Roman Catholic Church

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Roman Catholic Church,

Christian church headed by the pope, the bishop of Rome (see papacypapacy
, office of the pope, head of the Roman Catholic Church. He is pope by reason of being bishop of Rome and thus, according to Roman Catholic belief, successor in the see of Rome (the Holy See) to its first bishop, St. Peter.
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 and Peter, SaintPeter, Saint,
d. A.D. 64?, most prominent of the Twelve Apostles, listed first in the Gospels, and traditionally the first bishop of Rome. His original name was Simon, but Jesus gave him the nickname Cephas [Aramaic, = rock], which was translated into Greek as Petros [Gr.
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). Its commonest title in official use is Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. "Roman Catholic" is a 19th-century British coinage and merely serves to distinguish that church from other churches that are "Catholic" (see catholic churchcatholic church
[Gr.,=universal], the body of Christians, living and dead, considered as an organization. The word catholic was first used c.110 to describe the Church by St. Ignatius of Antioch.
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). The term "Roman Church," when used officially, means only the archdiocese of Rome. Roman Catholics may be simply defined as Christians in communion with the pope.

Organization of the Church

There are within the church a number of rites, i.e., ancient, independent traditions of discipline and worship, differentiated through isolation (see also liturgyliturgy, Christian
[Gr. leitourgia = public duty or worship] form of public worship, particularly the form of rite or services prescribed by the various Christian churches.
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). Besides the Roman rite, to which the vast majority belong, there are among Catholics five Eastern rites, used by a number of communities (Eastern Catholics or Uniates; see patriarchpatriarch,
in Christian churches, title of certain exalted bishops, implying authority over a number of other bishops. There were originally three patriarchates: the West, held by the bishop of Rome (the pope; see papacy; Benedict XVI dropped the title in 2006), Alexandria, and
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). They are: the Byzantine (the rite also of the Orthodox Eastern ChurchOrthodox Eastern Church,
community of Christian churches whose chief strength is in the Middle East and E Europe. Their members number over 250 million worldwide. The Orthodox agree doctrinally in accepting as ecumenical the first seven councils (see council, ecumenical) and in
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, which is not in communion with Rome), to which belong many groups, including MelchitesMelchites
or Melkites
, members of a Christian community in the Levant and the Americas, mainly Arabic-speaking and numbering about 250,000. They are in communion with the pope and have a Byzantine rite much like that of Constantinople but in the Arabic language.
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, Ruthenians, Romanians, and the Italo-Albanians of S Italy; the Antiochene (also the rite of the autonomous Jacobite ChurchJacobite Church
, officially Syrian Orthodox Church, Christian church of Syria, Iraq, and India, recognizing the Syrian Orthodox patriarch of Antioch as its spiritual head, regarded by Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox as heretical. It was founded (6th cent.
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), to which belong the MaronitesMaronites
, Lebanese Christian community, in communion with the pope. By emigration they have spread to Cyprus, Palestine, Egypt, South America, and the United States and now number about one million.
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, the Syrian Catholics, and the Malankarese of Malabar; the Alexandrian, to which belong the Catholic Copts and Ethiopians (see CoptsCopts
, the native Christian minority of Egypt; estimates of the number of Copts in Egypt range from 5% to 17% of the population. Copts are not ethnically distinct from other Egyptians; they are a cultural remnant, i.e.
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); the Chaldaean (also the rite of the autonomous Nestorian ChurchNestorian Church,
officially the Assyrian Church of the East, Christian community of Iraq, Iran, and SW India. It represents the ancient church of Persia and is sometimes also called the East Syrian Church. It numbers about 175,000, including emigrants to the United States.
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), to which belong Chaldaean Catholics and Syro-Malabarese; and the Armenian (also the rite of the autonomous Armenian ChurchArmenian Church,
autonomous Christian church, sometimes also called the Gregorian Church. Its head, a primate of honor only, is the catholicos of Yejmiadzin, Armenia; Karekin II became catholicos in 1999.
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). These rites and communities have their own organizations under the pope and are protected from attempts to "Latinize" them. Best known, perhaps, of the non-Roman Western rites are the Ambrosian, the Dominican, and the Mozarabic.

