The Catholic Church is the oldest
institution in the western world with its
history dating back over 2000 years. Today
there are more than a billion Catholics in
the world (one in six people is a baptised
Catholic) with around five million living in
The Church defines its mission as spreading the gospel of
Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising
charity. Catholics believe in Jesus Christ and his message
of love for all, peace and forgiveness. We also believe that
all men and women are equal, because we are made in the
image of God. We believe in justice and equality too as
whatever we do to each other, we do to Christ.
Catholics are guided by the Church's highest
earthly authority in matters of faith,
morality and Church governance ' the Pope
Ã¢' who is currently Francis I. The Pope
is supported by local leaders in our
individual dioceses ' the Bishops ' who meet
regularly to pray and reflect on how best to
interpret Christ's teachings to the world
Each Bishop is the leader of his diocese, a specific
geographical area. There are 22 dioceses in England and
Wales. Together with priests, the Bishops are responsible
for the spiritual growth of believers in their diocese.
Catholics are encouraged to attend weekly mass and are
under an obligation during the Easter season to attends the
sacraments of reconciliation (formerly known as confession)
and holy communion.
Catholic beliefs are based on the Bible and
on traditions handed down from the time of
the Apostles. The Catholic Church holds that
there is one eternal God, who exists as a
mutual indwelling of three persons: the
Father, the Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.
Those beliefs are summarised in the Nicene Creed and
formally detailed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Formal Catholic worship, termed the liturgy, is regulated by
Church authority. The Eucharist is one of the seven Church
sacraments and the key part of every Catholic Mass.