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The history of the Catholic Church is traced by the Catholic Church back to apostolic times and thus covers a period of nearly 2,000 years,[1] making it one of the world's oldest institutions. The history of the Catholic Church is an integral part of the history of Christianity and of Western civilization.[2]

Catholics consider the Catholic Church to have been founded by Jesus Christ, its spiritual head. Catholic doctrine asserts that it is the continuation of the Church that was founded at the Confession of Peter. It interprets the Confession of Peter as Christ's designation of Apostle Peter and his successors in Rome to be the temporal head of his Church. Thus, it asserts that the Bishop of Rome has the sole legitimate claim to Petrine authority and the primacy due to the Roman Pontiff.[3][4][5][6] The Catholic Church claims legitimacy of its bishops and priests via the doctrine of apostolic succession and authority of the Pope via the unbroken line of popes, successors to Simon Peter.[7]

The authority of the Apostle Peter and his successors is thus viewed as a continuous history from Jesus Christ.[8][9][10] The institution of the papacy as it exists today developed through the centuries. Church tradition records that Peter became the first leader of Christians in the Imperial capital of Rome. The Apostles and many Christians traveled to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and Rome to found the first Christian communities. Christianity spread quickly through the Roman Empire, and by the second century there were many established bishoprics within the Empire including Northern Africa, France, Italy, Syria, and Asia Minor, and twenty bishoprics outside the empire, mainly in Armenia.[11] Irenaeus (d. 202) defended the apostolic tradition.[12]

In 313, the struggles of the Early Church were lessened by the legalisation of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine I. In 380, Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire by the decree of the Emperor, which would persist until the fall of the Western Empire, and later, with the Eastern Roman Empire, until the Fall of Constantinople. During this time (the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils) there were considered five primary sees according to Eusebius: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, see also Pentarchy.

After the destruction of the western Roman Empire, the church in the West was a major factor in the preservation of classical civilization, establishing monasteries, and sending missionaries to convert the peoples of northern Europe, as far as Ireland in the north. In the East, the Byzantine Empire preserved Orthodoxy, until the massive invasions of Islam in the mid-seventh century. The invasions of Islam devastated three of the five patriarchal sees, capturing Jerusalem first, then Alexandria, and then finally in the mid-eighth century, Antioch.

The whole period of the next five centuries was dominated by the struggle between Christianity and Islam throughout the Mediterranean Basin. The battles of Poitiers, and Toulouse preserved the Catholic west, even though Rome itself was ravaged in 850, and Constantinople besieged.

In the 11th century, already strained relations between the primarily Greek church in the East, and the Latin church in the West, developed into the East-West Schism, partially due to conflicts over Papal Authority. The fourth crusade, and the sacking of Constantinople by renegade crusaders proved the final breach.

In the 16th century, in response to the Protestant Reformation, the Church engaged in a process of substantial reform and renewal, known as the Counter-Reformation.[13] In subsequent centuries, Catholicism spread widely across the world despite experiencing a reduction in its hold on European populations due to the growth of religious scepticism during and after the Enlightenment. The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s introduced the most significant changes to Catholic practices since the Council of Trent three centuries before.

Church beginnings


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 Church believes itself to be the continuation of the Christian community founded by Jesus in his consecration of Simon Peter.[14][15] The traditional narrative starts with Peter being consecrated by Jesus, followed by Peter traveling to Rome sometime after Pentecost (which some believe occurred in the Cenacle), founding a church there, serving as its first bishop and consecrating Linus as bishop, thus starting the line of Popes of whom Pope Benedict XVI is the current successor. This narrative is often related in histories of the Catholic Church.[16] The only part of this narrative that is supported directly by the Scriptures is the consecration of Peter; however, elements of the rest of the narrative are attested to in the writings of Church Fathers such as Ignatius, Irenaeus and Dionysius of Corinth. Largely as a result of a challenge to this narrative initiated by Alfred Loisy, some theologians have challenged the historicity of the traditional narrative, resulting in a less literal interpretation of the Church's "founding" by Jesus and less specific claims about the historical foundations and transmission of the Petrine Primacy in the Church's early years.[17][18]

According to the scriptural accounts in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and the Acts of the Apostles, the Christian Church began with the Ascension of Christ, 40 days after Passover. From this point on, Christ's mission was carried out on Earth by his disciples and Apostles.[19]

After his death and resurrection, Christ appeared to his disciples proclaiming that he had conquered death and that none need fear death so long as they believed in him. Later, Christ issued the Great Commission by which the disciples of Christ would spread the word of God to all the nations.[20] He would continue to teach and prepare the disciples for his Ascension and for the arrival of the Holy Spirit, believed to have occurred at Pentacost.

In the tradition of the Catholic Church, Christ commanded Peter to lead his Church, giving him the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, and promised him that whatever he will bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever he looses on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

A week after Christ's ascension, the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples, prompting them to proclaim the Gospels to the people of Jerusalem, who had witnessed the crucifixion of Christ. This beginning of their public ministry is known as Pentecost, where the Holy Spirit not only assisted the disciples in reaching the people, but also enabled them to speak in languages (see also Glossolalia) they did not know.

After the Ascension, the book of Acts records the activities of the Apostles, including Paul of Tarsus who became a disciple of Christ while on the Road to Damascus. Each of the disciples travelled to different parts of the Roman Empire in spreading the gospel to all nations. Apostles but also numerous Christians, soldiers, merchants, preachers [21] traveled to northern Africa, Asia Minor, Arabia, Greece, and other places to found the first Christian communities,[22][23][24] and over 40 were established by the year 100.[23][24] The Catholic Church believes it came fully into being on the day of Pentecost when, according to scriptural accounts, the apostles received the Holy Spirit and emerged from hiding following the death and resurrection of Jesus to preach and spread his message.[22][25]

The Christian community in Jerusalem, where Jesus, many of the twelve Apostles and many eyewitnesses originally lived, had a special position among Christian communities. It experienced conflict and persecution especially in the years 32-33 and 62-63 highlighted by the stoning of Saint Stephen and the Apostle James.[26] The destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 ended the pre-eminence of Jerusalem and with the consequent dispersion of Jews and Christians from this city, Early Christianity gradually (over several centuries) grew apart from Judaism and established itself as a predominantly gentile religion. Antioch became the first Gentile Christian community with stature [27]

In or around the year 50, the apostles convened the first Church council, the Council of Jerusalem, to reconcile doctrinal differences among the competing factions within the Church.[28][29] At the Council of Jerusalem in 50 it was confirmed that gentiles could be accepted as Christians, possibly paralleling Noahide Law.

The Church of Rome was already flourishing, when, from Corinth the Apostle Paul sent his letter to the Roman Community in the Winter of 57-58 [30][31] According to the tradition of the Catholic Church, Rome would become the See of Peter, and the center of his ministry.

At first, Christians continued to worship alongside Jewish believers which historians refer to as Jewish Christianity, but within twenty years of Jesus's death, Sunday (see also Sabbath in Christianity) was being regarded as the primary day of worship.[32] Growing tensions soon led to a starker separation that was virtually complete by the time Christians refused to join in the Bar Khokba Jewish revolt of 132,[33] however some groups of Christians retained elements of Jewish practice.[34] Church leadership by bishops priests and deacons originated in the New Testament period.[35] Christianity also differed from other Roman religions in that it set out its beliefs in a clearly defined way.[36] From as early as the first century, the Church of Rome was recognized as a doctrinal authority because it was believed that the Apostles Peter and Paul had led the Church there.[9][37][38]

The Christian church was fragmented in its early days.[39] Although competing forms of Christianity emerged early and persisted into the fifth century, there was broad doctrinal unity within the mainstream churches.[40]

From the year 100 onward, proto-orthodox teachers like Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus defined Catholic teaching in stark opposition to heresies such as Gnosticism.[41] The Roman Church retained the practice of meeting in ecumenical councils to ensure that any internal doctrinal differences were quickly resolved.[29] Partially as a response to the Gnostic teaching, in the 2nd century, Irenaeus created the first known document describing apostolic succession.[42]

In the first few centuries of its existence, the Church formed its teachings and traditions into a systematic whole under the influence of theological apologists such as Pope Clement I, Justin Martyr and Augustine of Hippo.[43]


In the first centuries of its existence, the Church defined and formed its teachings and traditions into a systematic whole under the influence of theological apologists such as Pope Clement I, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr and Augustine of Hippo.[43] Since early Christians refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods or to defer to Roman rulers as gods, they were subject to persecution,[44] with varied levels depending upon the policies of the incumbent emperor. The earliest recorded orders of persecution were under Emperor Nero's rule in the first century, and by the mid-third century it had extended throughout the empire, culminating in the great persecution of Diocletian and Galerius in early fourth century. This was considered a final attempt to eliminate Christianity.[45] In spite of these persecutions, evangelization efforts persisted, leading to the Edict of Milan which legalized Christianity in 313.[46] By 380, Christianity had become the state religion of the Roman Empire.[47]

Outside the Empire

Thomas the Apostle arrived along the southern Indian Malabar Coast in the year AD 52[48][49] and from this came Thomasine Christianity. These Syrian Malabar Nasrani kept a unique identity till the arrival of the Portuguese in India with the Catholic Church. Today the largest church of Nasranis is the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church.

From Constantine to Gregory

Council of Nicaea

In 325, the First Council of Nicaea was convened in response to the Arian challenge concerning the trinitarian nature of God. The council formulated the Nicene Creed as a basic statement of Christian belief and divided the church into geographical and administrative areas called dioceses.[50] Although Rome was one of three dioceses whose primacy was officially sanctioned by this council, it had certain qualities that destined it for particular prominence. It was considered the see of Peter and Paul, it was located in the capital of the empire, church scholars were desirous of obtaining the Roman bishop's support in doctrinal disputes, and it was wealthy and known for supporting other churches around the world.[51] Most of following ecumenical councils sought the approval of the Bishop of Rome, whose delegates usually presided them or were headed by the Pope himself.[52]


Emperor Constantine I established the rights of the Church in the year 315

During the papacy of Pope Sylvester I, Emperor Constantine I commissioned the first Basilica of St. Peter, as well as the Lateran Palace, a papal residence, and several other sites of lasting importance to Christianity.[53] Many standard Christian practices had been established by the end of Constantine's life including the observation of Sunday as the official day of worship, the use of the altar as the focal point of each church, the sign of the cross, and the liturgical calendar.[54]

Theodosius I

During the following decades a series of ecumenical christological councils codified critical elements of the Church's theology. On 380 Theodosius I, Gratian and Valentinian II published the so-called "Edict of Thessalonica" by making the Nicene Christianity the official state religion of the Roman Empire. The Council of Rome in 382 officially recognized the Biblical canon, listing the accepted books of the Old and New Testament, and in 391 the Vulgate Latin translation of the Bible was made.[55] The Council of Ephesus in 431 clarified the nature of Jesus' incarnation, declaring that he was both fully man and fully God.[56] Two decades later, the Council of Chalcedon solidified Roman papal primacy which added to continuing breakdown in relations between Rome and Constantinople, the see of the Eastern Church.[51] Also sparked were the Monophysite disagreements over the precise nature of the incarnation of Jesus which led to the first of the various Oriental Orthodox Churches breaking away from the Catholic Church.[29]

Middle Ages

Early Middle Ages

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, the Catholic faith competed with Arianism for the conversion of the barbarian tribes.[57] The 496 conversion of Clovis I, pagan king of the Franks, saw the beginning of a steady rise of the faith in the West.[58]

Saint Benedict, father of Western monasticism and author of Rule of St Benedict. Detail from fresco by Fra Angelico, c. 1437–46.

