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Cardinal

church pope rome bishops

Cardinal, hierarchically high-ranking official of the Roman Catholic Church, whose principal duties include the election of the pope, counseling the papacy, and administrating Church government. Cardinals are chosen by the pope and have the title of Eminence. Their insignia consists of scarlet cassock, sash, biretta (skullcap) and hat, and ring. There are three orders: cardinal bishops of the sees near Rome; cardinal priests (cardinal archbishops) with responsibilities outside the district of Rome; and cardinal deacons, who have been titular bishops since 1962. Cardinal bishops and cardinal deacons are members of the Curia, the central administrative body of the Church. They head the tribunals, or the courts of the Church. Together, the cardinals form the Sacred College, which elects the pope. The cardinalate originated in early 6th-century Rome.

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