Church is an worldwide community of Christians, made up of over a
The Church is divided
into diocese, each of which is under the direction of
a bishop. The bishops have teaching authority. The Bishop of Rome (the Pope), is considered to be
the successor of the apostle, Peter, and is the visible sign of unity between
the churches. A statement from the Pope, when he speaks “ex cathedra” (Latin:
from the teaching chair) about faith and tradition is without error.
responsibility is to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Bible is the written source. In addition, the
Church has oral sources which reach back to the Early Church. The Creeds which the Church
uses date from the Councils of Nicea (325AD) and Constantinople (381AD).
The Catholic Church has
seven sacraments: Baptism, Holy
Communion, Confirmation, Penance and Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Marriage and Priestly Ordination. The
communion service is called the Mass. The language used during the service is
usually the normal mother tongue, but Latin which was formerly the language of
the Church, may also be used.
The Church permits
believers to live in religious communities with special rules (for
example, taking vows of celibacy, obedience and poverty) in order to fulfill
special spiritual and social needs in the Church, as well as in society at
large. The Franciscan
Sisters (FMM) are an example of this.
The community of the
Church reaches beyond death. The Church – after an appeal – having examined the
life of a person who has made Christ known in a special way, may solemnly
proclaim this person a saint. It is then possible to
ask her/him to intercede for one in prayer. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is
foremost amongst the saints.
The Vatican - The Catechism of the Catholic Church Catholic Encyclopedia
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