Catholic Hierarchy


#1

Hi - I hope someone can provide an answer or a link to another place that contains this information - a friend of mine asked a question about the hierarchy of the Catholic Church - as in what levels there are and how they are chosen or appointed. I know that Deacons and Priests would be on the “first” level and that the Holy Father would be the “top” level - what about everybody in between?

Thanks for any help you guys can give me!! And I hope I posted this in the right place!!

Missa


#2

I’ll take a crack at it. I believe this is pretty much it, although I’m sure I will be corrected if wrong :wink: :

Pope
Cardinals
Archbishops
Bishops
Priests
Deacons
Sub-deacons
Acolytes
Lector (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).

Positions within orders, such as the Franciscans, (not a complete list):

Prior General
Provincial Director
Abbot/abbess
Father/Mother Superior
Novice Director/Formation Director

It’s easy to mix up these terms, especially those of orders of the Church, such as the Franciscans, with those of the ordained, but they are separate from one another although a pope may be the member of an order as well as others who hold positions in the hierarchy.


#3

Some fraternities such as the FSSP and The Institute of Christ the King Soverign Priest still use the minor orders of:

Porter (Ostiarius)

Lector (Reader)

Exorcist

Acolyte.


#4

[quote=Della]I’ll take a crack at it. I believe this is pretty much it, although I’m sure I will be corrected if wrong :wink: :

Pope
Cardinals
Archbishops
Bishops
Priests
Deacons
Sub-deacons
Acolytes
Lector (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).

Positions within orders, such as the Franciscans, (not a complete list):

Prior General
Provincial Director
Abbot/abbess
Father/Mother Superior
Novice Director/Formation Director

It’s easy to mix up these terms, especially those of orders of the Church, such as the Franciscans, with those of the ordained, but they are separate from one another although a pope may be the member of an order as well as others who hold positions in the hierarchy.
[/quote]

I guess I don’t have enough to do today. I read this thread and humourous hypothetical exchange occurred to me.

Newly installed Pope who is a member of order that requires him to make a penititential silent retreat annually during Easter week.

Pope calling the order’s Head: (in a meek voice). “Father, I know I’m supposed to make a retreat in a few weeks requiring absolute silence. However, I really think I have new obligations that require me to say Mass at St. Peter’s and prevent such a sacrificial retreat. Can I have a dispensation?”

Father Superior: (in an authoritarian tone). “Father, this is a requirement of our order. I can only grant your request w/ permission from the Pope. I need to ask him”.

Father Superior: (in a meek voice). “Your Holiness, I have a request from one of our order’s members who feels that he has a more important obligation than his annual penitential silent retreat. Will you grant him dispensation?”

Pope: (in an authoritarian tone) “This is a very serious request that goes to the very essence of your order. I must pray about it.”

That evening while in Prayer, the Pope meekly and humbly prays about the situation and all of a a sudden a loud voice comes from the sky with an authoritarian tone: “My son, ______________” (Stumped as I couldn’t think of anything clever for God to say. More proof I’m not God!


#5

[quote=Della]I’ll take a crack at it. I believe this is pretty much it, although I’m sure I will be corrected if wrong :wink: :

Pope
Cardinals
Archbishops
Bishops
Priests
Deacons
Sub-deacons
Acolytes
Lector (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).

Positions within orders, such as the Franciscans, (not a complete list):

Prior General
Provincial Director
Abbot/abbess
Father/Mother Superior
Novice Director/Formation Director

It’s easy to mix up these terms, especially those of orders of the Church, such as the Franciscans, with those of the ordained, but they are separate from one another although a pope may be the member of an order as well as others who hold positions in the hierarchy.
[/quote]

Holy Orders
Bishop
Priest
Deacon

Offices
Papacy-Roman Pontiff-the Vicar of Christ on Earth, leader of the Universal Church. The Holy Father is Pope BECAUSE he is a Bishop, the Bishop of Rome.

Cardinalate-“Princes of the Church”-either Bishops of major Sees or heads of Vatican dicasteries. Primary responsibility is to elect new Roman Pontiff. They serve as the Pope’s closest advisors. Occasionally are Priest-Theologians, but usually these Cardinals earn that rank as emeriti, they are over 80 and cannot participate in a conclave.

Patriarch/Major Archbishop-Primarily head of Eastern Catholic Sui Iuris Church in communion with the Apostolic See, some Latin Patriarchs (titular)

Archbishop/Metropolitan-head of a major see and, if metropolitan, heads an eccelesiastical province with suffragan bishops in his territory, exercises limited authority over those bishops.

