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Background: I am not a catholic and I was just curious as to what exactly the Pope's role is in the church in present day. I know Pope's in the past have sanctioned the crusades, and conquering and converting of new people. I also know he is supposed to be the vicar of Christ, or his representative on Earth.

In today's Catholic Church what is the Pope responsible for?

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    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope The article is quite extensive. – 3961 Jul 23 '13 at 4:00
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    A list of every current responsibility and a full description of the office is a bit broad for this site. One of the things we like to see in questions is at least a little bit of prior research. The Wikipedia article for example covers the major points of the office quite clearly. We'd be happy to field specific questions when you get hung up on understanding a specific point, but we don't want to just rehash something that another format can actually do better. Thanks for understanding. – Caleb Jul 23 '13 at 7:10
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In order to understand the Roman Catholic Church, one must understand its long history. This website explains what the Roman Catholic Church is. Basically, it describes that the Roman Catholic Church is founded by the Lord Jesus Christ and his twelve apostles. When Peter was granted the power to become the first pope, the head of the apostles, he also made precedence of what the Roman Catholic Church should look like. In the present era, the pope embodies Peter, and the pope's cardinals (a type of higher-ranking bishop) and bishops embody the original apostles. Together, the pope and his close circle of bishops represent the unity of the universal, or catholic, church. Whenever there are disputes within the church, the pope has the final word on faith and morals due to the establishment of papal infallibility. The purpose is to make sure that the Church has a common mission, common background, common faith.

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    All the bishops, not only the cardinals, are the successors of the apostles. The main (but not the only) distinguishing feature of cardinals is that they have the right to vote when a new pope is elected (except that, in recent decades, this right has been denied to cardinals over the age of 80). – Andreas Blass Aug 4 '13 at 5:09
  • @AndreasBlass Got it! – Double U Aug 4 '13 at 13:57

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