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Reflections: Priests & Voctns. Sctn. (Bishops)

The Last Supper

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Priests & Vocations Sctn.:

Bishops / Episcopate

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Bishops / Episcopate



Bishops / Episcopate

Note: Obedience is necessarily limited to appropriate commands of lawful authorities. Obedience is not accorded to commands which violate faith or morals.

Note: For the Reflections regarding Bishop of Rome, see the Vatican View Reflections (click here)

"This saying is trustworthy: whoever aspires to the office of bishop desires a noble task. Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once*, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God? He should not be a recent convert, so that he may not become conceited and thus incur the devil's punishment. He must also have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, the devil's trap." (1 Tm. 3:1-7) [*Note: Religious offices indicated in the New Testament are in their infancy and can be shown to be developing even in Scripture. Within a short time, many religious offices in the Church adopted Jesus' and St. Paul's recommended observance of celibacy as a general rule.]

"For a bishop as God's steward must be blameless, not arrogant, not irritable, not a drunkard, not aggressive, not greedy for sordid gain, but hospitable, a lover of goodness, temperate, just, holy, and self-controlled, holding fast to the true message as taught so that he will be able both to exhort with sound doctrine and to refute opponents." (Ti. 1:7-9)

"To be a bishop is much, to deserve to be one is more." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"For if anyone is found to be lukewarm in this work of God, let him incur the loss of his dignity." (Second Lateran Council) 

"Be obedient to your bishop and welcome him as the parent of your soul." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"[A]s a general rule the faithful will be such as are those whom you call to the priesthood" (Pope St. Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

"Can. 470 The appointment of those who fulfil an office in the diocesan curia belongs to the diocesan Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Gregory says 'It behooveth...a bishop to be blameless'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Can. 376 Bishops to whom the care of a given diocese is entrusted are called diocesan Bishops; the others are called titular Bishops." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Good and strong laborers are not born, but made. But the making of them is a matter for the work and the skill of the bishops." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Ubi Primum", 1710 A.D.)

"[Bishops] should manifest their concern for everyone, no matter what their age, condition, or nationality, be they natives, strangers, or foreigners." (Second Vatican Council) 

"[A]fter Christ's ascension into heaven, the apostles assigned bishops to each city and diocese, and the holy Roman Church became established throughout the world" (Fifth Lateran Council)

"Can. 579 Provided the Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The first responsibility for the pastoral work of promoting priestly vocations lies with the bishop... It is his duty to foster and coordinate various initiatives on behalf of vocations." (Pope John Paul II)

"Can. 8. If anyone says that the bishops who are chosen by the authority of the Roman Pontiff are not true and legitimate bishops, but a human invention: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"Can. 416 The episcopal see becomes vacant by the death of the diocesan Bishop, by his resignation accepted by the Holy See, by transfer, or by deprivation notified to the Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 157 Unless the law expressly states otherwise, it is the prerogative of the diocesan Bishop to make appointments to ecclesiastical offices in his own particular Church by free conferral." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 953 The consecration of a Bishop is reserved to the Roman Pontiff so that it is not permitted to any Bishop to consecrate another as Bishop without first having gotten a pontifical mandate." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1382 A bishop who consecrates someone a bishop without a pontifical mandate and the person who receives the consecration from him incur a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Pastors, however, are cooperators of the bishop in a very special way, for as pastors in their own name they are entrusted with the care of souls in a certain part of the diocese under the bishop's authority." (Second Vatican Council)

"[S]pare no pains in giving an exemplary training to those who seem to have a vocation to the priesthood, for they are destined - agreeably to their office - to be the dispensers of Divine grace." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930 A.D.)

"In accordance with the Scriptures and the statutes and definitions of the canons, we venerate the most holy bishop of ancient Rome the first and greatest of bishops, and after him the bishop of Constantinople." (Council of Constantinople)

"Can. 438 The titles of patriarch and primate entail no power of governance in the Latin Church apart from a prerogative of honor unless in some matters the contrary is clear from apostolic privilege or approved custom." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"[J]ust as in the exercise of their episcopal authority the bishops ought to be united with the apostolic see so should the members of the clergy and the laity live in close union with their bishops." (Pope Leo XIII, "Sapientiae Christianae", 1890 A.D.)

"Can. 10. Let no one unless canonically elected extend his hand for consecration to the episcopacy. But if he should presume to do so, let both the one consecrated and the one consecrating be deposed without hope of restoration." (Lateran Council I, 1123 A.D.)

"Can. 329 §1 Bishops are the successors of the apostles and by divine institution are placed over particular churches which they govern with ordinary jurisdiction under the authority of the Roman pontiff." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Yes, the episcopate is most sacred, for it comes from the hands of Jesus Christ through Peter and his successors. Such is the unanimous teaching of Catholic tradition, which is in keeping with the language used by the Roman pontiffs, from the earliest ages" (Gueranger)

"While the bond of concord remains and the indivisible sacrament of the Catholic Church continues, each bishop disposes and directs his own work as one who must give an account of his administration to the Lord." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, 251 A.D.)

"For in proportion as the fall of a bishop is an event which tends ruinously to the fall of his followers, so on the other hand it is a useful and helpful thing when a bishop, by the firmness of his faith, sets himself forth to his brethren as an object of imitation." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"God certainly wishes bishops or priests to be such as the chosen vessel teaches they should be. As to the first qualification it is seldom or never that one is found without reproach; for who is it that has not some fault, like a mole or a wart on a lovely body?" (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"[N]or can he be reckoned as a bishop, who, succeeding to no one, and despising the evangelical and apostolic tradition, sprang from himself. For he who has not been ordained in the Church can neither have nor hold to the Church in any way." (St. Cyprian of Carthage)

"Can. 523 Without prejudice to can. 682, appointment to the office of parish priest belongs to the diocesan Bishop, who is free to confer it on whomsoever he wishes, unless someone else has a right of presentation or election." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1740 When the ministry of any parish priest has for some reason become harmful or at least ineffective, even though this occurs without any serious fault on his part, he can be removed from the parish by the diocesan Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"For if anyone whom the master of the house sends to manage his business ought to be received by us as we would receive him by whom he was sent. It is clear, then, that we must look upon the bishop as the Lord Himself." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"We are sure too that you will never neglect those priests who have strayed from the house of God, their true home, no matter where their painful odyssey has led them; for they still remain your sons." (Pope Paul VI, 1967 A.D.)

"But it is not enough to hinder the reading and the sale of bad books - it is also necessary to prevent them from being printed. Hence let the Bishops use the utmost severity in granting permission to print." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"Above all things the need of union between the bishops and the successors of Peter is clear and undeniable. This bond once broken, Christians would be separated and scattered, and would in no wise form one body and one flock." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896)

"Can. 330 Just as, by the decree of the Lord, Saint Peter and the rest of the Apostles form one College, so for a like reason the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are united together in one." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"In fine, let so great care and diligence be used herein by bishops, as that there be nothing seen that is disorderly, or that is unbecomingly or confusedly arranged, nothing that is profane, nothing indecorous, seeing that holiness becometh the house of God." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 469 The diocesan curia is composed of those institutes and persons who assist the Bishop in governing the entire diocese, especially in directing pastoral action, in providing for the administration of the diocese, and in exercising judicial power." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 473 §1 The diocesan Bishop must ensure that everything concerning the administration of the whole diocese is properly coordinated and is directed in the way that will best achieve the good of that portion of the people of God entrusted to his care." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 480 The Vicar general and episcopal Vicar must give a report to the diocesan Bishop concerning more important matters, both those yet to be attended to and those already dealt with. They are never to act against the will and mind of the diocesan Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 1326 Bishops also, although individually and even gathered in particular Councils they do not partake of infallibility in teaching, nevertheless, for those faithful committed to their care under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, they are truly doctors and teachers." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 471 All those who are admitted to offices in the curia must: 1° promise to fulfill their function faithfully according to the manner determined by law or by the bishop; 2° observe secrecy within the limits and according to the manner determined by law or by the bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"In a like manner let everyone respect the deacons as they would respect Jesus Christ, and just as they respect the bishop as a type of the Father, and the presbyters and the council of God and college of Apostles. Without these, it cannot be called a Church." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"By how much, therefore, the soul is more valuable than the body, so much the priestly office is beyond the kingly. For it binds and looses those that are worthy of punishment or of remission. Wherefore you ought to love the bishop as your father, and fear him as your king." ('Constitutions of the Holy Apostles', 4th century A.D.)

