With a following of over one billion people, the Catholic religion is over 2,000 years old. Catholicism is the only Christian religion that started during the time of Christ. It was in 107 that the name 'catholic church' was first used by Ignatius of Antioch to describe Jesus' church. Read on to find out more about the Catholic religion, its doctrines as well as the Second Vatican council.
The Catholic beliefs are centered on Jesus' teachings, actions and life. The New Testament in the Bible is about Jesus and the apostles. The concept of the Trinity - God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is at the core of the Catholic faith. The Holy Spirit is the person that was left for the people on Earth when Jesus went back to Heaven. This Holy Spirit is found in any baptized person. Being an extension of Jesus, the Holy Spirit is always there for the believers.
Roman Catholic Church
The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian church that has an Episcopal hierarchy with the Pope as the leading figure. The word 'catholic' indicates accordance with totality or keeping with the whole. The Catholic religion is based on the dogma that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he suffered for the sins of the mankind and He was resurrected after being crucified. This fundamental difference is brought to the fore by the open display of the crucifix and other means of idolatry. Other Christians display cross as a symbol of their religious doctrine whilst the Catholics sport icons of Mary along with Christ. The Catholics believe that Jesus was conceived by Mary, the Ever Virgin and that the Eucharist is Jesus. When Jesus sat at the Last Supper, he told the apostles to take His body to live forever. The catholic Mass is focused around the Eucharist. Good Friday, the day of penance almost at the end of the lent season signifies the day on which Christ was crucified. The Friday on which Christ was crucified assumes greater significance earning the epithet - "Good Friday" as it portends the fundamental dogma of Christianity, the life and crucifixion of Christ and the resurrection from the death signifying the everlasting lives of the believers.
Easter is an important day for all Catholics as it is the day that they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring solstice. The Easter day holds special significance since the Christian theology is centered around the resurrection of Christ and his relationship to mankind.
Sociology of religion
The Association for the Sociology of Religion (ASR) is an international association that is aimed at advancing theory and research into the sociology of religion. This association has it early roots in the American Catholic Sociological Society formed in 1938. The association changed its name since its main focus turned to the sociology of religion.
This body encourages empirical study and social criticism in the study of the teachings of the Church. With a membership spanning all continents of the world, the members are encouraged to share interests with sociologists from other associations as well as scholars of religion in other disciplines. These scholars can be leading authorities on religion. This association brings out a journal named Sociology of Religion. Association of Sociology of Religion follows a major theme each year. These could range from community and research paradigms and understanding religion and its place in society.