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What are an Archbishop’s Major Duties in the Capacity of a Chief Member of the Clergy?

The Catholic Church (or any other church for that matter) is shaped in its organizational structure rather like the armed forces of a nation. There is a fixed hierarchy. Each rung on the ladder of leaders and followers caters to the higher-ups who in turn bear a great responsibility towards their subordinates. The various ranks help one another uphold the structure of the church by attractively dovetailing their rights and duties.

In today’s world with its power politics, material economics and mass consumerism, there is indeed a vacuum left behind after the meaninglessness of everyday life. The daily grind, with its emphasis on pure gratification and super-efficiency, can weigh any ordinary individual down with its monotony and sheer cruelty. It is in such circumstances that the church enters to guide lost souls towards a more purpose-driven lifestyle that heals with its inner warmth and superior goodness.

While the Catholic Church is headed by the Pope, whose residence is in the Vatican, there are countless junior members busy performing their duties. They are engineers of the soul who help guide the masses (and anyone who seeks their assistance) towards tremendous self-satisfaction and holy life of gratitude towards God, holiness and prayer.

An archbishop is a chief bishop who governs the other bishops that come under his command. His duty is partial as a successor to the original apostles. An archdiocese comes under his governance. Bishops also share in this honour. The Christians of the world are brought to a focus in their multifarious energies by this figurehead who reports to the Pope time after time.

He also happens to be responsible for regulating, shuffling and reassessing various bishops and priests. This, of course, is dependent upon their performance. He oversees their every move and reprimands or rewards them under their level of obedience and devotion to the spirit of the church.

The archbishop is also a part of the ritual of administering the sacrament. This is of chief importance. It is rituals that add richness and lend texture to humankind’s spiritual depth. Without a certain level of grounding in the ways of the Lord and guidance towards what is right and good, there would be chaos and misery on earth. That is because as the Holy Bible puts it so well: “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God”. To expect a human being to rely on his material circumstances solely is like expecting a bird to fly through the air with one wing alone.

Archbishops also care for the liturgical rites. They take into their ambit religious contacts between the clergy and laity. A sort of local chief minister of types (to borrow a political analogy), an archbishop decides who gets to become a bishop or priest. The post is not for the weak of heart since it requires enormous strength of will and a robust and prodigious work ethic. The archbishop must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. This requires a keen and discerning ability to discern between individuals based on their spiritual merits.

Ultimately, the show must go on, and the archbishop has to handle the office he is granted with strict supervision of the junior members. Discipline is a necessity no matter how difficult it might seem to a soft-hearted individual who finds himself occupying the archbishop’s seat of authority. The outward rites and rituals are more comfortable to follow than maintaining a sense of balance and harmony in one’s regional religious centre. This is the crux of the matter, and it is up to the archbishop to see to it that the spirit is followed as much as the letter of the faith that has attracted so many believers from around the world.

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