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Liturgical ranks range downward: Bishop, Priest, Deacon. Only a bishop may administer the Sacrament of Holy Orders and is the preferred minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation. He is the only one empowered to absolve someone who is under excommunication for abortion. A priest may administer the other five, and Confirmation under special circumstances. A Deacon may assist in the Mass, parish duties, and preach the Gospel. Permanent deacons may be married, IF they was married prior to his diaconate, but may not marry or marry again after ordination.

Answer1. The Pope

2. The Bishops

3. Priests

4. The Laity

it is created in from the top position to the bottom, the guy in the top is more powerful. 1.pope 2.archbishops 3.bishops 4.priests, 5.laity.

Catholic AnswerIn the Catholic faith the hierarchy has a very specific meaning explained below. If you are asking for the organization of the Church, that is a little different. The Church, basically, has Jesus Christ as its Head and all the faithful as its members, defined as the whole People of God - this includes in some fashion *everyone* who has been baptized and professed their faith in Jesus Christ. This would include even Christians who do not identify themselves with the Church (i.e. protestants). Within the Church of Christ there are various ministries of service, beginning with priests who represent Christ in a very real way. Various levels of priest have various responsibilities and powers in representing Christ to the people ending with the Pope, or Holy Father, who is styled, "The servant of the servants of God". The actual hierarchy has been fixed since the very early Church, although there are different "levels" of bishops: Cardinals are usually Bishops who have the additional responsibility of electing the next pope. Archbishops are bishops in charge of an archdiocese. Priests may carry the honorary title of monsignor, but this makes no difference in their priesthood, etc. There are also several minor orders, but they are not considered clerics until they are tonsured, nuns and monks are just religious, but considered "laity" as far as the hierarchy is concerned.

from Modern Catholic Dictionary by John A. Hardon, S.J. Doubleday & Co., Inc. Garden City, NY 1980

Hierarchy. The successors of the Apostles under the Pope as successor of St. Peter. Three powers are included under the Catholic hierarchy: teaching, pastoral, and sacerdotal. They correspond to the threefold office laid on Christ as man for the redemption of the world; the office of prophet or teacher, the pastoral or royal office of ruler, and the priestly office of sanctifying the faithful. Christ transferred this threefold office, with the corresponding powers, to the Apostles and their successors. A man enters the hierarchy by episcopal ordination when he receives the fullness of the priesthood. But he depends on collegial union with the Bishop of Rome and the rest of the Catholic hierarchy for actually being able to exercise the two other powers of teaching divine truth and of legitimately ruling the believers under his jurisdiction. (Etym. Latin hiearchia, holy authority, from Greek hierarchia, power of a hierarches, a steward or president of sacred rites.)

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Q: What is the organizational hierarchy of the Catholic Church?
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