los lombardos. Luego le regalólas tierras del exarcado anterior al Papa, iniciando así los Estados Pontificios . Roma y el Oriente bizantino sería ahondar en más conflictos durante el cisma de Focio de los 860s, cuando Focio criticado el oeste latino de la adición del Filioque cláusula después de haber sido excomulgado por Nicolás I . Aunque el cisma se reconcilió, los problemas no resueltos llevarían a una mayor división. 
En el siglo XI, los esfuerzos de Hildebrand de Sovana llevaron a la creación del Colegio de Cardenales para elegir nuevos papas, comenzando con el Papa Alejandro II en la elección papal de 1061 . Cuando Alejandro II murió, Hildebrando fue elegido para sucederlo, como el Papa Gregorio VII . El sistema básico de elección del Colegio Cardenalicio que ayudó a establecer Gregorio VII ha seguido funcionando en el siglo XXI. El papa Gregorio VII inició además las reformas gregorianas con respecto a la independencia del clero de la autoridad secular. Esto llevó a la controversia de la investidura entre la iglesia y los emperadores del Sacro Imperio Romano Germánico., over which had the authority to appoint bishops and popes.
In 1095, Byzantine emperor Alexius I appealed to Pope Urban II for help against renewed Muslim invasions in the Byzantine–Seljuk Wars, which caused Urban to launch the First Crusade aimed at aiding the Byzantine Empire and returning the Holy Land to Christian control. 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. 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. 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.
A 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 France during a period known as the Avignon Papacy. The Avignon Papacy ended in 1376 when the pope returned to Rome, but was followed in 1378 by the 38-year-long Western schism, with claimants to the papacy in Rome, 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.
In 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. Several eastern churches reunited, forming the majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches.
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 Portugal and the ensuing patronato system allowed state authorities, not the Vatican, to control all clerical appointments in the new colonies. In 1521 the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan made the first Catholic converts in the Philippines. Elsewhere, Portuguese missionaries under the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavier evangelised in India, China, and Japan. The French colonisation of the Americas beginning in the 16th century established a Roman Catholic francophone population and forbade non-Catholics to settle in Quebec.
Protestant Reformation and Counter-Reformation
In 1415, Jan Hus was burned at the stake for heresy, but his reform efforts encouraged Martin Luther, an Augustinian monk in modern-day Germany, who sent his Ninety-five Theses to several bishops in 1517. 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. 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 denominations and also crypto-Protestantism within the Catholic Church. 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.
The 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. 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.
The 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. 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.
Enlightenment and modern period
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of the Catholic Church
From the 17th century onward, the Enlightenment questioned the power and influence of the Catholic Church over Western society. 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, and the martyrdom of nuns during the Reign of Terror. 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. The end of the Napoleonic Wars brought Catholic revival and the return of the Papal States.
In 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. In 1870, the First Vatican Council affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when exercised in specifically defined pronouncements, 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,
The 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". 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.
During the First World War, numerous appeals for peace came from the Catholic Church. The "Dès le début" initiative of Pope Benedict XV of August 1, 1917, failed because of the rejection of the warring parties.
A number of anti-clerical governments emerged in the 20th century. The 1926 Calles Law separating church and state in Mexico led to the Cristero War in which more than 3,000 priests were exiled or assassinated, 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. In the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War, the Catholic hierarchy allied with Franco's Nationalists against the Popular Front government, citing as justification Republican violence against the church. Pope Pius XI referred to these three countries as a "terrible triangle".
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. The church condemned the 1939 Invasion of Poland that started World War II and other subsequent wartime Nazi invasions. Thousands of Catholic priests, nuns and brothers were imprisoned in the countries occupied by the Nazis or were taken to a concentration camp, tortured and murdered, including Saints Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein.
It was not only about passive resistance, but also actively about defeating National Socialism. For example, the Catholic resistance group around the priest Heinrich Maier, who was often referred to as Miles Christi, very successfully passed on plans and production facilities for V-1 flying bombs, V-2 rockets, Tiger tanks, Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and other aircraft to the Allies, with which they could target German production facilities. Maier and his group informed the American secret service OSS very early on about the mass murder of Jews in Auschwitz.
Around 1943, Adolf Hitler planned the kidnapping of the Pope and his internment in Germany. He gave SS General Wolff a corresponding order to prepare for the action. While Pope Pius XII has been credited with helping to save hundreds of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, the church has also been accused of having encouraged centuries of antisemitism by its teachings and not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities. Many Nazi criminals escaped overseas after the Second World War, also because they had powerful supporters from the Vatican. The judgment of Pius XII. is made more difficult by the sources, because the church archives for his tenure as nuncio, cardinal secretary of state and pope are in part closed or not yet processed.
