Who founded the Catholic church?

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The Church was founded by God when Jesus ascended to Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit on the Apostles at Pentecost. Peter was His first "Vicar" on earth. Jesus guaranteed that He would be with it until the end of time, and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it, and for twenty-one centuries now, the Church has carried out His command:
from The Catechism of the Catholic Church second edition, English translation 1994

The word "catholic" means "universal", in the sense of "according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole." The Church is catholic in a double sense:
First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers II/2, 311) In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation" (Unitatis redintegratio) which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. the Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost (Cf. Ad gentes 6; Eph 1:22-23) and will always be so until the day of the Parousia.
Secondly, the church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race: (Cf. Mt 28:19)
"All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one . . . The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit."
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