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Catholicism

Catholicism

Overview
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

, its theologies
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

s, its liturgical
Catholic liturgy
The Catholic Church is fundamentally liturgical and sacramental in its public life of worship.-Liturgical principles:As explained in greater detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its shorter Compendium, the liturgy is something that "the whole Christ", Head and Body, celebrates —...

, ethical
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.

For many the term usually refers to Christians and churches, western
Latin Church
The Latin Church is the largest particular church within the Catholic Church. It is a particular church not on the level of the local particular churches known as dioceses or eparchies, but on the level of autonomous ritual churches, of which there are 23, the remaining 22 of which are Eastern...

 and eastern, in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. For others it refers to churches with historical continuity from the first millennium.

In the sense of indicating historical continuity of faith and practice, the term "catholicism" is at times employed to mark a contrast to Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, which tends to look solely to the Bible as interpreted on the principles of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 as its ultimate standard.
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Timeline

1555   The English Parliament re-establishes Catholicism.

1562   23 Huguenots are massacred by Catholics in Wassy, France, marking the start of the French Wars of Religion.

1572   Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk is tried for treason for his part in the Ridolfi plot to restore Catholicism in England.

 
Encyclopedia
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

 faith
Faith
Faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing, or a belief that is not based on proof. In religion, faith is a belief in a transcendent reality, a religious teacher, a set of teachings or a Supreme Being. Generally speaking, it is offered as a means by which the truth of the proposition,...

, its theologies
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 and doctrine
Doctrine
Doctrine is a codification of beliefs or a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, as the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system...

s, its liturgical
Catholic liturgy
The Catholic Church is fundamentally liturgical and sacramental in its public life of worship.-Liturgical principles:As explained in greater detail in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its shorter Compendium, the liturgy is something that "the whole Christ", Head and Body, celebrates —...

, ethical
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.

For many the term usually refers to Christians and churches, western
Latin Church
The Latin Church is the largest particular church within the Catholic Church. It is a particular church not on the level of the local particular churches known as dioceses or eparchies, but on the level of autonomous ritual churches, of which there are 23, the remaining 22 of which are Eastern...

 and eastern, in full communion
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. For others it refers to churches with historical continuity from the first millennium.

In the sense of indicating historical continuity of faith and practice, the term "catholicism" is at times employed to mark a contrast to Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

, which tends to look solely to the Bible as interpreted on the principles of the 16th-century Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 as its ultimate standard. It was thus used by the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

.

According to Richard McBrien
Richard McBrien
Richard Peter McBrien is the Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford and the author of several controversial books and articles discussing Catholicism. He is most well known for his authorship of Catholicism...

, Catholicism is distinguished from other forms of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in its particular understanding and commitment to tradition
Sacred Tradition
Sacred Tradition or Holy Tradition is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox traditions, to refer to the fundamental basis of church authority....

, the sacraments
Sacraments of the Catholic Church
The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Roman Catholic Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper...

, the mediation between God, communion
Communion (Christian)
The term communion is derived from Latin communio . The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as "fellowship". In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with...

, and the See of Rome. According to Orthodox leaders like Bishop Kallistos Ware, the Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 has these things as well, though the primacy of the See of Rome
Primacy of the Roman Pontiff
The primacy of the Bishop of Rome is an ecclesiastical doctrine held by some branches of Christianity, most notably the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Anglican Communion. The doctrine concerns the respect and authority that is due to the Bishop of Rome from bishops and their...

 is only honorific
Honorific
An honorific is a word or expression with connotations conveying esteem or respect when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term is used not quite correctly to refer to an honorary title...

, showing non-jurisdictional respect for the Bishop of Rome as the "first among equals
First Among Equals
First Among Equals is a 1984 novel by British author Jeffrey Archer, which follows the careers and personal lives of four fictional British politicians from 1964 to 1991, with each vying to become Prime...

" and "Patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 of the West". Catholicism, according to McBrien's paradigm, includes a monastic
Monasticism
Monasticism is a religious way of life characterized by the practice of renouncing worldly pursuits to fully devote one's self to spiritual work...

 life, religious orders
Religious order
A religious order is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its founder's religious practice. The order is composed of initiates and, in some...

, a religious appreciation of the arts, a communal understanding of sin and redemption, and missionary activity.

History of use of "Catholic Church"


The earliest recorded evidence of the use of the term "Catholic Church" is the Letter to the Smyrnaeans
Letter to the Smyrnaeans
The Letter to the Smyrnaeans was written by Saint Ignatius of Antioch around AD 110 to the Early Christians in Smyrna.It mentions the resurrection of Jesus:...

that Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch was among the Apostolic Fathers, was the third Bishop of Antioch, and was a student of John the Apostle. En route to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology...

 wrote in about 107 to Christians in Smyrna. Exhorting Christians to remain closely united with their bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, he wrote: "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."

Of the meaning for Ignatius of this phrase J.H. Srawley wrote:
This is the earliest occurrence in Christian literature of the phrase 'the Catholic Church' (ἡ καθολικὴ ἐκκλησία). The original sense of the word is 'universal'. Thus Justin Martyr (Dial. 82) speaks of the 'universal or general resurrection', using the words ἡ καθολικὴ ἀνάστασις. Similarly here the Church universal is contrasted with the particular Church of Smyrna. Ignatius means by the Catholic Church 'the aggregate of all the Christian congregations' (Swete, Apostles Creed, p. 76). So too the letter of the Church of Smyrna is addressed to all the congregations of the Holy Catholic Church
Catholic Church (disambiguation)
Catholic Church most often refers to:* The Roman Catholic Church, i.e. the Western and the 22 Eastern Catholic Churches in communion with the Bishop of Rome...

 in every place. And this primitive sense of 'universal' the word has never lost, although in the latter part of the second century
Christianity in the 2nd century
The 2nd century of Christianity was largely the time of the Apostolic Fathers who were the students of the apostles of Jesus, though there is some overlap as John the Apostle may have survived into the 2nd century and the early Apostolic Father Clement of Rome is said to have died at the end of the...

 it began to receive the secondary sense of 'orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

' as opposed to 'heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

'. Thus it is used in an early Canon of Scripture
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

, the Muratorian fragment
Muratorian fragment
The Muratorian fragment is a copy of perhaps the oldest known list of the books of the New Testament. The fragment, consisting of 85 lines, is a 7th-century Latin manuscript bound in an eighth or 7th century codex that came from the library of Columban's monastery at Bobbio; it contains internal...

 (circa 170 A.D.), which refers to certain heretical writings as 'not received in the Catholic Church'. So too Cyril of Jerusalem
Cyril of Jerusalem
Cyril of Jerusalem was a distinguished theologian of the early Church . He is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. In 1883, Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII...

, in the fourth century
Christianity in the 4th century
Christianity in the 4th century was dominated by Constantine the Great, and the First Council of Nicea of 325, which was the beginning of the period of the First seven Ecumenical Councils and the attempt to reach an orthodox consensus and to establish a unified Christendom as the State church of...

, says that the Church is called Catholic not only 'because it is spread throughout the world', but also 'because it teaches completely and without defect all the doctrines which ought to come to the knowledge of men'. This secondary sense arose out of the original meaning because Catholics claimed to teach the whole truth, and to represent the whole Church, while heresy arose out of the exaggeration of some one truth and was essentially partial and local.


As indicated in this quotation, Cyril of Jerusalem
Cyril of Jerusalem
Cyril of Jerusalem was a distinguished theologian of the early Church . He is venerated as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. In 1883, Cyril was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII...

