Portal:Catholicism

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The dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

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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Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul in Ulaan Baatar

The Roman Catholic Church in Mongolia is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. There are only about 760 Roman Catholics in the country who are served by four parishes, three in the capital Ulaanbaatar. Roman Catholicism was first introduced in the 13th century during Mongol empire, but died out with the demise of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368. New missionary activity only set in after the Opium war of the mid-19th century. A mission was founded for Outer Mongolia, giving Mongolia its first Roman Catholic jurisdiction, but all work ceased within a year when a communist regime came to power. With the introduction of democracy in 1991, Roman Catholic missionaries returned and rebuilt the church from scratch. As of 2007, there is an Apostolic Prefecture, a bishop, four parishes, and diplomatic relations between the Holy See and Mongolia since 1992.
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The Seven Sacraments
by Rogier van der Weyden (ca.1448)

"The seven sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses. They assist individuals in their spiritual progress and growth in holiness.

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William Edington, Winchester Cathedral effigy.

William Edington (d. October 6, 1366) was an English bishop and administrator. He served as bishop of Winchester from 1346 until his death, keeper of the wardrobe from 1341 to 1344, treasurer from 1344 to 1356, and finally as chancellor from 1356 until he retired from royal administration in 1363. Edington’s reforms of the administration — in particular of royal finances — had wide-ranging consequences, and contributed to the English military efficiency in the early stages of the Hundred Years' War. As bishop of Winchester he was responsible for starting an extensive rebuilding of Winchester Cathedral, and for founding Edington Priory, the church of which still stands today.His parents were Roger and Amice of Edington near Westbury, Wiltshire. Though it has been claimed that he was educated at Oxford, there seems to be no support for this.
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View of the ruined cloisters and South façade of the church with rose window and bell tower.

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Feast Day of November 24


The Vietnamese Martyrs also known as the Martyrs of Tonkin, Martyrs of Annam or Martyrs of IndoChina, are saints on the General Roman Calendar canonized by Pope John Paul II. Their feast day is 24 November, although several of these saints have another memorial day as they were beatified and on the calendar prior to the canonization of the group.

The earliest martyrs mentioned in written sources are the Spanish Dominicans Francisco Gil de Federich and Alonzo Lenziana, who arrived to the country about 1580. Vincent Liêm, the first Indo-Chinese Dominican to be martyred, ministered to his countrymen for fourteen years before being beheaded. The first Vietnamese diocesan priests, John Dat and Emmanuel Triêu, suffered martyrdom in 1798.

It is not known precisely how many Catholics died for their faith between 1516 when the first Portuguese missionaries arrived in what is now Vietnam and the 20th century (about 130,000 to 300,000 Vietnamese martyrs were killed); however, John Paul II decided to canonize those whose names are known and unknown, giving them a single feast day. A representative sample of 117 martyrs—including 96 Vietnamese, 11 Spanish Dominicans, and 10 French members of the Paris Society for Foreign Missions—were beatified on four separate occasions in 1900, 1906, 1909, and 1951. All these 117 Vietnamese Martyrs were canonized on 19 June 1988 and a young Vietnamese Martyr, Andrew Phú Yên was beatified in March 2000 by Pope John Paul II.

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Henry Cardinal Manning, Archbishop of Westminster

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