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History of the Catholic Church

As the oldest continuously operating organization, the Catholic Church has a distinguished history. The Church has also been involved in many of the historical events and movements of the past 2,000 years. Learn about the Catholic Church's history and the Church's role in secular history, and read short historical sketches of events and biographies of major figures in the Catholic Church.
  1. Catholic Controversies (6)
  2. Pope Benedict's 2010 Visit to the United Kingdom (5)
  3. Benedict in the Holy Land (2)
  4. Pope Benedict's 2008 Visit (13)
  5. Popes (17)

The Seventh Anniversary of Pope Benedict's Election
A summary of the most important accomplishments of the first seven years of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy.

Schedule of Pope Benedict's 2010 Visit to the United Kingdom
Schedule of all of the significant events of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to the United Kingdom, September 16-19, 2010. Includes links to descriptions of the most important events and summaries of the Holy Father's remarks.

Address of Sen. John F. Kennedy to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association
Find the text of Sen. John F. Kennedy's famous September 12, 1960, speech on the separation of Church and state.

Readers Respond to JFK's Speech On the Separation of Church and State
On September 12, 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy, in an address to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, ushered in a new era of Church-state relations in the United States and, critics argue, effectively removed religion from the public square. What do you think? Do you agree with JFK's thoughts on the separation...

National Shrine of the Apostle Paul
A collection of photos of the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul, formerly the Cathedral of Saint Paul, in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Memento Mori
Find the definition of memento mori.

The Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon (451) is the fourth ecumenical council recognized by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.

Photos of Pope Benedict's 2008 Visit to the United States
A gallery of images from Pope Benedict XVI's April 2008 apostolic journey to the United States. Relive the stops along his tour, and follow the Holy Father as he visits Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Schedule of Pope Benedict's 2008 Visit to the United States
Schedule of all of the significant events of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic journey to the United States, April 15-20, 2008. Includes links to descriptions of each event and summaries of the Holy Father's remarks at each.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI was the 265th pope of the Catholic Church. Learn more about the life and pontificate of Joseph Ratzinger, the man who became Pope Benedict XVI.

The Doctors of the Church
The Doctors of the Church are great saints known for their defense and explanation of the truths of the Catholic Faith. Learn more about the Doctors of the Church.

Popes of the Catholic Church
There have been 266 popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Find a comprehensive list here, divided up by historical era.

Popes of the Age of Persecution
From St. Peter (32-67) to St. Miltiades (311-14), find the popes of the Age of Persecution here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Age of Empire
From St. Sylvester I (314-35) to Pelagius II (579-90), find the popes of the Age of Empire here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Early Middle Ages
From St. Gregory the Great (590-604) to Alexander II (1061-73), find the popes of the Early Middle Ages here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Age of Crusades and Councils
From St. Gregory VII (1073-85) to St. Celestine V (1294), find the popes of the Age of Crusades and Councils here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Avignon Papacy and the Great Schism
From Boniface VIII (1294-1303) to Gregory XII (1406-15), find the popes of the Avignon Papacy and the Great Schism here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Renaissance and Reformation
From Martin V (1417-31) to Pius IV (1559-65), find the popes of the Renaissance and Reformation here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Age of Revolution
From St. Pius V (1566-72) to Pius VII (1800-23), find the popes of the Age of Revolution here, with the dates of their reigns.

Popes of the Modern Age
From Leo XII (1823-29) to the current pope, Francis (2013—), find the popes of the Modern Age here, with the dates of their reigns.

Ecumenical Councils
Important doctrinal matters in the Catholic Church are decided through ecumenical councils. There have been 21 in the Church's history. This is a list of the councils, the dates they were held, and the major issues discussed at each.

A History of the Crusades
The Crusades are often misunderstood today. Far from being wars of aggression (at least in intent), they were undertaken to free the Christians and the holy sites of the Holy Land after they were conquered by the Muslims. Learn more about all eight Crusades here.

Vatican Announces Beatification of Pope John Paul II
On January 14, 2011, the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints announced that Pope Benedict XVI would preside at the rite of beatification for Pope John Paul II on May 1, 2011, Divine Mercy Sunday. Find the full text of the beatification decree, as well as photos of Pope John Paul II throughout his life.

Time's Person of the Year 2013: Pope Francis
Did Time magazine name Pope Francis the 2013 Person of the Year for all the wrong reasons?

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