The Christian Church in close association with the Bishop of Rome is the Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church for that matter. Its origin can be traced back to the Christian community brought by Jesus. It goes without saying that its traditions were set up by the Twelve Apostles. When it comes to Catholic Church, it is not only the biggest church but also the biggest organized body of any world religion.
Saint Peter, the man who stood at the helm of the Apostles is considered as the first Pope. History tells that after an intense struggle, Christianity was finally legalized in the fourth century. And not before 27 February 380, Catholic Christianity became the official state religion of the Roman Empire, thanks to Emperor Theodosius. In the history of Christianity, the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century is worth a mention. They not only disclaimed the supremacy of the Pope but also other Catholic doctrines and practices over and above the prevalent abuses in those times.
You will find detailed account of Catholic beliefs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the Compendium of the Catechism, is the concise version and comes in question and answer form. Here, you will find seven sacraments, and it is the Eucharist that is of great importance in gaining salvation.
The Sacred Scriptures i.e. the Bible and Sacred Tradition are the foremost sources for the teachings of the Catholic Church. The teachings of Sacred Tradition were originally derived from the Apostles by way of oral practice. In fact, a lot of writings of the early Church Fathers are a mere reflection of the teachings of Sacred Tradition.
Putting light on the social teachings of the Catholic Churches, it is found that the teachings emphasize on forgiveness, doing good for other people, principally the needy ones and the holiness of life. Catholics are found to be peace lovers. Capital punishment is partially condemned by the Church, as John Paul II addressed that execution is only apposite “in cases of total necessity.
Catholicism rests on the belief that there is only one God –the one and only, the eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. God can be identified in his works as the origin and end of all created things –as preached by the Church in the First Vatican Council. ‘He, the almighty’ has also chosen to reveal himself as found in the Letter to the Hebrews 1:1-2. It is also believed that God exists in three divine persons, who are distinguished by way of their relations to one another –the father’s relation to the son, the son’s relation to the father and both of their relations to the Holy Spirit represent the single God as a Trinity.
God the Son, the Divine Logos, the second of the three Persons of God came in the flesh of Jesus Christ, a human being, born of the Virgin Mary according to the Catholics. Jesus Christ spread the message of love, forgiveness and above all revealed God as Love. And subsequent to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, his followers especially the Apostles left no stone unturned to disseminate their faith far and wide.
Roman Catholic Church has made its presence felt by touching the lives of millions.