1. The foundations of Catholicism in America date all the way back to the first voyage of Columbus in 1492. Long before Jamestown, there were Catholic settlements across the North American continent.
2. The Roman Catholic Church is the only Christian church in existence for the first 1,000 years of Christian history. All other Christian churches which exist today can trace their lineage back to the Roman Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches that exist today are less than a century or two old by comparison.
3. The Catholic Church consists of more than just the Roman Catholic Church. There are 22 Eastern Rites that are in full communion with Rome and although they go by different names, they are every bit as much a part of the Catholic Church.
4. The first book ever printed by Gutenberg was the Bible in 1454 or 1455. All the bibles he printed included the Deuterocanonicals later removed by Protestants.
5. The Catholic Church is entirely responsible for the composition of the Bible, which books are included, as well as the breakup of the chapters and verses. Protestants have removed some books of the Bible because some of the verses were inconsistent with their theology. Martin Luther was a prime offender in this regard, removing Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach, and Baruch. He also made an effort to remove James and Revelations, but this was rejected by his followers and those two books were kept. Catholics are often accused of “adding” the books, but despite this common belief, it is false. Older, pre-Protestant, Catholic translations of the Bible include them.
6. There does not seem to be an official number of saints that are recognized by the Catholic Church, but it exceeds 10,000. Of course, any person who enters heaven is a saint, by definition, so it is certain the number of actual saints in existence is much greater than the number recognized by the Church.
7. If a person is in grave danger of death any Catholic may perform an emergency baptism. In such a case, the validity of the baptism only depends upon the wishes of the person being baptized, that they desire the baptism. There are specific guidelines for such practices that Catholics should follow. Anyone wishing to be prepared for such a case should refer to the catechism for a deeper understanding of this allowance. Normally, such practices ought to be left to trained clergy.
8. About 15 percent of all hospitals in the United States are Catholic hospitals. In some parts of the world, the Catholic Church provides the only healthcare, education and social services available to people.
9. The Catholic Church spends more money than Apple brings in. Expenditures by the Catholic Church, largely on charity, exceeded $170 billion in 2012, according to The Economist magazine. In that same year, Apple took in $157 billion in revenue.
10. The Pope is protected by the Swiss Papal Guard. Wearing uniforms designed by Michelangelo and commonly armed with halberds, they are capable of using heavier weapons if needed. Each member is Catholic, male, and Swiss, and must complete military training in Switzerland. They must demonstrate good conduct and be at least five-foot-eight in height. Those who are chosen are granted a private audience with the pope along with their families. In extreme circumstances, they are expected to guard the Holy Father with their lives. The Swiss Papal Guard is the oldest active military unit in continual existence since 1506.
11. If Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who reportedly came in second in votes in the 2005 conclave that elected Joseph Ratzinger, would have been chosen at that time, he would have taken the name “John XXIV” rather than “Francis.”
12. The smallest diocese in the United States, in terms of population, is the Diocese of Juneau, Alaska with a total Catholic population of 10,600.
13. The name “Christian” and “Catholic,” used to refer to the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, and both came from the town of Antioch in Syria at very early dates. (See Acts 11:26 and Ignatius of Antioch’s letter to the Smyrnaeans, ch. 8).
14. Rome has the highest crime rate.