Portal:Catholicism

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Catholicism is the entirety of the beliefs and practices of the Western 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 St.Ignatius of Antioch about A.D. 107 to the church of Smyrna, whose bishop, Polycarp, visited Ignatius during his journey to Rome as a prisoner: in his letter to Smyrna, Ignatius 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." (Letter to the Smyrnaeans, 8) His use of "Catholic Church" suggests that it was already in current use, for he sees no need to explain himself and uses the expression as one already known to his readers. It gives expression to St. Paul's teaching that all baptized in Christ are one body in Christ (Gal.3:28; Eph.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 Jewish 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 under the Roman Emperor Theodosius on February 27 AD 380 in the Theodosian Code XVI.i.2: "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."

[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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Cathedral of Saint Mary in Miami, Florida

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Miami is a particular church of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States. Its ecclesiastic territory includes Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties in Florida. The archdiocese is the metropolitan see for the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Florida. The current archbishop is John Favalora. As archbishop, Favalora also serves as pastor of the Cathedral of Saint Mary, the mother church of the archdiocese. Also serving are 428 priests, 160 Permanent Deacons, 50 Religious Brothers and 300 Religious Sisters who are members of various Roman Catholic religious orders. These priests, deacons and religious serve a Catholic population in South Florida of 1,300,000 in 118 parishes and missions.Because of the vast number of immigrants, Catholic Mass is offered in at least a dozen languages in parishes throughout the archdiocese.Educational institutions consist of two schools for the disabled, 60 elementary/middle schools, 13 high schools, two universities, and two seminaries.
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Credit: Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne

The incipit of the Gospel of Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The manuscript was produced in Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century, and is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art. It is currently in the collection of the British Library.

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James I of England

James VI and I (19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scots as James VI, and King of England and King of Ireland as James I. He ruled in Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567, when he was only one year old, succeeding his mother Mary, Queen of Scots, who had been forced to abdicate. Regents governed during his minority, which ended officially in 1578, though he did not gain full control of his government until 1581. On 24 March 1603, as James I, he succeeded the last Tudor monarch of England and Ireland, Elizabeth I, who died without issue. He then ruled England, Scotland and Ireland for 22 years, until his death at the age of 58. James achieved most of his aims in Scotland but faced great difficulties in England, including the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 and repeated conflicts with the English Parliament. According to a tradition originating with historians of the mid-seventeenth-century, James's taste for political absolutism, his financial irresponsibility, and his cultivation of unpopular favourites established the foundation for the English Civil War.
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Ruins of the Old Church of Banagher, County Londonderry, in 1833

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| Pope Saint Gregory I or Gregory the Great (c. 540 – March 12, 604) was pope from September 3, 590 until his death. Gregory is a Doctor of the Church and one of the four great Latin Fathers of the Church.

The date of Gregory's birth is estimated to be around the year 540. He was born into a wealthy noble Roman family. Gregory's great-great grandfather had been Pope Felix III. Gregory's mother Silvia herself is a saint. While his father lived, Gregory took part in Roman political life and at one point was prefect of the city. However, on his father's death, he converted his family home, into a monastery dedicated to the apostle, St. Andrew. Gregory himself entered as a monk.

Eventually, Pope Pelagius II ordained him a deacon and solicited his help in trying to heal the schism of the Three Chapters in northern Italy. In 579, Pelagius chose Gregory as his apocrisiarius or ambassador to the imperial court in Constantinople. On his return to Rome Gregory acted as first secretary to Pelagius, and was elected Pope to succeed him.

When he became Pope in 590. At that time the See had not exerted effective leadership in the West since the pontificate of Gelasius.

Gregory's action in appointing governors to cities, providing munitions of war, giving instructions to generals, sending ambassadors to the Lombard king, and even negotiating a peace without consulting the Emperor's legate, Romanus, Exarch of Ravenna, mark the decisive acts that revealed the papacy as an independent temporal power.

In line with his predecessors, Gregory asserted the primacy of the office of the bishop of Rome.

Gregory's relations with the Merovingian kings laid the foundations for the papal alliance with the Franks that would transform the Germanic kingship into an agency for the Christianization of the heart of Europe — consequences that remained in the future. He is also known in the East as a tireless worker for communication and understanding between East and West. He is also credited with increasing the power of the papacy.


Attributes: in full pontifical robes with the tiara, a dove whispering in Gregory's ear
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Augustine as depicted by Sandro Botticelli

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Pope John XXIII

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