::Catholic Church


Catholic::church    Title::vatican    Vatican::roman    Archive::which    First::canon    Christ::eastern

{{#invoke:Hatnote|hatnote}} {{#invoke:redirect hatnote|redirect}} Unknown extension tag "indicator"{{#invoke:Category handler|main}} {{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||$N=Use British English |date=__DATE__ |$B= }} {{#invoke:Infobox|infobox}} {{#invoke:Sidebar|sidebar}} The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with more than 1.25 billion members worldwide.<ref name="Vatican stats">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> One of the oldest religious institutions in the world, it has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilisation.<ref name="O'CollinsPref">O'Collins, p. v (preface).</ref> Headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, its doctrines are summarised in the Nicene Creed.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Catholic Church is also distinguished by its celebration of the seven sacraments.

The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ,<ref name="Catholic News Service">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>Unknown extension tag "ref"<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=book }}</ref> that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the Pope is the successor to Saint Peter.<ref name="Apostolic succession3">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it declares as definitive is infallible.<ref>Second Vatican Council, Lumen gentium, 25</ref><ref group="note">Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 890: "The mission of the Magisterium is linked to the definitive nature of the covenant established by God with his people in Christ. It is this Magisterium's task to preserve God's people from deviations and defections and to guarantee them the objective possibility of professing the true faith without error. Thus, the pastoral duty of the Magisterium is aimed at seeing to it that the People of God abides in the truth that liberates. To fulfill this service, Christ endowed the Church's shepherds with the charism of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. The exercise of this charism takes several forms:"</ref> The Latin Church, the autonomous Eastern Catholic Churches and religious institutes such as the Jesuits, mendicant orders and enclosed monastic orders, reflect a variety of theological emphases in the Church.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }} </ref><ref name="Gunton2">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."</ref>

Of the seven sacraments,<ref name=CoCCC_Paschal>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> the principal one is the Eucharist, celebrated liturgically in Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Catholic Church practises closed communion, with only baptised members in a state of grace ordinarily permitted to receive it.<ref name="CCC, 1399">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

The Church venerates Mary as Mother of God and practises numerous Marian devotions.<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> It has defined four Marian dogmatic teachings: her Immaculate Conception without original sin, her status as the Mother of God,<ref name="ReferenceB">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> her perpetual virginity and her bodily Assumption into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.<ref name="Munificentissimus Deus">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref>

Catholic spiritual teaching includes spreading the Gospel while Catholic social teaching emphasises support for the sick, the poor and the afflicted through corporal works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and medical services in the world.<ref name=Geopolitics>{{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}</ref>

The Catholic Church has been criticised for its doctrines on sexuality and the ordination of women and its handling of sexual abuse cases.

Catholic Church sections
Intro   Name    Organisation    Doctrine    Liturgical worship    Social and cultural issues    History    See also    Notes    References    Bibliography    External links