Roman Catholic Church

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The Roman Catholic Church refers to those churches (including the Unia and other non-Latin rite churches) in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Pope. It also can refer specifically to the bishops under the pope's direct jurisdiction, i.e., the Latin rite. Historically, the Church of Rome was one of the Pentarchy and enjoyed communion with the Orthodox Church. In 1054 a schism between Rome and the other patriarchal sees resulted from widening differences between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism. 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 added by the Western churches to the Creed without the consent of the Orthodox bishops.

Today, the main differences between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church continue to be the inclusion of filioque in the Creed (and its concommitant theology of double-procession—that the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son) and the scope of papal authority. However, most Orthodox also believe that there is a distinct difference in spirit and attitude, which is expressed in the manner of doing theology as well as concrete differences in pastoral care. Additionally, the Roman Catholic Church has made pronouncements of dogma since the Great Schism (such as Purgatory, the Immaculate Conception, and papal infallibility), and other matters of doctrine (such as original sin), which are regarded as false. These pronouncements, and the theological understanding behind them, present another obstacle to the unity of Catholic and Orthodox.

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The focus of this article will be on the history and present teaching of the Roman Catholic Church vis a vis the Orthodox Church, rather than a comprehensive article on Roman Catholicism in general.

Let's aim for intelligent discussion rather than simple potshots. Polemics are ok as long as they are basically descriptive and take into account the subtleties of controverted issues.

Uniate churches will have their own articles, including a general one on the Unia. They should all link back to this article.



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