The Catholic Church is part of Christianity, a major global religion that traces its origins to the prophet Abraham. The word ‘catholic’ comes from the Greek word ‘katholikos’, which means ‘universal’. Though the word ‘catholic’ features in numerous Christian churches and denominations, the term ‘Catholic Church’ is commonly associated with a distinctive major branch of Christianity.
The Catholic Church can be broadly divided into the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Catholic Churches. Both are in union and follow the authority of the bishop of Rome but retain their respective traditions and customs. Since its inception in the Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church has spread to become a large global force around the world. For example, it continues to be highly prevalent in societies previously colonised by Catholic Europeans. Today, approximately one-sixth of the world’s population identifies as Catholic, making it the largest religion followed worldwide. This religious profile focuses primarily on the Roman Catholic Church.
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