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In the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Catholics Catholic Church by country, worldwide . As the wo ...

Catholic Church
, a
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
is an
ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denomination, denominational hi ...
minister Minister may refer to: * Minister (Christianity)Image:LutheranClergy.JPG, upA Lutheran minister wearing a Geneva gown and Bands (neckwear), bands. In many churches, ministers wear distinctive clothing, called vestments, when presiding over service ...
who holds the fullness of the
sacrament A sacrament is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
of
holy orders In certain Christian churches Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followers perceived to be Criticism of the Catholic Church ...
and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
to the
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...

apostles
, who it is believed were endowed with a special
charism A spiritual gift or charism (plural: charisms or charismata; in Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
by the
Holy Spirit In Abrahamic religions, the Holy Spirit is an aspect or agent of God in Abrahamic religions, God, by means of which God communicates with people or acts on them. In Judaism, it refers to the divine force, quality, and influence of God over the ...

Holy Spirit
at
Pentecost The Christian holiday of Pentecost is celebrated on the 50th day (the seventh Sunday) from Easter Sunday Easter,Traditional names for the feast in English are "Easter Day", as in the ''Book of Common Prayer A book is a medium for rec ...
. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the
laying on of hands The laying on of hands is a religious practice. In Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek, Greek ''Ioudaismos''; the term itself is of Anglo-Latin ...

laying on of hands
in the sacrament of holy orders.
Diocesan bishop A diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Wit ...
s—known as
eparch ''Eparchy'' is an anglicized Greek language, Greek word ( grc-koi, , eparchía, overlordship, ; Noun#Concrete nouns and abstract nouns, abstract noun formed from intensive word form, intensive prefix , , + , , ), authentically Latinization (litera ...
s in the
Eastern Catholic Churches The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Christi ...
—are assigned to govern local regions within the Catholic Church known as
diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
s in the
Latin Church , native_name_lang = la , image = San Giovanni in Laterano - Rome.jpg , imagewidth = 250px , alt = Façade of the Archbasilica of St. John in Lateran , caption = Archbasilica of Saint John ...
and
eparchies Eparchy is an anglicize Linguistic anglicisation (or anglicization, occasionally anglification, anglifying, or Englishing) is the practice of modifying foreign words, names, and phrases to make them easier to spell, pronounce, or understand in Eng ...

eparchies
in the Eastern Churches. Bishops are collectively known as the
College of Bishops College of Bishops, also known as the Ordo of Bishops, is a term used in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian ...
and can hold such additional titles as
archbishop In many Christian Denominations Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' an ...
,
cardinal Cardinal or The Cardinal may refer to: Christianity * Cardinal (Catholic Church), a senior official of the Catholic Church * Cardinal (Church of England), two members of the College of Minor Canons of St. Paul's Cathedral Navigation * Cardina ...
,
patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Or ...

patriarch
, or
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
. As of 2020 there were approximately 5,600 living bishops total in the Latin and Eastern churches of the Catholic Church. Bishops are always men. In addition, Canon 378 § 1 requires that a candidate for the
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...
episcopacy should be: #outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues, and endowed with other qualities which make him suitable to fulfill the office in question; #of good reputation; #at least thirty-five years old; #ordained to the
presbyterate Presbyterium is a modern term used in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3&nb ...
for at least five years; #in possession of a
doctorate A doctorate (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republ ...

doctorate
or at least a licentiate in
sacred scripture Religious texts, also known as scripture, scriptures, holy writ, or holy books, are the texts which various religious traditions consider to be sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a ...
,
theology Theology is the systematic study of the nature of the divine Divinity or the divine are things that are either related to, devoted to, or proceeding from a deity.
, or
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least truly expert in the same disciplines.


Diocesan bishops or eparchs

The traditional role of a bishop is to act as head of a diocese or eparchy. Dioceses vary considerably in geographical size and population. A wide variety of dioceses around the
Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by and and , on the south by , and on the east by the . The Sea has played a central role in the . Although the Mediterrane ...
which received the Christian faith early are rather compact in size, while those in areas more recently evangelized, as in some parts of
Sub-Saharan Africa Sub-Saharan Africa (commonly called Black Africa) is, geographically, the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. According to the United Nations, it consists of all list of sovereign states and dependent territories in ...

Sub-Saharan Africa
,
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
and the
Far East The Far East is a term to refer to the geographical regions that includes East and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeaster ...
, tend to be much larger and more populous. Within his own diocese a Latin Church bishop may use pontifical vestments and regalia, but may not do so in another diocese without, at least, the presumed consent of the appropriate ordinary.


Appointment

:''See:
Appointment of Catholic bishops The appointment of bishops in the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billio ...
''


Resignation at 75

Since the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
of 1965 diocesan bishops and 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." The age of 75 was suggested, and pope
John Paul II Pope John Paul II ( la, Ioannes Paulus II; it, Giovanni Paolo II; pl, Jan Paweł II; born Karol Józef Wojtyła ; 18 May 19202 April 2005) was the head of the Catholic Church The Catholic Church, often referred to as the Roman Ca ...
had these provisions incorporated in the
1983 Code of Canon Law The 1983 Code of Canon Law (abbreviated 1983 CIC from its Latin title ''Codex Iuris Canonici''), also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehens ...
. Article 401.1 of the Latin-Rite 1983 Code of Canon Law states that "A diocesan Bishop who has completed his seventy-fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the
Supreme Pontiff The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...
, who, taking all the circumstances into account, will make provision accordingly". A ''
motu proprio In law, ''motu proprio'' (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power o ...
'' issued by Pope Francis on 15 February 2018 titled '' Imparare a congedarsi'' established the same rule for non-cardinal bishops serving in the
Roman Curia The Roman Curia ( la, Romana Curia ministerium suum implent) comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome or Apostolic See, is the jurisdi ...
, who had previously lost their positions automatically at 75.


