Prefecture of the Papal Household

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The Prefecture of the Papal Household (Preffetura della Casa Pontificia) is the office in charge of the Papal Household, a section of the Roman Curia that comprises the Papal Chapel (Cappella Pontificia) and the Papal Family (Familia Pontificia).

The position of prefect has been vacant since Archbishop Georg Gänswein concluded his service on 28 February 2023.[1]


According to the Vatican:

It is the task of the Prefecture of the Papal Household to coordinate the services of the Antechamber and to organize the official audiences granted by His Holiness to Heads of State, Heads of Government, Governmental Ministers and other dignitaries, as well as to Ambassadors who come to the Vatican to present their Letters of Credence.

The Prefecture takes care of the preparations for all audiences - private, special and general - and visits from those who are formally received by the Holy Father. It is also responsible for arranging Pontifical ceremonies - except liturgical celebrations - as well as the Spiritual Retreat of the Holy Father, the College of Cardinals and the Roman Curia.

In addition, the Prefecture oversees the appropriate arrangements required each time the Holy Father leaves the Apostolic Palace to visit the city of Rome or travel within Italy.[2]

Created by the 1967 reforms of Pope Paul VI, the Prefecture has competence for matters that once belonged to several offices that have been suppressed: the Ceremonial Congregation, the offices of the Majordomo, the Master of the Chamber, and the Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palaces, and the Heraldic Commission for the Papal Court.[3]

It is headed by a Prefect, assisted by a Regent, each of whom serves for a term of five years.[4]

The Prefecture runs the Apostolic Palace, containing the Papal Apartments, and the Villa Barberini in the town of Castel Gandolfo.[citation needed]

Papal Chapel and Papal Family[edit]

The Papal Chapel has a membership that includes the Cardinals, the Patriarchs, the Archbishops who head departments of the Roman Curia, and the secretaries of the Congregations.[5]

The Papal Family has lay members as well as clergy. Among the ecclesiastics who have membership are other high officials of the Roman Curia, but also all apostolic protonotaries, Honorary Prelates and Chaplains of His Holiness,[6] while the lay members include all Gentlemen of His Holiness, the Commandant of the Papal Swiss Guard and the Counsellors of the State of Vatican City.[7]

The Papal Family includes among its members the Theologian of the Pontifical Household, since 2005 Father Wojciech Giertych,[8] and the Preacher to the Papal Household, since 1980 Raniero Cantalamessa, who was made a cardinal in 2020.[9]

The Papal Family also includes those who look after the Pope's daily household affairs, such as those who actually keep house and cook for him, including those who may act as his butler.[10][11]

List of Prefects of the Papal Household[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Holy See Communiqué, 15.06.2023" (Press release). Holy See Press Office. 15 June 2023. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  2. ^ "Prefecture of the Papal Household". Vatican. Retrieved 24 November 2023.
  3. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, p. 1849
  4. ^ Pope Francis. The Apostolic Constitution "Preach the Gospel" (Praedicate Evangelium): With an Appraisal of Francis's Reform of the Roman Curia by Massimo Faggioli, Liturgical Press, 2022, p. 102 ISBN 9780814668542
  5. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, pp. 1254-1255
  6. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, p. 1254
  7. ^ Annuario Pontificio 2012, p. 1255
  8. ^ "New theologian appointed for papal household". Catholic World News. Catholic 1 December 2005. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  9. ^ "Cantalamessa Card. Raniero, O.F.M. Cap". Holy See Press Office. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  10. ^ Time (magazine)
  11. ^ Allen, Jr., John L., All the Pope's Men, Crown Publishing Group, 2007, p. 39 ISBN 9780307423498
  12. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 23.11.2012" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 23 November 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 07.12.2012" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 7 December 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2023.

External links[edit]