In 530, Saint Benedict wrote his Rule of St Benedict as a practical guide for monastic community life. Its message spread to monasteries throughout Europe.[59] Monasteries became major conduits of civilization, preserving craft and artistic skills while maintaining intellectual culture within their schools, scriptoria and libraries. They functioned as agricultural, economic and production centers as well as a focus for spiritual life.[60] During this period the Visigoths and Lombards moved away from Arianism for Catholicism.[58] Pope Gregory the Great played a notable role in these conversions and dramatically reformed the ecclesiastical structures and administration which then launched renewed missionary efforts.[61] Missionaries such as Augustine of Canterbury, who was sent from Rome to begin the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons, and, coming the other way in the Hiberno-Scottish mission, Saints Colombanus, Boniface, Willibrord, Ansgar and many others took Christianity into northern Europe and spread Catholicism among the Germanic, and Slavic peoples, and reached the Vikings and other Scandinavians in later centuries.[62] The Synod of Whitby of 664, though not as decisive as sometimes claimed, was an important moment in the reintegration of the Celtic Church of the British Isles into the Roman hierarchy, after having been effectively cut off from contact with Rome by the pagan invaders.

In the early 700s, Byzantine iconoclasm became a major source of conflict between the Eastern and Western parts of the Church. Byzantine emperors forbade the creation and veneration of religious images, as violations of the Ten Commandments. Other major religions in the East such as Judaism and Islam had similar prohibitions. Pope Gregory III vehemently disagreed [63] A new Empress Irene siding with the pope, called for an Ecumenical Council In 787, the fathers of the Second Council of Nicaea "warmly received the papal delegates and his message" ,[64] At the conclusion, 300 bishops, who were led by the representatives of Pope Hadrian I.[65] "adopted the Pope's teaching" ,[64] in favor of icons.

With the coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III in 800, his new title as Patricius Romanorum, and the handing over of the keys to the Tomb of Saint Peter, the papacy had acquired a new protector in the West. This freed the pontiffs to some degree from the power of the emperor in Constantinople but also led to a schism, because the emperors and patriarchs of Constantinople interpreted themselves as the true descendants of the Roman Empire dating back to the beginnings of the Church.[66] Pope Nicholas I had refused to recognize Patriarch Photios I of Constantinople ,who in turn had attacked the pope as a heretic, because he kept the filioque in the creed, which referred to the Holy Spirit emanating from God the Father and the Son. The papacy was strengthened through this new alliance, which in the long term created a new problem for the Popes, when in the Investiture Controversy succeeding emperors sought to appoint bishops and even future popes.[67][68] After the disintegration of the Charlemagne empire and repeated incursions of Islamic forces into Italy, the papacy, without any protection, entered a phase of major weakness.[69]

High Middle Ages

Saint Thomas Aquinas carrying the whole Church with his theology

The Cluniac reform of monasteries that began in 910 placed abbots under the direct control of the pope rather than the secular control of feudal lords, thus eliminating a major source of corruption. This sparked a great monastic renewal.[70] Monasteries, convents and cathedrals still operated virtually all schools and libraries, and often functioned as credit establishments promoting economic growth.[71][72] After 1100, some older cathedral schools split into lower grammar schools and higher schools for advanced learning. First in Bologna, then at Paris and Oxford, many of these higher schools developed into universities and became the direct ancestors of modern Western institutions of learning.[73] It was here where notable theologians worked to explain the connection between human experience and faith.[74] The most notable of these theologians, Thomas Aquinas, produced Summa Theologica, a key intellectual achievement in its synthesis of Aristotelian thought and the Gospel.[74] Monastic contributions to western society included the teaching of metallurgy, the introduction of new crops, the invention of musical notation and the creation and preservation of literature.[73]

During the 11th century, the East–West schism permanently divided Christianity.[75] It arose over a dispute on whether Constantinople or Rome held jurisdiction over the church in Sicily and led to mutual excommunications in 1054.[75] The Western (Latin) branch of Christianity has since become known as the Catholic Church, while the Eastern (Greek) branch became known as the Orthodox Church.[76][77] The Second Council of Lyon (1274) and the Council of Florence (1439) both failed to heal the schism.[78] Some Eastern churches have since reunited with the Catholic Church, and others claim never to have been out of communion with the pope.[77][79] Officially, the two churches remain in schism, although excommunications were mutually lifted in 1965.[80]

The 11th century saw the Investiture Controversy between Emperor and Pope over the right to make church appointments, the first major phase of the struggle between Church and state in medieval Europe. The Papacy were the initial victors, but as Italians divided between Guelphs and Ghibellines in factions that were often passed down through families or states until the end of the Middle Ages, the dispute gradually weakened the Papacy, not least by drawing it into politics. The Church also attempted to control, or exact a price for, most marriages among the great by prohibiting, in 1059, marriages involving consanguinity (blood kin) and affinity (kin by marriage) to the seventh degree of relationship. Under these rules, almost all great marriages required a dispensation. The rules were relaxed to the fourth degree in 1215 (now only the first degree is prohibited by the Church - a man cannot marry his stepdaughter, for example).

Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont (1095), where he preached the First Crusade; later manuscript illumination of c. 1490

Pope Urban II launched the First Crusade in 1095 when he received an appeal from Byzantine emperor Alexius I to help ward off a Turkish invasion.[81] Urban further believed that a Crusade might help bring about reconciliation with Eastern Christianity.[82][83] Fueled by reports of Muslim atrocities against Christians,[84] the series of military campaigns known as the Crusades began in 1096. They were intended to return the Holy Land to Christian control. The goal was not permanently realized, and episodes of brutality committed by the armies of both sides left a legacy of mutual distrust between Muslims and Western and Eastern Christians.[85] The sack of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade left Eastern Christians embittered, despite the fact that Pope Innocent III had expressly forbidden any such attack.[86] In 2001, Pope John Paul II apologized to the Orthodox Christians for the sins of Catholics including the sacking of Constantinople in 1204.[87]

Two new orders of architecture emerged from the Church of this era. The earlier Romanesque style combined massive walls, rounded arches and ceilings of masonry. To compensate for the absence of large windows, interiors were brightly painted with scenes from the Bible and the lives of the saints. Later, the Basilique Saint-Denis marked a new trend in cathedral building when it utilized Gothic architecture.[88] This style, with its large windows and high, pointed arches, improved lighting and geometric harmony in a manner that was intended to direct the worshiper's mind to God who "orders all things".[88] In other developments, the 12th century saw the founding of eight new monastic orders, many of them functioning as Military Knights of the Crusades.[89] Cistercian monk Bernard of Clairvaux exerted great influence over the new orders and produced reforms to ensure purity of purpose.[89] His influence led Pope Alexander III to begin reforms that would lead to the establishment of canon law.[90] In the following century, new mendicant orders were founded by Francis of Assisi and Dominic de Guzmán which brought consecrated religious life into urban settings.[91]

12th century France witnessed the widespread growth of Catharism, a dualistic belief in extreme asceticism which taught that all matter was evil, accepted suicide and denied the value of Church sacraments. After a papal legate was murdered by the Cathars in 1208, Pope Innocent III declared the Albigensian Crusade.[92] Abuses committed during the crusade caused Innocent III to informally institute the first papal inquisition to prevent future aberrational practices and to root out the remaining Cathars.[93][94] Formalized under Gregory IX, this Medieval inquisition executed an average of three people per year for heresy at its height.[94][95] Over time, other inquisitions were launched by the Church or secular rulers to prosecute heretics, to respond to the threat of Moorish invasion or for political purposes.[96] The accused were encouraged to recant their heresy and those who did not could be punished by penance, fines, imprisonment, torture or execution by burning.[96][97] King Philip IV of France created an inquisition for his suppression of the Knights Templar during the 14th century.[95] King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella formed another in 1480, originally to deal with distrusted ex-Jewish and ex-Muslim converts.[98] Over a 350-year period, this Spanish Inquisition executed between 3,000 and 4,000 people,[99] representing around two percent of those accused.[100] The inquisition played a major role in the final expulsion of Islam from the kingdoms of Sicily and Spain.[101] In 1482, Pope Sixtus IV condemned its excesses but Ferdinand ignored his protests.[102] Historians note that for centuries Protestant propaganda and popular literature exaggerated the horrors of these inquisitions.[103][104][105][106] According to Edward Norman, this view "identified the entire Catholic Church ... with [the] occasional excesses" wrought by secular rulers.[104] While one percent of those tried in the inquisitions received death penalties, scholars agree that they were "more enlightened" and considered to be rather lenient when compared to secular courts.[95][99][103]

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A growing sense of church-state conflicts marked the 14th century. To escape instability in Rome, Clement V in 1309 became the first of seven popes to reside in the fortified city of Avignon in southern France[107] during a period known as the Avignon Papacy. The papacy returned to Rome in 1378 at the urging of Catherine of Siena and others who felt the See of Peter should be in the Roman church.[108][109] With the death of Pope Gregory XI later that year, the papal election was disputed between supporters of Italian and French-backed candidates leading to the Western schism. For 38 years, separate claimants to the papal throne sat in Rome and Avignon. Efforts at resolution further complicated the issue when a third compromise pope was elected in 1409.[110] The matter was finally resolved in 1417 at the Council of Constance where the cardinals called upon all three claimants to the papal throne to resign, and held a new election naming Martin V pope.[110]

