An Introduction to Catholicism (Introduction to Religion) by Lawrence S. Cunningham

By Lawrence S. Cunningham

The Vatican. The Inquisition. birth control. Celibacy. Apparitions and miracles. Plots and scandals. The Catholic Church is seldom out of the scoop. yet what do its one thousand million adherents particularly think, and the way do they placed their ideals into perform in worship, the kinfolk, and society?

This down-to-earth account is going again to the early Christian creeds to discover the roots of contemporary Catholic pondering. It avoids getting slowed down in theological technicalities, and throws gentle on features of the Church's institutional constitution and liturgical perform that even Catholics can locate baffling: why visit confession? How are humans made saints? what's 'infallible' in regards to the Pope? subject matters addressed contain: • scripture and culture • sacraments and prayer • renowned piety • own and social morality • reform, venture, and interreligious discussion Lawrence Cunningham, a theologian, prize-winning author and collage instructor, presents an summary of Catholicism this day so as to be quintessential for undergraduates and lay examine teams.

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A variation of such pallia may be seen in mosaics in Ravenna which date to the sixth century. By the end of the ninth century, it was common for popes to grant the wearing of the pallium to archbishops at the head of major (metropolitan) dioceses, who wore them while presiding at the liturgy. The pallium was a sign of the unity between the metropolitan bishops and the bishop of Rome when worn by such prelates; the Church understands the pallium, when worn by the pope, as a sign of the fullness of his power as the successor of Saint Peter.

Constantine’s mother, Helena, a devout Christian, lavished monies on the places associated with the life of Jesus in ancient Palestine. She built the original Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Since Constantine had built a parallel city named for himself in the East – Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) – he had an equal interest in the Eastern reaches of his empire. When a ferocious dispute broke out over the divinity of Christ that threatened to divide the Church, it was Constantine (and not the pope) who called together a universal (ecumenical) council of the Church at Nicaea in 325 to settle the matter.

Gregory XV (1621–3) demonstrated another aspect of the dynamism of the Catholic Reformation. He established a congregation for missionary work (Propaganda Fide) in 1622, which was to become the headquarters and dynamic center for Catholic missionary efforts both in mission lands and in those places where Protestantism had taken firm root. His successor, Urban VIII (1623–44) enlarged those efforts by founding a polyglot press in the Vatican and a university in 1627 for the training of a missionary clergy.

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