"Can. 381 §1 In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office, except in those matters which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme or to some other ecclesiastical authority." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Therefore, having sent the apostles just as He Himself had been sent by the Father, Christ, through the apostles themselves, made their successors, the bishops, sharers in His consecration and mission. The office of their ministry has been handed down, in a lesser degree indeed, to the priests." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 412 The episcopal see is understood to be impeded if the diocesan Bishop is completely prevented from exercising the pastoral office in the diocese by reason of imprisonment, banishment, exile or incapacity, so that he is unable to communicate, even by letter, with the people of his diocese." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Bishops should be careful to ensure that works of art which are repugnant to faith, morals, and Christian piety, and which offend true religious sense either by depraved forms or through lack of artistic merit or because of mediocrity or pretense, be removed from the house of God and from other sacred places." (Second Vatican Council)

"Without regard to lineage and inheritance, the Church receives those rulers whom the Holy Spirit prepared; thus among the people of God's adoption, the whole of which is priestly and royal, no prerogative of earthly origin can obtain the anointing, but a condescension of divine grace begets a bishop." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 455 A.D.)

"We therefore give a fatherly warning to Catholic film directors and producers, not to permit films to be made which are opposed to the Faith or Christian morals; but if, - which God forbid - this should happen, it is the duty of the Bishops to admonish them, and, if necessary, to impose appropriate sanctions." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957 A.D.)

"Can. 475 §1 In each diocese the diocesan Bishop is to appoint a Vicar general to assist him in the governance of the whole diocese. The Vicar-general has ordinary power, in accordance with the [applicable] canons. §2 As a general rule, one Vicar general is to be appointed, unless the size of the diocese, the number of inhabitants, or other pastoral reasons suggest otherwise." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The bishop should not fear since the anointing of the Holy Spirit has strengthened him: the shepherd should not be afraid since the prince of pastors has taught him by his own example to despise life itself for the safety of his flock: the cowardice and depression of the hireling should not dwell in a bishop's heart." (Pope Pius VI, "Inscrutabile", 1775 A.D.)

"Can. 343 The function of the synod of Bishops is to discuss the matters proposed to it and set forth recommendations. It is not its function to settle matters or to draw up decrees, unless the Roman Pontiff has given it deliberative power in certain cases; in this event, it rests with the Roman Pontiff to ratify the decisions of the synod." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 479 §1 In virtue of his office, the Vicar general has the same executive power throughout the whole diocese as that which belongs by law to the diocesan Bishop: that is, he can perform all administrative acts, with the exception however of those which the Bishop has reserved to himself, or which by law require a special mandate of the Bishop." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"The punishment of the offender ought to be in proportion to the dignity of the person wronged. Bishops are called most holy, are Christ's ambassadors, spiritual fathers, our brothers and fellow bishops, the acknowledged pillars of the Church. The punishment, then, ought to be heavy, proportionate to the guilt of one who violates the dignity of such an eminent person." (Council of Vienne)

"For Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the will of the Father, just as the bishops, who have been appointed throughout the world, are the will of Jesus Christ. It is fitting, therefore, that you should live in harmony with the will of the bishop - as indeed you do. Let us be careful, then, if we would be submissive to God, not to oppose the bishop." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"Bishops and other ordinaries should remember that they are shepherds and not slave-drivers, and that they must so rule over their subjects as not to dominate over them but to love them as sons and brothers; they should endeavor by exhortation and admonition to deter them from wrongdoing lest they be obliged to administer due punishment after the faults have been committed." (Council of Trent)

"In discharging their apostolic office, which concerns the salvation of souls, bishops per se enjoy full and perfect freedom and independence from any civil authority. Hence, the exercise of their ecclesiastical office may not be hindered, directly or indirectly, nor may they be forbidden to communicate freely with the Apostolic See, or ecclesiastical authorities, or their subjects." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 339 §1 All Bishops, but only Bishops who are members of the College of Bishops, have the right and the obligation to be present at an Ecumenical Council with a deliberative vote. §2 Some others besides, who do not have the episcopal dignity, can be summoned to an Ecumenical Council by the supreme authority in the Church, to whom it belongs to determine what part they take in the Council." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Since the pastoral office of bishops is so important and weighty, diocesan bishops and others regarded in law as their equals, who have become less capable of fulfilling their duties properly because of the increasing burden of age or some other serious reason, are earnestly requested to offer their resignation from office either at their own initiative or upon the invitation of the competent authority." (Second Vatican Council)

"[K]now that you owe the best part of your hearts and pastoral care to your priests and to the young men preparing to be priests. In no other way can you better show this conviction than in the conscious responsibility and sincere and unconquerable love with which you preside over the education of your seminarians, and help your priests in every way possible to remain faithful to their vocation and their duties." (Pope Paul VI, 1967 A.D.)

"Can. 399 §1 Every five years a diocesan bishop is bound to make a report to the Supreme Pontiff on the state of the diocese entrusted to him, according to the form and time determined by the Apostolic See. §2 If the year assigned for submitting this report coincides in whole or in part with the first two years of his governance of the diocese, for that occasion the Bishop need not draw up and submit the report." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"For it is a Greek word derived hence; - that he who is put over others overlooks those whom he is put over, to wit, as taking care of them; for episcopacy is overlooking. Therefore, if we choose, we may say in Latin that to exercise the office of a bishop is to overlook; so that one who delights to be over others and not to profit them may understand that he is no bishop." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"As for what concerns Us, We have already taken care that We establish as bishops in the various countries those who bring to the episcopacy a sound doctrine, a life beyond reproach, and a mind prepared for all things for the sake of Jesus Christ. We believe that the responsibility should go to him who presides over it; let him not swell up with the greatness of the honor but diminish in humility." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"Can. 401 §1 A diocesan Bishop who has completed his seventy-fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who, taking all the circumstances into account, will make provision accordingly. §2 A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfillment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Above everything else, the Bishop must be eternally on guard and continually vigilant in preventing the contagious disease of heresy from entering among his flock and removing even the faintest suspicion of it from the fold. If it should happen to enter (the Lord forbid!), he must use every means at his command to expel it immediately. Moreover, he must see to it that those infected or suspected be treated according to the pontifical canons and sanctions" (St. Charles Borromeo)

"Bishops should dedicate themselves to their apostolic office as witness of Christ before all men. They should not only look after those who already follow the Prince of Pastors but should also wholeheartedly devote themselves to those who have strayed in any way from the path of truth or are ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and His saving mercy until finally all men walk 'in all goodness and justice and truth' (Eph. 5:9)." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 782 §1 The Roman Pontiff and the college of bishops have the supreme direction and coordination of endeavors and actions which belong to missionary work and missionary cooperation. §2 As sponsors of the universal Church and of all the churches, individual bishops are to have special solicitude for missionary work, especially by initiating, fostering, and sustaining missionary endeavors in their own particular churches." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 334 The Bishops are available to the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his office, to cooperate with him in various ways, among which is the synod of Bishops. Cardinals also assist him, as do other persons and, according to the needs of the time, various institutes; all these persons and institutes fulfil their offices in his name and by his authority, for the good of all the Churches, in accordance with the norms determined by law." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 383 §1 In exercising his pastoral office, the diocesan Bishop is to be solicitous for all Christ's faithful entrusted to his care, whatever their age, condition or nationality, whether they live in the territory or are visiting there. He is to show an apostolic spirit also to those who, because of their condition of life, are not sufficiently able to benefit from ordinary pastoral care, and to those who have lapsed from religious practice." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"This document [Haerent Animo], in which we opened our heart to all sacred ministers, make it your business to recall it and explain it for the benefit of the clerics for whom you are responsible. Besides, realize thoroughly and hold fast to this truth: when you have a body of clergy who conform to the ideal outlined in that Exhortation, you will certainly find your pastoral care greatly lightened, and the fruits of your apostolate will be much more abundant." (Pope St. Pius X)

