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The gold cross on a monde (globe) surmounting the tiara symbolises the sovereignty of Jesus.There are three levels of clergy, the episcopate, composed of bishops who hold jurisdiction over a geographic area called a diocese or eparchy; the presbyterate, composed of priests ordained by bishops and who work in local diocese or religious orders; and the diaconate, composed of deacons who assist bishops and priests in a variety of ministerial roles.Most religious institutes only have male or female members but some have both.Additionally, lay members aid many liturgical functions during worship services. The Catholic Church holds that Christ instituted the papacy upon giving the keys of Heaven to Saint Peter.From the late 20th century, the Catholic Church has been criticised for its doctrines on sexuality, its refusal to ordain women and its handling of sexual abuse cases.The "Catholic" notion was further stressed in the edict De fide Catolica issued 380 by Theodosius I, the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire, when establishing the state church of the Roman Empire.) and the Western Church in communion with the Holy See has similarly taken "Catholic", keeping that description also after the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, when those who ceased to be in communion became known as "Protestants".While the famous Saint Peter's Basilica is located in Vatican City, above the traditional site of Saint Peter's tomb, the papal cathedral for the Diocese of Rome is Saint John Lateran, located within the city of Rome, though enjoying extraterritorial privileges accredited to the Holy See.The position of cardinal is a rank of honour bestowed by popes on certain clergy, such as leaders within the Roman Curia, bishops serving in major cities and distinguished theologians.
The Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of education and health care in the world.For advice and assistance in governing, the pope may turn to the College of Cardinals.The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities to regulate the church's external organisation and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics towards the church's mission.In the Catholic Church, universal positive ecclesiastical laws, based upon either immutable divine and natural law, or changeable circumstantial and merely positive law, derive formal authority and promulgation from the office of pope who, as Supreme Pontiff, possesses the totality of legislative, executive and judicial power in his person.Canon law concerns the Catholic Church's life and organisation and is distinct from civil law.