Apart from the rites and foreign missions, the organization of the church is by diocese, the territory of a bishop. Important sees have archbishops, who often supervise neighboring, suffragan bishops. With certain restrictions, the pope names the bishops. Dioceses are made up of parishes, each of which has a church and a priest (the pastor). The pope controls bishops mainly by general legislation. His government, which is run by the cardinals living at Rome, is concerned with matters of wide significance, such as missionsmissions,
term generally applied to organizations formed for the purpose of extending religious teaching, whether at home or abroad. It also indicates the stations or the fields where such teaching is given.
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 and relations with states (see also cardinalcardinal
[Lat.,=attached to and thus "belonging to" the hinge], in the Roman Catholic Church, a member of the highest body of the church. The sacred college of cardinals of the Holy Roman Church is the electoral college of the papacy. Its members are appointed by the pope.
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; papal electionpapal election,
election of the pope by the college of cardinals meeting in secret conclave in the Sistine Chapel not less than 15 nor more than 18 days after the death of the previous pontiff. In the case of a resignation, the conclave may begin earlier.
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; Vatican CityVatican City
or Holy See,
officially Holy See (State of the Vatican City), independent state (2005 est. pop. 900), 108.7 acres (44 hectares), within the city of Rome, Italy, and the residence of the pope, who is its absolute ruler.
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).

Cutting across territorial lines are the religious orders of men and women; their field is monastic life, nonparish activities, and schools; they frequently run missions, hospitals, and colleges (see monasticismmonasticism
, form of religious life, usually conducted in a community under a common rule. Monastic life is bound by ascetical practices expressed typically in the vows of celibacy, poverty, and obedience, called the evangelical counsels.
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). Their members generally receive subsistence only. The parish clergy support themselves, often with salaries fixed by the bishop. Most of the clergy are priests (see orders, holyorders, holy
[Lat. ordo,=rank], in Christianity, the traditional degrees of the clergy, conferred by the Sacrament of Holy Order. The episcopacy, priesthood or presbyterate, and diaconate were in general use in Christian churches in the 2d cent.
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); they are trained (usually from four to six years) in seminaries maintained by the bishops, the orders, or the Vatican. Members of the clergy do not marry, unless they are parish priests of Eastern rites.

There is no churchwide census, and there are various criteria for determining membership. However, the Roman Catholics in the world are estimated to be about half the total number of Christians and make the church one of the largest religions in the world, with more than 1 billion adherents. Roughly half of all Catholics live in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2003, there were 63.4 million Roman Catholics in the United States.

Beliefs, Doctrines, and Practices

To belong to the church one must accept as factually true the gospel of Jesus as handed down in tradition and as interpreted by the bishops in union with the pope. Fundamental in this divine tradition is the BibleBible
[Gr.,=the books], term used since the 4th cent. to denote the Christian Scriptures and later, by extension, those of various religious traditions. This article discusses the nature of religious scripture generally and the Christian Scriptures specifically, as well as the
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, its text determined and disseminated by the church. Adherents must also accept the church as possessing the fullness of revelation, and the church, according to the Roman Catholic catechism, is the only Christian body that is "one, holy, catholic [universal], and apostolic."

The doctrine of apostolic successionapostolic succession,
in Christian theology, the doctrine asserting that the chosen successors of the apostles enjoyed through God's grace the same authority, power, and responsibility as was conferred upon the apostles by Jesus.
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 is one of the keystones of the Catholic faith; it holds that the pope (the vicar of Christ) and the bishops have in varying degrees the spiritual authority Jesus assigned to his apostles. The voice of the pope, either alone or in conjunction with his bishops in council, is regarded as infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals taught in common with the bishops (see infallibilityinfallibility
, in Christian thought, exemption from the possibility of error, bestowed on the church as a teaching authority, as a gift of the Holy Spirit. It has been believed since the earliest times to be guaranteed in such scriptural passages as John 14.16,17.
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). Many features of the traditional teaching (dogma) have been analyzed and restated, by the councils and by great theologians (see council, ecumenicalcouncil, ecumenical
[Gr.,=universal], in Christendom, council of church leaders, the decisions of which are accepted by some segment of the church as authoritative, also called general council.
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; creedcreed
[Lat. credo=I believe], summary of basic doctrines of faith. The following are historically important Christian creeds.

1 The Nicene Creed, beginning, "I believe in one God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and
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; Thomas Aquinas, SaintThomas Aquinas, Saint
[Lat.,=from Aquino], 1225–74, Italian philosopher and theologian, Doctor of the Church, known as the Angelic Doctor, b. Rocca Secca (near Naples).
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; Trent, Council ofTrent, Council of,
1545–47, 1551–52, 1562–63, 19th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, convoked to meet the crisis of the Protestant Reformation.
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; Vatican Council, FirstVatican Council, First,
1869–70, the 20th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church (see council, ecumenical), renowned chiefly for its enunciation of the doctrine of papal infallibility.
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; Vatican Council, SecondVatican Council, Second,
popularly called Vatican II,
1962–65, the 21st ecumenical council (see council, ecumenical) of the Roman Catholic Church, convened by Pope John XXIII and continued under Paul VI.
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).

