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1. a group of persons gathered for worship, prayer, etc., esp in a church or chapel
2. the group of persons habitually attending a given church, chapel, etc.
3. RC Church
a. a society of persons who follow a common rule of life but who are bound only by simple vows
b. an administrative subdivision of the papal curia
c. an administrative committee of bishops for arranging the business of a general council
4. Chiefly Brit an assembly of senior members of a university
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in Catholicism. (1) A religious organization linked directly with monastic orders, consisting of priests and laymen. Some monastic orders have a large number of congregations—for example, the Benedictine order in the 1960’s with 20 male and 16 female congregations. Each congregation has its own regulations, which are approved by the pope or bishops. The members of a congregation do not take solemn vows, as do the members of monastic orders, but rather simple vows, for a specific period of time or for life. The goals of a congregation are nominally purely religious or religious and philanthropic; in fact, however, the congregations are involved in the political plans of the Catholic Church. Congregations first appeared around 1600 and became widespread in the 19th century.

The most important congregations of the late 1960’s were the Congregation of the Holy Ghost (founded in 1703, with headquarters in Paris; 5,150 members), the Redemptorists (founded in 1732, with headquarters in Naples; more than 9,000 members), the Oblates of the Immaculate Virgin Mary (founded in 1816, with its center in Aix-en-Provence; 7,900 members), the Marists (founded in 1817, with its center in Bordeaux; about 3,500 members), and the Salesians (founded in 1859, with its center in Turin; 22,600 members).

(2) A union of several monasteries under a single leadership.

(3) An establishment forming part of the Roman papal curia.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The eventual merging of two or more dicasteries competent in similar or closely connected matters to create a single dicastery serves on the one hand to give the latter greater importance (even externally).
The structure of the Curia, however, did not change fundamentally: most changes consisted in transferring responsibilities from one dicastery to another, while more powers were given to the CDF; the bishops' visits ad limina every five years augmented centralization; (59) and bishops' conferences had a much more limited role than during Paul VI's pontificate.
That being said, this Dicastery rests certain that His Lordship will act within the requirements of the law of the Church in any action he might take in regard to the Church of SS Peter & Paul and its parishioners.
Additionally, in his continuing effort to restructure the Curia in Rome, the pope created a new Vatican office, a "super dicastery," for "promoting integral human development" that will be headed by Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
Robert Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum which is the dicastery of the Holy See responsible for charity and humanitarian assistance, led the groundbreaking ceremony for the center during his visit to Palo on Jan.
While earlier moral theologians wrote about matters pertaining to the fifth, seventh, and eighth commandments, 20th-century manualists' attention turned to the continuous output of dicastery normative teachings throughout the 20th century that were set on controlling Catholic identity and life within the church.
In fact, said Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez, prefect of the Congregation, his dicastery would assume responsibility for liturgical texts, that is, "will fulfill its mandate of ensuring that translations accurately and fully convey the content of the original texts."
In 1988, the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonua (9) of Pope John Paul II gave a new name to the dicastery: The Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (PCID), (Pontificium concilium pro dialogo inter religiones).
"In the light of such teaching, this dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practice homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies, or support the so-called 'gay culture'."
The draft of the text outlining the reform, obtained by NCR last month, indicates most Vatican offices will soon simply be known as a "dicastery" a Greek term meaning a "department."
Dicastery President Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia said the meeting serves as "an opportunity to reaffirm that the elderly are not merely the object of attention and care but rather the subjects of a new perspective of life."
Particularly helpful are the sidebars built into the text to define or clarify key terms, e.g., eschatology, hypostatic union, Pneumatology, periti, inculturation, and dicastery. Also included is a section for further reading on the council: general readings, then reports and memoirs from the council as well as books on specific documents.