Within the church are cardinals above or below the bishops?:slight_smile:


Above - cardinals choose a new Pope (and for the last thousand-odd years it’s always been from among themselves) for starters.


Technically, neither. “Cardinal” is not a Holy Order. While today, all Cardinals are bishops, there have also been Cardinal priests and maybe even some deacons. The Cardinals elect the Pope.

From a point of honor, however, a Cardinal-bishop is above a regular bishop.


In reality above. Technically below. Cardinals are parish priests of the diocese of Rome, which is why they elect the Pope. However, except for a handful, the parish priest role is purely titular and they are also bishops or archbishops in their own dioceses, often, as in the case of Cardinal Cormack, regarded as head of the Church in their country.


Cardinals ARE Bishops. They have more jurisdiction in certain areas and also more and different responsibilities. But the highest level of Holy Orders is Bishop.


Cardinal “Priest” and Cardinal “Deacon” does not mean that the Cardinal is a priest or deacon.


From wikipedia’s article on Catholic cardinals (not normally the most authoritative of sources, but this is pretty straightforward and I think that they explained it well.)

Until 1918 it was possible to become a Cardinal without entering Holy Orders, but only the order of Cardinal Deacons was open to those who were not priests. For example, in the 16th century, Reginald Pole was a cardinal for 18 years before he was ordained a priest. After 1918 it was established that all cardinals, even the Cardinal Deacons, had to be priests, and since 1962 all cardinals have been bishops with rare exceptions where permission was granted to decline episcopal consecration because of advanced age. Today, Canon 351 specifically requires that a cardinal be at least in the order of priesthood at his appointment, and those who are not already bishops must receive episcopal consecration, save by dispensation from the Pope. Most of these dispensations have involved eminent theologians who are priests, such as was granted in 2001 to Avery Dulles. Although he is not a bishop, and so could not be assigned to one of the suburbicarian sees, he is entitled to wear the episcopal vestments and other pontificalia (episcopal regalia: mitre, crozier, pectoral cross and ring) and to possess a cardinalatial coat of arms.


Nope, some Cardinals have been Deacons. One current one Avery Cardinal Dulles is not a bishop.


In terms of general Church hierarchy, Cardinals rank above bishops, but below Patriarchs.


But as was said, in the history of the Church Cardinals have not always only been bishops. Today there is a non-bishop cardinal.


In terms of general Church hierarchy, Cardinals rank above bishops, but below Patriarchs.

No, the college of Patriarchs is below the college of cardinals in the precedence of honor. Although Patriarchs made cardinals are automatically cardinal-bishops even in addition to the 6 suburbacian sees of Rome.

From a point of honor, however, a Cardinal-bishop is above a regular bishop.

Actually, any cardinal is. And that’s where it gets confusing.

See…most cardinals are bishops, but some may be simple priests. However, they all outrank plain bishops and archbishops, even the cardinals who are only simple presbyters.

The rankings “cardinal-bishop,” “cardinal-priest,” and “cardinal-deacon” have nothing to do with what grade of Holy Orders one holds. They are honorary divisions within the college, and most today are bishops…even the cardinal-priests and cardinal-deacons.

The titles “cardinal-bishop,” “cardinal-priest,” and “cardinal-deacon” refer to their titular positions as either one of the 6 titular bishops of the suburbacian sees of Rome, as the titular pastor of one of the cardinaliate parishes in Rome, or as the titular head deacon of one of those parishes. Patriarchs made cardinal are entitled to the rank of cardinal-bishop even in addition to the 6 sees. I don’t know if they remain the titular pastor of some parish in Rome (ie, remain a cardinal-priest) and just have a rank equal to cardinal-bishop, or if they literally become cardinal-bishops in their own right…in which case I assume they do something like make them a titular bishop emeritus or titular auxiliary bishop of one the 6 suburbacian sees of Rome.


Isn’t there typically a certain pecking order among who gets made a cardinal-bishop, cardinal-priest, and cardinal-deacon, also? The dean of the college or a major assistant to the pope might get made cardinal-bishop, an ordinary or a major archdiocese typically made a cardinal-priest, a Vatican department head in some lesser place a cardinal-deacon, for example?


Interesting–thanks for explaining that.


The designation Deacon, Priest and Bishop for Cardinals did not necessarily indicate their level of Ordination but their Ranking within the College of Cardinals.


That is correct, the title corrisponds to the role within the College.

The Cardinal-Bishops have a leadership role in the College.

The Cardinal-Priests have a pastorial responsibility to a parish or diocese.

The Cardinal-Deacons hold service roles within the Magisterium.


Yes there are always exceptions. Avery Cardinal Dulles is not a Bishop. Had he not requested to not be Ordained a Bishop he would have been.


Cardinals are the honorary head of a parish in Rome.

Monsignors are honorary members of the papal household.

Which means the each monsignor is the titular holder of a mop and bucket in the Vatican.:cool:

(Something to remember the next time you need to give your favorite monsignor a hard time.:stuck_out_tongue: )


But he had to ask for dispensation. The rest are normatively now required to be bishops or to be consecrated as bishops.


Don’t retired cardinals have rights and priviledges that make them independent of the bishops in whose dioceses they may reside?


This may not be exact because I’m going by memory. I believe Cardinals have world wide jurisdiction to celebrate Mass, anywhere, at any time they want, Hear confessions, anywhere, at any time they want.

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