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Roman Catholicism FAQ

About the Roman Catholic Church

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The Roman Catholic Church is a Christian denomination of believers who are "in communion" with the papacy. The largest Christian church currently in existence, it is characterized by an episcopal hierarchy with the pope as its head, a belief in seven sacraments and the authority of tradition alongside scripture.

This FAQ on Roman Catholicism will cover matters of doctrine, matters of debate, and basic historical information.


The Popes
The title pope stems from the Greek word papas, which simply means "father." Early in Christian history it was used as a formal title expressing affectionate respect for any bishop and sometimes even priests. Today it continues to be used in Eastern Orthodox churches for the patriarch of Alexandria. Here you can find basic information about the popes - including lists of the shortest papacies, the longest papcies and the popes during the 20th century.

Highlights:
•  The Nature of the Papacy
•  History of the Papacy
•  Electing the Next Pope


Catholicism & Homosexuality
What is the official Roman Catholic relationship with homosexuality? It's unusual, actually - homosexual behavior is not approved, but the homosexual orientation is accepted. Unfortunately, disapproval of the former often leads to condemnation of the latter. More importantly, the Roman Catholic Church is locked into this difficulty because any changes regarding homosexuality would affect the position on things like abortion and birth control.

Highlights:
•  Catholicism & Homosexuality
•  Gay Priests in the Catholic Church
•  Should Gay Catholics Leave the Church?


Catholicism & Health Care
Does your community hospital provide services like abortion, birth control counseling, or even emergency contraception after rape? How about voluntary sterilization or infertility treatments? Will your hospital honor the wishes of yourself or your spouse to have recussitation efforts stopped or life support withdrawn? Even if you have a legally valid living will?

Highlights:
•  Reproductive Services
•  Abortion
•  End of Life Services


Concepts and Movements
This list covers basic terminology and movements which may be useful for understanding Roman Catholicism.

Highlights:
•  The Vatican
•  Americanism
•  excommunication
•  Jesuits
•  Old Catholic Movement


News and Commentary about Mel Gibson's movie The Passion
Mel Gibson's upcoming movie "The Passion," about the death of Jesus Christ, has been the target of praise and criticism. Evangelical Christians who have seen the movie have praised it while Jews and others concerned about possible Anti-Semitic overtones have criticized it. Defenders argue that it is an accurate portrayal of the gospel accounts of Jesus' death and that, therefore, is good enough. Are they right?

Highlights:
•  Ultra-traditionalist Catholics Receiving Scrutiny
•  Mel Gibson: Holywood Martyr Figure
•  Will The Passion Crucify the Jews?
•  Scholars See Antisemitism in Gibson's Film
•  Does Mel Gibson Profess Antisemitism?


Books on Catholicism
Recently reviewed books dealing with Catholic doctrines, Catholic history and Catholic debates. here are many books published every year dealing with Catholicism, with some of the best reviewed here.

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