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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest 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, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Catholicism is based on the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and Third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.

Of its seven sacraments the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes Divine Mercy, sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.

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Coat of Arms during the Vacancy of the Holy See

The Papal conclave of 2005 was convened due to the death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005. After his death, the cardinals who were in Rome met and set a date for the beginning of the conclave to elect John Paul's successor. The conclave began on April 18, 2005 and ended on the following day after four ballots. Eligible members of the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church (those who were less than 80 years of age at the time of the death of Pope John Paul II) met and elected Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as the new Pope. After accepting his election, he took the regnal name Pope Benedict XVI.Proceedings on April 18 consisted of a morning Mass for the Election of the Roman Pontiff (Latin Pro Eligendo Romano Pontifice). In the afternoon the Cardinal electors assembled in the Hall of Blessings in St Peter's Basilica and from there went in solemn procession to the Sistine Chapel, where, after the singing of the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, each Cardinal took the prescribed oath.

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6th century mosaic in Ravenna portrays Jesus dressed as a philosopher king in a cloak of Tyrian purple. He appears as the Pantokrator enthroned as in the Book of Revelation, with the characteristic Christian cross inscribed in the halo behind his head.

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Dunstan in The Little Lives of the Saints, illustrated by Charles Robinson in 1904

Dunstan (c.909–19 May 988) was an abbot of Glastonbury, a bishop of Worcester, a bishop of London, and an archbishop of Canterbury who was later canonized as a saint. His work restored monastic life in England and reformed the English Church. His 11th century biographer, Osbern, himself an artist and scribe, states that Dunstan was skilled in "making a picture and forming letters", as were other clergy of his age who reached senior rank. Dunstan served as an important minister of state to several English kings. He was the most popular saint in England for nearly two centuries, having gained fame for the many stories of his greatness. Adding to Dunstan's myth was his legendary cunning in dealing with the Devil. As a young boy, Dunstan studied under the Irish monks who then occupied the ruins of Glastonbury abbey.

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Our Lady of Atonement Cathedral

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Mary of Magdala at the foot of the Cross during the Crucifixion
Mary Magdalene, or Mary of Magdala, is described in the New Testament as one of the most important women in the movement of Jesus throughout his ministry. According to Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, Jesus cleansed her of "seven demons". Mary was a devoted follower of Jesus, entering into the close circle of those taught by Jesus during his Galilean ministry. She became prominent during the last days, accompanying Jesus during his travels and following him to the end. Mary Magdalene is the leader of a group of women disciples who are present at the cross, when the male disciples (excepting John the Beloved) have fled, and at his burial. According to all four Gospels in the Christian New Testament, she was the first person to see the resurrected Christ. Mary Magdalene is referred to in early Christian writings as "the apostle to the apostles". According to Ambrose in De virginitate, Mary Magdalene was a virgin after she witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Mary Magdalene is considered by the Catholic Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran churches to be a saint, with a feast day of July 22.
Attributes: alabaster box of ointment, long hair, at the foot of the cross, holding a red egg
Patronage: apothecaries; Atrani, Italy; Casamicciola Terme, Ischia; contemplative life; converts; glove makers; hairdressers; penitent sinners; people ridiculed for their piety; perfumeries; pharmacists; reformed prostitutes; sexual temptation; tanners; women

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Robert Bellarmine, SJ, Doctor of the Church
Robert Bellarmine Decree on the Bishops' Pastoral Office


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Divine Mercy

  • January 22-27, 2019: World Youth Day 2019 (Spanish: Jornada Mundial de la Juventud 2019) was the 16th World Youth Day, an international event organized by the Catholic Church and focused on faith and youth. Taking place 22–27 January in Panama City, Panama, it was the first of its kind celebrated in Central America. Pope Francis announced the theme for World Youth Day 2019: I am the servant of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word. (Lk 1:38)
  • March 19, 2018: Gaudete et exsultate ('Rejoice and Be Glad'; from Matthew 5:12) is the third apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, dated on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, subtitled "on the call to holiness in today's world". It addresses the universal call to holiness, with a focus "to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time".
  • January 19, 2018: Pope Francis visited Peru and was met by 4,000 members of the indigenous communities from the Amazon rainforest. He said that the people of the Amazon were threatened now more than ever, and questioned the conservationist policies that affect the Peruvian rainforest. In Puerto Maldonado, he asked for the indigenous communities to be recognized as partners instead of as minorities. He called on the Peruvian people to put an end to practices that degrade women, and criticized the sterilization of indigenous women. From Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region.
  • July 26, 2017: The Holy Name of Jesus cathedral in Raleigh, North Carolina was dedicated. The groundbreaking took place on January 3, 2015.



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