Renaissance and reforms

Discoveries and Missionaries

Through the late 15th and early 16th centuries, European missionaries and explorers spread Catholicism to the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Pope Alexander VI, in the papal bull Inter caetera, awarded colonial rights over most of the newly discovered lands to Spain and Portugal.[111] Under the patronato system, state authorities controlled clerical appointments and no direct contact was allowed with the Vatican.[112] On December 1511, the Dominican friar Antonio de Montesinos openly rebuked the Spanish authorities governing Hispaniola for their mistreatment of the American natives, telling them "... you are in mortal sin ... for the cruelty and tyranny you use in dealing with these innocent people".[113][114][115] King Ferdinand enacted the Laws of Burgos and Valladolid in response. Enforcement was lax, and while some blame the Church for not doing enough to liberate the Indians, others point to the Church as the only voice raised on behalf of indigenous peoples.[116] The issue resulted in a crisis of conscience in 16th-century Spain.[114][115] An outpouring of self-criticism and philosophical reflection among Catholic theologians, most notably Francisco de Vitoria, led to debate on the nature of human rights[115] and the birth of modern international law.[117][118]

In 1521, through the leadership and preaching of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the first Catholics were baptized in what became the first Christian nation in Southeast Asia, the Philippines.[119] The following year, Franciscan missionaries arrived in what is now Mexico, and sought to convert the Indians and to provide for their well-being by establishing schools and hospitals. They taught the Indians better farming methods, and easier ways of weaving and making pottery. Because some people questioned whether the Indians were truly human and deserved baptism, Pope Paul III in the papal bull Veritas Ipsa or Sublimis Deus (1537) confirmed that the Indians were deserving people.[120][121] Afterward, the conversion effort gained momentum.[122] Over the next 150 years, the missions expanded into southwestern North America.[123] The native people were legally defined as children, and priests took on a paternalistic role, often enforced with corporal punishment.[124] Elsewhere, in India, Portuguese missionaries and the Spanish Jesuit Francis Xavier evangelized among non-Christians and a Christian community which claimed to have been established by Thomas the Apostle.[125]

Whitby Abbey England, one of hundreds of European monasteries destroyed during the Reformation.

Renaissance Church

In Europe, the Renaissance marked a period of renewed interest in ancient and classical learning. It also brought a re-examination of accepted beliefs. Cathedrals and churches had long served as picture books and art galleries for millions of the uneducated. The stained glass windows, frescoes, statues, paintings and panels retold the stories of the saints and of biblical characters. The Church sponsored great Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, who created some of the world's most famous artworks.[126] The acceptance of humanism had its effects on the Church, which embraced it as well. In 1509, a well known scholar of the age, Erasmus, wrote The Praise of Folly, a work which captured a widely held unease about corruption in the Church.[127] The Papacy itself was questioned by councilarism expressed in the councils of Constance and the Basel. Real reforms during these ecumenical councils and the Fifth Lateran Council were attempted several times but thwarted. They were seen as necessary but did not succeed in large measure because of internal feuds within the Church,[128] ongoing conflicts with the Ottoman Empire andSaracenes [128] and the simony and nepotism practiced in the Renaissance Church of the 15th and early 16th centuries.[129] As a result, rich, powerful and worldly men like Roderigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) were able to win election to the papacy.[129][130]

Reformation wars

The Fifth Lateran Council issued some but only minor reforms in March 1517. A few months later, October 17, 1517, Martin Luther issued his Ninety-Five Theses in a letter to several bishops, hoping to spark debate.[131][132] His theses protested key points of Catholic doctrine as well as the sale of indulgences.[131][132] Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and others further criticized Catholic teachings. These challenges, supported by powerful political forces in the region, developed into the Protestant Reformation.[51][133] In Germany, the reformation led to war between the Protestant Schmalkaldic League and the Catholic Emperor Charles V. The first nine-year war ended in 1555 but continued tensions produced a far graver conflict, the Thirty Years' War, which broke out in 1618.[134] In France, a series of conflicts termed the French Wars of Religion was fought from 1562 to 1598 between the Huguenots and the forces of the French Catholic League. A series of popes sided with and became financial supporters of the Catholic League.[135] This ended under Pope Clement VIII, who hesitantly accepted King Henry IV's 1598 Edict of Nantes, which granted civil and religious toleration to Protestants.[134][135]


The English Reformation was ostensibly based on Henry VIII's desire for annulment of his marriage with Catherine of Aragon, and was initially more of a political, and later a theological dispute.[136] The Acts of Supremacy made the English monarch head of the English church thereby establishing the Church of England. Then, beginning in 1536, some 825 monasteries throughout England, Wales and Ireland were dissolved and Catholic churches were confiscated.[137][138] When he died in 1547 all monasteries, friaries, convents of nuns and shrines were destroyed or desolved.[138][139] Mary I of England reunited the Church of England with Rome and, against the advice of the Spanish ambassador, persecuted Protestants during the Marian Persecutions.[140][141] After some provocation, the following monarch, Elizabeth I enforced the Act of Supremacy. This prevented Catholics from becoming members of professions, holding public office, voting or educating their children.[140][142] Executions of Catholics under Elizabeth I, who reigned much longer, then surpassed the Marian persecutions[140] and persisted under subsequent English monarchs.[143] Penal laws were also enacted in Ireland[144] but were less effective than in England.[140][145] In part because the Irish people associated Catholicism with nationhood and national identity, they resisted persistent English efforts to eliminate the Catholic Church.[140][145]

Melk Abbey—adjoining Wachau Valley, Lower Austria—exemplifies the Baroque style.

Council of Trent

Historian Diarmaid MacCulloch, in his book The Reformation, A History noted that through all the slaughter of the Reformation era emerged the valuable concept of religious toleration and an improved Catholic Church[146] which responded to doctrinal challenges and abuses highlighted by the Reformation at the Council of Trent (1545–1563). The council became the driving-force of the Counter-Reformation, and reaffirmed central Catholic doctrines such as transubstantiation, and the requirement for love and hope as well as faith to attain salvation.[147] It also reformed many other areas of importance to the Church, most importantly by improving the education of the clergy and consolidating the central jurisdiction of the Roman Curia.[13][147][148] The criticisms of the Reformation were among factors that sparked new religious orders including the Theatines, Barnabites and Jesuits, some of which became the great missionary orders of later years.[149] Spiritual renewal and reform were inspired by many new saints like Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales and Philip Neri whose writings spawned distinct schools of spirituality within the Church (Oratorians, Carmelites, Salesian), etc.[150] Improvement to the education of the laity was another positive effect of the era, with a proliferation of secondary schools reinvigorating higher studies such as history, philosophy and theology.[151] To popularize Counter-Reformation teachings, the Church encouraged the Baroque style in art, music and architecture. Baroque religious expression was stirring and emotional, created to stimulate religious fervor.[152]

Elsewhere, Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier introduced Christianity to Japan, and by the end of the 16th century tens of thousands of Japanese followed Roman Catholicism. Church growth came to a halt in 1597 under the Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu who, in an effort to isolate the country from foreign influences, launched a severe persecution of Christians.[153] Japanese were forbidden to leave the country and Europeans were forbidden to enter. Despite this, a minority Christian population survived into the 19th century.[153][154]

Baroque, Enlightenment and revolutions

The Council of Trent generated a revival of religious life and Marian devotions in the Roman Catholic Church. During the Reformation, the Church had defended its Marian beliefs against Protestant views. At the same time, the Catholic world was engaged in ongoing Ottoman Wars in Europe against Turkey which were fought and won under the auspices of the Virgin Mary. The victory at Battle of Lepanto (1571) was accredited to her “and signified the beginning of a strong resurgence of Marian devotions, focusing especially on Mary, the Queen of Heaven and Earth and her powerful role as mediatrix of many graces”.[155] The Colloquium Marianum, a elite group, and the Sodality of Our Lady based their activities on a virtuous life, free of cardinal sins.

Pope Paul V and Gregory XV ruled in 1617 and 1622 to be inadmissible to state, that he virgin was conceived non-immaculate.[clarification needed] Alexander VII declared in 1661, that the soul of Mary was free from original sin. Pope Clement XI ordered the feast of the Immaculata for the whole Church in 1708. The feast of the Rosary was introduced in 1716, the feast of the Seven Sorrows in 1727. The Angelus prayer was strongly supported by Pope Benedict XIII in 1724 and by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742.[156] Popular Marian piety was even more colourful and varied than ever before: Numerous Marian pilgrimages, Marian Salve devotions, new Marian litanies, Marian theatre plays, Marian hymns, Marian processions. Marian fraternities, today mostly defunct, had millions of members.[157]

After centuries of French opposition, Pope Innocent XI was beatified by Pius XII in 1956

The Enlightenment constituted a new challenge of the Church. Unlike the Protestant Reformation, which questioned certain Christian doctrines, the enlightenment questioned Christianity as a whole. Generally, it elevated human reason above divine revelation and down-graded religious authorities such as the papacy based on it.[158] Politically the Ottoman Empire continued as a major threat, advancing all the way to the city of Vienna. Parallel the Church attempted to fend of Gallicanism and Councilarism, ideologies which threatened the papacy and structure of the Church.[159]

Toward the latter part of the 17th century, Blessed Pope Innocent XI viewed the increasing Turkish attacks against Europe, which were supported by France, as the major threat for the Church. He built a Polish-Austrian coalition for the Turkish defeat at Vienna in 1683. Scholars have called him a saintly pope because he reformed abuses by the Church, including simony, nepotism and the lavish papal expenditures that had caused him to inherit a papal debt of 50,000,000 scudi. By eliminating certain honorary posts and introducing new fiscal policies, Innocent XI was able to regain control of the church's finances.[160] In France, the Church battled Jansenism and Gallicanism, which supported Councilarism, and rejected papal primacy, demanding special concessions for the Church in France. This weakened the Church's ability to respond to gallicanist thinkers such as Denis Diderot, who challenged fundamental doctrines of the Church.[161]

In 1685 gallicanist King Louis XIV of France issued the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, ending a century of religious toleration.. France forced Catholic theologians to support councilarism and deny Papal infallibility. The king threatened Pope Innocent XI with a general council and a military take-over of the Papal state.[162] The absolute French State used Gallicanism to gain control of virtually all major Church appointments as well as many of the Church's properties.[160][163] State authority over the Church became popular in other countries as well. In Belgium and Germany, Gallicanism appeared in the form of Febronianism, which rejected papal pregoratives in an equal fashion.[164] Emperor Joseph II of Austria (1780-1790) practiced Josephinism by regulating Church life, appointments and massive confiscation of Church properties.[164]

Church in America

In the Americas, the Church expanded its missions but, until the 19th century, had to work under the Spanish and Portuguese governments and military.[165] Junípero Serra, the Franciscan priest in charge of this effort, founded a series of missions which became important economic, political, and religious institutions.[166] These missions brought grain, cattle and a new way of living to the Indian tribes of California. Overland routes were established from New Mexico that resulted in the colonization of San Francisco in 1776 and Los Angeles in 1781. However, by bringing Western civilization to the area, these missions and the Spanish government have been held responsible for wiping out nearly a third of the native population, primarily through disease.[167] Only in the 19th century, after the breakdown of most Spanish and Portuguese colonies, was the Vatican able to take charge of Catholic missionary activities through its Propaganda Fide organization.[168]