In dismembered Yugoslavia, the Church favored the Nazi-installed Croatian Roman Catholic fascist Ustaše regime due to its anti-communist ideology and for the potential to reinstate Catholic influence in the region following the dissolution of Austria-Hungary. It did not however formally recognise the Independent State of Croatia (NDH). Despite being informed of the regime's genocide against Orthodox Serbs, Jews and other non-Croats, the Church did not publicly speak out against it, preferring to exert pressure through diplomacy. In assessing the Vatican's position, historian Jozo Tomasevich writes that "it seems the Catholic Church fully supported the [Ustaše] regime and its policies."
During the post-war period, Communist governments in Central and Eastern Europe severely restricted religious freedoms. Although some priests and religious people collaborated with Communist regimes, 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.
In 1949, the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War led to the expulsion of all foreign missionaries. 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.[better source needed] 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.
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) introduced the most significant changes to Catholic practices since the Council of Trent, four centuries before. 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". 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". In addition to changes in the liturgy, it led to changes to the church's approach to ecumenism, and a call to improved relations with non-Christian religions, especially Judaism, in its document Nostra aetate.
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. 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.
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. 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.[note 6] This document generated a largely negative response from many Catholics.[from whom?]
John Paul II
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. Mikhail Gorbachev, the president of the Soviet Union, credited the Polish pope with hastening the fall of Communism in Europe.
John Paul II 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. He travelled more than any other pope, visiting 129 countries, 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. He emphasised several church teachings, including moral exhortations against abortion, euthanasia, and against widespread use of the death penalty, in Evangelium Vitae.
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.
In 1992, the Vatican acknowledged its error in persecuting Galileo 359 years earlier for proving the Earth revolved around the Sun.
In 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, and for increasing use of the Tridentine Mass as found in the Roman Missal of 1962. In 2012, the 50th anniversary of Vatican II, an assembly of the Synod of Bishops discussed re-evangelising lapsed Catholics in the developed world. Citing the frailties of advanced age, Benedict resigned in 2013, becoming the first pope to do so in nearly 600 years.
Pope 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". His installation was attended by Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople of the Eastern Orthodox Church, the first time since the Great Schism of 1054 that the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has attended a papal installation. 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.
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. While welcomed by some, it was criticised by some for perceived ambiguity, provoking controversies among individual representatives of differing perspectives.
In 2017 during a visit in Egypt, Pope Francis reestablished mutual recognition of baptism with the Coptic Orthodox Church.
The 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. 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 dioceses 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
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church is headed[note 7] by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope (Latin: papa; "father"), who is the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. The current pope, Francis, was elected on 13 March 2013 by papal conclave.
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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). 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, 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. 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 clerics, 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.
Following the death or resignation of a pope,[note 8] 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. Although the conclave may elect any male Catholic as pope, since 1389 only cardinals have been elected.
Canon law (Latin: 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 organisation and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the church. The canon law of the Latin Church was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, while the distinctive traditions of Eastern Catholic 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, 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, a fully articulated legal code for the Latin Church as well as a code for the Eastern Catholic Churches, principles of legal interpretation, and coercive penalties.
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. Similarly, civil law may give force in its field to canon law, but only by specific enactment, as with regard to canonical marriages. Currently, the 1983 Code of Canon Law is in effect for the Latin Church. The distinct 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (CCEO, after the Latin initials) applies to the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches.
Latin and Eastern churches
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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" (Latin: "of one's own right"). 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[update].
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.
The Eastern Catholic Churches follow the traditions and spirituality of Eastern Christianity and are churches that 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. The term is an innovation of the CCEO to denote the relative autonomy of the Eastern Catholic Churches, 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, others are headed by a major archbishop, others are under a metropolitan, and others are organised as individual eparchies. 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. The Roman Curia has a specific department, the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, to maintain relations with them. 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.
Dioceses, parishes, organisations and institutes
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[update], the Catholic Church has 2,795 dioceses. The bishops in a particular country are members of a national or regional episcopal conference.
Dioceses are divided into parishes, each with one or more priests, deacons or lay ecclesial ministers. Parishes are responsible for the day to day celebration of the sacraments and pastoral care of the laity. As of 2016[update], there are 221,700 parishes worldwide.}}
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.[note 9]
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. 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. The terms "religious order" and "religious institute" tend to be used as synonyms colloquially.
By means of Catholic charities and beyond, the Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.
