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An official of the Congregation of the Inquisition. The Holy Office is better known as the Congregation of the Universal Inquisition. Its functions at present are to watch over matters connected with faith and to examine into the suspected tenets of persons or books. The Assessor holds the office next in dignity after the Cardinals of the Congregation. He is a secular prelate or an honorary chamberlain of the Pope. It is his duty to make the relation or report of the Holy Office in a given case. When the consultors of the Congregation alone assemble, the Assessor presides over them and afterwards lays their votes before the Cardinal Inquisitors. When the Congregation has reached a decision, the Assessor communicates the result to the Pope on the same evening, in case the latter has not presided over the assembly.The Assessor must be present at all four meetings of this Congregation. On Saturday he examines into the matters laid before the Holy Office and decides, together with four other officials, whether a vote of the consultors be necessary in the case, or whether the Cardinals of the Congregation should pass upon the matter at once. On Monday, he calls the consultors into council. He is present on Wednesday at the secret meeting of the Cardinals and on Thursday at the solemn session which sometimes takes place under the presidency of the Pope. The Assessor has also charge of the Secretariate and sees that current business is expedited. The office of assessor is so important that it is included among the cardinalitial appointments; that is, the only promotion considered proper for an assessor is to raise him to the rank of cardinal.


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The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

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