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In the Roman Curia, a congregation (Latin : Sacræ Cardinalium Congregationes)[ dubious ] is a type of department of the Curia. They are second-highest-ranking departments, ranking below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions, tribunals and offices. 
Originally, congregations were select groups of cardinals drawn from the College of Cardinals, commissioned to take care of some field of activity that concerned the Holy See. Today, as a result of a decision of the Second Vatican Council, members include diocesan bishops from diverse parts of the world who are not cardinals. Each congregation also has a permanent staff.
Each congregation is led by a Prefect, who is usually a cardinal.  Until recently, a non-cardinal appointed to head a congregation was styled pro-prefect until made a cardinal. This practice has been abandoned.
Certain curial departments have been organized by the Holy See at various times to assist it in the transaction of those affairs which canonical discipline and the individual interests of the faithful bring to Rome. Among the most important were the Roman Congregations, traditionally comprising cardinals who assist the pope in the administration of the affairs of the Church. 
Under the current law, the dicasteries are juridically equal, but congregations generally have more direct jurisdiction than other dicasteries. 
The Roman Congregations originated from the necessity, felt from the beginning, of studying the questions submitted for pontifical decision, in order to sift the legal questions arising and to establish matters of fact. Ecclesiastical business used to be handled by the pontifical chancery. This work, at first entrusted to the papal chaplains, was afterwards divided between the penitentiarii and the auditores, according as questions of the internal or the external forum (i.e., jurisdiction) were to be considered. Thereafter, cardinals in greater or less number were associated with them. Often, however, they were not merely entrusted with the preparation of the case, but were given authority to decide it. However, the ever-growing number of business items and the ever-increasing complexity of the issues necessitated the creation of separate, specialised administrative-legislative bodies  (the administrative and legislative functions of ecclesiastical government are not as sharply separated in the Catholic Church as in a secular government with the separation of powers). 
Pope Sixtus V was the first to distribute this administrative business among different congregations of cardinals; and in his Apostolic Constitution Immensa Aeterni Dei (22 January 1588) he generalized the idea, already conceived and partly reduced to practice by some of his predecessors, of committing one or another case or a group of cases to the examination, or to the decision, of several cardinals.  By a judicious division of administrative matters, he established the permanent organization of these departments of the Curia. Immensa aeterni Dei called for the formation of 15 permanent congregations: 
While the chief end of the Congregations of Cardinals was to assist the pontiff in the administration of the affairs of the Church, some of these congregations were created to assist in the administration of the temporal States of the Holy See.  Immensa Aeterni Dei has since been superseded, most recently by Pope John Paul II's constitution Pastor Bonus .
Other congregations were added by different popes, until a complete organization was established by Pope Pius X in his Constitution Sapienti Consilio of 29 June 1908, according to which there were thirteen congregations, counting that of the Propaganda as only one; however, the last-named congregation is divided into two parts: Congregation of the Propaganda for Affairs of the Latin Rite, and Congregation of the Propaganda for Affairs of the Oriental Rites, it may well be considered as two congregations, so that the total number of the congregations is fourteen. Sixtus V granted ordinary jurisdiction to each of the congregations which he instituted within the limits of the cases assigned to it, reserving to himself and to his successors the presidency of some of the more important congregations, such as the Congregation of the Holy Inquisition and that of the Signature of Grace. As time went on, the congregations of cardinals, which at first dealt exclusively with administrative matters, came to pass upon the legal points of the cases submitted to them, until the congregations overshadowed the ecclesiastical tribunals and even the Roman Rota, in fact almost taking their places. In time the transaction of business was impeded by the accumulation of jurisdictions, different congregations exercising jurisdiction rendering decisions and enacting laws in the same matters; Pius X resolved to define the competency of each congregation more precisely and to provide otherwise for the better exercise of its functions. 
On 29 June 1908, with the constitution Sapienti Consilio, Pope Pius X reduced the number of the congregations to 11. They were: 
All decisions of the sacred congregations require pontifical approval, unless special powers have been given previously by the pope. The officials of the congregations are divided into two classes: minor officers, who are to be chosen by competitive examination and named by a letter of the Cardinal-prefect, and major officers, freely selected by the pope, and named by a note of the Cardinal Secretary of State. There is to be henceforth no cumulation of offices in the hands of one individual, not only to satisfy the requirements of distributive justice, but also because the tenure of several offices by the same person often results in detriment to the service. Wherefore, it is forbidden for an officer of one of the congregations to serve in any way as an agent, or as a procurator or advocate, in his own department or in any other ecclesiastical tribunal. 