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Catholicism is the second largest religious body in the world, surpassed in size only by Sunni Islam. Church membership, defined as baptised Catholics, was 1.345 billion at the end of 2019, which is 18% of the world population. Brazil has the largest Catholic population in the world, followed by Mexico, Philippines, and the United States. Catholics represent about half of all Christians.
Geographic distribution of Catholics worldwide continues to shift, with 18.7% in Africa, 48.1% in the Americas, 11.0% Asia, 21.2% in Europe, and 0.8% in Oceania.
Catholic ministers include ordained clergy, lay ecclesial ministers, missionaries, and catechists. Also as of the end of 2019, there were 467,938 ordained clergy, including 5,364 bishops, 414,336 priests (diocesan and religious), and 48,238 deacons (permanent). Non-ordained ministers included 3,157,568 catechists, 367,679 lay missionaries, and 39,951 lay ecclesial ministers.
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.
It teaches that revelation has one common source, God, and two distinct modes of transmission: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, and that these are authentically interpreted by the Magisterium. 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. 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. Catholic doctrine is authoritatively summarised in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published by the Holy See.
Nature of God
The 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".
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. Jesus is believed to have remained sinless while on earth, and to have allowed himself to be unjustly executed by crucifixion, as a sacrifice of himself to reconcile humanity to God; this reconciliation is known as the Paschal Mystery. 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.
The 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". 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. 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.
Nature of the church
The Catholic Church teaches that it is the "one true church", "the universal sacrament of salvation for the human race", and "the one true religion". According to the Catechism, the Catholic Church is further described in the Nicene Creed as the "one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church". These are collectively known as the Four Marks of the Church. The church teaches that its founder is Jesus Christ. 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. The church teaches that all duly consecrated bishops have a lineal succession from the apostles of Christ, known as apostolic succession. 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.
Catholic belief holds that the church "is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth" and that it alone possesses the full means of salvation. 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; the Resurrection of Jesus makes him the firstborn from the dead, the first among many brethren. By reconciling with God and following Christ's words and deeds, an individual can enter the Kingdom of God. 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.
The 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. 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.
Depending on the judgement rendered following death, it is believed that a soul may enter one of three states of the 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.
- 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. 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.
- 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. The church teaches that no one is condemned to hell without having freely decided to reject God. No one is predestined to hell and no one can determine with absolute certainty who has been condemned to hell. 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. 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.
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" 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.
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 canonisation 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. The first persons honoured as saints were the martyrs. 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 venerated publicly.
In the Catholic Church, both in Latin and Eastern Catholic churches, the act of canonisation is reserved to the Apostolic See and occurs at the conclusion of a long process requiring extensive proof that the candidate for canonisation 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. Canonisation allows universal veneration of the saint in the liturgy of the Roman Rite; for permission to venerate merely locally, only beatification is needed.
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. 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, the various scapulars, novenas to various saints, pilgrimages and devotions to the Blessed Sacrament, and the veneration of saintly images such as the santos. 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."
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Catholic 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 (Greek: Θεοτόκος, romanized: Theotokos, lit. 'God-bearer'), and believed as dogma to have remained a virgin throughout her life. 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, but only after consulting with the Catholic bishops throughout the world to ascertain that this is a Catholic belief.
Devotions to Mary are part of Catholic piety but are distinct from the worship of God. 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. Pilgrimage to the sites of several Marian apparitions affirmed by the church, such as Lourdes, Fátima, and Guadalupe, are also popular Catholic devotions.
The 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.[note 10] 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). 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.
The liturgies of the sacraments are central to the church's mission. According to the Catechism:
In the liturgy of the New Covenant every liturgical action, especially the celebration of the Eucharist and the sacraments, is an encounter between Christ and the Church. The liturgical assembly derives its unity from the "communion of the Holy Spirit" who gathers the children of God into the one Body of Christ. This assembly transcends racial, cultural, social—indeed, all human affinities.
According to church doctrine, the sacraments of the church require the proper form, matter, and intent to be validly celebrated. 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. Notably, because the church teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist, 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. Non-Catholics are ordinarily prohibited from receiving the Eucharist as well.
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. 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."
Sacraments of initiation
As viewed by the Catholic Church, Baptism is the first of three sacraments of initiation as a Christian. It washes away all sins, both original sin and personal actual sins. It makes a person a member of the church. 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, who, though they have no personal sins, need it on account of original sin. 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. Baptism marks a person permanently and cannot be repeated. 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.
The Catholic Church sees the sacrament of confirmation as required to complete the grace given in baptism. When adults are baptised, confirmation is normally given immediately afterwards, a practice followed even with newly baptised infants in the Eastern Catholic Churches. In the West confirmation of children is delayed until they are old enough to understand or at the bishop's discretion. 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, a mixture of olive oil and some perfumed substance, usually balsam, blessed by a bishop. 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.