 (c. 315–386) used the term "Catholic Church" in opposition to other groups, whose right to call themselves ἐκκλησία (assembly or church) he admitted:
Since the word Ecclesia
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

 is applied to different things (as also it is written of the multitude in the theatre of the Ephesians, And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the Assembly (Acts 19:14), and since one might properly and truly say that there is a Church of evil doers, I mean the meetings of the heretics, the Marcionists
Marcionism
Marcionism was an Early Christian dualist belief system that originated in the teachings of Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144; see also Christianity in the 2nd century....

 and Manichees
Manichaeism
Manichaeism in Modern Persian Āyin e Māni; ) was one of the major Iranian Gnostic religions, originating in Sassanid Persia.Although most of the original writings of the founding prophet Mani have been lost, numerous translations and fragmentary texts have survived...

, and the rest, for this cause the Faith has securely delivered to you now the Article, "And in one Holy Catholic Church"; that you may avoid their wretched meetings, and ever abide with the Holy Church Catholic in which you were regenerated. And if ever you are sojourning in cities, inquire not simply where the Lord's House is (for the other sects of the profane also attempt to call their own dens houses of the Lord), nor merely where the Church is, but where is the Catholic Church. For this is the peculiar name of this Holy Church, the mother of us all, which is the spouse of our Lord Jesus Christ
Bride of Christ
The Bride of Christ or bride, the Lamb's wife is a term used in the New Testament of The Bible. Sometimes the Bride is implied through calling Jesus a Bridegroom. Sometimes the Church is compared to a bride betrothed to Christ. However there are instances where the interpretation of the usage of...

, the Only-begotten Son of God
Son of God
"Son of God" is a phrase which according to most Christian denominations, Trinitarian in belief, refers to the relationship between Jesus and God, specifically as "God the Son"...

.


Only slightly later, Saint Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo , also known as Augustine, St. Augustine, St. Austin, St. Augoustinos, Blessed Augustine, or St. Augustine the Blessed, was Bishop of Hippo Regius . He was a Latin-speaking philosopher and theologian who lived in the Roman Africa Province...

 (354–430) wrote:
In the Catholic Church, there are many other things which most justly keep me in her bosom. The consent of peoples and nations keeps me in the Church; so does her authority, inaugurated by miracles, nourished by hope, enlarged by love, established by age. The succession of priests keeps me, beginning from the very seat of the Apostle Peter, to whom the Lord, after His resurrection, gave it in charge to feed His sheep (Jn 21:15–19), down to the present episcopate.

And so, lastly, does the very name of Catholic, which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.

Such then in number and importance are the precious ties belonging to the Christian name which keep a believer in the Catholic Church, as it is right they should ... With you, where there is none of these things to attract or keep me... No one shall move me from the faith which binds my mind with ties so many and so strong to the Christian religion... For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church. —St. Augustine (354–430): Against the Epistle of Manichaeus called Fundamental, chapter 4: Proofs of the Catholic Faith.


On 27 February 380, by an edict issued in Thessalonica
Edict of Thessalonica
The Edict of Thessalonica, also known as Cunctos populos, was delivered on 27 February 380 by Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II in order that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria...

 and published in Constantinople, Emperor Theodosius declared Catholic Christianity the state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 of the Roman Empire, and defined the term "Catholic" in Roman Imperial law as follows:

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
Pope Damasus I
Pope Saint Damasus I was the bishop of Rome from 366 to 384.He was born around 305, probably near the city of Idanha-a-Velha , in what is present-day Portugal, then part of the Western Roman Empire...

 and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria
Pope Peter of Alexandria
Pope Peter of Alexandria was Pope of Alexandria . He is revered as a saint by the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Orthodox Church.-Life:...

, 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, Son and Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity
Trinity
The Christian doctrine of the Trinity defines God as three divine persons : the Father, the Son , and the Holy Spirit. The three persons are distinct yet coexist in unity, and are co-equal, co-eternal and consubstantial . Put another way, the three persons of the Trinity are of one being...

. 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 the divine condemnation, and in the second the punishment which our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven, will decide to inflict. Theodosian Code XVI.i.2


A contemporary of Augustine, St. Vincent of Lerins, wrote in 434 under the pseudonym Peregrinus a work known as the Commonitoria ("Memoranda"). While insisting that, like the human body, Church doctrine develops while truly keeping its identity (sections 54–59, chapter XXIII), he stated:
"[I]n the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all. For that is truly and in the strictest sense 'Catholic,' which, as the name itself and the reason of the thing declare, comprehends all universally. This rule we shall observe if we follow universality, antiquity, consent. We shall follow universality if we confess that one faith to be true, which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity, if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is manifest were notoriously held by our holy ancestors and fathers; consent, in like manner, if in antiquity itself we adhere to the consentient definitions and determinations of all, or at the least of almost all priests and doctors" (section 6, end of chapter II).

Divergent interpretations of the term "Catholic"


Many individual Christians and Christian denominations consider themselves "catholic" on the basis, in particular, of Apostolic Succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

. They fall into five groups:
  1. The Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, but which most frequently refers to itself simply as the Catholic Church, considers full communion
    Full communion
    In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

     with the Bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

     of Rome
    Diocese of Rome
    The Diocese of Rome is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy. The bishop of Rome is the Pope, who is the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church...

     an essential element of Catholicism. Its constituent particular Church
    Particular Church
    In Catholic canon law, a Particular Church is an ecclesial community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.There are two kinds of particular Churches:# Local particular Churches ...

    es (Western and Eastern) have distinct and separate jurisdictions, while still being "in union with Rome."
  2. Those, like the Eastern Orthodox
    Eastern Orthodox Church
    The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

     and Oriental Orthodox
    Oriental Orthodoxy
    Oriental Orthodoxy is the faith of those Eastern Christian Churches that recognize only three ecumenical councils — the First Council of Nicaea, the First Council of Constantinople and the First Council of Ephesus. They rejected the dogmatic definitions of the Council of Chalcedon...

    , that claim unbroken Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

     from the early Church and identify themselves as the Catholic Church. The Eastern Orthodox, but not the Oriental, see themselves (along with the See of Rome) as part of a patriarchal first-millennium structure that developed in the East into the theory of the five patriarchal sees
    Pentarchy
    Pentarchy is a term in the history of Christianity for the idea of universal rule over all Christendom by the heads of five major episcopal sees, or patriarchates, of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem...

    , but not in the West, which preferred the theory of the three Petrine
    Saint Peter
    Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

     sees of Rome, Alexandria and Antioch. The title, "Patriarch of the West", was rarely used by the popes until the 16th and 17th centuries, and was included in the Annuario Pontificio
    Annuario Pontificio
    The Annuario Pontificio is the annual directory of the Holy See. It lists all the popes to date and all officials of the Holy See's departments...

     from 1863 to 2005, being dropped in the following year as never very clear, and having become over history "obsolete and practically unusable".
  3. Those, like the Old Catholic
    Old Catholic Church
    The term Old Catholic Church is commonly used to describe a number of Ultrajectine Christian churches that originated with groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, most importantly that of Papal Infallibility...

