Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for missionary work and related activities. It is better known by its former title, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, or the Propaganda Fide. In principle it is responsible for pre-diocesan missionary jurisdictions: Mission sui iuris, Apostolic prefecture Apostolic vicariate; however many former missionary jurisdictions -mainly in the Third World- remain, after promotion to diocese of Archdiocese, under the Propaganda Fide instead of the competent Congregation for the Bishops, notably in countries/regions where the Catholic church is too poor/ small to aspire self-sufficiency and/or local authorities hostile to Catholic/Christian/any faith. It was founded by Pope Gregory XV in 1622 to arrange missionary work on behalf of the various religious institutions, in 1627 Pope Urban VIII established within it a training college for missionaries, the Pontificio Collegio Urbano de Propaganda Fide.
When Pope Paul VI reorganized and adjusted the tasks of the Roman Curia with the publication of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae on August 15, 1967, the name of the congregation was changed to the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. The early Congregation was established in the Palazzo Ferratini, donated by Juan Bautista Vives, to the south of the Piazza di Spagna. Two of the foremost artistic figures of Baroque Rome were involved in the development of the architectural complex; the current Prefect of the Congregation is Cardinal Fernando Filoni. The current Secretary is Archbishop Protase Rugambwa; the current Secretary is Archbishop Giampietro Del Toso The Under-Secretary is Father Ryszard Szmydki, O. M. I; the Archivist of the Archives of the Congregation is Monsignor Luis Manuel Cuña Ramos. Monsignors Lorenzo Piva and Camillus Nimalan Johnpillai assist as Office Heads of the Congregation. Founded in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV's bull Inscrutabili Divinae, the body was charged with fostering the spread of Catholicism and with the regulation of Catholic ecclesiastical affairs in non-Catholic countries.
The intrinsic importance of its duties and the extraordinary extent of its authority and of the territory under its jurisdiction caused the Cardinal Prefect of Propaganda to be known as the "red pope". At the time of its inception, the expansion of colonial administrations was coming to be in Dutch and English hands, both Protestant countries intent on spreading these religious doctrines, Rome perceived the real threat of Protestantism spreading in the wake of commercial empire. By 1648, with the end of the Thirty Years' War, the official religious balance of established Christianity in Europe was permanently stabilized, but new fields for evangelization were offered by vast regions of Asia and the Americas being explored. There had been a less formally instituted cardinal committee concerned with propaganda fide since the time of Pope Gregory XIII, which were charged with promoting the union with Rome of the long-established eastern Christian communities: Slavs, Syrians and Abyssinians; this was the traditional direction for the Catholic Church to look for evangelizing.
Catechisms were printed in many seminarians sent to places as far as Malabar. The most concrete result was the union with Rome of the Ruthenian Catholic communion, most concentrated in modern-day Ukraine and Belarus; the death of Gregory XV the following year did not interrupt the organization, because Cardinal Barberini, one of the original thirteen members of the congregation, became the next pope as Urban VIII. Under Urban VIII, a central seminary was set up for training missionaries; the Congregation operated the polyglot printing press in Rome, printing catechisms in many languages. Their procurators were active in China from 1705, moving between Macau and Canton before settling in Hong Kong in 1842. In Protestant areas, the operations of the Congregation were considered subversive: the first missionary to be killed was in Grisons, Switzerland, in April 1622, before the papal bull authorizing its creation had been disseminated. In Ireland after Catholic emancipation while the established church was still the Protestant Church of Ireland, the Irish Catholic church came under the control of the Congregation in 1833, soon reformed itself with a devotional revolution under Cardinal Cullen.
The Holy See removed the United States from the jurisdiction of Propaganda Fide as mission territory in 1908, along with England, the Netherlands and Canada. These "Cardinals in General Congregation" met weekly, keeping their records in Latin until 1657 in Italian; the minutes are available in microfilm at large libraries. In the course of their work, the Propaganda fide missionaries accumulated the objects now in the Vatican Museum's Ethnological Missionary Museum. Since 1989 the incumbent Prefect is President of the Interdicasterial Commission for Consecrated Religious. In 2014 Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, thus becoming the first woman to be appointed
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
The Index librorum prohibitorum was a list of publications deemed heretical, or contrary to morality by the Sacred Congregation of the Index and thus Catholics were forbidden to read them without permission. There were scattered attempts to censor individual books before the sixteenth century, notably the ninth-century Decretum Glasianum, but none of these were either official or widespread. Much a first version was promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1559, which Paul F. Grendler believed marked "the turning-point for the freedom of enquiry in the Catholic world", which lasted less than a year, being replaced by what was called the Tridentine Index, which relaxed aspects of the Pauline Index, criticized and had prevented its acceptance; the 20th and final edition appeared in 1948, the Index was formally abolished on 14 June 1966 by Pope Paul VI. The aim of the list was to protect the faith and morals of the faithful by preventing the reading of theologically and politically disruptive books. Books thought to contain such errors included works by astronomers such as Johannes Kepler's Epitome astronomiae Copernicanae, on the Index from 1621 to 1835, by philosophers, like Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason.
