The Roman Catholic Church is a worldwide Christian institution organized into local churches committed to bringing God’s love and the Gospel message to the world and building up the kingdom of God.

The church grounds itself in this history which spans more than two millenia. From its very beginning in the early first century when Jesus said to Peter: “Thou art the rock and upon this rock I will build my church,” the Catholic church began to bring the Gospel message in word and deed to the far reaches of the earth.

Pope Francis leads more than one billion Catholic Christians around the world and guides them as the church’s chief shepherd. Roman Catholic popes are successors of St. Peter the first pope. For nearly 2000 years, the church has been electing popes to lead the worldwide church. This apostolic succession has remained intact even in the face of hardships and persecutions.

In the middle of the 20th century, the church once again examined itself and refreshed itself through the Second Vatican Council. The documents from the council are meant to bring the church into the modern age. It was a time of ‘opening the windows’ and getting back to basics of Christian life and evangelization.

Today the church continues to spread and proclaim the Gospel message of Jesus Christ often in hostile environments. The church of the 21st century finds itself firmly standing on the shoulders of church teachings that have withstood the test of time and culture and continue to be a beacon of hope in an often dark and weary world.

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