Talk:History of the Catholic Church/Archive 1

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Archive 1

History of Early Christianity

Xandar, please give your reasons for continually changing the "Main:history of Early Christianity". That article covers, in much greater depth, all the material in the section. Johnbod (talk) 16:02, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Template: History of the Catholic Church

I finished today the Template: History of the Catholic Church. Friend Carlaude attempted to rename to Roman Catholic, and then redirected the new template to his Template:Christian History

  • 15:27, 10 July 2008 (hist) (diff) Template:History of the Catholic Church‎ (Template:Christian History)

No need to comment on this. The history of the Catholic Church is of course much more than the history of Roman Church. We will deal with that later. I would be interested in your comments and improvments on the two hour old template. Thank You. --Ambrosius007 (talk) 16:33, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

This was only because of Ambrosius007 constant efforts to add the {{Template:History of the Catholic Church‎}} name everywhere. I have asked him to do so but still no answer. --Carlaude (talk) 18:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
The title should match that of the main article. As long as the article is officially titled Roman Catholic Church, then the template should be called Template:History of the Roman Catholic Church. On a quick glance, I noticed that some of the titles don't match the articles and use a form that may not be obvious to nonCatholics. For example, why is Second Vatican Council called Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican? Karanacs (talk) 17:51, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
The longer names are the "offical" names and also serve to confuse-- as you point out. The only reason seems to be a need to push an RC POV. I have already fixed them. --Carlaude (talk) 18:11, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
I took a quick look, and these are my first impressions. I suspect we will need to discuss each set of links separately, either here or on the template talk page. Under General, I'd add Role of the Roman Catholic Church in civilization.
I think there is too much information in much of the rest of it. It seems unnecessary, to me, to include pieces of the Church just because they were founded in that period (such as Swiss Guards). In my opinion, this should be restricted to events or people that had a significant impact on the church at the time.
Among the links I think are most likely to warrant being left off are Battle of Milvian Bridge, Cluny, Cîteaux Abbey, Avignon (why not Avignon Papacy?), Fall of Constantinople, Swiss Guards, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Thomas More, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Battle of Lepanto, Oratory of Saint Philip Neri, Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, Our Lady of Fatima. Where should the discussion take place? Would it be all right with everyone to put up one time period of links at a time to discuss? Karanacs (talk) 18:05, 10 July 2008 (UTC)
Obviously, a 2000 year history leaves room for judgement. Official titles are the norm here, but if shorter ones do exist such as Vatican II, much better. Yes, some entries should be deleted or replace, while others are still missing, such as Thomas Aquinas.--Ambrosius007 (talk) 07:23, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
Generally, I agree with Karen; things that were important for the Church, like the Fall of Constantinople, but where the article hardly mentions the RCC, should not be there. Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican is somewhat POV anyway, as it was only "Catholic eucumenical". Art in Roman Catholicism should be there, and more general historical articles - Hiberno-Scottish mission - and fewer biographies. Johnbod (talk) 13:28, 11 July 2008 (UTC)
I'm going to move this discussion over to Template talk:History of the Catholic Church. Karanacs (talk) 13:44, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Copied over - please continue there. Johnbod (talk) 15:42, 11 July 2008 (UTC) I hate to be the first person to say this, but there is no proof that the Church that Jesus set up was the Catholic Church. In all reality, the Catholic Church was started in (about) 325 A.D., about 300 years after Jesus died, and about 275 years after the death of the Apostle Peter. How can Peter be the first Pope of a church that hadn't been "invented" yet? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:39, 10 March 2009 (UTC)


All controversies should be listed at the bottom and not the beginning of the articles. Unless we have evidence to the contrary that the church did not start with Apostle Peter, then the article should simply state the truth. No one questions that Islam was founded by Muhammed, why do people question that Christ founded the Catholic church?Benkenobi18 (talk) 08:01, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Peter and the Keys

I've excised this portion entirely. The picture shows Peter and the Keys, you need to have a discussion about what Apostolic succession is rather then the mass of caveats. You need to express what the church teaches about apostolic succession. Some of this stuff caon come back, but the majority of it has to go.

This is a history article Apostolic Succession has its own article; I have restored the section. Johnbod (talk) 12:11, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
Still need a discussion of Peter and the Keys. You have the wonderful picture, the start of the Catholic church is when Christ himself tells Peter that on this rock, he will build his church. I must say the article is much improved from previous, but you still need to say that Catholic doctrine states that the church began at this point. Benkenobi18 (talk) 07:34, 31 October 2008 (UTC)

History of the Roman Catholic Church

Various people seem to want these edits broken up. This I am doing. Please do not revert them all at once-- they are done for different but important reasons.--Carlaude (talk) 16:38, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

Vatican II and beyond‎

Vatican II and beyond‎ is a new main article which incorporates all existing texts plus a background introduction. It turned out that almost a third of the history article was dedicated to the years since 1962. The article is now shorter than ever, allowing for badly needed additions, for example for 18th, 19th and 20th century history. There are obvious shortcomings in the new structure, which need to be improved. Some of the headings do not fully reflect the text, but they will in a few days time. Please feel free to improve. Thank you --Ambrosius007 (talk) 19:28, 9 August 2008 (UTC)

Article is much more balanced, however, I'd like to see if we can't accomplish a quarter of the article before 500, a quarter from 500 to 1000, a quarter from 1000 to 1500, and then the last quarter from 1500 onwards. This way we can work on fixing problems with undue weight. Benkenobi18 (talk) 12:33, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Right now, here are the splits:

1289 – 580 – 1261 - 6000.

We have 10k words.

This will mean we should have 2500 words in each section. The section from 1500 will have to be halved and the other sections doubled. From the fall of Rome to the high middle ages needs a huge expansion. Need about 4x as much. Benkenobi18 (talk) 12:50, 21 May 2009 (UTC)


I've added some new material to this section as a result of new research for the main RCC article. Since the two articles are supposed to syncretise, I've added it here. Xandar (talk) 00:57, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

a view not shared/ shared by most other Christian denominations

1. Nothing in the Thirty-Nine Articles indicates an agreement of the Anglican Church with the idea that Peter was the first Pope
2. Nothing in the First seven Ecumenical Councils or other Eastern Orthodox documents indicates an agreement of the Eastern Orthodox Church with the idea that Peter was the first Pope
3. Even if these two denominations did agree with the idea, you would be very far from "most other denominations," there are more than hundreads of other Christian denominations. --Carlaude (talk) 20:21, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
What view? Honestly, I don't know what you're talking about. Please specify further.Farsight001 (talk) 04:03, 1 September 2008 (UTC)
The comment was removed from the article. --Carlaude (talk) 09:06, 4 May 2009 (UTC)


Why does this page mention Jesus as if he actually existed instead of saying supposedly or purportedly? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:57, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Because that is beyond the scope of this article. There are many different articles on historical existence of Jesus, like Historical Jesus, Jesus Christ in comparative mythology, New Testament view on Jesus' life, Historicity of Jesus, Quest for the historical Jesus. This is an article on the Roman Catholic church history. Marauder40 (talk) 19:07, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Peter as the first Bishop of Rome - fact or POV?

Please note that I am not trying to prove that Peter was or was not the Bishop of the Rome. I am simply trying to prove that the POV exists that Peter was not the Bishop of Rome. Establishing this would require us to write as if "Peter was the first Bishop of Rome" was a POV and not a fact.

Here is Catholic Answers rebutting the charge that Peter was never in Rome and therefore was not the first bishop of Rome. Catholic Answers attributes the "Peter was never Bishop of Rome" POV to "Fundamentalists" who hold this view "like other Protestants".

According to this blog entry, Thomas Cahill writes that "The Vatican propaganda not withstanding, Peter was never Bishop of Rome".

Here is the best argument that I've found so far that Peter was never Bishop of Rome. Yes, I know websites are not reliable sources. I offer this website to show that the POV exists that Peter was not the Bishop of Rome. I suspect we can find better sources to support the existence of the POV.

In "Who Runs the Church?", L. Roy Taylor writes that "it is not possible to, with absolute certainty, compose an unbroken chain of episcopal ordinations all the way back to the original apostles"[1]

This Catholic website cites William Webster as writing in his book "Peter and the Rock", "The contemporary Roman Catholic interpretation [of Peter and the rock] had no place in the biblical understanding of the early church doctors." [1]

In "Peter", Pheme Perkins [2] Read page 168.

This is all the research that I have time for today. I hope that I have made the case that it is not an undisputed fact that Peter was Bishop of Rome or that there is an unbroken line of apostolic succession from him.

