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The Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of almost 3,500 dioceses (also called "local churches") around the world on every continent, each shepherded by its bishop. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome (and whose titles also include Vicar of Jesus Christ and Successor of St. Peter), is the chief pastor of the whole church, entrusted with the universal Petrine ministry of unity and correction. The church's international administration is the Holy See, located in the tiny, independent European state of Vatican City in Rome, Italy, of which the pope is also head of state.
The Christian beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.
Of its seven sacraments, the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes Divine Mercy, sanctification through faith and evangelization of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. (Full article...)
The Tomb of Antipope John XXIII is the marble tomb monument of Antipope John XXIII (Baldassare Cossa, c. 1360–1419), created by Donatello and Michelozzo for the Florence Baptistery adjacent to the Duomo. It was commissioned by the executors of Cossa's will after his death on December 22, 1419 and completed during the 1420s, establishing it as one of the early landmarks of Renaissance Florence. According to Ferdinand Gregorovius, the tomb is "at once the sepulchre of the Great Schism in the church and the last Papal tomb which is outside Rome itself".Cossa had a long history of cooperation with Florence, which had viewed him as the legitimate pontiff for a time during the Western Schism. The tomb monument is often interpreted as an attempt to strengthen the legitimacy of Cossa's pontificate by linking him to the spiritually powerful site of the Baptistry.The evocation of papal symbolism on the tomb and the linkage between Cossa and Florence have been interpreted as a snub to Cossa's successor Pope Martin V or vicarious "Medici self-promotion", as such a tomb would have been deemed unacceptable for a Florentine citizen.
Charles II was the King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 30 January 1649 until his death. Charles II's father, Charles I, had been executed in 1649 following the English Civil War; the monarchy was then abolished and replaced with a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell, who had named himself "Lord Protector". In 1660, shortly after Cromwell's death, the monarchy was restored under Charles II. Unlike his father, Charles II was skilled at managing Parliament. It was during his reign that the Whig and Tory political parties developed. He famously fathered numerous illegitimate children, of whom he acknowledged fourteen. Known as the "Merry Monarch", Charles was a patron of the arts and less restrictive than many of his predecessors. By converting to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed, Charles II became the first Roman Catholic to reign over England since Mary I's death in 1558.
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Feast Day of December 5
||In the most difficult hours of which we Jews of Romania have passed through, the generous assistance of the Holy See…was decisive and salutary. It is not easy for us to find the right words to express the warmth and consolation we experienced because of the concern of the supreme pontiff, who offered a large sum to relieve the sufferings of deported Jews…. The Jews of Romania will never forget these facts of historic importance.
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