    , Anglican, and some Lutheran and other denominations, that claim unbroken Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

     from the early Church, and see themselves as a constituent part of the Church.
  4. Those who claim to be spiritual descendants of the Apostles but have no discernible institutional descent from the historic Church, and normally do not refer to themselves as catholic.
  5. Those who have acknowledged a break in Apostolic Succession, but have restored it in order to be in full communion
    Communion (Christian)
    The term communion is derived from Latin communio . The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as "fellowship". In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with...

     with bodies that have maintained the practice. Examples in this category include the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is a mainline Protestant denomination headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The ELCA officially came into existence on January 1, 1988, by the merging of three churches. As of December 31, 2009, it had 4,543,037 baptized members, with 2,527,941 of them...

     and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
    Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
    The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada's largest Lutheran denomination, with 152,788 baptized members in 624 congregations, with the second largest, the Lutheran Church–Canada, having 72,116 baptized members...

     vis-à-vis their Anglican and Old Catholic counterparts.


For some confessions listed under category 3, the self-affirmation refers to the belief in the ultimate unity of the universal church under one God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and one Saviour
Soteriology
The branch of Christian theology that deals with salvation and redemption is called Soteriology. It is derived from the Greek sōtērion + English -logy....

, rather than in one visibly unified institution (as with category 1, above). In this usage, "catholic" is sometimes written with a lower-case "c". The Western Apostles' Creed
Apostles' Creed
The Apostles' Creed , sometimes titled Symbol of the Apostles, is an early statement of Christian belief, a creed or "symbol"...

 and the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

, stating "I believe in ... one holy catholic ... church", are recited in worship services. Among some denominations in category 3, "Christian" is substituted for "catholic" in order to denote the doctrine that the Christian Church is, at least ideally, undivided.

Brief organizational history of the Church




According to the theory of Pentarchy
Pentarchy
Pentarchy is a term in the history of Christianity for the idea of universal rule over all Christendom by the heads of five major episcopal sees, or patriarchates, of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem...

, the early Catholic Church came to be organised under the three patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

s of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 and Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

, to which later were added the patriarchs of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 and Jerusalem
Jerusalem in Christianity
For Christians, Jerusalem's place in the ministry of Jesus and the Apostolic Age gives it great importance, in addition to its place in the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible.-Jerusalem in the New Testament and early Christianity:...

. The Bishop of Rome was at that time recognized as first among them, as is stated, for instance, in canon 3 of the First Council of Constantinople
First Council of Constantinople
The First Council of Constantinople is recognized as the Second Ecumenical Council by the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, the Roman Catholics, the Old Catholics, and a number of other Western Christian groups. It was the first Ecumenical Council held in...

 (381)—many interpret "first" as meaning here first among equals
First Among Equals
First Among Equals is a 1984 novel by British author Jeffrey Archer, which follows the careers and personal lives of four fictional British politicians from 1964 to 1991, with each vying to become Prime...

—and doctrinal or procedural disputes were often referred to Rome, as when, on appeal by St Athanasius against the decision of the Council of Tyre (335)
First Synod of Tyre
The First Synod of Tyre or the Council of Tyre was a gathering of bishops called together by Emperor Constantine I for the primary purpose of evaluating charges brought against Athanasius, the Patriarch of Alexandria.-Background:...

, Pope Julius I
Pope Julius I
Pope Saint Julius I, was pope from February 6, 337 to April 12, 352.He was a native of Rome and was chosen as successor of Mark after the Roman seat had been vacant for four months. He is chiefly known by the part he took in the Arian controversy...

, who spoke of such appeals as customary, annulled the action of that council and restored Athanasius and Marcellus of Ancyra to their sees. The Bishop of Rome was also considered to have the right to convene ecumenical councils. When the Imperial capital moved to Constantinople, Rome's influence was sometimes challenged. Nonetheless, Rome claimed special authority because of its connection to Saint Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 and Saint Paul
Paul of Tarsus
Paul the Apostle , also known as Saul of Tarsus, is described in the Christian New Testament as one of the most influential early Christian missionaries, with the writings ascribed to him by the church forming a considerable portion of the New Testament...

, who, all agreed, were martyred and buried in Rome, and because the Bishop of Rome saw himself as the successor of Saint Peter.

The 431 Council of Ephesus, the Third Ecumenical Council
Ecumenical council
An ecumenical council is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological experts convened to discuss and settle matters of Church doctrine and practice....

, was chiefly concerned with Nestorianism
Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christological doctrine advanced by Nestorius, Patriarch of Constantinople from 428–431. The doctrine, which was informed by Nestorius's studies under Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch, emphasizes the disunion between the human and divine natures of Jesus...

, which emphasised the distinction between the humanity and divinity of Jesus and taught that, in giving birth to Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary could not be spoken of as giving birth to God. This Council rejected Nestorianism and affirmed that, as humanity and divinity are inseparable in the one person of Jesus Christ, his mother, the Virgin Mary, is thus Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

, God-bearer, Mother of God. The first great rupture in the Church followed this Council. Those who refused to accept the Council's ruling were largely Persian
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

 and are represented today by the Assyrian Church of the East
Assyrian Church of the East
The Assyrian Church of the East, officially the Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East ʻIttā Qaddishtā w-Shlikhāitā Qattoliqi d-Madnĕkhā d-Āturāyē), is a Syriac Church historically centered in Mesopotamia. It is one of the churches that claim continuity with the historical...

 and related Churches, which, however, do not now hold a "Nestorian" theology. They are often called Ancient Oriental Churches.

The next major break was after the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

 (451). This Council repudiated Eutychian Monophysitism
Monophysitism
Monophysitism , or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Jesus Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity...

 which stated that the divine nature completely subsumed the human nature in Christ. This Council declared that Christ, though one person, exhibited two natures "without confusion, without change, without division, without separation" and thus is both fully God and fully human. The Alexandrian Church rejected the terms adopted by this Council, and the Christian Churches that follow the tradition of non-acceptance of the Council—they are not Monophysite in doctrine—are referred to as Pre-Chalcedonian or Oriental Orthodox Churches.

The next great rift within Christianity was in the 11th century. Longstanding doctrinal disputes, as well as conflicts between methods of Church government, and the evolution of separate rites and practices, precipitated a split in 1054 that divided the Church, this time between a "West" and an "East". England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, Scandinavia
Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

, the Baltic countries
Baltic countries
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

, and Western Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in general were in the Western camp, and Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

, Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and many other Slavic lands, Anatolia
Anatolia
Anatolia is a geographic and historical term denoting the westernmost protrusion of Asia, comprising the majority of the Republic of Turkey...

, and the Christians in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 who accepted the Council of Chalcedon made up the Eastern camp. This division between the Western Church and the Eastern Church is called the East-West Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

.

The fourth major division in the Church occurred in the 16th century with the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, after which many parts of the Western Church either entirely rejected the teachings and structure of the Western Church at that time and became known as "Reformed" or "Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

", or else repudiated papal authority and the teaching office in the Western Church for the authority of a civil ruler in religious matters (e.g., in Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

 and parts of the Lutheran Church
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

).

A much less extensive rupture occurred when, after the Roman Catholic Church's First Vatican Council
First Vatican Council
The First Vatican Council was convoked by Pope Pius IX on 29 June 1868, after a period of planning and preparation that began on 6 December 1864. This twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, held three centuries after the Council of Trent, opened on 8 December 1869 and adjourned...

, in which it officially proclaimed the dogma of papal infallibility
Papal infallibility
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when in his official capacity he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals...

, small clusters of Catholics in the Netherlands and in German-speaking countries formed the Old-Catholic (Altkatholische) Church
Old Catholic Church
The term Old Catholic Church is commonly used to describe a number of Ultrajectine Christian churches that originated with groups that split from the Roman Catholic Church over certain doctrines, most importantly that of Papal Infallibility...

.

