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The Congregation for Indulgences and Sacred Relics (Latin : Congregatio indulgentiarum et sacrarum reliquiarum) was a body of the Roman Curia, created in 1669 and suppressed in 1904.
Pope Clement IX established the Congregation for Indulgences and Sacred Relics in his apostolic letter In ipsis pontificatus nostra primordiis on 6 July 1669,giving permanent form to a commission of cardinals created on 4 August 1667. Initially the Congregation had a purely disciplinary character overseeing the application and observance of the decree Council of Trent's decree De indulgentiis issued on 3-4 December 1563 and limiting the abuses introduced in the distribution of indulgences by the Secretariat of the Briefs.
The Congregation also managed the authentication of relics, particularly when disputes were addressed in legal proceedings. The Congregation had its own staff of theologians and archaeologists, mostly Jesuits or Capuchins, to help resolve complex questions.
At the beginning of the eighteenth century, the Congregation began to distribute indulgences itself, a privilege that was recognized by Pope Benedict XIV in 1742. Conflicts of jurisdiction and rival interests arose between the Congregation and the Secretariat of the Briefs until Pope Pius IX, with his motu proprio Fidelis domus Domini of 2 January 1855, deprived the Congregation of the rights Benedict XIV had granted it. Pius IX's instructions were reiterated with greater force by Pope Leo XIII in the motu proprio Christianae reipublicae of 31 October 1897.
On 28 January 1904, with the motu proprio Quae in Ecclesiae, Pope Pius X united the Congregation with the Congregation of Rites, and on that same day he made Cardinal Luigi Tripepi, who had been Prefect of the Congregation of Indulgences and Sacred Relics since 7 January 1903, also the Pro-Prefect of the Congregation of Rites.
On 29 June 1908, with the apostolic constitution Sapienti consilio, Pius X suppressed the Congregation and transferred its responsibilities for indulgences to the Holy Office. Finally, Pope Benedict XV on 25 March 1917, with the motu proprio Alloquentes proxime, assigned those responsibilities to the Apostolic Penitentiary.
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. It acts in the pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia, seated at the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine. Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it is informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office, and between 1908 and 1965 was officially known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.
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Quattuor abhinc annos is the incipit of a letter that the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments sent on 3 October 1984 to presidents of episcopal conferences concerning celebration of Mass in the Tridentine form.
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Luigi Tripepi was an Italian Roman Catholic cardinal and poet. He was one of the most important Roman Catholic apologists of the 19th century.
Domenico Serafini, O.S.B. Subl. was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served in various pastoral, diplomatic, and curial posts, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1914.
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Serafino Cretoni was an Italian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church who served as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites from 1903 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1896.
Antonio Maria Panebianco was an Italian prelate of the Catholic Church. He became cardinal in 1861 and held several senior positions in the Roman Curia.