Latin Church  

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The Latin Church (also known as the Western Church or the Roman Catholic Church) is a particular church of the Catholic Church. It is one of 24 sui iuris churches, the 23 other forming the Eastern Catholic Churches. It employs the Latin liturgical rites. It is headed by the Bishop of Rome - the pope, also called the Patriarch of the West - with headquarters in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome. The Latin Church traces its history to the earliest days of Christianity, according to Catholic tradition, through its leadership under the Holy See.

Substantial distinguishing theological emphasises, liturgical traditions, features and identity can be traced back to the Latin church fathers, and most importantly the Latin Doctors of the Church, active during the first centuries A.D.

It was in full communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East-West schism in 1054. The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century resulted in Protestantism breaking away. Since 19th century, this has also occurred with smaller groups of Independent Catholic denominations.

With approximately 1.255 billion members (2015), it remains by far the largest particular church not only in the Catholic Church or Western Christianity, but in all Christianity.

See also

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