The chief teachings of the Catholic church are: God's objective existence; God's interest in individual human beings, who can enter into relations with God (through prayer); the TrinityTrinity
[Lat.,=threefoldness], fundamental doctrine in Christianity, by which God is considered as existing in three persons. While the doctrine is not explicitly taught in the New Testament, early Christian communities testified to a perception that Jesus was God in the flesh;
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; the divinity of Jesus; the immortality of the soul of each human being, each one being accountable at death for his or her actions in life, with the award of heavenheaven,
blissful upper realm or state entered after death; in Western monotheistic religions it is the place where the just see God face to face (sometimes called the beatific vision).
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 or hellhell,
in Western monotheistic religions, eternal abode of souls damned by the judgment of God. The souls in hell are deprived forever of the sight of God. The punishment of hell is generally analogized to earthly fire.
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; the resurrectionresurrection
[Lat.,=rising again], arising again from death to life. The emergence of Jesus from the tomb to live on earth again for 40 days as told in the Gospels has been from the beginning the central fact of Christian experience and a cardinal feature of Christian doctrine
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 of the dead; the historicity of the Gospels; and the divine commission of the church. In addition the Roman Catholic Church stresses that since the members, living and dead, share in each other's merits, the Virgin MaryMary,
in the Bible, mother of Jesus. Christian tradition reckons her the principal saint, naming her variously the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady, and Mother of God (Gr., theotokos). Her name is the Hebrew Miriam.
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 and other saints and the dead in purgatorypurgatory
[Lat.,=place of purging], in the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, the state after death in which the soul destined for heaven is purified. Since only the perfect can enjoy the vision of God (inferred from Mat. 12.36; Rev. 21.
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 are never forgotten (see churchchurch
[probably Gr.,=divine], aggregation of Christian believers. The traditional belief has the church the community of believers, living and dead, headed by Jesus, who founded it in the apostles. This is the doctrine of the mystical body of Christ (Eph. 1.22–23).
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; saintsaint
[O.Fr., from Latin sanctus=holy], in Christianity, a person who is recognized as worthy of veneration. Nature of Sainthood

In the Hebrew Scriptures God is "the Holy One" or "one who is holy" (Isa. 1.4; 5.19; 41.14). "His people share His holiness" (Ex.
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).

The church is seen as having from God a system of conveying God's gracegrace,
in Christian theology, the free favor of God toward humans, which is necessary for their salvation. A distinction is made between natural grace (e.g., the gift of life) and supernatural grace, by which God makes a person (born sinful because of original sin) capable of
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 direct to humanity (see sacramentsacrament
[Lat.,=something holy], an outward sign of something sacred. In Christianity, a sacrament is commonly defined as having been instituted by Jesus and consisting of a visible sign of invisible grace. Christianity is divided as to the number and operation of sacraments.
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). The ordinary Catholic frequents the sacraments of penancepenance
, sacrament of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Eastern churches. By it the penitent (the person receiving the sacrament) is absolved of his or her sins by a confessor (the person hearing the confession and conferring the sacrament).
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 (required at least once a year) and the EucharistEucharist
[Gr.,=thanksgiving], Christian sacrament that repeats the action of Jesus at his last supper with his disciples, when he gave them bread, saying, "This is my body," and wine, saying, "This is my blood." (Mat. 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; 1 Cor. 11.
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 (required once every Easter time; see also sinsin,
in religion, unethical act. The term implies disobedience to a personal God, as in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, and is not used so often in systems such as Buddhism where there is no personal divinity.
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). The Eucharist is the center of public worship, often embellished with solemn ceremony (see MassMass,
religious service of the Roman Catholic Church, which has as its central act the performance of the sacrament of the Eucharist. It is based on the ancient Latin liturgy of the city of Rome, now used in most, but not all, Roman Catholic churches. The term Mass [Lat.
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).

