Congregation for Bishops

Congregation for Bishops

This article is part of a series on the
Roman Curia


Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus

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 was announcing 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 3 July 2009) is Archbishop Manuel Monteiro de Castro. The current Undersecretary (since 1993) is Monsignor Giovanni Maria Rossi.


Secretaries of the Congregation for the Erection of Churches and Consistorial Provisions (1588-1965)

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.



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.

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