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The dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

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

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

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

— Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8

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

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

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

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Holy Name Cathedral on State Street in Chicago

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. The Archdiocese of Chicago is one of the largest dioceses in the nation by population and comprises Cook and Lake counties, covering 1,411 square miles (3,653 km²) of Illinois. The original Diocese of Chicago was created on November 28, 1842, and was elevated to the status of an archdiocese on September 10, 1880. On September 27, 1908, the Diocese of Rockford was broken off from the Archdiocese, and to create the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois on December 11, 1948, territory was taken from the Peoria, Rockford and Chicago dioceses. The Archbishop of Chicago concurrently serves as the metropolitan bishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Chicago, whose suffragan bishops are the bishops of Belleville, Joliet, Peoria, Rockford, and Springfield.

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Credit: Diliff/Fir0002

The chapel of the Palace of Versailles, one of the palace's grandest interiors. Located in Versailles, France, Versailles is famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy which Louis XIV espoused. Originally the royal hunting lodge when he decided to move there in 1660, the building was expanded over the next few decades to become the largest palace in Europe. Louis XIV officially moved in 1682 and the Court of Versailles was the centre of power in Ancien Régime France until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in 1789.

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Thurstan, or Turstin (c. 1070–February 6, 1140) was a medieval Archbishop of York. The son of a priest, he served King William II of England and King Henry I of England before his election to the see of York in 1114. Once elected, his consecration was delayed for five years while he fought attempts by the Archbishop of Canterbury to assert authority over York. Eventually, he was consecrated by the pope and allowed to return to England. While archbishop, he secured two new suffragan bishops for his province. When King Henry I died, Thurstan supported Henry's nephew Stephen of Blois as king. Thurstan also defended the northern part of England from invasion by the Scots, taking a leading part in organizing the English forces at the Battle of the Standard. Shortly before his death, Thurstan resigned from his see and took the habit of a Cluniac monk.Thurstan was the son of a canon of St Paul's in London named Anger or Auger who held the prebend of Cantlers. Another son of Anger, Audoen, was later Bishop of Évreux.

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St John the Baptist's Church

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Statue of St. Patrick at Hill of Tara, Ireland.

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius, Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, working in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he actually worked and no link can be made with Patrick and any church. By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.The available body of evidence does not allow the dates of Patrick's life to be fixed with certainty, but it appears that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century.
Patronage: Ireland, Nigeria, Montserrat, Engineers

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