What jurisdiction has a bishop? –A bishop rules over that part of the Church, an organized territory called a bishopric, diocese, or see, assigned to him by the Pope.The word “bishop” is a translation from the Greek episcopos, which means “overseer,” a term first applied during apostolic times. To Titus St. Paul wrote, “For this reason I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldst set right anything that is defective and shouldst appoint presbyters in every city” (Tit. 1:5).
- The bishops are the major-generals in the vast army of the Church. They command the different divisions of that army, subject to the authority of the commander in-chief, the Bishop of Rome. Under their jurisdiction are the parish priests in charge of parishes. As the Pope is the successor of St. Peter, so the other bishops are the direct successors of the other Apostles. Bishops are called “princes of the Church.” To them Our Lord spoke: “He who hears you hears Me.” They and their vicars general are termed ordinaries because they have ordinary, or immediate, jurisdiction over the diocese
- A bishop administers the temporal possessions of his diocese, and gives an account of their administration to the Pope. He provides for the education and training of candidates for the priesthood, and the religious education of his whole flock. He gives faculties to hear confessions, censors books on religious subjects, and has many other powers for the proper administration of his diocese. A bishop is supreme in his diocese, but he is subject in all things to the Pope, who appoints him. The Pope grants their jurisdiction to bishops; before a bishop can exercise his office, he has to be recognized and confirmed by the Pope. He is obliged to go to Rome at stated intervals, to report on the state of his diocese. A bishop has the right to be called to a General Council, which is an assembly of the bishops of the world, presided over by the Pope. But, “If anyone is eager for the office of bishop, he desires a good work” (1 Tim. 3:1)
- A bishop is shepherd of his flock. He appoints and supervises parish priests to help him. In governing his diocese, he is assisted by a number of “canons”, or by diocesan consultors. A coadjutor or auxiliary bishop is commissioned to assist the bishop of a diocese. Usually a coadjutor bishop is one with the right of succession. The Pope addresses a bishop Brother, because as bishops they have the same rank. Bishops wear a mitre, and carry a crosier as a sign of their office of pastor. They wear a pectoral cross. They have a ring, as a symbol of their union with their diocese. The faithful kiss this ring in token of obedience and respect.
- A Vicar Apostolic is a bishop who rules over a territory that is not yet fully organized, called a Vicariate Apostolic. When the territory is first organized, it is usually placed under the care of a priest, and not a bishop. This priest is called a Prefect Apostolic and his territory is an Apostolic Prefecture.
- A titular Bishop or Archbishop is one who bears the title of a diocese, but has no jurisdiction over it. Nuncios, apostolic delegates, coadjutor and auxiliary bishops, and vicars apostolic are generally titular. Titular bishops and archbishops have no actual sees; they are given the titles of certain sees that previously existed, but that have since disappeared in the reorganization of jurisdictions, or because of the inroads of Mohammedanism, heresy, or paganism. The names of the sees are kept intact, and awarded to those whom the Holy See wishes to raise to the rank of bishops, and given special work.
- An Archbishop or Metropolitan is a bishop who has certain powers of jurisdiction granted by the Pope over neighboring dioceses composing his province. Archbishops wear a pallium, a white strip of wool, on the shoulders, as a symbol of gentleness. They act as first judges of appeal from a decision of their suffragan bishops.
Who assist the bishops in the care of souls? –The priests, especially parish priests, assist the bishops in the care of souls.
- Parish priests are captains in the great army that is the Church. They command the soldiers of the Church, all baptized persons residing in the particular districts, called parishes, assigned to them by the bishops. The parish priest carries out the purpose of Christ in founding the Church. He teaches the people their religion, their duties towards God and each other. He governs the people, leading them in Catholic work. He sanctifies them by administering the sacraments.
- Parish priests receive their orders and jurisdiction from the bishop. They are his spiritual children, and are bound to carry out his commands. In the parish the parish priest represents the bishop, and no one may, without his consent or the bishop’s, exercise spiritual functions there, such as marrying, baptizing, preaching, burying, giving extreme unction, etc.A vicar forane (called also urban and rural dean) is a parish priest having supervisory power in the name of the bishop over neighboring parishes. A vicar-general is the chief among the officers of a diocese. Parish priests of large districts have priests helping them, called curates or assistants.
- The duties of parish priests are many, varied, and of great responsibility. Like all priests, they are pledged to lifelong celibacy. Daily they must recite the Breviary, the priests’ book, which cannot be read under less than an hour’s time. On account of these heavy responsibilities all Catholics have the obligation to pray for their priests, and to help them as much as possible, especially that they may continue in the love of God, and be enlightened by the Holy Ghost.A parish priest and his curates have to visit the sick of the parish any time of the day or night, whenever there is a call. He has to give the last sacraments to the dying, however contagious or repellent the disease of such persons might be. He has to hear confessions hour after hour; he has to fast as long as the Masses he is scheduled to say have not been said. He must renounce the world with all its worldly amusements for the love of God. As shepherd of his flock, he is responsible to God for the souls of those committed to his charge; and on the day of judgment, he has to render a strict account of his stewardship over them.
This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!
The Church is a closely organized and united society, including the hierarchy and the faithful. All members render loving obedience to the infallible Vicar of Christ. The Pope does not rule as a proud monarch, but as a Father, the representative of God; as a good Shepherd, solicitous for each member of the great flock. The unquestioning obedience of the faithful is responsible for the wonderful unity among the members of the Church throughout the world. There are about four hundred twenty-five million Catholics, all submitting to the hierarchy, at the head of which is the Pope.