It is the teaching of the Catholic Church that Peter was Bishop of Rome and that there is an unbroken line of apostolic succession from him. Upon this rest the doctrines of Papal Primacy and Papal Supremacy. But that's just their POV. Whether it's true or not is a religious debate that Wikipedia should not attempt to resolve per WP:NPOV.

--Richard (talk) 22:11, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

If there is some proof that has been offered by the Catholic Church (or anyone else), then the claim can be cited as fact, with the appropriate reference. If no such proof is known to exist, and it is merely a tradition, it cannot be stated as if factual.--Jeffro77 (talk) 01:05, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

It really depends on what you mean by bishop. Peter was in fact the pastor of the ancient Christian community in Rome during Nero's persecution, so people argue that he was a bishop. Moreover, other bishops at the time such as Ignatius of Antioch and Clement of Rome cite him as their immediate predecessor, so their is a good reason to give credence to the notion that he was an early leader in the Church. ADM (talk) 02:48, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Unless there is some proof that Peter was ever in Rome at all, how can it be said that "Peter was in fact the pastor of the ancient Christian community in Rome during Nero's persecution"?? Also, "the Church" in reference to early Christianity is not synonymous with the Roman Catholic Church, which didn't exist at the time.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:14, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Unless you are a revisionist or a fundamentalist, or both, you can read Margherita Guarducci's writings on the Great Fire of Rome in good conscience. Also, Church means the People, so it's just the people who were alive at the time, in the city of Rome (see ecclesiology). ADM (talk) 03:18, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
I do not see any reasons (myself) to dispute that Peter was either (1) in Rome or that he was (2) a pastor/leader of the Christians in the city of ancient Rome. The however does not make Peter the leader or the bishop, nor the first bishop.--Carlaude talk 04:18, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be amused or offended by your response, but since I'm neither a 'revisionist' or a 'fundamentalist', I'll choose the former. Regardless, you have provided no proof that Peter was ever in Rome, only a belief, based on a tradition. Your acknowledgement of Church meaning simply 'people' (or 'congregation') is admirable, but still does not make the early Christian 'church' equal to the Roman Catholic Church.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:51, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Peter is recorded as being the Apostle to the Jews, and so some historians have argued that he may have been ministering to the local Jewish community there. At the time, there was no clear separation between Jews and Christians, and so it seems unusual to ask whether he was member of any particular group within Christianity. The epistle to the Romans describes the situation of the Roman Church at the time. Concerning the title Catholic, it is merely an extension of the Four Marks of the Church, an adjective to describe what were thought to be the characteristics of the early Church. ADM (talk) 04:50, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Gentlemen, you are arguing about what the truth is. This is a bad idea. WP:NPOV requires that we present all POVs without giving undue weight to minority fringe POVs. It's clear what the Catholic Church's POV is. All we need to do is note that not all Christians and not all historians agree with the Church's stance. Then we need to source the assertions. Finding sources for the Catholic Church's POV is trivial. It is stated in a multitude of sources. Finding sources for the opposing POV is a little harder but I have provided a few sources at the beginning of this section based on about 15minutes of research. With more research, I'm sure we could find better ones.
The bottom line, however, is that it is inappropriate and futile for us to argue about whether or not Peter was ever in Rome, was the Bishop of Rome and whether there was or was not an unbroken line of apostolic succession from him. Deciding that is NOT our job. Our job is to present all significant POVs in an NPOV way that weights the POVs according to their prominence in the "real world". Because this is an article on the Catholic Church, we should present their POV first and most prominently but we should make sure to mention any significant POVs that counter the Church's POV. 'Nuff said?
--Richard (talk) 05:46, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
As I have already pointed out, without proof it is simply not known whether these things are true, and I haven't said that they are true or not true, but unproven. That being the case, the article can very well state the Catholic Church's point of view, but it must also be clear that it is just that, their point of view, and not presented as if established fact.--Jeffro77 (talk) 07:34, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

carl and jeffro don't get it. Like richard said, wikipedia is not about proving what truth is, it is about presenting the significant points of view as sevred up from reliable sources. (talk) 02:17, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

Anonymous editor, I 'get it' just fine. I have simply stated that their POV cannot be stated as if it were fact.--Jeffro77 (talk) 03:15, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

So... "The Roman Catholic Church's traditions hold that St. Peter is the first pope and the first bishop of Rome".
It seems to be an honorary title given posthumously by the church rather than a title used by Peter himself.
From an anthropological standpoint the churches statements are true in that the church believes them. Their objective truth as facts does not effect the validity of the church's claims, however church claims that can not be backed up by sources other then church tradition should be given as "church tradition" rather then objective fact.(Drn8 (talk) 14:24, 28 May 2009 (UTC))

Sexuality and gender issues

The section on Humanae Vitae says "rejected the use of contraception" and that "both abortion and euthanasia were considered to be murder".

The use of the past tense here suggests that the "rejection" and the "considering" were actions which started with the issuance of Humanae Vitae. The article on Humanae Vitae states that "In this encyclical Paul VI reaffirmed the Catholic Church's traditional view of marriage and marital relations and a continued condemnation of artificial birth control". This sense of reaffirmation of a past doctrine is not captured in this article. I am going to try and fix that.

--Richard (talk) 17:42, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Americanist bias

I know some have noted bias in the article, but my objections to it is that it is written from an Americanist perspective, since the end of the entry essentially focuses on both the United States and Mexico. The abuse scandal primarily occured in the United States, but Americans are only 5 % of all Catholics worldwide. Much of that contemporary section could be deleted because it is a clear case of parochial recentism. Also, I would add that the part about Plutarco Calles is too focused on one single period, and that it is too brief to explain what was really going on at that time, not just in Mexico but around the world. ADM (talk) 05:09, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

First, with respect to Plutarco Calles... I agree that the section in question does not provide a global perspective but that suggests adding the global perspective, not deleting the section on Calles. There are only about 3 or 4 sentences about Calles so I can only envision deleting one of those sentences as being excessive detail.
Second, with respect to the abuse scandal, it did occur primarily in the U.S. although other nations discovered similar problems with abuse so it cannot be said that the problem was limited only to the U.S. The solution here might be to copy the section over to Roman Catholicism in the United States and History of Roman Catholicism in the United States and then summarize the section to eliminate excessive detail.
--Richard (talk) 05:44, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
With regards to the second part, could you try and do that Richard ? I would like to do it, but I'm not sure what exactly constitutes excessive detail. ADM (talk) 17:36, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
Yeh, I have the same problem. When I compare the section in this article with our article on Catholic sex abuse cases, I find that the text in this article is already pretty much distilled down to a summary already and, if anything, should be expanded to mention cases in other countries such as Canada, Ireland and Australia. --Richard (talk) 18:29, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
The problem I have with it is that it talks about the recent history of certain parts of the clergy as opposed to the history of the whole Church as an institution and as a people. It's also fairly irrelevant for people who live in dioceses that were not at all affected by the abuses, such as Paris, Toronto, Montreal, Madrid, Munich, Havana, New York, Rome, etc. ADM (talk) 18:52, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
With respect to Plutarco Calles, the question that I have is what you perceive as having been "going on around the world" at that time. The anti-clericalism of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War comes a little later but might be connected since Spain and Mexico were closely linked for centuries and thus the anti-clerical violence may have been targeted to effectively the same institution. As far as I know, there was no similar anti-clerical violence in the rest of the world at that time (i.e. widespread government-supported violence against Catholic clerics during the late 19th and early 20th centuries). One might argue a general global sentiment of anti-clericalism in the 19th and early 20th century as a result of the rise of democracy, secularism and nationalism. Is it your impression that the anti-clerical violence is restricted to Spain and Mexico or is there a wider global phenomenon of which Spain and Mexico are just two examples?
I wasn't talking about violence, but about anti-clerical government policies in general. There were various cases in Columbia (La Violencia), France (Paris Commune), Portugal (5 October 1910 revolution), etc. Ultimately, much of it was related to Masonic perscution of traditional Christianity (see Catholicism and Freemasonry). ADM (talk) 18:43, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Rather then deleting anything perhaps the sexual abuse scandals should be given their own section. The scandals have had a huge effect on the perception of the church in the US. That 4% of priests in the United States over the last half century or so have been implicated in sexual abuse is very significant, and the fact that such abuses haven't been reported with as great of frequency in other states does not indicate there is no problem. The us cases only came out to the public when the socio-political climate of the country was such that claims would be listened to and respected.

