All residents were ordered to give sacrifices or be punished.
Relations between the Church and the Empire were not consistent: "Tiberius wanted to have Christ placed in the Pantheon and refused first of all to persecute the Christians. [-] How are we to explain the fact that men like Trajan and above all Marcus Aurelius should have so relentlessly persecuted the Christians?
On the other hand Commodus and other villainous emperors rather favoured them." Religious philosopher Simone Weil wrote: "By the time of Constantine, the state of apocalyptic expectation must have worn rather thin.
[The imminent coming of Christ, expectation of the Last Day - constituted 'a very great social danger.'] Besides, the spirit of the old law, so widely separated from all mysticism, was not so very different from the Roman spirit itself.
In addition, the peculiar intimacy of Christian society and its secrecy about its religious practices spawned rumors that Christians were guilty of incest and cannibalism; the resulting persecutions, although usually local and sporadic, were a defining feature of Christian self-understanding until Christianity was legalized in the 4th century.
A series of more centrally organized persecutions of Christians emerged in the late 3rd century, when emperors decreed that the Empire's military, political, and economic crises were caused by angry gods.
With Licinius, (Eastern Roman emperor), he issued the Edict of Milan which mandated toleration of all religions in the empire.
In subsequent centuries, Catholicism spread widely across the world despite experiencing a reduction in its hold on European populations due to the growth of Protestantism and also because of religious skepticism during and after the Enlightenment.Rome could come to terms with the God of Hosts." When Constantine became emperor of the Western Roman Empire in 312, he attributed his victory to the Christian God.Many soldiers in his army were Christians, and his army was his base of power.The Second Vatican Council in the 1960s introduced the most significant changes to Catholic practices since the Council of Trent four centuries before.Catholics believe that the Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ.