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Curia in medieval and later Latin usage means "
court" in the sense of "royal court" rather than "court of law". The Roman Curia is sometimes anglicized as the Court of Rome, as in the
1534 Act of Parliament that forbade appeals to it from England.
 It is the papal court and assists the Pope in carrying out his functions. The Roman Curia can be loosely compared to
cabinets in governments of countries with a Western form of governance, but only the Second Section of the
Secretariat of State, known also as the Section for Relations with States, the
Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State (established in 1939 by
Pius XII) and the
Congregation for Catholic Education, can be directly compared with specific ministries of a civil government.
It is normal for every Latin Catholic
diocese to have its own curia for its administration. For the
Diocese of Rome, these functions are not handled by the Roman Curia, but by the
Vicariate General of His Holiness for the City of Rome, as provided by the apostolic constitution
Ecclesia in Urbe. The
Vicar General of Rome, traditionally a cardinal, and his deputy the vicegerent, who holds the personal title of archbishop, supervise the governance of the diocese by reference to the Pope himself, but with no more dependence on the Roman Curia, as such, than other Catholic dioceses throughout the world. A distinct office, the
Vicar General for Vatican City, administers the portion of the Diocese of Rome in
Until recently, there still existed
hereditary officers of the Roman Curia, holding titles denominating functions that had ceased to be a reality when the
Papal States were lost to the papacy. A reorganization, ordered by
Pope Pius X, was incorporated into the
1917 Code of Canon Law. Further steps toward reorganization were begun by
Pope Paul VI in the 1960s. Among the goals of this curial reform were the modernization of procedures and the internationalization of the curial staff. These reforms are reflected in the
1983 Code of Canon Law.
 The offices of the Vatican City State are not part of the Roman Curia, which is composed only of offices of the
Holy See. The following organs or charges, according to the official website of the Holy See, comprise the Curia.
 All members of the Curia except the Cardinal Camerlengo and the
Major Penitentiary resign their office immediately after a papal death or resignation. See
Sr. Luzia Premoli, superior general of the Combonian Missionary Sisters, was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 2014, becoming the first woman to be appointed a member of a Vatican congregation.