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The Roman Catholic Church is the largest branch of Christianity and is a global institution, headquartered in the city-state of Vatican City in the heart of Rome, Italy. It has a presence in more than 220 countries, numerically most pronounced in Brazil, Mexico, the United States, and the Philippines, and is currently experiencing fast-paced, exponential growth in Africa and Asia. The Church's multinational presence; the cultural and economic diversity of its population; the expansive range of its institutional services (e.g., education, health, social welfare) and interinstitutional relations; its active public engagement with issues of economic development, social justice, and human ethics; and its increasing attention to the socioeconomic and geopolitical challenges of globalization consolidate its core relevance to any discussion of globalization. This entry provides ...

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