What is the roman catholic church

what is the roman catholic church

Roman Catholicism

Alternative Title: Roman Catholic Church. Roman Catholicism, Christian church that has been the decisive spiritual force in the history of Western civilization. Along with Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism, it is one of the three major branches of Christianity. St. Peter's Basilica. Feb 12,  · Roman Catholicism is a worldwide religious organization headquartered in Vatican City in Italy. It claims to be the true Christian church founded by Jesus years ago. There are over 1 billion Catholics worldwide. The Roman Catholic Church has been heavily involved in Western cultural development but has expanded to all parts of the world.

The Roman Catholic Church is an ancient religious institution boasting over a billion members worldwide. As such, it is the largest Christian ecclesiastical body in the world. The Church at Rome, which would later develop into what we know as Roman Catholicism, was started in the apostolic times circa AD Although we do not have records of the first Christian missionaries to Rome, it is obvious that a church existed there as the New Testament Scriptures were being how to watch sky sports 1 online. Paul himself wrote an epistle to the church at Rome, and the Book of Acts records some of his dealings there.

Clement of Rome ca. Ignatius of Antiochand St. Irenaeus of Lyons all speak as if St. Tertullian ca. Since both Peter and Paul were such important and prominent apostles, Rome became an important pilgrimage site for Christians who wanted to visit their graves and worship how to hack someones xbox 360 where they were buried. Because of the tie to Peter and Paul as well as the fact that Rome was the capital city of the western portion of the Roman Empirethe bishop of Rome became the most prominent of the western Christian ecclesiastical leaders, and he received deference from church leaders from other parts of the Empire as well.

After Christianity was legalized and the Church continued to fight heresies in various councils and synods, the Pope and his emissaries weighed in on very important doctrinal issues.

The Church at Rome kept meticulous records, and it was often further removed from the theological innovations and conflicts that erupted in the East in important cities such as Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople. Therefore, her witness on theological matters carried much weight, and the Roman church was given the greatest prerogative of honor, as declared in the third canon of the First Council of Constantinople. The Pope gained more influence and authority in his jurisdiction as the western Roman Empire continued to deteriorate and crumble.

As the imperial structures and systems decayed and transformed, the western Church filled in the institutional power vacuum. Succeeding popes continued to make more ambitious claims to authority. This soured relations between western and eastern Christians. This schism was precipitated over two main doctrinal disagreements. One was obviously the what is the roman catholic church and authority of the Pope.

The other was the filioque clause of the Nicene Creed. The Roman Catholic Church experienced another rupture about five hundred years later during the Reformations.

The Protestant reformers Lutherans, Anglicans, and the Reformed and the Radical Reformers Anabaptists disagreed with the Pope and his allies how old is dolly parton issues of authority, Scripture, soteriology the doctrine of salvationand sacramental theology the doctrines surrounding Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. At the time, Protestants also fought to translate the liturgy and the Bible into the language of the people, while the Roman Catholic leadership maintained that both should remain in Latin.

Roman Catholic Bibles contain all the books one would find in Protestant editions. However, Catholicism also how to care for new born kittens the collection of books called the Apocrypha to be within the canon of Holy Scripture.

Protestants, on the other hand, read these books only for example of life and instruction of manners. You can read more about how the Bible was finalized in these articles:. Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants share many core Christian beliefs, particularly with regard to the Trinity and the Incarnation, especially as they are addressed in the ancient ecumenical councils. That being said, faithful Roman Catholics hold to several how to replace stair carpet to hardwood distinctives.

One is the belief that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church. This connects with the view that the Pope occupies the episcopal seat of Peter and is the sole vicar of Christ upon earth. This vicarious status holds several ramifications for Roman Catholic views of pastoral authority, politics, sacramental ministry, and Scripture.

One approach is to hold to an ancient oral tradition that existed alongside the written tradition of Holy Scripture.

Both the oral and written tradition coexisted together, with the oral tradition giving the definitive interpretation and application of biblical texts such as Matthew They believe, in and of themselves, the Holy Scriptures are not a sufficient guide and authority with regard to salvation.

It may be helpful for Protestants to understand purgatory as sanctification extended even after death, until one is truly transformed and glorified in perfect holiness.

