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Q: A cardinal's responsibilites ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: A cardinal's responsibilites
Category: Relationships and Society
Asked by: kscheibel-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 25 Nov 2002 18:15 PST
Expires: 25 Dec 2002 18:15 PST
Question ID: 114594
What are the responsibilites of a cardinal?
Subject: Re: A cardinal's responsibilites
Answered By: xargon-ga on 25 Nov 2002 20:25 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
The role of a cardinal is "like the role of a prince in relation to a
king; like the role of a member of an august religious assembly
focused on transcendental matters, not mundane ones; like the role of
a Senator in a secular state” (  The College of
Cardinals is attributed the role of helping the Pope deal with
“questions of greater moment” and with the “daily administration” of
the Church by the Code of Canon Law.  Cardinals are all appointed by
the Pope, as they serve as his cabinet.  Conversely, when a new pope
is needed, it is the duty of the College of Cardinals to elect a
replacement—almost always from within their own ranks.

There are three classes of cardinals: cardinal bishops, cardinal
priests, and cardinal deacons.  The cardinal bishops are the overseers
of seven sees around Rome-- Ostia, Velletri, Porto and Santa Rufina,
Albano, Frascati, Palestrina, and Sabina and Poggio Mirteto--as well
as Eastern rite patriarchs.  The dean and sub-dean of the College of
Cardinals are elected by the cardinal bishops, pending approval by the
Pope; these ranks are always from within the members of the College. 
Cardinal priests are bishops (mostly archbishops) whose dioceses are
outside of Rome; they are sometimes called “cardinal archbishops”. 
Cardinal deacons are titular bishops who give full-time service to the
papal government.  The 1918 Code of Cannon Law declared that all
cardinals must be priests, and the subsequent motu proprio Cum
Gravissima in 1962 deemed all cardinals as bishops.  However, there is
no ranking in the Church that places a cardinal above a bishop. 
Indeed, the bishop is the highest attainable rank in the Church, with
the Pope himself being the Bishop of Rome.

The cardinals primarily serve as cabinet to the papal administration
(Curia Romana), comprised of standing committees, courts, and
administrative departments.  As there is no division of power in the
head of the Church, these bodies have the power to legislate, judge,
and command with papal authority--as they can serve as the Pope’s
hands and feet.  The secretariat of state is the most important
division of the Curia and works most closely with the Pope.  It is
divided into two sections: one for general affairs handling items
related to the papal office (such as documents and media relations),
and one responsible for diplomatic relations with foreign governments
and organizations.

Roman congregations are a second division of the Curia, consisting of
a group of cardinals headed by a prefect.  The congregations are
assigned to oversee specific functions of the Church.  Below are the
congregations of the Church:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith**
The Congregation for the Eastern Churches
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the
The Congregation for the Causes of the Saints
The Congregation for Bishops
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples**
The Congregation of the Clergy
The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of
Apostolic Life
The Congregation for Catholic Education
 (**deepest impact on the Church body)

Cardinals also oversee the Roman tribunals—three secret courts headed
by a cardinal each whose work is handled by trained canonists.  This
is essentially the Supreme Court of the Vatican, handling all appeals
from lower courts on issues requiring trial and evidence.  Cases of
conscience, canonization, and sovereignty are reserved exclusively for
papal authority.

The role of the cardinal is very diversified, but crucial to the
functionality of the Church.  Perhaps Pope John Paul II said it best:
"In you [cardinals] the faithful and even the pastors of the
particular Churches scattered throughout the world look for light and
direction to live more profoundly the communion with the Roman See. Is
not this perhaps the meaning of the admonition contained in the rite
we are celebrating: ‘Te intrepidum exhibere debeas’ (‘You should show
yourself fearless’)?"

Additional Links:

Spirituality Today--What is the Cardinalate?

Who Are the Cardinals? (excellent in-depth analysis of several
different countries)

Infoplease Encyclopedia

Search Strategy:
"role of a cardinal"
kscheibel-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

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