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". 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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King Henry VIII of England

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.These events were part of a wider process, the European Protestant Reformation, a religious and political movement which affected the practice of Christianity across the whole of Europe during this period. Many factors contributed to the ferment: the decline of feudalism and the rise of nationalism, the rise of the common law, the invention of the printing press and increased circulation of the Bible texts, the transmission of new knowledge and ideas not only amongst scholars but amongst merchants and artisans also; but the story of why and how the different states of Europe adhered to different forms of Protestantism, or remained faithful to Rome or allowed different regions within states to come to different conclusions (as they did) is specific to each state and the causes are not agreed.
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Joan of Arc, or Jeanne d'Arc in French ,(c. 1412 – May 30, 1431) was a 15th century national heroine of France. She was tried and executed for heresy when she was only 19 years old. The judgment was broken by the Pope and she was declared innocent and a martyr 24 years later. She was beatified in 1909 and canonized as a saint in 1920.

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A millennium-old Byzantine mosaic of Saint John Chrysostom, Hagia Sophia

John Chrysostom (349– ca. 407, Greek: Ιωάννης ο Χρυσόστομος, Latin: Ioannes Chrysostomos) was the archbishop of Constantinople. He is known for his eloquence in preaching and public speaking, his denunciation of abuse of authority by both ecclesiastical and political leaders, the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, and his ascetic sensibilities. After his death (or, according to some sources, during his life) he was given the Greek surname chrysostomos, meaning "golden mouthed", rendered in English as Chrysostom.The Orthodox Church and Eastern Catholic Churches honor him as a saint (feast days: November 13 and January 27) and count him among the Three Holy Hierarchs (feast day, January 30), together with Saints Basil the Great and Gregory the Theologian. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a saint and a Doctor of the Church.
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Peirol from a 14th-century chansonnier.

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Wolfgang of Regensburg or Saint Wolfgang (c. 934 - October 31, 994) was bishop of Regensburg in Bavaria from Christmas 972 until his death. He is a saint of the Roman Catholic church (canonized in 1052). He is regarded as one of the three great German saints of the 10th century, the other two being Saint Ulrich and Saint Conrad of Constance.

Wolfgang was descended from the family of the Swabian Counts of Pfullingen. When seven years old he had an ecclesiastic as tutor at home; later he attended the celebrated monastic school at Reichenau Abbey.

Here he formed a strong friendship with Henry of Babenberg, brother of Bishop Poppo of Würzburg, whom he followed to Würzburg in order to attend the lectures of the noted Italian grammarian, Stephen of Novara, at the cathedral school.

After Henry was made Archbishop of Trier in 956, he summoned Wolfgang, who became a teacher in the cathedral school of Trier, and also laboured for the reform of the archdiocese, despite the hostility with which his efforts were met.

After the death of Archbishop Henry of Trier in 964, Wolfgang entered the Benedictine order in the Abbey of Maria Einsiedeln, Switzerland, and was ordained priest by Saint Ulrich in 968.

After their defeat in the Battle of the Lechfeld (955), a victory gained with the aid of Saint Ulrich, the heathen Magyars settled in ancient Pannonia. Wolfgang, according to the abbey annals, was "sent to the Magyars" as the most suitable man to evangelize them.

After the death of Bishop Michael of Regensburg (September 23, 972) Bishop Piligrim obtained from the emperor the appointment of Wolfgang as the new bishop (Christmas, 972). Wolfgang's services in this new position were of the highest importance, not only for the diocese, but also for the cause of civilization. As Bishop of Regensburg, Wolfgang became the tutor of Emperor Saint Henry II, who learned from him the principles which governed his saintly and energetic life.

He took part in the various imperial diets, and, in the autumn of 978, accompanied the Emperor Otto II on his campaign to Paris, and took part in the great Diet of Verona in June 983. He was a success by Gebhard I.

Towards the end of his life Saint Wolfgang withdrew as a hermit to a solitary spot, now the Wolfgangsee ("Wolfgang's Lake") in the Salzkammergut region of Upper Austria, apparently on account of a political dispute, but probably in the course of a journey of inspection to Mondsee Abbey which was under the direction of the bishops of Regensburg. He was discovered by a hunter and brought back to Regensburg.

While travelling on the Danube to Pöchlarn in Lower Austria, he fell ill at the village of Pupping, which is between Eferding and the market town of Aschach near Linz, and at his request was carried into the chapel of Saint Othmar at Pupping, where he died.


Attributes: forcing the devil to help him to build a church; episcopal dress; depicted with an axe in the right hand and the crozier in the left; or as a hermit in the wilderness being discovered by a hunter.
Patronage: apoplexy; carpenters and wood carvers; paralysis; Regensburg, Germany; stomach diseases; strokes
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Pope Leo X

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