Private prayer is also regarded as essential; contemplation is the ideal (see mysticismmysticism
[Gr.,=the practice of those who are initiated into the mysteries], the practice of putting oneself into, and remaining in, direct relation with God, the Absolute, or any unifying principle of life. Mysticism is inseparably linked with religion.
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), and all believers are expected to devote some time to prayer that is more than requesting favors. Different methods of prayer are recommended (see rosaryrosary
[rose garden], prayer of Roman Catholics, in which beads are used as counters. The term, applied also to the beads, is extended to Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist prayers that use beads.
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; Saint Ignatius of LoyolaIgnatius of Loyola, Saint
, 1491–1556, Spanish churchman, founder of the Jesuits (see Jesus, Society of), b. Loyola Castle near Azpeitia, Guipúzcoa, Spain. Early Life and Ordination
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; Thomas à KempisThomas à Kempis
, b. 1379 or 1380, d. 1471, German monk, traditional author of The Imitation of Christ, b. Kempen, Germany. He was schooled at Deventer, in the Netherlands, the center of the Brothers of the Common Life founded by Gerard Groote.
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). Self-renunciation is a necessary part of prayer (see fastingfasting,
partial or temporary abstinence from food, a widely used form of asceticism. Among the stricter Jews the principal fast is the Day of Atonement, or Yom Kippur; in Islam the faithful fast all the daytime hours of the month of Ramadan. Fasting is general in Christianity.
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; LentLent
[Old Eng. lencten,=spring], Latin Quadragesima (meaning 40; thus the 40 days of Lent). In Christianity, Lent is a time of penance, prayer, preparation for or recollection of baptism, and preparation for the celebration of Easter.
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).

The church teaches that the main motive for ethical behavior is the love of God. Nothing that God has created is evil in itself, but evil use may be made of it. The doctrine concerning persons not Catholic is that since God affords each human being light sufficient to attain salvation, all will be saved who persevere in what they believe to be good, regardless of ignorance. Only those will be damned who persist in what they know to be wrong; among these are persons who resist the church when they know it to be the one, true church.

History

For the first centuries of the church's history, see ChristianityChristianity,
religion founded in Palestine by the followers of Jesus. One of the world's major religions, it predominates in Europe and the Americas, where it has been a powerful historical force and cultural influence, but it also claims adherents in virtually every country of
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.

The Church in the Middle Ages

From the 9th cent. to 1520 the church was simply Western Europe taken in its religious aspect, and no clear line divided spiritual from temporal life. In the West (unlike the East) the religious organization was free for centuries from grave interference from civil rulers. CharlemagneCharlemagne
(Charles the Great or Charles I) [O.Fr.,=Charles the great], 742?–814, emperor of the West (800–814), Carolingian king of the Franks (768–814).
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 was an exception, but his influence was benign. In the chaotic 9th and 10th cent. every part of the church organization, including the papacy, became the prey of the powerful.

The restoration of order began in monasteries; from Cluny a movement spread to reform Christian life (see Cluniac orderCluniac order
, medieval organization of Benedictines centered at the abbey of Cluny, France. Founded in 910 by the monk Berno and Count William of Aquitaine, the abbey's constitution provided it freedom from lay supervision and (after 1016) from jurisdiction of the local bishop.
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). This pattern of decline of religion followed by reform is characteristic of the history of the Roman Catholic Church; the reform goals have varied, but they have included the revival of spiritual life in society and the monasteries, and the elimination of politics from the bishops' sphere and venality from the papal court. The next reform (11th cent.) was conducted by popes, notably St. Gregory VIIGregory VII, Saint,
d. 1085, pope (1073–85), an Italian (b. near Rome) named Hildebrand (Ital. Ildebrando); successor of Alexander II. He was one of the greatest popes. Feast: May 25.
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 and Urban IIUrban II,
c.1042–1099, pope (1088–99), a Frenchman named Odo (or Eudes) of Lagery; successor of Victor III. He studied at Reims and became a monk at Cluny. He went to Rome, as prior of Cluny, early in the reign of St. Gregory VII.
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. Part of this movement was to exclude civil rulers from making church appointments—the first, bold chapter in a 900-year battle between the church and the "Catholic princes" (see church and statechurch and state,
the relationship between the religion or religions of a nation and the civil government of that nation, especially the relationship between the Christian church and various civil governments.
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; investitureinvestiture,
in feudalism, ceremony by which an overlord transferred a fief to a vassal or by which, in ecclesiastical law, an elected cleric received the pastoral ring and staff (the symbols of spiritual office) signifying the transfer of the office.
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).