Auxiliary Bishops assist the Bishop in the running of the Diocese. Coadjutor Bishops have right of succession when the Bishop retires or dies.

Monsignor is a honorific title given to priests either in the Vatican or men who have served faithfully.

Transitional Deacons move on to take final vows as Priests, Permanent Deacons can be married and are always deacons.


#6

[quote=Della]I’ll take a crack at it. I believe this is pretty much it, although I’m sure I will be corrected if wrong :wink: :

Pope
Cardinals
Archbishops
Bishops
Priests
Deacons
Sub-deacons
Acolytes
Lector (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).
Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (not ordained but installed, as I understand it).

[/quote]

Actually Cardinals are not part of the hierarchy. A Cardinal is part of the clergy of Rome.

Positions within orders, such as the Franciscans, (not a complete list):

Prior General
Provincial Director
Abbot/abbess
Father/Mother Superior
Novice Director/Formation Director

The names for the vairous offices within orders depends on the order.

For example, we Carmelites do not have the same names as the Franciscans.

Ours are;

Superior General
Provincial Superior
the houses are headed by a Prior

The Novice Director and Director of per-novices really have no role in the hierarchy.


#7

Most non-Catholics are not aware that cardinal is not an office in the priesthood. I read that in former times, cardinals were most often well-educated laymen who were set apart as “Princes of the Church”. They performed non-religious functions, especially acting as ambassadors from the Church to government and business.

It is only fairly recently that all cardinals are also bishops, and also fairly recent that it is only cardinals, and not the entire college of bishops, that elect the pope. (When we Catholics say “recent”, we mean the last few hundred years - we’re a very old Church).

This makes sense of course, because of the tremendous growth of the Church in the last few hundred years. There are too many bishops now to include them all in the election conclave.


#8

It is only fairly recently that all cardinals are also bishops

Avery Cardinal Dulles is not a bishop.


#9

[quote=Missa]Hi - I hope someone can provide an answer or a link to another place that contains this information - a friend of mine asked a question about the hierarchy of the Catholic Church - as in what levels there are and how they are chosen or appointed. I know that Deacons and Priests would be on the “first” level and that the Holy Father would be the “top” level - what about everybody in between?

Thanks for any help you guys can give me!! And I hope I posted this in the right place!!

Missa
[/quote]

Really there are three levels of holy orders, deacon, priest, and Bishop. The Pope serves as the bishop of Rome but also has universal jurisdiction over the Church. Cardinals are bishops who are made honorary clergy of the Diocese of Rome so that they may elect the bishop of Rome when necessary.


#10

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Avery Cardinal Dulles is not a bishop.
[/quote]

That brings up a question: Why does the title of cardinal come in the between the first and last names?


#11

[quote=LRThunder]That brings up a question: Why does the title of cardinal come in the between the first and last names?
[/quote]

It’s not a straight line, necessarily.

The pope one bishop among many in the college of bishops while at the same time pastor of the college of bishops, and all the faithful.

Archbishops preside over their diocese just as bishops do, excepting the archbishop has a bigger diocese. Some are given additional authority to resolve conflicts in neighboring dioceses, but they don’t have plenary authority over other bishops outside their diocese.

Cardinal is a title given to bishops mostly, but can be given to others.

And if that wasn’t confusing enough, the title Monsignor is also one used in the Church for either senior priests or bishops.


#12

[quote=itsjustdave1988]Avery Cardinal Dulles is not a bishop.
[/quote]

When Cardinal Dulles was granted this honor he requested that he not be elevated to the episcopate which Pope John Paul II granted.

From Canon Law;

Can. 351 §1 Those to be promoted Cardinals are men freely selected by the Roman Pontiff, who are at least in the order of priesthood and are truly outstanding in doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters; those who are not already Bishops must receive episcopal consecration.

As the pope is the supreme legislator of Canon Law he can grant dispensations to it.

[quote=LRThunder]That brings up a question: Why does the title of cardinal come in the between the first and last names?
[/quote]

This is an anachronistic practice that dates back to medieval Europe.

A Cardinal is considered a Prince of the Church and is granted all rights and privileges of Princes. The title of Prince would fall between frist and last name, so to does Cardinal.

In Recent times this has not always been followed. Both are acceptable today.

So Cardinal Avery Dulles is as acceptable as Avery Cardinal Dulles.


#13

Dear Bro.In Christ, David:

Glory be to Jesus Christ, Forever!

I just wanted to state that I truly enjoy your posts, you are well versed and have manors. God Bless you and continue to transform you to holiness, Theosis.


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