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The Catholic Church has influenced Western philosophy, culture, art, and science.
Catholics live all over the world through missions, diaspora, and conversions.
There are three levels of clergy, the episcopate, composed of bishops who hold jurisdiction over a geographic area called a diocese or eparchy; the presbyterate, composed of priests ordained by bishops and who work in local diocese or religious orders; and the diaconate, composed of deacons who assist bishops and priests in a variety of ministerial roles.
Ultimately leading the entire Catholic Church is the Bishop of Rome, commonly called the pope, whose jurisdiction is called the Holy See.
Since the 20th century the majority reside in the southern hemisphere due to secularisation in Europe, and increased persecution in the Middle East.
The Catholic Church shared communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the East–West Schism in 1054, disputing particularly the authority of the Pope.
is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the church.
while the distinctive traditions of Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.
Most religious institutes only have male or female members but some have both.
It has all the ordinary elements of a mature legal system: Canon law concerns the Catholic Church's life and organisation and is distinct from civil law.
In its own field it gives force to civil law only by specific enactment in matters such as the guardianship of minors.
Additionally, lay members aid many liturgical functions during worship services. The Catholic Church holds that Christ instituted the papacy upon giving the keys of Heaven to Saint Peter.
His ecclesiastical jurisdiction is called the "Holy See" (Sancta Sedes in Latin), or the "Apostolic See" (meaning the see of the apostle Peter).
The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope.