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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church and the largest religious denomination, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church consists of 24 particular churches and almost 3,500 dioceses and eparchies around the world. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome is the chief pastor of the church. The church's administration, the Holy See, has its principal offices in the Vatican City, a tiny enclave of Rome of which the pope is head of state.

The core beliefs of Catholicism are found in the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ in his Great Commission, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter, upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith taught by the apostles, preserving the faith infallibly through scripture and sacred tradition as authentically interpreted through the Magisterium of the church. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders, enclosed monastic orders and third orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.

Of its seven sacraments, the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest, the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated as the Perpetual Virgin, Mother of God, and Queen of Heaven; she is honoured in dogmas and devotions. Catholic social teaching emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church operates thousands of Catholic schools, hospitals, and orphanages around the world, and is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world. Among its other social services are numerous charitable and humanitarian organisations. (Full article...)

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Coat of Arms during the Vacancy of the Holy See

The papal conclave of 1492 (August 6 – August 11, 1492) convened after the death of Pope Innocent VIII (July 25, 1492), elected Rodrigo Borja as Pope Alexander VI. The first conclave to be held in the Sistine Chapel, the election is notorious for allegations of simony.

Of the twenty-three cardinals participating in the conclave, fourteen had been elevated by Pope Sixtus IV. The Cardinals of Sixtus IV, known as the "Sistine Cardinals" and led by Giuliano della Rovere, had controlled the conclave of 1484, electing one of their own, Giambattista Cibo as Pope Innocent VIII.

Since 1431 the composition of the College of Cardinals had been radically transformed, increasing the number of cardinal-nephews (from 3 to 10), crown-cardinals (from 2 to 8), and representatives of powerful Roman noble families (from 2 to 4). With the exception of three curial officials and one pastor, the cardinals were "secularly-minded princes largely unconcerned with the spiritual life of either the Latin church or its members." At the time of Innocent VIII's death, the names of Cardinals Gherardo and Sanseverino had not been published, thus making them ineligible to participate in the conclave; however, both were published as an act of the College in sede vacante, Gherardo having been pushed by Orsini and Sanseverino by Sforza.

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The incipit of the Gospel of Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The manuscript was produced in Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century, and is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art. It is currently in the collection of the British Library.

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Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II (Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Pawe? II) born About this soundKarol Józef Wojty?a  ['kal 'juz?f v?i?'t?wa]; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005) reigned as the 264th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City from 16 October 1978, until his death, almost 27 years later, making his the second-longest pontificate in modern times after Pius IX's 31-year reign. He is the only Polish pope, and was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Adrian VI in the 1520s. He is one of only four people to have been named to the Time 100 for both the 20th century and for a year in the 21st. Canonized in 2014, he was made the patron of World Youth Day even before canonization, for 2008 in Sydney, Australia. He started those days for youth in 1986.

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St. Henry's Catholic Church in St. Henry, Ohio, a Gothic Revival church with a tall tower

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Feast Day of September 17

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Painting of Saint Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard of Bingen (German: Hildegard von Bingen; Latin: Hildegardis Bingensis; 1098 - 17 September 1179), also known as Saint Hildegard and the Sibyl of the Rhine, was a German Benedictine abbess and polymath active as a writer, composer, philosopher, mystic and visionary during the High Middle Ages. She is one of the best-known composers of sacred monophony, as well as the most recorded in modern history. She has been considered by many in Europe to be the founder of scientific natural history in Germany.

Hildegard's convent elected her as magistra in 1136; she founded the monasteries of Rupertsberg in 1150 and Eibingen in 1165. She wrote theological, botanical, and medicinal texts, as well as letters, hymns and antiphons for the liturgy and poems, while supervising miniature illuminations in the Rupertsberg manuscript of her first work, Scivias. There are more surviving chants by Hildegard than by any other composer from the entire Middle Ages, and she is one of the few known composers to have written both the music and the words. One of her works, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play. She is also noted for the invention of a constructed language known as Lingua Ignota. (Full article...)
Attributes: abbess with book and pen at an escritoire, giving a letter to a messenger, three bright towers on the side
Patronage: natural scientists and linguists
See also: Pedro de Arbués, Spain; Stanislaus Papczy?ski, Poland; Zygmunt Szcz?sny Feli?ski, Poland

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Benedict XVI


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Our Lady of Sorrows
Church of the Immaculate Conception, Monte Grande, Argentina.
4 September 2021 - COVID-19 pandemic
Slovakia reverses its ban on unvaccinated people attending public events and will instead allow a negative test or proof of recovery from COVID-19 during a visit by Pope Francis on September 12 to 15 due to low vaccination numbers. (Barron's)
3 September 2021 - Catholic Church sexual abuse cases
Defrocked Catholic Cardinal Theodore McCarrick pleads not guilty to three counts of indecent assault and battery on a 16-year-old boy at a wedding reception in Massachusetts in 1974. The statute of limitations paused when he left the state shortly after the alleged incident. McCarrick is the first American cardinal to be charged with a sex crime. (DW)
1 September 2021 - China-Holy See relations
Pope Francis defends the dialogue with China via the appointment of new Catholic bishops. Francis says that uneasy dialogue is better than no dialogue at all and compared the talks with China to those with Eastern European countries during the Cold War. The Vatican and China have had strained relations since the communist party took power in 1949. (Reuters)
26 August 2021 -
Pope Francis appoints Italian nun Alessandra Smerilli as Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, becoming the first woman to do so. (Vatican News)



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