"Can. 1327 § 1 The responsibility of preaching the Catholic faith is committed especially to the Roman Pontiff for the universal Church [and to] Bishops for their diocese. § 2 Bishops are bound by the office of personally preaching the Gospel, unless they are prohibited by a legitimate impediment; and moreover, besides pastors, they should also take help from other suitable men in pursuing the correct fulfillment of these duties in this sort of teaching." (1917 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 753 Although the bishops who are in communion with the head and members of the college, whether individually or joined together in conferences of bishops or in particular councils, do not possess infallibility in teaching, they are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the Christian faithful entrusted to their care; the Christian faithful are bound to adhere with religious submission of mind to the authentic magisterium of their bishops." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 396 §1 A bishop is obliged to visit the diocese annually either in whole or in part, so that he visits the entire diocese at least every five years either personally or, if he has been legitimately impeded, through the coadjutor bishop, an auxiliary, vicar general, episcopal vicar, or another presbyter. §2 A bishop is permitted to choose the clerics he prefers as companions and assistants on a visitation; any contrary privilege or custom is reprobated." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It shall not be lawful for any bishop, under the plea of any privilege soever, to exercise pontifical functions in the diocese of another, save by the express permission of the Ordinary of the place, and in regard to those persons only who are subject to that same Ordinary: if the contrary shall have been done, the bishop shall be ipso facto suspended from the exercise of episcopal functions, and those so ordained (be similarly suspended) from the exercise of their orders." (Council of Trent)

"Can. 387 Mindful that he is bound to give an example of holiness, charity, humility and simplicity of life, the diocesan Bishop is to seek in every way to promote the holiness of Christ's faithful according to the special vocation of each. Since he is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, he is to strive constantly that Christ's faithful entrusted to his care may grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments, and may know and live the paschal mystery." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Can. 402 §1 A Bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted, acquires the title 'emeritus' of his diocese. If he so wishes, he may have a residence in the diocese unless, because of special circumstances in certain cases, the Apostolic See provides otherwise. §2 The Episcopal Conference must ensure that suitable and worthy provision is made for the upkeep of a Bishop who has resigned, bearing in mind the primary obligation which falls on the diocese which he served." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"In exercising their office of father and pastor, bishops should stand in the midst of their people as those who serve. Let them be good shepherds who know their sheep and whose sheep know them. Let them be true fathers who excel in the spirit of love and solicitude for all and to whose divinely conferred authority all gratefully submit themselves. Let them so gather and mold the whole family of their flock that everyone, conscious of his own duties, may live and work in the communion of love." (Second Vatican Council)

"Recall, moreover, to the minds of your faithful subjects in Christ, that is by promoting, under your direction and that of your clergy, the knowledge and love of Christ, they become truly worthy of the title of a 'chosen generation, a kingly priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people' (I Peter ii.9), and that closely united with Christ and with Us, they will best succeed in bringing about a common peace amongst men, by devoting all their energies to the propagation and restoration of the kingdom of Christ." (Pope Pius XI)

"Can. 375 §1 By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who is given to them. They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance. §2 By their episcopal consecration, Bishops receive, together with the office of sanctifying, the offices also of teaching and of ruling, which however, by their nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"That bishops are busy about things pertaining to the love of their neighbor, arises out of the abundance of their love of God. Hence our Lord asked Peter first of all whether he loved Him, and afterwards committed the care of His flock to him. And Gregory says (Regulae Pastoralis i,5): 'If the pastoral care is a proof of love, he who refuses to feed God's flock, though having the means to do so, is convicted of not loving the supreme Pastor.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"It is of the utmost importance that you entrust the care of souls to exemplary men who are conspicuous for their doctrine, piety, purity, and good works. They should truly be and should be considered the light and the salt of the people. These men are your principal aides in forming the flock entrusted to your care, governing it, purifying it, leading it in the path of salvation, and rousing it to Christian virtue. You should choose as parish priests men who may be judged suited to the fruitful governing of people. Concentrate on this matter above everything else" (Pope Benedict XIV, "Ubi Primum", 1710 A.D.)

"Parish priests should warn their flocks that they are forbidden by divine law to listen to radio programs which are dangerous to their Faith or morals, and they should exhort those engaged in the training of youth, to be on the watch and to instill religious principles with regard to the use of radio sets installed in the home. Moreover, it is the duty of the Bishops to call on the faithful to refrain from listening to stations which are known to broadcast a defense of matter formally opposed to the Catholic Faith." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957 A.D.)

"Can. 7. If anyone says that the bishops are not superior to priests; or that they do not have the power to confirm and to ordain, or, that the power which they have is common to them and to the priests; or that orders conferred by them without the consent or call of the people or of the secular power are invalid, or, that those who have been neither rightly ordained nor sent by ecclesiastical and canonical authority, but come from a different source, are lawful ministers of the word and of the sacraments: let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"[Bishops] should also strive to make use of the various media at hand nowadays for proclaiming Christian doctrine, namely, first of all, preaching and catechetical instruction which always hold the first place, then the presentation of this doctrine in schools, academies, conferences, and meetings of every kind, and finally its dissemination through public statements at times of outstanding events as well as by the press and various other media of communication, which by all means ought to be used in proclaiming the Gospel of Christ." (Second Vatican Council)

"Can. 403 §1 When the pastoral needs of a diocese suggest it, one or more auxiliary bishops are to be appointed at the request of the diocesan bishop. An auxiliary bishop does not possess the right of succession. §2 In more serious circumstances, even of a personal nature, an auxiliary bishop provided with special faculties can be given to a diocesan bishop. §3 If it appears more opportune to the Holy See, it can appoint ex officio a coadjutor bishop who also has special faculties. A coadjutor bishop possesses the right of succession." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"On the part of the person appointed [to the episcopal office], it is not required that he esteem himself better than others, for this would be proud and presumptuous; but it suffices that he perceive nothing in himself which would make it unlawful for him to take up the office of prelate. Hence although Peter was asked by our Lord if he loved Him more than the others, he did not, in his reply, set himself before the others, but answered simply that he loved Christ." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"[W]here there are faithful of a different rite, the diocesan bishop should provide for their spiritual needs either through priests or parishes of that rite or through an episcopal vicar endowed with the necessary faculties. Wherever it is fitting, the last named should also have episcopal rank. Otherwise the Ordinary himself may perform the office of an Ordinary of different rites. If for certain reasons, these prescriptions are not applicable in the judgment of the Apostolic See, then a proper hierarchy for the different rites is to be established." (Second Vatican Council)

"It is equally the duty of the Bishops of the entire Catholic world to unite in vigilance over this universal and potent form of entertainment and instruction [the motion picture industry], to the end that they may be able to place a ban on bad motion pictures because they are an offence to the moral and religious sentiments and because they are in opposition to the Christian spirit and to its ethical principles. There must be no weariness in combating whatever contributes to the lessening of the people's sense of decency and of honor." (Pope Pius XI, "Vigilanti Cura", 1936 A.D.)

"The exercise of spiritual rights, which concern the glory of God and the salvation of the souls of Christ's faithful, has been entrusted to bishops and their superiors in their respective dioceses, since they have been chosen to be sharers of [the Roman pontiffs'] burden, as we have already said, and since dioceses with defined boundaries have been assigned to each of the bishops. We truly desire, then, that these spiritual rights be exercised by the bishops, and that the right of freely exercising them be truly, as far as possible, kept intact for them." (Fifth Lateran Council)

"Remember also that the government and administration of the whole Church rests with the Roman Pontiff to whom, in the words of the Fathers of the Council of Florence, 'the full power of nourishing, ruling, and governing the universal Church was given by Christ the Lord.' It is the duty of individual bishops to cling to the See of Peter faithfully, to guard the faith piously and religiously, and to feed their flock. It behooves priests to be subject to the bishops, whom 'they are to look upon as the parents of their souls,' as Jerome admonishes." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Mirari Vos", 1832)

"But it is necessary that your paternal care extend further, namely to the assistance of priests in the exercise of their duties. Skillfully and sweetly, as becomes your love, see to it that they are not exposed to worldly temptations and that they are not led by selfish desires or concern for secular affairs. See to it that they excel in virtue, providing an example of deeds well-done. Further, see to it that they never fail in their devotion to prayer and that they approach the sacred mysteries spotlessly." (Pope Leo XIII, "Quod Multum", 1886 A.D.)