All those in Purgatory will reach heaven eventually. They do not remain there permanently, and they are never sent to the Lake of Fire. Roman Catholics will pray to Christ or any variety of saints, beseeching them for such benefits. It is important to remember that Roman Catholics do not understand themselves to be worshipping the saints; they seek to honor them dulia while recognizing God alone as worthy of divine worship latria. Protestants are typically skeptical of this distinction. In particular, the popes claimed that one could obtain indulgences from the Church, which could reduce the temporal punishment due for sins committed on earth.

These indulgences could be obtained for oneself or a loved one. What is more, the popes allowed for the sale and purchasing of indulgences, typically to help raise funds for their magnificent buildings and other projects.

This enraged many theologians and pastors, including Martin Luther. Indulgences are still issued today, even though they are not commercialized as they were in the late medieval era thanks to reforms made in the Counter-Reformation. With some exceptions, the Roman Catholic Church requires that her clergy be celibate. This has been a mandatory policy since the Fourth Lateran Council what is the roman catholic church The Fourth Lateran Council also mandated private oral confession for sin to a priest at least once a year as well as participating in Holy Communion annually.

That same council prescribed transubstantiation as the authoritative understanding of the Eucharist. Transubstantiation is the belief that, when a priest says the words of institution, the bread and wine in Holy Communion changes in substance to become the body and blood of Christ.

The elements are no longer bread and wine; those features are simply accidents. The essence of these elements has been transformed.

This belief serves as the basis and justification for the practice of Adoration. This is where Catholics show special honor to consecrated bread and wine, whether through genuflection or other means. Other major Roman Catholic dogmas include a belief in the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary and her how to build a desulfator battery charger Assumption.

While all Christians believe Jesus had an immaculate conception--that he was born free from original sin inherited from Adam--Roman Catholics insist on Mary also having the similarly miraculous conception as a point of orthodoxy. Moreover, they also believe her body was assumed--taken up--into heaven at the end of her earthly life.

Her corpse is not to be found on earth. A catechism is a document that summarizes or exposits Christian doctrine, typically for the purposes of instruction. It is a helpful summary of Roman Catholic beliefs and a go-to resource for understanding current, official Roman Catholic doctrine. It has gone through a few updates and revisions. For instance, inPope Francis revised the paragraph on capital punishment, which was met with not a little controversy. You can read the catechism here.

Bishops, in particular, are entrusted with authority and oversight, particularly over other clergymen. The Roman Catholic hierarchy is especially centralized. Of course, the Pope is the highest ranking bishop. Roman Catholics hold to papal infallibility, a position which became official in In this view, the pope is infallible in matters of doctrine and morals whenever he speaks ex cathedra. This actually happens quite rarely and does not how to make cupcake centerpieces that Catholics think that everything the pope says what is a county commissioner do without error.

Typically, the term was used to describe universally accepted Christian beliefs. Other things to know about the Roman Catholic Church:. With regard to the Trinity, the Incarnation, and Christian morals, Roman Catholicism gets lots of big things right.

The Rev. Barton Gingerich is a priest at St. He holds a B. He is a host of the Faith and Honor podcast. You can follow him at bjgingerich. This article is part of our Denomination Series listing historical facts and theological information about different factions within and from the Christian religion.

We provide these articles to help you understand the distinctions between denominations including origin, leadership, doctrine, and beliefs.

Explore the various characteristics of different denominations from our list below! Share this. What Is Catholicism?

Barton Gingerich Pastor. Where did the Roman Catholic Church come from? What Is the Orthodox Church? History and Beliefs of Orthodoxy.

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Roman Catholicism , Christian church that has been the decisive spiritual force in the history of Western civilization. Along with Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestantism , it is one of the three major branches of Christianity. Christianity is an important world religion that stems from the life, teachings, and death of Jesus. Roman Catholicism is the largest of the three major branches of Christianity.

Of the estimated 2. Broadly, Roman Catholicism differs from other Christian churches and denominations in its beliefs about the sacraments , the roles of the Bible and tradition, the importance of the Virgin Mary and the saints , and the papacy. According to Roman Catholic teaching, each of the sacraments was instituted by Christ himself. Roman Catholicism also holds that Jesus established his disciple St. Peter as the first pope of the nascent church Matthew Centuries of tradition, theological debates, and the wiles of history have shaped Roman Catholicism into what it is today.

In Roman Catholicism and certain other Christian churches, the sacraments are a key and essential part of the faith. In Roman Catholic teaching, the sacraments serve to perpetuate the union of God and humankind. Augustine famously described them.

