In the Catholic Church, universal positive ecclesiastical laws, based upon either immutable divine and natural law, or changeable circumstantial and merely positive law, derive formal authority and promulgation from the office of pope who, as Supreme Pontiff, possesses the totality of legislative, executive and judicial power in his person.

Canon law concerns the Catholic Church's life and organisation and is distinct from civil law.

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The Catholic Church teaches that it is the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church founded by Jesus Christ, The church teaches that through consecration by a priest the sacrificial bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ.

The Virgin Mary is venerated in the Catholic Church as Mother of God and Queen of Heaven, honoured in dogmas and devotions.

In its own field it gives force to civil law only by specific enactment in matters such as the guardianship of minors.

In the 2,000-year history of the church, several complementary expressions of the Christian faith emerged throughout the world, most prominently, the Western and Eastern Christian traditions.

Headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, the church's doctrines are summarised in the Nicene Creed.

Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, enclaved within Rome, Italy.

Ultimately leading the entire Catholic Church is the Bishop of Rome, commonly called the pope, whose jurisdiction is called the Holy See.

In parallel to the diocesan structure are a variety of religious institutes that function autonomously, often subject only to the authority of the pope, though sometimes subject to the local bishop.

Catholics live all over the world through missions, diaspora, and conversions.

Since the 20th century the majority reside in the southern hemisphere due to secularisation in Europe, and increased persecution in the Middle East.

"I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on Earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on Earth shall be loosed in heaven." Jesus to Peter in the Gospel of Matthew, The crossed gold and silver keys of the Holy See symbolise the keys of Simon Peter, representing the power of the papal office to loose and bind.