The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among the world's oldest and largest international institutions, and has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of 24 sui iuris churches, including the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, which comprise almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies located around the world. The pope, who is the bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor of the church. The bishopric of Rome, known as the Holy See, is the central governing authority of the church. The administrative body of the Holy See, the Roman Curia, has its principal offices in Vatican City, a small enclave of the Italian city of Rome, of which the pope is head of state.
The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith taught by the apostles, preserving the faith infallibly through scripture and sacred tradition as authentically interpreted through the magisterium of the church. The Roman Rite and others of the Latin Church, the Eastern Catholic liturgies, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.
Of its seven sacraments, the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated as the Perpetual Virgin, Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven; she is honoured in dogmas and devotions. Catholic social teaching emphasizes voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church operates thousands of Catholic schools, universities and colleges, hospitals, and orphanages around the world, and is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organizations. (Full article...)
The Roman Catholic Church in Afghanistan is part of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope and curia in Rome. There are very few Catholics in this overwhelmingly Islamic country - just over 100 attend mass in its only chapel - and freedom of religion has been difficult to obtain in recent times, especially under the former Taliban regime. On 16 May 2002, Pope John Paul II established a mission sui iuris for Afghanistan with Father Giuseppe Moretti as its first superior. The only Catholic church in the country is the chapel at the Italian embassy in Kabul. In 2004, the Missionaries of Charity arrived in Kabul to carry out humanitarian work. Legend from the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas and other ancient documents suggests that Saint Thomas preached in Bactria, which is today northern Afghanistan. The Nestorians planted Christianity in the area, and there have been 9 bishops and dioceses in the region, including Herat (424-1310), Farah (544-1057), Kandahar, and Balkh. This early establishment of the Church was overcome by Muslim invasions in the 7th century, though the territory was not substantially controlled by Muslims until the 9th and 10th centuries.
The façade of Notre-Dame de Paris, showing the Portal of the Virgin, Portal of the Last Judgment and Portal of St-Anne.
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. (also Saint Thomas Aquinas, Thomas of Aquin, or Aquino; c. 1225 – 7 March 1274) was an Italian Catholic priest in the Order of Preachers (more commonly known as the Dominican Order), a philosopher and theologian in the scholastic tradition, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Universalis and Doctor Communis. He was the foremost classical proponent of natural theology, and the father of the Thomistic school of philosophy and theology. Aquinas is held in the Catholic Church to be the model teacher for those studying for the priesthood (Code of Canon Law, Can. 252, §3). The works for which he is best-known are the Summa Theologica and the Summa Contra Gentiles.
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Adrian, also spelled Hadrian (born before 637, died 710), was a North African scholar in Anglo-Saxon England and the abbot of Saint Peter's and Saint Paul's in Canterbury. He was a noted teacher and commentator of the Bible. Adrian was born between 630 and 637. According to Bede, he was "by nation an African", and thus a Berber native of North Africa, and was abbot of a monastery near Naples, called Monasterium Niridanum (perhaps a mistake for Nisidanum, as being situated on the island of Nisida). (Full article...)
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