British dependency on the tip of the Spanish Peninsula, on the Mediterranean.
It was evangelized after the Moors were driven out near the end of the 15th century.
Mission work was impeded by the British, who acquired the colony in 1713.
vicariate was organized in 1817, a diocese in 1910. Most Catholics are Italian or
Spanish immigrants. Catholics make up 85% of the population.
Greece - Republic in SE Europe: capital,
Athens. Christianity was introduced in the 1st
century, in Athens and Corinth by St Paul, on his second missionary
journey. Two bishops from Greece attended the 1st Council of
Nicaea. The Greeks followed the Eastern rite, and went with Orthodoxy in
the schism of
1054. Attempts at the Council of Florence to reunify the East and West, and save
Constantinople from the Ottoman Turks, failed. Greece has Latin as well as
Greek rites. The Greek Orthodox Church predominates, while the Catholic Church
is still trying to gain full legal rights. Catholics are .6% of the population.
Hungary Republic in east central
Europe: capital, Budapest. When Christianity
first came to this region is unknown. It was accepted by the Magyars in
century. St. Stephen I helped to extend the Faith and organized the
Church into dioceses.
Historically Hungrary was a buffer for the Christian West against barbarians from the
East. The Hussites and Waldensians were precursors of the Reformation,
which began here
in 1526, and resulted in the conversion of many people to Lutheranism and
Calvinism, though most came back to the Church. The Turks came at about
the same time, repressing the Church for 150 years. In 18th
century, domination of the Church became government policy, which continued until WWI.
The state was increasingly secularized in the later 19th
century. After WWII, a Communists waged a campaign against Church, which
began by the disbanding of Catholic
organizations in 1946. In 1948, all Catholic institutions were suppressed, and attempts
were made to subjugate the hierarchy, with the imprisonment
of Cardinal Mindszenty. In 1950, religious orders were suppressed, and many
priests and religious were jailed. Some were executed. The government sponsored an
alternative "Progressive Catholic" Church. In 1990, diplomatic
relations were reestablished with the Vatican. In 1993, the Church was reorganized,
and in 1997, some Church property was restored.
Catholics are 63% of the population.
Iceland Island republic in the North
Atlantic: capital, Reykjavik. According to legend, the island was first
discovered by Irish monks, about 800. It was colonized in the 9th
century by Norsemen. The soil was prepared for Christianity by Icelandic
martial and mercantile, who came into contact with
Christian civilizations. Some missionaries may have accompanied settlers
from Scotland and Ireland. The first native mission was
established in 996, with support from the new Parliament. In 1000,
paganism was suppressed and the people compelled to receive Baptism.
Evangelization then consisted of actually converting the nation,
which was a laborious effort, but effective. Fifty years later they received
their first bishop. Monasteries were established by Benedictines and
Augustinians, who contributed to the culture of the island . A turning
point was reached in the 15th century. There was a decline of
religion among the clergy, the people faced political strife, plagues,
and earthquakes. Lutheranism was introduced with support from Christian
III, King of Norway and Denmark. Catholicism was gradually displaced,
then outlawed. In the 19th century, Parliament was reestablished and
religious freedom restored in 1874. In 1918, Iceland became
independent of Denmark, though subject to the Danish king until 1944,
when it cut the last political tie and became a republic. In 1968,
an apostolic vicariate erected in 1929 became a diocese. Catholics
are now just 1.4% of the population.
Ireland Island west of Britain, including an independent
republic in the south (capital: Dublin), and a part of the United Kingdom in
the north (capital: Belfast). Christianity was introduced by St. Patrick in
the 5th century, and his
work was continued by Celtic monks. The Celtic Church was organized along monastic
lines until the 11th century, when Roman traditions were adopted,
including organization along episcopal lines. The Church increased in strength
from the time of the Norman Conquest to the reign of Henry VIII, who tried to suppress
Catholicism in Ireland, as did several of his successors. The Irish were
subjected to a plantation
system under absentee landlords until 1714. Some penal laws remained in
effect until emancipation in 1829. A century later, Ireland was divided,
leaving the northern six counties part of the UK (1920) and giving dominion status to
the other 26 as the Irish Free State (1922), which was proclaimed the Republic of Ireland in
1949. In the Irish Republic, Catholicism predominates, but there is religious freedom for all. In Northern Ireland,
the long conflict
(1960s-90s) between nationalists (Catholics) and unionists
(Protestants), has left 3000 people dead. Prospects for peace increased
in 1998, with the signing of the "Good Friday agreement." Catholics
are 76% of all Ireland (including the North), and 95% of the Republic of Ireland.
