Proclaimed the Nicene Creed. This suggests that before this time there was ordination of women. Decreed that priests may no longer sleep with their wives. Fifth Century St. Augustine wrote, Nothing is so powerful in drawing the spirit of a man downwards as the caresses of a woman. Sixth Century 2nd Council of Tours: any cleric found in bed with his wife would be excommunicated for a year and reduced to the lay state. Seventh Century France: documents show that the majority of priest were married. Eighth Century St. Boniface reported to the pope that in Germany almost no bishop or priest was celibate.
Ninth Century -Council of Aix-la-Chapelle openly admitted that abortions and infanticide took place in convents and monasteries to cover up activities of uncelibate clerics. Ulrich, a holy bishop, argued from scripture and common sense that the only way to purify the church from the worst excesses of celibacy was to permit priests to marry. Benedict IX dispensed himself from celibacy and resigned in order to marry. Fourteenth Century Bishop Pelagio complains that women are still ordained and hearing confessions.
Sixteenth Century Council of Trent states that celibacy and virginity are superior to marriage. Eighteenth Century American Declaration of Independence. Nineteenth Century Napoleon. Peter, Apostle St. Felix III 2 children St. Hormidas 1 son St.
History sources: Oxford Dictionary of Popes; H. Foy Ed. Jewtt The Ordination of Women ; A. DeRosa Vicars of Christ Myth: All priests take a vow of celibacy.
Fact: Most priests do not take a vow. It is a promise made before the bishop.
There are several doctrinal issues where the Catholic Church has a distinct position:. Catholicism's stance on abortion is part of its wider and keystone teaching on the dignity of the human person which informs its understanding on all issues. So while much has been written of Catholicism's outspoken stance of sexual morality, and more generally of its tendency post-Reformation to regard anything modern as negative, less has been written of its social gospel, often called its 'best kept secret'. Yet contemporary Catholicism embraces a distinctive set of social principles - supporting the rights of workers, opposing unfettered capitalism, defending the rights of oppressed people, campaigning for a more equal global trading and political balance between the countries of the industrial north to the developing south - that stretch back through landmark papal encyclicals like Rerum Novarum to Jesus's Sermon on the Mount.
Catholicism is a faith that revolves around the seven sacraments - baptism, reconciliation, Eucharist , confirmation , marriage , holy orders joining the priesthood and the sacrament of the sick once called extreme unction or the last rites. The importance of receiving Christ's body and blood at communion as the bread of life is central.
The Catholic Church places great emphasis on moral law and is strong in its devotion to saints. It embraces a mystical dimension - most clearly visible in its liturgy - which sits uneasily with the modern secular and scientific world.
At various Marian shrines around the world, for instance, the Catholic Church believes that a small number of miracle cures of illness have been effected. Great emphasis is placed on the ascetic tradition of religious life as either separation from worldly concerns or, in the words of Pope John Paul II - as 'a sign of contradiction' in contemporary culture.
Catholicism retains from earliest times a strong sense of sin and correspondingly of God's redeeming love. The recent history of Catholicism has been one of successes and failures. Its previous Pope, the charismatic Polish-born Pope John Paul II, was widely hailed as the 'spark from heaven' who ignited the revolutions that swept away the Iron Curtain in the late s. In the developing world, its congregations grow apace and its seminaries and convents have no shortage of vocations to the religious life.
In Europe and North and South America, however, numbers of churchgoers have dwindled and papal authority has been questioned.
There has been a marked exodus from the priesthood and female religious orders since the s. Traditional ministries in running schools and hospitals have had to be abandoned for lack of clergy and nuns, while a series of scandals involving first the finances of the Vatican and later the behaviour of paedophile priests has dented its moral authority.
A study suggests that most practising Catholics are ignoring the Church's teachings on contraception and sex. The contraceptive pill is used by Search term:.
Read more. This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets CSS enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets CSS if you are able to do so. This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving. On this page Introduction and the Church in Britain Distinguishing features and doctrine Traditions, rites, recent history Find out more Page options Print this page.
The Catholic Church in Britain In Britain, Catholics suffered a long period of persecution following Henry VIII's break with the papacy in the s and were sometimes regarded as servants of a foreign power - particularly in the wake of the Gunpowder Plot of , orchestrated by Catholic figures in the hope of restoring a co-believer to the throne.
Structure The Catholic Church ordains only celibate men to the priesthood since Jesus was, it teaches, male and celibate.
The Sacraments Catholicism is a faith that revolves around the seven sacraments - baptism, reconciliation, Eucharist , confirmation , marriage , holy orders joining the priesthood and the sacrament of the sick once called extreme unction or the last rites. Saints The Catholic Church places great emphasis on moral law and is strong in its devotion to saints.