Receptions given by the pope to clerical or lay persons having business with or interest in the Holy See.
Requests for audiences are made to the master of the chamber (Maestro di Camera), even those which ambassadors present through the cardinal secretary of state.
The pope receives every day the cardinal prefect of one of the sacred congregations.
At these audiences decrees are signed and counsel given by the pope.
Bishops come from every nation to consult the pope.
Prelates connected with various institutions either in Rome or abroad, generals and procurators of religious orders, are also received on stated days.
Formal audiences to sovereigns and princes are invested with special ceremonies.
For ordinary audiences to priests and lay persons the general practise is to present a letter of recommendation from the bishop of their diocese to the rector of the national college in Rome of the country from which they come.
The rector procures from the master of the chamber the necessary card of admission.
New Catholic Dictionary