Congregation for Bishops
|This article is part of a series on the|
|Secretariat of State|
The Congregation for Bishops (Congregatio pro Episcopis) is the congregation of the Roman Curia which oversees the selection of new bishops that are not in mission territories or those areas that come under the jurisdiction of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches who deal with the Eastern Catholics, pending papal approval. It also schedules the papal audiences required quinquennially for bishops and arranges the creation of new dioceses.
The Congregation for Bishops has its origins in the "Congregation for the Erection of Churches and Consistorial Provisions" founded by Pope Sixtus V on 22 January 1588. Before the Second Vatican Council, when the pope announced the names of new cardinals at a Secret Consistory (that is when, emperors, kings, princes or electors of the Holy Roman Empire were not present), the names of the newly appointed cardinals would be read out then those of Bishops and Archbishops were also announced. This is the reason why, until 1967, the congregation now known as Congregation for Bishops was called Sacred Consistorial Congregation. The current Prefect (since 30 June 2010) is Cardinal Marc Ouellet. The current Secretary (since 12 October 2013) is Archbishop Ilson de Jesus Montanari. The current Undersecretary (since 25 January 2012) is Monsignor Udo Breitbach.
The Congregation for Bishops meets every second Thursday. The meetings gather all the members of the Congregation and last all morning. Typically, appointments for four dioceses are reviewed at each session. Before the meeting, congregation members are sent documentation on the candidates for each diocese. At the congregation’s meeting, one member acts as the “ponente,” or presenter, reviewing the information and making his own recommendation on the “terna,” or list, of three candidates. Each member, in order of seniority, is then asked to give his views – in effect, offering a judgment on whether the candidates are worthy and suitable, and in what order they should be recommended.The congregation’s overall recommendations – along with any doubts, questions or minority opinions – then go to the pope. He usually approves the congregation’s decision, but may choose to send it back for further discussion and evaluation. The prefect then meets with the pope every Saturday and presents the recommendations of the congregation. A few days later, the pope informs the congregation of his decision. The congregation then notifies the nuncio, who in turn contacts the candidate and asks if he will accept.
Secretaries of the Congregation for the Erection of Churches and Consistorial Provisions (1588–1965)
- Domenico Riviera (1710–1730)
- Carlo Gaetano Stampa (1735–1737)
- Niccola Clarelli Parracciani (1860–1872 ?)
- Carmine Gori-Merosi (1882–1886)
- Carlo Nocella (1892–1903)
- Gaetano de Lai (1908–1928)
- Carlo Perosi (1928–1930)
- Raffaele Rossi (1930–1948)
- Adeodato Giovanni Piazza (1948–1957)
- Marcello Mimmi (1957–1961)
- Carlo Confalonieri (1961–1965)
Congregation of Bishops (since 1965)
In 1965, the head of the congregation took the title prefect, while the prefect's deputy took that of secretary.
- Carlo Confalonieri (1965–1973)
- Sebastiano Baggio (1973–1984)
- Bernardin Gantin (1984–1998)
- Lucas Moreira Neves, OP (1998–2000)
- Giovanni Battista Re (2000–2010)
- Marc Ouellet, PSS (2010–present)
The secretary of the Congregation for Bishops is concurrently the secretary of the College of Cardinals. During a Papal election the secretary of the Congregation acts as the secretary to the Conclave.
- Francesco Carpino (1961–1967)
- Ernesto Civardi (1967–1979)
- Lucas Moreira Neves, OP (1979–1987)
- Giovanni Battista Re (1987–1989)
- Justin Francis Rigali (1989–1994)
- Jorge María Mejía (1994–1998)
- Francesco Monterisi (1998–2009)
- Manuel Monteiro de Castro (2009–2012)
- Lorenzo Baldisseri (2012–2013)
- Ilson de Jesus Montanari (2013–present)