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Dicastery

Dicastery

Dicastery (from Greek δικαστήριον, law-court, from δικάστης, judge/juror) is an Italicism sometimes used in English to refer to the Departments of the Roman Curia.

Apart from the Secretariat of State (the Pope's secretariat), these Dicasteries or Departments are grouped in the following categories:

  1. Congregations, headed by a Prefect, who is most frequently a cardinal:
    1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    2. The Congregation for the Oriental Churches
    3. The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments
    4. The Congregation for the Causes of Saints
    5. The Congregation for Bishops
    6. The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
    7. The Congregation for the Clergy
    8. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
    9. The Congregation for Catholic Education (for Seminaries and Educational Institutions)
  2. Tribunals:
    1. The Apostolic Penitentiary, headed by the Penitentiary Major, for the "internal forum" (matters of conscience, absolution of censures)
    2. The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, headed by the Prefect
    3. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota, headed by the Dean, which judges cases such as those brought to prove the nullity of a marriage
  3. Pontifical Councils, each headed by a President
    1. The Pontifical Council for the Laity
    2. The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
    3. The Pontifical Council for the Family
    4. The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
    5. The Pontifical Council Cor Unum
    6. The Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People
    7. The Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers
    8. The Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts
    9. The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
    10. The Pontifical Council for Culture
    11. The Pontifical Council for Social Communications
  4. Offices:
    1. The Apostolic Camera, headed by the Camerlengo
    2. The Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See
    3. The Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
  5. Other bodies:
    1. The Prefecture of the Papal Household (often referred to as the Audience Office)
    2. The Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff
    3. The Central Statistics Office of the Church
    4. Papal Commissions, of which the following are given special prominence:
      1. The Pontifical Commission for the Patrimony of the Church
      2. The Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology
      3. The Pontifical Biblical Commission
      4. The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei
      5. The Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State

The Commissions are often classified not as integral parts of the Roman Curia but rather as associated with it in a way similar to the way the Vatican Secret Archives and the Vatican Apostolic Library are connected with the Holy See.

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