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Catholic Dictionary




Receptions given to interested persons, clerical or lay, who have business with the Holy See. Audience requests are presented to the Maestro di Camera, even for bishops, ambassadors, or heads of religious institutions. Religious orders are received on stated days. Cardinal prefects of the sacred congregations are received regularly by the Pope, at which time counsel is given and decrees are signed. Rulers of nations are received in formal audience. Special or private audiences for groups of individuals follow a definite order. Generally a letter of recommendation from the bishop of a home dioceses is received by some responsible personage in Rome, who transmits the request to the Master of the Chamber. If the audience is granted, the required ticket for admission, with specified date and time, is communicated to the one(s) working on the request. Public and general audiences are a recent development. They are held in the Audience Hall, built in 1971, in the Basilica or Piazza of St. Peter's, or at the papal summer residence, Castel Gondolfo.