The competency of the 'congresso' in each congregation is determined. The congresso consists of the major officers under the presidency of the cardinal who presides over the congregation. It deals with the matters of less importance among those that are before the congregation, while those of greater moment must be referred to the full congregation. It is also the business of the congresso to prepare for their discussion those matters that are to be considered by the full congregation. On the other hand, the congresso is charged with the execution of the orders of the full congregation that have received the approval of the pope. As examples of matters of greater importance which must be considered by the full congregation, the special rules (normæ peculiares) mention the solution of doubts or of questions that may arise in regard to the interpretation of ecclesiastical laws, the examination of important administrative controversies and kindred matters. 
Following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI implemented many of the changes called for in the Curia with his Constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae of 15 August 1967. The functions of some offices that had already been severely reduced were abolished: the Sacred Ceremonial Congregation. One of the main changes brought about by Paul VI was the admission of diocesan bishops and archbishops as members of the Congregations, which has previously been restricted to cardinals.  As before, the members of a congregation do not intervene in the day-to-day operations of the congregation, which is in the hands of the Prefect and the permanent staff, headed generally by the Secretary and the Undersecretary. The permanent staff is to be of international provenance. Membership normally meet to discuss more general problems and to determine guidelines no more than once a year.
The most recent reorganization of the Roman Congregations came with Pope John Paul II's Constitution Pastor Bonus , issued June 28, 1988. This constitution more closely aligned the structure of the Curia with the norms established by the 1983 Code of Canon Law and the early drafts of what became the 1990 Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches. Pastor Bonus also continued Paul's expansion of the membership of congregations, allowing priests, deacons, the religious and the laity to be members of certain congregations and establishing consultors, experts appointed to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia to provide opinions, either singly or collectively, for particular issues when required. 
Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2014, thus becoming the first woman to be appointed a member of a Vatican congregation. 
On 19 March 2022, Pope Francis issue the apostolic constitution Praedicate evangelium , abrogating and replacing Pope John Paul II's Pastor bonus of 1988.  The former Congregations are now termed "dicasteries" (i.e., "departments"). Before the reform, the most important department of the Vatican was the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. With Praedicate evangelium, the most important department is the Dicastery for Evangelization, with the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith coming second. 
This section needs additional citations for verification .(September 2022)
As of 2022, there are sixteen Dicasteries: 
|Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith||Luis Ladaria Ferrer ||Spain|
|Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments||Arthur Roche||United Kingdom|
|Dicastery for Evangelization||Luis Antonio Tagle||Philippines|
|Dicastery for the Causes of Saints||Marcello Semeraro||Italy|
|Dicastery for Bishops||Marc Ouellet||Canada|
|Dicastery for the Clergy||Lazarus You Heung-sik||South Korea|
|Dicastery for the Eastern Churches||Claudio Gugerotti||Italy|
|Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life||João Braz de Aviz||Brazil|
|Dicastery for Culture and Education||Giuseppe Versaldi||Italy|
|Dicastery for the Service of Charity||Konrad Krajewski||Poland|
|Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life||Kevin Farrell|
|Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity||Kurt Koch||Switzerland|
|Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue||Miguel Ángel Ayuso Guixot||Spain|
|Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development||Michael Czerny||Czech Republic|
|Dicastery for Legislative Texts||Filippo Iannone||Italy|
|Dicastery for Communication||Paolo Ruffini||Italy|
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. The Roman Curia is the institution which the Roman Pontiff ordinarily makes use of in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office and universal mission in the world. It is at the service of the Pope, successor of Peter, and of the Bishops, successors of the Apostles, according to the modalities that are proper to the nature of each one, fulfilling their function with an evangelical spirit, working for the good and at the service of communion, unity and edification of the Universal Church and attending to the demands of the world in which the Church is called to fulfill its mission.
The Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF) is the oldest among the departments of the Roman Curia. Its seat is the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the Catholic Church from Heresy and is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Roman Catholic doctrine.
The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples was a congregation of the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church in Rome, responsible for missionary work and related activities. It is also known by its former title, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, or simply the Propaganda Fide. On 5 June 2022, it was merged with the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization into the Dicastery for Evangelization.