During this period the Church faced colonial abuses from the Portuguese and Spanish governments. In South America, the Jesuits protected native peoples from enslavement by establishing semi-independent settlements called reductions. Pope Gregory XVI, challenging Spanish and Portuguese sovereignty, appointed his own candidates as bishops in the colonies, condemned slavery and the slave trade in 1839 (papal bull In Supremo Apostolatus), and approved the ordination of native clergy in spite of government racism.[169]

Jesuits in India

While Christianity in India has a tradition of Thomas establishing the faith there, the Jesuit Francis Xavier (1502-1552) began to introduce Catholic Christianity to India. Roberto de Nobili (1577-1656), a Tuscan Jesuit missionary to Southern India followed in his path. He pioneered (inculturation), adopting many Brahmin customs which were not, in his opinion, contrary to Christianity. He lived like a Brahmin, learned Sanskrit, and presented Christianity as a part of Indian beliefs, not identical with the controversial Portuguese culture of the colonialists. He permitted the use of all customs, which in his view did not directly contradict Christian teachings. By 1640 there were 40 000 Christians in Madura alone. In 1632, Pope Gregory XV gave permission for this approach. But strong anti-Jesuit sentiments in Portugal, France even in Rome resulted in a reversal, which signalled the end of the successful Catholic missions in India.[170] On September 12, 1744, Benedict XIV forbade the so-called Malabar rites in India, with the result, that leading Indian casts who wanted to adhere to their traditional cultures, turned away from the Catholic Church.[171] Christianity started in the southern part of India from A.D 52 onwards, when St. Thomas came to India.

Jesuits in China

Matteo Ricci (left) and Xu Guangqi (徐光啟) (right) in the Chinese edition of Euclid's Elements (幾何原本) published in 1607.

The Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552-1610) Adam Schall von Bell and other Jesuits had successfully introduced Christianity to China via inculturation. Ricci and Schall were appointed by the Chinese Emperor in Peking to be court mathematicians court astronomer and even Mandarin. The first Catholic Church was built in Peking in 1650 [172] The emperor granted freedom of religion to Catholics. Ricci had adopted the Catholic faith to Chinese thinking, permitting among others the veneration of the dead. The Vatican disagreed and forbade any adaptation in the so-called Chinese Rites controversy in 1692 and 1742. The Bull Ex Quo Singulari of Pope Benedict XIV from July 11, 1742 repeated verbatim the bull of Clement XI and stressed the purity of Christian teachings and traditions, which must be uphold against all heresies. This bull virtually destroyed the Jesuit goal, to Christianize the influential upper classes in China.[171] The Vatican policy was the death of the missions in China. [173] Afterwards The Church experienced missionary setbacks in 1721 when the Chinese Rites controversy led the Kangxi Emperor to outlaw Christian missions.[174] The Chinese emperor felt duped and refused to permit any alteration of the existing Christian practices. He told the visiting papal delegate:

  • You destroyed your religion. You put in misery all Europeans living here in China. You desecrated the honour of all those, who died long ago. [175]

In 1939 Pope Pius XII, within weeks of his coronation, radically reverted the 250 year old Vatican policy and permitted the veneration of dead family members.[173] The Church began to flourish again with twenty new arch-dioceses, seventy-nine dioceses and thirty-eight apostolic prefects, but only until 1949, when the Communist revolution took over the country.[175]

Jesuit existence

Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal, "The Expulsion of the Jesuits" by Louis-Michel van Loo, 1766.

Throughout the inculturation controversy, the very existence of Jesuits were under attack in Portugal, Spain,France, and the Kingdom of Sicily. The inculturation controversy and the Jesuit support for the native Indians in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina added fuel to growing criticism of the order, which seemed to symbolize the strength and independence of the Church. Defending the rights of native peoples in South America, hindered the efforts of European powers, espcecially Spain and Portugal to maintain absolute rule over their domains.[176] Portugal's Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo, Marquis of Pombal was the main enemy of the Jesuits. Pope Benedict XIV attempted to keep the Jesuits in existence without any changes: Sint ut sunt aut not sint, They must be the way they are or they will not be,.[177] He went far to mollify Portuguese pride, even allowing the local Cardinal to wear a papal tiara and have his seminarians dressed like cardinals [178] In 1773, European rulers united to force Pope Clement XIV to dissolve the order.[176] Several decades later Pius VII restored the Jesuits in the 1814 papal bull Sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum.[179]

French Revolution

The anti-clericalism of the French Revolution.[180] saw direct attacks on the wealth of the Church and associated grievances led to the wholesale nationalisation of church property and attempts to establish a state-run church.[181] Large numbers of priests refused to take an oath of compliance to the National Assembly, leading to the Church being outlawed and replaced by a new religion of the worship of "Reason".[181] In this period, all monasteries were destroyed, 30,000 priests were exiled and hundreds more were killed.[181] When Pope Pius VI sided against the revolution in the First Coalition, Napoleon Bonaparte invaded Italy. The 82 year old pope was taken as a prisoner to France in February 1799 and died in Valence August 29, 1799 after six months of captivity. To win popular support for his rule, Napoleon re-established the Catholic Church in France through the Concordat of 1801.[182] All over Europe, the end of the Napoleonic wars signaled by the Congress of Vienna, brought Catholic revival, renewed enthusiasm, and new respect for the papacy following the depredations of the previous era.[183]

Church from the Indian settlement of San Ignacio Miní


By the close of the 19th century, new technologies and superior weaponry had allowed European powers to gain control of most of the African interior.[184] The new rulers introduced a cash economy which required African people to become literate, and so created a great demand for schools. At the time, the only possibility open to Africans for a western education was through Christian missionaries.[184] Catholic missionaries followed colonial governments into Africa, and built schools, monasteries and churches.[184]

Industrial age

First Vatican Council

Before the council, in 1854 Pope Pius IX with the support of the overwhelming majority of Roman Catholic Bishops, whom he had consulted between 1851–1853, proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.[185] Eight years earlier, in 1846, the Pope had granted the unanimous wish of the bishops from the United States, and declared the Immaculata the patron of the USA.[186]

During First Vatican Council, some 108 council fathers requested to add the words “Immaculate Virgin” to the Hail Mary.[187] Some fathers requested, the dogma of the Immaculate Conception to be included in the Creed of the Church, which was opposed by Pius IX [188] Many French Catholics wished the dogmatization of Papal infallibility and the assumption of Mary by the ecumenical council.[189] During Vatican One, nine mariological petitions favoured a possible assumption dogma, which however was strongly opposed by some council fathers, especially from Germany. In 1870, the First Vatican Council affirmed the doctrine of papal infallibility when exercised in specifically defined pronouncements.[190][191] Controversy over this and other issues resulted in a very small breakaway movement called the Old Catholic Church.[192]

Social teachings

The Church was slow to react to the growing industrialization and impoverishment of workers, trying first to remediate the situation with increased charity. In 1891 Pope Leo XIII issued Rerum Novarum in which the Church defined the dignity and rights of industrial workers.

The Industrial Revolution brought many concerns about the deteriorating working and living conditions of urban workers. Influenced by the German Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel Freiherr von Ketteler, in 1891 Pope Leo XIII published the encyclical Rerum Novarum, which set in context Catholic social teaching in terms that rejected socialism but advocated the regulation of working conditions. Rerum Novarum argued for the establishment of a living wage and the right of workers to form trade unions.[193]

Quadragesimo Anno was issued by Pope Pius XI, on 15 May 1931, 40 years after Rerum Novarum. Unlike Leo, who addressed the mainly condition of workers, Pius XI concentrated on the ethical implications of the social and economic order. He called for the reconstruction of the social order based on the principle of solidarity and subsidiarity.[194] He noted major dangers for human freedom and dignity, arising from unrestrained capitalism and totalitarian communism.

The social teachings of Pope Pius XII repeat these teachings, and apply them in greater detail not only to workers and owners of capital, but also to other professions such as politicians,educators, house-wives, farmers bookkeepers, international organizations, and all aspects of life including the military. Going beyond Pius XI, he also defined social teachings in the areas of medicine, psychology, sport, TV,science, law and education. There is virtually no social issue, which Pius XII did not address and relate to the Christian faith. [195] He was called "the Pope of Technology, for his willingness and ability to examine the social implications of technological advances. The dominant concern was the continued rights and dignity of the individual. With the beginning of the space age at the end of his pontificate, Pius XII explored the social implications of space exploration and satellites on the social fabric of humanity asking for a new sense of community and solidarity in light of existing papal teachings on subsidiarity.[196]


Madonna and Child, by Filippo Lippi

Popes have always highlighted the inner link between the Virgin Mary as Mother of God and the full acceptance of Jesus Christ as Son of God.[197][198] Since the 19th century, they were highly important for the development of mariology to explain the veneration of Mary through their decisions not only in the area of Marian beliefs (Mariology) but also Marian practices and devotions. Before the 19th century, Popes promulgated Marian veneration by authorizing new Marian feast days, prayers, initiatives, the acceptance and support of Marian congregations.[199][200] Since the 19th century, Popes begin to use encyclicals more frequently. Thus Leo XIII, the Rosary Pope issued eleven Marian encyclicals. Recent Popes promulgated the veneration of the Blessed Virgin with two dogmas, Pius IX the Immaculate Conception in 1854 and the Assumption of Mary in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. Pius XII also promulgated the new feast Queenship of Mary celebrating Mary as Queen of Heaven and he introduced the first ever Marian year in 1954, a second one was proclaimed by John Paul II. Pius IX, Pius XI and Pius XII facilitated the veneration of Marian apparitions such as in Lourdes and Fátima. Later Popes such from John XXIII to Benedict XVI promoted the visit to Marian shrines (Benedict XVI in 2007 and 2008). The Second Vatican Council highlighted the importance of Marian veneration in Lumen Gentium. During the Council, Paul VI proclaimed Mary to be the Mother of the Church.

