Assisting the pope in governing the church are two bodies, the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia. The College of Cardinals is a group of Catholics, most often clergymen, appointed by the pope to serve as his advisers. They have the responsibility of electing a new pope when necessary. The Roman Curia serves as the pope's administrative arm. It consists of the secretariat of state, which assists the pope most directly in both governing the church and communicating with the rest of the Curia, and a number of other departments, each of which has a specific function.
The pope is the ruler of Vatican City, an independent state within the city of Rome, Italy. The Vatican has its own flag, coins, stamps, and public works. As an independent state, it has diplomatic status, and the pope sends representatives to other countries and receives ambassadors from them.
by the presence of Christ and protected by the Holy Spirit from error. Catholics believe that this protection of the church from error takes place in the teachings of the pope when he speaks ex cathedra, or by virtue of his office. The pope does not have infallibility, or the inability to err, in connection with other aspects of church affairs, such as the running of a diocese or the books a Catholic publishing house might produce, but he does have absolute authority. He is considered the highest teacher, judge, and governing power in the church. The pope is assisted in the governance of the church by cardinals who belong to a body called the College of Cardinals. Many cardinals are archbishops of large diocese or regions, or they are heads of departments in the Roman Curia, the central administrative body of the Catholic Church.
Was this article helpful?