Collegiality in the Catholic Church

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In the Roman Catholic Church, collegiality refers to "the Pope governing the Church in collaboration with the bishops of the local Churches, respecting their proper autonomy."[1] In the early church the popes exercised moral authority rather than administrative power, and that authority was relatively limited; regional churches elected their own bishops, resolved disputes in local synods, and only felt the need to appeal to the Pope under special circumstances.[2]

Historical development[edit]

During the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the papacy amassed considerable power, as monastic reformers saw it as a way to counter corrupt bishops while bishops saw it as an ally against the interference of secular rulers.[3] As early as the fourteenth century, opposition to this centralization of papal authority had developed, with Bishop Guillaume Durand proposing at the Council of Vienne that local hierarchies and regional synods be strengthened.[4] This opposition to centralization was tested when a group of cardinals, allied with secular rulers, called a council to resolve the Great Schism of the Western Church (1378 – 1417), in which several rivals had claimed to be pope. The Councils of Pisa and Constance claimed authority to judge the popes, deposed various claimants, and elected Pope Martin V.[5] The Council of Constance also claimed that all Christians, including the Pope, were bound to obey councils "in matters pertaining to faith, the ending of the schism, and the reform of the church."[6] This claim was short-lived and the conciliar movement soon ran out of steam.

The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a period some church historians have called the "long nineteenth century,"[7] saw a further consolidation of papal authority. In 1870 the First Vatican Council decreed the infallibility of the Pope's teachings,[8] although during the council Cardinal Filippo Maria Guidi, O.P., of Bologna objected that the Pope teaches in consultation with other bishops.[9] A further addition to papal power took place in 1917, with the publication of a new Code of Canon Law which gave the pope universal power to appoint bishops, ignoring the traditional principle of free election of bishops.[10][11] This system of appointments, coupled with modern communications and the system of papal nuncios who could override local decisions, reduced the power of bishops and made the popes the "last absolute monarchs."[12]

Vatican II and after[edit]

Bishops who objected to this recent consolidation of papal authority proposed at the Second Vatican Council to use the traditional collegial model to limit the centralizing tendencies of the Roman Curia; unlike the conciliarists, who had maintained that an ecumenical council was superior to the pope, the advocates of collegiality proposed that the bishops only act with and under the pope (cum et sub Petro).[1] Collegiality became one of the principal elements of the reform agenda and one of the primary points of conflict with the traditionalist minority at the Council.[13] The reformers did not see this as undermining church tradition, but as going back to the original practice of Peter and the college of the Apostles.[14] The traditionalist minority, however, opposed collegiality as undermining the authority of the Pope and changing the church from "monarchical to ‘episcopalian’ and collegial."[15] In 1964 the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium, set forth the general principle that the bishops formed a college, which succeeds and gives continuing existence to the college of the apostles.[16] The next year Pope Paul VI issued a letter on his own initiative, Apostolica Sollicitudo,[17] which established the synod of bishops,[18] while the Council's Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, Christus Dominus, established general rules for national and regional conferences of bishops, urging their formation where they did not already exist.[19]

Since Vatican II there has been an ongoing debate about the authority of bishops' conferences between advocates of centralization of authority in the Vatican, who play down the importance of bishops' conferences, and supporters of decentralization, who emphasize their importance. In 1998, Pope John Paul II issued a motu proprio On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences (Apostolos suos), which has been described as "probably the most important post-Conciliar papal document on episcopal collegiality."[20] He stated that the declarations of such conferences "constitute authentic magisterium" when approved unanimously by the conference; otherwise the conference majority must seek "the recognitio of the Apostolic See," which they will not receive if the majority "is not substantial."[21]

From the beginning of his papacy Pope Francis, who had twice been elected head of the Argentine Bishops' Conference, has advocated increasing the role of collegiality and synodality in the development of Church teachings.[1] He put this concern into practice when he urged the Synod of Bishops to speak with parrhesia ("boldly") and without fear, unlike the situation in earlier synods where officials of the curia would rule out discussion of contentious issues.[22] A further example is the unprecedented degree to which he drew on the teaching documents of fifteen national bishops' conferences and two larger regional conferences from Latin America and Asia for his encyclical on the environment, Laudato si'.[23][24] The Council of Cardinals examined the themes of synodality and the "healthy decentralisation" of the church during its meeting of February 2016.[25]