Distinctive beliefs and practices


Due to the divergent interpretations of the word "Catholicism", any listing of beliefs and practices that distinguish Catholicism from other forms of Christianity must be preceded by an indication of the sense employed. If Catholicism is understood as the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 understands it, identification of beliefs is relatively easy, though preferred expressions of the beliefs vary, especially between the Latin Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches of Greek tradition
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

, and the other Eastern Catholic Churches. Liturgical and canonical practices vary between all these particular Church
Particular Church
In Catholic canon law, a Particular Church is an ecclesial community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.There are two kinds of particular Churches:# Local particular Churches ...

es constituting the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches (or, as Richard McBrien calls them, the "Communion of Catholic Churches").

In the understanding of another Church that identifies Catholicism with itself, such as the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Churches, clear identification of certain beliefs may sometimes be more difficult, because of the lack of a central authority like that of the Roman and Eastern Catholic Churches. On the other hand, practices are more uniform, as indicated, for instance, in the single liturgical rite employed, in various languages, within the Eastern Orthodox Church, in contrast to the variety of liturgical rites in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. In all these cases the beliefs and practices of Catholicism would be identical with the beliefs and practices of the Church in question.

If Catholicism is extended to cover all who consider themselves spiritual descendants of the Apostles, a search for beliefs and practices that distinguish it from other forms of Christianity would be meaningless.

If Catholicism is understood in the sense given to the word by those who use it to distinguish their position from a Calvinistic or Puritan form of Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

  it is then meaningful to attempt to draw up a list of common characteristic beliefs and practices of Catholicism. In this interpretation, evidently shared neither by the churches of the first millennium, nor by those that claim merely spiritual descent, Catholicism could include the Roman Catholic Church, the various Churches of Eastern Christianity, the Old Catholic Church, Anglicanism, and at least some of the "independent Catholic Churches" and, again in this interpretation, the beliefs and practices of Catholicism include:
  • Direct and continuous organizational descent from the original church founded by Jesus, who, according to tradition, designated the Apostle Peter as its first leader.
  • Belief that Jesus Christ is Divine, a doctrine officially clarified in the First Council of Nicea and expressed in the Nicene Creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

    .
  • Transubstantiation
    Transubstantiation
    In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

    , the belief that the elements in the Eucharist become really, truly, the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ at consecration, resulting in the Real Presence of Christ, and that, because Christ himself is present in the sacrament, he is to be honoured in it with the worship known as Eucharistic adoration
    Eucharistic adoration
    Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic Church, and in a few Anglican and Lutheran churches, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to and adored by the faithful....

    .
  • Possession of the "threefold ordained ministry" of Bishop
    Bishop
    A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

    s, Priest
    Priest
    A priest is a person authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion, especially as a mediatory agent between humans and deities. They also have the authority or power to administer religious rites; in particular, rites of sacrifice to, and propitiation of, a deity or deities...

    s and Deacon
    Deacon
    Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

    s.
  • All ministers are ordained by, and subject to, Bishops, who pass down sacramental authority by the "laying-on of hands", having themselves been ordained in a direct line of succession from the Apostles (see Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic Succession
    Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

    ).
  • Belief that the Church is the vessel and deposit of the fullness of the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles from which the Scriptures were formed. This teaching is preserved in both written scripture and in unwritten tradition
    Tradition
    A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

    , neither being independent of the other.
  • A belief in the necessity and efficacy of sacraments.
  • The use of sacred images
    Crucifix
    A crucifix is an independent image of Jesus on the cross with a representation of Jesus' body, referred to in English as the corpus , as distinct from a cross with no body....

    , candles, vestments and music, and often incense and water, in worship.
  • Veneration
    Veneration
    Veneration , or veneration of saints, is a special act of honoring a saint: an angel, or a dead person who has been identified by a church committee as singular in the traditions of the religion. It is practiced by the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic, and Eastern Catholic Churches...

     of Mary, the mother of Jesus as the Blessed Virgin Mary or Theotokos
    Theotokos
    Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

     (i.e., "God-bearer" or "Mother of God"), and veneration of the saints.
  • A distinction between adoration (latria
    Latria
    Latrīa is a Latin term used in Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic theology to mean adoration, a reverence directed only to the Holy Trinity. Latria carries an emphasis on the internal form of worship, rather than external ceremonies.-Catholic teachings:In Catholic teachings, latria also applies...

    ) for God, and veneration (dulia) for saints. The term hyperdulia is used for a special veneration accorded to the Virgin Mary among the saints.
  • The use of prayer for the dead
    Prayer for the dead
    Wherever there is a belief in the continued existence of man's personality through and after death, religion naturally concerns itself with the relations between the living and the dead...

    .
  • The acceptance of canonization
    Canonization
    Canonization is the act by which a Christian church declares a deceased person to be a saint, upon which declaration the person is included in the canon, or list, of recognized saints. Originally, individuals were recognized as saints without any formal process...

    s.
  • Requests to the departed saints for intercessory prayers.

Sacraments or Sacred Mysteries


Churches in the Catholic tradition administer seven sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

s or "sacred mysteries": Baptism
Baptism
In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

, Confirmation
Confirmation (Christian sacrament)
Confirmation is a rite of initiation in Christian churches, normally carried out through anointing and/or the laying on of hands and prayer for the purpose of bestowing the Gift of the Holy Spirit....

 or Chrismation
Chrismation
Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

, Eucharist
Eucharist
The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

, Penance, Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick
Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

, Holy Orders
Holy Orders
The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

, and Matrimony
Christian views of marriage
Christian views on marriage typically regard it as instituted and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one man as husband and one woman as wife, and is to be "held in honour among all...."...

. In some Catholic churches this number is regarded as a convention only.

In Catholicism, a sacrament is considered to be an efficacious visible sign of God's invisible grace
Divine grace
In Christian theology, grace is God’s gift of God’s self to humankind. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man - "generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved" - that takes the form of divine favour, love and clemency. It is an attribute of God that is most...

. While the word mystery is used not only of these rite
Rite
A rite is an established, ceremonious, usually religious act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:* rites of passage, generally changing an individual's social status, such as marriage, baptism, or graduation....

s, but also with other meanings with reference to revelations of and about God and to God's mystical interaction with creation, the word sacrament
Sacrament
A sacrament is a sacred rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites.-General definitions and terms:...

(Latin: a solemn pledge), the usual term in the West, refers specifically to these rites.
  • Baptism
    Baptism
    In Christianity, baptism is for the majority the rite of admission , almost invariably with the use of water, into the Christian Church generally and also membership of a particular church tradition...

     - the first sacrament of Christian initiation, the basis for all the other sacraments. Churches in the Catholic tradition consider baptism conferred in most Christian denominations "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (cf. ) to be valid, since the effect is produced through the sacrament, independently of the faith of the minister, though not of the minister's intention. This is not necessarily the case in other churches. As stated in the Nicene Creed
    Nicene Creed
    The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

    , Baptism is "for the forgiveness of sins", not only personal sins, but also of original sin
    Original sin
    Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

    , which it remits even in infants who have committed no actual sins. Expressed positively, forgiveness of sins means bestowal of the sanctifying grace by which the baptized person shares the life of God. The initiate "puts on Christ" (Galatians 3:27), and is "buried with him in baptism ... also raised with him through faith in the working of God" (Colossians 2:12).

  • Confirmation or Chrismation
    Chrismation
    Chrismation is the name given in Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, Anglican, and in Lutheran initiation rites, to the Sacrament or Sacred Mystery more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian...

