A Brief History of Catholicism
All Christians are pided into three main confessions, so to speak, forms of serving God – Orthodoxy, Catholicism and Protestantism.
Catholicism and Orthodoxy were formed back in 1054, when the split of the Catholic Church took place at the famous St. Sophia Cathedral. (Greek καθολικός – “ecumenical, universal, conciliar” – Wikipedia) and the eastern church separated from the western one.
Still later, in the 16th century, Catholicism split into Catholics and Protestants under the influence of the teachings of Martin Luther.
It is important to remember that all these three confessions make up Christianity, and in no way are “enemies” of Orthodoxy, but brothers and sisters in Christ.
The Catholics themselves are distinguished by the rite of the liturgy: there is Roman, Byzantine and others. But the distinctive feature of the Catholic Church is the belief in a single Ecumenical Church, with the Pope at the head.
Foundations of Catholicism
The basis of the Catholic Church is the Symbol of Faith and Christian dogmas:
Flioque is the dogma that the Holy Spirit comes from both God the Father and God the Son.
Celibacy is a dogma about celibacy of priests and monks.
Purgatory is a dogma about a place between hell and heaven where you can atone for your sins.
The dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary and her bodily ascension. (The Orthodox also believe that Mary is in heaven in body and soul, but this is not a dogma of the Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church does not recognize the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary.)
The Pope is at the head of the entire Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is a single church, all of its representations in different countries are considered part of the same church and are subordinate to the Pope.
An important feature of Catholicism is that Catholics do not regard the Pope as a saint. Only his statements and decisions regarding faith and the church are considered infallible, but he is not considered a saint only because he was elected to this position.
Catholics love and appreciate the Pope and he responds in kind, setting an example as a true believer. What are the stories constantly appearing in the news about how the Pope washes the feet of prisoners. Or helping refugees.
Which countries profess Catholicism
In general, there are over a billion Catholics living in the world. Catholicism is one of the largest Christian denominations.
Most Catholics are in Brazil, Mexico, USA and India. Catholicism is present on all continents, and even Russia has its own Catholic parishes and followers.
One of the most beautiful Catholic churches of the “Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary” is located in the center of Moscow and is a favorite place for walking, attracting tourists with its Gothic silhouette.
Differences between Catholicism and Orthodoxy
Despite the fact that both Catholics and Orthodox are Christians, there are still some differences:The most important of these is faith in the Holy Spirit, which comes from both God the Father and the Son. The Catholic Church puts this at the basis of the Symbol of Faith, in contrast to the Orthodox, which confesses that the Holy Spirit comes only from the Father.
The Catholic Church does not allow porce, the sacrament of marriage is performed once and for life. The Orthodox Church in some cases allows porce.Also, the Catholic Church does not allow marriage for priests. A person can accept only one sacrament in his life – either the sacrament of marriage, or the sacrament of the priesthood.
Exceptions are allowed if all obligations to the marriage have already been fulfilled by the person and the debt to the family has been paid off (the person is widowed, the children have grown up and provide for themselves) and he feels a true vocation in serving God – then it is possible to accept the sacrament of the priesthood or take monastic tonsure.
The Catholic Church professes purgatory. This is the place or state of the soul in which she is at the stage of cleansing from sins before going to heaven. In the Orthodox teaching, there is no such place for the soul (but there is a concept – the ordeal of the soul).
First communion. In Catholicism, the baptism of a child can occur immediately, but children take the first communion at the age of 7-10 years. This is a separate holiday event, before which the baby must go through the first confession. In Orthodoxy, you can take the sacrament immediately after baptism.
In addition, there are also differences in the forms of liturgical service. We have collected for you answers to simple questions about Catholics that will explain the reason for the obvious differences:
Why do Catholics sit during Mass?
Everything is laid down in tradition.
Initially, the culture of the Catholic Church was laid in Europe, enough churches were built and there was enough room for everyone in the church, even if they were sitting. Some Greek Orthodox churches also have reclining chairs where you can sit down during services.
The Orthodox tradition came, firstly, from sacrifice – asceticism, a duty to God, therefore, initially, churches were built without “seating”. Also, more people came to the service in the Orthodox Church, since they were more rare in the vast Russian expanses. There was simply no room for shops.
Why do Catholics cross from left to right?
In general, the concept as such “to be baptized incorrectly” does not exist, both ways to sign oneself with the sign of the cross are holy and effective.The tradition of being baptized from left to right was established among Catholics a very long time ago, and was consolidated as a tradition during the Council of Trent by Pope Pius the fifth and was associated with the reforms of the church.
At the same time, Catholics of the Latin rite are baptized from left to right. and Byzantine Catholics – from right to left, as Orthodox.
Why is it possible for Catholics to have Communion only under the guise of bread?
Initially, all Christians received communion with bread and wine. But the plague was raging in Europe, it was dangerous to take communion from one cup, and the wine was very expensive and did not last long.Therefore, in the 16th century at the cathedral, the decision was made to commune with bread without prejudice, since it symbolizes both the body and blood of Christ.
Today, Catholics partake of the Sacrament in both one and two forms.
Why do Catholics pray at the rosary?
Throughout the history of Catholicism, the Pope and the clergy have recommended praying on the rosary – a special rosary, with the number of beads corresponding to the number of prayers in the Rosary, the collective prayer of the same name.
The rosary not only symbolized belonging to the Christian faith, they help the Catholic during prayer not to lose the thread, because each prayer step corresponds to a certain bead on the rosary.
The rosary rosary is a Catholic prayer assistant, a prayer tool.
In addition, for Catholics, the rosary symbolizes a wreath made of prayer.
Why don’t Catholics have icons?
In fact, there are icons. Catholics equally revere God, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints depicted on icons in the Byzantine style, the same one that we are used to seeing in Orthodox churches. Along with this, in Catholic churches, icons are more often found that look more like paintings and serve as a reminder of biblical events. Also in Catholic churches you can see frescoes with the procession of Jesus – it is in front of them that Catholics kneel during the procession.On Catholic icons, you can see the image of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. Catholics have great respect for the images of saints, revere them, but it is customary to worship only the Virgin Mary and Jesus.
In Catholicism there is a tradition of prayer meditation in the church before the holy gifts, as if devoting prayer to the mental image of God.
How to become a Catholic?
Baptism in the Catholic Church is no more difficult than in any other Christian. The only difference is that in adulthood, getting baptized or joining the Catholic Church simply by coming to the temple from the street will not work. You need to undergo catechesis – teaching the basics of the Christian religion.Training usually takes place in Catholic churches, lessons are taught by priests and nuns who serve in this parish.
Such training can become a real test of faith for those who want to join the Catholic Church, because you need to study for almost a year and even take exams and tests.
But this training, of course, how it affects the broadening of horizons and awareness in the approach to spiritual matters. So even if you pass catechesis and change your mind about converting to Catholicism, such studies will still benefit you – you will learn the basics of Christianity.