The 12th cent. was a time of great intellectual beginnings. St. Bernard of ClairvauxBernard of Clairvaux, Saint
, 1090?–1153, French churchman, mystic, Doctor of the Church. Born of noble family, in 1112 he entered the Cistercian abbey of Cîteaux, taking along 4 or 5 brothers and some 25 friends.
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 and the CisterciansCistercians
, monks of a Roman Catholic religious order founded (1098) by St. Robert, abbot of Molesme, in Cîteaux [Cistercium], Côte-d'Or dept., France. They reacted against Cluniac departures from the Rule of St. Benedict.
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 revived practical mystical prayer. GratianGratian,
fl. 1140, Italian legal scholar, founder of the science of canon law. Almost nothing is known of his life beyond the fact that he was a monk, almost certainly Camaldolite, and that he taught at the convent of saints Felix and Nabor (San Felice) in Bologna.
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 founded the systematic study of the canon lawcanon law,
in the Roman Catholic Church, the body of law based on the legislation of the councils (both ecumenical and local) and the popes, as well as the bishops (for diocesan matters).
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, and medieval civil law began its development. This double study was to provide weapons to both sides in the duel between the extreme papal claims of Innocent IIIInnocent III,
b. 1160 or 1161, d. 1216, pope (1198–1216), an Italian, b. Anagni, named Lotario di Segni; successor of Celestine III. Innocent III was succeeded by Honorius III.
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 and Innocent IVInnocent IV,
d. 1254, pope (1243–54), a Genoese named Sinibaldo Fieschi, a distinguished jurist who studied and later taught law at the Univ. of Bologna; successor of Celestine IV. He was of a noble family.
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, and the antipapal theories of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick IIFrederick II,
1194–1250, Holy Roman emperor (1220–50) and German king (1212–20), king of Sicily (1197–1250), and king of Jerusalem (1229–50), son of Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI and of Constance, heiress of Sicily.
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. Also in the 12th cent., Peter AbelardAbelard, Peter
, Fr. Pierre Abélard , 1079–1142, French philosopher and teacher, b. Le Pallet, near Nantes. Life

Abelard went (c.1100) to Paris to study under William of Champeaux at the school of Notre Dame and soon attacked the ultrarealist
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 and other thinkers pioneered in rationalist theology.

From early rationalist theology and from the teachings of AristotleAristotle
, 384–322 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Stagira. He is sometimes called the Stagirite. Life

Aristotle's father, Nicomachus, was a noted physician. Aristotle studied (367–347 B.C.
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 developed the philosophies and theologies of St. BonaventureBonaventure or Bonaventura, Saint
, 1221–74, Italian scholastic theologian, cardinal, Doctor of the Church, called the Seraphic Doctor, b. near Viterbo, Italy. His original name was Giovanni di Fidanza.
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 and St. Thomas AquinasThomas Aquinas, Saint
[Lat.,=from Aquino], 1225–74, Italian philosopher and theologian, Doctor of the Church, known as the Angelic Doctor, b. Rocca Secca (near Naples).
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 (see also scholasticismscholasticism
, philosophy and theology of Western Christendom in the Middle Ages. Virtually all medieval philosophers of any significance were theologians, and their philosophy is generally embodied in their theological writings.
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). This was the work of the new 13th-century universities; to them, and to the friars—the Dominicans and Franciscans—who animated them, passed the intellectual leadership held by the monasteries. St. DominicDominic, Saint
, 1170?–1221, Castilian churchman, named Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Dominicans. He studied at Palencia and became a canon, then prior of canons, of the cathedral of Osma. He and his bishop went (c.
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's order was formed to preach against the AlbigensesAlbigenses
[Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages. Beliefs and Practices

Officially known as heretics, they were actually Cathari, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic
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 (a campaign that also produced the InquisitionInquisition
, tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church established for the investigation of heresy. The Medieval Inquisition

In the early Middle Ages investigation of heresy was a duty of the bishops.
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). The vast popular movement of St. FrancisFrancis, Saint,
or Saint Francis of Assisi
, 1182?–1226, founder of the Franciscans, one of the greatest Christian saints, b. Assisi, Umbria, Italy. Early Life
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 was a spontaneous reform contemporary with the papal reform of the Fourth Lateran CouncilLateran Council, Fourth,
1215, 12th ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church, convened at the Lateran Palace, Rome, by Pope Innocent III to crown the work of his pontificate.
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. The 13th cent. saw also the flowering of Gothic architectureGothic architecture and art,
structures (largely cathedrals and churches) and works of art first created in France in the 12th cent. that spread throughout Western Europe through the 15th cent., and in some locations into the 16th cent.
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.

The contest between church and state continued, ruining the HohenstaufenHohenstaufen
, German princely family, whose name is derived from the castle of Staufen built in 1077 by a Swabian count, Frederick. In 1079, Frederick married Agnes, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, and was created duke of Swabia.
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 dynasty and, in the contest between Boniface VIIIBoniface VIII,
1235–1303, pope (1294–1303), an Italian (b. Anagni) named Benedetto Caetani; successor of St. Celestine V.

