Roman Catholic Religion
The Roman Catholic Religion also known as the Catholic Church is the Christian church with the most adherents. The church has more than 1 billion members which is half the world’s Christian population. The world population today is estimated at a little more than 6 billion people.
The church is a communion of the western and 22 autonomous eastern catholic churches.
The Pope is the highest authority of the church and holds supreme authority with the College of Bishops. The Catholic adherents are comprised of an ordained ministry and the laity.
The mission of the church is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ and administer the sacraments and charity. It operates social programs and institutions throughout the world, including schools, universities, hospitals, missions and shelters, as well as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas and other Catholic Charities that help families, the poor, the elderly and the sick.
The Roman Catholic Religion believes that through Apostolic succession the bishops are consecrated successors of the original apostles. On the basis of promises made by Jesus to his apostles, described in the Gospels, the Church believes that it is guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected from falling into doctrinal error.
Although the Church maintains that it is the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" founded by Jesus Christ and in which is found the fullness of the means of salvation, it also acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of other Christian communities to bring people to salvation.
It believes that it is called by the Holy Spirit to work for unity among all Christians, a movement known as ecumenism.
Modern challenges facing the Church include the rise of secularism and opposition to its stances on abortion, euthanasia, contraception, and sexual morality.
The Catholic Church believes that there is one God, who exists as a trinity of three: God the Father; Jesus the Son; and the Holy Spirit.
Catholic beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed and detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Nicene Creed also forms the central statement of belief of other Christian denominations. Chief among these are Eastern Orthodox Christians, whose beliefs are similar to those of Catholics, differing mainly with regard to papal infallibility, the filioque clause and the Immaculate Conception of Mary.
The various Protestant denominations vary in their beliefs, but generally differ from Catholics regarding the Pope, Church tradition, the Eucharist, veneration of saints, and issues pertaining to grace, good works and salvation.
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