"There is no more offensive or dangerous poison than the desire to rule. If a bishop is corrupted by this, it is inevitable that the church entrusted to him will be shaken, if not destroyed. Therefore, a bishop should not want to be powerful, but rather to be useful. Having made himself an example for the flock, he should like a torch radiate blameless conduct, moral integrity, piety, and religion. When the people see this, they will walk happily and quickly in the way of the Lord, for they will see that they have been given a leader and not a master." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"Of the names presbyter and bishop the first denotes age, the second rank. In writing both to Titus and to Timothy the apostle speaks of the ordination of bishops and of deacons, but says not a word of the ordination of presbyters; for the fact is that the word bishops includes presbyters also... In fact as if to tell us that the traditions handed down by the apostles were taken by them from the Old Testament, bishops, presbyters and deacons occupy in the Church the same positions as those which were occupied by Aaron, his sons, and the Levites in the temple." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"Can. 407 §1 For the greatest present and future good of the diocese, the diocesan Bishop, the coadjutor and the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, are to consult with each other on matters of greater importance. §2 In assessing matters of greater importance, particularly those of a pastoral nature, the diocesan Bishop is to consult the auxiliary Bishop before all others. §3 The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop, since they are called to share in the cares of the diocesan Bishop, should so exercise their office that they act and think in accord with him." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"As those who lead others to perfection, bishops should be diligent in fostering holiness among their clerics, religious, and laity according to the special vocation of each. They should also be mindful of their obligation to give an example of holiness in charity, humility, and simplicity of life. Let them so hallow the churches entrusted to them that the feeling of the universal Church of Christ may shine forth fully in them. For that reason they should foster priestly and religious vocations as much as possible, and should take a special interest in missionary vocations." (Second Vatican Council)

"You can easily imagine the straits in which We live, since We are laden with the care of Christ's flock and the churches, and must therefore render a detailed account to the divine Prince of Shepherds. For this reason We decided to recall in this letter the causes of the troubles which beset both Us and you. You can then reflect how important it is for all the bishops to redouble their efforts so as to break the assault of the enemies, to beat back their attacks, and to forewarn and protect the faithful from their clever appeals. We have been doing this, and We shall not stop." (Pope Gregory XVI, "Probe Nostis", 1840 A.D.)

"We cannot be silent concerning the useless desire for glory which a certain bishop correctly called hidden destruction. Once it has shown itself, there is perhaps nothing more hostile to love. Servility creeps up on whatever bishop this deadly plague gets hold of and infects; it attacks his most noble part, the soul. It captures him with its poisonous flatteries and constantly besieges him. It drives the wretch to the point that he no longer seeks the glory of God but only his own, increasing enormously that distorted and excessive self-esteem by which each of us is greatly deceived." (Pope Clement XIII, "A Quo Die", 1758 A.D.)

"Therefore, on account of this communion in the same priesthood and ministry, bishops should regard priests as their brothers and friends and be concerned as far as they are able for their material and especially for their spiritual well-being. For above all upon the bishops rests the heavy responsibility for the sanctity of their priests. Therefore, they should exercise the greatest care in the continual formation of their priests. They should gladly listen to their priests, indeed consult them and engage in dialogue with them in those matters which concern the necessities of pastoral work and welfare of the diocese." (Second Vatican Council)

"Since the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Spirit, in conformity with the sacred writings and the ancient tradition of the Fathers in sacred councils, and very recently in this ecumenical Synod, has taught that there is a purgatory, and that the souls detained there are assisted by the suffrages of the faithful, and especially by the [Holy Sacrifice of the Mass], the holy Synod commands the bishops that they insist that the sound doctrine of purgatory, which has been transmitted by the holy Fathers and holy Councils, be believed by the faithful of Christ, be maintained, taught, and everywhere preached." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"It is becoming, therefore, that ye also should be obedient to your bishop, and contradict him in nothing; for it is a fearful thing to contradict any such person. For no one does [by such conduct] deceive him that is visible, but does [in reality] seek to mock Him that is invisible, who, however, cannot be mocked by any one. And every such act has respect not to man, but to God. For God says to Samuel, 'They have not mocked thee, but Me.' And Moses declares, 'For their murmuring is not against us, but against the Lord God.' No one of those has, [in fact,] remained unpunished, who rose up against their superiors." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.) [Note: Of course, the above implies that the bishops are in union with the pope.]

"The bishop will be unaware of many things and many things will be hidden from him if he does not visit every part of his diocese himself and if he does not look, listen, and examine everywhere for which evils a remedy may be prepared. He should probe the causes of those evils and then take preventive measures lest they come to life again. The condition of human weakness is such that thorn bushes, prickles, and weeds grow gradually in the Lord's field, the cultivation of which is entrusted to the bishop. If the gardener does not return frequently to pluck them out, his seedlings will wither with the passage of time." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Ubi Primum", 1710 A.D.)

"This power of the Supreme Pontiff is so far from interfering with that power of ordinary and immediate episcopal jurisdiction by which the bishops, who, 'placed by the Holy Spirit' [cf. Acts 20:28], have succeeded to the places of the apostles, as true shepherds individually feed and rule the individual flocks assigned to them, that the same (power) is asserted, confirmed, and vindicated by the supreme and universal shepherd, according to the statement of Gregory the Great: 'My honor is the universal honor of the Church. My honor is the solid vigor of my brothers. Then am I truly honored, when the honor due to each and everyone is not denied.'" (Vatican Council I, 1870 A.D.)

"Can. 400 §1 Unless the Apostolic See has established otherwise, during the year in which he is bound to submit a report to the Supreme Pontiff, a diocesan bishop is to go to Rome to venerate the tombs of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul and to present himself to the Roman Pontiff. §2 A bishop is to satisfy the above-mentioned obligation personally unless he is legitimately impeded. In that case, he is to satisfy it through his coadjutor, if he has one, or auxiliary, or a suitable priest of his presbyterium who resides in his diocese. §3 An apostolic vicar can satisfy this obligation through a proxy, even one living in Rome. This obligation does not bind an apostolic prefect." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"But if, which God forbid, a preacher should spread errors, or scandals, amongst the people, let the bishop interdict his preaching, even though he preach in a monastery of his own, or of another, order: whereas, if he preach heresies, let him proceed against him according to the appointment of the law, or the custom of the place, even though the said preacher should plead that he is exempted by a general, or special, privilege: in which case the bishop shall proceed by apostolic authority, and as the delegate of the Apostolic See. But let bishops be careful, that a preacher be not annoyed, either by false accusations, or in any other way calumniously; or have any just cause of complaint against them." (Council of Trent)

"It becomes you not to presume on the youth of the bishop, but to show him all reverence in consideration of the authority of God the Father: just as even the holy presbyters, so I have heard, do not take advantage of his outwardly youthful appearance, but yield to him in their godly prudence: yet not to him, but to the Father of Jesus Christ, the Bishop of all. Take care to do all these things in harmony with God, with the bishop presiding in the place of God and with the presbyters in the place of the council of the Apostles, and with the deacons, who are most dear to me, entrusted with the business of Jesus Christ, who was with the Father from the beginning and is at last made manifest." (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"Now in the genus of perfection according to Dionysius (De Ecclesiastica Hierarchia v,vi), bishops are in the position of perfecters, whereas religious are in the position of being perfected; the former of which pertains to action, and the latter to passion. Whence it is evident that the state of perfection is more excellent in bishops than in religious... Now bishops especially are bound to despise all things for the honor of God and the spiritual welfare of their flock, when it is necessary for them to do so, either by giving to the poor of their flock, or by suffering 'with joy the being stripped of' their 'own goods' (Heb. 10:34)." (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"Repeating the timely instructions which Our predecessor of happy memory, Pius XI, published in his Encyclical Letter, entitled Vigilanti Cura, We earnestly desire that Christians be not only warned with care, as frequently as possible, on this topic, but that they fulfil the grave obligation of acquainting themselves with the decisions issued by Ecclesiastical Authority on matters connected with Motion Pictures, and of faithfully obeying them. The Bishops, if they deem it appropriate, will be able to set aside a special day each year devoted to this matter, on which the faithful will be carefully instructed concerning their duty, particularly with regard to film shows, and urged to offer earnest prayers to God about the same." (Pope Pius XII, "Miranda Prorsus", 1957 A.D.)

