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The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church consists of 24 particular churches and almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies around the world. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome (and whose titles also include Vicar of Jesus Christ and Successor of St. Peter), is the chief pastor of the church, entrusted with the universal Petrine ministry of unity and correction. The church's administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, a tiny enclave of Rome, of which the pope is head of state.
The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in 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 operates thousands of Catholic schools, hospitals, and orphanages around the world, and is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organisations. (Full article...)
A cardinal-nephew (Latin: cardinalis nepos; Spanish: valido de su tío; French: prince de fortune) is a cardinal elevated by a pope who is that cardinal's uncle, or more generally, his relative. The practice of creating cardinal-nephews originated in the Middle Ages, and reached its apex during the 16th and 17th centuries Pope Boniface IX, the second pope of the Western Schism, did not appoint cardinal-nephews. Until Pope Innocent XII, the only other exceptions were: Pope Innocent XI (who attempted to abolish the practice), popes who did not appoint cardinals (Pope Pius III, Pope Marcellus II, Pope Urban VII, Pope Leo XI), and Pope Adrian VI (who appointed one cardinal).The institution of the cardinal-nephew evolved over seven centuries, tracking developments in the history of the Papacy and the styles of individual popes. From 1566 until 1692, a cardinal-nephew held the curial office of the Superintendent of the Ecclesiastical State, known as the Cardinal Nephew, and thus the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. The curial office of the Cardinal Nephew as well as the institution of the cardinal-nephew declined as the power of the Cardinal Secretary of State increased and the temporal power of popes decreased in the 17th and 18th centuries.
Asser (d. 908/909) was a Welsh monk from St. David's, Dyfed, who became Bishop of Sherborne in the 890s. In about 885 he was asked by Alfred the Great to leave St. David's and join the circle of learned men which Alfred was recruiting for his court. After spending a year at Caerwent due to an illness, he accepted. In 893 Asser wrote a biography of Alfred, called the Life of King Alfred. The manuscript survived to modern times in only one copy, which was part of the Cotton library. That copy was destroyed in a fire in 1731, but transcriptions that had been made earlier, allied with material from Asser's work that was included by other early writers, have enabled the work to be reconstructed. The biography is now the main source of information about Alfred's life, and provides far more information about Alfred than is known about any other early English ruler. Asser also assisted Alfred in his translation of Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care, and possibly with other works. Asser is sometimes cited as a source for the legend of Alfred having founded the University of Oxford, which is now known to be false. A short passage making this claim was interpolated by William Camden into his 1603 edition of Asser's Life. Doubts have also been raised periodically about whether the entire Life is a forgery, written by a slightly later writer, but it is now almost universally accepted as genuine.
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Feast Day of May 17
||Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.
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