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Introduction

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The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide . As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Catholic theology is based on the Nicene Creed. The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ, that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles, and that the pope is the successor to Saint Peter upon whom primacy was conferred by Jesus Christ. It maintains that it practises the original Christian faith, reserving infallibility, passed down by sacred tradition. The Latin Church, the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, and institutes such as mendicant orders and enclosed monastic orders reflect a variety of theological and spiritual emphases in the church.

Of its seven sacraments the Eucharist is the principal one, celebrated liturgically in the Mass. The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ. The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions. Its teaching includes sanctification through faith and evangelisation of the Gospel as well as Catholic social teaching, which emphasises voluntary support for the sick, the poor, and the afflicted through the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.

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The Sistine Chapel has been the location of the conclave since 1492.

A papal conclave is a meeting of the College of Cardinals to elect the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church (or Bishop of Rome) who is considered by Catholics to be the Successor of Saint Peter and head of the Church. A history of political interference in these elections and consequently long vacancies between popes, and most immediately the interregnum of 1268-1271, prompted the Second Council of Lyons which decreed in 1274 that the electors should be locked in seclusion cum clave (Latin for "with a key"), and not permitted to leave until a new Bishop of Rome is elected. Conclaves are now held in the Sistine Chapel in the Palace of the Vatican. In the early centuries of Christianity the bishop of Rome (like other bishops) was chosen by the consensus of the clergy and people of Rome. The body of electors was more precisely defined when, in 1059, the College of Cardinals was designated the sole body of electors. Since then other details of the process have developed. In 1970 Pope Paul VI limited the electors to cardinals under 80 years of age.
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Credit: Eadfrith, Bishop of Lindisfarne

The incipit of the Gospel of Matthew from the Lindisfarne Gospels, an illuminated Latin manuscript of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The manuscript was produced in Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the late 7th century or early 8th century, and is generally regarded as the finest example of the kingdom's unique style of religious art. It is currently in the collection of the British Library.

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'The Venerable Bede translates John'

Bede (d/; c. 672 or 673 – May 25, 735), also Saint Bede, the Venerable Bede, or (from Latin) Beda (Old English pronunciation: [beda]), was a Benedictine monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow (see Wearmouth-Jarrow), both Northumbria. He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) gained him the title "The father of English history". Bede became known as Venerable Bede (Lat.: Beda Venerabilis) soon after his death, but this was not linked to consideration for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. In fact, his title is believed to come from a mistranslation of the Latin inscription on his tomb in Durham Cathedral, intended to be Here lie the venerable bones of Bede, but wrongly interpreted as here lie the bones of the Venerable Bede.
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St. Robert Bellarmine, Burbank

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Saint Dismas (sometimes spelled Dysmas or only Dimas, or even Dumas), also known as the Good Thief or the Penitent Thief, is the apocryphal name given to one of the two thieves (Matthew 27:38) who was crucified alongside Jesus. Dismas was the thief who repented of his sins and asked Jesus to remember him in his kingdom.Though never canonized by the church, the Good Thief carries the sole distinction of being the only human to be canonized by Jesus himself, if by canonized one means the formal recognition of a person's place in heaven.The two thieves were crucified at the same time as Jesus, one on his right hand, and one on his left (Matthew 27:38, Mark 15:27-28, Luke 23:33, John 19:18), which Mark interprets as fulfillment of the prophesy of 53:12. According to the Gospel of Luke 23:39-43:

[O]ne of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, "If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." ♦ But the other answering rebuked him, saying, "Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? ♦ And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss." ♦ And he said unto Jesus, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." ♦ And Jesus said unto him, "Verily I say unto thee, today shalt thou be with me in paradise." (KJV)


Attributes:Wearing a loincloth and holding his cross; sometimes, standing in Paradise
Patronage:prisoners, especially condemned prisoners; undertakers; repentant thieves; Merizo, Guam
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Lateran Square, showing the Lateran Palace and the Archbasilica of Our Savior and Sts. John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran


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Divine Mercy

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