An episcopal conference, sometimes called a conference of bishops, is an official assembly of the bishops of the Catholic Church in a given territory. Episcopal conferences have long existed as informal entities. The first assembly of bishops to meet regularly, with its own legal structure and ecclesial leadership function, is the Swiss Bishops' Conference, which was founded in 1863.More than forty episcopal conferences existed before the Second Vatican Council. Their status was confirmed by the Second Vatican Council and further defined by Pope Paul VI's 1966 motu proprio , Ecclesiae sanctae .
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.
The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.
Pope Paul VI was head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 21 June 1963 to his death in 1978. Succeeding John XXIII, he continued the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965, implementing its numerous reforms, and fostered improved ecumenical relations with Eastern Orthodox and Protestant churches, which resulted in many historic meetings and agreements. Montini served in the Holy See's Secretariat of State from 1922 to 1954. While in the Secretariat of State, Montini and Domenico Tardini were considered as the closest and most influential advisors of Pius XII, who in 1954 named him Archbishop of Milan, the largest Italian diocese. Montini later became the Secretary of the Italian Bishops' Conference. John XXIII elevated him to the College of Cardinals in 1958, and after the death of John XXIII, Montini was considered one of his most likely successors.
Episcopal conferences are generally defined by geographic borders, often national ones, with all the bishops in a given country belonging to the same conference, although they may also include neighboring countries. Certain authority and tasks are assigned to episcopal conferences, particularly with regard to setting the liturgical norms for the Mass. Episcopal conferences receive their authority under universal law or particular mandates. In certain circumstances, as defined by canon law, the decisions of an episcopal conference are subject to ratification from the Holy See. Individual bishops do not relinquish their immediate authority for the governance of their respective dioceses to the conference.
Liturgy is the customary public worship performed by a religious group. As a religious phenomenon, liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activity reflecting praise, thanksgiving, supplication or repentance. It forms a basis for establishing a relationship with a divine agency, as well as with other participants in the liturgy.
Mass is the main eucharistic liturgical service in many forms of Western Christianity. The term Mass is commonly used in the Catholic Church and Anglican churches, as well as some Lutheran churches, Methodist, Western Rite Orthodox and Old Catholic churches.
The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.
The operation, authority, and responsibilities of episcopal conferences are currently governed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law (see especially canons 447-459)In addition, there are assemblies of bishops which include the bishops of different rites in a nation, both Eastern Catholic and Latin Catholic; these are described in canon 322 §2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.
The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches is the title of the 1990 codification of the common portions of the Canon Law for the 23 Eastern Catholic churches in the Catholic Church. It is divided into 30 titles and has a total of 1546 canons. The Western Latin Church is guided by its own particular Canons.
The nature of episcopal conferences, and their magisterial authority in particular, was subsequently clarified by Pope John Paul II in his 1998 motu proprio , Apostolos suos, which stated that the declarations of such conferences "constitute authentic magisterium" when approved unanimously by the conference; otherwise the conference must achieve a two-thirds majority and seek the recognitio, that is, recognition of approval, of the Holy See, which they will not receive if the majority "is not substantial".
The magisterium of the Catholic Church is the church's authority or office to give authentic interpretation of the Word of God, "whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition." According to the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church, the task of interpretation is vested uniquely in the Pope and the bishops, though the concept has a complex history of development. Scripture and church tradition "make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God, which is entrusted to the Church", and the magisterium is not independent of this, since "all that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is derived from this single deposit of faith."
Pope John Paul II was the head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.
In law, motu proprio describes an official act taken without a formal request from another party. Some jurisdictions use the term sua sponte for the same concept.
In the 2013 apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium , Pope Francis expressed his concern that the intent of the Second Vatican Council, which would give episcopal conferences "genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated."On September 9, 2017, Pope Francis modified canon law, granting episcopal conferences specific authority "to faithfully prepare … approve and publish the liturgical books for the regions for which they are responsible after the confirmation of the Apostolic See." The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, which formerly had primary responsibility for translations, was ordered to "help the Episcopal Conferences to fulfil their task." On October 22, 2017, the Holy See released a letter that Pope Francis had sent to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal Robert Sarah, clarifying that the Holy See and its departments would have only limited authority to confirm liturgical translations recognized by a local episcopal conference. In late February, 2018, the Council of Cardinals and Pope Francis undertook a consideration of the theological status of episcopal conferences, re-reading Pope John Paul II's Apostolos Suos in the light of Pope Francis's Evangelii Gaudium.
An apostolic exhortation is a type of communication from the pope, the head of the Catholic Church. It usually encourages a community of people to undertake a particular activity but does not define Church doctrine. It is considered lower in formal authority than a papal encyclical, but higher than other ecclesiastical letters, apostolic letters and other papal writings.
The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments is the congregation of the Roman Curia that handles most affairs relating to liturgical practices of the Latin Church as distinct from the Eastern Catholic Churches and also some technical matters relating to the Sacraments. Its functions were originally exercised by the Sacred Congregation of Rites, set up in January 1588 by Pope Sixtus V.
Robert Sarah is a Guinean prelate of the Catholic Church. A Cardinal since 20 November 2010, he was appointed prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis on 23 November 2014. He previously served as secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples under Pope John Paul II, and president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum under Pope Benedict XVI.
The Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé is the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Principe. It has its headquarters in Luanda. The 21st since the November 2009 Acting Chairman is Gabriel Mbilingi, Archbishop of Lubango. Vice President of CEAST, the Bishop of Cabinda, Filomeno do Nascimento Vieira Dias. In the pastoral letters of the CEAST calls again and again for more social justice.
