Persons whose business it is to look after the affairs of their patrons at the Roman Curia. The name is derived from the Latin Agens in Rebus , corresponding to the Greek Apocrisiarius . We first meet these agents for ecclesiastical matters not at the court of Rome, but at the imperial palace of Constantinople. Owing to the close connection between Church and State under the early Christian emperors and the absence of canons concerning many matters of mixed jurisdiction, the principal bishops found it necessary to maintain agents to look after their interests at the imperial court. Until the French Revolution, the prelates of France maintained similar agents at the royal court of St. Denis . (See ASSEMBLIES OF FRENCH CLERGY.) At present the agents of the Roman Congregations are employed by bishops or private persons to transact their affairs in the pontifical courts. Such an agency is undertaken temporarily or perpetually. The principal business of the agents is to urge the expedition of the cases of their patrons. They undertake both judicial and extrajudicial business. If it is a question of favors, such as dispensations or increased faculties, these agents prepare the proper supplications and call repeatedly on the officials of the proper congregation until an answer is obtained. They expend whatever money is necessary to pay for the legal documents or to advance in general the affairs of those who employ them. These agents have a recognized position in the Roman Curia, and rank next in dignity before the notaries. The money they expend and the pay they receive depend entirely on the will of their employers. Some authors include under this name the solicitors and expeditioners of the Roman Curia, whose business it is to assist the procurators in the mechanical details of the preparation of cases for the congregational tribunals. Usually, however, these functionaries are considered as distinct from agents and as outranking them in dignity.
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.
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
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online