Episcopal conference

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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. [1] More than forty episcopal conferences existed before the Second Vatican Council. [2] Their status was confirmed by the Second Vatican Council [3] and further defined by Pope Paul VI's 1966 motu proprio , Ecclesiae sanctae . [4] [5]

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

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.

Second Vatican Council Roman Catholic ecumenical council held in Vatican City from 1962 to 1965

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 Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1963 to 1978

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.

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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. [6]

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 (liturgy) type of worship service within many Christian denomination

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.

Holy See episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

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.

Theological and juridical status

The operation, authority, and responsibilities of episcopal conferences are currently governed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law (see especially canons 447-459) [7] [8] 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". [9]

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 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

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." [10] 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." [11] [12] 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. [13] 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. [14]

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 Roman Catholic bishop

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.

List of episcopal conferences

National episcopal conferences: [15]

Africa

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.

Asia

Headquarters of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines in Manila Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines HQ Manila.jpg
Headquarters of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines in Manila

Europe

Headquarters of the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference in Vilnius Lithuanian Bishops Conference5.JPG
Headquarters of the Lithuanian Bishops' Conference in Vilnius

Oceania

North America

Headquarters of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC USCCB offices.JPG
Headquarters of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC

South America

Other episcopal bodies

In addition to the episcopal conferences as defined by the Holy See, there are a number of other regional groupings of bishops: [15] :1101–06

Synods of eastern rite churches

Synods of Bishops of the Patriarchal and Major Archiepiscopal Churches

  • Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church
  • Synod of the Chaldean Church
  • Synod of the Catholic Coptic Church
  • Synod of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church
  • Synod of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church
  • Synod of the Romanian Church
  • Synod of the Syrian Catholic Church
  • Synod of the Syro-Malabarese Church
  • Synod of the Syro-Malankarese Church
  • Council of the Ethiopian Church
  • Council of the Ruthenian Church, U.S.A.
  • Council of the Slovakian Church

Assemblies of bishops

National assemblies of Hierarchs of Churches Sui Iuris (including eastern Catholic as well as Latin ordinaries)

  • Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt
  • Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Iraq
  • Assembly of the Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon
  • Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchs of Syria
  • Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land
  • Iranian Episcopal Conference
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI)

International Meetings of Episcopal Conferences

See also

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References

  1. Histoire: Les origines de la CES: première expérience au monde d'une conférence épiscopale nationale (in French), Fribourg: Service de presse de la Conférence des évêques suisses, retrieved 6 March 2018
  2. McAleese, Mary (2012), Quo Vadis?: Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law (Kindle ed.), Blackrock, Ireland: The Columba Press, locations 2463-2466, ISBN   978-1-85607-786-6
  3. Christus Dominus: Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church, 28 October 1965, §36–38, retrieved 7 March 2018
  4. Ecclesiae sanctae, 6 August 1966, retrieved 7 March 2018
  5. The Limits of the Papacy, p. 97, by Patrick Granfield, Crossroad, New York, 1987. ISBN   0-8245-0839-4
  6. John Paul II (21 May 1998), Apostolos suos; On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, §19, retrieved 7 March 2018
  7. Code of Canon Law, 1983, §447-459, retrieved 5 March 2018
  8. John Paul II (21 May 1998), Apostolos suos; On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, §5, retrieved 5 March 2018
  9. John Paul II (21 May 1998), Apostolos suos; On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, §22, retrieved 25 June 2015
  10. Francis (2013), Evangelii Gaudium (PDF), Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, §32, retrieved 28 Feb 2018, 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.
  11. Francis (9 September 2017), Magnum Principium (Motu Proprio), Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, retrieved 13 March 2018
  12. Horowitz, Jason (9 Sep 2017), "Pope Francis Shifts Power From Rome With 'Hugely Important' Liturgical Reform", New York Times
  13. Wooden, Cindy (22 Oct 2017), In letter to Cardinal Sarah, pope clarifies new translation norms, Catholic News Service , retrieved 1 March 2018
  14. Briefing by the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, on the 23rd meeting of the Council of Cardinals with the Holy Father Francis, 28.02.2018, Vatican City: Holy See Press Office, 28 Feb 2018, retrieved 1 March 2018
  15. 1 2 Annuario Pontificio per l'anno 2010[ Annuario Pontificio of 2010]. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2010.
  16. The Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa includes the bishops of Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia.
  17. The Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference includes the bishops of South Africa, Botswana, and Swaziland.
  18. "UTEMELJENA BISKUPSKA KONFERENCIJA SR JUGOSLAVIJE" [Bishop's Conference of FR Yugoslavia Established]. Catholic Press Agency, Zagreb. 17 December 1997. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  19. "Priopćenje za javnost". International Bishops' Conference of Sts. Cyril and St. Methodius. 10 April 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  20. "XIII. plenarno zasjedanje BK Srbije i Crne Gore" [13th Plenary Meeting of the Bishops' Conference of Serbia and Montenegro]. Catholic Press Agency, Zagreb. 21 January 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  21. The Episcopal Conference of the Pacific is made up of the bishops of Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, and three U.S. dependencies (U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Territory of American Samoa, and U.S. Territory of Guam). Conferentia Episcopalis Pacifici (C.E. PAC.). GCatholic website. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  22. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops includes the bishop of the U.S. Territory of the Virgin Islands, but not the bishops of the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the three U.S. dependencies in the Pacific (U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Territory of American Samoa, and U.S. Territory of Guam).

Further reading