Catholic Diocese

Catholic Diocese Information and Definition

The word "diocese" comes from the Greek word meaning "administration." A diocese is a geographical area under the administration of a bishop. Each diocese is divided into local parishes. Many Christian churches, including Catholics, divide their geographical areas into dioceses. Other churches, such as Anglican, do as well.

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A Catholic diocese is similar to other churches' dioceses. Another name for a Catholic diocese is a "see." The Catholic diocese of Rome, where the pope reigns, is called the "Holy See."

A diocese of historical importance is called archdiocese, and the bishop there is called an archbishop. A Catholic diocese is an archdiocese when the diocese is either large, has historical significance, or both. Typically a diocese is large, and each bishop is responsible for the care of many Catholics. He, the pastor of the diocese, ordains priests and deacons to further Christ's ministry. The center of a Catholic diocese is usually a large town in the geographical area. The bishop's church is called a cathedral, from the Latin word meaning "chair." This is because the bishop's chair is there, and it represents his episcopal authority.

Occasionally a bishop may be assigned a diocese in which no Catholics currently live (such as in a Muslim country), but where there used to be Christians. This is done so a bishop is free to work on other tasks besides being the pastor of a flock. These dioceses are called "titular sees," because they exist in title only.

Updated 09-09-2016

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