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en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Catholic_Church Part of a series on the Roman Catholic Church Organisation Pope - Pope Benedict XVI College of Cardinals Ecumenical Councils Episcopal polity Latin Rite • Eastern Catholic Churches Background History • Christianity Catholicism One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church Apostolic Succession Virgin birth • Death • Resurrection Theology Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) History of • Roman Catholic Theology • Apologetics Divine Grace • Salvation • Sacraments Original sin • Mary • Saints Dogma Liturgy and Worship Catholic Liturgy Eucharist (Catholic Church) · Liturgy of the Hours Liturgical Year Biblical Canon Roman Rite • Alexandrian Rite • Antiochene Rite Armenian Rite • Byzantine Rite • East Syrian Rite Catholicism Topics Ecumenism • Monasticism Preaching • Prayer Music • Liturgy · Symbols • Art Catholicism Portal The Roman Catholic Church (Ecclesia Catholica Romana, in Latin), officially known as the Catholic Church,[1][2][3][4] is the world's largest Christian church and represents over half of all Christians and one-sixth of the world's population.[5][6] It is made up of one Western church (the Latin Rite) and 22 Eastern Catholic churches, divided into 2,782 jurisdictional areas around the world.[7] The Church looks to the Pope, currently Benedict XVI, as its highest human authority in matters of faith, morality and Church governance.[8][9] The Church community is composed of an ordained ministry and the laity.[10] Either may be members of religious communities like the Dominicans, Carmelites, Franciscans, Jesuits, Salesians and many others.[10] The Catholic Church defines its mission as spreading the message of Jesus Christ, found in the four Gospels, administering sacraments that aid the spiritual growth of its members and exercising charity.[8][11][12] To further its mission, the Church operates social programs and institutions throughout the world. These include schools, universities, hospitals, missions and shelters, as well as Catholic Relief Services, Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Charities that help the poor, families, the elderly and the sick.[13][14] Through apostolic succession, the Church believes itself to be the continuation of the Christian community founded by Jesus in his consecration of Saint Peter.[15][16] The Church has defined its doctrines through various ecumenical councils, following the example set by the first Apostles in the Council of Jerusalem.[17][18][19] Catholic faith is summarized in the Nicene Creed and detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[20] Formal Catholic worship is ordered by the liturgy, which is regulated by Church authority. The Eucharist, one of seven Church sacraments and a key part of every Catholic Mass, is the center of Catholic worship.[21] With a two thousand year history, the Church is the world's oldest and largest institution.[22] From at least the 4th century, it has played a prominent role in the history of Western civilization.[23] In the 11th century, the Eastern, Orthodox Church and the Western, Catholic Church split, largely over disagreements regarding papal primacy.[24][25] Eastern churches, which maintained or later re-established communion with Rome, form the Eastern Catholic Churches. In the 16th century, partly in response to the Protestant Reformation, the Church engaged in a substantial process of reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation.[26] The Catholic Church maintains that it is the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" founded by Jesus, but acknowledges that the Holy Spirit can make use of Christian communities separated from itself to bring people to salvation.[27] The Church teaches that it is called by the Holy Spirit to work for unity among all Christians—a movement known as ecumenism.[28][29] Modern challenges facing the Church include the rise of secularism and opposition to its pro-life stance on abortion, contraception and euthanasia.[30] Contents [hide] * 1 Origin and mission * 2 Beliefs o 2.1 Teaching authority o 2.2 God the Father, original sin and Baptism o 2.3 Jesus, sin and Penance o 2.4 Holy Spirit and Confirmation o 2.5 Nature of the Church and social teaching o 2.6 Final judgment and afterlife * 3 Prayer and worship o 3.1 Eucharist o 3.2 Liturgy of the Hours and the liturgical year o 3.3 Devotional life, prayer, Mary and the saints * 4 Church organization and community o 4.1 Ordained members and Holy Orders o 4.2 Lay members, Marriage + 4.2.1 Religious orders o 4.3 Membership * 5 Catholic institutions, personnel and demographics * 6 History o 6.1 Roman Empire o 6.2 Early Middle Ages o 6.3 High Middle Ages o 6.4 Late Medieval and Renaissance o 6.5 Enlightenment o 6.6 Industrial age o 6.7 Second Vatican Council o 6.8 Benedict XVI * 7 References o 7.1 Footnotes o 7.2 Bibliography * 8 External links [edit] Origin and mission See also: History of the Roman Catholic Church and History of the Papacy This detail of a fresco (1481–82) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint Peter. This detail of a fresco (1481–82) by Pietro Perugino in the Sistine chapel shows Jesus giving the keys of heaven to Saint Peter. The Catholic Church traces its foundation to Jesus and the Twelve Apostles. It sees the bishops of the Church as the successors of the apostles and the pope in particular as the successor of Peter, the leader of the apostles.