Did you know that the Pope is a world leader that commands, not only the Catholic Church, but also a small skilled army? And that there is a secret room that holds weapons exclusive to the Swiss Papal Guard? This and ten other interesting facts are surprising to most Catholics. Check out how many of these you already know and score yourself.
1. Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a little over one crime per day, the Vatican crime rate is above 100 percent, per capita. Although the fact is shocking it should be remembered that the Vatican is about one square mile in size, and has nearly 20 million visitors annually. Most of the crimes are pickpockets, purse snatching and other petty offenses done by outsiders.
2. The ONLY Christian church in existence for the first 1,000 years of Christian history was the Roman Catholic Church. All other Christian churches which exist today can trace their linage back to the Roman Catholic Church. Most non-Catholic churches which 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. Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, was Catholic and the first book ever printed was the Catholic Bible.
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. How many saints are recognized by the Catholic Church? There does not seem to be an official number, 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. Any Catholic may perform an emergency baptism, such as if a person is in grave danger of death. 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. Generally, 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.
How did you fare? Do you know something that we don't? Share with us other awesome secrets that you may have in the comments!