"As legitimate successors of the Apostles and members of the episcopal college, bishops should realize that they are bound together and should manifest a concern for all the churches. For by divine institution and the rule of the apostolic office each one together with all the other bishops is responsible for the Church. They should especially be concerned about those parts of the world where the word of God has not yet been proclaimed or where the faithful, particularly because of the small number of priests, are in danger of departing from the precepts of the Christian life, and even of losing the faith itself. Let bishops, therefore, make every effort to have the faithful actively support and promote works of evangelization and the apostolate." (Second Vatican Council)

"Do ye, beloved, be careful to be subject to the bishop, and the presbyters and the deacons. For he that is subject to these is obedient to Christ, who has appointed them; but he that is disobedient to these is disobedient to Christ Jesus. And 'he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.' For he that yields not obedience to his superiors is self-confident, quarrelsome, and proud. But 'God,' says [Holy Scripture] 'resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble;' and, 'The proud have greatly transgressed.' The Lord also says to the priests, 'He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that heareth Me, heareth the Father that sent Me. He that despiseth you, despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me, despiseth Him that sent Me.'" (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.)

"With regard to priests who are correspondents or collaborators of periodicals, as it happens not infrequently that they write matter infected with Modernism for their papers or periodicals, let the Bishops see to it that this is not permitted to happen, and, should they fail in this duty, let the Bishops make due provision with authority delegated by the Supreme Pontiff. Let there be, as far as this is possible, a special Censor for newspapers and periodicals written by Catholics. It shall be his office to read in due time each number after it has been published, and if he find anything dangerous in it let him order that it be corrected. The Bishop shall have the same right even when the Censor has seen nothing objectionable in a publication." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"But if the authority of Peter and his successors is plenary and supreme, it is not to be regarded as the sole authority. For He who made Peter the foundation of the Church also 'chose, twelve, whom He called apostles' (Luke vi., 13); and just as it is necessary that the authority of Peter should be perpetuated in the Roman Pontiff, so, by the fact that the bishops succeed the Apostles, they inherit their ordinary power, and thus the episcopal order necessarily belongs to the essential constitution of the Church. Although they do not receive plenary, or universal, or supreme authority, they are not to be looked as vicars of the Roman Pontiffs; because they exercise a power really their own, and are most truly called the ordinary pastors of the peoples over whom they rule." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"And do ye also reverence your bishop as Christ Himself, according as the blessed apostles have enjoined you. He that is within the altar is pure, wherefore also he is obedient to the bishop and presbyters: but he that is without is one that does anything apart from the bishop, the presbyters, and the deacons. Such a person is defiled in his conscience, and is worse than an infidel. For what is the bishop but one who beyond all others possesses all power and authority, so far as it is possible for a man to possess it, who according to his ability has been made an imitator of [Christ]?" (St. Ignatius of Antioch, c. 110 A.D.) [Note: The above does not mean that bishops have the highest authority in the Church. On the contrary, the highest authority in the Church resides with the Roman Pontiff, the Pope. Click here  for more information.]

"Although bishops have a common dignity, they are not all of the same rank. Even among the most blessed Apostles, thought they were alike in honor, there was a certain distinction of power. All were equal in being chosen, but it was given to one to be preeminent over the others. From this formality there arose also a distinction among bishops, and by a great arrangement, it was provided that no one should arrogate everything to himself, but in individual provinces there should be individual bishops whose opinion among their brothers should be first; and again, certain others, established in larger cities, were to accept a greater responsibility. Through them the care of the universal Church would converge in the one See of Peter, and nothing should ever be at odds with this head." (Pope St. Leo I the Great, Doctor of the Church, c. 447 A.D.)

"Indeed let the bishops diligently teach this, that by the accounts of the mysteries of our redemption, portrayed in pictures or in other representations, the people are instructed and confirmed in the articles of faith which should be kept in mind and constantly pondered over; then, too, that from all sacred images great profit is derived not only because the people are reminded of the benefits and gifts, which are bestowed upon them by Christ, but also, because through the saints the miracles of God and salutary examples are set before the eyes of the faithful, so that they may give thanks to God for those things, may fashion their own lives and conduct in imitation of the saints, and be stimulated to adore and love God, and to cultivate piety. But if anyone should teach or maintain anything contrary to these decrees, let him be anathema." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"Bishops must be considered as the more illustrious members of the Universal Church, for they are united by a very special bond to the divine Head of the whole Body and so are rightly called 'principal parts of the members of the Lord'; moreover, as far as his own diocese is concerned, each one as a true Shepherd feeds the flock entrusted to him and rules it in the name of Christ. Yet in exercising this office they are not altogether independent, but are subordinate to the lawful authority of the Roman Pontiff, although enjoying the ordinary power of jurisdiction which they receive directly from the same Supreme Pontiff. Therefore, Bishops should be revered by the faithful as divinely appointed successors of the Apostles, and to them, even more than to the highest civil authorities should be applied the words: 'Touch not my anointed one!' For the Bishops have been anointed with the chrism of the Holy Spirit." (Pope Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis", 1943 A.D.) 

"Can. 395 §1 The diocesan Bishop is bound by the law of personal residence in his diocese, even if he has a coadjutor or auxiliary Bishop. §2 Apart from the visit 'ad limina', attendance at councils or at the synod of Bishops or at the Episcopal Conference, at which he must be present, or by reason of another office lawfully entrusted to him, he may be absent from the diocese, for a just reason, for not longer than one month, continuously or otherwise, provided he ensures that the diocese is not harmed by this absence. §3 He is not to be absent from his diocese on Christmas, during Holy Week, or on Easter Sunday, Pentecost and Corpus Christi, except for a grave and urgent reason. §4 If the Bishop is unlawfully absent from the diocese for more than six months, the Metropolitan is to notify the Holy See. If it is the Metropolitan who is absent, the senior suffragan is to do the same." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"Before being the superiors and judges of your priests, be their teachers, fathers, friends, their good and kind brothers always ready to understand, to sympathize and to help. Encourage your priests in every possible way to be your personal friends and to be very open with you. This will not weaken the relationship of juridical obedience; rather it will transform it into pastoral love so that they will obey more willingly, sincerely and securely. If they have a filial trust in you, your priests will be able in time to open up their souls and to confide their difficulties in you in the certainty that they can rely on your kindness to be protected from eventual defeat, without a servile fear of punishment, but in the filial expectation of correction, pardon and help, which will inspire them to resume their difficult journey with a new confidence." (Pope Paul VI, 1967 A.D.)

"Can. 413 §1 When a see is impeded, the coadjutor bishop, if there is one, has governance of the diocese unless the Holy See has provided otherwise. If there is none or he is impeded, governance passes to an auxiliary bishop, the vicar general, an episcopal vicar, or another priest, following the order of persons established in the list which the diocesan bishop is to draw up as soon as possible after taking possession of the diocese. The list, which must be communicated to the Metropolitan, is to be renewed at least every three years and kept under secrecy by the chancellor. §2 If there is no coadjutor bishop or he is impeded and the list mentioned in §1 is not available, it is for the college of consultors to select a priest to govern the diocese. §3 The one who has assumed the governance of a diocese according to the norm of §§1 or 2 is to advise the Holy See as soon as possible of the impeded see and the [duties] he has assumed." (1983 Code of Canon Law)

"It is also the duty of the bishops to prevent writings infected with Modernism or favorable to it from being read when they have been published, and to hinder their publication when they have not. No book or paper or periodical of this kind must ever be permitted to seminarians or university students. The injury to them would be equal to that caused by immoral reading - nay, it would be greater for such writings poison Christian life at its very fount. The same decision is to be taken concerning the writings of some Catholics, who, though not badly disposed themselves but ill-instructed in theological studies and imbued with modern philosophy, strive to make this harmonize with the faith, and, as they say, to turn it to the profit of the faith. The name and reputation of these authors cause them to be read without suspicion, and they are, therefore, all the more dangerous in preparing the way for Modernism." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"The holy Synod cannot but sorely grieve at hearing that certain bishops, forgetful of their own estate, do in no slight manner disgrace the pontifical dignity; comporting themselves with an unseemly kind of servility, both in church and out of it, before the ministers of kings, nobles, and barons; and, as if they were inferior ministers of the altar, not only most unworthily give them place; but even serve them in person. Wherefore, the holy Synod, detesting this and the like behavior, doth, by renewing all the sacred canons, the General Councils, and other apostolical ordinances, which relate to the decorum and authority of the episcopal dignity, enjoin, that henceforth bishops abstain from the like; charging them that, both in church and out of it, having before their eyes their own rank and order, they every where bear in mind that they are fathers and pastors; charging also others, as well princes, as all persons whatsoever, to pay them paternal honor and due reverence." (Council of Trent)

