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How to Cover the Catholic Church

or dies. See

auxiliary bishop




In addition to their diocesan

responsibilities, all bishops have a responsibility to act in council with other

bishops to guide the church.




bishops’ conference.

A national (or in a very few cases regional) body of

bishops that meets periodically to collaborate on matters of common concern

in their country or region, such as moral, doctrinal, pastoral and liturgical

questions; relations with other religious groups; and public policy issues. It is

also called an

episcopal conference

. The U.S. conference is the

United States

Conference of Catholic Bishops

, or


. See that entry.


A man who has taken vows in a religious order but is not ordained

or studying for the priesthood. Sometimes he is called a

lay brother

to distin-

guish him from clerical members of religious orders. See




Greek for rule, norm, standard or measure, it is used in several ways

in church language. (1) The canon of Sacred Scripture is the list of books

recognized by the church as inspired by the Holy Spirit. (2) Before the litur-

gical reforms of the Second Vatican Council, the single eucharistic prayer

used universally in the Latin Mass was called the Roman Canon. Now that

there are four eucharistic prayers in general use, they are usually referred to

as Eucharistic Prayer I, II, III or IV, but they may also be called canons. The

first of these is still called the Roman Canon because it is nearly identical to

the original Roman Canon. (3)


is another name for a law in the

Code of

Canon Law




. See also

canon law


canon law.

A code of ecclesiastical laws governing the Catholic Church. In

the Latin or Western Church, the governing code is the 1983

Code of Canon


, a revision of the 1917

Code of Canon Law

. A separate but parallel

Code of

Canons of the Eastern Churches

, issued in 1990, governs the Eastern Catholic

churches. That document was the first comprehensive code of church law

governing all Eastern Catholic churches.


Highest-ranking Catholic clergy below the pope. By church law car-

dinals are regarded as the pope’s closest advisors, and when a pope dies those

who are not yet 80 years old meet in a conclave in Rome to elect a new pope.

Most cardinals are archbishops; canon law since 1983 says they must at least

be bishops, but exceptions have been made in several cases where a noted