Major Changes Have Come To The Structure of The Church via Pope Francis.
Pope Francis has made another change to the Catholic Church by increasing the number of cardinal bishops in the upper echelons of the church. While this was a sudden and unexpected move, Pope Francis justified the change by noting that the position of Cardinal Bishop has remained relatively unchanged in recent years, and is in need of renovation.
What Are The Ranks Of Cardinal?
The position of cardinal in the church is one that holds significance as well as different degrees of relative importance. Typically, there are three different orders of Cardinals in the Roman Church. These are, in order of seniority, cardinal bishop, cardinal priest, and cardinal deacons.
The cardinal bishops are typically a group of six individuals who were the figureheads of the Suburbicarian Sees, the diocese closest to Rome. Although the cardinal bishops are ranked as bishops of these churches, they do not have any actual governing power over the dioceses.
Cardinals from the order of deacons and priests have increased in number throughout the history of the Roman Catholic Church. While there was once a limit on these more numerous denominations of cardinals, they now number over 100. This increase in the number of “lower-ranking” cardinals is one of the reasons Pope Francis saw fit to make changes to the cardinal bishops.
Pope Francis’ Changes to Cardinal Bishop Ranks
The most significant change Pope Francis made to the “Order of Bishops” within the Roman Church is the promotion of an additional four cardinals. This will increase the overall number of cardinal bishops to ten people who have the full rights and privileges of the other cardinal bishops.
Pope Francis believed that there is a “need to enlarge the current composition” of the bishop’s order. Interestingly, Pope Francis saw fit to make sure that even though these new members of the Order of Bishops are not connected with the Suburbicarian dioceses, they will still have the same rank as the others.
Among those named to the increased order are Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for Peoples; Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State; and Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for Oriental Churches.