"If then there were only the responsibility of the office itself for people to run after in the episcopate, none would be so quick to accept it. But as things go, we run after this, just as we do after the dignities of the world. That we may have glory with men, we lose ourselves with God. What profit in such honor? How self-evident its nothingness is! When you covet the episcopal rank, put in the other scale, the account to be rendered after this life. Weigh against it, the happiness of a life free from toil, take into account the different measure of the punishment. I mean, that even if you have sinned, but in your own person merely, you will have no such great punishment, nothing like it: but if you have sinned as bishop, you are lost. Remember what Moses endured, what wisdom he displayed, what good deeds he exhibited: but, for committing one sin only, he was bitterly punished; and with good reason; for this fault was attended with injury to the rest." (St. John Chrysostom, Doctor of the Church)

"No, truly, there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride. When a Catholic laymen or a priest forgets that precept of the Christian life which obliges us to renounce ourselves if we would follow Jesus Christ and neglects to tear pride from his heart, then it is he who most of all is a fully ripe subject for the errors of Modernism. Hence, Venerable Brethren, it will be your first duty to thwart such proud men, to employ them only in the lowest and obscurest offices; the higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so that their lowly position may deprive them of the power of causing damage. Sound your young clerics, too, most carefully, by yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride among any of them reject them without compunction from the priesthood. Would to God that this had always been done with the proper vigilance and constancy." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"Therefore, be an example for your flock in the frequent celebration of the Mass, in devout offering, in solemn celebration of Masses, in administering the sacraments, in reciting the breviary, in respect for and in the splendor of the churches in the discipline of your household and of your spiritual family, in love for the poor and in helping them, in looking after the sick and supporting them, in welcoming pilgrims with hospitality, and finally in every good work of Christian virtue. Thus, all may be imitators of you just as you are imitators of Christ as is fitting for bishops whom the Holy Spirit placed in charge of the Church of God which Jesus redeemed by His Blood. Look back often on the apostles to whose place you have succeeded. Follow in their footsteps in works, in vigilance, in bearing hardship, in keeping the wolves away from your sheep, in removing the roots of vices, in teaching the evangelical law, and in leading back to salutary penance those who have strayed." (Pope Benedict XIV, "Ubi Primum", 1710 A.D.)

"And the Lord too, in the Gospel, when the disciples abandoned Him while He was speaking, turned to the twelve and said, 'And do you too wish to go away?' Peter answered Him, saying, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the word of eternal life: and we believe and know that you are the Son of the Living God.' There speaks Peter, upon whom the Church would be built, teaching in the name of the Church and showing that even if a stubborn and proud multitude withdraws because it does not wish to obey, yet the Church does not withdraw from Christ. The people joined to the priest and the flock clinging to their shepherd are the Church. You ought to know, then, that the bishop is in the Church and the Church in the bishop; and if someone is not with the bishop, he is not in the Church*. They vainly flatter themselves who creep up, not having peace with the priests of God, believing that they are secretly in communion with certain individuals. For the Church, which is One and Catholic, is not split or divided, but is indeed united and joined by the cement of priests who adhere to one another." (St. Cyprian of Carthage, 254 A.D.) [*Note: Of course, this implies that the bishops are in union with the pope.]

"[I]t must be clearly understood that Bishops are deprived of the right and power of ruling if they deliberately secede from Peter and his successors; because, by this secession, they are separated from the foundation on which the whole edifice must rest. They are therefore outside the edifice itself; and for this very reason they are separated from the fold, whose leader is the Chief Pastor; they are exiled from the Kingdom, the keys of which were given by Christ to Peter alone... No one, therefore, unless in communion with Peter can share in his authority, since it is absurd to imagine that he who is outside can command in the Church. Wherefore Optatus of Milevis blamed the Donatists for this reason: 'Against which ages (of hell) we read that Peter received the saving keys, that is to say, our prince, to whom it was said by Christ: 'To thee will I give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the gates of Hell shall not conquer them.' Whence is it therefore that you strive to obtain for yourselves the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven - you who fight against the chair of Peter?' (Lib. ii., n. 4-5)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

"In order that the faithful people may approach to the reception of the sacraments with greater reverence and devotion of mind, the holy Synod enjoins on all bishops, that, not only when they are themselves about to administer them to the people, they shall first explain, in a manner suited to the capacity of those who receive them, the efficacy and use of those sacraments, but shall endeavor that the same be done piously and prudently by every parish priest; and this even in the vernacular tongue, if need be, and it can be conveniently done; and in accordance with the form which will be prescribed for each of the sacraments, by the holy Synod, in a catechism which the bishops shall take care to have faithfully translated into the vulgar tongue, and to have expounded to the people by all parish priests; as also that, during the solemnization of Mass, or the celebration of the divine offices, they explain, in the said vulgar tongue, on all festivals, or solemnities, the sacred oracles, and the maxims of salvation; and that, setting aside all unprofitable questions, they endeavor to impress them on the hearts of all, and to instruct them in the law of the Lord." (Council of Trent)

"Let your first care be to form Christ in those who are destined from the duty of their vocation to form Him in others. We speak of the priests, Venerable Brethren. For all who bear the seal of the priesthood must know that they have the same mission to the people in the midst of whom they live as that which Paul proclaimed that he received in these tender words: 'My little children, of whom I am in labor again until Christ be formed in you' (Gal. iv., 19). But how will they be able to perform this duty if they be not first clothed with Christ themselves? and so clothed with Christ as to be able to say with the Apostle: 'I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me' (Ibid. ii., 20). 'For me to live is Christ' (Phlipp. i., 21). Hence although all are included in the exhortation 'to advance towards the perfect man, in the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ' (Ephes. iv., 3), it is addressed before all others to those who exercise the sacerdotal ministry; thus these are called another Christ, not merely by the communication of power but by reason of the imitation of His works, and they should therefore bear stamped upon themselves the image of Christ." (Pope St. Pius X, "E Supremi", 1903 A.D.)

"From time to time, the Bishops will do well to recall to the motion picture industry that, amid the cares of their pastoral ministry, they are under obligation to interest themselves in every form of decent and healthy recreation because they are responsible before God for the moral welfare of their people even during their time of leisure. Their sacred calling constrains them to proclaim clearly and openly that unhealthy and impure entertainment destroys the moral fiber of a nation. They will likewise remind the motion picture industry that the demands which they make regard not only the Catholics but all who patronize the cinema... The Bishops of the whole world will take care to make clear to the leaders of the motion picture industry that a force of such power and universality as the cinema can be directed, with great utility, to the highest ends of individual and social improvement. Why indeed should there be question merely of avoiding what is evil? The motion picture should not be simply a means of diversion, a light relaxation to occupy an idle hour; with its magnificent power, it can and must be a bearer of light and a positive guide to what is good." (Pope Pius XI, "Vigilanti Cura", 1936 A.D.)

"You know that it is also part of your episcopal duty to protect and vindicate at all times the venerable rights of the Church. You must preserve its goods and be concerned for their careful administration. Take the utmost care that pious legacies, especially those with regard to Masses, and other obligations be scrupulously observed and religiously carried out with all fraud and base gain far removed. With skill and prudence, you must provide that all business in your individual episcopal Curias be handled with all fairness, equity, and honesty. Therefore, venerable brothers, take great care that in your episcopal Curias, those men alone be engaged who, approved because of their integrity of life and skill in managing things, can carry out wisely and honestly the tasks delegated by you. And We most strongly ask that you try to judge ecclesiastical cases which belong to your tribunals according to the prescripts of the sacred canons and the force of convention with great care and inquiry. Likewise strive to see that your sentences are properly carried out, and, if there is need, seek the help and assistance of the civil power to this end." (Pope Pius IX, "Cum Nuper", 1858 A.D.)

"Certainly, if the latter day subverters of marriage are entirely devoted to misleading the minds of men and corrupting their hearts, to making a mockery of matrimonial purity and extolling the filthiest of vices by means of books and pamphlets and other innumerable methods, much more ought you, Venerable Brethren, whom 'the Holy Ghost has placed as bishops, to rule the Church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood,' to give yourselves wholly to this, that through yourselves and through the priests subject to you... you may, by every fitting means, oppose error by truth, vice by the excellent dignity of chastity, the slavery of covetousness by the liberty of the sons of God, that disastrous ease in obtaining divorce by an enduring love in the bond of marriage and by the inviolate pledge of fidelity given even to death... Such wholesome instruction and religious training in regard to Christian marriage will be quite different from that exaggerated physiological education by means of which, in these times of ours, some reformers of married life make pretense of helping those joined in wedlock, laying much stress on these physiological matters, in which is learned rather the art of sinning in a subtle way than the virtue of living chastely." (Pope Pius XI, "Casti Connubii", 1930 A.D.)