For Catholics, the Eucharist is the sacrament which completes Christian initiation. It is described as "the source and summit of the Christian life". The ceremony in which a Catholic first receives the Eucharist is known as First Communion.
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.[note 11] 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, and perpetuates it. Christ's death and resurrection give 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).
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 Conversion) exists for the conversion of those who, after baptism, separate themselves from Christ by sin. 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). 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. The priest is bound under the severest penalties to maintain the "seal of confession", absolute secrecy about any sins revealed to him in confession.
Anointing of the sick
While 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. 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.
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).
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. 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 fulfil duties of their state".
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). 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. Men who are already married may be ordained in certain Eastern Catholic churches in most countries, and the personal ordinariates and may become deacons even in the Western Church (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. Only bishops and priests can administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Reconciliation (Penance) and Anointing of the Sick. Only bishops can administer the sacrament of Holy Orders, which ordains someone into the clergy.
The 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.[note 12] 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.
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. Remarriage following a divorce is not permitted unless the prior marriage was declared invalid.
Among 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. 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".
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. This is because it is considered the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ himself. 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.
Part of a series on
|Roman Rite mass|
of the Catholic Church
|A. Introductory rites|
|B. Liturgy of the Word|
|C. Liturgy of the Eucharist|
|D. Concluding rites|
|"Ite, missa est!"|
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. 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 sidebar.
In 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. 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").
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; 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.
Since 2014, clergy in the small personal ordinariates set up for groups of former Anglicans under the terms of the 2009 document Anglicanorum Coetibus are permitted to use a variation of the Roman Rite called "Divine Worship" or, less formally, "Ordinariate Use", which incorporates elements of the Anglican liturgy and traditions,[note 13] an accommodation protested by Anglican leaders.
In the Archdiocese of Milan, with around five million Catholics the largest in Europe, Mass is celebrated according to the Ambrosian Rite. Other Latin Church rites include the Mozarabic and those of some religious institutes. 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.
The 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.
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. 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. Each church has its own liturgical calendar.
Social and cultural issues
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|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. 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." 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 labour 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. 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. 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.
The 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.
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 world and operates the world's largest non-governmental school system.
Religious institutes for women have played a particularly prominent role in the provision of health and education services, 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. 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. 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".
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.
The 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 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.
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. 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; the church calls this the procreative significance. It must likewise always bring a couple together in love; the church calls this the unitive significance.
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. 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.
Divorce and declarations of nullity
Canon law makes no provision for divorce between baptised individuals, as a valid, consummated sacramental marriage is considered to be a lifelong bond. However, a declaration of nullity may be granted when the 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. 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. 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.
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[update].[note 14] Divorce is increasing in some predominantly Catholic countries in Europe. 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.)
The 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 vitae (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".
Many Western Catholics have voiced significant disagreement with the church's teaching on contraception. Catholics for Choice, a political lobbyist group that 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. Use of natural family planning methods among United States Catholics purportedly is low, although the number cannot be known with certainty.[note 15] 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.
Similarly, the Catholic Church opposes artificial insemination regardless of whether it is homologous (from the husband) or heterologous (from a donor) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF), saying that the artificial process replaces the love and conjugal act between a husband and wife. 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. For this reason, the church also opposes abortion.
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. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided… Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
This part of the Catechism was quoted by Pope Francis in a 2013 press interview in which he remarked, when asked about an individual:
I think that when you encounter a person like this [the individual he was asked about], you must make a distinction between the fact of a person being gay from the fact of being a lobby, because lobbies, all are not good. That is bad. If a person is gay and seeks the Lord and has good will, well who am I to judge them?
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, which includes opposition to same-sex marriage. Certain dissenting Catholic groups oppose the position of the Catholic Church and seek to change it.
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. 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.
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 authorised to admit women to priestly ordination". 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 simulations of the sacrament of ordination.[note 16] 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.
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. In 2014, Pope Francis instituted the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors for the safeguarding of minors.
- Catechism of the Catholic Church
- Catholic Church by country
- Catholic spirituality
- Criticism of the Catholic Church
- Glossary of the Catholic Church
- List of Catholic religious institutes
- Lists of Catholics
- Role of Christianity in civilisation
- 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.
- Quote of St Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans (c. 110 AD): "Wheresoever the bishop shall appear, there let the people be, even as where Jesus may be, there is the universal [katholike] Church."