In September 2017, Pope Francis issued a Motu proprio, Magnum principium, in which he amended the Code of Canon Law to increase the responsibility of national conferences of Bishops for liturgical translations. The change has been described "as one of Pope Francis’s strongest moves yet in terms of fostering greater collegiality in the Catholic Church."[26]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Synodality, collegiality: two keys to the coming Francis reform", Catholic Voices Comment, London: Catholic Voices, 28 August 2013, retrieved 21 June 2015
  2. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 879-882, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  3. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 2392-2405, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  4. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 3093-3096, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  5. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 3147-3154, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  6. ^ Oakley, Francis (2008), The Conciliarist Tradition: Constitutionalism in the Catholic Church 1300-1870, Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 40, ISBN 978-0-19-954124-9
  7. ^ O'Malley, John W., S. J. (2008), "The Long Nineteenth Century", What Happened at Vatican II (Kindle ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (published 2010), locations 1060-1873, ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2
  8. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 5462-5471, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  9. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 5428-5439, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  10. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 5856-5861, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  11. ^ O'Malley, John W., S. J. (2008), What Happened at Vatican II (Kindle ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (published 2010), locations 1305-1311, ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2
  12. ^ Duffy, Eamon (2014), Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (fourth (Kindle) ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, locations 6053-6056, ISBN 978-0-300-11597-0
  13. ^ O'Malley, John W., S. J. (2008), What Happened at Vatican II (Kindle ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (published 2010), locations 6024-6060, ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2
  14. ^ O'Malley, John W., S. J. (2008), What Happened at Vatican II (Kindle ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (published 2010), locations 3622-3624, ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2
  15. ^ O'Malley, John W., S. J. (2008), What Happened at Vatican II (Kindle ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (published 2010), locations 4000-4004, ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2
  16. ^ Second Vatican Council (21 November 1964), Dogmatic Constitution on the Church; Lumen Gentium, §22, archived from the original on 6 September 2014, retrieved 24 June 2015, Just as in the Gospel, the Lord so disposing, St. Peter and the other apostles constitute one apostolic college, so in a similar way the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are joined together.… The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head.
  17. ^ Paul VI (15 September 1965), Apostolic letter issued motu proprio Apostolica sollicitudo, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, retrieved 23 June 2015
  18. ^ O'Malley, John W., S. J. (2008), What Happened at Vatican II (Kindle ed.), Cambridge: Harvard University Press (published 2010), locations 5038-5041, ISBN 978-0-674-03169-2
  19. ^ Second Vatican Council (28 October 1965), Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops; Christus Dominus, §36-38, archived from the original on 2 August 2013, retrieved 24 June 2015
  20. ^ McAleese, Mary (2012), Quo Vadis?: Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law (Kindle ed.), Blackrock, Ireland: The Columba Press, locations 2472-2474, ISBN 978-1-85607-786-6
  21. ^ John Paul II (21 May 1998), Apostolos suos; On the Theological and Juridical Nature of Episcopal Conferences, Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, archived from the original on 29 July 2015, retrieved 25 June 2015
  22. ^ Reese, Thomas, S.J. (17 October 2014), How the synod process is different under Pope Francis, Kansas City, MO: National Catholic Reporter, retrieved 21 June 2015
  23. ^ Allen, John L. Jr. (20 June 2015), "The encyclical's footnotes say a lot about this pope", Crux, Boston: Boston Globe Media
  24. ^ Peppard, Michael (18 June 2015), "Pope Francis's Earthquake", dotCommonweal, Commonweal Foundation, retrieved 21 June 2015
  25. ^ "The Holy Father attends the twelfth meeting of the Council of Cardinals", VIS News, Vatican City: Vatican Information Service, December 14, 2015, retrieved 14 December 2015
  26. ^ "Pope pushes decentralization on translation of liturgical texts", Crux, 9 September 2017, retrieved 11 September 2017