     - the second sacrament of Christian initiation, the means by which the gift of the Holy Spirit conferred in baptism is "strengthened and deepened" (see, for example, Catechism of the Catholic Church, §1303) by a sealing. In the Western tradition it is usually a separate rite from baptism, bestowed, following a period of education called catechesis
    Catechism
    A catechism , i.e. to indoctrinate) is a summary or exposition of doctrine, traditionally used in Christian religious teaching from New Testament times to the present...

    , on those who have at least reached the age of discretion
    Age of reason (canon law)
    In the Roman Catholic Church, the age of reason, also called the age of discretion, is the age at which children become capable of moral responsibility. On completion of the seventh year a minor is presumed to have the use of reason, but mental retardation or insanity could prevent some...

     (about 7) and sometimes postponed until an age when the person is considered capable of making a mature independent profession of faith. It is considered to be of a nature distinct from the anointing with chrism
    Chrism
    Chrism , also called "Myrrh" , Holy anointing oil, or "Consecrated Oil", is a consecrated oil used in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, in the Assyrian Church of the East, and in Old-Catholic churches, as well as Anglican churches in the administration...

     (also called myrrh) that is usually part of the rite of baptism and that is not seen as a separate sacrament. In the Eastern tradition it is usually conferred in conjunction with baptism, as its completion, but is sometimes administered separately to converts or those who return to Orthodoxy. Some theologies consider this to be the outward sign of the inner "Baptism of the Holy Spirit", the special gifts (or charismata) of which may remain latent or become manifest over time according to God's will. Its "originating" minister is a validly consecrated bishop; if a priest (a "presbyter") confers the sacrament (as is permitted in some Catholic churches) the link with the higher order is indicated by the use of chrism blessed by a bishop. (In an Eastern Orthodox Church
    Eastern Orthodox Church
    The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

    , this is customarily, although not necessarily, done by the primate of the local autocephalous church.)

  • Eucharist
    Eucharist
    The Eucharist , also called Holy Communion, the Sacrament of the Altar, the Blessed Sacrament, the Lord's Supper, and other names, is a Christian sacrament or ordinance...

     - the sacrament (the third of Christian initiation) by which the faithful receive their ultimate "daily bread", or "bread for the journey", by partaking of and in the Body and Blood of Jesus
    Jesus
    Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

     Christ and being participants in Christ's one eternal sacrifice. The bread and wine used in the rite are, according to Catholic faith, in the mystical action of the Holy Spirit, transformed to be Christ's Body and Blood—his Real Presence
    Real Presence
    Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

    . This transformation is interpreted by some as transubstantiation
    Transubstantiation
    In Roman Catholic theology, transubstantiation means the change, in the Eucharist, of the substance of wheat bread and grape wine into the substance of the Body and Blood, respectively, of Jesus, while all that is accessible to the senses remains as before.The Eastern Orthodox...

     or metousiosis
    Metousiosis
    Metousiosis is a Greek term that means, literally, a change of . Cyril Lucaris , the Patriarch of Alexandria and later of Constantinople, used this Greek term to express the idea for which the Latin term is transsubstantiatio , which likewise literally means a change of substantia ,...

    , by others as consubstantiation
    Consubstantiation
    Consubstantiation is a theological doctrine that attempts to describe the nature of the Christian Eucharist in concrete metaphysical terms. It holds that during the sacrament, the fundamental "substance" of the body and blood of Christ are present alongside the substance of the bread and wine,...

     or Sacramental Union
    Sacramental Union
    Sacramental union is the Lutheran theological doctrine of the Real Presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Christian Eucharist....

    .

  • Penance
    Penance
    Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. It also plays a part in non-sacramental confession among Lutherans and other Protestants...

     (also called Confession
    Confession
    This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

     and Reconciliation) - the first of the two sacraments of healing. It is also called the sacrament of conversion, of forgiveness, and of absolution. It is the sacrament of spiritual healing of a baptized person from the distancing from God involved in actual sins committed. It involves the penitent's contrition for sin (without which the rite does not have its effect), confession (which in highly exceptional circumstances can take the form of a corporate general confession) to a minister who has the faculty to exercise the power to absolve the penitent, and absolution by the minister. In some traditions (such as the Roman Catholic), the rite involves a fourth element – satisfaction – which is defined as signs of repentance imposed by the minister. In early Christian centuries, the fourth element was quite onerous and generally preceded absolution, but now it usually involves a simple task (in some traditions called a "penance") for the penitent to perform, to make some reparation and as a medicinal means of strengthening against further sinning.

  • Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick
    Anointing of the Sick, known also by other names, is distinguished from other forms of religious anointing or "unction" in that it is intended, as its name indicates, for the benefit of a sick person...

     (or Unction) - the second sacrament of healing. In it those who are suffering an illness are anointed by a priest with oil consecrated by a bishop specifically for that purpose. In past centuries, when such a restrictive interpretation was customary, the sacrament came to be known as "Extreme Unction", i.e. "Final Anointing", as it still is among traditionalist Catholics. It was then conferred only as one of the "Last Rites". The other "Last Rites" are Penance (if the dying person is physically unable to confess, at least absolution, conditional on the existence of contrition, is given), and the Eucharist, which, when administered to the dying, is known as "Viaticum", a word whose original meaning in Latin was "provision for a journey".

  • Holy Orders
    Holy Orders
    The term Holy Orders is used by many Christian churches to refer to ordination or to those individuals ordained for a special role or ministry....

     - the sacrament which integrates someone into the Holy Orders of bishops, priests (presbyters), and deacons, the threefold order of "administrators of the mysteries of God" (1 Corinthians 4:1), giving the person the mission to teach, sanctify, and govern. Only a bishop may administer this sacrament, as only a bishop holds the fullness of the Apostolic Ministry. Ordination as a bishop makes one a member of the body that has succeeded to that of the Apostles. Ordination as a priest configures a person to Christ the Head of the Church and the one essential Priest, empowering that person, as the bishops' assistant and vicar, to preside at the celebration of divine worship, and in particular to confect the sacrament of the Eucharist, acting "in persona Christi" (in the person of Christ). Ordination as a deacon configures the person to Christ the Servant of All, placing the deacon at the service of the Church, especially in the fields of the ministry of the Word, service in divine worship, pastoral guidance and charity. Deacons may later be further ordained to the priesthood, but only if they do not have a wife. In some traditions (such as those of the Roman Catholic Church), while married men may be ordained, ordained men may not marry. In others (such as the Anglican), clerical marriage
    Clerical marriage
    Clerical marriage is the practice of allowing clergy to marry. Churches such as the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox exclude this practice for their priests, while accepting already married men for ordination to priesthood...

     is permitted, as is the ordination of women
    Ordination of women
    Ordination in general religious usage is the process by which a person is consecrated . The ordination of women is a regular practice among some major religious groups, as it was of several religions of antiquity...

    . Moreover, some sectors of Anglicanism "in isolation of the whole" have approved the ordination of openly active homosexuals to the priesthood and episcopacy, in spite of the support that Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, voiced for the Anglican Church's teaching on homosexuality, which he said the Church "could not change simply because of a shift in society's attitude", noting also that those churches blessing same-sex unions and consecrating openingly gay bishops would not be able "to take part as a whole in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue." Thus in ecumenical matters, only if the Roman Catholic as well as Orthodox churches come to an understanding with first tier or primary bishops of the Anglican Communion can those churches (representing 95% of global Catholicism) implement an agreement with second tier or secondary Anglican bishops and their respective Anglican communities.

