The Latin Church

The Latin Church

The Latin Church, sometimes called the Western Church, is the largest autonomous particular church sui iuris within the Catholic Church, applying Latin liturgical rites. There are 24 such sui iuris particular churches within the Catholic Church, the others being Eastern Catholic Churches. They differ from each other in liturgical rite (ceremonies, vestments, chants, language), devotional traditions, theology, canon law, and pastors (even if in the same territory as another), but they all hold the same faith, and all see full communion with the Pope as Bishop of Rome as essential to being a Catholic.

The Latin Church, being the largest of these with a membership far greater than all the others combined, arose in Western Europe and North Africa, an area once encompassed by the Roman Empire, throughout which Latin was widely understood and spoken. All the other particular churches sui iuris, of which there are 23, originated farther east and are, therefore, collectively known as the Eastern Catholic Churches. Because of the population migrations, members of all of these particular churches sui iuris are no longer confined to their areas of origin and can be found all over the world.