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The Roman Catholic Church

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Roman Catholicism refers both to a church (or, more accurately, a college of churches that together constitute the universal Catholic Church and to a tradition'(Macmillan 576). is the oldest church and has existed since the time of Jesus. has been in existence for nearly 2,000 years. The Catholic Church is also the most popular church, 'there are more than one-half billion Catholics worldwide, by far the largest body of Christians' (Macmillan 576 ). The history of the Catholic religion can be traced back to its original successor St. Peter. Jesus Christ told St. Peter 'You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it' (Matt 16:18). Christ promised his followers that his church would not be destroyed and that his church would survive until his return.
is the largest religion today. This religion has been seeing a lot of people leaving this religion and joining other churches. But even though many people are changing to other religions, there are also many people leaving their churches and converting to Roman Catholicism. It has been growing rapidly in the last few years. 'Today we are seeing more than a hundred and fifty thousand converts enter each year in the United States' (Catholic Answers). From what I can see the Roman Catholic Religion will continue to grow and prosper. It is a well-established religion that has been around for many years. It can be found in many different places all over the world and has many followers.
Jesus Christ is the focal symbol of the Roman Catholics. Without Jesus Christ the religion could not exist, he holds the religion together and is the master symbol. This group also has many general symbols that are also shared by many of the other religions. Some of those symbols shared are the circle, the cross, the earth, fire and water. The circle represents completeness, eternity, and wholeness, and can be seen in the wedding rings. The earth represents fertility, the water represents cleansing, regeneration and rebirth. This can be seen in the Catholic religion during the baptismal. Another symbol that is used by Christians is the symbol of a fish; this one is not general and is not shared by all other religions.
This religion has many other symbols that are considered of importance to them. A form of non-conceptual verbal symbol that they practice is the rosary. Many people practice the rosary when they are in need of something. People tend to pray and say the rosary in return for a favor they are asking from Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary. In many cases when a loved one is sick or in some sort of trouble Catholics believe that by praying and saying the rosary on behalf of that person things will get much better. There are several myths and rites associated with this group. Some rites performed by this group are baptism and weddings. Adam and Eve and The Garden of Eden are examples of myths or sacred stories believed by Catholics. These are used to teach that sins are punished with pain and suffering. It also teaches that this suffering does not only affect the person committing the sin but may affect other people.
The buildings and the architecture of there parishes tend to be somewhat simple. They are not very fancy looking. Their parishes tend to be really big and can house hundreds of people for a mass or services being practiced. The windows are of stained glass and they have very high ceilings. Their churches always have a cross at the top of their buildings.
Roman Catholics observe several sacred days and times. They also have several sacred places. Some of the sacred days they observe are Christmas, Passover and Easter. Christmas is the day of the birth of Christ, Passover and Easter, which are the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Roman Catholics respect Jerusalem and it is seen as the 'Holy Land'. Roman Catholics also have great respect to their parishes because that is their place of worship. Rome is also very respected because that is where the pope and The Vatican are located.
Roman Catholics may have several psychological motives to become members and part of this religion. One reason maybe that they were unhappy with their old religion. Or maybe their church was not answering their questions and they were unable to find meaning in what was being preached. In a society where there is so much freedom including freedom of religion, many convert after attending services and learning more of this religion. Others may have turned to Catholicism because family members pressured them into attending services and they liked it and decided to convert. From a Freudian psychoanalytic perspective this group's religious experience seems to speak more of a psychic health/ fulfillment. Catholics practice this religion because it helps them spiritually. It is a religion that fulfills them both emotionally and physically. The Catholic Church uses social encapsulation to work with potential converts and helping them with their new life styles. After the conversion there are different social activities that will help the recent convert through the transition. Some of these activities that the church offers are bible study, retreats, and prayer.
The parish I visited for my observation is St. John Chrysostom. This parish is located in Inglewood. The Reverend at St. John Chrysostom Parish is Paul M. Montoya. The group of attendants at this parish is very diverse. Mainly Hispanics, Blacks, and Caucasians visit this parish. The service I attended consisted mainly of Hispanic people. The Hispanic community has the largest number of attendants at this parish. There were people of all ages, from newborn babies to elderly people. The people that visit this church seem to be from a low to middle income social class. The majority of the Hispanic families that attend mass at St. John Chrysostom are immigrants. Most of the older people from the parish community are immigrants themselves, while some of the younger people that attend services are second generation immigrants. The majority of the people attending mass were young teenagers and middle age people. Even thought there were people of all ages present. Many of the people that attend these services feel very strongly of their religion and also about their church. I believe that the reason people feel so strongly about their religion and about their church is that they know that if they are ever in need they can go to their church and their church will assist them in anyway possible. The church is always there to offer support and offer their services to its community.
The structure of the church is composed of a central leader and many times the priest is the central leader of the church. The central leader is male, he is in charge of conducting the mass. There are female in the leadership team. The nuns may be in charge of taking care of other matters such as the education department of the parish. They may also be put in charge of social events and other social services being offered by the church. Other people that are in higher power over the priest are the bishops, archbishops, cardinals and the pope. The Pope is the highest governing authority in this religious group. He is the head of all the churches and is responsible for all the ...

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