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A Layman's Guide to the Catholic Church

Have you ever wondered what signals the world that a Pope has been elected? Traditionally, the appearance of white smoke over the Vatican has signaled the election of the new papal leader.

Catholic ChurchPope Benedict XVI/Wikimedia Commons/Fabio Possebom/Creative Commons License Attribution 2.5 Brazil

In this essential guide to the Catholic Church (also called the Roman Catholic Church,) we’ll explore the history, beliefs, and practices of the world’s largest Christian church (1). Browse through our article library, and you will find information on topics like:

  • Church organization: Pope, College of Cardinals, Holy See
  • Doctrine, theology, sacraments, and rites
  • Worship traditions, liturgies, membership facts, and statistics
  • Church social programs and charities
  • Monastic orders like: Jesuits, Dominicans, Franciscans, and Augustinians

From the beginnings of the church to the First Pope to current times, this guide is designed to be the ultimate reference source for all things related to Catholicism.

Reference Sources

1. Religion Facts, "How the Pope is Elected," and "Catholicism as a Denomination"

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