The various editions of the Index contained the rules of the Church relating to the reading and pre-emptive censorship of books—editions and translations of the Bible that had not been approved by the Church could be banned. Latin Church canon law still recommends that works concerning sacred Scripture, canon law, church history, any writings which specially concern religion or morals, be submitted to the judgment of the local ordinary; the local ordinary consults someone whom he considers competent to give a judgment and, if that person gives the nihil obstat the local ordinary grants the imprimatur. Members of religious institutes require the imprimi potest of their major superior to publish books on matters of religion or morals; some of the scientific theories in works that were on early editions of the Index have long been taught at Catholic universities worldwide. The burning at the stake of Giordano Bruno, whose entire works were placed on the Index in 1603, was because of teaching the heresy of pantheism, not for heliocentrism or other scientific views.
Antonio Rosmini-Serbati, one of whose works was on the Index, was beatified in 2007. Some have argued that the developments since the abolition of the Index signify "the loss of relevance of the Index in the 21st century."A complete list of the authors and writings present in the successive editions of the Index is given in J. Martínez de Bujanda, Index Librorum Prohibitorum, 1600–1966. A list of the books that were on the Index can be found on the World Wide Web; the historical context in which the Index appeared involved the early restrictions on printing in Europe. The refinement of moveable type and the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg around 1440 changed the nature of book publishing, the mechanism by which information could be disseminated to the public. Books, once rare and kept in a small number of libraries, could be mass-produced and disseminated. In the 16th century, both the churches and governments in most European countries attempted to regulate and control printing because it allowed for rapid and widespread circulation of ideas and information.
The Protestant Reformation generated large quantities of polemical new writing by and within both the Catholic and Protestant camps, religious subject-matter was the area most subject to control. While governments and church encouraged printing in many ways, which allowed the dissemination of Bibles and government information, works of dissent and criticism could circulate rapidly; as a consequence, governments established controls over printers across Europe, requiring them to have official licenses to trade and produce books. The early versions of the Index began to appear from 1529 to 1571. In the same time frame, in 1557 the English Crown aimed to stem the flow of dissent by chartering the Stationers' Company; the right to print was restricted to two universities and to the 21 existing printers in the city of London, which had between them 53 printing presses. The French crown tightly controlled printing, the printer and writer Etienne Dolet was burned at the stake for atheism in 1546; the 1551 Edict of Châteaubriant comprehensively summarized censorship positions to date, included provisions for unpacking and inspecting all books brought into France.
The 1557 Edict of Compiègne applied the death penalty to heretics and resulted in the burning of a noblewoman at the stake. Printers were viewed as radical and rebellious, with 800 authors and book dealers being incarcerated in the Bastille. At times, the prohibitions of church and state followed each other, e.g. René Descartes was placed on the Index in the 1660s and the French government prohibited the teaching of Cartesianism in schools in the 1670s; the Copyright Act 1710 in Britain, copyright laws in France, eased this situation. However, historian Eckhard Höffner claims that copyright laws and their restrictions acted as a barrier to progress in those countries for over a century, since British publishers c
The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church. In addition, it oversees the administration of justice in the Church; the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is Cardinal Dominique Mamberti, who had replaced Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke. The Secretary is Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca; the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is housed in the Italian Renaissance-era Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome, the headquarters and meeting place of the Roman Catholic Church's other two Tribunals. The Apostolic Signatura only hears appeals from these two tribunals if some process was in error or there is an inter-agency conflict, not in regard to the judgment, made or the merits of the case; the two other Tribunals located there are the Sacred Roman Rota, the Apostolic Penitentiary. The Roman Rota is the ordinary appellate tribunal of the Apostolic See; the Signatura's competence covers: complaints of nullity and petitions for total reinstatement against sentences of the Roman Rota.
