Minor basilica is an honorific title granted by the Holy See to certain Catholic church buildings in order to emphasise their status. The title can be, but is not necessarily, associated with the granting of certain privileges to the worshippers and clergy, such as indulgences, special forms of clerical garb or the use of special liturgical items.
Both cathedrals and regular churches (that is, those administered by consecrated religious) have be granted the title although it has been stated that no further cathedrals will be so honoured.
The term is in contrast with that of major basilica. The latter refers to the four principal churches of Rome: San Giovanni in Laterano, San Pietro in Vaticano, San Paolo fuori le Mura and Santa Maria Maggiore.
The title of patriarchal basilica has been abolished.
The title of papal basilica refers to those churches where celebration of Mass at the main altar is reserved to the Pope. This includes the four major basilicas, and at Rome also the minor basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura.
In none of these titles does the term basilica refer to the architectural layout or impressiveness of the church -look at Santi Benedetto e Scolastica all'Argentina for one about the size of a garage.
There are sixty-one minor basilicas listed by the Diocese of Rome; those parts of the municipality not in the diocese have none.
Minor basilicas in the Diocese of RomeEdit
In modern publications, including online, the following churches are listed as minor basilicas. However, the Diocese does not list them as such.
Santi Celso e Giuliano ("immemorial")
Santi Pietro e Paolo (allegedly given the title in 1967.)
Santa Sofia (allegedly given the title in 1998 -this is commonly being asserted.)