What is a Pope and what does he do?

We live in a democratic society. Yet believing in democracy does not mean that we do not have leadership. In fact, there is not a single country in the world which does not have a single ruler as head of the state; even if his or her powers are limited in one way or another. As human beings, we need to see in important communities a leader who acts with the authority of that particular state or institution.

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What is a saint?

In Catholic terms, a ‘saint’ is someone who has been canonised. A holy man or woman who has died may be canonised if it is deemed they have lived a life of heroic virtue and gone through a process of thorough examination. Please see the question ‘What is Holiness and Beatification?’ for more details on this process.

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What is an Archbishop and what is his role?

The Catholic Church is made up of dioceses, or geographical areas, each of which is headed by a bishop, who is the leader of that local Church. The bishop of the more important cities, or of historically important places, is given the title of Archbishop, to show a level of seniority or honour.

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What is a Cardinal and what is his role?

The Cardinals of the Catholic Church are the most senior clergymen (priests) in the Church below the Pope. Although historically they were the local clergy of Rome, today they are Bishops of important ‘sees’ (dioceses) from throughout the world, or heads of departments of the Vatican, or some priests or bishops whom the Pope personally wishes to honour. The title of Cardinal is given by the Pope as a personal decision.

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What is the Church's teaching about the environment?

Do people have the right to pollute the air and the water? Is it just for people to kill animals? Should governments be allowed to restrict the size of families in order to reduce the strains on the natural world?

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What is the role of a priest?

A priest first of all is a baptised man who has heard God calling him to a particular role in the Church – that of ministerial priesthood. After usually about six or seven years training he is ordained. Being ordained, or ordination, is a sacrament; that is a special blessing from God which makes an inner change in the man. Another word for this sacrament is ‘Holy Orders’.

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What is an Apostolic Nunciature?

The Apostolic Nunciature is the Embassy of the Holy See.

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What is a Nuncio and what is his role?

The Nuncio is the Ambassador of the Holy See.

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