The local assembly of bishops is the Episcopal Conference of Benin.
The bishops are represented by the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi.
In addition to the episcopal conferences as defined by the Holy See, there are a number of other regional groupings of bishops: 1101–06:
Synods of Bishops of the Patriarchal and Major Archiepiscopal Churches
National assemblies of Hierarchs of Churches Sui Iuris (including eastern Catholic as well as Latin ordinaries)
Full communion is a communion or relationship of full understanding among different Christian denominations that share certain essential principles of Christian theology. Views vary among denominations on exactly what constitutes full communion, but typically when two or more denominations are in full communion it enables services and celebrations, such as the Eucharist, to be shared among congregants or clergy of any of them with the full approval of each.
The Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference is the episcopal conference of the Roman Catholic bishops in Ireland. The conference meets a number of times a year in Maynooth which is the location of St Patrick's College, Ireland's national seminary. While each bishop is autonomous in his own diocese, meetings of the conference give bishops a chance to discuss issues of mutual concern, or issues of national policy.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church is a catechism promulgated for the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul II in 1992. It sums up, in book form, the beliefs of the Catholic faithful.
Raymond Leo Burke is an American cardinal prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is an archbishop and the patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. He served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri, from 2004 to 2008 and as the bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, from 1995 to 2004. He was Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura from June 2008 until November 2014.
A Catholic religious order is a religious order of the Catholic Church. According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, they form part of a category of Catholic religious institutes.
Péter Erdő is a Hungarian Cardinal of the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. Erdő currently serves as the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, and thus Primate of Hungary.
A diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop or archbishop in pastoral charge of a diocese or archdiocese.
The Pontifical Council for Culture is a dicastery of the Roman Curia charged with fostering the relationship of the Catholic Church with different cultures. Pope John Paul II founded it on 20 May 1982. He later merged the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers with it.
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.
In the Roman Catholic Church, a plenary council is any of various kinds of ecclesiastical synods, used when those summoned represent the whole number of bishops of some given territory. The word itself, derived from the Latin plenarium, hence concilium plenarium, also concilium plenum. Plenary councils have a legislative function that does not apply to other national synods.
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.
Maximum illud is an apostolic letter issued by Pope Benedict XV on 30 November 1919. As is traditional with such documents, it takes its title from the opening words of the original Latin text, meaning "that momentous". Benedict begins by recalling "that momentous and holy charge" found in Mark 16:15: "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to all creation."
Pope Paul VI's reform of the Roman Curia was accomplished through a series of decrees beginning in 1964, principally through the apostolic constitution Regimini Ecclesiae universae issued on 15 August 1967.
Evangelii nuntiandi (abbreviation:EN) is an apostolic exhortation issued on 8 December 1975 by Pope Paul VI on the theme of Catholic evangelization. The title, taken from the opening words of the original Latin text, means "in proclaiming the Gospel". It affirms the role of every Christian, not only ordained ministers, priests, and deacons, or religious, or professional church staff, in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Synod of Bishops is an advisory body for the Pope. It is described in the Code of Canon Law (CIC) as "a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world."
Episcopal conference of Bulgaria is an ecclesiastical institution, consisting of bishops of the Catholic dioceses in the country. It is birritual because it includes in its composition dioceses in Latin and Byzantine-Slavic rites. Episcopal Conference in Bulgaria is the governing body of the Catholic Church in Bulgaria and performs almost the same features as the Holy Synod in Orthodox churches.
Marcello Semeraro is a Roman Catholic prelate, Bishop of Albano, and secretary to the group of cardinals named by Pope Francis to advise him.
In the Roman Catholic Church, collegiality refers to "the Pope governing the Church in collaboration with the bishops of the local Churches, respecting their proper autonomy." In the early church the popes exercised moral authority rather than administrative power, and that authority was relatively limited; regional churches elected their own bishops, resolved disputes in local synods, and only felt the need to appeal to the Pope under special circumstances.
Pope Francis issued the document Magnum principium dated 3 September 2017 on his own authority. It modified the 1983 Code of Canon Law to shift responsibility and authority for translations of liturgical texts into modern languages to national and regional conferences of bishops and restrict the role of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW). It was made public on 9 September and its effective date is 1 October.
Christus vivit is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope Francis, written in response to the Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on young people, faith and vocational discernment, held from 3 to 28 October 2018. It is addressed "to young people and to the entire people of God". The document is dated 25 March 2019, the day on which Francis signed the original Spanish text while visiting the Basilica of the Holy House of Mary in Loreto, Italy, and published on 2 April, the anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, who was "the first Pope to address a letter to young people in 1985 and he was the Pope who began the World Youth Days". When the text was released on 2 April, the Vatican provided translations in Italian, French, English, German, Portuguese and Arabic. Though not published in Latin, the document takes its title from the Latin translation of its incipit, rendered in the English translation as "Christ is alive". The Vatican also provided a summary of the document by Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of the Holy See's Dicastery for Communication. The 35,000 words in the English translation are organized into 299 paragraphs in nine chapters.
The Second Vatican Council stated that, like the ancient patriarchal Churches, episcopal conferences are in a position 'to contribute in many and fruitful ways to the concrete realization of the collegial spirit'. Yet this desire has not been fully realized, since a juridical status of episcopal conferences which would see them as subjects of specific attributions, including genuine doctrinal authority, has not yet been sufficiently elaborated.