Portal:Catholicism

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The dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

Catholicism is the entirety of the beliefs and practices of the Latin and Eastern Churches that are in full communion with the pope as the Bishop of Rome and successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, united as the Catholic Church.

The first known written use of "Catholic Church" appears in a letter by Ignatius of Antioch c. AD 107 to the church of Smyrna, whose bishop, Polycarp, visited Ignatius during his journey to Rome as a prisoner, he wrote:

Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

— Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8

His use of "Catholic Church" suggests that it was already in current use, for he sees no need to explain himself and uses the expression as one already known to his readers, it gives expression to St. Paul's teaching that all baptized in Christ are one body in Christ (Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 4:3–6, 12–16). Dissenting groups breaking away from this universal unity were already known to the Apostles: in his letters Paul refers to the "Judaizers" (those requiring observance of the Mosaic Law), and in his Book of Revelation St. John calls them "Nicolaitans". They believe that it is a small step for those faithful to the teaching of the Apostles to identify themselves as the Catholic Church ("the one Church everywhere"), and not to include those dissenting and breaking away from unity with her.

The term Catholic Christianity entered into Roman law by force of edict on 27 February AD 380:

It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our clemency and moderation, should continue the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation and the second the punishment of [as] our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven, shall decide to inflict.


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The fall of Edessa, seen here on the right of this map (c.1140), was the proximate cause of the Second Crusade.

The Second Crusade (11451149) was the second major crusade launched from Europe, called in 1145 in response to the fall of the County of Edessa the previous year. Edessa was the first of the Crusader states to have been founded during the First Crusade (1095–1099), and was the first to fall, the Second Crusade was announced by Pope Eugene III, and was the first of the crusades to be led by European kings, namely Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, with help from a number of other important European nobles. The armies of the two kings marched separately across Europe and were somewhat hindered by Byzantine emperor Manuel I Comnenus; after crossing Byzantine territory into Anatolia, both armies were separately defeated by the Seljuk Turks. Louis and Conrad and the remnants of their armies reached Jerusalem and, in 1148, participated in an ill-advised attack on Damascus, the crusade in the east was a failure for the crusaders and a great victory for the Muslims. It would ultimately lead to the fall of Jerusalem and the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century.
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Credit: Raffaello Sanzio

The School of Athens or "Scuola di Atene" in Italian is one of the most famous paintings by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1509 and 1510 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

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Benedict XVI

Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. XVI; German Benedikt XVI.; Italian: Benedetto XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on 16 April 1927) was the 265th Pope, the spiritual head of the Catholic Church, and as such, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, until his resignation was effective, on 28 February 2013. He was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his papal inauguration mass on 24 April 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, on 7 May 2005. Pope Benedict XVI has both German and Vatican citizenship, he succeeded Pope John Paul II, who died on 2 April 2005 (and with whom he had worked before the Sede vacante). Benedict XVI was also the Bishop of Rome. Benedict XVI is a well-known Catholic theologian and a prolific author, a defender of traditional Catholic doctrine and values.
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Coat of Arms of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order of Our Lady of Jerusalem

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Father Damien of Molokai

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Pope John XXIII

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Particular Churches (grouped by liturgical rite):
Latin Rite: Latin ChurchAlexandrian Rite: Coptic Catholic Church · Eritrean Catholic Church · Ethiopic Catholic ChurchArmenian Rite: Armenian Catholic Church
East Syrian Rite: Chaldean Catholic Church · Syro-Malabar Catholic ChurchWest Syrian Rite: Maronite Church · Syriac Catholic Church · Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
Byzantine Rite: Albanian Greek Catholic Church · Belarusian Greek Catholic Church · Bulgarian Greek Catholic Church · Greek Byzantine Catholic Church
Greek Catholic Church of Croatia and Serbia · Hungarian Greek Catholic Church · Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Church · Macedonian Byzantine-Catholic Church
Melkite Greek Catholic Church · Romanian Greek Catholic Church · Russian Greek Catholic Church · Ruthenian Catholic Church
Slovak Greek Catholic Church · Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

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  1. ^ Extract of English translation from Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1943), p. 31, cited at Medieval Sourcebook: Theodosian Code XVI by Paul Halsall, Fordham University. Retrieved Jan 5, 2007, the full Latin text of the code is at IMPERATORIS THEODOSIANI CODEX Liber Decimus Sextus (170KB download), archived from George Mason University. Retrieved Jan 5, 2007.