  • Holy Matrimony
    Christian views of marriage
    Christian views on marriage typically regard it as instituted and ordained by God for the lifelong relationship between one man as husband and one woman as wife, and is to be "held in honour among all...."...

     (or Marriage) - is the sacrament of joining a man and a woman (according to the churches' doctrines) for mutual help and love (the unitive purpose), consecrating them for their particular mission of building up the Church and the world, and providing grace for accomplishing that mission. Western tradition sees the sacrament as conferred by the canonically expressed mutual consent of the partners in marriage; Eastern and some recent Western theologians not in communion with the see of Rome view the blessing by a priest as constituting the sacramental action.

Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches



The Latin and Eastern Catholic Churches together form the "Catholic Church", or "Roman Catholic Church", the world's largest single religious body and the largest Christian church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

, comprising over half of all Christians (1.1 billion Christians of 2.1 billion) and nearly one-sixth of the world's population
World population
The world population is the total number of living humans on the planet Earth. As of today, it is estimated to be  billion by the United States Census Bureau...

. Richard McBrien
Richard McBrien
Richard Peter McBrien is the Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He is a priest of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford and the author of several controversial books and articles discussing Catholicism. He is most well known for his authorship of Catholicism...

 would put the proportion even higher, extending it to those who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome only in "degrees". It comprises 23 component "particular church
Particular Church
In Catholic canon law, a Particular Church is an ecclesial community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.There are two kinds of particular Churches:# Local particular Churches ...

es" (also called "rites" in the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Eastern Catholic Churches), all of which acknowledge a primacy of jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome and are in full
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 communion
Communion (Christian)
The term communion is derived from Latin communio . The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as "fellowship". In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with...

 with the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 and each other.

These particular churches or component parts are the Latin Rite or Western Church (which uses a number of different liturgical rites
Latin liturgical rites
Latin liturgical rites used within that area of the Catholic Church where the Latin language once dominated were for many centuries no less numerous than the liturgical rites of the Eastern autonomous particular Churches. Their number is now much reduced...

, of which the Roman Rite
Roman Rite
The Roman Rite is the liturgical rite used in the Diocese of Rome in the Catholic Church. It is by far the most widespread of the Latin liturgical rites used within the Western or Latin autonomous particular Church, the particular Church that itself is also called the Latin Rite, and that is one of...

 is the best known) and 22 Eastern Catholic Churches. Of the latter particular churches, 14 use the Byzantine liturgical rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

. Within the Church as a whole, each "particular Church", whether Eastern or Western, is of equal dignity. Finally, in its official documents, the Church, though made up of several particular Churches, "continues to refer to itself as the 'Catholic Church or, less frequently but consistently, as the 'Roman Catholic Church', owing to its essential link with the Bishop of Rome.

McBrien, in his book Catholicism, disagrees with the Church's usage of referring to itself as "Roman Catholic", saying: "But is 'Catholic' synonymous with 'Roman Catholic'? And is it accurate to refer to the Roman Catholic Church as simply the 'Roman Church'? The answer to both questions is no. The adjective 'Roman' applies more properly to the diocese, or see, of Rome than to the worldwide Communion of Catholic Churches that is in union with the Bishop of Rome. Indeed, it strikes some Catholics as contradictory to call the Church 'Catholic' and 'Roman' at one and the same time. Eastern-rite Catholics, of whom there are more than twenty million, also find the adjective 'Roman' objectionable. In addition to the Latin, or Roman, tradition, there are seven non-Latin, non-Roman ecclesial traditions: Armenian, Byzantine, Coptic, Ethiopian, East Syrian (Chaldean), West Syrian, and Maronite. Each to the Churches with these non-Latin traditions is as Catholic as the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, not all Catholics are Roman Catholic." Thus "to be Catholic—whether Roman or non-Roman—in the ecclesiological sense is to be in full communion with the Bishop of Rome and as such to be an integral part of the Catholic Communion of Churches."

In spite of McBrien's affirmation that, on an official level, what he calls the "Communion of Catholic Churches" always refers to itself as "The Catholic Church", the term "Roman Catholic Church" is in fact, as seen above, used by Popes and departments of the Holy See. The Latin-Rite Archdiocese of Detroit lists eight Eastern (Catholic) Churches, each with its own bishop, as having one or more parishes in what is also the terriory of the Latin archdiocese, yet each is designated as being in "full communion with the Roman Church."

Other traditions


Within Western Christianity, the churches of the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

, Continuing Anglicanism, the Old Catholics, the Liberal Catholic Church
Liberal Catholic Church
The Liberal Catholic Church is a form of Christianity open to theosophical ideas and even reincarnation. It is not connected to the Roman Catholic Church, which considers it heretical and schismatic...

, the Apostolic Catholic Church
Apostolic Catholic Church
The Apostolic Catholic Church is a self-governing church that claims to trace its faith and worship from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ and his Apostles established. The church believes the Trinitarian Doctrine that states that the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit...

 (ACC), the Aglipayans (Philippine Independent Church
Philippine Independent Church
The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, The Philippine Independent Church, (officially the or the IFI, also known as the Philippine Independent Catholic Church or in Ilocano: Siwawayawaya nga Simbaan ti Filipinas (in in Kinaray-a/Hiligaynon: Simbahan Hilway nga...

), the African Orthodox Church
African Orthodox Church
The African Orthodox Church is a primarily African-American denomination founded in the United States in 1921. It has approximately 15 parishes and 5,000 members, down significantly from the time of its greatest strength....

, the Polish National Catholic Church
Polish National Catholic Church
The Polish National Catholic Church is a Christian church founded and based in the United States by Polish-Americans who were Roman Catholic. The PNCC is a breakaway Catholic Church in dialogue with the Catholic Church; it seeks full communion with the Holy See although it differs theologically...

 of America, and many Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic Churches
Independent Catholic churches are Catholic congregations that are not in communion with the Roman Catholic Church or any other churches whose sacraments are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church...

, which emerged directly or indirectly from and have beliefs and practices largely similar to Latin Rite Catholicism, regard themselves as "Catholic" without full
Full communion
In Christian ecclesiology, full communion is a relationship between church organizations or groups that mutually recognize their sharing the essential doctrines....

 communion
Communion (Christian)
The term communion is derived from Latin communio . The corresponding term in Greek is κοινωνία, which is often translated as "fellowship". In Christianity, the basic meaning of the term communion is an especially close relationship of Christians, as individuals or as a Church, with God and with...

 with the Bishop of Rome, whose claimed status and authority they generally reject. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association
The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association , abbreviated CPA, CPCA, or CCPA, is an association of people, established in 1957 by the People's Republic of China's Religious Affairs Bureau to exercise state supervision over mainland China's Catholics...

, a division of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

's Religious Affairs Bureau exercising state supervision over mainland China's Catholics, holds a similar position, while attempting, as with Buddhism and Protestantism, to indoctrinate and mobilize for Communist Party objectives.

Anglicanism



Introductory works on Anglicanism, such as The Study of Anglicanism, typically refer to the character of the Anglican tradition as "Catholic and Reformed", which is in keeping with the understanding of Anglicanism articulated in the Elizabethan Settlement of 1559 and in the works of the earliest standard Anglican divines such as Richard Hooker and Lancelot Andrewes
Lancelot Andrewes
Lancelot Andrewes was an English bishop and scholar, who held high positions in the Church of England during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I and King James I. During the latter's reign, Andrewes served successively as Bishop of Chichester, Ely and Winchester and oversaw the translation of the...

. Yet different strains in Anglicanism, dating back to the English Reformation
English Reformation
The English Reformation was the series of events in 16th-century England by which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church....

