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The views presented in the following papers are those of the Issues Group and are not necessarily representative of the people of St. Aloysius Parish nor the Roman Catholic Church.

(Copyright Pending)
Catholic Issues: The Church Today

Roman Curia per the Catholic Almanac - 1994

The Roman Curia is the Church's network of central agencies serving the Vatican and the local churches, with authority granted by the pope. The current curia consists of the Secretariat of State, nine governing agencies (congregations), three judicial agencies (tribunals), twelve promotional agencies (councils) and three specialized service agencies (offices).

The Secretariat of State: (Cardinal Angelo Sodano, age 68, Italian). assists the pope in expediting daily business of the Holy See and also handles diplomatic and other relations with civil governments.

The governing agencies (congregations):

1. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, age 68, German). Has the responsibility to safeguard the doctrine of faith and morals. It examines doctrinal questions, evaluates theological opinions and reproves those opposed to principals of faith.

2. Congregation for the Oriental Churches: (Cardinal Achille Silvestrini, age 72, Italian). Has jurisdiction in matters concerning the persons and discipline of Eastern Churches and has jurisdiction over territories in which a majority of Christians belong to Eastern Churches.

3. Congregation for Bishops: (Cardinal Bernardino Gantin, age 73, Benin). Has functions related to Bishops and the jurisdiction in which they serve.

4. Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: (Cardinal Antonio Maria Javierre Ortas, age 74, Spanish). Supervises everything pertaining to the promotion and regulation of the liturgy, primarily the sacraments. Handles causes of nullity of sacred ordination of deacons and priests.

5. Congregation for the Causes of Saints: (Cardinal Angelo Felici, age 76, Italian). Handles matters connected with beautification and canonization cases and the preservation of relics.

6. Congregation for the Clergy: (Cardinal Jose T. Sanchez, age 75, Philippino). Has three offices concerned with life, discipline, rights and duties of the clergy; norms for religious education of children and adults; preservation and administration of the temporal goods of the Church.

7. Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life: (Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, age 68, Spanish). Has jurisdiction over institutes of religious, secular institutes, authority in matters related to the establishment, general direction and suppression of the various institutes; general discipline in line with their rules and constitutions.

8. Congregation for Catholic Education (for seminaries and institutions of study): (Cardinal Pio Laghi, age 74, Italian). Supervises institutions and works of Catholic education. One office supervises seminaries and education of clergy, another oversees Catholic universities and a third is concerned with Catholic schools below university level.

9. Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: (Cardinal Jozef Tomko, age 71, Slovakian). Directs and coordinates missionary work throughout the world.

The Judicial Agencies (Tribunals):

1. Apostolic Penitentiary: (Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, age 69, American). Issues decisions on questions of conscience.

2. Apostolic Signatura: (Most Reverend Gilberto Agustoni). This Supreme Court resolves questions concerning judicial procedure and supervises the observance of laws and rights at the highest level.

3. Roman Rota: (Msgr Mario Francesco Pompedda). The ordinary court of appeal for cases appealed to the Holy See. Especially known for decisions involving the validity of marriage.

The Promotional Agencies (Councils)

1. Pontifical Council for the Laity: (Cardinal Eduardo Francisco Pironio, age 75, Argentine). Members are mostly lay people from different parts of the world and involved in different apostolates.

2. Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity: (Cardinal Edward I. Cassidy, age 71, Australia)

3. Pontifical Council for the Family: (Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, age 60, Columbian).

4. Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: (Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, age 73, French).

5. Pontifical Council " Cor Unum": (Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, age 73, French). Provides informational and coordinating services for Catholic Aid.

6. Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples: (Most Reverend Giovanni Cheli).

7. Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers: (Cardinal Fiorenzo Angelini, age 79, Italian).

8. Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts: (Most Reverend Vincenzo Fagiolo).

9. Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue: (Cardinal Francis Arinze, age 64, Nigeria).

10. Pontifical Council for Culture: (Cardinal Paul Paupard, age 65, French). Establishes dialogue with those who do not believe in God or who profess no religion.

11. Pontifical Council for Social Communications: (Most Reverend John P. Foley).

12. The twelfth council was not listed in the resource.

There are three offices (specialized service offices): Apostolic Chamber, Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See and Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See. All deal with temporal needs or finances.

Distribution of Cardinals:

Africa: 15

Asia: 11

Europe: 73 (Italy 33)

No. American 15 (US 10)

Oceania: 4

Central & So. America 20 (Brazil 7)

At 80 Cardinals cease holding curial offices and are ineligible to take part in papal elections. As of 9/1/94 39 of 138 cardinals were 80 or older.

We have done our best to credit our sources. Please forgive us if we have overlooked any.

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