Roman Catholic Church

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The term Catholic Church refers to those Churches (including the Eastern Catholic Churches and other non-Latin rite churches) in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. It arose in Western Europe, parts of Eastern Europe, and parts of the Middle East (particularly in the area of modern day Lebanon) after the Great Schism in 1054 A.D. In 1054 a schism between Rome and the other patriarchal sees resulted from widening differences between the Eastern and Western Churches. The cause of the schism was initially a dispute over papal authority and the soundness of theology surrounding the term filioque, a word which was interpolated by the Western Church to the Creed for use in its own liturgy without the consent of the Eastern bishops and contrary to the decision of the First Council of Epheseus (431). Nevertheless, the effects of the schism were not immediately felt everywhere, and it was only over time that the current complete lack of communion between the Eastern Orthodox Churches and Catholic Church became widespread.

Today, the main differences between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church continue to be the inclusion of filioque in the Creed and the scope of papal authority. Consequent to papal authority, however, the Roman Catholic Church has made pronouncements of doctrine since the Great Schism (such as Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, original sin and papal infallibility), which are not sanctioned by the bishops of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. These pronouncements, and the theological understanding behind them, present another obstacle to the unity of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Furthermore, most Orthodox also believe that there has developed a distinct difference in the therapeutic method (Nafpatkos, Illness and Cure of the Soul in the Orthodox Tradition). This difference is rooted in fundamentally different diagnoses of the human condition, including original sin, the fall, human nature, and finally the cure of the soul, which is sanctification or theosis.

Efforts however have been made by the Pope and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, amongst other Orthodox bishops, to restore unity, including a visit by Pope Benedict XVI to the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople in 2006.

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See also


  • Catechism of the Catholic Church - This is the new standard in Roman Catholic teaching, published with the intent to be the basis for local catechisms around the world.

External links

Orthodox Christians on Roman Catholicism