The Roman Catholic Church is one of the largest and the oldest religions in the world with 1.25 billion people around the world calling themselves members. The head of the church is the Pope, who considers himself (and who also is widely regarded by the faithful) as the successor of St. Peter. Roman Catholicism also has a special place for the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ, who through divine intervention gave birth to Christ while remaining a virgin, thus conceiving free of original sin (the Immaculate Conception).
These and more interesting Catholic Church facts to follow:
Loyola University (a Catholic university in Chicago, Illinois) offers a scholarship that doesn’t have to do with grades at all. If your last name is Zolp and you are a practicing Catholic, you’re automatically qualified for the scholarship. And how many people are named Zolp? It was established by Father Richard Zolp for anyone with his namesake.
The late Pope John Paul II is famous for being the most athletic pope especially during the early years of his papacy. He was an avid skier, liked to go kayaking, jogging, and swimming. In fact, he escaped from the Vatican grounds over a hundred times to go skiing in the Italian Alps. None of his staff, even including the Swiss guards, knew about it.
The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world (both by area and by population), a walled independent state nestled in the heart of Rome, capital of Italy. One of the Vatican’s chief sources of revenue, aside from tourism and the sale of other souvenirs, is the sale of postage stamps, which are of high value and sought-after by collectors. This tiny country also exports postage stamps as well.
As the first organized and established church, the Roman Catholic Church is one of the oldest religious institutions in the world. Early Roman Catholics were the ones who put the early religious writings together into the Bible. How the New Testament came into being is the subject for another post but suffice it to say Catholics were instrumental in defining what we know as the New Testament.
Many of us are aware that the origin of universities goes back even to the ancient Egyptian era. But it was during the medieval era where the modern university began to develop, with courses/programs, faculties, examinations, degrees, as well as the segmentation of undergraduates and graduates. The Catholic Church, which consistently put importance on the preservation of knowledge and culture, introduced these concepts.
Despite that, few of us have any idea that one of the oldest religious institutions in the world revolutionized higher education and paved the way for the contemporary university system.
As a matter of fact, many of the most important scientific discoveries have been conducted by Roman Catholics, and some of them even made by Catholic clerics (Copernicus, Mendel, and Lemaitre, to name a few). There is even an observatory at the Vatican City.
The Canon Law is the Roman Catholic Church’s system of law (or ecclesiastical law). It forms the foundation of much of the law of the Western world.
The Swiss Papal Guards (or simply the Swiss Guards) are the Swiss soldiers who have served as bodyguards to the Pope. Swiss Guards are seen wearing colorfully striped uniforms in a remarkably Renaissance fashion. Traditionally, Swiss Guards use swords and halberds. But they are more than just ceremonial papal bodyguards; these guards are trained in the Swiss military. Therefore, they can also carry modern weapons when necessary, such as SIG P220 and Glock 19 pistols, as well as firearms such as Heckler & Koch MP5A3.
Swiss Guards have served for several European courts since the early 16th century and even became notorious for being mercenaries for several years. Nowadays, the term “Swiss Guards” mostly refers to the Pontifical guards of the Holy See. To become qualified as a Swiss Guard, a member must be a Swiss male, Catholic, 19-30 years old, and at least 5′ 8.5″ tall. They must also have completed military training in Switzerland. The Swiss Guards are probably the oldest active military unit in the world.
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination and probably the largest religion in the world by the number of adherents. At present, there are almost 1.25 billion Roman Catholics around the world. In addition to that, Catholics also have thousands of venerated saints and countless angels.
But in some parts of the globe, the Roman Catholic Church is the one that provides the only education, healthcare, and social services that people can depend on and have access to.
This term is probably the most feared among Roman Catholics but has also been widely misinterpreted. So what does the term “excommunication” mean, and what does it not mean?
Excommunication literally means “out of communion.” An excommunicated person, therefore, is deprived of or forbidden to fully receive the Holy Communion. What excommunication doesn’t mean is that an excommunicated person is expelled from the Roman Catholic Church. You will remain a Catholic but you will not be able to receive the Communion anymore.
The Roman Catholic Church can count on its almost 1.25 billion followers for its power spending! A report from The Economist magazine states that the church spent over $170 billion in 2012, compared to Apple Corporation’s $157 billion in revenue. Most of the church’s expenditures went to charity.