Ignatius Basile Moses I Daoud was Patriarch of Antioch for the Syrian Catholic Church, a Cardinal Bishop, and Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in the Catholic Church.
The Dicastery for the Clergy, formerly named Congregation for the Clergy, is the dicastery of the Roman Curia responsible for overseeing matters regarding priests and deacons not belonging to religious orders. The Congregation for the Clergy handles requests for dispensation from active priestly ministry, as well as the legislation governing presbyteral councils and other organisations of priests around the world. The Congregation does not deal with clerical sexual abuse cases, as those are handled exclusively by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Secretariat of State is the oldest dicastery in the Roman Curia, the central papal governing bureaucracy of the Catholic Church. It is headed by the Cardinal Secretary of State and performs all the political and diplomatic functions of the Holy See. The Secretariat is divided into three sections, the Section for General Affairs, the Section for Relations with States, and, since 2017, the Section for Diplomatic Staff.
The Dicastery for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the dicastery of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Church as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the sacraments.
The Congregation for Catholic Education was the pontifical congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for: universities, faculties, institutes and higher schools of study, either ecclesial or non-ecclesiastical dependent on ecclesial persons; and schools and educational institutes depending on ecclesiastical authorities.
The Dicastery for Bishops, formerly named Congregation for Bishops, is the department of the Roman Curia that oversees the selection of most new bishops. Its proposals require papal approval to take effect, but are usually followed. The Dicastery also schedules the visits at five-year intervals that bishops are required to make to Rome, when they meet with the pope and various departments of the Curia. It also manages the formation of new dioceses. It is one of the more influential Dicasteries, since it strongly influences the human resources policy of the church.
The Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, previously named Congregation for the Oriental Churches or Congregation for the Eastern Churches, is a dicastery of the Roman Curia responsible for contact with the Eastern Catholic churches for the sake of assisting their development and protecting their rights. It also maintains whole and entire in the one Catholic Church the heritage and canon law of the various Eastern Catholic traditions. It has exclusive authority over the following regions: Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia, southern Albania and Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, Jordan and Turkey, and also oversees jurisdictions based in Romania, Southern Italy, Hungary, India and Ukraine.
The Pontifical Biblical Commission is a pontifical commission established within the Roman Curia to ensure the proper interpretation and defense of the Bible.
Pastor bonus is an apostolic constitution promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 28 June 1988. It instituted a number of reforms in the process of running the central government of the Catholic Church.
Immensa aeterni Dei is an apostolic constitution in the form of a papal bull issued by Pope Sixtus V on 22 January 1588. The constitution reorganized the Roman Curia, establishing permanent congregations of cardinals to advise the pope on various subjects.
The Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas is a pontifical academy established on 15 October 1879 by Pope Leo XIII. The academy is one of the pontifical academies housed along with the academies of science at Casina Pio IV in Vatican City, Rome.
The Pontifical Commission for Latin America is a department of the Roman Curia that since 1958 has been charged with providing assistance to and examining matters pertaining to the Catholic Church in Latin America. The Commission operates under the auspices of the Dicastery for Bishops and for most of its history the prefect of that body has been president of the Commission.
The Pontifical Academy of Martyrs is one of the ten Pontifical Academies established by the Holy See. It serves to advance the cult of saints and martyrs and the study of related early Christian history, including the catacombs. It operates with guidance and support from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and the Roman Curia.
The history of the Roman Curia, the administrative apparatus responsible for managing the affairs of the Holy See and the Catholic Church, can be traced to the 11th century when informal methods of administration began to take on a more organized structure and eventual a bureaucratic form. The Curia has undergone a series of renewals and reforms, including a major overhaul following the loss of the Papal States, which fundamentally altered the range and nature of the Curia's responsibilities, removing many of an entirely secular nature.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church. Some terms used in everyday English have a different meaning in the context of the Catholic faith, including brother, confession, confirmation, exemption, faithful, father, ordinary, religious, sister, venerable, and vow.
Praedicate evangelium is an apostolic constitution reforming the Roman Curia and was published and promulgated on 19 March 2022 by Pope Francis; the document took effect on 5 June 2022.
The Dicastery for Culture and Education is an administrative unit of the Roman Curia. It began operations on 5 June 2022 as established by the apostolic constitution Praedicate evangelium promulgated on 19 March 2022. It was formed through the merger of two earlier bodies, the Pontifical Council for Culture and the Congregation for Catholic Education.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "The Roman Congregations". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.