Concept

Cardinal (Catholic Church)

Summary
A cardinal (Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae cardinalis, cardinal of the Holy Roman Church) is a senior member of the clergy of the Catholic Church. Cardinals are created by the pope and typically hold the title for life. Collectively, they constitute the College of Cardinals. The most solemn responsibility of the cardinals is to elect a new pope in a conclave, almost always from among themselves (with a few historical exceptions), when the Holy See is vacant. During the period between a pope's death or resignation and the election of his successor, the day-to-day governance of the Holy See is in the hands of the College of Cardinals. The right to participate in a conclave is limited to cardinals who have not reached the age of 80 years by the day the vacancy occurs. In addition, cardinals collectively participate in papal consistories (which generally take place annually), in which matters of importance to the Church are considered and new cardinals may be created. Cardinals of working a
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