What’s the order of a Bishop, Pope, Cardinal and all that?
A lay person (you) first becomes a deacon. Then, a priest. If he is appointed by the pope he becomes a bishop. He can be appointed as an auxiliary bishop who helps the main bishop of that diocese or he can be appointed bishop of a diocese. If the diocese has a larger population, that diocese is called an archdiocese, so the bishop is called an archbishop. As far as ranking, an archbishop does not have more authority than a bishop. A bishop has as much authority in his diocese as an archbishop does in his own diocese. The only difference is the population of the diocese. A pope elects a cardinal who has shown good work to his people. Some archdioceses have a large enough population that their archbishop will be a cardinal. However, becoming cardinal is for the honor of the people, not the honor of the person who is becoming cardinal. (Actually the person who becomes cardinal — notice he is dressed in all red –promises, if it comes to it, he will shed his blood for his church.) The cardinals gather to elect the next pope. Electing the pope is the only other authority given to the cardinals. The hierarchy is deacon, priest, bishop, bishop of Rome who is the Pope and first amongst equals. There is nothing else in the hierarchy. Bishops can be archbishops but that doesn’t give them more authority. Cardinals are elected by the pope who in turn elect the next pope. Monsignors is an honorary title given to priests but it doesn’t give the priest more authority.
How do you become a Bishop?
The Papal Nuncio (spokesman, who is a bishop, for the pope to the United States) calls the priest and says the Holy Father is calling you to be bishop. Please accept. There is a process as to how the Papal Nuncio receives the name from the Holy Father.
Does a cardinal have to be ordained like a Priest, or is there something special they need to do?
Almost always, he is ordained a priest and more than likely, a bishop or archbishop. But, he does not have to be. A cardinal is an honorary title given to a man by the pope. Cardinal Avery Dulles was a Jesuit priest who wrote extensively and traveled the world giving workshops and talks about the Church. He was a priest, and also a Cardinal. Very rare! Once a man is named a Cardinal he goes to Rome for a celebration with the pope and the others the Pope just named cardinals. It is called a consistory. Cardinals under 85 elect the new pope when the current pope dies. Usually, the pope is named from among the cardinals. (But he doesn’t have to be.)
What is the hat the Pope wears?
A zucchetto. It’s the same as any bishop, but his is white, since he is the pope. If you are talking about during liturgical celebrations/mass, the pointed hat is called a miter.