Apart from these judicial matters, the Signatura has competence as an administrative tribunal to deal with controversies over administrative decisions made by or approved by departments of the Roman Curia if it is contended that the decision violated some law, either in the decision-making process or in the procedure used. It can deal with administrative controversies referred to it by the Pope or those departments, with conflicts of competence between the departments. A third field of competence for the Signatura is that of overseeing all the tribunals of the Catholic Church, with power to extend the jurisdiction of tribunals, to grant dispensations from procedural laws, to establish interdiocesan tribunals, to discipline canonical advocates; the Cardinal Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura serves ex officio as the President of the Supreme Court of Vatican City. The two other members of the Supreme Court are Cardinals of the Apostolic Signatura and are chosen by the Cardinal Prefect on a yearly basis.
In the thirteenth century the Popes made use of "referendarii" to investigate and prepare the signing - hence the name signatura - of petitions and other cases presented to the Holy See. Pope Eugene IV entrusted these referendaries with authority to sign certain petitions and thereby established a permanent office for this purpose. Under Popes Alexander VI, Sixtus IV and Julius II this office was divided into two, the Signatura gratiae for examining petitions for favours, the Signatura iustitiae for contentious cases; the honourable office of referendary came to be conferred as a honorary title, but Pope Sixtus V put a limit on their number, Pope Alexander VII combined the limited number of voting referendaries into a college, assisted by the simple referendaries, who had only a consultative position. The Signatura gratiae lost its functions to other bodies, the growth of the work of the Roman Rota, the foundation of the Congregations of Cardinals resulted in the Signatura iustitiae becoming a Supreme Court of the Papal States.
On 29 June 1908, Pope Pius X reestablished a single Apostolic Signatura consisting of six cardinals, one of whom acted as its prefect. On 28 June 1915, Pope Benedict XV reconstituted the college of the voting referendaries and simple referendaries with consultative functions and the 1917 Code of Canon Law removed the limitation of the number of cardinals members of this Supreme Tribunal; the present competence of the Apostolic Signatura is that laid down in the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus of 28 June 1988. Vincenzo Vannutelli Michele Lega Augusto Silj Francesco Ragonesi Bonaventura Cerretti Enrico Gasparri Massimo Massimi Giuseppe Bruno Gaetano Cicognani Francesco Roberti Dino Staffa Pericle Felici Aurelio Sabattani Achille Silvestrini Gilberto Agustoni Zenon Grocholewski Mario Francesco Pompedda Agostino Vallini Raymond Leo Burke Dominique Mamberti The members of the Apostolic Signatura are:Cardinals Dominique Mamberti, Prefect Agostino Vallini, Prefect Emeritus Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect Emeritus Béchara Boutros Raï Antonio Maria Rouco Varela Zenon Grocholewski Attilio Nicor
Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization
The Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization translated as Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia whose creation was announced by Pope Benedict XVI at vespers on 28 June 2010, eve of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, to carry out the New Evangelization. The Pope said that "the process of secularisation has produced a serious crisis of the sense of the Christian faith and role of the Church", the new pontifical council would "promote a renewed evangelisation" in countries where the Church has long existed "but which are living a progressive secularisation of society and a sort of'eclipse of the sense of God'." On 30 June 2010, Pope Benedict XVI appointed as its first President Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, until President of the Pontifical Academy for Life. On May 13, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named Archbishop Jose Octavio Ruiz Arenas as the first Secretary of the Pontifical Council. Archbishop Ruiz Arenas had been serving as the Vice President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and had served as the Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Villavicencio in Villavicencio, Colombia.
The 66-year-old prelate is a native of Colombia. That same day, Monsignor Graham Bell the Secretary Coordinator of the Pontifical Academy for Life, was named the Undersecretary of the Pontifical Council. On Friday, January 25, 2013, Pope Benedict XVI, in an Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio, transferred the oversight of catechesis from the Congregation for the Clergy to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization; the idea for a Council for the New Evangelisation was first floated by Father Luigi Giussani, founder of the Communion and Liberation movement, in the early 1980s. Pope John Paul II emphasized the universal call to holiness and called Catholics to engage in the New Evangelization. More Cardinal Angelo Scola of Venice presented the idea to Benedict XVI; the term "new evangelisation" was popularised by Pope John Paul II with reference to efforts to reawaken the faith in traditionally Christian parts of the world Europe, first "evangelised", or converted to Christianity, many centuries earlier, but standing in need of a "new evangelisation".