Unless you assert that people in the US are innately more sexually deviant then the rest of the world, it stands to reason that sexual abuse in other countries is just as rampant but less reported. Males reporting rape and sexual abuse is very rare because of the shame and social stigma surrounding men, homosexuality, etc.

Removing the information about sexual abuse of priests to me feels like an attempt to minimize and cover up the shortcomings and sins of the church.

The notion that homosexuals are child molesters, implicit in the ban on ordination of people with "deep seeded homosexual tendencies". Is prejudicial, offensive, and does not have a basis in statistical fact. (Drn8 (talk) 15:16, 28 May 2009 (UTC))

They are less important then the clerical abuses in the time of Martin Luther. Why do we spend so much time on one, and so little on the other. People complain the article is too long, and then spend ages of time on a very peripheral point. It should all stay in it's own article, and not this one, due to problems of undue weight. Benkenobi18 (talk) 23:59, 17 June 2009 (UTC)

Apostolic Succession / Sole legitimate heir

I need some help thinking this one through. Actually apostolic succession is about bishops consecrating other bishops. Any bishop who can trace a chain of consecrations back to an apostle is a legitimate bishop. Thus bishops of the Orthodox and Anglican Communions are legitimate bishops (and any priest ordained by one of those bishops is a legitimate priest).

Thus, the RCC doesn't really claim to be the only legitimate church. The Pope claims to be the legitimate successor to Peter. How should we write this?

--Richard (talk) 07:24, 24 May 2009 (UTC)

What you/we have writen is correct. Apostolic succession is only part of what they consider requiered to be a legitimate church. The other part is being united to the Bishop of Rome, due to the Primacy of Simon Peter and thus the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff/Papal supremacy.
By the way "In Christian theology, Christ is the head of his Mystical Body, the Church" no longer seems relivant to the text here, if it ever was. --Carlaude talk 08:13, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
Re Christ as head of his Mystical Body - I agree... I saw that, too but I was hesitant to delete it without discussion. I have now deleted it. Let's see if anyone objects.
Re apostolic succession and primacy... I have rewritten the lead paragraph thus:
Christians consider the Christian Church to have been founded by Jesus Christ. Catholic doctrine asserts the Church was founded at the Confession of Peter and that the Bishop of Rome has the sole legitimate claim to Petrine authority and the primacy due to the Roman Pontiff. The Catholic Church claims legitimacy via the doctrine of apostolic succession.[note 1]
  1. ^ The Catholic Church recognizes as legitmate the episcopal consecrations of a number of other churches. However, it still insists that those churches are obligated to defer to the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff.
Any comments?
--Richard (talk) 08:45, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
This text seems to say less then my proposed text. Every bishop would always seem to have the sole legitimate claim to the authority of its Bishopric. It just begs the question what that authority is. What the RCC really is claiming is that there is a monarchial Petrine Primacy / Roman Primacy— and this text only seems to allude to the issues and to provide the links. --Carlaude talk 09:06, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
You're right but is the point critical to include in the lead? Remember that this is the lead paragraph to an article that is about history of the Church, not about the Church. I'm just trying to get an NPOV lead paragraph that addresses the concerns that have been raised on this page. A full discussion of the hierarchical/monarchical authority of the Pope can be provided elsewhere. I think we should be happy if we can write a concise and accurate description of the church's stance and point the leader to more detailed articles that discuss the issue more fully. That said, if you can propose a way to add this idea to the lead without delving too deeply into it, I'm open to hearing your ideas. What specifically do you think my text is leaving out and how do we shoehorn it in?
I figure we will run into more discussion from interested parties when we try to bring this over to the article on the Roman Catholic Church. I'm not in a hurry to do that right now as I would like to see the ongoing mediation for that article get a little further before starting another debate over there.
--Richard (talk) 09:30, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
A discussion of monarchical authority can be provided elsewhere-- but what do you see as the up-side of your change? --Carlaude talk 12:02, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
The text that I wrote last night made the following points:
  1. Jesus Christ founded the Church
  2. The Catholic Church claims legitimacy on the basis of apostolic succession (i.e. each of its bishops can trace apostolic succession)
  3. The Catholic Church claims for the Bishop of Rome the Primacy of Simon Peter which is part of the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff
  4. Provides a note which explains that the Catholic Church recognizes the legitimacy of other bishops such as the Orthodox bishops
  5. Drops the mention of Christ as the "head of his Mystical Body, the Church"
One weakness that I see in the text from last night is that it didn't clearly establish the basis on which the current Bishop of Rome lays claim to the Primacy of Simon Peter and the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff. If we narrowly define "apostolic succession" to be the means by which legitimate bishops are consecrated, then "apostolic succession" is only enough to make the Pope the "Bishop of Rome". There is additional doctrine needed to make the "Bishop of Rome" the successor to Simon Peter and the legitimate claimant to the Primacy of Simon Peter.
Here is what the article on apostolic succession says on this issue...
The Roman Catholic Church also holds that within the College of Apostles, Peter was picked out for the unique role of leadership and to serve as the source of unity among the apostles, a role among the bishops and within the church inherited by the pope as Peter's successor today.
I think that text above doesn't fully explain what's going on. The article on Papal supremacy states "The Catholic doctrine of papal supremacy is based on the assertion by the Bishops of Rome that it was instituted by Christ and that papal succession is traced back to Peter the Apostle. The authority for the position is derived from the Confession of Peter."
NB: I inserted the phrase Confession of Peter as a naming of the scriptural passage which was already referenced by the Papal Supremacy article before my edit today.
So this concept of "papal succession" is a kind of apostolic succession but one that is specific to the Bishop of Rome (that is, the Catholic Church claims that the Bishop of Rome is the successor to an unbroken line of popes all the way back to Simon Peter).
To understand this issue better, it may be illuminating to see what the article on apostolic succession says about the Orthodox POV on the issue:
While Eastern Orthodox sources often refer to the bishops as "successors of the apostles" under the influence of Scholastic theology, strict Orthodox ecclesiology and theology holds that all legitimate bishops are properly successors of Peter. This also means that presbyters (or "priests") are successors of the apostles. As a result, Orthodox theology makes a distinction between a geographical or historical succession and proper ontological or ecclesiological succession. Hence, the bishops of Rome and Antioch can be considered successors of Peter in an historical sense on account of Peter's presence in the early community. This does not imply that these bishops are more successors of Peter than all others in an ontological sense.
Thus, we can characterize the Catholic Church's doctrine as asserting the legitimacy of its bishops (and therefore priests) via apostolic succession and the authority of the Pope via succession from Peter via papal succession.
Here is the text that I have written this morning to replace my text from last night:
The History of the Catholic Church is traced by the Church back to apostolic times and thus covers a period of nearly 2,000 years, [1] making it one of the world's oldest institutions. The history of the Church is an integral part of the History of Christianity and the history of Western civilization.[2]
Christians consider the Christian Church to have been founded by Jesus Christ who is its spiritual head. Catholic doctrine asserts that it is the continuation of the Church that was founded at the Confession of Peter. It interprets the Confession of Peter as Christ's designation of Apostle Peter and his successors in Rome to be the secular head of his Church. Thus, it asserts that the Bishop of Rome has the sole legitimate claim to Petrine authority and the primacy due to the Roman Pontiff. The Catholic Church claims legitimacy of its bishops and priests via the doctrine of apostolic succession and authority of the Pope via the unbroken line of popes, successors to Simon Peter.[note 1]
--Richard (talk) 16:46, 24 May 2009 (UTC)
The text with the new changes you have made is much better and better than mine. Thanks.--Carlaude talk 23:36, 24 May 2009 (UTC)


