Apostolic Chancery

The papal office that drafts and issues the more important documents emanating from the Holy See. These are the Bulls appointing bishops and others named in Consistory to high office; and the constitutions erecting or dividing dioceses and provinces or setting up cathedral or collegiate chapters, or dealing with matters of importance at the direct instance of the supreme pontiff. Since the reorganization of the Roman Curia by Pope Saint Pius X in 1908 the Apostolic Chancery has become merely the expediting office of the Congregation of Consistory and of the pope directly. These restricted functions represent the last phase of a development almost co-extensive with the life of the Church. The chancery was of considerable importance during the Middle Ages but after the Reformation as the era of congregatipns or permanent commissions began it became in fact what Pius X made it in law, a standing committee on drafting and engrossing papal Bulls and constitutions. A collection of Apostolic constitutions, called the Rules of Chancery, are in force in this office. They are divided into three classes, rules of direction or expedition of Bulls, rules concerning benefices, and judicial rules.