[31][32] Catholics cite Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew to support this view: "... you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church ... I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."[8][9][33] According to Catholic belief, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles in an event known by Christians as Pentecost brought this promised "church" fully into the world.[32] Scholars like Edward Norman note that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus and that the historical record confirms that it was considered a Christian doctrinal authority from its beginning.[16][34] John McManners, among other leading scholars, cites a letter from Pope Clement I to the church in Corinth (c. 95) as evidence of a presiding Roman cleric who exercised authority over other churches.[35] Others, like Eamon Duffy, acknowledge the existence of a Christian community in Rome and that Peter and Paul "lived, preached and died" there[36] but doubt that there was a ruling bishop in the Roman church in the first century, and question the concept of apostolic succession.[37] Duffy described the second-century list of popes by Irenaeus as "suspiciously tidy", and stated that "There is no sure way to settle on a date by which the office of ruling bishop had emerged in Rome, and so to name the first pope, but the process was certainly complete by the time of Anicetus in the mid-150s, when Polycarp, the aged bishop of Smyrna, visited Rome, and he and Anicetus debated amicably the question of the date of Easter".[38] The Church believes that its mission is founded upon Jesus' command to his followers to spread the faith across the world:[16] "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you: and Lo, I am with you always, until the close of the age".[39][40][41] Pope Benedict XVI summarized the Church's mission as a threefold responsibility to proclaim the word of God, celebrate the sacraments, and exercise the ministry of charity. He has stated that these duties presuppose each other and are thus inseparable.[11] As part of its ministry of charity the Church runs Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities, Caritas Internationalis, Catholic schools, universities, hospitals, shelters and ministries to the poor, as well as ministries to families, the elderly and the marginalized. Through these programs the Church applies the tenets of Catholic social teaching and tends to the corporal and spiritual needs of human beings.[14] [edit] Beliefs See also: Roman Catholic theology The Catholic Church is trinitarian in that it holds that there is one eternal God who exists as a mutual indwelling of three persons: the Father; the Son, Jesus; and the Holy Spirit. The Nicene Creed is the core statement of Catholic Christian belief,[42] however the Church's beliefs are more comprehensively detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.[20][43] Over the centuries, Catholic teachings have been refined and clarified by councils of the Church convened by Church leaders at important points throughout history.[19] The first such council, the Council of Jerusalem, was convened by the apostles around the year 50.[18] The most recent was the Second Vatican Council, which closed in 1965.[44] The Nicene Creed, which has its origins in the First Council of Nicaea of 325, is recited at all Sunday Masses and also forms the central statement of belief of many other Christian denominations.[42][45] Eastern Orthodox Christians do not accept the filioque clause.[46][47] Protestant churches vary in their beliefs, but generally accept the Nicene Creed with reservations regarding the term "Catholic". They generally differ from the Catholic Church regarding the authority of the Pope, Church Tradition, the Eucharist, and on issues pertaining to divine grace, good works and salvation.[48] [edit] Teaching authority A 19th-century painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch depicts Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount. A 19th-century painting by Carl Heinrich Bloch depicts Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount. The Catholic Church believes that it is guided by the Holy Spirit and so protected from falling into doctrinal error. It bases this belief on biblical promises that Jesus made to his apostles.[17] In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells Peter, "the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against [the church]",[33] and in the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "... when He comes, the Spirit of truth, He will guide you to all truth".