Western Christianity

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Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage. The term is used in contrast to Eastern Christianity.

Western Christianity developed and came to be predominant in most of Western, Northern, Central, Southern and parts of Eastern Europe, Northern Africa (originally), Southern Africa, and throughout Australia and the Western Hemisphere. When used of historical periods since the 16th century, 'Western Christianity' refers collectively to Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, especially in referral to aspects shared (for example ritually, doctrinally, historically and politically) rather than aspects differing between them.

Today, the geographical distinction between Western and Eastern Christianity is not nearly as absolute, especially after the spread of missionaries.

Contents

History

For most of its history the church in Europe has been divided between the Latin-speaking west, whose centre was Rome, and the Greek-speaking east, whose centre was Constantinople. Cultural differences and political rivalry created tensions between the two churches, leading to disagreement over doctrine and ecclesiology and ultimately to schism.[1]

Features of Western Christianity

Original sin

Original sin may be taken to mean: (1) a consequence of the first sin, the hereditary stain with which we are born on account of our origin or descent from Adam, or (2) the sin that Adam committed. The more common understanding is the hereditary sin meaning. Western Christianity is thought to hold this doctrine because of the influence of Saint Augustine who wrote: "the deliberate sin of the first man is the cause of original sin" (De nupt. et concup., II, xxvi, 43).[2]

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