As a cardinal he was independent of the factions in the papal court, and he opposed the election of Celestine.
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 and Philip IVPhilip IV
(Philip the Fair), 1268–1314, king of France (1285–1314), son and successor of Philip III. The policies of his reign greatly strengthened the French monarchy and increased the royal revenues.
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 of France, bringing the papacy to near ruin. Then came the Avignon residence—the so-called Babylonian captivity of the papacy (1309–78), a time of good church administration, but of excessive French influence over papal policy. Except for isolated voices, such as that of St. Catherine of SienaCatherine of Siena, Saint
, 1347–80, Italian mystic and diplomat, a member of the third order of the Dominicans, Doctor of the Church. The daughter of Giacomo Benincasa, a Sienese dyer, Catherine from early childhood had mystic visions and practiced austerities; she also
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, the church seemed to lose energy, and a long period devoid of reform began. A long-enduring schism and a series of ambitious councils (see Schism, GreatSchism, Great,
or Schism of the West,
division in the Roman Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. There was no question of faith or practice involved; the schism was a matter of persons and politics.
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) involved most churchmen in a welter of politics and worldliness.

There were popular religious movements, characterized by revivalism and a tendency to minimize the sacraments (along with church authority); they encouraged private piety, and one group produced the inspirational Imitation ascribed to Thomas à KempisThomas à Kempis
, b. 1379 or 1380, d. 1471, German monk, traditional author of The Imitation of Christ, b. Kempen, Germany. He was schooled at Deventer, in the Netherlands, the center of the Brothers of the Common Life founded by Gerard Groote.
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. The popular tendencies were extreme in John WyclifWyclif, Wycliffe, Wickliffe, or Wiclif, John
, c.1328–1384, English religious reformer. A Yorkshireman by birth, Wyclif studied and taught theology and philosophy at Oxford.
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, who developed an antisacramental, predestinarian theology emphasizing Bible study—a "protestant" movement 150 years before Protestantism.

The Reformation and Counter Reformation

The 15th-century councils did little for reform, and the popes, shorn of power, were reduced to being Renaissance princes. Such men could not cope with the Protestant revolt of Martin LutherLuther, Martin,
1483–1546, German leader of the Protestant Reformation, b. Eisleben, Saxony, of a family of small, but free, landholders. Early Life and Spiritual Crisis

Luther was educated at the cathedral school at Eisenach and at the Univ.
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 and John CalvinCalvin, John,
1509–64, French Protestant theologian of the Reformation, b. Noyon, Picardy. Early Life

Calvin early prepared for an ecclesiastical career; from 1523 to 1528 he studied in Paris.
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 (see also ReformationReformation,
religious revolution that took place in Western Europe in the 16th cent. It arose from objections to doctrines and practices in the medieval church (see Roman Catholic Church) and ultimately led to the freedom of dissent (see Protestantism).
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). The Protestants aimed to restore primitive Christianity (as described in the Bible), and they succeeded in weakening the hold of the church in all of N Europe, in Great Britain, and in parts of Central Europe and Switzerland. Politics and religion were completely intertwined (as in England, Scotland, and France); hence the admixture of religious issues in the Thirty Years WarThirty Years War,
1618–48, general European war fought mainly in Germany. General Character of the War

There were many territorial, dynastic, and religious issues that figured in the outbreak and conduct of the war.
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.

Within the church there triumphed the most extensive of all the church's reform movements (see Counter ReformationCounter Reformation,
16th-century reformation that arose largely in answer to the Protestant Reformation; sometimes called the Catholic Reformation. Although the Roman Catholic reformers shared the Protestants' revulsion at the corrupt conditions in the church, there was present
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; Jesus, Society ofJesus, Society of,
religious order of the Roman Catholic Church. Its members are called Jesuits. St. Ignatius of Loyola, its founder, named it Compañia de Jesús [Span.,=(military) company of Jesus]; in Latin it is Societas Jesu (abbr. S.J.).
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). From it sprang a general revival of religion and much missionary activity in the new empires of Spain and Portugal and in East Asia. In France, Catholicism found new life, beginning with St. Francis de SalesFrancis de Sales, Saint,
1567–1622, French Roman Catholic preacher, Doctor of the Church, and key figure in the Counter Reformation in France. He was a member of an aristocratic family of Savoy and was trained for the law, but he entered (1593) the priesthood against his
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 and St. Vincent de PaulVincent de Paul, Saint,
1580?–1660, French priest renowned for charitable work, b. Gascony. He was ordained in 1600. There are conflicting stories about his capture by pirates and enslavement in Tunis and his subsequent escape.
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. There, too, began the cult of the Sacred Heart (i.e., God's love for men), which would affect Catholic prayer everywhere. A contrary influence was Jansenism (see under Jansen, CornelisJansen, Cornelis
, 1585–1638, Dutch Roman Catholic theologian. He studied at the Univ. of Louvain and became imbued with the idea of reforming Christian life along the lines of a return to St. Augustine.
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), an antisacramental middle-class movement.

