Christianity attributes different meanings to the word Church. It is a building, sometimes called the House of God; it is also the community of worshippers who use the building; and it includes the assembly of believers, both living and dead. In the beginning, to distinguish the universal Church from the regional congregations, the term Catholic was used, (from the Greek Katholikos, meaning universal), and later this was identified with the Church of Rome. According to the Catholic Church, the Pope, known as the Bishop of Rome, is successor to the authority granted Saint Peter, the disciple, on whom Christ’s universal Church was built. (See Matthew 16:18). After the schism between the Western and Eastern Churches in 1054, the Catholic Church has managed to preserve its unity, but, as a result of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the Western Church has split into many varying sects.
The infallibility of the Pope, the Immaculacy of the Virgin Mary and her ascent into heaven are part of Roman Catholic doctrine, which holds that the Holy Ghost is an integral part of both God the Father and God the Son. The language of this Church is Latin; but after 20th century it was replaced by vernacular languages for church services. It practices baptism, communion, absolution, atonement, confession and confirmation. In the sacrament of communion, only bread is offered. It is believed that priests are awarded power through Christ to grant forgiveness during confession. The sick and the dying are anointed with holy oil. Marriages conducted in church demand a commitment to a life-long union, not permitted by the church to be broken and made to another person, except in very special circumstances. The Roman Catholic Church, which is often lavishly decorated as appropriate to the House of God, allows the deployment of statues, pictorial designs and the use of musical instruments.