What is the hierarchy? –The hierarchy is the organization in successive grades of the ruling powers of the Church.
- The hierarchy is the “teaching Church,” the ruling body composed of the priests with their bishops and the Pope above all. It is an army of leaders having care and control of the holy and sacred things of the Church. Under this army of the “teaching Church” is the “hearing Church–the faithful, the laity.
- The members of the hierarchy differ in two ways: in the power of orders, and in the power of jurisdiction. The power of orders is given by the sacrament of ordination, It is the power to sanctify, a permanent spiritual power that no earthly authority can take away. The power of jurisdiction is given by a superior, to enable a subject to exercise his spiritual authority lawfully. This power may be limited and revoked by legitimate authority.
How do the members of the hierarchy differ in their power of orders? –The members of the hierarchy are divided into three classes with different power of orders: deacons, priests, and bishops. This order of rank and power has been in force in the Church from the time of the Apostles. These three classes were foreshadowed in the high priest, priests, and Levites of the Old Law. They also had counterparts in Our Lord, the Apostles. and the disciples. Our Lord gave full powers to the twelve Apostles, but only limited power to the disciples.
- Deacons can baptize, preach, and give Holy Communion. The Apostles ordained the first deacons. The deacons were appointed by the Apostles to distribute alms and were consecrated by the laying on of hands accompanied by prayers (Acts 6:6).
- Priests have higher orders than deacons. They can offer the holy sacrifice of the Mass, and forgive sins in the Sacrament of Penance. They can administer all sacraments except those of Confirmation and Holy Orders. With special faculties they may even administer Confirmation, in the Catholic Eastern Rites priests administer Confirmation immediately after Baptism. Priests were prefigured in the seventy-two diciples of Our Lord. The word “priest” is derived from the Greek presbyter, which means “the elder” a term used by the first converted Jews.
- Bishops have full power of orders; they are the successors of the Apostles. A bishop administers all the sacraments; he alone administers Holy Orders. He consecrates holy oils, churches, chalices, etc.Archbishops, primates, patriarchs, and even the Pope himself have no fuller power of orders than a bishop of a missionary diocese.
How do the members of the hierarchy differ in the power of jurisdiction? –The members of the hierarchy are divided into many ranks according to the power of jurisdiction, the chief ranks being those of Pope, bishops, and parish priests. These differences of rank and power are necessary for the proper government of the Church just as there are differences of rank and power in the civil government. Without them the Church would be a society without organization.
- In organization the Church is like a vast army; the Pope, its visible head, is commander-in-chief of this army. He has jurisdiction and supreme and sovereign power and authority over the entire Church. He is formally addressed “Your Holiness.”This is how one can easily find the True Church: “Where Peter is, there is the Church.” To show the variety and extent of the interests of the Church, in 1953 at the Vatican there are diplomatic representatives from forty-four nations.
- The Cardinals are the Pope’s advisers and assistants; they are his ministers. He appoints them, and the number is not to exceed seventy. Together they form the Apostolic or Sacred College; it is this body that, in solemn conclave, chooses a new Pope when the See falls vacant. The cardinals form the various congregations or committees in the Papal court, such as the Congregations of the Religious, of Rites, of the Sacraments, etc. In the past many cardinals only had the orders of deacon. The cardinals are distinguished by a red hat and mantle, as a sign that they will be loyal to the Pope at the cost of their blood. A cardinal is addressed “Your Eminence.”
- Nuncios, internuncios, legates, and apostolic delegates are representatives or ambassadors of the Pope to different countries, courts, or occasions. Minor representatives of the Holy See, sent for some special purposes to different places, are termed Apostolic Visitors. In the United States we have an Apostolic Delegate. Besides the ordinary powers he has as Apostolic Delegate, the Holy See has delegated to him extraordinary powers.
- A patriarch is a bishop, successor of the Apostles, who holds the highest rank after the Pope, in jurisdiction. Patriarchs are independent of any ecclesiastical authority save that of the Pope, who is not only Patriarch of Rome, but Sovereign Pontiff, successor of Peter. A patriarch ordains all the bishops of his patriarchate, summons synods, legislates on fasting and abstinence, reception of the sacraments, liturgy and ritual, and other observances. At present there are only five major or Greater Patriarchs; those of Rome, Jerusalem, Constantinople, Antioch and Alexandria. The title “Patriarch” is however given as an honorary title to archbishops of certain places.
- Archbishops, bishops, and vicars-apostolic possess varying jurisdictions. They rule over archdioceses, dioceses, vicariates. An archbishop and bishop are entitled “Most Reverend,” and formally addressed “Your Excellency.” The term Primate is now only an honorary title; formerly a Primate exercised jurisdiction over whole countries or several provinces. Ordinarily an abbot is the superior of an abbey of Benedictines, Cistercians, or other monks. He is elected for life, and has complete authority in the abbey in accordance with the rules of his order.Today the title “abbot” is also granted as a sign of honor; the benefice is some extinct foundation.
- A monsignor is one who for some special merit has been raised above the ranks of the ordinary clergy, and thus joins the prelates; the title is honorary. The term Monsignor is often used in addressing different degrees of prelates. But of the Monsignori proper there are several ranks: protonotaries apostolic, domestic prelates, etc. These are addressed “Right Reverend”; lower ranks, “Very Reverend.”
This article has been taken from “My Catholic Faith” I am not the author merely the distributor.God Bless BJS!!