The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with 1.2 billion members. The Catholic hierarchy includes cardinals and bishops and is led by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. The Church teaches that it is the one true church divinely founded by Jesus Christ. It also teaches that its bishops are the successors of Christ's apostles and that the Bishop of Rome, as the successor to the head of the apostles, Saint Peter, has supreme authority over the Church. The Church maintains that the doctrine on faith and morals that it presents as definitive is infallible. Within the Church there are a variety of doctrinal and theological traditions, including the Eastern Catholic Churches, the personal ordinariates and religious communities.
The Catholic Church is Trinitarian and defines its mission as spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity. Catholic worship is highly liturgical, focusing on the Mass or Divine Liturgy, in which the sacrament of the Eucharist is celebrated. The Church teaches that when consecrated by a validly ordained priest the bread and wine used during the Mass become the body and blood of Christ through transubstantiation. The Catholic Church practises closed communion and only baptised members of the Church in a state of grace are ordinarily permitted to receive the Eucharist. It holds the Virgin Mary, as mother of Jesus Christ, in special regard and has defined four specific Marian dogmatic teachings, namely her Immaculate Conception without original sin, her status as the Mother of God, her perpetual virginity and her bodily Assumption into Heaven at the end of her earthly life.