Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world’s oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.


Catholic theology is based on 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.

What is Catholicism?


Nature of God

Catholic belief

Saints and devotions

Virgin Mary






Catholic Spirituality

More on Catholicism

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Outline Of The Catholic Church

Outline Of The Catholic Church The following outline (Outline Of The Catholic Church) is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church: Catholicism – largest denomination of Christianity. Catholicism encompasses the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as...

Bishops at the Second Vatican Council in 1962

Latin Liturgical Rites

Latin Liturgical Rites Latin liturgical rites, or Western liturgical rites, are Catholic rites of public worship employed by the Latin Church, the largest particular church sui iuris of the Catholic Church, that originated in Europe where the Latin language once dominated. Its language is now known as Ecclesiastical Latin. The most used rite is the Roman Rite. The Latin rites were for...

Tree Chart

Catholic Particular Churches And Liturgical Rites

Catholic Particular Churches And Liturgical Rites This article covers Catholic Particular Churches And Liturgical Rites. A particular church (ecclesia particularis) is an ecclesiastical community of faithful headed by a bishop (or equivalent), as defined by Catholic canon law and ecclesiology. A liturgical rite depends on the particular church the bishop (or equivalent) belongs to. Thus “particular church” refers to...

Tridentine Mass in a chapel of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston, Palm Sunday 2009

Traditionalist Catholicism

Traditionalist Catholicism Traditionalist Catholicism is characterized by beliefs, practices, customs, traditions, liturgical forms, devotions, and presentations of Catholic teaching before the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) in particular attachment to the Tridentine Mass, also known as the Traditional Latin Mass. Traditionalist Catholics were disturbed by the liturgical changes that followed the Second Vatican Council, which some feel stripped the...

Stained Glass Window Church Colorful holy martin

Episcopal Polity

Episcopal Polity An episcopal polity is a hierarchical form of church governance (“ecclesiastical polity”) in which the chief local authorities are called bishops. (The word “bishop” derives, via the British Latin and Vulgar Latin term *ebiscopus/*biscopus, from the Ancient Greek ἐπίσκοπος epískopos meaning “overseer”.) It is the structure used by many of the...

Paschal Lamb with the banner symbolising Christ's resurrection. Stained Glass, Anglican cathedral at Guildford, Surrey, England.

Paschal Mystery

Paschal Mystery The Paschal mystery is one of the central concepts of the Catholic faith relating to the history of salvation. According to the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Paschal Mystery of Jesus, which comprises his passion, death, resurrection, and glorification, stands at the center of the Christian faith because God’s...

Religious orders in the Annuario Pontificio

Catholic Religious Orders

Catholic Religious Orders Catholic Religious Orders are a community of consecrated life with members that profess solemn vows. They are classed as a type of the religious institute. Subcategories of religious orders are canons regular (canons and canonesses regular who recite the Divine Office and serve a church and perhaps a parish); monastics (monks or nuns living and working in a monastery and reciting the...

Clock and Big Bang

Predestination In Catholicism

Predestination In Catholicism Predestination in Catholicism is the Catholic Church‘s teachings on predestination and Catholic saints‘ views on it. The church believes that predestination is not based on anything external to God – for example, the grace of baptism is not merited but given freely to those who receive baptism – since predestination was formulated before the foundation of the...

Panorama of St. Peter's Square

Criticism Of The Catholic Church

Criticism Of The Catholic Church This article covers the criticism of the Catholic Church in detail. During its long history, the Catholic Church has been subject to criticism regarding various beliefs and practices. Within the Church, this includes differences of opinion regarding the use of Latin at Mass and the subject...

Crowning during Holy Matrimony in the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church, which is an Eastern Catholic Church and a part of the Saint Thomas Christian community in India

Marriage In The Catholic Church

Marriage In The Catholic Church Marriage in the Catholic Church, also known as holy matrimony, is the “covenant by which a man and woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and...

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Sex And Gender Roles In The Catholic Church

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Catholic Theology Of Sexuality

Catholic Theology Of Sexuality Catholic theology of sexuality, like Catholic theology in general, is drawn from natural law, canonical scripture, divine revelation, and sacred tradition, as interpreted authoritatively by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Sexual morality evaluates sexual behavior according to standards laid out by Catholic moral theology and often provides general principles by which Catholics can evaluate whether...

Parma Cathedral, illusionistic dome, Correggio, 1526-30

Catholic Theology On The Body

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St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

Catholic-Protestant Relations

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Bishops debating with the pope at the Council of Constance

Catholic Ecumenical Councils

Catholic Ecumenical Councils This article covers Catholic Ecumenical Councils. According to the Catholic Church, a Church Council is ecumenical (“world-wide”), if it is “a solemn congregation of the Catholic bishops of the world at the invitation of the Pope to decide on matters of the Church with him”. In addition to ecumenical Councils, there...

Te Deum Ecuménico 2009 in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago of Chile, featuring clergy of different Christian denominations

Catholic Church And Ecumenism

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Pope Francis at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, May 2014

Catholic Church And Judaism

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Redemption of Christian slaves by Catholic monks.

Catholic Church And Slavery

Catholic Church And Slavery This article covers the relationship between Catholic Church and slavery in detail. The issue of slavery was historically treated with concern by the Catholic Church. Throughout most of human history, slavery has been practiced and accepted by many cultures and religions around the world, including ancient Rome. Certain passages in...