[8][49][50] The Church teaches that the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth through Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium. The sacred scriptures consist of the 73 books of the Catholic Bible. These are made up of those contained in the Greek version of the Old Testament—known as the Septuagint[51]—and the 27 New Testament writings found in the Codex Vaticanus and listed in Athanasius' Thirty-Ninth Festal Letter.[52] Sacred Tradition consists of those teachings believed by the Church to have been handed down since the time of the Apostles.[50] Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are collectively known as the "deposit of faith". These are in turn interpreted by the Magisterium, or the teaching authority of the Church. The Magisterium includes infallible pronouncements of the pope,[53] pronouncements of ecumenical councils, and those of the college of bishops acting in union with the pope to define truths or to condemn interpretations of scripture believed to be false.[53] According to the Catechism, Jesus instituted seven sacraments and entrusted them to the Church.[54] These are Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony. Sacraments are visible rituals which Catholics see as providing God's grace to all those who receive them with the proper mindset or disposition (ex opere operato).[55][56] Differing liturgical traditions, or rites, exist throughout the worldwide Church. These reflect historical and cultural diversity rather than a diversity in beliefs.[57] The most commonly used is the Western or Latin rite. Others are the Byzantine rite, the Alexandrian or Coptic rite, the Syriac, Armenian, Maronite and Chaldean rites. [edit] God the Father, original sin and Baptism See also: Original sin Guido Reni's Archangel Michael (1636) shows Michael—one of three archangels—defeating Lucifer. Guido Reni's Archangel Michael (1636) shows Michael—one of three archangels—defeating Lucifer. Catholic belief that God is the source and creator of nature and all that exists,[58] is expressed in the opening statement of the Nicene Creed: "We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen ...". The Church perceives God as a loving and caring entity who is directly involved in the world and in people's lives[59] and who desires his creatures to love him and to love each other.[60][61] Before the creation of mankind, however, the scriptures teach that God made spiritual beings called angels. In an event known as the "fall of the angels", a number of them chose to rebel against God and his reign.[62] The leader of this rebellion has been called "Lucifer", "Satan" and the devil among other names. The sin of pride, considered one of seven deadly sins, is attributed to Satan for wishing to be equal to God.[63] One of these fallen angels is believed to have tempted the first humans, Adam and Eve, whose act of original sin brought suffering and death into the world. This event is known as the Fall of Man and according to Catholic belief, left humanity isolated from their original state of intimacy with God.[64][65] The Catechism states that the description of the fall described in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms "... a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man" and resulted in "a deprivation of original holiness and justice" that makes each person "subject to ignorance, suffering, and the dominion of death: and inclined to sin".[62] The Church believes that people can be cleansed of original sin and all personal sins through Baptism.[66] This sacramental act of cleansing admits one as a full member of the natural and supernatural Church and is only conferred once in a person's lifetime.[66] [edit] Jesus, sin and Penance In the messianic texts of the Jewish Tanakh which make up much of the Christian Old Testament, Christians believe God promises to send his people a savior.[67] The Church believes that this savior was Jesus who is described in the Nicene Creed as "... the only begotten son of God, ... one in being with the Father. Through him all things were made ...". In an event known as the Incarnation, the Church teaches that God descended from heaven for the salvation of humanity, and became man through the power of the Holy Spirit and was born of a virgin Jewish girl named Mary. Jesus' mission on earth is believed to have included giving people his word and example to follow, as recorded in the four Gospels.[68] The Church teaches that following the example of Jesus helps believers to become closer to him, and therefore to grow in true love, freedom, and the fullness of life.[69][70] Sinning is considered to be the opposite to following Jesus, robbing people of their resemblance to God and turning their souls away from his love.[71] Per Catholic teaching, people can sin by failing to obey the Ten Commandments, failing to love God, or failing to love other people. Some sins are held to be more serious than others. Sins range from lesser or venial sins, to grave or mortal sins which end a person's relationship with God.[72][71] Through the passion of Jesus and his crucifixion, the Church teaches that all people have an opportunity for forgiveness and freedom from sin, and so can be reconciled to God.