Roman Catholicism
As a technicality, the term "Roman Catholic" is a description most likely to be used by an outsider looking in, rather than a communicant. To such a one, their church would be more typically referred to as Holy Mother Church, or the Universal (Catholic) Church.

The PAPACY For the secular rulers of the city, see Latium.


PONTIFEX MAXIMUS I cannot forbear from introducing a bit of whimsy here, and record such of the ancient Pontifices Maximi as I have records of. And yet, there is a serious interest here; the Office of Pontifex Maximus, the chief priest and executive of the priestly orders of the City of Rome, has endured longer, I believe, than any other functionary. In a nearly unbroken line of succession stretching back to approximately 700 BCE, roughly 340 or so individuals have governed the religious life of the city under the same title, and in all that time the physical seat of the office has changed only three times; from the Palatine, to the Lateran, to the Vatican (the Papal residence was situated at a fourth locale: Avignon, France, 1309-1377). The time span involved covers some 53 percent of recorded human history.