Hierarchies can be considered as the best arrangement for arranging the complex structures. Hence Roman Catholic churches adopted this structure to segregate various people associated with church into groups. This categorization helped in managing the churches, their administration and their duties effectively and efficiently. They named this arrangement of segregating groups, powers and responsibilities as Royal Hierarchy.
Churches are one of the oldest institutions which in spite of being decentralized and spread all over the world have maintained a specific order just because of its hierarchical structure. Hierarchies in church can be observed in more than one type of arrangements. It would not be wrong if we say that every aspect of Catholic Church follows a hierarchy. While referencing catholic churches, the meaning of hierarchy can be considered as the holy government. The Catholics consider the Church as both visible and spiritual, a hierarchical society and the Mystical Body of Christ. Church is one, yet formed of two components, human and divine.
Although within a Catholic Church there are many complex aspects to be managed, but the adoption of hierarchical structure for most of these aspects, has eased many processes. The most common example of hierarchy within Catholic Church is the hierarchy of ministry, with the help of which the administration of churches all over the world has become easier.
A hierarchy or order exists in the catholic doctrine which they implement and follow very religiously and is considered to be the foundation of the Christian faith. Apart from hierarchy in ministry, there exists a hierarchy in fundamental and essential teachings of Catholics, called ‘hierarchy of the truths of faith’.
They believe that Every institution is explicitly and at least implicitly inspired by the a vision, and through this vision it derives the basis for judgments, its values, its hierarchy of values, its code of conduct and its line of conduct. This vision defines the structures and hierarchies for the institution. Catholics believe that their institution is practicing hierarchies and distribution of power in a very well manner. Another hierarchy is the hierarchy of creatures, which is expressed as order of the “six days”, from the less perfect to the more perfect.
The general hierarchical arrangement followed in the Royal Hierarchy of church is as follows:
First level – First and the top most level in the royal church hierarchy is acquired by Pope. There is always one pope under whom the whole hierarchy works. He is the top most authority and final decision maker.
Second level – On the second level, come the Bishops. They are responsible for the operations in a diocese. There are around 3000 dioceses all over the world and each diocese is handles by a bishop.
Third level – As we come down in the hierarchy, the number of members at each lower level increases. Under diocese come the parishes. These parishes are handled by priests. There are more than two lakh parishes all over the world.
Fourth Level – The last level is constituted by Catholics. The Catholics are the people who are baptized. There are around 1 million Catholics all over the world.