[67][73] John the Baptist, respected by the Church as a prophet, called Jesus "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"[74] in reference to the ancient Jewish practice of offering sacrificial lambs to God to obtain some greater good. By reconciling with God and following Jesus' words and deeds, the Church believes one can enter the Kingdom of God which is not a place but a state of being defined by the Church as "... the reign of God over people's hearts and lives."[75][76] Since Baptism can be received only once, the sacrament of Penance (informally known as Confession) is the principal means by which Catholics can obtain forgiveness for subsequent sin and receive God's grace and assistance not to sin again. Catholics believe Jesus gave the apostles special authority to forgive sins in God's name based on Jesus' words to his disciples in the Gospel of John 20:21–23.[77] A penitent confesses his sins to the priest, who may then offer advice. After the priest has imposed a particular penance to be performed, the penitent then prays an act of contrition and the priest administers absolution, formally forgiving the person of his sins.[78] A priest is forbidden under penalty of excommunication to reveal any sin or disclosure heard under the seal of confession. Penance helps prepare Catholics before they can licitly receive the sacraments of Confirmation and the Eucharist.[79][80] [edit] Holy Spirit and Confirmation Bernini's stained glass window in St. Peter's Basilica depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove, a common motif in Christian art, referencing John the Baptist's proclamation that he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus at his baptism "like a dove". Bernini's stained glass window in St. Peter's Basilica depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove, a common motif in Christian art, referencing John the Baptist's proclamation that he saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus at his baptism "like a dove". Jesus told his apostles that after his death and resurrection he would send them the "Advocate", the "Holy Spirit", who " ...will teach you everything and remind you of all that (I) told you".[81][82] In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus told his disciples "If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"[83] The Nicene Creed states that the Holy Spirit is one with God the Father and God the Son. Thus the Church teaches that receiving the Holy Spirit is an act of receiving God.[84] Through the sacrament of Confirmation, Catholics ask for and are taught by the Church to receive the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian maturity" and is believed to increase and deepen the grace received at Baptism.[83] Spiritual graces or gifts of the Holy Spirit may include the wisdom to see and follow God's plan, as well as judgment, love, courage, knowledge, reverence and rejoicing in the presence of God.[85] The corresponding fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.[85] To be licitly confirmed, Catholics must be in a state of grace, in that they cannot be conscious of having committed a mortal sin. They must also have prepared spiritually for the sacrament, chosen a sponsor or godparent for spiritual support, and selected a saint to be their special patron and intercessor.[83] Baptism in the Eastern rites, including infant baptism, is immediately followed by the reception of Confirmation and the Eucharist.[86] [edit] Nature of the Church and social teaching See also: Catholic social teaching Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) by Rogier Van der Weyden, a detail of his work The Seven Sacraments (1445) Extreme Unction (Anointing of the Sick) by Rogier Van der Weyden, a detail of his work The Seven Sacraments (1445) Catholic belief holds that the Church " ...is the continuing presence of Jesus on earth."[87] Jesus told his disciples to "Remain in me, as I remain in you ... I am the vine, you are the branches."[88] In Catholic interpretation, the term "Church" refers to the people of God, who abide in Jesus and who, " ...nourished with the Body of Christ, become the Body of Christ."[89] Catholic teaching maintains that the Church exists simultaneously on earth, in purgatory (Church suffering), and in heaven (Church triumphant). Thus the Virgin Mary assumed into heaven and the saints are alive and part of the living Church.[90] This unity of the Church in heaven and on earth is the "Communion of Saints".[91][92] While the Catholic Church believes and teaches that it is the "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church" founded by Jesus,[93] it also holds that the Holy Spirit can work through other churches to bring people to salvation.[32] In its apostolic constitution Lumen Gentium, the Church acknowledges that the Holy Spirit is active in diverse Christian churches and communities, and that Catholics are called to work for unity among all Christians.