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Catholic Christianity | historical notes and characteristics

The history of Catholic Christianity is the history of the Christian religion. And its origins begin in the first century and extend to the present day. It all starts with the preaching of Jesus, the disciples who recognized him as the Son of God, the twelve apostles, and evangelists like Luke and Mark. Among these, a fundamental action was carried out by Paul of Tarsus. After his conversion, he undertook to found the Christian community, the institution of the “church.”

History of Catholic Christianity

Set of principles and ordering of the Roman Catholic Church, that is, the society of the faithful. Distinguishing itself from all other Christian communities (➔ Catholic Christianity ), the pope is its visible head. Considered the vicar of Christ and successor of Peter.

Characteristics of the Catholic Church are unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity. Agreement means that just as the members united to the head form a single body. So the baptized incorporated in Christ form one body with him. In which they can reach complete and total union with God; holiness is the purpose for which the Church was established. So that its members, animated by sanctifying grace, are perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. Catholicity is the universal vocation of the Church, derived from the obligation of the apostles to preach the Gospel to all creatures. Apostolicity means that the Church returns to the apostles in her essential constitution.

Representation of Catholic Christianity

catholic christianity


The stages of Catholic Christianity

Catholic Christianity is divided into four phases corresponding to Western civilization’s steps. These are conventional:

  1. also, in ancient times, from the 1st to the 5th century, from the birth of Jesus to the ecumenical councils;
  2. medieval times, from the fifth to the fifteenth century, from the conversions of the barbarian populations until the end of the Western schism;
  3. modern times, from the fourteenth to the eighteenth century, from the councils of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and up to the rupture of the religious unity of Western Europe with the birth of Protestantism;
  4. contemporary era, from the French Revolution until today.

Each of these phases is characterized by historical events that inevitably merge with the history of civilization.

The beginning of Christianity

We are still determining exactly when the history of the Christian religion begins as there has yet to be a unanimous date on which to trace its birth. According to what is recounted in the Acts of the Apostles, a few years after Jesus’ death. Between 26 and 36, the group of disciples met in Jerusalem under the guidance of the twelve apostles. To form a community that was to count a few thousand Jews. From here on, step by step, the community began to grow; at first, seven deacons joined forces. And had to take care of the material needs of the group. But also charitable works to take care of the preaching themselves.

Due to the complex relations with the Jewish authorities, Christians were persecuted right from the start. Suffice it to say that the deacon Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was sentenced to be stoned on blasphemy charges.

But little by little, thanks to the preaching and sacrifice of this group of Christians, Catholic Christianity has found space among the cults professed in the different civilizations with which they have come into contact.

What is the difference between a Catholic and a Christian?

Christianity is a monotheistic religion founded on the teaching of Jesus. On the other hand, Catholicism represents one of the different Christian churches, which, together with the Orthodox and Protestant ones, shape Christianity in all its facets. The Catholic Church recognizes the importance of authority to the Pope, the bishop of Rome, as the successor of the apostle Peter.

It is not a question of a difference in doctrine; the differences are more of an organizational type in the celebration of functions and in the rules that determine the ordering of priests. Christians and Catholics recognize the Bible as a sacred text, the existence of the Messiah, Jesus, and the Gospel.

Among the various Christian churches, the Catholic one can count the most significant number of faithful in the world.

Characteristics of Catholic Christianity

We find the preaching of Jesus, the Messiah, at the basis of Catholic Christianity. His preaching took place in a period of great ferment within Judaism. And numerous preachers and prophets were mainly linked to the political condition. In 6 AD Palestine was annexed to the Roman province of Syria. And we are witnessing the birth of seven religions and political movements to address the relationship with the rulers. The Zealots fought for political independence, moved by religious questions. As well as the Essenes, with the difference that the latter had a monastic and ascetic attitude. The Sadducees were constantly looking for a compromise with the Roman power, while the Pharisees were. The more moderate current actively collaborated with the Romans.

Catholic Christianity was positioned among the various religious currents in this historical context. Initially, as we have said, it was a reality that mainly interested Jews, moved by the hope of a second Advent. This hope faded following the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. This event caused a gradual weakening of the new creed. Thanks to the action of the first religious community, particularly of some exponents such as Paul of Tarsus. Catholic Christianity took on a universal character and a new guise compared to other spiritual realities.

The cornerstones of this religion, principles that we still profess today, are mainly three:

  1. the Trinity;
  2. love for Jesus Christ and God;
  3. love of neighbor.

The Christian tradition preaches the doctrine based on the revelations of God to the people of Israel, remarkably similar to those of the Jewish tradition, preaching the Gospel and Eternal Salvation. 


Also, Catholic Christianity is a monotheistic religion with a universalistic character, founded on the teaching of Jesus. Catholicism is one of several Christian Churches, along with the Orthodox and Protestant churches. It recognizes the importance of authority to the bishop of Rome (the Pope) as the successor of the apostle Peter.

Catholic Christianity, originating from the Jewish one, was then divided into different churches. The Catholic Church is one of these, and the main characteristic that distinguishes it is the recognition of the primacy importance. More than a difference in doctrine, the most significant differences reside in the organization, the celebration of functions, and the rules of priests’ ordination.