This badly written and misleading section needs more facts and less generalities. The focus should be on the origins and events of the Roman Catholic Church and not on the opinions of selected writers --Ambrosius007 (talk) 14:03, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Sadly actual facts are in very short supply for the early period, hence the problems! This section has been intensely discussed at its place of origin in Roman Catholic Church & its FAC & it is worth reading those discussions. Of course it depends whgich of the many different versions seen in recent days you are referring to. Johnbod (talk) 14:40, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Is there any need for the huge number of tags someone has put on this section of the article? Whoever has put the tags there needs to justify them on this page if they are to remain for long. Most of the stuff tagged is not reallyt hat controversial. All in all, as we know, the article is in a very young state, and needs a lot of work in expansion and solidification. Placing loads of tags everywhere at this stage is not really that helpful. Xandar (talk) 23:43, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
I think it is helpful to know, where the specific weaknesses are at this point. Ideally, this section should describe the origins and not opinions of a few writers about the origins. --Ambrosius007 (talk) 16:10, 25 July 2008 (UTC)
The article is about a thousand times better then when it started, but the first part is still really weak. Rather then vague generalities, why not simply write, according to the tradition of the Catholic church, this is how the events unfolded. Benkenobi18 (talk) 12:36, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Has anybody looked at History of Christianity? The history of Christianity and the history of the Roman Catholic Church are almost synonymous for the first 1000 years or so. The text of that article is quite good; much of it was written by the now-retired User:Lostcaesar. A lot of it could be copied over here. --Richard (talk) 06:05, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
The first 1000 years being synonymous should be seen as a big problem. There was no state Roman Catholic church when Christianity began, and the treatment of Christians by the Romans in the first couple of centuries was less than ideal.--Jeffro77 (talk) 00:49, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
I am appalled by this article! I was looking for facts about when the historical catholic church was first instituted (ie- when people first called themselves catholic - as supported by textual evidence) not pseudo-babble and opinions! Seriously, this article needs clean up. Moonbug (talk) 08:07, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Ignatius of Antioch (35-110), in his letter to the Smyrnaeans, provides the earliest written example of the term Catholic (catholikos). Presumably the term was used before that time (at least orally, in those days oral transmission was the most common). The term was not meant to be a distinction between Christian peoples, but rather to say that all who are in Christ are one people. The Catholic claim of institutionalization is not one that is founded on a comittee but it is an institution insofar as its members are members of Christ. Although, nowadays we have much disagreement about what it means to be in Christ. They seemed to believe that the Holy Spirit had raised up descedants of the apostles (spritual children of a sort) to continue to lead the church. Many Catholics still believe that the Spirit is capable of this in every generation even to the end of time. In any regard, here is the text in Ignatius' letter:

"8:2 Wherever the bishop appear, there let the congragation be; even as wherever Christ Jesus is, there is the universal Church (taen catholikaen ekklesian)."

Ignatius was a disciple of Christ through Paul. This was most likely written toward the end of his life (post-Pauline) probably around 100 AD. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:27, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

This article may be too long to comfortably read and navigate.

I am (or have) creating(ed) articles on each the centuries of Christian History. The plan is— in due time— to cut out some excess from History of Christianity and hopfuly others such as this article and History of the Eastern Orthodox Church. They are all over 100 KB.

Christian history
BC 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th
11th 12th 13th 14th 15th 16th 17th 18th 19th 20th 21st

Please join me and help now. --Carlaude talk 20:44, 8 June 2009 (UTC)

While the "Christianity by century" articles are quite good, I oppose using those as "main" articles for the sections in this article and the History of Christianity article. I would prefer that this article remain organized by historical period rather than by century. Thus, there would be two parallel sets of articles: one that cover Christianity by century and the other that covers Christianity by historical period. Of course, after the East-West Schism and the Reformation, the History of Christianity and the History of the Roman Catholic Church diverge and so Carlaude is faced with figuring out what he wants to do with those centuries. --Richard (talk) 21:07, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
I concur with Richard that historic periods will work better than by century. Majoreditor (talk) 23:38, 8 June 2009 (UTC)
  • I do not advocate the sections in this article be change to go by century, and, in fact, I also hope that someone (myself someday, if no one else does before) creates articles by historic periods. Below are the time periods used by nearly all Christian History books. (But they will generally break up one or more of these further, just not the same ones. In doing so, most will also basicly handle the last few centuries, by century).
  • (1) These longer periods above have the difficulty of not leaving room to cover much depth. The only one written is the one on Early Christianity and it is also already over 100 KB (and even longer than the History of the Roman Catholic Church).
  • (2) While we might debate the start and end points-- and these points may be misunderstood also by each new editor-- I think it will be easier and better, in due time, to make these historic period articles from the Christianity by century articles than making the historic period articles into Christianity by century articles. --Carlaude talk 04:43, 9 June 2009 (UTC)

Catholic Church during World War Two

There is a proposal at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Catholicismto create an article titled Catholic Church during World War Two or something like it. The discussion can be found here. Please join the discussion and express your opinion. --Richard (talk) 04:35, 23 September 2009 (UTC)

this article ios ridiculous

...the Serbs & "greeks" are at their old tricks again-tryong to steal Albanina/Illyrian culture & history! Constantine was Illtrian/Albanian by birth...this is a disgrace. ==

That just anyone can go into Wikipedia and change info around is nothing less than ABSOLUTELY APPALLING! Is this waht our kids go to for research information? This is sad-I will no longer count Wikipedia as a reliable source for information-only a breeding ground for propaganda and self-serving lies. I am disappointed and worry for American kids who do not know any better..God bless the USA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:41, 22 November 2009 (UTC)

I worry for YOUR kids. If only your cult didn't frown on contraception. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:01, 11 January 2010 (UTC)


This article, as well as Roman Catholic Church, presents the view that the Catholic Church was established in the 1st century, with Peter. This is a belief, not a fact. The establishment of the Catholic Church was a later event, and the Roman state church did not exist in the first century. It is not a neutral presentation to retroactively claim first century Christians as Roman Catholics - this should only be stated as a belief, regardless of how strongly entrenched it may be among believers.--Jeffro77 (talk) 08:09, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

I totally agree. Calling first century Christians "Roman Catholics" or even "Catholic" is a complete anachronism.--Carlaude (talk) 09:02, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
I also agree. I've added a POV template. Vexorg (talk) 23:11, 20 May 2009 (UTC)
The Roman Catholic church was established in the first century. The distinction between 'Christians' and 'Catholics' is a protestant anachronism that has no place when discussing these issues. As an institution, the history began with Christ's mission to Peter at the end of the synoptics. Benkenobi18 (talk) 12:16, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
In your 'opinion' therefore the POV tag remains. Vexorg (talk) 19:40, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
Not if you can't come up with something more than "this article is POV". An accusation of POV is not enough to put up the tag. Some actual substance to the issue is required. So either you need to take the tag back down, or provide some.Farsight001 (talk) 20:13, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
The OP concern about using the phrase "Catholic" to denote a 1st century member of this church is valid; that would be an anachronism. But it doesn't justify the tag, it's merely sloppy writing. Baccyak4H (Yak!) 20:28, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Note: There have been acres of text written on this issue at various FAC for Roman Catholic Church (as well as on the talk page of that article). From that discussion (I have done no research of my own), I gather that there are definitely two views of when the organization solidified into the Catholic Church vs a loose collection of Christian churches. Someone is going to have to spend significant time reading scholarly books to determine which view should get more weight and how they should properly be presented in the article. Karanacs (talk) 20:37, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

which means the POV tag is valid Vexorg (talk) 15:55, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Karanacs overstates the case. It shouldn't take that much effort. All that's really needed is to make clear in the lead sentence that this is the Catholic Church's POV and then we can add a note that explains who disputes the claim of the Catholic Church and how. My understanding is that the Catholics, Orthodox and Anglicans all accept the tradition of Peter being the first Bishop of Rome. Some Protestants accept this and some don't. I'm not sure who does and who doesn't. I'm not sure where exactly the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses stand on this but there is the concept of the Great Apostasy that argues that there was a disconnect between the original church of Jesus Christ and the post-Nicene Catholic Church. Put that in a note and, along with wording that asserts the continuity as the mainstream POV rather than as a fact and we've addressed the POV issue. --Richard (talk) 16:31, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Assuming that is true— that some non-RC the tradition of Peter being the first Bishop of Rome— it is (1) still a POV, not a verified fact, and (2) it is totally different from Peter being the first Pope, to the point of being misleading. --Carlaude talk 19:53, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
This is about gathering and presenting material from high quality, reliable sources. Let's see what the sources have to say, which is the point that both Richard and Karanacs are making. Majoreditor (talk) 21:20, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Carlaude, I do not understand the points you were making in your last comment.
(1) Are you saying that it is a verified fact that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome despite the fact that some non-RC reject this assertion?
No; it isn't a verified fact that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome.--Carlaude talk 00:00, 23 May 2009 (UTC)
(2) Are you asserting that Peter was the first Pope? I would assert that such a statement is anachronistic and that the title of Pope was not known prior to the early 3rd century and at that time it was used to designate any bishop in the West. It was not until the 6th century that "Pope" was reserved to designate the Bishop of Rome. See our article on Pope.
--Richard (talk) 22:17, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
No; but that even if he is the first Bishop of Rome doesn't follow that he was a "Pope" (as the term is used today). --Carlaude talk 00:00, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