[28] The Church operates numerous social ministries throughout the world but teaches that individual Catholics are required to practice spiritual and corporal works of mercy as well. Corporal works of mercy include feeding the hungry, welcoming strangers, immigrants or refugees, clothing the naked, taking care of the sick and visiting those in prison. Spiritual works require the Catholic to share their knowledge with others, to give advice to those who need it, comfort those who suffer, have patience, forgive those who hurt them, give correction to those who need it and pray for the living and the dead.[14] In conjunction with the work of mercy to visit the sick, the Church offers the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, performed only by a priest who will anoint with oil the head and hands of the ill person and pray a special prayer for them while laying on hands.[94] Church teaching on works of mercy and the new social problems of the industrial era led to the development of Catholic social teaching. Emphasizing human dignity, it criticizes elements of both capitalism and socialism[95][96] and commits Catholics to the welfare of others.[14] The seven main themes are respect for human life and the dignity of each person, the strengthening of the family unit, respect for the rights and responsibilities of each person, the care for the poor, the rights and dignity of the worker, and, the subsidiarity and solidarity of all humans as one family.[14] Modern application of Catholic social teaching has resulted in significant Church efforts to fight what it sees as violations of immigrant, worker, and family rights. In addition, the Church is known for its staunch opposition to abortion and euthanasia. Further matters of concern have included capital punishment and environmental issues.[97] [edit] Final judgment and afterlife The Last Judgement, by Hieronymus Francken II (c. 1610) The Last Judgement, by Hieronymus Francken II (c. 1610) Belief in an afterlife is central to Catholic teaching. "We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come," is the final statement of the Nicene Creed. The Church teaches that the soul of each individual will be judged by Jesus immediately after death and receive a particular judgment based on the deeds of that person's earthly life.[98] Chapter 25:35–46 of the Gospel of Matthew underpins the Catholic belief that a day will also come when Jesus will sit in a universal judgment of all mankind.[14][99] The Church teaches that this final judgment will bring an end to human history and mark the beginning of a new and better heaven and earth ruled by God in righteousness.[100] There are three states of afterlife in Catholic belief. Purgatory is a temporary condition for the purification of souls who, although saved, are not free enough from sin to enter directly into heaven. It is a state requiring penance and purgation of sin through God's mercy aided by the prayers of others.[98] Heaven is a time of glorious union with God and a life of unspeakable joy that lasts forever.[98] Finally, those who chose to live a sinful and selfish life, did not repent, and fully intended to persist in their ways are sent to hell, an everlasting separation from God.[101] The Church teaches that no one is condemned to hell without having freely decided to reject God and his love.[98] He predestines no one to hell and no one can determine whether anyone else has been condemned.[98] Catholicism teaches that through God's mercy a person can repent at any point before death and be saved "like the good thief who was crucified next to Jesus".[98][102] [edit] Prayer and worship In the Catholic Church, a distinction is made between the formal, public liturgy and other prayers or devotions. The liturgy is regulated by Church authority[103] and consists of the Eucharist and Mass, the other sacraments, and the Liturgy of the Hours. All Catholics are expected to participate in the liturgical life of the Church but individual or communal prayer and devotions, while encouraged, are a matter of personal preference.[104] The Church provides a set of precepts that every Catholic is expected to follow.[105] These set a minimum standard for personal prayer and require the Catholic to attend Mass on Sundays, confess sins at least once a year, receive the Eucharist at least during Easter season, observe days of fasting and of abstinence as established by the Church, and help provide for the Church's needs.[105] [edit] Eucharist See also: Eucharist (Catholic Church), Catholic liturgy, and Sacraments of the Catholic Church The Eucharist, also termed Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper is the center of Catholic worship[106][107] and celebrated at each Mass. The Church believes Old Testament scriptures promising God's salvation to all nations came to fulfillment as Jesus ratified a New Covenant with humanity at the Last Supper through the institution of the Eucharist and his sacrifice on the cross. It believes that the bread and wine brought to the altar at each Mass are changed through the power of the Holy Spirit into the true body and the true blood of Christ through transubstantiation and that by consuming these, believers become part of the Body of Christ.