Hierarchy of the Catholic Church

The hierarchy of Catholic Church is extremely complicated, as Catholic Church is one of the oldest institutions of the world and their hierarchy is very complex. They say that everyone who is baptized is a part of Catholic Church, but for the sake of categorization and clarity, it becomes necessary to segregate these people associated with the church into groups and hierarchies. Majorly, these people are divided into three categories. This is also known as the ordering of the ministry of the church or the architecture of the church:

Hierarchy of the Catholic Church

Episcopate: This group consists of the smallest number of members but it the highest ranking. To understand the ranking of this group, we can consider that they are like generals, colonels and sergeants of the army. Pope, Bishop and Cardinals fall under this category.

Pope of the church also comes under this category and he is the highest ranked member in the church. He is the ultimate authority and he has the final word on each matter.

Then there are Bishops or Cardinals, and they can be identified with their dress as they wear red colored dress. Bishops are in charge of one or more churches. They have a lot of power but not as much as pope.

Bishops are referred as ordained ministers and are responsible for a geographical area constituted by local communities of faithful known as parishes. Bishops are considered to be superior of all the priests in their dioceses which they’re in charge of. Bishops are selected and appointed by the pope, and they are required to directly report to pope. Bishops are responsible for teaching doctrines, for representing the church, and for governing Catholics in their jurisdiction. To summarize the duties performed by the bishops, it can be said that they are required to teach, govern and sanctify the faithful in his diocese.

Cardinals are the princes in the church appointed by the pope. All cardinals are not bishops. Cardinals are tipped to be the next Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops – in the top three most important positions under the Pope.

Presbyter: This group comes in the middle and consists of people, and includes deacons and priests.  These are the people who can do mass service.

Diaconate: This group has the maximum number of members. This group is also known as LAITY and it has a lot of people. This category consists of people who are baptized and do not fall under the above mentioned categories constitute this group.

The diaconate considered to be one of the oldest and ordained ministries. These people can perform all the functions that are performed by a priest like baptisms, funerals etc. except hearing confessions and celebrating mass.

In fact, the church brings forward a message for integration though its hierarchy approach – Instead of never ending arms race and commercial competitiveness between the nations in the worlds, they must work on mobilizing the resources towards objectives of economic, moral and cultural development, that is, redefining hierarchies and the priorities of values.

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