CONGREGATIONS

By the name of department (dicasteria) is understood: the congregations, tribunals, councils and offices, namely the Apostolic Camera, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and the Prefecture of Economic Affairs of the Holy See. The departments are juridically equal among themselves. Attached to the institutes of the Roman Curia are the Prefecture of the Papal Household and the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff.


Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Prefect: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger
Secretary: Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, S.D.B.
Undersecretary: Fr Gianfranco Girotti, O.F.M.Conv.

The proper function of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine of faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; therefore, those things belong to it which touch this matter in any way. Fulfilling the function of promoting doctrine, it fosters studies in order that the understanding of the faith might grow and that a response can be prepared under the light of faith for new questions arising from developments in science and human culture. It is a help to bishops, whether individually or gathered in assemblies, in the exercise of the function by which they are constituted authentic teachers and doctors of the faith as well as the office by which they are held to safeguard and promote the integrity of that faith. This Sacred Congregation reproves doctrines opposed to the principles of the faith after the interested Bishops of a region have been heard. It studies the books referred to it and, if necessary, reproves them after the author has been heard and has had an opportunity to defend himself and after the Ordinary has been forewarned. It also examines whatever concerns "the privilege of the faith" whether in law and in fact. It is competent to pass judgement on errors about the faith according to the norms of an ordinary process. It safeguards the dignity of the sacrament of Penance. The Congregation proceeds administratively or judicially according to the nature of the question to be treated.


Congregation for the Oriental Churches

Prefect: Cardinal Achille Silvestrini
Secretary: Archbishop Miroslav Stefan Marusyn
Undersecretary: Mons. Claudio Gugerotti

This Congregation considers those matters, whether regarding persons or things, which touch on the Eastern Catholic Churches. It treats all questions which pertain either to persons, or to discipline, or to the rites of the Oriental Churches, even if they are mixed in that by the nature of the thing or of persons they involve Latins. Territories in which a major part of the Christians belong to Oriental rites are subject only to this Congregation. Even in Latin territories it carefully supervises the faithful of Oriental rites and provides as much as possible for their spiritual needs even by the establishment of their own hierarchy if the number of faithful and circumstances require this.


Congregation for Divine Worship
and the Discipline of the Sacraments

Prefect: Cardinal Jorge Arturo Medina Estevez
Secretary: Archbishop Geraido Majella Agnelo
Undersecretary: Mons. Vincenzo Ferrara
Undersecretary: Mons. Mario Marin

The congregation does those things which pertain to the Apostolic See as to the moderation and promotion of the sacred liturgy, especially the sacraments, with due regard for the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  It fosters and safeguards the discipline of the sacraments, especially what pertains to their valid and licit celebration; moreover, it concedes favors and dispensations for matters which are not contained in the facilities of diocesan bishops in this line.  It alone examines the non-consummation of a marriage and the presence of causes for the granting of a dispensation and everything connected with them.  It has competence with regard to the obligations connected with major orders and it examines questions about the validity of sacred ordination.


Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Prefect: Archbishop Jose Saraiva Martins, C.M.F.
Secretary: Archbishop Edward Nowak
Undersecretary: Mons. Michele Di Ruberto

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints is competent in all matters which in any way pertain to the Beatification of Servants of God or to the Canonization of the Blessed or to the Preservation of Relics.


Congregation for Bishops

Prefect: Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, O.P.
Secretary: Archbishop Francesco Monterisi
Undersecretary: Mons. Giovanni Maria Rossi

Pontifical Commission for Latin America
President: Cardinal Lucas Moreira Neves, O.P.
Vice-President: Bishop Cipriano Calderon Polo

This congregation examines what pertains to the constitution and provision of particular churches as well as the exercise of the episcopal function in the Latin Church, except for the competence of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. It belongs to the Congregation for Bishops to propose to the Roman Pontiff, for approval, the constitution of new dioceses, provinces and regions; to divide, unite and realign them after consulting the interested Episcopal Conferences; it deals also with the erection of the military ordinariates and, after consulting the Episcopal Conference, prelacies for special pastoral ministries for various regions or social groups. This Congregation provides also for the naming of bishops, apostolic administrators, coadjutors and auxiliaries of bishops, military and other vicars and prelates enjoying personal jurisdiction. It is competent for all things that have to do with bishops and publishes norms which, through the Episcopal Conference, provide for the more urgent needs of the faithful.


Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

Prefect: Cardinal Jozef Tomko
Secretary: Archbishop Marcello Zago, O.M.I.
Adjunct Secretary: Archbishop Charles A Schleck, C.S.C.
Undersecretary: Mons. Luigi Ghidoni

It belongs to this congregation to direct and coordinate throughout the world the work of the evangelization of peoples itself and missionary cooperation, while respecting the competence of the Congregation for Eastern Churches. It is competent for those things which pertain to all the missions established for the spread of the Kingdom of Christ throughout the world and therefore for whatever is connected with the assignment and transferal of the necessary ministers, for describing ecclesiastical boundaries and proposing those who will govern them. It encourages also the development of an indigenous clergy. The congregation sponsors missionary initiatives and promotes missionary vocations and spirituality. In the territories subject to it, the Congregation has charge of all that pertains to the holding of synods and councils, to the establishing of episcopal conferences and to the review of their statutes and decrees. The Congregation has a Supreme Council for the direction of Pontifical Missionary Works, on which depend the general Councils of the Missionary Union of the Clergy, the Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter the Apostle, and the Society of the Holy Childhood.


Congregation for the Clergy

Prefect: Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos
Secretary: Archbishop Csaba Ternyak
Undersecretary: Mons. Antonio Silvestrelli

With due regard for the rights of bishops and their conferences, this congregation examines those things which concern priests and deacons of the secular clergy with regard to their persons, pastoral ministry, matters which are in support of the exercise of these things, and in all this provides opportune assistance to the bishops. The Congregation has many functions: it studies, proposes and urges the means and aids by which priests strive for sanctity. This office also has charge of everything which concerns the work and discipline of the diocesan clergy. Particularly it promotes the preaching of the Word of God and the works of the apostolate and organization of catechesis, evaluates and approves pastoral and catechetical directories, fosters national and international Catechetical Congresses and indicates the opportune norms for religious instruction of children, young people and adults. The Congregation looks also to the preservation and administration of the temporal goods of the Church without prejudice to the other Congregations which have temporal goods committed to their vigilance. The Pontifical commission for The Conservation of the Artistic and Sacred Patrimony if directly responsible to the Congregation for the Clergy.


Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life
and Societies of Apostolic Life

Prefect: Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo
Secretary: Archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti, C.P.
Undersecretary: Fr Jesus Torres Llorente, C.M.F.
Undersecretary: Mons. Juan Josi Dorronsoro Allo

The principal function of this congregation is to promote and supervise, in the whole Latin Church, the practices of the evangelical counsels as they are exercised in approved forms of consecrated life and at the same time the activities of societies of apostolic life.  The Congregation takes care of Religious Institutes of Consecrated Life and Secular Institutes.

Religious Institutes:  the Congregation is entrusted with the affairs of all religious institutes of the Latin Rite and their members.  It is also competent in matters which pertain to societies of common life, whose members live like religious, or to Third Orders as such.

Secular Institutes:  the Congregation is competent in the same way, all else being equal, for Apostolic Societies which, although not religious, make a true and complete profession of the evangelical counsels in the world.


Congregation for Catholic Education
(for Seminaries and Educational Institutions)

Prefect: Cardinal Pio Laghi
Secretary: Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, S.J.
Undersecretary: Mons. Giuseppe Baldanza

This Congregation expresses and exercises the Apostolic See's solicitude for the formation of those who are called to Holy Orders as well as for the promotion and organization of Catholic education. It is competent for all that pertains to the formation of clerics and the Catholic education both of clerics and of the laity.

The Congregation has many functions and is charged with the direction, discipline and temporal administration of seminaries and whatever touches the education of the diocesan clergy and the scientific formation of religious and secular institutes.
The Congregation oversees universities, faculties athenaea and any institute of higher learning which has the name "Catholic" in so far as they depend on the authority of the Church, not excluding those directed by religious or the laity.

The Congregation cares for the establishment of parochial and diocesan schools; watches over all Catholic schools below the level of a university and faculty, as well as all institutes of instruction or education dependent on the authority of the Church.

Also within the Congregation is located the Pontifical Work for Vocations, which is charged with coordinating and promoting the work of fostering all ecclesiastical vocations.


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