[108][109] In the Gospel of John, Jesus states "I am the bread of life: he who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."[110] Explaining this statement, Pope Benedict XVI notes that the sacrament of the Eucharist is the combination of the Word of God coming us (bread), and the sacrifice of Jesus (blood).[111] He further explains that the Word of God points out "the way that leads to life" while the sacrifice of Jesus atones for sins; the combination of the two make possible "a new life in God and with God."[111] Catholicism teaches that just as God's first covenant or solemn agreement with Moses and the Hebrew people was sealed with the blood of sacrificial animals, his new covenant with humanity was sealed with the blood of Jesus.[108] The words of institution for this sacrament are found in the three synoptic Gospels of Matthew,[112] Mark,[113] and Luke,[114] as well as in I Corinthians;[115] "Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.' "[116] "Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, 'Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.' "[117] The New Covenant is, according to Catholic teaching, celebrated and renewed in the Eucharist.[108] Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Holy Mass at the canonization of Frei Galvão in São Paulo, Brazil on May 11, 2007. Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Holy Mass at the canonization of Frei Galvão in São Paulo, Brazil on May 11, 2007. The most common celebration of the Eucharist, the Latin rite or ordinary form, is separated into two parts. The first, called Liturgy of the Word, consists of readings from the Old and New Testaments, a Gospel passage and the priest's homily or explanation of one of those passages.[118] The second part, called Liturgy of the Eucharist is the celebration of the Eucharist.[118] According to professor Alan Schreck, in its main elements and prayers, the Catholic Mass celebrated today "bears striking resemblance" to the form of the Mass described in the Didache and First Apology of Justin Martyr in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries.[119][120] The celebration of the Eucharist in the Eastern Catholic Churches is termed Divine Liturgy. Variations exist in this liturgy between the different Eastern Churches that reflect different cultural traditions. An alternate or extraordinary form of Mass, called the Tridentine Mass, is celebrated primarily in Latin. Originating after the Council of Trent, it reaffirms, in opposition to Protestant belief, that the Mass is the same sacrifice of Jesus' death as the one he suffered on Calvary.[121] Although this form was superseded by the ordinary as the primary form after the Second Vatican Council, it continued to be offered by an indult since Pope John Paul II's 1988 motu proprio, Ecclesia Dei[122] and can now be said by any Roman rite priest according to Pope Benedict XVI's 2007 motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum.[123] Because the Church teaches that Christ is present in the Eucharist,[124] there are strict rules about its celebration and reception. The ingredients of the bread and wine used in the Mass are specified and Catholics must abstain from eating for one hour before receiving Communion.[125] Those who are conscious of being in a state of mortal sin are forbidden from this sacrament unless they have received absolution through the sacrament of Penance.[125] According to Church belief, receiving the Eucharist forgives venial sins.[125] Because the Church respects their celebration of the Mass as a true sacrament, intercommunion with the Eastern Orthodox in "suitable circumstances and with Church authority" is both possible and encouraged.[126] Although the same is not true for Protestant churches, in circumstances of grave necessity, Catholic ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance and Anointing of the Sick to Protestants if they freely ask for them, truly believe what the Catholic Church teaches regarding the sacraments, and have the proper disposition to receive them.[126] Catholics may not receive communion in Protestant churches because of their different beliefs and practices regarding Holy Orders and the Eucharist.[127] [edit] Liturgy of the Hours and the liturgical year See also: Liturgy of the Hours In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus instructs his disciples to "pray always".[128] The Liturgy of the Hours, or Divine Office, is the Church's effort to respond to this request. It is considered to be an extension of the celebration of the Mass and is the official daily liturgical prayer of the Church.[129] It makes particular use of the Psalms as well as readings from the New and Old Testament, and various prayers.[129] It is an adaptation of the ancient Jewish practice of praying the Psalms at certain hours of the day or night. Catholics who pray the Liturgy of the Hours use a set of books issued by the Church that has been called a breviary. By canon law, priests and deacons are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours each day.