Who are Catholics.

This article focuses on what is Catholicism and who are Catholics.This area is considered one of the branches of Christianity, formed because of the great schism in the religion, which originated in 1054.

Who are Catholics?Catholicism is largely similar to the Orthodox Church, but there are differences.The rest flows into the Catholic religion Christianity different features of doctrine, cult rituals.Catholic joined the "Creed" new dogmas.


Catholicism spread in Western Europe (France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Italy) and Eastern European (Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, partly Latvia and Lithuania) countries as well as in the states of South America, where he confessesthe vast majority of the population.In Asia and Africa, there are also Catholics, but the influence of the Catholic religion is not essential.Catholics in Russia in comparison with the Orthodox are a minority.There are about 700 thousand.Ukrainian Catholics are more numerous.There are about 5 million people.


word "Catholicism" is of Greek origin and translates the versatility and universality.In the modern sense of this term is called the western branch of Christianity, which adheres to the apostolic tradition.Apparently, the church was understood as something universal and versatile.This was stated more Ignatius of Antioch in 115.The term "Catholicism" was officially launched at the first Council of Constantinople (381 year).The Christian church has been recognized as one, holy, catholic and apostolic.

Origin Catholicism

term "church" began to appear in written sources (the letter of Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Polycarp of Smyrna) from the second century.This word was synonymous with the municipality.At the turn of the second and third centuries, Irenaeus used the word "church" to Christianity as a whole.For individual (regional and local) of the Christian communities it was used with the appropriate adjective (eg, the Alexandria church).

In the second century, Christian society was divided into laity and clergy.In turn, the latter divided into Bishops, priests and deacons.It remains unclear how to manage communities - collectively or individually.Some experts believe that the government was first democratic, but eventually became a monarchist.Clergy ruled Spiritual Board headed by a bishop.This theory is supported by letters of Ignatius of Antioch, in which he mentions the bishops as the leaders of the Christian municipalities in Syria and Asia Minor.Over time, the Spiritual Board became only an advisory body.But the real power in a single province had a bishop.

In the second century, the desire to preserve the apostolic tradition, contributed to the emergence of the church hierarchy and structure.The church had to guard the faith, dogmas and canons of the Holy Scriptures.All this, as well as the influence of Hellenistic religious syncretism led to the formation of Catholicism in its old form.

final formation of Catholicism

After the division of Christianity in 1054 in the western and eastern branches, they became known as the Catholic and Orthodox.After the Reformation of the sixteenth century, more and more often in everyday use of the term "Catholic" began to add the word "Roman".From the standpoint of religious concept of "Catholicism" encompasses a variety of Christian communities which hold the same doctrine as the Catholic Church, and obey authority of the Pope.There are Eastern and Uniate Catholic church.They usually come from the power of the patriarch of Constantinople and went into subjection to the Pope, however, retained their dogmas and rituals.Examples are the Greek Catholics, the Byzantine Catholic Church, and others.

basic tenets and postulates

To understand who the Catholics, we must pay attention to the basic tenets of their faith.The main tenet of Catholicism, which distinguishes it from other areas of Christianity, considered the idea that the Pope is infallible.However, we know many cases where the pope in the struggle for power and influence engage in dishonest alliances with the feudal lords and kings, were obsessed with greed and constantly multiply their wealth, as well as interfering in politics.

following postulates of Catholicism is the dogma of purgatory, adopted in 1439 at the Council of Florence.This doctrine is based on the fact that the human soul after death goes to purgatory, which is an intermediate level between heaven and hell.There she can with the help of various tests cleansed of sin.Relatives and friends of the deceased can help his soul to cope with trials using prayers and donations.From this it follows that man's fate in the afterlife depends not only on the righteousness of his life, but also on the financial well-being of his family.

An important tenet of Catholicism is considered the thesis of the exceptional status of the clergy.According to him, without resorting to the services of the clergy, a man alone can not earn God's grace.Catholics priest has major advantages and benefits compared to ordinary parishioners.According to the Catholic religion, but the clergy has the right to read the Bible - it is his prerogative.The rest of the faithful is prohibited.Canonically considered only publications written Latin.

