13 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church
How much do you know about the oldest Church in the world? Whether you are Catholic or not, these facts are interesting for all! Here are 13 Fun Facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments!
13 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church
1) Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population of around 500 people and a little over one crime per day, the Vatican crime rate is above 100% per capita. Although this fact may sound shocking, it should be remembered that the Vatican is about one square mile in size, and has nearly 20 million visitors annually. Most of the crimes are pickpockets, purse snatching and other petty offenses done by outsiders. Additionally, and on the spiritual side of things, it should also be remembered that the devil is alive and well — and he intentionally targets the most holy sites and people.
2) The only Christian Church in existence for the first one thousand years of Christian history was the Catholic Church. All other Christian churches which exist today trace their lineage back to the one, apostolic Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches which exist today are less than a century or two old by comparison.
3) The Catholic Church consists of more than just the Roman Catholic Church. The Church is a “communion of Churches” or, “the right and the left lung.” There are 22 Eastern Rites that are in full communion with Rome and although they go by different names, they are every bit as much a part of the Catholic Church.
4) Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, was Catholic and the first book every printed was the Catholic Bible.
5) The Catholic Church is entirely responsible for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakup of the chapters and verses. Protestants have removed at least seven books of the Bible because they decided some of the verses were inconsistent with their newfound theology. Martin Luther was a prime offender in this regard, having removed Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach and Baruch. He also made an effort to remove James and Revelations, but this was rejecte by his followers and those two books were kept. Catholics are often accused of “adding” the books, but despite this common belief, it is false. Older, pre-protestant (prior to the 16th Century), Catholic translations of the Bible include all of these Books.
6) How many Saints are recognized by the Catholic Church? The number of “canonized” Saints exceeds 10,000. By definition however, any person who enters Heaven is considered (at that point) to be a Saint … so it is certain that the number of actual saints (‘saints in the making’) in existence right now is much greater than the number officially recognized by the Church.
7) Any Catholic may perform an emergency baptism, such as if a person is in grave danger of death. In such a case, the validity of the baptism only depends upon the wishes of the person being baptized. In other words, that they desire the baptism. There are specific guidelines for such practices that Catholics should follow. Anyone wishing to be prepared for such case should refer to the Catechism for a deeper understanding of this allowance. Generally speaking however, such practices ought to be left to authorized and trained clergy.
8) About 15% of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic Hospitals. In some parts of the world, the Catholic Church provides the only health care, education and social services available to people.
9) The Catholic Church spends more money than Apple brings in. Expenditures by the Catholic Church, largely on charity (i.e. giving to the sick, the poor, and needy), exceeded $170 billion in 2012 according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in revenue.
10) The Pope is protected by the Swiss Papal Guard. Wearing uniforms designed by Michelangelo and commonly armed with halberds, they are capable of using heavier weapons if needed. Each member is Catholic, male, and Swiss, and must complete military training in Switzerland. They must demonstrate good conduct and be at least five-foot-eight in height. Those who are chosen are granted a private audience with the Pope along with their families. In extreme circumstances, they are expected to guard the Holy Father with their lives. The Swiss Papal Guard is the oldest active military unit in continual existence since 1506.
11) The word “Catholic” was first used by Ignatius of Antioch around the year A.D. 110. It is from the Greek word katholikos, which means “toward the whole” — or “universal.” Ignatius was suggesting that the Church of Jesus Christ is a gift offered by Christ to all people.
12) The “Devil’s Advocate” or Advocate Diaboli, is a real position within the Catholic Church.
13) The magical term “hocus pocus” comes from the most sacred moments in Catholic ritual: the consecration of the bread becoming the Body of Christ by the priest speaking the words, “This is my body,” which in Latin is Hoc est enim corpus meum.
You might also be interested in: Who Made the Bible? and How Old is Your Church? How Old is the Catholic Church?
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What is the difference between a Catholic and a Roman Catholic?
When used in a broader sense, the term “Catholic” is distinguished from “Roman Catholic”, which has connotations of allegiance to the Bishop of Rome, i.e. the Pope. Some Eastern Catholic Churches for example describe themselves as “Catholic” but not “Roman Catholic” and not under the authority of the Apostle Peter’s successor, the Pope.
What is the meaning of the Catholic Church?
The Catholic Church means ‘Universal Church’ — the Church left by Christ for all men and women to be saved and share in communion with Him (and each other) on earth. The Catholic Church is the largest visible society of baptized Christians in the world. This Body of Christ — People of God — professes the same faith under the authority of the invisible head of Jesus Christ and the authority of the visible head — the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.