Encyclopedia > Global organisation of the Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church is organised in a worldwide hierarchy under the pope, and the Roman Curia.
Patriarchs are the heads of Catholic Churches other than the Latin Church. Some senior Roman Catholic archbishops are also called Patriarchs. Archbishops and Bishops administer individual dioceses as successors of the twelve apostles. As such they are responsible for the appointment and supervision of parishpriests, and the oversight of all church affairs within their diocese.
The Catholic Church is organised into local hierarchies within each nation, or group of smaller nations. National Conferences of bishops co-ordinate local policy within each nation.
The worldwide CatholicChurch is made up of one Western or Latin and 22 Eastern Catholic autonomous particular churches, all of which look to the Bishop of Rome, alone or along with the College of Bishops, as their highest authority on earth for matters of faith, morals and church governance.
The Church traces its history to Jesus and the Twelve Apostles, and sees the bishops of the Church as the successors of the Apostles in general, and the Pope as the successor of Saint Peter, leader of the Apostles, in particular.
Reformers within the CatholicChurch launched the Counter Reformation or Catholic Reformation, a period of doctrinal clarification, reform of the clergy and the liturgy, and re-evangelization begun by the Council of Trent.
The church claims an unbroken history to the year 33 AD which was the year in which Jesus is said to have been crucified and subsequently risen from the dead, thereafter instructing his followers to establish a new church.
The Catechism of the CatholicChurch, 85 states that authentic interpretation of the word of God is entrusted to the living Magisterium of the Church, namely the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter.
Catholics are a significant minority in Britain, where their faith underwent a revival in the 19th and early 20th Century after three centuries of relentless persecution.
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