Catholic dogma leads to a need for systematic confession of believers before the priests.Everyone must have their own confessor and constantly report to him about their own thoughts and actions.Without systematic confession salvation impossible.This condition allows the Catholic clergy to penetrate deeply into the personal lives of his flock, and control every step of the person.Permanent confession allows the church to have a serious impact on society, especially on women.

Catholic sacrament

main task of the Catholic Church (the community of believers in general) is to preach Christ in the world.Sacraments are considered visible signs of the invisible grace of God.In fact, it is established by Jesus Christ the actions that need to carry out for the benefit and salvation of the soul.In Catholicism has seven sacraments:

  • baptism;
  • chrismation (confirmation);
  • Eucharist, or communion (First Communion Catholics accept aged 7-10 years);
  • the sacrament of penance and reconciliation (confession);
  • extreme unction;
  • the sacrament of the priesthood (ordination);
  • the sacrament of marriage.

According to some experts and researchers whose roots date back to the sacraments of Christianity to the pagan mysteries.However, this viewpoint is actively criticized theologians.According to the latter, in the first centuries BC.e.Gentiles were borrowed from some Christian rites.

How are Catholics by Orthodox Christians

common in Catholicism and Orthodoxy is that in both these branches of Christianity, the Church is the mediator between man and God.Both churches agree that the Bible is the basic document and the doctrine of Christianity.However, between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, there are many differences and disagreements.

Both directions converge on the fact that there is one God in three incarnations: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (trinity).But the origin of the latter is treated differently (the problem of the Filioque).Orthodox confession "of faith," which proclaims the procession of the Holy Spirit only "from the Father."Catholics are also added to the text "and the Son" that changes the meaning of the dogmatic.Greek Catholics and other Eastern Orthodox Catholic denominations have retained the option "Creed."

Catholics and Orthodox Christians realize that there is a difference between the Creator and creation.However, according to the canons of the Catholic world has a material character.It was created by God from nothing.In the material world there is nothing divine.While Orthodoxy suggests that divine creation is the embodiment of God, it comes from God, and so he is invisibly present in his creations.Orthodoxy believes that it is possible to touch God through contemplation, t. E. Closer to the divine through consciousness.It did not accept Catholicism.

Another difference from orthodox Catholics is that the former consider it possible to introduce new dogmas.There is also the doctrine of "good works and merits" of Catholic saints and the church.On its basis the pope can forgive the sins of his flock is God's representative on Earth.In matters of religion it is considered infallible.This dogma was adopted in 1870.

differences in rituals.As baptized Catholics

There are differences in the ceremonies, decoration of churches, and so on. N. Even orthodox prayer procedure does not make quite as Catholics pray.Although at first glance it seems that the difference in some details.To feel the spiritual difference is sufficient to compare the two icons, Catholic and Orthodox.The first is more like a beautiful painting.In Orthodoxy, a sacred icon.Many is the question how to be baptized Catholics and Orthodox?In the first instance baptized with two fingers, and in Orthodoxy - three.In many Eastern rites of the Catholic fold together the thumb, index and middle fingers.As baptized Catholics even?A less common method is to use an open palm, the fingers that held tightly, and the large number of bent towards the inner side.This symbolizes the openness of the soul to the Lord.

destiny of man

The Catholic Church teaches that people are burdened by the original sin (except the Virgin Mary), that is in every human being from birth has a grain of Satan.Therefore, people need the grace of salvation, which can be obtained by living the faith and doing good deeds.Knowledge of the existence of God is, in spite of human sinfulness, accessible to human reason.This means that people are responsible for their actions.Everyone loved by God, but in the end it is expected Judgement.Especially righteous and pious people are ranked as the Saints (canonized).The church is a list of them.The process of beatification preceded the canonization (canonized Blessed).In Orthodoxy, there is also the cult of the Saints, but the majority of Protestant denominations reject him.


In Catholicism indulgence - a complete or partial liberation of man from punishment for his sins as well as the corresponding redemptive action imposed on him a priest.The original basis for obtaining indulgences were committing any good deeds (such as a pilgrimage to the holy places).Then it was a donation to a certain amount in favor of the church.In the Renaissance there were serious and widespread abuses, which included the distribution of indulgences for money.As a result, it has provoked protests and the beginning of the Reformation movement.In 1567 Pope Pius V imposed a ban on the issuance of indulgences for money and material means at all.