Anti-Clericalism and persecutions

Part of a series of articles on
20th Century
Persecutions of the
Catholic Church


Cristero War  · Iniquis Afflictisque
Saints  · José Sánchez del Río
Persecution in Mexico  · Miguel Pro

498 Spanish Martyrs
Red Terror (Spain) · Dilectissima Nobis
Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War
Martyrs of Daimiel
Bartolome Blanco Marquez
Innocencio of Mary Immaculate


Mit brennender Sorge  · Alfred Delp
Alois Grimm · Rupert Mayer
Bernhard Lichtenberg · Max Josef Metzger
Karl Leisner  · Maximilian Kolbe

Persecution in China · Ad Sinarum Gentem ·
Cupimus Imprimis  · Ad Apostolorum Principis
Ignatius Kung Pin-Mei · Beda Chang
Dominic Tang
Stefan Wyszyński
108 Martyrs of World War Two · Policies
Poloniae Annalibus  · Gloriosam Reginam
Invicti Athletae · Jerzy Popiełuszko

Eastern Europe
Jozsef Mindszenty  · Eugene Bossilkov
Josef Beran  · Aloysius Stepinac
Meminisse Juvat  · Anni Sacri

El Salvador

Maura Clarke  · Ignacio Ellacuría
Ita Ford  · Rutilio Grande
Dorothy Kazel  · Ignacio Martín-Baró
Segundo Montes  · Óscar Romero


Persecution of Christians
Church persecutions 1939-1958
Vatican and Eastern Europe
Vatican USSR policies

Eastern Catholic persecutions
Terrible Triangle
Conspiracy of Silence (Church persecutions)

In Latin America, a succession of anti-clerical regimes came to power beginning in the 1830s.[201] The confiscation of Church properties and restrictions on people's religious freedoms generally accompanied secularist, and later, Marxist-leaning, governmental reforms.[202] One such regime emerged in Mexico in 1860. Church properties were confiscated and basic civil and political rights were denied to religious orders and the clergy. More severe laws called Calles Law during the rule of atheist Plutarco Elías Calles eventually led to the "worst guerilla war in Latin American History", the Cristero War.[203] Between 1926 and 1934, over 3,000 priests were exiled or assassinated.[204][205] In an effort to prove that "God would not defend the Church", Calles ordered "hideous desecration of churches ... there were parodies of (church) services, nuns were raped and any priests captured ... were shot ...".[203] Calles was eventually deposed[203] and despite the persecution, the Church in Mexico continued to grow. A 2000 census reported that 88 percent of Mexicans identify as Catholic.[206]

In 1954, under the regime of General Juan Perón, Argentina saw extensive destruction of churches, denunciations of clergy and confiscation of Catholic schools as Perón attempted to extend state control over national institutions.[207] Cuba, under atheist Fidel Castro, succeeded in reducing the Church's ability to work by deporting the archbishop and 150 Spanish priests, discriminating against Catholics in public life and education and refusing to accept them as members of the Communist Party.[208] The subsequent flight of 300,000 people from the island also helped to diminish the Church there.[208]

Persecution of the Catholic Church took place in the 20th century in Mexico, Spain and the Soviet Union. Pius XI called this the Terrible Triangle [209] The " harsh persecution short of total annihilation of the clergy, monks, and nuns and other people associated with the Church,[210] began in 1918 and continued well into the Thirties. The Civil War in Spain started in 1936, during which thousands of churches were destroyed, thirteen bishops and some 6,832 clergy and religious Spaniards were assassinated.[211][212] After the massive Church persecutions in Mexico, Spain and the Soviet Union, Pius XI defined communism as the main adversary of the Catholic Church in his encyclical Divini Redemptoris issued on March 19, 1937.[213] He blamed Western powers and media for a conspiracy of silence on the persecutions carried out by Communist, Socialist and Fascist forces.

World War II

On 20 July 1933, the Vatican signed the Reichskonkordat with Nazi Germany, partly in an attempt to protect the Church from persecution which had already begun in Bavaria.[214] When this agreement failed to do so, Pope Pius XI issued the 1937 encyclical Mit brennender Sorge.[214] Drafted by the future Pope Pius XII[215] and read from the pulpits of all German Catholic churches, it condemned Nazi ideology and has been characterized by some scholars as the "first great official public document to dare to confront and criticize Nazism" and "one of the greatest such condemnations ever issued by the Vatican."[216][note 1] The "infuriated" Nazis retaliated by initiating a "long series" of persecution of Catholic clergy and other measures.[216] Pius XI later warned a group of pilgrims that antisemitism is incompatible with Christianity.[217] When Dutch bishops protested against the wartime deportation of Jews, the Nazis responded by increasing deportations[216] rounding up 92 converts including Edith Stein who were then deported and murdered.[218] "The brutality of the retaliation made an enormous impression on Pius XII."[218] In Poland, the Nazis murdered over 2,500 monks and priests and even more were imprisoned.[219] In the Soviet Union an even more severe persecution occurred.[219] After the war, historians such as David Kertzer accused the Church of encouraging centuries of antisemitism, and Pope Pius XII of not doing enough to stop Nazi atrocities.[220] Prominent members of the Jewish community contradicted the criticisms of Pius and spoke highly of his efforts to protect Jews;[221] The Israeli historian Pinchas Lapide interviewed war survivors and concluded that Pius XII "was instrumental in saving at least 700,000, but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands". Some historians dispute this estimate[222] while others consider Pinchas Lapide's work to be "the definitive work by a Jewish scholar" on the holocaust.[223] Even so, in 2000 Pope John Paul II on behalf of all people, apologized to Jews for causing "the children of God to suffer".[note 2] This papal apology, one of many issued by Pope John Paul II for past human and Church failings throughout history, was especially significant because John Paul II emphasized Church guilt for, and the Second Vatican Council's condemnation of, anti-Semitism.[225] The papal letter We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, urged Catholics to repent "of past errors and infidelities" and "renew the awareness of the Hebrew roots of their faith."[225][226]

Post-Industrial age

Second Vatican Council

The Catholic Church engaged in a comprehensive process of reform following the Second Vatican Council (1962–65).[227] Intended as a continuation of Vatican I, under Pope John XXIII the council developed into an engine of modernisation.[227] It was tasked with making the historical teachings of the Church clear to a modern world, and made pronouncements on topics including the nature of the church, the mission of the laity and religious freedom.[227] The council approved a revision of the liturgy and permitted the Latin liturgical rites to use vernacular languages as well as Latin during mass and other sacraments.[228] Efforts by the Church to improve Christian unity became a priority.[229] In addition to finding common ground on certain issues with Protestant churches, the Catholic Church has discussed the possibility of unity with the Eastern Orthodox Church.[230]


Changes to old rites and ceremonies following Vatican II produced a variety of responses. Some stopped going to church, while others tried to preserve the old liturgy with the help of sympathetic priests.[231] These formed the basis of today's Traditionalist Catholic groups, which believe that the reforms of Vatican II have gone too far. Liberal Catholics form another dissenting group who feel that the Vatican II reforms did not go far enough. The liberal views of theologians such as Hans Küng and Charles Curran, led to Church withdrawal of their authorization to teach as Catholics.[232] According to Professor Thomas Bokenkotter, most Catholics "accepted the changes more or less gracefully."[231] In 2007, Benedict XVI reinstated the old mass as an option, to be celebrated upon request by the faithful.[233]

A new Codex Juris Canonici - Canon Law called for by John XXIII, was promulgated by Pope John Paul II on January 25, 1983. It includes numerous reforms and alterations in Church law and Church discipline for the Latin Church. It replaced the 1917 version issued by Benedict XV.



Liberation theology

In the 1960s, growing social awareness and politicization in the Latin American Church gave birth to liberation theology. The Peruvian priest, Gustavo Gutiérrez, became it primary proponent[234] and, in 1979, the bishops' conference in Mexico officially declared the Latin American Church's "preferential option for the poor".[235] Archbishop Óscar Romero, a supporter of the movement, became the region's most famous contemporary martyr in 1980, when he was murdered while saying mass by forces allied with the government.[236] Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger) denounced the movement.[237] The Brazilian theologian Leonardo Boff was twice ordered to cease publishing and teaching.[238] While Pope John Paul II was criticized for his severity in dealing with proponents of the movement, he maintained that the Church, in its efforts to champion the poor, should not do so by resorting to violence or partisan politics.[234] The movement is still alive in Latin America today, though the Church now faces the challenge of Pentecostal revival in much of the region.[239]

Sexuality and gender issues

The sexual revolution of the 1960s brought challenging issues for the Church. Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae reaffirmed the Catholic Church's traditional view of marriage and marital relations and asserted a continued proscription of artificial birth control. In addition, the encyclical reaffirmed the sanctity of life from conception to natural death and asserted a continued condemnation of both abortion and euthanasia as grave sins which were equivalent to murder.[240][241]

Efforts to lead the Church to consider the ordination of women led Pope John Paul II to issue two documents to explain Church teaching. Mulieris Dignitatem was issued in 1988 to clarify women's equally important and complementary role in the work of the Church.[242][243] Then in 1994, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis explained that the Church extends ordination only to men in order to follow the example of Jesus, who chose only men for this specific duty.[244][245][246]

Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal

Major lawsuits emerged in 2001 claiming that priests had sexually abused minors.[247] Some priests resigned, others were defrocked and jailed,[248] and there were financial settlements with many victims.[247] In the US, where the vast majority of sex abuse cases occurred, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned a comprehensive study that found that four percent of all priests who served in the US from 1950 to 2002 had faced some sort of accusation of sexual misconduct.

Catholicism today

File:Ratzinger Szczepanow Derivative.png

Pope Benedict XVI was elected pontiff in 2005

Benedict XVI

With the election of Pope Benedict XVI in 2005, the Church has so far seen largely a continuation of the policies of his predecessor, John Paul II, with some notable exceptions: Benedict decentralized beatifications and reverted the decision of his predecessor regarding papal elections.[249] In 2007, he set a Church record by approving the beatification of 498 Spanish Martyrs. His first encyclical Deus Caritas Est discussed love and sex in continued opposition to several other views on sexuality.

