What Is the Job of the Pope?

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The pope's job is to lead the Catholic church and to serve as the Bishop of Rome. A pope's role entails religious as well as political duties.

In Catholic tradition, the pope's role is derived from that of St. Peter, whom Christ appointed to build up the church. The pope serves as the spiritual leader for the world's Catholics. His religious duties include officiating major holiday services, such as Christmas and Easter, at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. He also delivers a blessing to the tourists and congregants who gather in St. Peter's Square every week.

As the head of the Catholic church, the pope also appoint bishops. The pope is required to meet with each of his 5,000 bishops at least once every 5 years, which means he must meet with about 20 of them every week. While popes have historically lived their lives completely within the walls of the Vatican, modern popes have a much busier schedule. They travel, meet with world leaders and deliver Masses all over the world.

The pope's role is also political because the pope is the head of state of Vatican City, which is a sovereign enclave located inside Rome. As head of state, the pope accepts important visitors, such as world monarchs and representatives of foreign governments.

The pope has a team of assistants who assist him in performing his duties. This includes a butler, nuns who see to his housekeeping needs, private secretaries and speechwriters.