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/catolic/

Roman Catholic Church or Catholic Church (see terminology below) is the Christian church in full communion with the Bishop of Rome, currently Pope Benedict XVI. It traces its origins to the original Christian community founded by Jesus Christ and led by the Twelve Apostles, in particular Saint Peter.[1]

The Catholic Church is by far the largest Christian church and the largest organized body of any world religion.[2] According to the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, the Catholic Church's worldwide recorded membership at the end of 2005 was 1,114,966,000, approximately one-sixth of the world's population.[3]

The worldwide Catholic Church is made up of one Western or Latin and 22 Eastern Catholic particular churches, all of which look to the Bishop of Rome, alone or along with the College of Bishops, as their highest authority on earth for matters of faith, morals and church governance.[4] It is divided into jurisdictional areas, usually on a territorial basis. The standard territorial unit, each of which is headed by a bishop, is called a diocese in the Latin church and an eparchy in the Eastern churches. At the end of 2006, the total number of all these jurisdictional areas (or "Sees") was 2,782.[5]


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