Catholic Church

Largest Christian church, led by the Pope

The Catholic Church, sometimes referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3ย billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2018. As the world's oldest and largest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilization. The church consists of almost 3,500 dioceses around the world on every continent, each shepherded by its bishop. The pope, who is the Bishop of Rome, is the chief pastor of the whole church, entrusted with the universal Petrine ministry of unity and correction. The church's international administration is the Holy See, located in the tiny, independent European state of Vatican City in Rome, Italy, of which the pope is also head of state.

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