Papal Congregation; Roman Congregation

A department of the Roman Curia, consisting of a number of cardinals, and permanently established to handle a certain class of administrative business. One of the cardinals presides over it as prefect, or as secretary if the pope is the prefect. To it are attached the required officials and a body of consultors. Its function is to see that laws are observed, to publish instructions to this end, to apply the law in particular cases, and to grant dispensations within its competency. The congregations lack legislative and, except the Holy Office, judicial power. As first organized by Sixtus V, 22 January 1588, there were 15 congregations; but the number has varied according to the needs of the times. Today there are 11, excluding the so-called Congregation of the Fabric of Saint Peter's. These are the
New Catholic Dictionary

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