, have emphasized either the Reformed, Catholic, or "Reformed Catholic" nature of the tradition.

Anglican theology and ecclesiology has thus come to be typically expressed in three distinct, yet sometimes overlapping manifestations: Anglo-Catholicism
Anglo-Catholicism
The terms Anglo-Catholic and Anglo-Catholicism describe people, beliefs and practices within Anglicanism that affirm the Catholic, rather than Protestant, heritage and identity of the Anglican churches....

 (often called "high church
High church
The term "High Church" refers to beliefs and practices of ecclesiology, liturgy and theology, generally with an emphasis on formality, and resistance to "modernization." Although used in connection with various Christian traditions, the term has traditionally been principally associated with the...

"), Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 (often called "low church
Low church
Low church is a term of distinction in the Church of England or other Anglican churches initially designed to be pejorative. During the series of doctrinal and ecclesiastic challenges to the established church in the 16th and 17th centuries, commentators and others began to refer to those groups...

"), and Latitudinarianism ("broad church
Broad church
Broad church is a term referring to latitudinarian churchmanship in the Church of England, in particular, and Anglicanism, in general. From this, the term is often used to refer to secular political organisations, meaning that they encompass a broad range of opinion.-Usage:After the terms high...

"), whose beliefs and practices fall somewhere between the two. Though all elements within the Anglican Communion
Anglican Communion
The Anglican Communion is an international association of national and regional Anglican churches in full communion with the Church of England and specifically with its principal primate, the Archbishop of Canterbury...

 recite the same creeds, Evangelical Anglicans generally regard the word catholic in the ideal sense given above. In contrast, Anglo-Catholics regard the communion as a component of the whole Catholic Church, in spiritual and historical union with the Roman Catholic, Old Catholic and several Eastern churches. Broad Church Anglicans tend to maintain a mediating view, or consider the matter one of adiaphora
Adiaphora
Adiaphoron is a concept of Stoic philosophy that indicates things outside of moral law—that is, actions that morality neither mandates nor forbids....

. These Anglicans, for example, have agreed in the Porvoo Agreement to interchangeable ministries and full eucharistic communion with Lutherans.

The Catholic nature or strain of the Anglican tradition is expressed doctrinally, ecumenically (chiefly through organisations such as the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission
Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission
The Anglican—Roman Catholic International Commission is an organization which seeks to make ecumenical progress between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion...

), ecclesiologically (through its episcopal governance
Episcopal polity
Episcopal polity is a form of church governance that is hierarchical in structure with the chief authority over a local Christian church resting in a bishop...

 and maintenance of the historical episcopate
Historical episcopate
The episcopate is the collective body of all bishops of a church. In the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Rite Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Old-Catholic, Moravian Church, and Independent Catholic churches as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East, it is held that only a...

), and in liturgy and piety. Anglicans (except neo-evangelicals) maintain belief in the Seven Sacraments
Sacraments of the Catholic Church
The Sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Roman Catholic Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper...

. Many Anglo-Catholics practice Marian devotion, recite the rosary
Rosary
The rosary or "garland of roses" is a traditional Catholic devotion. The term denotes the prayer beads used to count the series of prayers that make up the rosary...

 and the angelus
Angelus
The Angelus is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ The Angelus (Latin for "angel") is a Christian devotion in memory of the Incarnation. The name Angelus is derived from the opening words: Angelus...

, practice Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration
Eucharistic adoration is a practice in the Roman Catholic Church, and in a few Anglican and Lutheran churches, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed to and adored by the faithful....

, and seek the intercession of saint
Saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...

s. In terms of liturgy, most Anglicans use candles on the altar and many churches use incense and sanctus bells in the Eucharist, which is often referred to by the Latin-derived word "Mass" used in the first prayer book and in the American Prayer Book of 1979. In numerous churches the Eucharist is celebrated facing the altar (often with a tabernacle
Church tabernacle
A tabernacle is the fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is "reserved" . A less obvious container, set into the wall, is called an aumbry....

) by a priest assisted by a deacon
Deacon
Deacon is a ministry in the Christian Church that is generally associated with service of some kind, but which varies among theological and denominational traditions...

 and subdeacon
Subdeacon
-Subdeacons in the Orthodox Church:A subdeacon or hypodeacon is the highest of the minor orders of clergy in the Orthodox Church. This order is higher than the reader and lower than the deacon.-Canonical Discipline:...

. Anglicans believe in the Real Presence
Real Presence
Real Presence is a term used in various Christian traditions to express belief that in the Eucharist, Jesus Christ is really present in what was previously just bread and wine, and not merely present in symbol, a figure of speech , or by his power .Not all Christian traditions accept this dogma...

 of Christ in the Eucharist. However different Eucharistic rites or orders contain different, if not necessarily contradictory, understandings of salvation. For this reason, no single strain or manifestation of Anglicanism can speak for the whole, even in ecumenical statements (as issued, for example, by the Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission).

The growth of Anglo-Catholicism is strongly associated with the Oxford Movement
Oxford Movement
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy...

 of the 19th century. Two of its leading lights, John Henry Newman and Henry Edward Manning, both priests, ended up joining the Roman Catholic Church, becoming cardinals
Cardinal (Catholicism)
A cardinal is a senior ecclesiastical official, usually an ordained bishop, and ecclesiastical prince of the Catholic Church. They are collectively known as the College of Cardinals, which as a body elects a new pope. The duties of the cardinals include attending the meetings of the College and...

. Others, like John Keble
John Keble
John Keble was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement, and gave his name to Keble College, Oxford.-Early life:...

, Edward Bouverie Pusey
Edward Bouverie Pusey
Edward Bouverie Pusey was an English churchman and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Christ Church, Oxford. He was one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement.-Early years:...

, and Charles Gore
Charles Gore
Charles Gore was a British theologian and Anglican bishop.-Early life and education:Gore was the third son of the Honourable Charles Alexander Gore, and brother of the fourth Earl of Arran...

 became influential figures in Anglicanism. The current Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England, the symbolic head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, and the diocesan bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. In his role as head of the Anglican Communion, the archbishop leads the third largest group...

, Rowan Williams
Rowan Williams
Rowan Douglas Williams FRSL, FBA, FLSW is an Anglican bishop, poet and theologian. He is the 104th and current Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan of the Province of Canterbury and Primate of All England, offices he has held since early 2003.Williams was previously Bishop of Monmouth and...

, is a patron of the Anglican organisation, Affirming Catholicism
Affirming Catholicism
Affirming Catholicism is a movement operating in several provinces of the Anglican Communion, most notably in the UK, Ireland, the United States and Canada...

, a more liberal movement within Catholic Anglicanism. Conservative Catholic groups also exist within the tradition, such as Forward in Faith
Forward in Faith
Forward in Faith is a movement operating in a number of provinces of the Anglican Communion. It represents a traditionalist strand of Anglo-Catholicism and is characterised by its opposition to the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate and, more recently, to more liberal Anglican...

. There are about 80 million Anglicans in the Anglican Communion, comprising 3.6% of global Christianity.

Protestantism



There are Catholic groups among the traditional Protestant churches. For example, the 20th century "High Church Lutheranism
High Church Lutheranism
"High Church Lutheranism" is the name given in Europe for the 20th century Lutheran movement that emphasizes worship practices and doctrines that are similar to those found within both Roman Catholicism and the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism...