Roman Catholic attempts to improve ecumenical relations with the Eastern Orthodox Churches have been complicated by disputes over both doctrine and the recent history of the Orthodox Eastern Catholic Churches, involving the return of expropriatiated properties of the Eastern Catholic Churches, which the Orthodox Church took over after World War II at the request of Josef Stalin.[250]

See also



  1. Falconi makes a different assessment. "what is beyond doubt is that the encyclical that came out on March 14th certainly cannot be described as an anti-Nazi encyclical. So little anti-Nazi is it...concerned purely with the Catholic Church and its rights...even to the point of offering an olive branch to Hitler...the very thing to deprive the document of its noble intransigence. It was the first great official public document to dare to confront and criticize Nazism. It was the encyclical's fate to be credited with a greater significance and content than it possessed"
  2. This apology was made by inserting a prayer at the Western Wall that read "We're deeply saddened by the behavior of those in the course of history who have caused the children of God to suffer, and asking your forgiveness, we wish to commit ourselves to genuine brotherhood with the people of the Covenant."[224]


  1. August Franzen, Kleine Kirchengeschichte Neubearbeitung, Herder,Freiburg,1988, p.11
  2. Orlandis, A Short History of the Catholic Church (1993), preface
  3. Mathew 16, 18 quoted in Franzen
  4. Pius XII Mystici Corporis quoted in Franzen
  5. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 862 quoted in Franzen
  6. Franzen 11
  7. The Catholic Church recognizes as legitimate the episcopal consecrations of a number of other churches. However, it still insists that those churches are obligated to defer to the Primacy of the Roman Pontiff.
  8. Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 281, quote: "Some (Christian communities) had been founded by Peter, the disciple Jesus designated as the founder of his church. ... Once the position was institutionalized, historians looked back and recognized Peter as the first pope of the Christian church in Rome"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 11, 14, quote: "The Church was founded by Jesus himself in his earthly lifetime.", "The apostolate was established in Rome, the world's capital when the church was inaugurated; it was there that the universality of the Christian teaching most obviously took its central directive–it was the bishops of Rome who very early on began to receive requests for adjudication on disputed points from other bishops." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Norman11" defined multiple times with different content
  10. Temporini, Hildegard; Wolfgang Haase (1982). Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt Principat.: Geschichte und Kultur Roms im Spiegel der neueren Forschung. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 480. doi:2008-06-26. 3110087006. 
  11. Franzen 31- 32
  12. Franzen 41
  13. 13.0 13.1 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), p. 81
  14. Paragraph number 881 (1994). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 8 February 2008. 
  15. Barry, One Faith, One Lord (a nihil obstat imprimatur source that has further approval by US bishops for use in Catechesis [1]) p. 46.
  16. Orlandis, p. 11 quote "But Jesus not only founded a religion - Christianity; he founded a Church. ... The Church was grounded on the Apostle Peter to whom Christ promised the primacy - 'and on this rock I will build my Church (Mt16:18)'".
  17. Houlden, James Leslie. link Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 2. link. "Partly as a result of the debate that Loisy generated, Catholic theology -- Anglican as well as Roman --has undergone a development that has moderated traditional Catholic claims that Jesus explicitly instituted the Church as a visible, structured society with officers who were first the apostles and subsequently those ordained by them in personal succession." 
  18. Houlden, James Leslie. link Jesus in history, thought, and culture: an encyclopedia, Volume 2. p. 214. link. "The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) abandoned the standard Roman Catholic claim that Jesus instituted a church ruled by the apostles and their successors the bishops and presided over by Peter and his successors the popes. The ARCIC acknowledged that this claim could not be supported by the New Testament or the very early Church. In its place, ARCIC proposed an appeal to God's providential government of the Church, which had seen fit to allow the office of the bishop of Rome to develop into that of universal pastor." 
  19. Franzen, Kirchegeschichte 20
  20. Franzen Kirchengeschichte, 18
  21. Franzen 29
  22. 22.0 22.1 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 19–20
  23. 23.0 23.1 Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 281, quote: "By the year 100, more than 40 Christian communities existed in cities around the Mediterranean, including two in North Africa, at Alexandria and Cyrene, and several in Italy."
  24. 24.0 24.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 18, quote: "The story of how this tiny community of believers spread to many cities of the Roman Empire within less than a century is indeed a remarkable chapter in the history of humanity."
  25. Schreck, The Essential Catholic Catechism (1999), p. 130
  26. Franzen 24
  27. Franzen 25
  28. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (2002), p. 37, Chapter 1 The Early Christian Community subsection entitled "Rome", quote: "In Acts 15 scripture recorded the apostles meeting in synod to reach a common policy about the Gentile mission."
  29. 29.0 29.1 29.2 McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (2002), pp. 37–8, Chapter 1 The Early Christian Community subsection entitled "Rome", quote: "The 'synod' or, in Latin, 'council' (the modern distinction making a synod something less than a council was unknown in antiquity) became an indispensable way of keeping a common mind, and helped to keep maverick individuals from centrifugal tendencies. During the third century synodal government became so developed that synods used to meet not merely at times of crisis but on a regular basis every year, normally between Easter and Pentecost." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "McManners371" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "McManners371" defined multiple times with different content
  30. Franzen 26
  31. Rom 1,8
  32. Davidson, The Birth of the Church (2005), p. 115
  33. Davidson, The Birth of the Church (2005), p. 146
  34. Davidson, The Birth of the Church (2005), p. 149
  35. Herring, An Introduction to the History of Christianity (2006), p. 23
  36. Herring, An Introduction to the History of Christianity (2006), p. 28
  37. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 40–2, quote: "Several pieces of evidence indicate that the Bishop of Rome even after Peter held some sort of preeminence among other bishops. ... (lists several historical documents) ... None of these examples, taken by themselves, would be sufficient to prove the primacy of the successors of Peter and Paul. Taken together, however, they point to a Roman authority which was recognized in the early church as going beyond that of other churches."
  38. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (2002), p. 36, Chapter 1 The Early Christian Community subsection entitled "Rome" by Henry Chadwick, quote: "Towards the latter part of the first century, Rome's presiding cleric named Clement wrote on behalf of his church to remonstrate with the Corinthian Christians ... Clement apologized not for intervening but for not having acted sooner. Moreover, during the second century the Roman community's leadership was evident in its generous alms to poorer churches. About 165 they erected monuments to their martyred apostles ... Roman bishops were already conscious of being custodians of the authentic tradition or true interpretation of the apostolic writings. In the conflict with Gnosticism Rome played a decisive role, and likewise in the deep division in Asia Minor created by the claims of the Montanist prophets to be the organs of the Holy Spirit's direct utterances."
  39. Langan, The Catholic Tradition (1998), p. 55. Langan states that although there were schools in various regions with similar rites and organization, Gnostic, Marcionite, Ebionite and Montanist schools were more loosely structured and often disagreed with each other. Langan, The Catholic Tradition (1998), p. 115
  40. Davidson, The Birth of the Church (2005), p. 155, quote: "For all the scattered nature of the churches, a very large number of believers in apostolic times lived no more than a week or so's travel from one of the main hubs of the christian movement: Jerusalem, Antioch, Rome, Ephesus, Corinth or Philippi. Communities received regular visits from itinerant teachers and leaders.. This unity was focussed upon the essentials of belief in Jesus..
  41. Davidson, The Birth of the Church (2005), pp. 169, 181
  42. Langan, The Catholic Tradition (1998), p. 107/
  43. 43.0 43.1 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 27–8, quote: "A distinguished succession of theological apologists added intellectual authority to the resources at the disposal of the papacy, at just that point in its early development when the absence of a centralized teaching office could have fractured the universal witness to a single body of ideas. At the end of the first century there was St. Clement of Rome, third successor to St. Peter in the see; in the second century there was St. Ignatius of Antioch, St. Irenaeus of Lyons and St. Justin Martyr; in the fourth century St. Augustine of Hippo, the greatest theologian of the Early Church." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Norman27" defined multiple times with different content
  44. Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 282
  45. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), pp. 53–5
  46. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), pp. 58–9
  47. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), p. 59
  48. A.E. Medlycott, India and The Apostle Thomas, pp.1-71, 213-97; M.R. James, Apocryphal New Testament, pp.364-436; Eusebius, History, chapter 4:30; J.N. Farquhar, The Apostle Thomas in North India, chapter 4:30; V.A. Smith, Early History of India, p.235; L.W. Brown, The Indian Christians of St. Thomas, p.49-59
  50. Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 283
  51. 51.0 51.1 51.2 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), pp. 35–6 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Bokenkotter223" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Bokenkotter223" defined multiple times with different content
  52. Franzen, 9
  53. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 18
  54. Hitchcock, Geography of Religion (2004), p. 284
  55. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), pp. 61–2
  56. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 35
  57. Le Goff, Medieval Civilization (1964), pp. 5–20
  58. 58.0 58.1 Le Goff, Medieval Civilization (1964), p. 21
  59. Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), p. 27
  60. Le Goff, Medieval Civilization (1964), p. 120
  61. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 50–2
  62. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), pp. 84–6
  63. Vidmar, Jedin 34
  64. 64.0 64.1 Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 63, 74
  65. Franzen 35
  66. Jedin 36
  67. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 107–11
  68. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 78, quote: "By contrast, Paschal's successor Eugenius II (824–7), elected with imperial influence, gave away most of these papal gains. He acknowledged the Emperor's sovereignty in the papal state, and he accepted a constitution imposed by Lothair which established imperial supervision of the administration of Rome, imposed an oath to the Emperor on all citizens, and required the Pope–elect to swear fealty before he could be consecrated. Under Sergius II (844–7) it was even agreed that the Pope could not be consecrated without an imperial mandate, and that the ceremony must be in the presence of his representative, a revival of some of the more galling restrictions of Byzantine rule."
  69. Franzen. 36-42
  70. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 88–9
  71. Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), p. 40
  72. Le Goff, Medieval Civilization (1964), pp. 80–2
  73. 73.0 73.1 Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), pp. 44–8
  74. 74.0 74.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), pp. 158–9
  75. 75.0 75.1 Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 91
  76. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), p. 103
  77. 77.0 77.1 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 104
  78. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 119, 131
  79. "Eastern Catholic". Catholic World News. Trinity Communications. 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  80. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 278
  81. Riley-Smith, The First Crusaders (1997), p. 8
  82. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 130–1
  83. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 140 quote: "And so when Urban called for a crusade at Clermont in 1095, one of his motives was to bring help to the beleaguered Eastern Christians."
  84. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 155 quote: "Stories were also circulating about the harsh treatment of Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem at the hands of the infidel, inflaming Western opinion."
  85. Le Goff, Medieval Civilization (1964), pp. 65–7
  86. Tyerman, God's War: A New History of the Crusades (2006), pp. 525–60
  87. "Pope sorrow over Constantinople". BBC News. 2004-06-29. Retrieved 2008-04-06. 
  88. 88.0 88.1 Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), pp. 119–22
  89. 89.0 89.1 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church (2007), p. 62
  90. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 101
  91. Le Goff, Medieval Civilization (1964), p. 87
  92. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 112
  93. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 144–7, quote: "The Albigensian Crusade, as it became known, lasted until 1219. The pope, Innocent III, was a lawyer and saw both how easily the crusade had gotten out of hand and how it could be mitigated. He encouraged local rulers to adopt anti-heretic legislation and bring people to trial. By 1231 a papal inquisition began, and the friars were given charge of investigating tribunals."
  94. 94.0 94.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 132, quote: "A crusade was proclaimed against these Albigenses, as they were sometimes called ... It was in connection with this crusade that the papal system of Inquisition originated-a special tribunal appointed by the Popes and charged with ferreting out heretics. Until then the responsibility devolved on the local bishops. However, Innocent found it necessary in coping with the Albigensian threat to send out delegates who were entrusted with special powers that made them independent of the episcopal authority. In 1233 Gregory IX organized this ad hoc body into a system of permanent inquisitors, who were usually chosen from among the mendicant friars, Dominicans and Franciscans, men who were often marked by a high degree of courage, integrity, prudence, and zeal."
  95. 95.0 95.1 95.2 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), p. 93
  96. 96.0 96.1 Black, Early Modern Italy (2001), pp. 200–2
  97. Casey, Early Modern Spain: A Social History (2002), pp. 229–30
  98. Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition (1997), pp. 48–9
  99. 99.0 99.1 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 150–2
  100. Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition (1997), pp. 59, 203
  101. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 187, Chapter 5 Christianity and Islam by Jeremy Johns (University of Oxford)
  102. Kamen, The Spanish Inquisition (1997), p. 49, quote: "In this bull the pope protested ... the Inquisition has for some time been moved not by zeal for the faith and the salvation of souls, but by lust for wealth, and that many true and faithful Christians, on the testimony of enemies, rivals, slaves and other lower and even less proper persons, have without any legitimate proof been thrust into secular prisons, tortured and condemned as relapsed heretics, deprived of their goods and property and handed over to the secular arm to be executed, to the peril of souls, setting a pernicious example, and causing disgust to many."
  103. 103.0 103.1 Armstrong, The European Reformation (2002), p. 103, quote: "Contrary to subsequent Protestant propaganda the procedure followed by the (Papal) Inquisition was careful and respectful with regard to legal rights. Clear proof was required, along with two witnesses, and rarely was torture used to extract confessions. Anonymous denunciations were illegal, while a defence lawyer was guaranteed for the suspect. Punishments were generally lenient and designed to bring the guilty party back into the fold. The public abjuration of protestantism before a congregation might suffice, for example."
  104. 104.0 104.1 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), p. 93, quote: "... subsequent Protestant propaganda for centuries identified the entire Catholic Church in Spain, and elsewhere, with their occasional excesses. By the 19th century political liberals and religious dissenters took the 'crimes' of the Inquisition to be the ultimate proofs of the vile character of 'popery', and an enormous popular literature on the subject poured from the presses of Europe and North America. At its most active, in the 16th century, nevertheless, the Inquisition was regarded as far more enlightened than the secular courts: if you denied the Trinity and repented you were given penance; if you stole a sheep and repented you were hung. It has been calculated that only one per cent of those who appeared before the Inquisition tribunals eventually received death penalties. But the damage wrought by propaganda has been effective, and today the 'Spanish' Inquisition, like the Crusades, persists in supplying supposedly discreditable episodes to damn the memory of the Catholic past."