[130] Religious orders often make praying the Liturgy of the Hours a part of their rule of life; the Second Vatican Council encouraged the Christian laity to take up the practice.[129][131] The liturgical year is the annual calendar of the Catholic Church.[132] The Church sets aside certain days and seasons of each year to recall and celebrate various events in the life of Christ.[132] The Byzantine liturgical year, like the former imperial calendar, starts on 1 September, while in the Western Church the liturgical year begins with Advent, the time of preparation for both the celebration of Jesus' birth, and his expected second coming at the end of time.[132] Christmastide follows, beginning on the night of 24 December (Christmas Eve), and ending with the feast of the baptism of Jesus.[132] Lent is the period of purification and penance that in the Latin church begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Thursday.[132] (In the Byzantine Catholic churches, "Great Lent" begins on Clean Monday and, counting the Sundays as part of the forty days of Lent, ends on Lazarus Saturday, being followed immediately by Great and Holy Week.) The Holy Thursday evening Mass of the Lord's Supper marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum which includes Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday.[132] These days recall Jesus' last supper with his disciples, death on the cross, burial and resurrection.[132] The seven-week liturgical season of Easter immediately follows the Triduum climaxing at Pentecost. This recalls the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus' disciples after the Ascension of Jesus.[132] The rest of the liturgical year is known as Ordinary Time.[132] [edit] Devotional life, prayer, Mary and the saints See also: Catholic spirituality and Marian doctrines of the Catholic Church Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus during the flight into Egypt are depicted in a panel from Albrecht Dürer's Seven Sorrows of the Virgin (c. 1494–97). Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus during the flight into Egypt are depicted in a panel from Albrecht Dürer's Seven Sorrows of the Virgin (c. 1494–97). In addition to the Mass, the Catholic Church considers prayer to be one of the most important elements of Christian life. The Church considers personal prayer a Christian duty, one of the spiritual works of mercy and one of the principal ways its members nourish a relationship with God.[133] The Catechism identifies three types of prayer: vocal prayer (sung or spoken), meditation and contemplative prayer. Quoting from the early church father John Chrysostom regarding vocal prayer, the Catechism states, "Whether or not our prayer is heard depends not on the number of words, but on the fervor of our souls."[134] Meditation is prayer in which the "mind seeks to understand the why and how of Christian life, in order to adhere and respond to what the Lord is asking."[134] Contemplative prayer is being with God, taking time to be close to and alone with him.[134] Three of the most common devotional prayers of the Catholic Church are The Lord's Prayer, the Rosary and Stations of the Cross.[135] These prayers are most often vocal, yet always meditative and contemplative. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a common form of contemplative prayer, whereas Benediction is a common vocal method of prayer. Lectio divina, which means "sacred reading", is a form of meditative prayer. The Church encourages patterns of prayer intended to develop into habitual prayer. This includes such daily prayers as grace at meals, the Rosary, or the Liturgy of the Hours, as well as the weekly rhythm of Sunday Eucharist and the observation of the year-long liturgical cycle.[134] Prayers and devotions to the Virgin Mary and the saints are a common part of Catholic life but are distinct from the worship of God.[136] Explaining the intercession of saints, the Catechism states that the saints "... do not cease to intercede with the Father for us ... so by their fraternal concern is our weakness greatly helped."[92][136] The Church holds Mary, as ever Virgin and Mother of God". in special regard. She is believed to have been conceived without original sin, and was assumed into heaven. These dogmas, focus of Roman Catholic Mariology, are considered infallible. She is honored with many titles such as Queen of Heaven. Pope Paul VI called her Mother of the Church, because by giving birth to Christ, she is considered to be the spiritual mother to each member of the Body of Christ.[137] Because of her influential role in the life of Jesus, prayers and devotions, such as the Rosary, the Hail Mary, the Salve Regina and the Memorare are old Catholic practices.[135] Pilgrimages to Marian shrines such as Lourdes and Fátima are popular devotions. The Church celebrates several liturgical Marian feasts throughout the Church Year.[138] excerpts from wikipedia



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  • Published 08.12.22
  • Resolution 1023x685
  • Image type jpg
  • File Size 179451 byte.

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