Authority In The Church

We are aware that the development of a pluralistic society that exalts liberty as absolute, inevitably influences the church and their bishops.  Without opportune mediation this can lead to a search, not always illuminated by Tradition, for an independence, a decentralization boarding on license that influences radical autonomy.

The Apostolic Letter on the authority of Bishops Councils, Apostolos Suos paragraph number 12 speaks of the theological concept of collegiality.  “The Universal Church is ontologically and temporally prior to every individual particular church.  The College of Bishops is a reality which precedes the office of being the head of a particular church.”  The Bishops insertion into a college is far more significant than his residing over a local church.  The subject of authority over the whole Church is the Pope acting with the whole body of Bishops.  If a Bishop acts he must do so collegially, this is the source of theological authority.

Episcopal Conferences require unanimity for teaching authority to be considered binding.


About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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