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10 facts about Catholicism that might surprise you

The Church is much more than Roman Catholic.

There’s more to Catholicism than meets the eye. What many people refer to as the “Roman Catholic Church” is only one of 24 Catholic Churches, for example. The others are Eastern Catholic Churches that have their own hierarchy and use various liturgical rites but which are in communion with the Pope.

The Mass, or Divine Liturgy, is not simply a religious service. The Catholic faith teaches that in each Mass, Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross is made present. Kneeling (or standing, as Eastern Catholics do) during the consecration of the Eucharist, a Catholic is mystically in the presence of the Crucifixion on Calvary.


An unbroken chain of succession characterizes the hierarchy of the Catholic Church. Christ commissioned the Twelve Apostles, and each one of them in turn commissioned bishops, who in turn ordained other bishops and priests. So every priest and bishop alive today, including the pope and the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches, has a lineage that traces directly back to the Apostles. It is why the Church is known as an “Apostolic Church.”

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