The Seventeenth through Nineteenth Centuries

The 17th cent. saw an increase of state control over the church (see GallicanismGallicanism
, in French Roman Catholicism, tradition of resistance to papal authority. It was in opposition to ultramontanism, the view that accorded the papacy complete authority over the universal church.
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) in all the Catholic countries, and in the 18th cent. the Bourbons began a course openly aimed at eliminating the papacy. The suppression of the Jesuits was part of the campaign, which reached a climax in the legislation of Holy Roman Emperor Joseph IIJoseph II,
1741–90, Holy Roman emperor (1765–90), king of Bohemia and Hungary (1780–90), son of Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, whom he succeeded. He was the first emperor of the house of Hapsburg-Lorraine (see Hapsburg).
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. The revolutionary movement eventually destroyed the Catholic princes, and the church had to live with secular states, some anti-Catholic, some tolerant. The facts of the change were not clear at once, and for much of the 19th cent. the popes (and other Catholics) would look back to an idealized 18th-century golden age before "liberalistic" atheism and materialism. The last of these popes was Pius IXPius IX,
1792–1878, pope (1846–78), an Italian named Giovanni M. Mastai-Ferretti, b. Senigallia; successor of Gregory XVI. He was cardinal and bishop of Imola when elected pope.
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, who was forced to give up the Papal StatesPapal States,
Ital. Lo Stato della Chiesa, from 754 to 1870 an independent territory under the temporal rule of the popes, also called the States of the Church and the Pontifical States. The territory varied in size at different times; in 1859 it included c.
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. In enouncing the dogma of papal infallibilityinfallibility
, in Christian thought, exemption from the possibility of error, bestowed on the church as a teaching authority, as a gift of the Holy Spirit. It has been believed since the earliest times to be guaranteed in such scriptural passages as John 14.16,17.
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 Pius did much to cement church unity.

In Pius's successor, Leo XIIILeo XIII,
1810–1903, pope (1878–1903), an Italian (b. Carpineto, E of Rome) named Gioacchino Pecci; successor of Pius IX. Ordained in 1837, he earned an excellent reputation as archbishop of Perugia (1846–77), and was created cardinal in 1853.
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, the church found new leadership; he and his successors worked and preached to urge Catholics to take part in modern life as Catholics, abandoning reactionary dreams and seeking some social reform. In some countries Catholic political parties were formed. Meanwhile oppressive conditions and the development of a mass socialist movement combined to detach much of the working class from the church. Otto von Bismarck (in Germany; see KulturkampfKulturkampf
[Ger.,=conflict of cultures], the conflict between the German government under Bismarck and the Roman Catholic Church. The promulgation (1870) of the dogma of the infallibility of the pope in matters of faith and morals within the church sparked the conflict; it
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) and "liberal" governments (in Italy, France, and Portugal) passed hostile measures, especially against religious orders.

The Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries

In the 20th cent. the tensions between the church and national governments sometimes led to outright suppression of the church, as in the former Soviet Union and Communist Eastern Europe, Mexico, Spain, and China. Mussolini and Hitler also ruined as much of the church as they could. The century has been marked more noticeably, however, by new trends in the practice and outlook of the church. The encyclical of Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum (1891), was followed by the Quadrigesimo Anno (1931) of Pius XIIPius XII,
1876–1958, pope (1939–58), an Italian named Eugenio Pacelli, b. Rome; successor of Pius XI. Ordained a priest in 1899, he entered the Vatican's secretariat of state.
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, and the Mater et Magistra (1961) of John XXIIIJohn XXIII, Saint,
1881–1963, pope (1958–63), an Italian (b. Sotto il Monte, near Bergamo) named Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli; successor of Pius XII. He was of peasant stock.
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, the Progressio Populorum (1967) of Paul VIPaul VI,
1897–1978, pope (1963–78), an Italian (b. Concesio, near Brescia) named Giovanni Battista Montini; successor of John XXIII. Prepapal Career

The son of a prominent newspaper editor, he was ordained in 1920.
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, and the Laborem Exercens (1981), Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), and Centessimus Annus (1991) of John Paul IIJohn Paul II, Saint
1920–2005, pope (1978–2005), a Pole (b. Wadowice) named Karol Józef Wojtyła; successor of John Paul I. He was the first non-Italian pope elected since the Dutch Adrian VI (1522–23) and the first Polish and Slavic pope.
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. The purpose of these was fundamental readjustment to the moral and social problems of modern life and a greater stress upon the role of the laity in the church. Linked with this was a movement for church "renewal" both by laity and the clergy. This was particularly strong in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.