Pope Benedict XVI established the Council with Art. 1 §1 of the motu proprio Ubicumque et semper', given from Castel Gandolfo 21 September 2010 and published in the L'Osservatore Romano 12 October 2010. The incipit of the document is part of the phrase: "The Church has a duty everywhere and at all times to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ". Pope Benedict quoted Pope Paul VI who stated that the work of evangelisation "proves increasingly necessary because of the frequent situations of de-Christianization of our days, for multitudes of people who have been baptized but who live quite outside of Christian life, for simple people who have a certain faith, but he knows the basics wrong, for intellectuals who feel the need to know Jesus Christ in a different light from the teaching they received as children, for many others "; the document lists the specific tasks of the Council which include: deepen the theological and pastoral significance of the new evangelisation. Presenting the new Council to the press, Archbishop Fisichella said: "The Gospel is not a myth, but the living witness of an historical event that changed the face of history."
He added: “The new evangelization first and foremost makes known the historical person of Jesus, his teachings as they have been faithfully transmitted by the original community, teachings that find in the Gospels and in the writings of the New Testament their normative expression." President: Salvatore Fisichella Secretary: José Ruiz Arenas Undersecretary: Mgsr. Graham Bell Council members participate in the discussions of the council and attend yearly plenary meetings in Rome, they serve. Cardinals Christoph Schönborn Angelo Scola George Pell Josip Bozanić Marc Ouellet Francisco Robles Ortega Odilo Pedro Scherer William Levada Stanisław Ryłko Gianfranco Ravasi Daniel Fernando Sturla Berhouet, S. D. B. Archbishops and bishops Claudio Maria Celli Nikola Eterović Pierre-Marie Carré Robert Zollitsch Bruno Forte Bernard Longley Andre-Joseph Leonard Adolfo González Montes (5 January 2011
The Roman Rota, formally the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, anciently the Apostolic Court of Audience, is the highest appellate tribunal of the Catholic Church, with respect to both Latin-rite members and the Eastern-rite members and is, with respect to judicial trials conducted in the Catholic Church, the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See. An appeal may be had to the Pope himself, the supreme ecclesiastical judge; the Catholic Church has a complete legal system, the oldest in the West still in use. The court is named Rota because the judges, called auditors met in a round room to hear cases; the Rota was established in the 13th century. The Pope designates one of them the dean. On Saturday, September 22, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI accepted the resignation as Dean, for reasons of age, of Bishop Antoni Stankiewicz, appointed in his place Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto, until serving as a prelate Auditor of the Court of first instance; the Rota issues its sentences in Latin. The Rota adjudicates cases in a panel of three auditors, or more, depending on the complexity of the matter, assigned by the Dean of the Tribunal, though sometimes a larger number of auditors are assigned to a particular case.
The auditors of the Rota are selected from among recognized ecclesiastical judges serving various dioceses around the world. The Rota's official records begin in 1171; until the Risorgimento and the loss of the Papal States in 1870, the Rota was a civil tribunal and its judgements had the status of law in the Papal States. Until the 14th century the court was formally known as the Apostolic Court of Audience; the first recorded use of the term Rota, which referred to the wheel-shaped arrangement of the benches used by the court in the great hall at Avignon, is in Thomas Fastolf's Decisiones rotae, consisting of reports on thirty-six cases heard at the Court of Audience in Avignon between December 1336 and February 1337. Its first usage in a papal bull is in 1418, it is possible that the term Rota comes from the porphyry wheel, centered in the marble floor of Avignon, or from the wheel-like cases in which parchment roll records were kept. The Rota's main function is that of an appellate tribunal, ordinarily reviewing decisions of lower courts if the initial court and the first appellate court do not agree on the outcome of a case.
Dominating its caseload are petitions seeking the issuance of a decree of nullity of a marriage, although it has jurisdiction to hear any other type of judicial and non-administrative case in any area of canon law. The Rota serves as a tribunal of first instance in certain cases such as any contentious case in which a Bishop of the Latin Church is a defendant. If the case can still be appealed after a Rotal decision, the appeal goes to a different turnus, or panel, of the Rota; the Rota is the highest appeals court for all judicial trials in the Catholic Church. A judgment of the Rota can, however with the greatest difficulty, be vacated by the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest administrative court in the Catholic Church. However, the legal procedure or process used by the judges of the Rota, not the merits of the case, are on trial before the Signatura: the Signatura is only able to grant the petitioner a new trial to be held before a new turnus of the Rota, if the Rota was found to have erred in procedure.
