The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1. 3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017[update]. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
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