  105. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 215, Chapter 5 Christianity and Islam by Jeremy Johns (University of Oxford), quote: "The inquisition has come to occupy such a role in European demonology that we must be careful to keep it in proportion. ... and the surviving records indicate that the proportion of executions was not high."
  106. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 146, quote: "The extent of the Inquisition trials for heresy has been highly exaggerated. Once the Inquisition was established ... the pyromania which had characterized lay attempts to suppress heresy came to an end. Ninety percent of the sentences were "canonical" or church-related penances: fasting, pilgrimage, increased attendance at Mass, the wearing of distinctive clothing or badges, etc. The number of those who were put to death was very small indeed. The best estimate is that, of every hundred people sentenced, one person was executed, and ten were given prison terms. Even these latter could have their sentences reduced once the inquisitors left town."
  107. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 122
  108. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 232, Chapter 6 Christian Civilization by Colin Morris (University of Southampton)
  109. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 155
  110. 110.0 110.1 McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 240, Chapter 7 The Late Medieval Church and its Reformation by Patrick Collinson (University of Cambridge)
  111. Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), pp. 13, 283
  112. Dussel, Enrique, A History of the Church in Latin America, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 1981, pp. 39, 59
  113. Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), p. 135
  114. 114.0 114.1 Johansen, Bruce, The Native Peoples of North America, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 2006, pp. 109, 110, quote: "In the Americas, the Catholic priest Bartolome de las Casas avidly encouraged enquiries into the Spanish conquest's many cruelties. Las Casas chronicled Spanish brutality against the Native peoples in excruciating detail." Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Johansen109" defined multiple times with different content
  115. 115.0 115.1 115.2 Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), p. 287
  116. Dussel, Enrique, A History of the Church in Latin America, Wm B Eerdmans Publishing, 1981, pp. 45, 52, 53 quote: "The missionary Church opposed this state of affairs from the beginning, and nearly everything positive that was done for the benefit of the indigenous peoples resulted from the call and clamor of the missionaries. The fact remained, however, that widespread injustice was extremely difficult to uproot ... Even more important than Bartolome de Las Casas was the Bishop of Nicaragua, Antonio de Valdeviso, who ultimately suffered martyrdom for his defense of the Indian."
  117. Woods, How the Church Built Western Civilization (2005), p. 137
  118. Chadwick, Owen, The Reformation, Penguin, 1990, p. 327
  119. Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), p. 21
  120. Johansen, Bruce, The Native Peoples of North America, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, 2006, p. 110, quote: "In the Papal bull Sublimis deus (1537), Pope Paul III declared that Indians were to be regarded as fully human, and that their souls were as immortal as those of Europeans. This edict also outlawed slavery of Indians in any form ..."
  121. Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), p. 290
  122. Samora et al., A History of the Mexican-American People (1993), p. 20
  123. Jackson, From Savages to Subjects: Missions in the History of the American Southwest (2000), p. 14
  124. Jackson, From Savages to Subjects: Missions in the History of the American Southwest (2000), p. 13
  125. Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), pp. 3, 17
  126. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 133
  127. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), p. 86
  128. 128.0 128.1 Franzen 65-78
  129. 129.0 129.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), pp. 201–5
  130. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 149
  131. 131.0 131.1 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 184
  132. 132.0 132.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 215
  133. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 196–200
  134. 134.0 134.1 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 233
  135. 135.0 135.1 Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 177–8
  136. Scruton, A Dictionary of Political Thought (1996), p. 470, quote: "The (English) Reformation must not be confused with the changes introduced into the Church of England during the 'Reformation Parliament' of 1529–36, which were of a political rather than a religious nature, designed to unite the secular and religious sources of authority within a single sovereign power: the Anglican Church did not until later make any substantial change in doctrine."
  137. Schama, A History of Britain 1: At the Edge of the World? (2003), pp. 309–11
  138. 138.0 138.1 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 220, quote: "Henry, seeing how far Cranmer had tried to take him in making the land Lutheran or Calvinist, pulled the plug in September 1538 and passed the Six Articles, which tried to restore the ancient faith, including the practice of celibacy for the clergy. By 1543 most of the Reformation legislation was reversed. One man, John Lambert, was made an example in November 1538. He was burned by being dragged in and out of the fire for holding the very same beliefs about the Eucharist that Cranmer held. Cranmer was made to watch the whole brutal event. He also had to send his wife back to Germany."
  139. Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity, Volume 2 (1985), p. 75, quote: "In England, he took steps to make the church conform as much as possible to Roman Catholicism, except in the matter of obedience to the pope. He also refused to restore monasteries, which he had suppressed and confiscated under the pretense of reformation, and whose properties he had no intention of returning."
  140. 140.0 140.1 140.2 140.3 140.4 Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), pp. 225–6
  141. Haigh, The English Reformation Revised (1987), p. 159, quote: "Mary wanted to make England a Catholic country as quickly as possible: to reintroduce the pope's authority, to repeal those parliamentary statutes which had so radically altered the relationship of Church and State and to restore to the Church its Catholic doctrine and services. Nothing was to be allowed to stand in her way. No murmurings among the people, no riots or rebellions or intrigues, not even the advice of the Spanish ambassador to make haste slowly could deflect the Queen from her purpose. ... Death by burning at the hands of the sheriffs became the penalty for those who, convicted of heresy in the church courts, refused to recant."
  142. Solt, Church and State in Early Modern England, 1509-1640, (1990), p. 149
  143. Schama, A History of Britain 1: At the Edge of the World? (2003), pp. 272–3.
  144. Jackson, Ireland Her Own (1991), p. 514
  145. 145.0 145.1 Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 131–2
  146. Potemra, Michael (2004-07-13). "Crucible of Freedom". National Review. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  147. 147.0 147.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), pp. 242–4
  148. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 237
  149. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 91–2
  150. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 251
  151. Vidmar, The Catholic Church Through the Ages (2005), p. 241
  152. Murray, Dictionary of the Arts (1994), p. 45
  153. 153.0 153.1 Koschorke, A History of Christianity in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (2007), pp. 31–2
  154. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 318, Chapter 9 The Expansion of Christianity by John McManners
  155. Otto Stegmüller, Barock, in Marienkunde, 1967 566
  156. F Zöpfl, Barocke Frömmigkeit, in Marienkunde, 577
  157. Zöpfl 579
  158. Lortz, IV, 7-11
  159. Duffy 188-189
  160. 160.0 160.1 Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 188–91
  161. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), pp. 267–9
  162. Franzen 326
  163. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), p. 137
  164. 164.0 164.1 Franzen 328
  165. Franzen, 362
  166. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 111–2
  167. King, Mission to Paradise (1975), p. 169
  168. Franzen 362
  169. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 221
  170. Franzen, 323
  171. 171.0 171.1 Franzen, Papstgeschichte, 325
  172. Franzen 323
  173. 173.0 173.1 Franzen 324
  174. McManners, Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity (1990), p. 328, Chapter 9 The Expansion of Christianity by John McManners
  175. 175.0 175.1 Franzen 325
  176. 176.0 176.1 Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 193
  177. Ludwig von Pastor, Geschichte der Päpste, Vol XVI,I Herder Verlag Freiburg,1961
  178. Von Pastor 339
  179. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 295
  180. Edward, The Cambridge Modern History (1908), p. 25
  181. 181.0 181.1 181.2 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), pp. 283–5
  182. Collins, The Story of Christianity (1999), p. 176
  183. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), pp. 214–6
  184. 184.0 184.1 184.2 Hastings, The Church in Africa (2004), pp. 397–410
  186. Pius IX in Bäumer, 245
  187. and to add the Immaculata to the Litany of Loreto.
  188. Bauer 566
  189. Civilta Catolica February 6, 1869.
  190. Leith, Creeds of the Churches (1963), p. 143
  191. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 232
  192. Fahlbusch, The Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001), p. 729
  193. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 240
  194. Duffy 260
  195. Franzen, 368
  196. Felictity O'Brien, Pius XII, London 2000, p.13
  197. Mystici Corporis, Lumen Gentium and Redemptoris Mater provide a modern Catholic understanding of this link.
  198. see Pius XII,Mystici corporis, also John Paul II in Redemptoris Mater: The Second Vatican Council, by presenting Mary in the mystery of Christ, also finds the path to a deeper understanding of the mystery of the Church. Mary, as the Mother of Christ, is in a particular way united with the Church, "which the Lord established as his own body."
  199. Baumann in Marienkunde 1163
  200. ^ Baumann in Marienkunde, 672
  201. Stacy, Mexico and the United States (2003), p. 139
  202. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 167–72
  203. 203.0 203.1 203.2 Chadwick, A History of Christianity (1995), pp. 264–5
  204. Scheina, Latin America's Wars: The Age of the Caudillo (2003), p. 33
  205. Van Hove, Brian (1994). Blood-Drenched Altars "Blood Drenched Altars". EWTN. Blood-Drenched Altars. Retrieved 2008-03-09. 
  206. "International Religious Freedom Report 2001" (PDF). US Department of State. 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  207. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), pp. 167–8
  208. 208.0 208.1 Chadwick, A History of Christianity (1995), p. 266
  209. Fontenelle, 164
  210. Riasanovsky 617
  211. Franzen 397
  212. de la Cueva 1998, p. 355
  213. Franzen 365
  214. 214.0 214.1 Coppa, p. 132-7
  215. Pham, p. 45, quote: "When Pius XI was complimented on the publication, in 1937, of his encyclical denouncing Nazism, Mit Brennender Sorge, his response was to point to his Secretary of State and say bluntly, 'The credit is his.'"
  216. 216.0 216.1 216.2 Bokenkotter, pp. 389–392, quote "And when Hitler showed increasing belligerence toward the Church, Pius met the challenge with a decisiveness that astonished the world. His encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge was the 'first great official public document to dare to confront and criticize Nazism' and 'one of the greatest such condemnations ever issued by the Vatican.' Smuggled into Germany, it was read from all the Catholic pulpits on Palm Sunday in March 1937. It denounced the Nazi "myth of blood and soil" and decried its neopaganism. The Nazis retaliated by closing and sealing all the presses that had printed it and took numerous vindictive measures against the Church, including staging a long series of immorality trials of Catholic clergy."
  217. Vidmar, pp. 327–333, quote: "Mark well that in the Catholic Mass, Abraham is our Patriarch and forefather. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with the lofty thought which that fact expresses. It is a movement with which we Christians can have nothing to do. No, no, I say to you it is impossible for a Christian to take part in anti-Semitism. It is inadmissible. Through Christ and in Christ we are the spiritual progeny of Abraham. Spiritually, we are all Semites."
  218. 218.0 218.1 Vidmar, p. 331.
  219. 219.0 219.1 Chadwick, Owen pp. 254–255.
  220. Eakin, Emily (1 September 2001). "New Accusations Of a Vatican Role In Anti-Semitism; Battle Lines Were Drawn After Beatification of Pope Pius IX". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 March 2008. 
  221. Bokenkotter, pp. 480–481, quote:"A recent article by American rabbi, David G. Dalin, challenges this judgement. He calls making Pius XII a target of moral outrage a failure of historical understanding, and he thinks Jews should reject any 'attempt to usurp the Holocaust' for the partisan purposes at work in this debate. Dalin surmises that well-known Jews such as Albert Einstein, Golda Meir, Moshe Sharett, and Rabbi Isaac Herzog would likely have been shocked at these attacks on Pope Pius. ... Dalin points out that Rabbi Herzog, the chief rabbi of Israel, sent a message in February 1944 declaring 'the people of Israel will never forget what His Holiness ... (is) doing for our unfortunate brothers and sisters in the most tragic hour of our history.'" Dalin cites these tributes as recognition of the work of the Holy See in saving hundreds of thousands of Jews."
  222. Deák, p. 182.
  223. Dalin, p. 10
  224. Randall, Gene (26 March 2000). "Pope Ends Pilgrimage to the Holy Land". CNN. Retrieved 9 June 2008. 
  225. 225.0 225.1 Bokenkotter, p. 484
  226. Vatican (12 March 1998). "We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah". Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved 7 November 2008. 
  227. 227.0 227.1 227.2 Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 270–6
  228. Paul VI, Pope (1963-12-04). "Sacrosanctum Concilium". Vatican. Retrieved 2008-02-09. 
  229. Duffy, Saints and Sinners (1997), p. 274
  230. "Roman Catholic-Eastern Orthodox Dialogue". Public Broadcasting Service. 2000-07-14. Retrieved 2008-02-16. 
  231. 231.0 231.1 Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 410
  232. Bauckham, Richard, in New Dictionary of Theology, Ed. Ferguson, (1988), p. 373
  233. Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" Summorum Pontificum on the use of the Roman Liturgy prior to the reform of 1970 (July 7, 2007)
  234. 234.0 234.1 "Liberation Theology". BBC. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  235. Aguilar, Mario (2007). The History and Politics of Latin American Theology, Volume 1. London: SCM Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0334040231. 
  236. For more on Romero, by a former colleague, see Sobrino, Jon (1990). Archbishop Romero: Memories and Reflections. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis. ISBN 978-0883446676. 
  237. Rohter, Larry (2007-05-07). "As Pope Heads to Brazil, a Rival Theology Persists". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-21.  Benedict's main involvement in dealing with liberation theology was while he was still Cardinal Ratzinger.
  238. Aguilar, Mario (2007). The History and Politics of Latin American Theology, Volume 1. London: SCM Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0334040231. 
  239. For liberation theology's persistence, see Rohter, Larry (2007-05-07). "As Pope Heads to Brazil, a Rival Theology Persists". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-06-02.  For the threat from Pentecostalism, see Stoll, David (1990). Is Latin America turning Protestant?: The Politics of Evangelical Growth. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520064997. 
  240. Paul VI, Pope (1968). "Humanae Vitae". Vatican. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  241. Norman, The Roman Catholic Church an Illustrated History (2007), p. 184
  242. John Paul II, Pope (1988). "Mulieris Dignitatem". Vatican. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  243. Bokenkotter, A Concise History of the Catholic Church (2004), p. 467
  244. Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth (2008), pp. 180–1, quote: "The difference between the discipleship of the Twelve and the discipleship of the women is obvious; the tasks assigned to each group are quite different. Yet Luke makes clear—and the other Gospels also show this in all sorts of ways—that 'many' women belonged to the more intimate community of believers and that their faith—filled following of Jesus was an essential element of that community, as would be vividly illustrated at the foot of the Cross and the Resurrection."
  245. John Paul II, Pope (1994-05-22). "Apostolic Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Reserving Priestly Ordination to Men Alone". Vatican.,+women%27s+ordination&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=10&gl=us. Retrieved 2008-02-02. 
  246. Cowell, Alan (1994-05-31). "Pope Rules Out Debate On Making Women Priests". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-12. 
  247. 247.0 247.1 Bruni, A Gospel of Shame (2002), p. 336
  248. Newman, Andy (2006-08-31). "A Choice for New York Priests in Abuse Cases". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  249. Moto Proprio, De Aliquibus Mutationibus, June 11, 2007
  250. Foodnote to be added


