Liturgical Churches

in order by date

Catholic Church

When was it founded and by whom?

Catholics consider Jesus’ disciple Peter (died ca. AD 66) the first pope; Gregory the Great (pope, AD 540-604) was a key figure in the pope’s office. At that time, the pope came to be viewed as ruling over the whole church.

How many adherents in 2000?

About 1 billion worldwide;
62 million, USA

How is Scripture viewed?

The Scriptures teach without error the truth needed for our salvation. Scripture must be interpreted within the Tradition of the Church. The canon includes 46 books for the Old Testament including deuterocanonical books (the Apocrypha) and 27 books for the New Testament.

Who is God?

The one Creator and Lord of all, existing eternally as the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).

Who is Jesus?

The eternal Son incarnate, fully God and fully man, conceived and born of the virgin Mary, died on the Cross for our sins, rose bodily from the grave, ascended into heaven, and will come again in glory to judge us all.

How are we saved?

Christ died as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins; God by his grace infuses a supernatural gift of faith in Christ in those who are baptized, which is maintained by doing works of love and receiving Penance and the Eucharist.

What happens after death?

The souls of the faithful go to heaven either immediately or, if imperfectly purified in this life, after purgatory. The souls of the wicked at death are immediately consigned to eternal punishment in hell.

What is the church?

The church is the Mystical Body of Christ, established by Christ with the bishop of Rome (the pope), who may at times pronounce dogma (doctrine required of all members) infallibly, as its earthly head. It is united (one) in a sacred (holy) worldwide (catholic) community through the succession of bishops whose ordination goes back to the apostles (apostolic); Christians not in communion with the Catholic Church are called “separated brethren.”

What about the sacraments?

Baptism removes original sin (usually in infants). In the Eucharist, the substances (but not the properties) of bread and wine are changed into Jesus’ body and blood (transubstantiation).

What are other beliefs and practices of note?

Mary was conceived by her mother immaculately (free of original sin), remained a virgin perpetually, and was assumed bodily into heaven. She is the Mother of the Church and is considered an object of devotion and veneration (a show of honor that stops short of worship).

What are the major divisions or trends today?

About one-fourth of Catholics are doctrinally conservative. Many priests and members tend to accept liberal, pluralist beliefs contrary to church teaching.