The Roman Curia - usually (though inaccurately) called the Vatican - is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See, coordinating and providing the necessary organisation for the correct functioning of the Roman Catholic Church and the achievement of its goals. It is generally considered as representing the international government of the Catholic Church.

Curia in medieval and later Latin usage means "court" in the sense of "royal court" rather than "court of law" (though those two meanings are related in history). The Roman Curia, then, sometimes anglicized as Roman Court, is the Papal Court, and assists the Pope in carrying out his functions.

Purpose Edit

In exercising supreme, full, and immediate power in the universal Church, the Roman pontiff makes use of the departments of the Roman Curia which, therefore, perform their duties in his name and with his authority for the good of the churches and in the service of the sacred pastors.Christus Dominus


The Roman Curia was originally established in the 16th Century by Pope Sixtus V and had both religious and civil functions, though the latter were greatly transformed in the 19th century when the expansion of the Piedmontese State to include the greater part of Italy included the seizure of most of the Papal States in 1860 and the city of Rome itself in 1870, and hence effectively ended much of the Papacy's temporal power. An agreement was reached on this issue when in 1929 the Holy See concluded the Lateran Treaties with the Italian State, which had since 1919 occupied the whole of the peninsula, plus Sicily and Sardinia. By this act, the Roman Curia gave up any claim to an administrative role in the defunct Papal States, though it has such with regard to the successor Vatican City State. In practice, the Curia is now mainly dedicated to the support of the Pope's ecclesiastical responsibilities.

In its long and eventful history, it underwent numerous organisational changes. Among its former components are:

Structure Edit

The following organs or charges, according to the official website of the Holy See ([1]), compose the Curia:

It should be noted that it is normal for every Latin Catholic diocese to have a curia in its administration. For the Diocese of Rome, these functions are not handled by the Roman Curia, but by the Vicariate General of His Holiness for the City of Rome, as provided by the Apostolic Constitution Ecclesia in Urbe. The Vicar General, traditionally a Cardinal, and his deputy the Vicegerent, who holds the personal title of Archbishop, supervise the governance of the diocese by reference to the Pope himself, but no more dependence on the Roman Curia as such than other Catholic dioceses throughout the world.

See alsoEdit

Sources & external linksEdit

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