Celibacy in Catholicism

Another major difference from the Catholic Orthodox Church is that all the clergy of the last vows of celibacy (celibacy).Catholic priests do not have the right to marry and even have sexual intercourse.All attempts to marry after receiving the rank of deacon will be void.This rule was announced in the time of Pope Gregory the Great (590-604 gg.), And finally approved only in the XI century.

Oriental Catholic Church rejected the option of celibacy at the Council in Trullo.In Catholicism celibacy applies to all priests.Originally a small church officials have the right to marry.They could be dedicated to married men.However, Pope Paul VI abolished them and replaced post reader and acolyte, which ceased to be associated with the status of a cleric.He also introduced the institution of lifelong deacons (not intending to move further into the ecclesiastical career and become a priest).Among them may be married men.

As an exception to the priesthood are ordained married men who have switched to Catholicism from different branches of Protestantism, where they had ranks of pastors, clergy and so on. N. However, the Catholic Church does not recognize their priesthood.

now mandatory celibacy for all Catholic priests is the subject of heated debate.In many European countries and the United States, some Catholics believe that mandatory celibacy is necessary to cancel the nemonashestvuyuschego clergy.However, Pope John Paul II did not support such a reform.

Celibacy in Orthodoxy

In Orthodoxy, priests can be married if the marriage took place before ordination to the priesthood or ordained deacon.However, the bishops may be only a small schema monks, priests widowers or unmarried.In the Orthodox Church bishop must be a monk.At the San can be ordained only archimandrites.Bishops can not just be celibate and married secular clergy representatives (nemonashestvuyuschego).Sometimes, as an exception, for the representatives of these categories may episcopal ordination.But before that, they must take a small monastic schema and get the rank of Archimandrite.


When asked who the Catholics of the medieval period, you can get an idea by reading with activities such ecclesiastical authority as the Inquisition.It is the judicial institution of the Catholic Church, which was intended to combat heresy and heretics.In the XII century, Catholicism was faced with the growth of various opposition movements in Europe.One of the key was albigoystvo (Qatar).Pope obliged to deal with them on the bishops.They had to identify the heretics, to judge them and send them to the secular authorities for execution of a sentence.Capital punishment was burning at the stake.But the bishop's activities were not very effective.So Pope Gregory IX created to investigate crimes heretics special ecclesiastical authority - the Inquisition.Originally directed against the Cathars, it soon turned against all heretical movements, as well as witches, warlocks, blasphemers, infidels, and so on.

inquisitorial tribunal

Inquisitors were recruited from members of various religious orders, primarily due to the Dominicans.The Inquisition was directly subordinate to the Pope.Initially, the tribunal headed by two judges, and from the 14th century - one, but it consisted of lawyers, consultants, which determined the degree of "heretical."In addition, the number of employees of the court included a notary (indication assured), a concept doctor (controlled condition of the accused at the time of the executions), the prosecutor and the executioner.Inquisitors gave a part of the confiscated property of the heretics, so the integrity and fairness of the court can not speak, because they were beneficial to recognize a person guilty of heresy.

inquisitorial procedure

inquisitorial investigation was of two types: general and individual.The first polls the majority of the population of any area.When the second call is made to a specific person through the priest.In cases where the called was not his excommunicated.The man gave the oath sincerely tell all that he knew about the heretics and heresy.The course of the investigation and trial were stored in the deepest secrecy.It is known that the inquisitors widespread torture that were authorized by Pope Innocent IV.Sometimes they even cruelty condemned secular authorities.

Defendants never informed the names of witnesses.Often, they were excommunicated, murderers, thieves, perjurers - people whose testimony did not take into account even the secular courts of the time.The accused was denied the right to have a lawyer.The only possible form of protection was an appeal to the Holy See, although it is formally banned bull 1231. People who once condemned by the Inquisition, could at any moment again be brought to justice.From the investigation did not save even death.If the deceased has already admitted guilt, his ashes were getting out of the grave and burned.

system of punishments

list of punishments for heretics was installed bulls 1213, 1231, and the provisions of the Third Lateran Council.