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Questioning the accuracy here. The partriarch of Rome was not supreme in the early Church, and simply never managed to assert his authority over the east. The split in churches came about mainly because the pope did not recognise the supremacy of the emperor in ecclesiastical matters, and so should be more attributed to the west than the east, although for the most part it was just a reflection of the differences that had developed between the two areas. On this note, on Christianity it lists the orthodox church as a sort of catholicism - we should probably adopt either separating or grouping them conistently to avoid confusion.

I hope the text reflects your objection now.

I deleted this text someone added because it is incorrect and poorly written:

While number of members seems impresive at first, it has to be considered that it includes everyone who was christen as a newborn baby. Actual number of members is not bigger (probably less) than half of the claimed number. Catholicism is also certainly not an oldest branch. It's roots are in early medieval times (some Asian churches are much older), and the most important dogmas differentiating Catholicism from other branches of Christianity, like Pope's supremacy over general council of bishops, and Assuption of Mary were passed in XIX and XX centuries.

The author that added this also deleted claims of Catholicism being oldest and largest branch; I think it is the largest and one of the oldest (though I would Eastern Orthodoxy are equally old); but I haven't put that back in because maybe it is incorrect -- Simon J Kissane

Thanks, Simon. You just provided a good example of how Wikipedia ought to work - general consensus prevails over particularist takes on the world.

We're never going to get a paragraph that satisfies the Great Schism question. They are equally old. Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism are at base the same thing (I know, I know, I'm simplifying the problem). They are broken apart from each other, and the partisans of each side prefer to blame the other and/or declare that the other is completely invalid and that their section is the TRUE Church. The current Pope, JP II, who has a lifetime of contact with the Russian Orthodox and the Eastern Rite Catholics to draw on, refers to the Catholic and the Orthodox as the "two lungs" of the Church, implying that he recognizes equality or co-dependence or his willingness to talk or something. He hasn't been taken up on the offer very seriously.


Urgent: someone has apparently vandalized the text on Extreme Unction in the paragraph that begins "The practice of Catholic Church consists of seven sacraments..." I don't know the correct text here and am unable to restore. (27 September 2001)