"The holy Synod commands all bishops and others who hold the office of teaching and its administration, that in accordance with the usage of the Catholic and apostolic Church, received from primeval times of the Christian religion, and with the consensus of opinion of the holy Fathers and the decrees of sacred Councils, they above all diligently instruct the faithful on the intercession and invocation of the saints, the veneration of relics, and the legitimate use of images, teaching them that the saints, who reign together with Christ, offer up their prayers to God for men; and that it is good and useful to invoke them suppliantly and, in order to obtain favors from God through His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who alone is our Redeemer and Savior, to have recourse to their prayers, assistance, and support; and that they who deny that those saints who enjoy eternal happiness in heaven are to be invoked, think impiously, or who assert that they do not pray for men, or that our invocation of them, to intercede for each of us individually, is idolatry, or that it is opposed to the word of God, and inconsistent with the honor of the 'one mediator of God and men Jesus Christ' [cf. 1 Tim. 2:5], or that it is foolish to pray vocally or mentally to those who reign in heaven." (Council of Trent, 1563 A.D.)

"In exercising their office of sanctifying, bishops should be mindful that they have been taken from among men and appointed their representative before God in order to offer gifts and sacrifices [e.g. Holy Masses] for sins. Bishops enjoy the fullness of the sacrament of orders and both presbyters and deacons are dependent upon them in the exercise of their authority. For the presbyters are the prudent fellow workers of the episcopal order and are themselves consecrated as true priests of the New Testament, just as deacons are ordained for the ministry and serve the [Church] in communion with the bishop and his presbytery. Therefore bishops are the principal dispensers of the mysteries of God, as well as being the governors, promoters, and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the Church committed to them. They should, therefore, constantly exert themselves to have the faithful know and live the paschal mystery more deeply through the Eucharist and thus become a firmly-knit body in the unity of the charity of Christ. 'Intent upon prayer and the ministry of the word' (Acts 6:4), they should devote their labor to this end that all those committed to their care may be of one mind in prayer and through the reception of the sacraments may grow in grace and be faithful witnesses to the Lord." (Second Vatican Council)

"The pastoral office of Bishops should be so constituted for the governing of dioceses that the good of the Lord's flock is always the supreme consideration. Rightly to achieve this goal, auxiliary bishops will frequently be appointed because the diocesan bishop cannot personally fulfill all his episcopal duties as the good of souls demands, either because of the vast extent of the diocese or the great number of its inhabitants, or because of the special nature of the apostolate or other reasons of a different nature. Sometimes, in fact, a particular need requires that a coadjutor bishop be appointed to assist the diocesan bishop. Coadjutor and auxiliary bishops should be granted those faculties necessary for rendering their work more effective and safeguarding the dignity proper to bishops. This, of course, should always be accomplished without detriment to the unity of the diocesan administration and the authority of the diocesan bishop. Furthermore, coadjutor and auxiliary bishops, since they are called to share part of the burden of the diocesan bishop, so should exercise their office that they may proceed in all matters in single-minded agreement with him. In addition, they should always show respect and reverence for the diocesan bishop and he, in turn, should have a fraternal love for coadjutor and auxiliary bishops and hold them in esteem." (Second Vatican Council)

"Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, came that He might save His people from their sins and that all men might be sanctified. Just as He Himself was sent by the Father, so He also sent His Apostles. Therefore, He sanctified them, conferring on them the Holy Spirit, so that they also might glorify the Father upon earth and save men, 'to the building up of the body of Christ' (Eph. 4:12), which is the Church. In this Church of Christ the Roman Pontiff, as the successor of Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the feeding of His sheep and lambs, enjoys supreme, full, immediate, and universal authority over the care of souls by divine institution. Therefore, as pastor of all the faithful, he is sent to provide for the common good of the universal Church and for the good of the individual churches. Hence, he holds a primacy of ordinary power over all the churches. The bishops themselves, however, having been appointed by the Holy Spirit, are successors of the Apostles as pastors of souls. Together with the Supreme Pontiff and under his authority they are sent to continue throughout the ages the work of Christ, the eternal pastor. Christ gave the Apostles and their successors the command and the power to teach all nations, to hallow men in the truth, and to feed them. Bishops, therefore, have been made true and authentic teachers of the faith, pontiffs, and pastors through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to them." (Second Vatican Council) [Note: Click here  for "A Note Regarding the Term 'Church' "(Church Talk Section). Also note that while the term "pontiff" may be used to refer to bishops, the term "Supreme Pontiff" is reserved to the Pope.]

"It is to be wished, that those who undertake the office of a bishop should understand what their portion is; and comprehend that they are called, not to their own convenience, not to riches or luxury, but to labors and cares for the glory of God. For it is not to be doubted, that the rest of the faithful also will be more easily excited to religion and innocence, if they shall see those who are set over them, not fixing their thoughts on the things of this world, but on the salvation of souls, and on their heavenly country. Wherefore the holy Synod, being minded that these things are of the greatest importance towards restoring ecclesiastical discipline, admonishes all bishops, that, often meditating thereon, they show themselves conformable to their office, by their actual deeds, and the actions of their lives; which is a kind of perpetual sermon; but above all that they so order their whole conversation, as that others may thence be able to derive examples of frugality, modesty, continency, and of that holy humility which so much recommends us to God. Wherefore, after the example of our fathers in the Council of Carthage, It not only orders that bishops be content with modest furniture, and a frugal table and diet, but that they also give heed that in the rest of their manner of living, and in their whole house, there be nothing seen that is alien from this holy institution, and which does not manifest simplicity, zeal towards God, and a contempt of vanities." (Council of Trent)

"Hence great care should be taken by subordinates, whether clerical or lay, that they dare not to blame rashly the lives of their bishops or superiors, if perchance they see them do anything blameable, lest from their position of reproving evil they be sunk into greater depths through the impulse of elation. They are to be admonished also that, when they consider the faults of their superiors, they grow not too bold against them. But let them so consider with themselves the things that are bad that, constrained by divine fear, they refuse not to carry the yoke of reverence, seeing that the things done by bishops and superiors are not to be smitten with the sword of the mouth, even when they may seem to be such as may be properly blamed; since we are aware that it has been laid down by our predecessors and by many other holy bishops that sheep should not readily blame their shepherds, or presume to criminate or accuse them, because, when we sin against our superiors, we go against His ordinance Who gave them to us. Hence Moses, when he had learnt that the people complained against himself and Aaron, said, For what are we? against us is your murmuring but against God (Ex. xvi. 8). Wherefore subordinates of either order are to be admonished that, when they observe the deeds of their masters, they return to their own heart, and presume not in upbraidings of them, since The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord (Matth. x. 24)." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Doctor of the Church)

"Since we desire to ensure, in Christ, that the stability of the canons should always remain firm in the churches, we renew and confirm the limits and conditions which were formerly decreed by the holy apostles and our holy fathers and which made it a law in the church that nobody, who is a neophyte in the faith or priestly office, should be made a bishop, lest he be puffed up and fall into the judgment and snare of the devil, as the Apostle says. Therefore, in accordance with the previous canons, we declare that nobody of senatorial rank or a secular way of life, who has recently been admitted to the tonsure with the intention or expectation of the honor of becoming a bishop or patriarch, and who has been made a cleric or monk, should rise to such a level, even if he is shown to have completed a considerable time in each stage of the divine priesthood. For it is clear that the tonsure was not received for religious reasons, love of God or hope of progressing along the path of the virtues, but for love of glory and honor. We exclude such people still more rigorously if they are pushed forward by imperial backing. However, if someone gives no suspicion of seeking the worldly benefits just mentioned, but, prompted by the actual good of a humility which is centered on Christ, renounces the world and becomes a cleric or monk and, while passing through every ecclesiastical grade, is found without reproach and of good character during the periods of time currently established, so that he completes one year in the order of lector, two in that of subdeacon, three as deacon and four as priest, this holy and universal synod has decreed that such a one may be chosen and admitted. As for those who have remained religiously in the order of cleric or monk and have been judged worthy of the dignity and honor of the episcopacy, we reduce the aforesaid period of time to that which the superiors of these bishops approved at the time. If, however, anyone has been advanced to this supreme honor contrary to this directive of ours, he must be condemned and completely excluded from all priestly functions, because he has been elevated contrary to the sacred canons." (Fourth Council of Constantinople)