The introductory sentence, "The History of the Catholic Church from apostolic times covers a period of nearly 2,000 years" is unfounded. It is arguable that there was a catholic (small 'c') church in the first century, but there certainly wasn't a Roman Catholic Church for hundreds of years after that at all. And the tradition that Peter was the first Pope is not established fact, regardless of how many groups 'accept' it on faith. Regarding the title of 'Pope', it is amusing that it only took the 'church' a mere few hundred years to 'forget' the words ascribed to Jesus at Matthew 23:9, and unthinkable that they started calling Peter 'Father' (Pope) pretty much straight away.--Jeffro77 (talk) 23:40, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

There doesn't have to be a conflict here. The 'Roman' Catholic Church didn't simply spring into being at the point of the Schism, but was the Western part of the Church that was founded (it is claimed/believed) with Peter. (talk) 18:19, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
I have to say I am utterly appalled by this article. I was looking for facts about the historical founding of the catholic church, not a fairy tale about it springing fully formed from the head of Jesus. I have serious questions about the first citation, it is obviously not a primary source, and such a claim needs to be backed up by hard evidence, not some guy's opinion that happens to be written in a book. Please I think the article should say something akin to what people are saying above - about the actual history of the founding of the catholic church. Otherwise, we should change the name of the article to "legends about the catholic church" or something more suitable. The worst part about all of this is I may be tempted to dig into the library to get citations to change this monstrous POV error. Moonbug (talk) 08:22, 31 August 2009 (UTC)
The fact that you are claiming is a fairy tale shows your POV. The Catholic Church claims it is the historical church founded by Christ. It is a fact that the church claims this and is well known and cited in the source that has been provided. There are numerous primary sources that say that. The reason that primary sources are not used is because Wiki policy says that secondary sources are preferred to primary sources. If you are searching for history of the term Catholic you should look at the article Catholic, not this article. The tone you are using doesn't help when you should be assuming good faith. Marauder40 (talk) 18:19, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

Ignatius of Antioch (35-110), in his letter to the Smyrnaeans, provides the earliest written example of the term Catholic (catholikos). Presumably the term was used before that time (at least orally, in those days oral transmission was the most common). The term was not meant to be a distinction between Christian peoples, but rather to say that all who are in Christ are one people. The Catholic claim of institutionalization is not one that is founded on a comittee but it is an institution insofar as its members are members of Christ. Although, nowadays we have much disagreement about what it means to be in Christ. They seemed to believe that the Holy Spirit had raised up descedants of the apostles (spritual children of a sort) to continue to lead the church. Many Catholics still believe that the Spirit is capable of this in every generation even to the end of time. In any regard, here is the text in Ignatius' letter:

"8:2 Wherever the bishop appear, there let the congragation be; even as wherever Christ Jesus is, there is the universal Church (taen catholikaen ekklesian)."

Ignatius was a disciple of Christ through Paul. This was most likely written toward the end of his life (post-Pauline) probably around 100 AD. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:25, 3 October 2009 (UTC)

––There you have it! The Ignatius quote seems to be within an indisputably "worthy" time-frame-of-reference (if you get my drift). I am shocked at the personal emoting from within the ranks of the self-appointed censors regarding this article. Amazingly, it has smacked of dissent-of-opinion (or quite rightly, POV) with only very slight veiling of anti-Catholic sentiment. Some of you posting: I would ask to stop with the guise of "trying to improve" this heavily sourced article, as your personal feelings are getting in the way of what you could read and understand. Athena 23:54, 22 July 2010 (UTC) 23:01, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

The section in this article regarding the Catholic inquisitions is appallingly biased. For one thing, the "body-count" approach to the subject is one-sided: torturing a person to the point where he will abjure his most cherished beliefs may be crueler than killing him. For another, all the secular killing during the medieval Inquisition was initiated by the Church. For instance, it was the Church which called for the Albigensian Crusades, founded the Dominicans to persecute heretics, and decided when someone was to be handed over to the secular authorities for execution. Indeed, at that time there was no other organization strong enough to coordinate all these activities except the Church. I do not claim to be an expert in this area, but I am doing research on the Cathars and the book on that subject by Malcolm Barber, professor of history at the University of Reading and no sympathizer with the Cathars, totally contradicts what is said in this article. So does the Wikipedia article on "the Inquisition". That article, instead of asserting the "leniency" as a fact, simply says that the inquisitors wanted to be considered merciful, although the factual description of them torturing people almost to death in order to obtain confessions shows that they were anything but. I have noted that this article has been sponsored by a Catholic organization and in order to prove that it has the right to write concerning something upon which it naturally has strong opinions, it has to be especially careful to avoid bias. I would ask that the section concerning the Inquisition be re-written to be more objective. {{helpme}} (talk) 07:08, 26 January 2010 (UTC)Cheri Montagu, {{helpme}}
Then Be bold and rewrite the page. To help avoid POV arguements with what you write, please remember to source everything and that a single author may himself have a POV and not be fully accurate (multiple sources is best). If you'd like help reviewing what you're put together or any changes that you make, please feel free to let me know about that on my talk page and I'll help to the best of my ability. Good luck and I hope to hear back from you. If you want to contact me personally, my talk page is generally the best place to do that. :) Banaticus (talk) 08:43, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

Banaticus: I did what you suggested, but my revisions were removed within a few hours. So far no one has told me why. It is true that I had only one book source on the subject-- after all not much has been written on the beginnings of the Inquisition-- but it was a totally objective scholarly source, Malcolm Barber's The Cathars. I did not put it in a footnote because I did not see how it could be fit in since the notes are already numbered and I didn't want to erase anyone else's. I did nothing wrong, violated no copyright laws-- my only direct quote was from another, and much more objective Wikipedia article on the Inquisition. So I think an explanation is in order. More to the point, a revision of this section is in order. It would in fact be preferable that someone else does it, for I am not an expert, but I know there are plenty who could correct the completely misleading and biased rot that is to be found in this article. The refusal of the people who run this website to countenance any criticism of the Inquisition shows that there is a flourishing factory for INQUISITION DENIAL in this country and that is no better than Nazi Holocaust denial. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:39, 27 January 2010 (UTC)

I was not the person that reverted your edits, you would have to ask them their specific reasons but I would have reverted them myself for numerous reasons. There were numerous issues with what you tried to insert. Among them include items like, items not being referenced, opinion being quoted as fact, inproper english and numerous other things. I highly discourage you from what it appears you are doing and reading one book and assuming it is as gospel fact. Anyone can write a book, its whether that book is accepted as fact by respected scholars makes it a worthy reference. Anything you insert must be NPOV and if it is contraversial include information from both sides. Also saying things like " It would in fact be preferable that someone else does it, for I am not an expert" does not work. Either you do the work with proper references, you actually find someone that is an expert or you leave it alone. Banaticus already offered his help. I suggest contacting them and showing him your edits without changing the page itself since it appears you don't have a lot of experience editing WP yet.Marauder40 (talk) 16:57, 27 January 2010 (UTC)


I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHO CHANGED MY EDITED VERSION AND WHY? It was not my choice to have the "Help me" appear-- I asked for help only when I was at first unable to edit. The when my editing appeared I thought that I had succeeded-- all I wanted to know then was how to insert annotation. BUT THE SECTION I WAS TRYING TO EDIT REMAINS AN INEXUSABLE APOLOGIA FOR A PERIOD OF UNPARALLELED PERSECUTION! If my version is to be rejected-- after all I never claimed to be an expert, as I am just beginning my research in this area (specifically the Cathars)-- I demand that you have someone whose sources are truly objective (Edward Norman is not) write this section. Of course the Inquisition was more lenient with people who had committed real crimes for that was not it was set up to deal with. It was set up to deal with imaginary crimes like witchcraft and "thought crimes" such as heresy and believing in another religion. Hence not only its methods, which often consisted of prolonged tortures, but its very function was opposed to human rights as we define them today. Wikipedia cannot present itself as an objective source when it allows rot like this section to appear on-line! (talk) 14:34, 27 January 2010 (UTC) Cheri Montagu (talk) 07:08, 26 January 2010 (UTC)

I've redacted your contact details, please do not include them as they are picked up by spammers, etc. I've also nullified the helpme request as that is not an appropriate use of the template. Please see Wikipedia:Five pillars and Wikipedia:How to edit a page. I'm guessing other editors of this page will be along shortly to respond if you have questions -Optigan13 (talk) 08:49, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
The history link at the top of the page will show you the edit history of the article, allowing you to see who has made any given edit, compare various edits, etc. If you do not feel yourself confident to be an expert, who is just beginning to research a topic, then perhaps it would be better to discuss potential edits here on the article talk page. Paying too much heed to a single author (such as Edward Norman) can in itself be a POV, as that author may be biased or may not be printing the full truth. Researching multiple authors or even using first hand sources instead of second hand sources is often a more valuable means of discovering truth. Which sections in particular would you like to change? If there's only a couple paragraphs, a few sentences here and there, then just post them here and how you'd change them. If there's more that you'd like to change, then consider creating a temporary version of this page in your userspace, like by copy/pasting the article to User: -- that'd allow people to edit the article back and forth without actually engaging in an edit war. But I think there's only a few things that you'd like to change at this time? Let me know on my talk page if I can be of any more assistance. :) Banaticus (talk) 00:41, 30 January 2010 (UTC)


I notice that this article gives no history or explanation for the celibacy of Catholic priests. My understanding is that it arose under 1000 years ago. Abductive (reasoning) 08:44, 3 August 2010 (UTC)

Orphaned references in History of the Catholic Church

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of History of the Catholic Church's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "Oxford:Rome":

  • From Early centers of Christianity: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Rome (early Christian)
  • From Saint Peter: Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Rome (early Christian)
  • From History of early Christianity: Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Rome (early Christian) "When the Ep. to the Romans was written (c. AD 58), a large Christian community already existed at Rome".

