The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Catholic Church:

Catholicismlargest denomination of Christianity. Catholicism encompasses the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole.

Nature of Catholicism

Catholicism can be described as all of the following:

Geography of the Catholic Church

History of the Catholic Church

History of the Catholic Church – the church says that its bishops are the successors to the Apostles of Jesus, and that the Bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope, is the sole successor to Saint Peter, who is believed to have been appointed head of the church in the New Testament and who is said to have ministered in Rome.

Origins & Early Christianity

Late Antiquity

Middle Ages

Early Middle Ages

High Middle Ages

Renaissance and Reforms


Baroque period

Industrial Age

  • Mit brennender Sorge – a Catholic Church encyclical of Pope Pius XI, published on 10 March 1937 (but bearing a date of Passion Sunday, 14 March). Written in German, not the usual Latin, it was read from the pulpits of all German Catholic churches on one of the Church's busiest Sundays (Palm Sunday). It condemned breaches of the Reichskonkordat agreement signed between the Nazi government and the Church in 1933, and furthermore contained criticism of Nazism and, in the opinion of some, a veiled attack on Hitler.
  • Holocaust – the genocide of approximately six million European Jews during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, throughout Nazi-occupied territory.
  • Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust – The relationship between Pope Pius XII and the Holocaust has long been disputed.

Post-Industrial Age

  • Sacrosanctum Concilium – Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, called for more "full, conscious, and active participation' by the laity in the Mass.
  • Lumen gentium – Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, is one of the principal documents of the Second Vatican Council. As is customary with significant Roman Catholic Church documents, it is known by its first words, "Lumen gentium", Latin for "Light of the Nations".
  • Subsistit inSubsistit in (subsists in) is a Latin phrase, which appears in the eighth paragraph of Lumen Gentium, a landmark document of the Second Vatican Council of the Catholic Church:
  • Nostra aetate – Nostra Aetate (Latin: In our Age) is the Declaration on the Relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions of the Second Vatican Council. Passed by a vote of 2,221 to 88 of the assembled bishops, this declaration was promulgated on October 28, 1965, by Pope Paul VI.
  • Dei verbumDei verbum on Sacred Scripture was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on November 18, 1965, following approval by the assembled bishops by a vote of 2,344 to 6.
  • Gaudium et spes – Gaudium et Spes on the Church in the modern world is an updating of the Catholic Church's teachings about humanity's relationship to society, especially in reference to economics, poverty, social justice, culture, science, technology and ecumenism.

Catholic Church hierarchy

Catholic Church hierarchy – the Catholic Church is composed of dioceses, each overseen by a bishop. Dioceses are divided into individual communities called parishes, each staffed by one or more priests. Priests may be assisted by deacons.



Catechism of the Catholic Church – catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a compendium of Catholic doctrine that serves as a reference text for teaching and particularly for preparing local catechisms. Modeled on the "Roman Catechism," promulgated in 1566 by the Council of Trent, the Catechism of the Catholic Church is divided into four parts of unequal length: the profession of faith, the celebration of the Christian mystery, life in Christ, and Christian prayer.[1] A catechism is a summary or exposition of doctrine and serves as a learning introduction to the Sacraments traditionally used in catechesis, or Christian religious teaching of children and adult converts.

Sacraments of the Catholic Church

Sacraments of the Catholic Church – Roman Catholic teaching holds that there are seven sacraments which Christ instituted and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rituals that Catholics see as signs of God's presence and effective channels of God's grace to all those who receive them with the proper disposition (ex opere operato).

  1. Anointing of the Sick (Catholic Church) – Anointing of the Sick is a sacrament of the Catholic Church that is administered to a Catholic "who, having reached the age of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age", except in the case of those who "persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin".
  2. Baptism – In Catholic teaching, baptism is believed to be usually essential for salvation.
  3. Confirmation (Catholic Church) – Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments through which Catholics pass in the process of their religious upbringing.
  4. Eucharist in the Catholic Church – "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood." (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1323)
  5. Priesthood (Catholic Church) – The ministerial orders of the Roman Catholic Church include the orders of bishops, deacons and presbyters, which in Latin is sacerdos.
  6. Catholic marriage – Catholic marriage, also called matrimony, is a "covenant by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of the whole of life and which is ordered by its nature to the good of the spouses and the procreation and education of offspring.
  7. Sacrament of Penance (Catholic Church) – one of seven sacraments of the Catholic Church and sacred mysteries of the Orthodoxy, in which its faithful obtain Divine mercy for the sins committed against God and neighbour and are reconciled with the community of the Church


Mariology – theological study of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology methodically presents teachings about her to other parts of the faith, such as teachings about Jesus, redemption and grace. Christian Mariology aims to connect scripture, tradition and the teachings of the Church on Mary.

Personalities of the Church

Doctors of the Church

Doctor of the Church – title given by a variety of Christian churches to individuals whom they recognize as having been of particular importance, particularly regarding their contribution to theology or doctrine.

A short list of popes

Main article: List of popes

Religious institutes

Religious institute – "a society in which members...pronounce public vows...and lead a life of brothers or sisters in common".[2]

Churches and liturgical rites within Catholicism

Particular Churches within the Catholic Church

Particular Church – In Catholic canon law, a particular Church (Latin: ecclesia particularis) is an ecclesiastical community headed by a bishop or someone recognised as the equivalent of a bishop.

The Latin Church is the largest sui iuris particular Church within the Catholic Church and the only non-Eastern one.

Eastern (non-Latin) Catholic Churches

Liturgical rites within the Catholic Church

Liturgy – customary public worship by a specific religious group, according to its particular beliefs, customs and traditions. See Catholic liturgy.

Western liturgical rites

Eastern liturgical rites

Current issues

See also


  1. ^ "Catechism Of The Catholic Church". Archived from the original on 8 December 2021. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  2. ^ Code of Canon Law, canon 607 §2|The full quote: "a society in which members, according to proper law, pronounce public vows, either perpetual or temporary which are to be renewed, however, when the period of time has elapsed, and lead a life of brothers or sisters in common"