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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . 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 Rome, 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, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the Pope is the successor to Saint Peter to 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 and enclosed monastic 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 sanctification through faith and evangelisation 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.

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A view of Mission San Juan Capistrano in April of 2005.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded on All Saints' Day November 1, 1776 by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order. Named for a 15th century theologian and "warrior priest" who resided in the Abruzzo region of Italy, San Juan Capistrano has the distinction of being home to the oldest building in California still in use, a chapel built in 1782; known alternately as "Serra's Chapel" and "Father Serra's Church," it is the only extant structure wherein it has been documented that the padre officiated over mass. One of the best known of the Alta California missions (and one of the few missions to have actually been founded twice — others being Mission San Gabriel Arcángel and Mission La Purísima Concepción) — the site was originally consecrated on October 30, 1775 by Father Fermín Lasuén, but was quickly abandoned due to unrest among the indigenous population in San Diego.

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The Seven Sacraments
by Rogier van der Weyden (ca.1448)

"The seven sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, are efficacious signs of grace perceptible to the senses. They assist individuals in their spiritual progress and growth in holiness.

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Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa (Albanian: Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu; Albanian pronunciation: [ˈaɡnɛs ˈɡɔndʒa bɔˈjadʒu]) (August 26, 1910 – September 5, 1997) was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun who founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. For over forty years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity's expansion, first throughout India and then in other countries. By the 1970s she had become internationally famed as a humanitarian and advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary, and book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 for her humanitarian work. Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity continued to expand, and at the time of her death it was operating 610 missions in 123 countries, including hospices and homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children's and family counseling programs, orphanages, and schools.

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St Mary's Cathedral, Perth

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Feast Day of November 14

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Lorcán Ua Tuathail, also known as St Laurence O'Toole, was born at Castledermot, Kildare, Ireland, 1128, died at Eu, Normandy, France, on November 14, 1180, and was canonized in 1225 by Pope Honorius III.

He was one of four sons of an O'Byrne princess and Murtagh O'Tuathail, King of the Ui Muirdeaigh. The family were of the Ui Dunlaigne sub-sept, the Ui Muirdeaigh, and took their surname from Tuathal mac Augaire, the Ui Muirdeaigh King of Leinster who died in 958. They resided at Maistiu or Mullaghmast in what is now County Kildare.

However by the time of his son's birth Murtagh was subordinate to the new Kings of Leinster, the Ui Cheinnselaigh. The king from 1126 was Diarmait or Dermot McMurrough. At the age of 10 he was sent to Dermot as a hostage for his father. However at one point Murtagh's loyalty to Dermot must have become suspect as Lorcan was imprisoned for some two years in extreme austerity, and barely given enough to live on.

He became Abbot of Glendalough at the age of 26 in 1154. He was well-regarded by both the community in Glendalough and its secular neighbours for sanctity and charity to the poor.

When he was 32 he was elected unanimously Archbishop of Dublin following the death of Archbishop Gregory in 1161. He was the first Irishman to be appointed to the See of this town of Danes and Norwegians; it is notable that his nomination was backed not only by the High King Ruaidri Ua Conchobair, Dermot McMurrough (who was now married to Lorcán's sister, Mor) and the community at Glendalough, but also the clergy and population of Dublin itself. He would later endear himself to the people of Dublin with his exertions during a famine which struck the city. He would also play a prominent part in the Irish Church Reform Movement of the 12th century, as well as rebuilding Christ Church Cathedral, several parish churches and emphasising the use of Gregorian Chant.

In 1166 Dermot was deposed as King of Leinster by an alliance of Irish kings and princes, led by High King Ruaidri mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair and King Tighernan Ua Ruairc of Breifne. Exiled and with only a half-hearted promise of help from Henry II, after much wandering in Wales, England and France, he returned to Ireland with a group of penniless and down-on-their-luck Norman, Flemish and Welsh allies to help him regain his kingdom. The expedition succeeded beyond their wildest dreams; Dermot was reinstated as King of Leinster, the Norse towns of Wexford, Waterford and Dublin captured, and the Irish under the High King defeated. To seal the alliance, Dermot offered his daughter, Aoife — who was also Lorcan's niece — in marriage to the leader of the Normans, Strongbow.

Archbishop Lorcán left Ireland in 1179 to attend the Third Council of the Lateran in Rome. From Pope Alexander III he received a Papal Bull, confirming the rights and privileges of the See of Dublin. Alexander also named him as Papal Legate. On his return to Ireland he kept up the pace of reform to such an extent that as many as one hundred and fifty clerics were withdrawn from their offices for various abuses and sent to Rome.

In 1180 he left Ireland for the last time, taking with him a son of Ua Conchobair's as a hostage to Henry. He meant to admonish Henry for incursions against Ua Conchobair, contrary to the Treaty of Windsor. After a stay at the Monastery of Abingdon south of Oxford - necessitated by a closure of the ports - he landed at Le Tréport, Normandy at a cove named after him, Saint-Laurent. He fell ill and was conveyed to St. Victor's Abbey at Seine-Maritime. Mortally ill, it was suggested that he should make his will, to which he replied: "God knows, I have not a penny under the sun to leave anyone."


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Father Damien of Molokai


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Divine Mercy



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