(Name) (Professor) (Subject) (Date) The Beginning of Catholicism and its Spread around the World From its humble beginnings in Israel to the established Roman Catholic societies today, Catholicism has undergone many difficulties throughout several centuries but has remained united and strong against all these challenges…
The Birth of Christianity in Jerusalem The birth of Christianity was practically the beginning of Christ’s preaching in Jerusalem (“How the Catholic Church”). In Chapter 16 of the Gospel of Matthew, it is believed that Jesus established the Catholic Church when He asked the disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matthew 16:13, New American Standard Bible). Although the disciples have several answers, only Simon Peter’s sufficed when he said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16:16). Through this statement, one can see that Peter declared and affirmed Jesus Christ’s divinity. Jesus then formally established the Church by assigning Peter the equivalent role of Pope: “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven…you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church” (Mt. 16:17-18). Jesus’ divine declaration of Peter’s important role in the Christian Church happened in around 33 AD in Jerusalem (“How the Catholic Church”). It was actually Peter who eventually brought Christianity to Rome, where the religion became Roman Catholicism. The Emergence of Christianity in Rome Before Peter went to Rome to spread Christ’s church, he and the other disciples preached the gospel in Jerusalem first until around 45 AD (“How the Catholic Church”). Their accomplishments are all found in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, where Peter declared once more the authority that Jesus conferred upon Him before the latter’s death: “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7). This authority of Peter was important in the early beginnings of the Catholic Church when there were no established doctrines yet except the teachings of Christ. Through Peter’s authority and as stated in the Acts of the Apostles, the apostles preached in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, Syria, Asia Minor, Europe and finally Rome (Darby). The joint efforts of Peter and the other disciples in spreading the gospel in the aforementioned places approximately lasted until the year 44 during the reign of the Roman Emperor Claudius, although some sources say it was during the time of the succeeding emperor, Nero (Robinson). The missionary activities of the 12 disciples of Jesus including Peter happened simultaneously with those of Paul, who arrived in Jerusalem in around 57 AD, and preached in Greece and Rome until his arrest and death sometime between 64 and 68 AD also during the time of Nero (“Paul’s Work”). The joint efforts of Peter, Paul and the other disciples of Christ in spreading the word of God in the Middle East, Europe and Rome may have caused their eventual deaths, but these efforts served as the seed from which Roman Catholicism would be born. The Formal Beginnings of Roman Catholicism Between 100 AD and 200 AD, the need arose for the specifications of Catholic Christianity, especially on the subject of apostolic authority. There was a need to put into writing what it really meant to be a Christian and, thus, there was a need to organize the New Testament Scriptures, writings of the apostles, the Episcopal centers that the apostles established, in order to formulate a standard of Christian conduct (Guisepi). It was Irenaeus, ...
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