The Roman Rota proceedings are governed by a specific set of rules, the "Normae Romanae Rotae Tribunalis", promulgated in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. Only advocates who are registered in a specific list are allowed to represent the parties before the Tribunal. Since Pope Benedict XVI issued the motu proprio Quaerit semper the Rota has had exclusive competence to dispense from marriages ratum sed non consummatum. Roman Deity Fontus Fonzerelli Brown Primary Tribunal In recognition of the Tribunal's 800 years of history and signal reputation, the Prelate Auditors, by exception to numerous norms promulgated by both Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, are to be addressed as "Most Illustrious and Most Reverend"; the dean of the Rota if not consecrated a bishop, is to be addressed as "Your Excellency". All Prelate Auditor Judges of the Rota are styled, "Most Reverend Monsignor." The active auditors of the Rota, with their dates of appointment by the pope, are: Pierangelo Pietracatella, Robert Gołębiowski, Francesco Ibba, Tomasz Kubiczek, Alessandro Recchia, Domenico Teti, Tribunal of the Roman Rota Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts GCatholic.org Herbermann, Charles, ed..
"Sacra Romana Rota". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company
Secretariat of State (Holy See)
The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See; the Secretariat is divided into three sections, the Section for General Affairs, the Section for Relations with States, since 2017, the Section for Diplomatic Staff. The origins of the Secretariat of State go back to the fifteenth century; the apostolic constitution Non Debet Reprehensibile of 31 December 1487 established the Secretaria Apostolica comprising twenty-four Apostolic Secretaries, one of whom bore the title Secretarius Domesticus and held a position of pre-eminence. One can trace to this Secretaria Apostolica the Chancery of Briefs, the Secretariat of Briefs to Princes and the Secretariat of Latin Letters. Pope Leo X established another position, the Secretarius Intimus, to assist the Cardinal who had control of the affairs of State and to attend to correspondence in languages other than Latin, chiefly with the Apostolic Nuncios.
From these beginnings, the Secretariat of State developed at the time of the Council of Trent. For a long time, the Secretarius Intimus called Secretarius Papae or Secretarius Maior, was always a prelate endowed with episcopal rank, it was only at the beginning of the pontificate of Innocent X that someone a Cardinal and not a member of the Pope's family was called to this high office. Pope Innocent XII definitively abolished the office of Cardinal Nephew, the powers of that office were assigned to the Cardinal Secretary of State alone. On 19 July 1814, Pope Pius VII established the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, expanding the Congregatio super negotiis ecclesiasticis Regni Galliarum established by Pius VI in 1793. With the apostolic constitution Sapienti Consilio of 29 June 1908, Saint Pius X divided the Sacred Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs in the form fixed by the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1917 and he specified the duties of each of the three sections: the first was concerned with extraordinary affairs, while the second attended to the ordinary affairs, the third, until an independent body, had the duty of preparing and dispatching pontifical Briefs.
With the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae of 15 August 1967, Pope Paul VI reformed the Roman Curia, implementing the desire expressed by the bishops in the Second Vatican Council. This gave a new face to the Secretariat of State, suppressing the Chancery of Apostolic Briefs the third section, transforming the former first section, the Sacred Congregation for the Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs, into a body distinct from the Secretariat of State, though related to it, to be known as the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. On 28 June 1988, John Paul II promulgated the apostolic constitution Pastor bonus, which introduced a reform of the Roman Curia and divided the Secretariat of State into two sections: the Section for General Affairs and the Section for Relations with States, which incorporated the Council for the Public Affairs of the Church. Pope Francis added a third unit, the Section for Diplomatic Staff, in November 2017; the head of the Secretariat of State is the Secretary of State, a cardinal.
