Portal:Catholicism

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The dome of St. Peter's Basilica.

Catholicism is the entirety of the beliefs and practices of the Latin and Eastern Churches that are in full communion with the pope as the Bishop of Rome and successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, united as the Catholic Church.

The first known written use of "Catholic Church" appears in a letter by Ignatius of Antioch c. AD 107 to the church of Smyrna, whose bishop, Polycarp, visited Ignatius during his journey to Rome as a prisoner. He wrote:

Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

-- Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans 8

His use of "Catholic Church" suggests that it was already in current use, for he sees no need to explain himself and uses the expression as one already known to his readers. It gives expression to St. Paul's teaching that all baptized in Christ are one body in Christ (; , ). Dissenting groups breaking away from this universal unity were already known to the Apostles: in his letters Paul refers to the "Judaizers" (those requiring observance of the Mosaic Law), and in his Book of Revelation St. John calls them "Nicolaitans". They believe that it is a small step for those faithful to the teaching of the Apostles to identify themselves as the Catholic Church ("the one Church everywhere"), and not to include those dissenting and breaking away from unity with her.

The term Catholic Christianity entered into Roman law by force of edict on 27 February AD 380:

It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our clemency and moderation, should continue the profession of that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one Deity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title Catholic Christians; but as for the others, since in our judgment they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious name of heretics, and shall not presume to give their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of divine condemnation and the second the punishment of [as] our authority, in accordance with the will of heaven, shall decide to inflict.


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The capture of Jerusalem marked the First Crusade's success

The First Crusade was launched in 1095 by Pope Urban II with the dual goals of liberating the sacred city of Jerusalem and the Holy Land from Muslims and freeing the Eastern Christians from Muslim rule. What started as an appeal by Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos for western mercenaries to fight the Seljuk Turks in Anatolia quickly turned into a wholesale Western migration and conquest of territory outside of Europe.Both knights and peasants from many nations of Western Europe travelled over land and by sea towards Jerusalem and captured the city in July 1099, establishing the Kingdom of Jerusalem and other Crusader states. Although these gains lasted for less than two hundred years, the First Crusade was a major turning point in the expansion of Western power, as well as the first major step towards reopening international trade in the West since the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
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Credit: Anne de Felbrigge

The Felbrigge Psalter is an illuminated manuscript Psalter from mid-thirteenth century England that has an embroidered bookbinding which probably dates to the early fourteenth century.The embroidery is worked in fine linen with an illustration of the Annunciation on the front cover and an illustration of the Crucifixion on the back.

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Thomas Aquinas

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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Church of the Transfiguration

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Feast Day of October 19


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Saint Jean de Brébeuf (25 March 1593 - 16 March 1649) was a Jesuit missionary, martyred in Canada March 16 1649.

Brébeuf was born on Condé-sur-Vire, Normandy, France, a son of farmers. He was the uncle of the poet Georges de Brébeuf. He studied near home at Caen allowing him to work on the family highway. He became a Jesuit in 1617, joining the Order at Rouen. He almost was pushed from the Society due to his contraction of tuberculosis--an illness which prevented both studying and teaching for the traditional periods.

In 1622 he was ordained. Against the voiced desires of Huguenot Protestants, officials of trading companies, and some Indians, he was granted his wish and in 1625 he sailed to Canada as a missionary, arriving on June 19, and lived with the Huron natives near Lake Huron, learning their customs and language, of which he became an expert (it is said that he wrote the first dictionary of the Huron language). He has been called Canada's "first serious ethnographer."

Although the missionaries were recalled in 1629, Brébeuf returned to Canada in 1633. He was the founder of the Huron mission, a position he relinquished to Father Jérôme Lalemant in 1638.

He unsuccessfully attempted to convert the Neutral nation on Lake Erie in 1640. In 1643 he wrote the Huron Carol, a Christmas carol which is still, in a very modified version, used today. Brebeuf's charismatic presence in the Huron country helped cause a split between traditionalist Huron and those who wanted to adopt European culture.

Montreal-based ethnohistorian Bruce Trigger argues that this cleavage in Huron society, along with the spread of disease from Europeans, left the Huron vulnerable.

In 1649, the Iroquois attacked the Wendat (Huron) village of St. Louis where Brébeuf was working along with his colleague Gabriel Lalemant, and both men were captured and tortured, mutilated, and burned to death, concluding, some say, with an act of Iroquois cannibalism on March 16, 1649. Brébeuf was fifty-six years old.

Brebeuf's body was recovered a few days later. His body was boiled in lye to remove the bones, which became church relics. His flesh was buried, along with that of Lalemant's, at the Jesuit mission of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons (1639-1649).


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Patronage: Canada
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Divine Mercy

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  1. ^ Extract of English translation from Henry Bettenson, ed., Documents of the Christian Church (London: Oxford University Press, 1943), p. 31, cited at Medieval Sourcebook: Theodosian Code XVI by Paul Halsall, Fordham University. Retrieved Jan 5, 2007. The full Latin text of the code is at IMPERATORIS THEODOSIANI CODEX Liber Decimus Sextus (170KB download), archived from George Mason University. Retrieved Jan 5, 2007.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.


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