Catholic Religious Hierarchy describes the various ministries and offices in their order of precedence which then showcases their rank or the position in the Church during the ceremonies or also at time of liturgies. Catholic Religious Hierarchy simply indicates the divinely and holy instituted ordering of the offices and ministries in the Church.
According to the Catholic Religious Hierarchy, the Catholic Church consists of the 2,834 dioceses, a district or a place under the supervision of the Bishop also referred as Bishopric, supervised by a Bishop. Dioceses are then further categorized into smaller individual and personal communities which are termed as Parishes, a territorial area under the pastoral jurisdiction and care of a Parish Priest.
Catholic Religious Hierarchy mainly revolves around the Bishops and their ranking in terms of the additional titles provided to Bishops on the basis of their services and the duration of services. The additional titles can be as of Pope, Cardinal, Patriarch and Archbishop.
The Bishop is authenticated and affirmed minister who possesses the complete sacrament related to the Holy Orders and holds the responsibilities like sanctifying this entire world, governing of the Catholics under his supervision and jurisdiction and representation of the Church before the world. Catholic Religious Hierarchy portrays the belief of Catholics in the myth of Bishops having a special and unique charisma provided to them by the God.
The Bishops are further categorized into various forms or in other words one can say that Bishops get some extra additional titles on the basis of their services provided which are the Pope, the Archbishop, the Cardinal, the Patriarch, the Primates etc. The major ranks in the Catholic Religious Hierarchy are further described in brief as below:
- The Pope – The leader of the entire Catholic Church worldwide and the Bishop of the Rome is referred as the Pope, a successor of the Saint Peter. Papac is the term used for the office of the Pope. Presently Pope Benedict XVI is the Bishop of the Rome and the office holder. The Pope is also the head of the Vatican state. The major responsibilities for the Pope includes the protection of human rights, help in the spread of Christianity and also perform charity tasks. There are approximate 2946 Bishops working under the Pope within the 2946 diocese areas and overall 219,583 priests.
- The Patriarch – The Patriarch acts as a head for different but particular fragmented Churches which further consist of various local Churches.
- Major Archbishops – In the Catholic Religious Hierarchy, the Major Archbishops are ranked and placed at third place below to the Patriarch. They also act as head for some different Churches having some local Churches under them but quite less prestigious than the Patriarch.
- Cardinal/ Catholicism – Cardinals also referred as the Catholicism is the authenticated Bishops appointed by the Pope. They are also termed as the Prince of the Catholic Church. One of the major responsibilities of a Cardinal involves electing the Pope when the seat of the Pope becomes empty due to any reason.
- The Primates – The Primate is a rank or a special title provided to some Bishops in certain Catholic Churches.