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Roman Catholic Evolution: 6 Key Events for Christian Denomination Since It Began

By    |   Friday, 06 Feb 2015 02:55 PM

The Roman Catholic Church has played a significant role in the history of Christianity and today the church has an estimated 1.2 billion members worldwide. Beginning with the Pentecost, the day of the Holy Spirit's descent upon Apostles, to current day teachings and leadership by Pope Francis, the Catholic Church continues to influence Christian faith around the world.

Here are six key events in the evolution of the Roman Catholic Church:

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1. The Great Schism, also known as the East-West Schism of 1054 AD, was the event that divided the Christian church into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. After a period of ecclesiastical and political conflict between Roman Bishop Pope Leo IX and Patriarch of Constantinople Michael Cerularius, the two excommunicated each other and the once universal church split along theological and geographical lines.

2. Pope Gregory VII was elected in 1073 AD, and is considered one of the great reformers of the Roman Catholic Church. Gregory issued the "Dictatus papae" which was a series of 27 statements about the spiritual and temporal powers of the papacy. According to Unam Sanctam Catholicam, the Dictatus papae stated that the Roman church was founded by God alone, that the Roman pontiff alone can with right be called universal, and that he himself may be judged by no one.

3. In 1095 AD, the Roman Catholic Church under Pope Urban II began a series of crusades against the enemies of the church. The first Crusade waged religious war against the Muslims in Jerusalem with the intent to reclaim the Holy Land. The Islamic message of Mohammed conflicted with Christian beliefs and the Catholic Church was concerned about Muslim influence. After much bloodshed, the crusaders recaptured Jerusalem in 1099 AD.

4. St. Thomas Aquinas, an Italian Dominican theologian who wrote more than 50 works, was considered an authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Between 1265 to 1274 AD, he wrote his best known work "Summa Theologica" in which he considered the relationship between faith and reason and the tome has been called a great monument of learning. "St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V," reports Catholic Online.

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5. The Protestant Reformation began in approximately 1517 AD, after the publication of Martin Luther's "95 Theses". Luther was an Augustinian monk and ecclesiastical reformer who demanded the Catholic Church return to the original teachings of the bible. Reformers were supported by ambitious political rulers seeking to extend their power.

The reformation effort failed and Martin Luther was excommunicated. The "protestants" were "forced to separate from Roman Catholicism resulting in Lutheran churches in Germany, Scandinavia and some eastern European countries, the Reformed churches in Switzerland and the Netherlands, Presbyterian churches in Scotland, and the Anglican church in England, and other diverse elements all of which have evolved into the Protestant denominations of today," according to Theopedia.

6. Counter-Reformation: The Council of Trent is considered the single most important event in the Catholic Reformation. The council met between 1545 and 1563 AD under the leadership of three different popes, the result of which was a formal rejection of the Protestant Reformation. According to Christian History Magazine, "The Council of Trent helped to bring much-needed reform to the Catholic church. It also refined the church’s structure and marshalled its forces for the years ahead. On matters of doctrine, however, the council made the gulf between Catholics and Protestants deep and lasting. Any remaining hopes of reunion were dashed."

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The Roman Catholic Church has played a significant role in the history of Christianity and today the church has an estimated 1.2 billion members worldwide.
Roman Catholic, Christian, Evolution, Denomination
Friday, 06 Feb 2015 02:55 PM
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