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The Theology of the Church – Lecture 3

The Bishop and the Diocese

St. Peter Diocesan Theology Course 2014:
Ecclesiology: The Theology of the Church

Wednesday; November 19, 2014 

The Bishop and the Diocese

Lecture by Fr. Andrew Younan

 

Scripture:

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

– Matthew 28:16-20

 

History:

Ecclesiastical History, Book III

Eusebius

Chapter 1. The Parts of the World in which the Apostles preached Christ.

 

1. Such was the condition of the Jews. Meanwhile the holy apostles and disciples of our Saviour were dispersed throughout the world. Parthia, according to tradition, was allotted to Thomas as his field of labor, Scythia toAndrew, and Asia to John, who, after he had lived some time there, died at Ephesus.

 

2. Peter appears to have preached in Pontus, Galatia, Bithynia, Cappadocia, and Asia to the Jews of the dispersion. And at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head-downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer in this way. What do we need to say concerning Paul, who preached the Gospel of Christ from Jerusalem toIllyricum, and afterwards suffered martyrdom in Rome under Nero? These facts are related by Origen in the third volume of his Commentary on Genesis.

 

Liturgy:

Immar Ly ‘Edta

Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the sun?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The rays of the sun are darkened.” (Joel 2:10)

 

Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the moon?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The moon does not show forth its light.” (Isaiah 13:10)

 

Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the stars?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The stars fall like leaves.” (Isaiah 34:4)

 

Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the mountains?

No, no, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“The mountains melt like wax.” (Psalms 97:5)

 

Tell me, O church, where do you wish me to build you?

Shall I build you upon the rock?

Yes, yes, for it is said in the Scriptures,

“Upon the rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16:18)

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church:

 

883 “The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter’s successor, as its head.” As such, this college has “supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff.”

 

886 “The individual bishops are the visible source and foundation of unity in their own particular Churches.” As such, they “exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them,” assisted by priests and deacons. But, as a member of the episcopal college, each bishop shares in the concern for all the Churches. The bishops exercise this care first “by ruling well their own Churches as portions of the universal Church,” and so contributing “to the welfare of the whole Mystical Body, which, from another point of view, is a corporate body of Churches.” They extend it especially to the poor, to those persecuted for the faith, as well as to missionaries who are working throughout the world.

 

894 “The bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular Churches assigned to them by their counsels, exhortations, and example, but over and above that also by the authority and sacred power” which indeed they ought to exercise so as to edify, in the spirit of service which is that of their Master.

 

895 “The power which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately controlled by the supreme authority of the Church.” But the bishops should not be thought of as vicars of the Pope. His ordinary and immediate authority over the whole Church does not annul, but on the contrary confirms and defends that of the bishops. Their authority must be exercised in communion with the whole Church under the guidance of the Pope.

 

Let all follow the bishop, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the college of presbyters as the apostles; respect the deacons as you do God’s law. Let no one do anything concerning the Church in separation from the bishop. (St. Ignatius of Antioch)

 

 

Eastern Code of Canon Law:

 

Canon 177 – §1. An eparchy is a portion of the people of God which is entrusted for pastoral care to a bishop with the cooperation of the presbyterate so that, adhering to its pastor and gathered by him in the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes a particular Church in which the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative.

 

Canon 178 – The eparchial bishop, as a vicar and legate of Christ, governs in his own name the eparchy entrusted to him for shepherding. This power, which he exercises personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary, and immediate, although its exercise is ultimately regulated by the Supreme Authority of the Church and can be defined with certain limits should the usefulness of the Church or the Christian faithful require it.

 

Canon 191 – §1. The eparchial bishop governs the eparchy entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power.

 

Canon 199 – §1. The eparchial bishop, as the moderator, promoter and guardian of the entire liturgical life in the eparchy committed to him, must be vigilant that it be fostered as much as possible and ordered according to the prescriptions and legitimate customs of his own Church sui iuris.

 

Canon 201 – §1. Since he is obliged to safeguard the unity of the entire Church, the eparchial bishop is to promote the common discipline of the Church as well as to urge the observance of all ecclesiastical laws and legitimate customs.

 

§2. The eparchial bishop is to be vigilant lest abuses creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the saints and the execution out of pious wills.