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 10:48, 5 August 2010 (UTC)

Issues of POV "Origins"

This section, although it seems to try to explain all POVs, does not do a good job of citing information it tries to resent as facts such as this:

While there is no particular narrative of Peter being "consecrated by Jesus," and then by "Peter traveling to Rome founding a church there" in Church tradition, this came to be the Catholic view.

This seems to state that everyone agrees that there is no narrative of Peter being "consecrated by Jesus," but that is not true. Catholics believe that Matthew 6:18 is the narrative that consecrates Peter as the first Pope. If there is a want to talk about the controversy around this verse, then that is okay, but stating that there is no particular narrative is not true, as it implies that everyone agrees, and that is not a fact. Also

The tradition that the See of Rome was founded as an organized Christian community by Peter and Paul and that its episcopate owes to them its origin can be traced back only as the second-century, with Irenaeus,[19] but there is no conclusive evidence, scripturally, historically or chronologically, that Peter was in fact the Bishop of Rome.

It states that this idea can "can be traced back only as the second-century, with Ireanaeus." This implies that the second century is so much later than the early christians. But it is really only 30 or 40 years, which is nothing in Historical documents.

I think this section needs to be rewritten, not in a Catholic point of view, but giving it equal honor as the doubters. (talk) 22:35, 26 June 2011 (UTC)

..This article does nothing to explain the churches origins, obviously Catholics have written most of this and there is no actual information here just mythology — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:59, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

For future reference, new comments should typically go near the bottom. This section hasn't been posted in for 8 months. As for Catholics having written this - I'm sure Catholics had a hand in it, as did non-Catholics. However, the religious affiliation of the authors is irrelevant. The article is extremely thoroughly sourced, so while one might argue that it displays some bias, you cannot really claim that the information within is "just mythology". It looks like a pretty good article to me, though I would like a bit less about the Jesuits. That part seems a little over detailed.Farsight001 (talk) 01:37, 23 February 2012 (UTC)

The origins section reads like a rebuttal of the Church's origin narrative. Thus, it's a "why the Catholic Church's origins aren't what they say they are" section rather than the origins of the Roman Catholic Church. Give the Church's narrative and then add a rebuttal section later but I don't see what the sceptics get to define this section. That is blatant POV. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 13 August 2012 (UTC)


Per edit summary, this is an exercise in apologia. It assumes a lot - that Western education is superior to African for example - and rests very heavily on a single source, Adrian Hastings, who is clearly not independent. Haldraper (talk) 08:29, 13 August 2010 (UTC)

Do you have a suggestion for alternative text to offer? The Churches certainly did bring Western Education, which the vast majority of people (even in Africa) would take to be an advance. Any other sources on this? Xandar 21:46, 13 August 2010 (UTC)
While the section is underdeveloped, it doesn't strike me as POV. Majoreditor (talk) 01:05, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
Xandar, "The Churches certainly did bring Western Education, which the vast majority of people (even in Africa) would take to be an advance." is a very sweeping claim. What evidence is there for it?
Majoreditor, it depends on your POV doesn't it whether something strikes you as POV or not: I doubt a black nationalist would ever write that text for instance. As it stands it basically paraphrases Adrian Hastings who for many years was a missionary priest for the Catholic Church in Africa.
As for alternative text, I think the rendering on the main Catholic Church page conforms to NPOV: "At the end of the 19th century, Catholic missionaries followed colonial governments into Africa and built schools, hospitals, monasteries and churches." Haldraper (talk) 11:41, 14 August 2010 (UTC)

Anticlericalism in Spain

Sayerselle has been adding some very irrelevant, POV and fringe material to this section, involving allegations about the Protocols of Zion, and that the Church was involved in anti-semitism. Apart from being of dubious relevance and off-topic, the material is scandalous, synthesised and heavily one-sided. If we are to get into the political state of pre-Civil-War Spain, most historians would give prominence to the rabid anti-clericalism of the 2nd republic which alienated many of the people who should have been its natural supporters. Xandar 21:13, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Read Mary Vincent's book, OUP, she certainly doesn't give prominence to the ('rabid'..? NPOV.word...) anti clericalism ..I know you want the story of the 30s in spain to run - the Catholic Church was persecuted by atheistic communist directed brutes , for no reason, but , believe it or not that isn'tthe story in the academic Mary Vincents book. There was a leftish govt 1931-33, then a rightish govt til February 1936 when the Popular Font were elected and the Catholic right went poisonous and vicious - Th day of the uprising in bejar for example - in the barrios by the river the business of arrest , imprisonment and summary execution began , entrusted to the JAPistas, the youth wing of the catholic CEDA parties - 'marxist leaders' (local leftists) were rounded up all over the province and brought to salamanca - Later in July 1936 the bodies of the Popular front deputies Manso and Carrasco were found lying by the roadside, shot by falangists (in fraser's blood of spain its said this was done during a 'mock bullfight'.) At the very beginning of the rebellion the Jesuit priests of the city of salamanca were among the first volunteers to present themselves to the military authorities. all seems a long way from the rabbi from nazareth. Vincent gives ample evidence of the anti-semitism, quotes the magazines of the jesuits at length, full of it they were .. you may not like it, xandar, but thats how it was in those years, anti-semitism was very much in the air - read a few sodding books . Sayerslle (talk) 21:03, 4 September 2010 (UTC)
You forget of course to mention the 7,000 priests, friars and nuns gunned down in the 1933-36 mass unprovoked slayings by communist and anarchist "Republicans". And in any event, none of the above justifies the irrelevant stuff you put on the page about "Protocols of Zion" and anti-semitism. If we are covering the lead-up to the Spanish Civil War in more detail, we have to mention the extreme anti-clericalism of the 1931 government. See this source here which states (p152) that initially the Church was not opposed to the 2nd Republic. Xandar 23:17, 4 September 2010 (UTC)

It seems to me very evident that there are two sides to this story and that it will never be possible to reconcile them to arrive at "the TRUTH". Fortunately, Wikipedia does not seek to determine "the TRUTH". What it seeks to do is to present all POVs, without giving any of them undue weight.

It's also obvious that there is far more to this story than could possibly fit into the limited amount of space we have in this article. So it seems appropriate to me that we should have an article on this topic. I have been bold and created the article Catholic Church and the Spanish Civil War which provides a place for us to delve into this topic in much greater detail.

I want to state that the current article is canted heavily in favor of the Catholic POV. This is not intentional but rather the result of copying text from a number of related articles on the Spanish Civil War. I would urge editors such as Sayerslle to insert any balancing material that is sourced.

--Richard S (talk) 00:27, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

It could make an article , certainly a full article means it will be harder to say ' there isnt room for this irrelevant anti-semitic stuff' - and xandar i just plain disagree, and Mary Vincent too! because she describes in detail - that propaganda that stoked up hatred of 'foreign elements' is irrelevant in looking at the violence that was about to be unleashed. The article does look very POV slanted - the cite to catholic encyclopedias in the lead straight away is kind of dismaying - wouldnt a good starting rule be , in the lead at least, just oxford univ Press, cambridge Uiv Press, academic books kind of thing, no catholic magazines, journals, encyclopedias, or trotskyist magazines for that matter,. Sayerslle (talk) 01:03, 5 September 2010 (UTC)
That citation like all the text in the current version of the article was copied from other Wikipedia articles. If there is another side of the story to tell, please add it (with citations to reliable sources, of course!) --Richard S (talk) 04:38, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Revision proceeds

I'm going to be bold and revise this again. Article is currently out of weight with where the history of the church ought to talk about. 1st-6th century, 7th through 11th century, 11th through 17th century, 17th through to 21st century, all should have approximately equal weight. Benkenobi18 (talk) 07:05, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Document Statistics

Document statistics: (See here for details.)

