Roman Catholic

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Roman Catholic

Roman Catholic (pronunciation: /ˈroʊmən kəˈθɒlɪk/) is a term used to describe individuals, institutions, and practices associated with the Roman Catholic Church, the largest Christian church, led by the Pope based in the Vatican City.


The term "Roman Catholic" originated in the English language in the 17th century to differentiate members of the Catholic Church (in communion with the Pope) from other Christians who use the term "Catholic"; comparable terms in other languages already existed. Being "catholic" means to have faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ as handed down by the apostles and their successors, the bishops of the Church.

Related Terms

  • Catholic Church: The global church that is in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, also known as the Pope.
  • Pope: The Bishop of Rome and the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church.
  • Vatican City: An independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy, and the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Sacraments of the Catholic Church: The seven sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.
  • Canon law: The system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church.

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