"To give you some more general directions, Venerable Brethren, in a matter of such moment, We bid you do everything in your power to drive out of your dioceses, even by solemn interdict, any pernicious books that may be in circulation there. The Holy See neglects no means to put down writings of this kind, but the number of them has now grown to such an extent that it is impossible to censure them all. Hence it happens that the medicine sometimes arrives too late, for the disease has taken root during the delay. We will, therefore, that the Bishops, putting aside all fear and the prudence of the flesh, despising the outcries of the wicked, gently by all means but constantly, do each his own share of this work, remembering the injunctions of Leo XIII in the Apostolic Constitution Officiorum: 'Let the Ordinaries, acting in this also as Delegates of the Apostolic See, exert themselves to prescribe and to put out of reach of the faithful injurious books or other writings printed or circulated in their dioceses.' In this passage the Bishops, it is true, receive a right, but they have also a duty imposed on them. Let no Bishop think that he fulfils this duty by denouncing to us one or two books, while a great many others of the same kind are being published and circulated. Nor are you to be deterred by the fact that a book has obtained the Imprimatur elsewhere, both because this may be merely simulated, and because it may have been granted through carelessness or easiness or excessive confidence in the author as may sometimes happen in religious orders. Besides, just as the same food does not agree equally with everybody, it may happen that a book harmless in one may, on account of the different circumstances, be hurtful in another. Should a Bishop, therefore, after having taken the advice of prudent persons, deem it right to condemn any of such books in his diocese, We not only give him ample faculty to do so but We impose it upon him as a duty to do so. Of course, it is Our wish that in such action proper regard be used, and sometimes it will suffice to restrict the prohibition to the clergy; but even in such cases it will be obligatory on Catholic booksellers not to put on sale books condemned by the Bishop." (Pope St. Pius X, "Pascendi Dominici Gregis", 1907 A.D.)

"Therefore since the Holy Spirit has made you bishops to govern the Church of God and has taught you concerning the unique sacrament of human salvation, We cannot neglect our duty in the face of these evil books. We must arouse the enthusiasm of your devotion so that you, who are called to share in Our pastoral concern join together to oppose this evil with all energy possible. It is necessary to fight bitterly, as the situation requires, and to eradicate with all our strength the deadly destruction caused by such books... Since you have been constituted stewards of the mysteries of God and armed with His strength to destroy their defenses, exert yourselves to keep the sheep entrusted to you and redeemed by the Blood of Christ at a safe distance from these poisoned pastures. For if it is necessary to avoid the company of evildoers because their words encourage impiety and their speech acts like a cancer, what desolation the plague of their books can cause! Well and cunningly written these books are always with us and forever within our reach. They travel with us, stay at home with us, and enter bedrooms which would be shut to their evil and deception... Since you have been constituted ministers of Christ for the nations...exert yourselves and do everything in your power both by word and example to cut down the shoots of falsehood. Block up the corrupt springs of vice. Sound the trumpet in case as their leader you have to account for the souls who are lost. Act according to the position you hold, according to the rank with which you are vested, and according to the authority which you have received from the Lord. In addition, as nobody could or should avoid sharing in this sadness and insofar as there is one common reason for everyone to grieve and to help in this great crisis of faith and religion, call to your aid when it is necessary the time-honored piety of Catholic leaders. Explain the cause of the Church's sorrow and arouse its beloved sons who have always served it well on many occasions to bring their help. Since they do not carry the sword without cause, urge them with the united authority of state and of priesthood, to vigorously rout those accursed men who fight against the armies of Israel." (Pope Clement XIII, "Christianae Reipublicae", 1766 A.D.)

"Three things may be considered in the episcopal office. One is principal and final, namely the bishop's work, whereby the good of our neighbor is intended, according to John 21:17, 'Feed My sheep.' Another thing is the height of degree, for a bishop is placed above others, according to Matthew 24:45, 'A faithful and a wise servant, whom his lord hath appointed over his family.' The third is something resulting from these, namely reverence, honor, and a sufficiency of temporalities, according to 1 Timothy 5:17, 'Let the priests that rule well be esteemed worthy of double honor.' Accordingly, to desire the episcopal office on account of these incidental goods is manifestly unlawful, and pertains to covetousness or ambition. Wherefore our Lord said against the Pharisees (Matthew 23:6,7): 'They love the first places at feasts, and the first chairs in the synagogues, and salutations in the market-place, and to be called by men, Rabbi.' As regards the second, namely the height of degree, it is presumptuous to desire the episcopal office. Hence our Lord reproved His disciples for seeking precedence, by saying to them (Matthew 20:25): 'You know that the princes of the gentiles lord it over them.' Here Chrysostom says (Hom. 65 in Matthaeum) that in these words 'He points out that it is heathenish to seek precedence; and thus by comparing them to the gentiles He converted their impetuous soul.' On the other hand, to desire to do good to one's neighbor is in itself praiseworthy, and virtuous. Nevertheless, since considered as an episcopal act it has the height of degree attached to it, it would seem that, unless there be manifest and urgent reason for it, it would be presumptuous for any man to desire to be set over others in order to do them good. Thus Gregory says (Regulae Pastoralis i,8) that 'it was praiseworthy to seek the office of a bishop when it was certain to bring one into graver dangers.' Wherefore it was not easy to find a person to accept this burden, especially seeing that it is through the zeal of charity that one divinely instigated to do so, according to Gregory, who says (Regulae Pastoralis i,7) that 'Isaiah being desirous of profiting his neighbor, commendably desired the office of preacher.' Nevertheless, anyone may, without presumption, desire to do such like works if he should happen to be in that office, or to be worthy of doing them; so that the object of his desire is the good work and not the precedence in dignity. Hence Chrysostom says: 'It is indeed good to desire a good work, but to desire the primacy of honor is vanity. For primacy seeks one that shuns it, and abhors one that desires it.'" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church and "greatest theologian in the history of the Church")

"But it is opposed to the truth, and in evident contradiction with the divine constitution of the Church, to hold that while each Bishop is individually bound to obey the authority of the Roman Pontiffs, taken collectively the Bishops are not so bound. For it is the nature and object of a foundation to support the unity of the whole edifice and to give stability to it, rather than to each component part; and in the present case this is much more applicable, since Christ the Lord wished that by the strength and solidity of the foundation the gates of hell should be prevented from prevailing against the Church. All are agreed that the divine promise must be understood of the Church as a whole, and not of any certain portions of it. These can indeed be overcome by the assaults of the powers of hell, as in point of fact has befallen some of them. Moreover, he who is set over the whole flock must have authority, not only over the sheep dispersed throughout the Church, but also when they are assembled together. Do the sheep when they are all assembled together rule and guide the shepherd? Do the successors of the Apostles assembled together constitute the foundation on which the successor of St. Peter rests in order to derive therefrom strength and stability? Surely jurisdiction and authority belong to him in whose power have been placed the keys of the Kingdom taken collectively. And as the Bishops, each in his own district, command with real power not only individuals but the whole community, so the Roman Pontiffs, whose jurisdiction extends to the whole Christian commonwealth, must have all its parts, even taken collectively, subject and obedient to their authority. Christ the Lord, as we have quite sufficiently shown, made Peter and his successors His vicars, to exercise forever in the Church the power which He exercised during His mortal life. Can the Apostolic College be said to have been above its master in authority? This power over the Episcopal College to which we refer, and which is clearly set forth in Holy Writ, has ever been acknowledged and attested by the Church, as is clear from the teaching of General Councils. 'We read that the Roman Pontiff has pronounced judgments on the prelates of all the churches; we do not read that anybody has pronounced sentence on him' (Hadrianus ii., in Allocutione iii., ad Synodum Romanum an. 869, Cf. Actionem vii., Conc. Constantinopolitani iv). The reason for which is stated thus: 'there is no authority greater than that of the Apostolic See' (Nicholaus in Epist. lxxxvi. ad Michael. Imperat.) wherefore Gelasius on the decrees of Councils says: 'That which the First See has not approved of cannot stand; but what it has thought well to decree has been received by the whole Church' (Epist. xxvi., ad Episcopos Dardaniae, n. 5)." (Pope Leo XIII, "Satis Cognitum", 1896 A.D.)

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