Research Papers on the Catholic Church
Religion includes the iconic presence of various churches. Research papers on the Catholic Church illustrate its rich history in shaping the role of Christianity in the world. Have Paper Masters custom write research on the Catholic Church and any aspect of the religion you need studied.
To be a part of the Catholic Church is to be part of something that makes grand claims that embody high aspirations There is a distinction to be made between the church as a bureaucratic and earthly institution, and the Church as spiritual entity. For a believing Catholic the latter is far, far more important than the former, the former being merely a tool of the latter. This is not to denigrate the bureaucratic and organizational aspects of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church’s early emphasis on hierarchy and organization played an important role in its survival. Bokenkotter has described the Apostle Paul as being a person “with an uncanny ability to organize” and much of the subject matter of his letters had to do with organization, hierarchy, and the need to present a united front to the surrounding world.
But bureaucracy is the church in the world; there is, Catholicism believes, another aspect of the church which utterly transcends its organizational modus operendum. In the City of God St. Augustine catalogued the Pauline claims that the Catholic Church constituted the body of Christ. Jaroslav Pelikan has catalogued other spiritual claims made by the fathers of the early church. Those claims were as follows:
- The Catholic Church was seen as one; that is, it asserted that it possessed the one true doctrine.
- The Catholic Church was holy—for Christ was seen as being present in it.
- The Catholic Church was universal; i.e. it contained many individual churches, but all were seen as making up only one Catholic Church.
- The Catholic Church was apostolic; it claimed that Christ had transmitted truth to the apostles and that they, in turn, had transmitted the truth to the Catholic Church.
The Early History of the Catholic Church
The history of the Catholic Church spans over 2000 years and takes place in every corner of the world. The Apostles are the most important figures after the death of Jesus Christ. These men built the Church with their gospels and their ministries until their deaths. Many other figures contributed to the growth of the Church throughout the centuries. A complete history would take many volumes to complete, but the following pages cover some of the most important events and leaders from 30 A.D. to the present.
Fifty days after the Resurrection of Christ the Holy Ghost came to the Apostles on the Pentecost. Tongues of fire descended on the Apostles and they were given the gift of languages so they could go out and spread the word of God to the world. Pentecost was originally a festival during the time of the Old Testament but in the modern Christian calendar, it is celebrated on the seventh Sunday after Easter.
Until 1054, the Roman Catholic Church and Christianity were one and the same. At this time, many of the Christians were slaves and they could not do much about this. The Romans tolerated the Christians. This emperor was Nero and he came to power in 54 A.D. Nero was a tyrant who abused other people besides the Christians but during his reign, important Christians suffered greatly. St. Peter, the bishop of the Church in Rome, was crucified and St. Paul was beheaded. The man who succeeded Nero was Domitian. The persecutions did not go on continually but were punishment for the beliefs of the Christians. In spite of these persecutions, the Church began to grow. “….churches shot up bursting with eager members”. The Apostles and their followers spread Christianity to all the lands covered by Roman law and protected by Roman soldiers. The Christians avoided persecution by the Romans as long as they respected the authority of the Roman government, but were persecuted by Roman governors when they did not.
Christianity spread to the rest of the area around the Mediterranean Sea in the years after the death of Jesus Christ. By the end of the second century, the figure of the bishop became important to the organization of the Church. The Emperor Constantine the Great in 313 A.D. recognized the Church during his rule. This leader made Sunday, the day of the resurrection of Christ, the day of rest and codified the Christian practices after the death of Christ. In 325 A.D., Constantine called the Nicene Council and brought clerics from many places to find agreement on the beliefs and practices of the Church. By the end of this meeting, the clerics provided what is now called the Nicene Creed which was finalized in 381 A.D. The Emperor Constantine made great contributions to the survival of the Church. Constantine abolished slavery, crucifixion, exhibitions by gladiators and pagan temples. This emperor died in 337 A.D. and was baptized a Christian on his deathbed.
Julian, the nephew of Constantine, attended Christian ceremonies, but in his heart he was a pagan. He tried to restore some of the pagan institutions and leaders in order to undermine the rise of Christianity during his reign but died before he was able to do this. Christianity was too firmly established by this time for him to stop the growth of this religion. Pope Leo I, also known as Leo the Great, became the next leader of the early Church to have a lasting impact. He became the Pope in 440 A.D. and had the strength to confront the biggest threat of the time. Attila the Hun threatened the Church and Leo set out to meet him in person. Pope Leo negotiated with Attila the Hun and got him to retreat. Faraway in Ireland, St. Patrick, who lived from 387-493 A.D., brought Christianity to the people. According to research by Paper Masters, St. Patrick performed miracles so that the people rejected their Druidic gods to accept the God of Christianity.
The Catholic Church has lasted for a very long time and includes people from every continent. The challenges that it faces today are significant but very different from those in other difficult times such as the time of the Roman Empire and the Reformation.