Italy Republic in southern Europe:
capital, Rome. Christianity was brought to
Rome by the mid-1st century, and St. Peter established his see
there as the center of the universal Church. Though persecuted, the Church in Rome
increased and expanded throughout Italy. It was organized along the lines of
Roman civil organization, with parishes, dioceses, and provinces. With
the Edict of Milan (313), the Church was freed from oppression and soon became
the official religion of the Empire. When the imperial government was moved from
Rome to Constantinople, civil responsibilities in Italy eventually fell
to the pope and bishops. From the 4th to the 19th centuries,
Church in Rome was a temporal as well as a spiritual power. The Papal
States were seized by the Kingdom
of Italy in the 1870s. The 1929 Lateran Pacts recognized the Vatican as
an independent state, with a concordat regulating Church-state relations.
The concordat was revised in 1984, reducing Church privileges, including
the status of Catholicism as the state religion. Catholics are 97% of
Latvia Baltic republic, independent of
the USSR since 1991: capital, Riga. Catholicism was introduced late the 12th century.
Lutheranism became dominant after 1530. Catholics were free to practice
their faith during a long period under Russian control, and during independence
from 1918 until forcibly absorbed by the USSR in 1940. The small Catholic community
was repressed under the Soviets, 1940-91. After
independence, the Church began to flourish. Catholics are 17.5% of the population.
Liechtenstein - Constitutional monarchy in central
Europe: capital, Vaduz.
Christianity was introduced in the 4th century. The area has
always remained under the jurisdiction of Chur, Switzerland. The Reformation had little impact.
Catholicism is state religion, but there is freedom of worship for all. Catholics
are 80% of the population.
Lithuania - Baltic republic: capital,
Vilnius. Under Soviet domination from 1940, the country regained independence
in 1991. Catholicism was introduced in 1251, with a short-lived diocese
established by 1260. There was effective evangelization between 1387 and
Catholicism became the state religion. Lutheran incursions in the 16th
century were overcome, and Russian attempts (1795-1918) to convert the Church to
Orthodoxy were resisted. Under the Soviet regime (1940-1991), convents and
seminaries were closed. Priests were appointed by the government and restricted in
their pastoral ministry. No religious services were allowed outside of churches. Religious
instruction and publications were banned. Some bishops and hundreds of
priests were imprisoned 1945-55. Yet the underground Church was vigorous.
In the 1980s, government pressure was eased and some bishops returned to
their dioceses. In 1989 Pope John
Paul II appointed bishops for all six dioceses. The Church is still seeking
the return of properties confiscated in 1940. Catholics are 82% of the population.
Luxembourg Constitutional monarchy in western
Europe: capital, Luxembourg..
Christianity was introduced in the 5th and 6th centuries, and
firmly established by the 8th century, with a full-scale parish
system by the 9th. The Reformation had little influence, but
Revolution had some negative impact. 89% of the population is Catholic.
Macedonia Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, independent
since 1992: capital, Skopje. Ancient Macedonia was evangelized by St. Paul. Today
of Skopje-Prizren includes the Yugoslav province of Kosovo. Catholics
of the population.
Malta - Island republic south of Sicily:
capital, Valletta. St. Paul was shipwrecked
there in 60. There is evidence of the early Church in the catacombs. Under Saracen
domination, the Church was suppressed from 870 to 1090, when the episcopal
succession was restored. Church-state conflict in recent years resolved
in 1985. Catholics are 96% of the population.
Moldova Formerly part of USSR, now independent
republic: capital, Kishinev. The population is mainly Orthodox. Catholics (.46%)
are mostly of Polish or German
Monaco Constitutional monarchy, on Mediterranean coast of
France: capital, Monaco-Ville. Christianity was introduced before 1000. Catholicism is the
state religion, but with freedom of worship. Catholics are 90% of the population.
Netherlands Constitutional monarchy
in NW Europe: capital, Amsterdam.. Evangelization was begun in the 6th century by Irish, Anglo-Saxon, and Frankish
missionaries. The country was Christianized by 800. In the 16th
century, French Calvinism brought serious losses to the Church, and made
the Reformed Church dominant. In the 17th century, the Dutch
Church operated under burdens of official repression and social
handicap. The schism of Utrecht, occurring in 1724, further reduced the
Catholic Church, which had only a skeletal organization until 1853, when
the hierarchy was reestablished. The cultural isolation of Catholics continued
until 1914, when early steps were taken toward interfaith relations.
Since Vatican II, the Dutch Church has received publicity for the
"progressive" positions taken by some of its leaders.
1990s saw polarization among Catholics over sexual morality, women's
ministries, and priestly celibacy. Bishops have condemned permissive
laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide. Catholics make up 31% of the population.
Norway Constitutional monarchy in western
Europe: capital, Oslo.
Christianity was introduced in the 9th century by English and Irish
missionaries. The Church was firmly established by the 11th century.
The first diocese was organized in 1153. The Church continued to develop until
the Black Death (1349) inflicted losses from which the Church never
recovered. Lutheranism was introduced in 1537 and became the state religion by 1600.
The Catholic Church was put under such strictures by law that priests
fled the country. There was some loosening of restrictions in the 19th
century. Religious liberties were granted in 1845, and many legal disabilities
were repealed in 1897. Administered as one apostolic vicariate from 1892,
Norway was divided into three jurisdictions in 1932. Catholics are 1% of