   File size: 483 kB
   Prose size (including all HTML code): 112 kB
   References (including all HTML code): 20 kB
   Wiki text: 112 kB
   Prose size (text only): 54 kB (8741 words) "readable prose size"
   References (text only): 1362 B

 --Zfish118 (talk) 04:09, 23 August 2011 (UTC)

Introduction proposal

Currently the introduction is extremely weak.

The History of the Catholic Church is traced by the Catholic Church to apostolic times.[1] The history of the Catholic Church is an integral part of the history of Christianity and of Western civilization.[2] ??

<<Very weak opener. Is traced? By whom?>>

Founded by Jesus Christ prior to his execution at Golgatha by crucifixion, historians have traced the continuous existance of the Catholic church back to Apostolic times. As the only surviving institution from Ancient Rome, the Catholic Church has served as a bulwark for both Christianity and Western Civilization.

As recorded in the Synoptic Gospels, Christ founded his Church by appointing Simon Peter, and the remaining 10 disciples to be his Apostles, commanding them to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ around the world. In response to Christ's command, the Apostles began their public ministry in Jerusalem, at Pentecost in 35 AD, where Peter proclaimed the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Apostles and many Christians traveled from Jerusalem throughout the Roman Empire and beyond to found the first Christian communities. Christianity spread quickly, and by the second century there were many established bishoprics from Spain to Armenia. As the Church grew in size, the Church declared Councils, by which doctrine could be discussed and bishops from all over the Empire could meet and settle disputes. The first of these councils is the Council of Jerusalem in 67 AD.

As Christianity gained prominence within the Empire, the Emperor persecuted those who openly professed to be Christians. The first general persecution originated in 64 with the Emperor Nero. Further persecutions of the church would occur throughout the period until the accession of Emperor Constantine and his promulgation of the Edict of Milan, preserving religious freedom throughout the Empire. Followed by Emperor Theodosius declaring Catholicism to be the official religion of the Roman Empire in 385, marks the union between the political empire of Roman, and the ecclesiastical structure of the Church, a union which would endure until the French Revolution.

With the Edict of Milan permitting open worship, the Catholic Church held the 4 ecumenical councils, Nicaea, Constantinople, Chalcedon, and 2nd Constantinople to define the precise nature of Christ, the operation of his will, and his divinity. The council of Nicaea produced the Nicene Creed, to which almost all Christian denominations adhere. In addition to the councils, Pope Gelasius commissioned St. Jerome to write a common-bound bible to contain all of Sacred Scripture, and to translate Sacred Scripture from Hebrew and Greek originals into Latin. This edition would be known as the Vulgate, which first published in 395 AD, would continue to be published until well into the 16th century.

Benkenobi18 (talk) 02:49, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

'Protestant Revolt'

Redacted a segment that purported that the Protestant Reformation would be more correctly named the Protestant Revolt. Its only source was "Christ the King, Lord of History", which is clearly not unbiased. Zelani (talk) 12:06, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Doctrinal, not historical, first paragraph

The first paragraph presents Catholic doctrine (or the Catholic church's view of its history), which is not necessarily the same as the actual history of the Catholic church, which is the title of this article. I have suggested that some counterpoint be included in this opening paragraph to render the introduction NPOV. I have suggested that at the end of the paragraph the following be added, "The historicity of these claims is debated, as other ancient churches also currently teach that they are the one true church founded by Jesus Christ,[3] and prominent historians assert that Peter was never a bishop of Rome and that the Catholic teaching of apostolic succession of the bishops, popes, of Rome via the unbroken line of popes, claimed as successors to Peter is not historically supported.[4][5][6] (Historian Bart D. Ehrman notes that in his Epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul greets important members of the early Roman church, but does not greet, or mention Peter, and that sixty years later it still does not appear that Rome had a single person in charge of the congregation.[7])"

Comments? Piledhighandeep (talk) 22:58, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

The Lede is supposed to be a summary of the rest of the article, for one thing. It needs no sources (as the sources are in the article body), and your additions provided excessive detail for such an introduction. It is not the information you present, but the way you are presenting it that is the problem.Farsight001 (talk) 00:36, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

History of the Catholic Church article begins with Catholic doctrine & no counterpoint

The History of the Catholic Church article begins by presenting doctrine (or the Catholic church's view of its history) without any counterpoint or comment on historicity. Currently the entire first paragraph contains only POV Catholic doctrinal statements, generally beginning with "the Church teaches." This seems to belong in a "doctrine of the Catholic church" section, not the intro of a balanced history article. I have suggested, at the least, that some counterpoint (three prominent secular history scholars, that I've cited, and a religious authority from another church, also cited) be included to give some balance and render the presentation NPOV. My suggested text for insertion at the end of the intro paragraph (after being corrected by comments from another editor) reads,

"The historicity of these claims is debated by other ancient churches, who currently teach that they are the one true church founded by Jesus Christ,[8] and by several historians, who assert that Peter was never a bishop, or leader, in Rome and that there were no formal leaders in Rome to succeed to that title, or claim it, for a century.[9][10][11] (Historian Bart D. Ehrman notes that in his Epistle to the Romans the Apostle Paul greets important members of the early Roman church, but does not greet, or mention Peter, and that sixty years later it still does not appear that Rome had a single person in charge of the congregation.[12])

Thanks for your comments. Piledhighandeep (talk) 01:57, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

As pointed out above, the lede is just supposed to be a summary of the article. Nothing in the lead should not also be in the article body. Furthermore, it is not "doctrinal". It presents the beliefs of the Catholic Church AS THEIR BELIEFS, not as fact or truth. There is nothing wrong with this and there never will be. Its not an NPOV problem to not mention that "others disagree". MOST articles include no such elaboration.Farsight001 (talk) 03:11, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
I agree with Farsight001. This is the place to state what the RC church teaches, not what different views are held by 75+ other churches. Those views belong in the other 75+ articles Rjensen (talk) 04:40, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
The fact is this is a history article, and the intro paragraph presents no history, only Catholic teachings. It is obviously necessary to include the view of historians in this history article lead. This is not even debatable. The debate is over how to do it best. The current lead paragraph needs changes. Piledhighandeep (talk) 05:27, 13 October 2014 (UTC)
So what? The lede is NOT supposed to contain the sum totaly information in the article. What you are looking for is already in the article body, where it should be. You're right that its not debatable. Such detail is excessive for the lede and does not belong.Farsight001 (talk) 12:16, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

Farsight is correct. The lead section should be a well-written encapsulation of the article. While it's fair - and expected - for the article to present different points of view on the origins of the church, we shouldn't go down that rabbit hole in the lead. That said, there is opportunity to refactor the first paragraph of the lead to make it more focused on commonly accepted historical facts. Majoreditor (talk) 03:08, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

The following sentence, containing the views of many historians, could be added at the end of the intro paragraph, which currently gives only the Catholic Church's doctrine about its history, "Historians do not find evidence for a direct connection between the Apostles of Jesus, who some historians believe were led, along with the early church, by James the Just, not Peter,[13][14][15][16][17] and the hierarchical structure established for the Roman church a century later.[18][19][20]" Piledhighandeep (talk) 23:47, 14 October 2014 (UTC)

Agree with Farsight. Rfcs are great for little watched articles. This is not one of those! I think there is a consensus. Note that the RC church does not necessarily dispute the Orthodox Churches claim of "directly founded" by Jesus. I think they agree with it. Student7 (talk) 18:32, 16 October 2014 (UTC)
  • The lead, like the rest of the article, should be written from a neutral point of view—it should not give preference to the Catholic Church's view of history. So I support the inclusion of a secular perspective in the lead (and in the rest of the article). —Granger (talk · contribs) 00:26, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
The lede is complete neutral and factual. Which sentence is being challenged? Rjensen (talk) 01:36, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
NPOV does not mean that equal weight should be given to all views, though. It means that weight should be given to the varying views in a way that reflects the popularity of those views among relevant scholars. If most scholars consider the Catholic version of events to be mostly accurate, then most of the weight MUST reflect that prominence. A neutral point of view is not the same thing as no point of view.Farsight001 (talk) 05:28, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
No one has identified a sentence that scholars object to. Most of the lede is of the form "the Catholic position is XYZ" -- a straight-forward factual statement that in no way says "XYZ is true." Rjensen (talk) 09:27, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
I've been participating in a similar discussion on this topic on the main Catholic Church page, and I personally think one sentence in the lead mentioning a secular viewpoint is not undue weight, since it helps the reader understand which positions will be explored in the article. Luthien22 (talk) 13:58, 18 October 2014 (UTC)
There are multiple contradictory "secular" viewpoints on all religious issues (Enlightenment, atheist, Darwinian, Marxist etc) --not to mention Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, Orthodox, Mormon, Quaker and Unitarian viewpoints. Lots of people wrote on the Catholic Church! They each have their own articles and their views can be best handled there. Rjensen (talk) 21:31, 18 October 2014 (UTC)

