Palatinus in the Catholic Church

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Palatinus (plural: Palatini), Latin for "palatial", were designations for various ecclesiastical offices in the Catholic Church, primarily of certain high officials in the papal court.


Medieval Palatine judges

In the Middle Ages, the judices palatini ( papal palace judges) were the highest administrative officers of the pope's household; with the growth of the temporal power of the popes they acquired great importance. These judices palatini were

These various offices developed from the end of the fourth century, with the formation of the papal household. Their functions covered the whole central administration of the papacy, both at Rome and in the outlying possessions (patrimonia) of the Roman Church. The judices palatini were also employed as papal envoys; they also had definite duties in the solemn processions and other great church ceremonies at which the pope was present in person. Their authority continued down until the middle of the eleventh century, when the reforms of the papal administration, inaugurated after the troubles of the tenth century, placed the Cardinals in that position at the Roman curia, which the judices palatini had previously occupied, and the latter gradually disappeared.

Later papal palatini

In later times the designation palatini was borne by certain cardinals, whose position brought them into constant relation with the pope, and who resided in the papal palace, and by the highest prelates of the pope's personal suite.

For long the cardinales palatini were: the cardinal prodatary, the Cardinal Secretary of State, the Cardinal Secretary of Briefs and the Cardinal Secretary of Memorials. Pope Pius X (1903–1914) abolished the two last-mentioned positions, and Pope Paul VI abolished the Apostolic Dataria in 1967.

The praelati palatini were:

Lay counterparts


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