Popes of the Roman Catholic Church
PeterLinusAnacletusClement IEvaristusAlexander ISixtus ITelesphorusHyginusPius IAnicetusSoterEleuterusVictor IZephyrinusCallixtus IUrban IPontianAnterusFabianCorneliusLucius IStephen ISixtus IIDionysiusFelix IEutychianCaiusMarcellinusMarcellus IEusebiusMiltiadesSilvester IMarkJulius ILiberiusDamasus ISiriciusAnastasius IInnocent IZosimusBoniface ICelestine ISixtus IIILeo IHilariusSimpliciusFelix IIIGelasius IAnastasius IISymmachusHormisdasJohn IFelix IVBoniface IIJohn IIAgapetus ISilveriusVigiliusPelagius IJohn IIIBenedict IPelagius IIGregory ISabinianBoniface IIIBoniface IVAdeodatus IBoniface VHonorius ISeverinusJohn IVTheodore IMartin IEugene IVitalianAdeodatus IIDonusAgathoLeo IIBenedict IIJohn VCononSergius IJohn VIJohn VIISisinniusConstantineGregory IIGregory IIIZacharyStephen IIPaul IStephen IIIAdrian ILeo IIIStephen IVPaschal IEugene IIValentineGregory IVSergius IILeo IVBenedict IIINicholas IAdrian IIJohn VIIIMarinus IAdrian IIIStephen VFormosusBoniface VIStephen VIRomanusTheodore IIJohn IXBenedict IVLeo VSergius IIIAnastasius IIILandoJohn XLeo VIStephen VIIJohn XILeo VIIStephen VIIIMarinus IIAgapetus IIJohn XIILeo VIIIBenedict VJohn XIIIBenedict VIBenedict VIIJohn XIVJohn XVGregory VSilvester IIJohn XVIIJohn XVIIISergius IVBenedict VIIIJohn XIXBenedict IXSilvester IIIBenedict IXGregory VIClement IIBenedict IXDamasus IILeo IXVictor IIStephen IXNicholas IIAlexander IIGregory VIIVictor IIIUrban IIPaschal IIGelasius IICallixtus IIHonorius IIInnocent IICelestine IILucius IIEugene IIIAnastasius IVAdrian IVAlexander IIILucius IIIUrban IIIGregory VIIIClement IIICelestine IIIInnocent IIIHonorius IIIGregory IXCelestine IVInnocent IVAlexander IVUrban IVClement IVGregory XInnocent VAdrian VJohn XXINicholas IIIMartin IVHonorius IVNicholas IVCelestine VBoniface VIIIBenedict XIClement VJohn XXIIBenedict XIIClement VIInnocent VIUrban VGregory XIUrban VIBoniface IXInnocent VIIGregory XIIMartin VEugene IVNicholas VCallixtus IIIPius IIPaul IISixtus IVInnocent VIIIAlexander VIPius IIIJulius IILeo XAdrian VIClement VIIPaul IIIJulius IIIMarcellus IIPaul IVPius IVPius VGregory XIIISixtus VUrban VIIGregory XIVInnocent IXClement VIIILeo XIPaul VGregory XVUrban VIIIInnocent XAlexander VIIClement IXClement XInnocent XIAlexander VIIIInnocent XIIClement XIInnocent XIIIBenedict XIIIClement XIIBenedict XIVClement XIIIClement XIVPius VIPius VIILeo XIIPius VIIIGregory XVIPius IXLeo XIIIPius XBenedict XVPius XIPius XIIJohn XXIIIPaul VIJohn Paul IJohn Paul IIBenedict XVIFrancis