Some of the issues stressed were the need for liturgical reform, the recognition of the various regional contributions to the living existence of the church, and the recognition of the nonpolitical internationalism of the church (although declarations of implacable opposition to atheistic Communism persisted and were particularly strong under Pius XII, who urged the church to oppose all antireligious totalitarianism). Another growing revival involved the tightening of relations between the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and various Protestant churches.

All of these "progressive" currents came together at the Second Vatican CouncilVatican Council, Second,
popularly called Vatican II,
1962–65, the 21st ecumenical council (see council, ecumenical) of the Roman Catholic Church, convened by Pope John XXIII and continued under Paul VI.
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 (1962–65), which, under John XXIII and Paul VI, initiated broad reforms in the areas of public worship, government, and ecumenism (see ecumenical movementecumenical movement
, name given to the movement aimed at the unification of the Protestant churches of the world and ultimately of all Christians.

During and after the Reformation Protestantism separated into numerous independent sects.
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). The long-reigning John Paul II made the church more international and continued his predecessors ecumenical trends, but he affirmed (as the popes preceding him did) the church's traditional stands on marriage, abortion, homosexuality, and other doctrinal matters, opposed relaxing the rule of celibacy, and reemphasized the primacy of the Vatican in church government.

The church in the United States began the 21st cent. confronting a major crisis concerning sexual abuse of minors by Roman Catholic priests and how it is and was handled by the U.S. hierarchy. Multiple revelations in 2002 that some bishops had allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to remain in the priesthood and to continue to perform their duties in situations where abuse could and sometimes did recur sparked outrage in the United States; such cases were also not reported to civil authorities. Various dioceses faced civil lawsuits and criminal investigations, several bishops resigned after their involvement in sexual relationships was revealed, and Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston resigned because of criticism over his handling of sex abuse charges. The issue led to a meeting between American cardinals and the pope in Rome, and, after a meeting of American bishops and discussions with the Vatican, to the establishment of new policies that included barring a priest who has sexually abused a minor from any ministerial role and that committed the hierarchy to alert legal authorities to instances of abuse. Sexual and physical abuse scandals involving Roman Catholic priests and brothers have occurred in other countries including Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Benedict XVIBenedict XVI,
1927–, pope (2005–13) and Roman Catholic theologian, a German (b. Marktl am Inn, Bavaria) named Josef (or Joseph) Alois Ratzinger; successor of John Paul II. He entered the seminary in 1939, but his training was interrupted by World War II.
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, who succeeded John Paul II, was regarded as a traditionalist and generally continued John Paul's policies, but he broke with tradition in 2013 when he resigned as pope for reasons of age. Although the church set a retirement age for bishops and an age limit for the cardinals who vote to elect a pope, the tradition of lifetime tenure for the pope was longstanding; the last pope to resign was Gregory XIIGregory XII,
c.1327–1417, pope (1406–15), a Venetian named Angelo Correr; successor of Innocent VII. As a condition of election, Gregory promised to do everything possible to end the Great Schism, including the relinquishing of his office.
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 in 1415, who abdicated to facilitate the end of the Great Schism. Benedict was succeeded by FrancisFrancis,
1936–, pope (2013–), an Argentinian (b. Buenos Aires to Italian immigrants) named Jorge Mario Bergoglio; successor of Benedict XVI. Francis, the first non-European to assume the papacy in more than 1,200 years, is the first pope from the Americas and the
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, an Argentinian who was the first pope from the Americas and the first Jesuit to hold the office.

Bibliography

See P. Hughes, A Popular History of the Catholic Church (1947, repr. 1961); L. Hertling, A History of the Catholic Church (tr. 1956); J. McSorley, Outline History of the Church by Centuries (11th ed. 1961); The New Catholic Encyclopedia (19 vol., 1967–95); M. A. Fitzsimons, The Catholic Church Today: Western Europe (1969); J. L. McKenzie, The Roman Catholic Church (1969); J. Seidler and K. Meyer, Conflict and Change in the Catholic Church (1989); C. R. Morris, American Catholic (1997); D. France, Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal (2004); J. Berry, Render unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church (2011); G. Posner, God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican (2015).

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the Christian Church over which the pope presides, with administrative headquarters in the Vatican
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