Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Teaching Authority of the Bishop

When Cardinal Collins addressed the issue of religious liberty being undermined by the Ontario government vis-a-vis State interference in Catholic education, and the - treacherous - support of the nominally Catholic teachers union, OECTA, supporting the government initiative, it is well worth reminding ourselves that the bishop is not just a man with an opinion - but a man who, by Divine law is the ordinary teacher and authority on faith and morals for Catholics within his jurisdiction. To speak and act otherwise reeks of schism. The Catholic encyclopedia (1917 online edition) includes an excellent review of who and what a bishop is. A few key points include the following: 

By Divine law bishops have the right to teach Christian doctrine (Matthew 28:19; Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV, De ref., ch. iv; Encyclical of Leo XIII, "Sapientiae christianae", 10 January, 1890; "Acta Sanctae Sedis": 1890, XXXII, 385). 

The bishop must also supervise the teaching of Christian doctrine in the seminaries, as well as in secondary and primary schools (Conc. Balt. III, nos. 194 sqq.; Const. "Romanos pontifices", 8 May, 1881; op. cit., Appendix, 212). 

No one is allowed to preach Christian doctrine without the consent of the bishop, or at least without his knowledge if it is a question of exempt religious preaching in their own churches (Council of Trent, Sess. V, De ref., ch., ii; Sess. XVIV, De ref., ch. iv). 

The bishop is the Inquisitor natus or protector of the faith for his diocese. He has not, it is true, the right to define, outside an ecumenical council, controverted questions with regard to faith and morals, but when a heated discussion arises in his diocese, he can impose silence upon the parties concerned while awaiting a decision from the Holy See. If anyone, however, denies a point of doctrine defined by the Church, even though it be all exempt religious, the bishop will have the power to punish him (Council of Trent, Sess. V, De ref., ch. ii; Sess. XXIV, De ref., ch, iii). 

Further reading: 

The Second Vatican Council on bishops, Christus Dominus. 


Freyr said...

A little tidbit I ran across this morning...
WARNING: Beware of people who are always finding fault with the leadership of the church and the church it’s self, for they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Their heart is rebellious and their fruit is pride and dishonor. They seek to destroy people, the church and even the faith while lifting up themselves and their “cause”. They are bitter against leaders and long for control. Watch out for them for they claim to love God and His commands.

Barona said...

Your tidbit does wonders to the openly schismatic tirade of Tissier de Mallarias of the SSPX from yesterday - accusing the Pope of ... well, the usual stuff. These men would be of little importance, except for the danger that they can perpetuate a schism...