R.E Project On The Roman Catholic Church.

The largest single Christian body composed of those Christians who acknowledge the supreme authority of the Bishop of Rome, the pope, in matters of faith. The word “catholic” (Greek katholikos) means “universal” and has been used to designate the Church since its earliest period, when it was the only Christian Church. The Roman Catholic Church regards itself as the only legitimate inheritor, by an unbroken episcopal succession descending from St Peter to the present time, of the commission and powers conferred by Jesus Christ on the 12 apostles. The Church has had a profound influence on the development of European culture and on the introduction of European values into other civilizations. Its total membership as the 1990s began was about 995.8 million (about 18.8 per cent of the world population). The Church has its greatest numerical strength in Europe and Latin America but also has a large membership in other parts of the world.  

In keeping with early Christian traditions, the fundamental unit of organization in the Roman Catholic Church is the diocese, headed by a bishop. The Church comprises about 1,800 dioceses and about 500 archdioceses, which today are simply more distinguished sees without the special jurisdiction over nearby bishops that they once enjoyed. The major church in a diocese is the cathedral, where the bishop presides at worship and other ceremonies. The cathedral contains the bishop’s “throne” or “chair” (Latin cathedra), from which in the early Church he preached to his congregation.

The bishop is the chief liturgical figure in the diocese and is distinguished from the priest principally by the power to confer Holy Orders and to act as the usual minister of confirmation. The bishop also wields the highest jurisdictional powers within the diocese: he has the right to admit priests to his diocese and to exclude them from the practice of ministry within it, and he assigns priests of his diocese to parishes and other duties. The bishop often delegates administrative details to his vicar-general, his chancellor, or other officials. In larger dioceses he may be assisted by auxiliary or coadjutor bishops.

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Directly under the bishop are the clergy, both secular and religious. Secular clergy are not members of religious orders or congregations and have been incorporated (incardinated) into the diocese under the authority of the local bishop. Secular clergy generally staff the parishes of the diocese and serve as pastors in them.

The religious clergy, on the other hand, are primarily committed to their orders or congregations, which transcend diocesan boundaries. While working within a given diocese, these clergy must adhere to the bishop’s decisions in matters of public worship but otherwise enjoy considerable discretion in their ministry. The same can ...

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