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The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:
Catholicism – largest denomination of Christianity. Catholicism encompasses the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.
Catholicism can be described as all of the following:
History of the Catholic Church – the church says that its bishops are the successors to the Apostles of Jesus, and that the Bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope, is the sole successor to Saint Peter, who is believed to have been appointed head of the church in the New Testament and who is said to have ministered in Rome.
Catholic Church hierarchy – the Catholic Church is composed of dioceses, each overseen by a bishop. Dioceses are divided into individual communities called parishes, each staffed by one or more priests. Priests may be assisted by deacons.
Catechism of the Catholic Church – catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts.
Sacraments of the Catholic Church – Roman Catholic teaching holds that there are seven sacraments which Christ instituted and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rituals that Catholics see as signs of God's presence and effective channels of God's grace to all those who receive them with the proper disposition (ex opere operato).
Mariology – theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically presents teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Church on Mary.
Doctor of the Church – title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.
Pope Benedict XVI – former pope of the Catholic Church, having served from 2005 until his resignation in 2013. Benedict was elected on 19 April 2005 in a papal conclave following the death of Pope John Paul II and was inaugurated on 24 April 2005.
Religious institute – "a society in which members...pronounce public vows...and lead a life of brothers or sisters in common".
Particular Church – In Catholic canon law, a particular Church (Latin: ecclesia particularis) is an ecclesiastical community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.
The Latin Church is the largest sui iuris particular Church within the Catholic Church and the only non-Eastern one.
Liturgy – customary public worship by a specific religious group, according to its particular beliefs, customs and traditions. See Catholic liturgy.
Eastern Christianity comprises church families that developed - outside the Occident - from the original cradle of Christianity in Asia, with major bodies including the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, the Eastern Catholic churches, Protestant Eastern Christian Churches who are Protestant in theology but Eastern Christian in cultural practice, and the denominations descended from the Church of the East.
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The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, or simply the Eastern Churches and in some historical cases referred to pejoratively as Uniates, are twenty-three Eastern Christian sui iuris (autonomous) particular churches of the Catholic Church, in full communion with the pope in Rome. They are united with one another and with the Latin or Roman Church. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops and his infallibility when speaking ex cathedra. The majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches are groups from the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the historic Church of the East that have returned to communion with the Bishop of Rome due to extenuating political and cultural circumstances influencing the churches' relations. As such the five liturgical traditions of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Alexandrian Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite, and the West Syriac Rite, are shared with other Eastern Christian churches. Consequently, the Catholic Church consists of six liturgical rites; including the aforementioned five liturgical traditions of the Eastern Catholic Churches along with the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church.
Traditionalist Catholicism is a set of religious beliefs and practices comprising customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private, individual and collective devotions, and presentations of Catholic Church teachings that were in vogue in the decades that immediately preceded the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is associated in particular with attachment to the 1570–1970 form of the Roman Rite Mass, which traditionalist Catholics call the Traditional Latin Mass or TLM or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
The Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration is the Holy See.
The Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, also known in the United States as the Byzantine Catholic Church, is an Eastern Catholic church that uses the Byzantine Rite for its liturgies, laws, and cultural identity. It is one of the 23 Eastern Catholic churches that are in full communion with the Holy See. There are two main communities within the church: American and European. In the United States, the Byzantine Catholic Metropolitan Church of Pittsburgh is self-governing. In Europe, Ruthenian Catholics are immediately subject to the Holy See. The European branch has an eparchy in Ukraine and another in the Czech Republic.
The Russian Greek Catholic Church, or Russian Catholic Church, is a sui iuris Byzantine Rite Eastern Catholic Church. Historically, it represents the first reunion of members of the Russian Orthodox Church with the Roman Catholic Church. It is now in full communion with and subject to the authority of the Pope as defined by Eastern canon law.
Catholic Mariology refers to Mariology—the systematic study of the person of Mary, mother of Jesus, and of her place in the Economy of Salvation—within Catholic theology. Mary is seen as having a singular dignity above the saints. The Catholic Church teaches that she was conceived without original sin, therefore receiving a higher level of veneration than all other saints. Catholic Mariology thus studies not only her life but also the veneration of her in daily life, prayer, hymns, art, music, and architecture in modern and ancient Christianity throughout the ages.
The Roman Rite is the main liturgical rite of the Latin Church, the main particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It is the most widespread liturgical rite in Christianity as a whole. The Roman Rite gradually became the predominant rite used by the Western Church, developed out of many local variants from Early Christianity on, not amounting to distinctive rites, that existed in the medieval manuscripts, but have been progressively reduced since the invention of printing, most notably since the reform of liturgical law in the 16th century at the behest of the Council of Trent (1545–63) and more recently following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).
Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.
Catholic theology is the understanding of Catholic doctrine or teachings, and results from the studies of theologians. It is based on canonical scripture, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. This article serves as an introduction to various topics in Catholic theology, with links to where fuller coverage is found.
Mariology is the theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically relates teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Church on Mary. In the context of social history, Mariology may be broadly defined as the study of devotion to and thinking about Mary throughout the history of Christianity.
According to the Catholic tradition, the history of the Catholic Church begins with Jesus Christ and his teachings and the Catholic Church is a continuation of the early Christian community established by the Disciples of Jesus. The Church considers its bishops to be the successors to Jesus's apostles and the Church's leader, the Bishop of Rome to be the sole successor to Saint Peter, who ministered in Rome in the first century AD, after his appointment by Jesus as head of the church. By the end of the 2nd century, bishops began congregating in regional synods to resolve doctrinal and policy issues. By the 3rd century, the bishop of Rome began to act as a court of appeals for problems that other bishops could not resolve.
Anglican–Roman Catholic dialogue is the historical communication between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church, through their ecumenical relations. These were notably shaped subsequent to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Christianity:
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
The Italo-Albanian Catholic Church, Italo-Albanian Byzantine Catholic Church or Italo-Albanian Church, is one of the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches which, together with the Latin Church, compose the Catholic Church. It is a particular church that is autonomous (sui juris), using the Byzantine Rite and the ancient Greek language or the Albanian language for the liturgy, whose Italo-Albanian (Arbëreshë) members are concentrated in Southern Italy, and Sicily.
A particular church is an ecclesiastical community of faithful headed by a bishop, as defined by Catholic canon law and ecclesiology. A liturgical rite depends on the particular church the bishop belongs to. Thus "particular church" refers to an institution, and "liturgical rite" to its practices.
The Latin Church, also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, employing the Latin liturgical rites. It is one of 24 such churches, the 23 others forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome, the pope – traditionally also called the Patriarch of the West – with his cathedra in this role at the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome, Italy. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity through its direct leadership under the Holy See, founded by Peter and Paul, according to Catholic tradition.