The Cardinal Secretary of State is responsible for the diplomatic and political activity of the Holy See, in some circumstances representing the Pope himself. The Section for General Affairs handles the normal operations of the Church including organizing the activities of the Roman Curia, making appointments to curial offices, publishing official communications, papal documents, handling the concerns of embassies to the Holy See, keeping the papal seal and Fisherman's Ring. Abroad, the Section for General Affairs is responsible for organizing the activities of nuncios around the world in their activities concerning the local church; the Section for General Affairs is headed by an archbishop known as the Substitute for General Affairs, or more formally, Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State. The current Substitute for General Affairs to the Secretary of State is Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra. There have been 10 substitutes since 1953: Nicola Canali Federico Tedeschini Giovanni Battista Montini Angelo Dell'Acqua Giovanni Benelli Giuseppe Caprio Eduardo Martínez Somalo Edward Idris Cassidy Giovanni Battista Re Leonardo Sandri Fernando Filoni Giovanni Angelo Becciu Edgar Peña Parra The deputy to the Substitute for General Affairs deputy chief of staff, is called the Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.
The current Assessor for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State is Monsignor Paolo Borgia. Eduardo Martínez Somalo Giovanni Battista Re Crescenzio Sepe Leonardo Sandri James Michael Harvey Pedro Lopez Quintana Gabriele Giordano Caccia Peter Bryan Wells Paolo Borgia (4 March
Congregation (Roman Curia)
There are nine congregations of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church. They are second highest-ranking departments, below the two Secretariats, above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions and offices. Congregations were selected groups of cardinals drawn from the College of Cardinals, commissioned to take care of some field of activity that concerned the Holy See. Today, as a result of a decision of the Second Vatican Council, members include diocesan bishops from diverse parts of the world who are not cardinals; each congregation has a permanent staff. Each congregation is led by a Prefect, a cardinal; until a non-cardinal appointed to head a congregation was styled pro-prefect until made a cardinal. This practice has been abandoned. Certain curial departments have been organized by the Holy See at various times to assist it in the transaction of those affairs which canonical discipline and the individual interests of the faithful bring to Rome. Of these the most important are the Roman Congregations, as is evident from the mere consideration of the dignity of their membership, comprising cardinals who assist the pope in the administration of the affairs of the Church, though Cardinals have not always participated in the administration of ecclesiastical affairs in the same way.
Ecclesiastical business used to be handled by the pontifical chancery. However, the ever-growing number of business items and the ever-increasing complexity of the issues necessitated the creation of separate, specialised administrative-legislative bodies; the Roman Congregations originated in the necessity, felt from the beginning, of studying the questions submitted for pontifical decision, in order to sift the legal questions arising and to establish matters of fact duly. This work, at first entrusted to the papal chaplains, was afterwards divided between the penitentiarii and the auditores, according as questions of the internal or the external forum were to be considered. Thereafter, cardinals in greater or less number were associated with them. However, they were not entrusted with the preparation of the case, but were given authority to decide it. As, on the other hand, the increased numbers of cases to be passed upon occupied a great number of persons, while the proper administration of justice required that those persons should be of the most experienced, it appeared to be advisable, if not necessary, to divide this business into various and distinct groups.
This division would evidently facilitate the selection of wise and experienced men in all branches of ecclesiastical affairs. Hence a natural division into executive cases, assigned to the offices, judicial cases, reserved to the tribunals, administrative cases, committed to the Roman Congregations. Pope Sixtus V was the first to distribute this administrative business among different congregations of cardinals. By a judicious division of administrative matters, he established that permanent organization of these departments of the Curia, which since have rendered such great services to the Church; the congregations at first established by Sixtus V were designated as Congregation for the Holy Inquisition Congregation for the Signature of Grace Congregation for the Erection of Churches and Consistorial Provisions Congregation for the Abundance of Supplies and Prosperity of the Church's Temporal Dominions Congregation for Sacred Rites and Ceremonies Congregation for Equipping the Fleet and Maintaining It for the Defence of the Church's Dominions Congregation for an Index of Forbidden Books Congregation for the Execution and Interpretation of the Council of Trent Congregation for Relieving the Ills of the States of the Church for the University of the Roman study Congregation for Regulations of Religious Orders Congregation for Regulations of Bishops and Other Prelates Congregation for Taking Care of Roads and Waters Congregation for the Vatican Printing-Press Congregation for Regulations of the Affairs of the Church's Temporal DominionsWhile the chief end of the Congregations of Cardinals was to assist the sovereign pontiff in the administration of the affairs of the Church, some of these congregations were created to assist in the administration of the temporal States of the Holy See.
The number of these varied according to the requirements of the moment. Other congregations were added by different popes, until a complete organization was established by Pope Pius X in his Constitution Sapienti Consilio of 29 June 1908, according to which there were thirteen congregations, counting that of the Propaganda as only one. Sixtus V granted ordinary jurisdict