" movement developed an Evangelical Catholicity, combining justification by faith with Catholic doctrine on sacraments, in some cases also restoring lacking Apostolic Succession
Apostolic Succession
Apostolic succession is a doctrine, held by some Christian denominations, which asserts that the chosen successors of the Twelve Apostles, from the first century to the present day, have inherited the spiritual, ecclesiastical and sacramental authority, power, and responsibility that were...

, especially in Germany. Certain Lutheran churches, incluiding the Church of Sweden
Church of Sweden
The Church of Sweden is the largest Christian church in Sweden. The church professes the Lutheran faith and is a member of the Porvoo Communion. With 6,589,769 baptized members, it is the largest Lutheran church in the world, although combined, there are more Lutherans in the member churches of...

 and several small American churches of recent origin — such as the Lutheran Orthodox Church
Lutheran Orthodox Church
The Lutheran Orthodox Church is a very small Lutheran Church in the United States. The church claims Apostolic Succession for its clergy. It does not consider itself a Protestant denomination but an Evangelical Catholic denomination, saying that this was the perspective of Martin Luther, the...

 and the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church
Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church
The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church , formerly the Evangelical Community Church-Lutheran , is a church in the Lutheran Evangelical Catholic tradition. The ALCC claims to be unique among Lutheran churches in that it is of both Lutheran and Anglo-Catholic heritage and has also been significantly...

- consider themselves to be Catholic.

In Reformed churches
Reformed churches
The Reformed churches are a group of Protestant denominations characterized by Calvinist doctrines. They are descended from the Swiss Reformation inaugurated by Huldrych Zwingli but developed more coherently by Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger and especially John Calvin...

 there is a Scoto-Catholic
Scottish Church Society
The Scottish Church Society is a Church of Scotland society founded in 1892.Although always a minority within the Church of Scotland, the Society has at times proved influential. It grew out of the Church Service Society , but the Scottish Church Society does not confine itself to interest in...

 grouping within the Presbyterian Church of Scotland
Church of Scotland
The Church of Scotland, known informally by its Scots language name, the Kirk, is a Presbyterian church, decisively shaped by the Scottish Reformation....

. Such groups point to their churches' continuing adherence to the "Catholic" doctrine of the early Church Councils. The Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland
Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland
The Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland – often known as the Declaratory Articles - were drawn up early in the 20th century to facilitate the union of the Church of Scotland and the United Free Church of Scotland...

 of 1921 defines that church legally as "part of the Holy Catholic or Universal Church".

Roman Catholic views


The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 considers Protestant and Anglican Christians who are not in communion with the See of Rome to be "non-Catholics". It does not consider their churches to be genuine churches and so uses the term "ecclesial communities" to refer to them. It considers a "valid episcopate" and Eucharist as necessary prerequsites for being a church. Because the Roman Catholic Church does not consider these church bodies to have valid episcopal orders capable of celebrating a valid Eucharist, it does not classify them as churches "in the proper sense". Those churches not in communion with the Roman See which consider themselves to be "Catholic" define the word as meaning an adherence to the ancient Catholic beliefs and practices, absent any more recent addition of a requirement for union with the Roman See.

See also


  • Four Marks of the Church
    Four Marks of the Church
    The Four Marks of the Church is a term describing four specific adjectives—one, holy, catholic and apostolic—indicating four major distinctive marks or distinguishing characteristics of the Christian Church...

  • Religious Orders
  • Anglican Catholic Church
    Anglican Catholic Church
    The Anglican Catholic Church is a body of Anglican Christians in the continuing Anglican movement, separate from the Anglican Communion centered on the Archbishop of Canterbury....

  • Anglican Church in North America
  • Arianism
    Arianism
    Arianism is the theological teaching attributed to Arius , a Christian presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt, concerning the relationship of the entities of the Trinity and the precise nature of the Son of God as being a subordinate entity to God the Father...

  • Evangelical Catholic
  • Global Anglican Future Conference
    Global Anglican Future Conference
    The Global Anglican Future Conference was a seven day conference of conservative Anglican bishops and leaders held in Jerusalem in June 2008 to address the rise of secularism in the Church, HIV/AIDS and poverty. As a result of the Conference, the Jerusalem Declaration was issued, and the...

  • Neo-Lutheranism
    Neo-Lutheranism
    Neo-Lutheranism was a 19th century revival movement within Lutheranism which began with the Pietist driven Erweckung, or Awakening, and developed in reaction against theological rationalism and pietism...

  • Porvoo Agreement
  • Apostolic Constitution
    Apostolic constitution
    An apostolic constitution is the highest level of decree issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the...

     Anglicanorum Coetibus
  • Traditionalist Catholic
    Traditionalist Catholic
    Traditionalist Catholics are Roman Catholics who believe that there should be a restoration of many or all of the liturgical forms, public and private devotions and presentations of Catholic teachings which prevailed in the Catholic Church before the Second Vatican Council...

  • Criticism of the Catholic Church
    Criticism of the Catholic Church
    Criticism of the Catholic Church includes critical observations made about the current or historical Catholic Church, in its actions, teachings, omissions, structure, or nature; theological disagreements would be covered on a denominational basis. Criticisms may regard the concepts of papal primacy...

  • Anti-Catholicism
    Anti-Catholicism
    Anti-Catholicism is a generic term for discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed against Catholicism, and especially against the Catholic Church, its clergy or its adherents...


Further reading

  • Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam by Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Basic Books, 0465006345, 2006).
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church English translation (Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000). ISBN 1-57455-110-8
  • H. W. Crocker III, Triumph—The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church: A 2,000-Year History (Prima Publishing, 2001). ISBN 0-7615-2924-1
  • Leo J. Trese, The Faith Explained Third Edition (Fides/Claretian, 2001). ISBN 1-889334-29-4
  • Eamon Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (Yale Nota Bene, 2002). ISBN 0-300-09165-6
  • K. O. Johnson, Why Do Catholics Do That? (Ballantine, 1994). ISBN 0-345-39726-6
  • Ludwig von Pastor
    Ludwig von Pastor
    Ludwig Pastor, later Ludwig von Pastor, Freiherr von Campersfelden , was a German historian and a diplomat for Austria. He became one of the most important Roman Catholic historians of his time and is most notable for his History of the Popes...

    , History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages; Drawn from the Secret Archives of the Vatican
    Vatican Secret Archives
    The Vatican Secret Archives , located in Vatican City, is the central repository for all of the acts promulgated by the Holy See. The Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, having primal incumbency until death, owns the archives until the next appointed Papal successor...

     and other original sources, 40 vols. St. Louis, B.Herder 1898
  • Basic Catechism Seventh Revised Edition (Pauline Books & Media, 1999). ISBN 0-8198-0623-4
  • Peter Lynch, The Church's Story: A History of Pastoral Care and Vision (Pauline Books & Media, 2005). ISBN 0-8198-1575-6
  • Robert B. Ekelund Jr.
    Robert Ekelund
    Robert Burton Ekelund, Jr. is an American economist.-Education:Originally from Galveston, Texas, Ekelund attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, earning his B.B.A. in economics in 1962 and his M.A. in economics and history the next year...

     and Robert D. Tollison
    Robert Tollison
    Robert D. Tollison is an American economist who specializes in public choice theory.-Education:A native of Spartanburg, South Carolina, Tollison attended local Wofford College where he earned an A.B. in business administration and economics in 1964. He completed an M.A. in economics at the...

    , Economic Origins of Roman Christianity (University Of Chicago Press, 2011)
  • Robert Kugelmann, Psychology and Catholicism: Contested Boundaries (Cambridge University Press, 2011)

External links