The title of the article is "History of the Catholic church", not "History of Catholic views on the Catholic church". Personally I'm not a Catholic or a Protestant, but I am a historian. Most historians do not agree with the old doctrinal position on the first century of Christian history, and an article on the "History of the Catholic church" is not neutral if it does nothing but repeat that position. A neutral article would have to discuss the best evidence for early Catholic history, not simply repeat outdated legends. Piledhighanddeep's suggested alterations seem sound to me, and I would support them. Wallace McDonald (talk) 03:42, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

All the topics mentioned are covered in their articles where multiple viewpoints can be mentioned. Giving ten or twenty conflicting interpretations of each point in the lede is pretty silly, especially since the Catholic Church operates according to its beliefs, which is what readers need to know. Whether some historians agree or disagree with those beliefs has no effect on Church activity. Rjensen (talk) 06:07, 19 October 2014 (UTC)

My two cents is that the lead should be a broad encapsulation of the article. There is no need for the lead to have clashing details about who founded the RCC; that can come later in this article or in sub-articles. I oppose Piledhighanddeep's suggestion because (a) it violates WP:LEAD with its level of specificity, and (b) it's as one-sided POV as Catholic dogma. That said, I agree that the current lead has problems. A sensible path forward for the lead is to take a more generalized approach rather than lecturing the reader about apostolic succession in the first paragraph (current version) or lecturing the reader about why Catholic teachings on the church's founding are wrong (Piledhighanddeep's suggestion). Let's save the back and forth for later in the article. Majoreditor (talk) 03:12, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

Agree. Take a look at the article Mormons which I selected at random. The lead does not say that there are people who don't think the Angel Moroni exists, or that Smith did not find a book with graphics which he read with special glasses. The lead is not the place to go into that. Student7 (talk) 22:28, 20 October 2014 (UTC)

I think some editors are attacking a straw-man argument. The question isn't whether the article should say that others disagree with the Catholic church's claims. The question is whether to present the consensus of historians in the intro to this history article or whether only the Catholic church's POV about its own history (doctrine not history) will be presented as if it were actual history. Again this is a history article, not a doctrine article. Piledhighandeep (talk) 02:28, 21 October 2014 (UTC)

There is no question about presenting the consensus of historians in the intro. for one thing, we've pretty much already agreed that too many perspectives in the lead is excessive detail. For another thing, you have not provided the consensus of historians. You have provided the perspective of a FEW qualified scholars and are trying to present that as the consensus at large. Third, saying "The Catholic Church believes X about its past" is NOT presenting it as actual history.Farsight001 (talk) 02:42, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
Farsight001 is right: there is no consensus among historians on this issue. Rjensen (talk) 03:45, 21 October 2014 (UTC)
So instead we present the consensus of the Catholic Church? In the lead paragraph to a history article? Either there should be no history (because you say there is no historical consensus), leaving the early church period blank, or we should expose the reader to the different sides as most WP articles do in such a case. Giving up on history in a history article and presenting doctrine instead is an egregious form of POV. So, what shall we do? Piledhighandeep (talk) 07:39, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
I'm willing to support a rewrite of the first sentence that focuses on broadly agreed-upon history/fact with a minor number of references to dogmatic teachings. The back-and-forth on historic proof of Peter's existance and episcopy is best addressed in the body of the article. Majoreditor (talk) 22:16, 29 October 2014 (UTC)
  • There seems to be little or no mention of Jesuits or Dictatorship. Lead is apparently large, it is trying to provide a short summary about the history of Catholic Church, but it cannot be managed without putting multiple explanations to paragraph. Has anyone thought about trimming it? Noteswork (talk) 12:44, 1 November 2014 (UTC)
  1. ^ August Franzen, Kleine Kirchengeschichte Neubearbeitung, Herder,Freiburg,1988, p.11
  2. ^ Orlandis, A Short History of the Catholic Church (1993), preface
  3. ^ Bishop Kallistos (Ware). The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-014656-3. p. 307
  4. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend." Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0. pp. 80-84 83
  5. ^ Chadwick, Henry (1993), The Early Church, Penguin Books p. 18
  6. ^ Cullman, Oscar (1962), Peter:Disciple, Apostle, Martyr (2 ed.), Westminster Press p. 234
  7. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend." Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0. p. 83
  8. ^ Bishop Kallistos (Ware). The Orthodox Church. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-014656-3. p. 307
  9. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend." Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0. pp. 80-84 83
  10. ^ Chadwick, Henry (1993), The Early Church, Penguin Books p. 18
  11. ^ Cullman, Oscar (1962), Peter:Disciple, Apostle, Martyr (2 ed.), Westminster Press p. 234
  12. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend." Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0. p. 83
  13. ^ The brother of Jesus: James the Just and his mission p.33 Bruce Chilton, Jacob Neusner – 2001 p.34 "Eusebius records that Clement of Alexandria related, 'This James, whom the people of old called the Just because of his outstanding virtue, was the first, as the record tells us, to be elected to the episcopal throne of the Jerusalem church.'"
  14. ^ Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition p115 John Painter - 2005 "Eusebius' language in the earlier summary (2.1.2) suggests that Clement was not the first to do so because the people of old had named James 'the Just.' "
  15. ^ Robert Eisenman (1996) James the Brother of Jesus Viking. ISBN 0-670-86932-5
  16. ^ In the Gospel of Thomas, 12,
    The disciples said to Jesus, "We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?"
    Jesus said to them, "No matter where you are, you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being."
    Miller, Robert J., ed. (1994) The Complete Gospels Polebridge Press. ISBN 0-06-065587-9
  17. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend." Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0. pp. 83
  18. ^ Cullmann, Oscar (1962), Peter:Disciple, Apostle, Martyr (2 ed.), Westminster Press p. 234
  19. ^ Bart D. Ehrman. "Peter, Paul, and Mary Magdalene: The Followers of Jesus in History and Legend." Oxford University Press, USA. 2006. ISBN 0-19-530013-0. pp. 80-84
  20. ^ Chadwick, Henry (1993), The Early Church, Penguin Books p. 18

Papacy origins

I have added the agreed upon text regarding the origin of papacy in the Catholic Church article to the "Origins" subsection of this article. --Zfish118 (talk) 00:01, 17 November 2014 (UTC)

Cluttered first paragraph

The first paragraph was very cluttered, so I removed some less critical information. All the information removed is covered elsewhere in the article. --Zfish118 (talk) 07:39, 22 November 2014 (UTC)

Added context about early organization to the rewritten first paragraph, copied from the body of the article. --Zfish118 (talk) 17:43, 22 November 2014 (UTC)
This is a portion of the content removed. I am putting it here for reference and access to the citations (much of the rest was simply rewritten):

The Catholic Church claims legitimacy for its and priests via the doctrine of apostolic succession and authority of the Pope via the unbroken line of popes, claimed as successors to Simon Peter.[1][2][3][4]

  1. ^ The Catholic Church recognizes as legitimate the episcopal consecrations of a number of other churches which do not consider the Pope to have the authority claimed by the Catholic Church. However, it still insists that those churches are obligated to defer to the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff.
  2. ^ Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 281, quote: "Some (Christian communities) had been founded by Peter, the disciple Jesus designated as the founder of his church. ... Once the position was institutionalized, historians looked back and recognized Peter as the first pope of the Christian church in Rome"
  3. ^ Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 11, 14, quote: "The Church was founded by Jesus himself in his earthly lifetime.", "The apostolate was established in Rome, the world's capital when the church was inaugurated; it was there that the universality of the Christian teaching most obviously took its central directive–it was the bishops of Rome who very early on began to receive requests for adjudication on disputed points from other bishops."
  4. ^ Temporini, Hildegard; Wolfgang Haase (1982). Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt Principat.: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung. Walter de Gruyter. p. 480. ISBN 3-11-008700-6. 

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