- Examples uses of "Roman Catholic" by the Holy See: the encyclicals Divini Illius Magistri Archived 23 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine of Pope Pius XI and Humani generis Archived 19 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine of Pope Pius XII; joint declarations signed by Pope Benedict XVI with Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on 23 November 2006 Archived 2 March 2013 at the Wayback Machine and Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople on 30 November 2006.
- 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).
- Joyce, George (1913).
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…". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
- 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.
- According to Catholic teaching, Jesus Christ is the 'invisible Head' of the Church while the pope is the 'visible Head'.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
- For an outline of the Eucharistic liturgy in the Roman Rite, see the side bar in the "Worship and liturgy".
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- Regarding use of natural family planning, in 2002, 24% of the U.S. population identified as Catholic, 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.
- 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."
- NOTE: CCC stands for Catechism of the Catholic Church. The number following CCC is the paragraph number, of which there are 2865. The numbers cited in the Compendium of the CCC are question numbers, of which there are 598. Canon law citations from the 1990 Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches are labelled "CCEO, Canon xxx", to distinguish from canons of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which are labelled "Canon xxx".
- Marshall, Thomas William (1844). Notes of the Episcopal Polity of the Holy Catholic Church. London: Levey, Rossen and Franklin. ‹See Tfd›ASIN 1163912190.
- Stanford, Peter. "Roman Catholic Church". BBC Religions. BBC. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
- Bokenkotter 2004, p. 18.
- "Pubblicati l'Annuario Pontificio 2021 e l'Annuarium Statisticum Ecclesiae 2019" (in Italian). L'Osservatore Romano. 25 March 2021. Archived from the original on 25 March 2020. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
- Calderisi, Robert. Earthly Mission - The Catholic Church and World Development; TJ International Ltd; 2013; p.40
- "Laudato Si". Vermont Catholic. 8 (4, 2016–2017, Winter): 73. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
- Mark A. Noll. The New Shape of World Christianity (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009), 191.
- O'Collins, p. v (preface).
- "Lumen gentium". www.vatican.va. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
- "Vatican congregation reaffirms truth, oneness of Catholic Church". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
- Bokenkotter 2004, p. 7.
- "Responses to Some Questions regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine of the Church". Vatican.va. Archived from the original on 13 August 2013.
It is possible, according to Catholic doctrine, to affirm correctly that the Church of Christ is present and operative in the churches and ecclesial communities not yet fully in communion with the Catholic Church, on account of the elements of sanctification and truth that are present in them.
- "Declaration on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church Dominus Iesus § 17". Vatican.va.
Therefore, there exists a single Church of Christ, which subsists in the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. The Churches which, while not existing in perfect Koinonia with the Catholic Church, remain united to her by means of the closest bonds, that is, by apostolic succession and a valid Eucharist, are true particular churches. Therefore, the Church of Christ is present and operative also in these Churches, even though they lack full communion with the Catholic Church since they do not accept the Catholic doctrine of the Primacy, which, according to the will of God, the Bishop of Rome objectively has and exercises over the entire Church. … 'The Christian faithful are therefore not permitted to imagine that the Church of Christ is nothing more than a collection—divided, yet in some way one—of Churches and ecclesial communities; nor are they free to hold that today the Church of Christ nowhere really exists, and must be considered only as a goal which all Churches and ecclesial communities must strive to reach.'
- Holy Bible: Matthew 16:19
- "CCC, 890". Vatican.va.
- "CCC, 835". Vatican.va.
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."
- "CCC, 1322–1327". Vatican.va.
the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith
- "The Four Marian Dogmas". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Agnew, John (12 February 2010). "Deus Vult: The Geopolitics of Catholic Church". Geopolitics. 15 (1): 39–61. doi:10.1080/14650040903420388. S2CID 144793259.
- John Meyendorff, Catholicity and the Church, St Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1997, ISBN 0-88141-006-3, p. 7
- Elwell, Walter; Comfort, Philip Wesley (2001), Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale House Publishers, pp. 266, 828, ISBN 0-8423-7089-7
- MacCulloch, Christianity, p. 127.
- Thurston, Herbert (1908). "Catholic". In Knight, Kevin (ed.). The Catholic Encyclopedia. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
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- Edictum de fide catholica
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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.
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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.]
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1039: …The Last Judgment will reveal even to its furthest consequences the good each person has done or failed to do during his earthly life
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The word 'hallow' means 'saint,' in that 'hallow' is just an alternative form of the word 'holy' ('hallowed be Thy name').
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The word hallow was simply another word for saint.
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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.
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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.]
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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.
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"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.)
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Thus the marriage bond has been established by God himself in such a way that a marriage concluded and consummated between baptised 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. 1983 Code of Canon Law, can. 1141)
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