Roman Catholicism celebrates seven sacraments: baptism , the Eucharist , confirmation , reconciliation confession , marriage , anointing of the sick, and holy orders. For others, such as the Eucharist and reconciliation, frequent participation is encouraged. Roman Catholicism is the major religion of nearly every country in Latin America. This can be attributed in large part to the lingering effects of Spanish and Portuguese colonization of the region and the Roman Catholic missions that accompanied those endeavours.

However, sometimes Roman Catholic mission work stood opposed to the colonizing forces and protected native peoples from enslavement and helped them achieve a certain level of economic autonomy which was a major factor in the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Americas in Although the countries of Latin America eventually gained independence from Spain and Portugal , the religious legacy of colonialism has persisted.

Over the course of centuries it developed a highly sophisticated theology and an elaborate organizational structure headed by the papacy , the oldest continuing absolute monarchy in the world.

The number of Roman Catholics in the world nearly 1. These incontestable statistical and historical facts suggest that some understanding of Roman Catholicism—its history, its institutional structure, its beliefs and practices, and its place in the world—is an indispensable component of cultural literacy, regardless of how one may individually answer the ultimate questions of life and death and faith. Without a grasp of what Roman Catholicism is, it is difficult to make historical sense of the Middle Ages , intellectual sense of the works of St.

Thomas Aquinas , literary sense of The Divine Comedy of Dante , artistic sense of the Gothic cathedrals, or musical sense of many of the compositions of Haydn and Mozart. At one level, of course, the interpretation of Roman Catholicism is closely related to the interpretation of Christianity as such. By its own reading of history, Roman Catholicism originated with the very beginnings of Christianity.

An essential component of the definition of any one of the other branches of Christendom, moreover, is its relation to Roman Catholicism: How did Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism come into schism? Was the break between the Church of England and Rome inevitable? Conversely, such questions are essential to the definition of Roman Catholicism itself, even to a definition that adheres strictly to the official Roman Catholic view, according to which the Roman Catholic Church has maintained an unbroken continuity since the days of the Apostles , while all other denominations, from the ancient Copts to the latest storefront church, are deviations from it.

Like any intricate and ancient phenomenon, Roman Catholicism can be described and interpreted from a variety of perspectives and by several methodologies. Thus the Roman Catholic Church itself is a complex institution, for which the usual diagram of a pyramid, extending from the pope at the apex to the believers in the pew, is vastly oversimplified.

Within that institution, moreover, sacred congregations, archdioceses and dioceses , provinces, religious orders and societies, seminaries and colleges, parishes and confraternities, and countless other organizations all invite the social scientist to the consideration of power relations, leadership roles, social dynamics , and other sociological phenomena that they uniquely represent.

As a world religion among world religions, Roman Catholicism encompasses , within the range of its multicoloured life, features of many other world faiths; thus only the methodology of comparative religion can address them all. Furthermore, because of the influence of Plato and Aristotle on those who developed it, Roman Catholic doctrine must be studied philosophically even to understand its theological vocabulary.

For a more detailed treatment of the early church, see Christianity. At least in an inchoate form, all the elements of catholicity—doctrine, authority, universality—are evident in the New Testament. It is clear even from the New Testament that these catholic features were proclaimed in response to internal challenges as well as external ones; indeed, scholars have concluded that the early church was far more pluralistic from the very beginning than the somewhat idealized portrayal in the New Testament might suggest.

As such challenges continued in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, further development of catholic teaching became necessary. The schema of apostolic authority formulated by the bishop of Lyon, St. Irenaeus c. Each of the three sources depended on the other two for validation; thus, one could determine which purportedly scriptural writings were genuinely apostolic by appealing to their conformity with acknowledged apostolic tradition and to the usage of the apostolic churches, and so on.

This was not a circular argument but an appeal to a single catholic authority of apostolicity, in which the three elements were inseparable. Article Contents. Table Of Contents. While every effort has been made to follow citation style rules, there may be some discrepancies.

Please refer to the appropriate style manual or other sources if you have any questions. Facebook Twitter. Give Feedback External Websites. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article requires login. External Websites. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Author of Heretic Lives and others. See Article History. Peter's Basilica on St. Peter's Square, Vatican City. Top Questions. Read more below: Christianity: Contemporary Christianity.

Roman Catholic Saints. Read more below: History of Roman Catholicism. Peter the Apostle. Read more below: Beliefs and practices: Sacraments. The Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic church. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Subscribe Now. Load Next Page.

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