Photo courtesy Adam J. Polczyk-Przybyla / DHD Multimedia Gallery
The Catholic population, meaning those who have been baptized by the Roman Catholic Church, cracked the 1 billion mark in 2001, according to the church's Pontifical Yearbook. Catholicism is by far the largest Christian denomination in the world, and more than 62 million Americans belong to the Catholic Church.
Catholics look to Vatican City in Rome, where the pope lives, for their spiritual leadership. The pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican's head of state. The pope's governance of the Catholic Church is termed his Papacy. You often hear the pope called by many other names, including Papa, Vicar of Christ, Holy Father and Bishop of Rome.
In this article, we will examine the jurisdiction of the Papacy of the Roman Catholic Church, discuss how someone becomes pope, and review some of the duties a pope performs.