Roles

A "diocesan bishop" is entrusted with the care of a
local Church A church (or local church) is a religious organization or congregation that meets in a particular location. Many are formally organized, with constitutions and by-laws, maintain offices, are served by clergy or lay leaders, and, in nations wher ...
(
diocese In Ecclesiastical polity, church governance, a diocese or bishopric is the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. History In the later organization of the Roman Empire, the increasingly subdivided Roman province, prov ...
). He is responsible for teaching, governing, and sanctifying the faithful of his diocese, sharing these duties with the priests and deacons who serve under him. To "teach, sanctify and govern" means that he must (1) oversee preaching of the Gospel and Catholic education in all its forms; (2) oversee and provide for the administration of the sacraments; and (3) legislate, administer and act as judge for canon-law matters within his diocese. He serves as the "chief
shepherd A shepherd or sheepherder is a person who tends, herds, feeds, or guards herds of sheep Sheep (''Ovis aries'') are quadruped The zebra is a quadruped. Quadrupedalism is a form of terrestrial locomotion where a tetrapod Tetrapods ( ...
" (spiritual leader) of the diocese and has responsibility for the pastoral care of all Catholics living within his ecclesiastical and
ritual A ritual is a sequence of activities involving gesture A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication Nonverbal communication (NVC) is the transmission of messages or signals through a nonverbal platform such as eye contact, facial exp ...
jurisdiction. He is obliged to celebrate
Mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation with the intention of praying for those in his care, assign clergy to their posts in various institutions and oversee finances. A bishop is to have a special concern for priests, listening to them, using them as counsellors, ensuring that they are adequately provided for in every way, and defending their rights set forth in the ''Code of Canon Law''. Latin Catholic bishops also must make regular ''
ad limina In the Catholic Church, a quinquennial visit ''ad limina'', more fully ''ad limina apostolorum'' or simply an ''ad limina'' visit, means the obligation of residential diocesan bishop (Catholic Church), bishops and certain prelates with territoria ...
'' visits to the Holy See every five years. Because of their function as teachers of the faith, it is customary in some English-speaking countries, to add to the names of bishops the postnominal title of "D.D." (
Doctor of Divinity A Doctor of Divinity (D.D. or DDiv; la, Doctor Divinitatis) is the holder of an advanced academic degree in divinity (academic discipline), divinity. In the United Kingdom, it is considered as an advanced doctoral degree. At the University of ...
) and to refer to them with the title "Doctor". Only a bishop has authority to confer the
sacrament A sacrament is a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus in Christianity, Jesus Christ. The words ''Christ (title), Christ'' and ...
of holy orders. In the Latin Church the
minor orders Minor orders are ranks of church ministry lower than major ordersImage:Priestly ordination.jpg, Ordination of a priest The term major orders or greater orders was for some centuries applied in the Roman Catholic Church to distinguish what the Co ...
were abolished after the Second Vatican Council. In Eastern Catholic Churches, a monastic
archimandrite The title archimandrite ( gr, ἀρχιμανδρίτης, archimandritēs), primarily used in the Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of m ...

archimandrite
may
tonsure Tonsure () is the practice of cutting or shaving some or all of the hair Hair is a protein filament In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Bioch ...

tonsure
and institute his subjects to minor orders; however, the tonsure and minor orders are not considered to be part of the sacrament of holy orders. The sacrament of
Confirmation In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young child Biologically, a child (plural children) is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and wi ...

Confirmation
is normally administered by a bishop in the Latin Church, but a bishop may delegate the administration to a priest. In the case of receiving an adult into full communion with the Catholic Church the presiding priest will administer Confirmation. In the Eastern Catholic Churches, Confirmation (called
Chrismation Chrismation consists of the sacrament or mystery in the Eastern Orthodox The Eastern Orthodox Church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is the List of Christian denominations by number of members, second-largest Christian church, ...
) is normally administered by priests as it is given at the same time as
baptism Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian rite of initiation, admission and Adoption (theology), adoption, almost invariably with the use of water, into Christianity. It may be pe ...

baptism
. It is only within the power of the diocesan bishop or eparch to bless churches and
altar An altar is a structure upon which offerings such as sacrifice Sacrifice is the offering of material possessions or the lives of animals or humans to a deity A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phe ...

altar
s, although he may delegate another bishop, or even a priest, to perform the ceremony. On
Holy Thursday Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday (also known as Great and Holy Thursday, Holy and Great Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is the day during Holy Week that commemorates the Washing of the F ...
Latin Catholic bishops preside over the
Mass of the Chrism
Mass of the Chrism
. Though Oil of the Sick for the sacrament of
Anointing of the Sick Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing Anointing is the ritual act of pouring aromatic oil over a person's head or entire body. By extension, the term is also applied to related acts of sprinkling, ...
is blessed at this Mass, it may also be blessed by any priest in case of necessity. Only a bishop may consecrate Chrism. In the Eastern Catholic Churches chrism is consecrated solely by heads of churches ''
sui juris ''Sui iuris'', also spelled as ''sui juris'' ( or ), is a Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, know ...
'' (patriarchs and metropolitans) and diocesan bishops may not do so. Only a bishop or other ordinary may grant ''
imprimatur An ''imprimatur'' (sometimes abbreviated as ''impr.'', from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as La ...

imprimatur
s'' for theological books, certifying that they are free from doctrinal or moral error; this is an expression of the teaching authority, and education responsibility of the bishop. Prior to the
Second Vatican Council The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the , or , was the 21st ecumenical council An ecumenical council (or oecumenical council; also general council) is a conference of ecclesiastical dignitaries and theological e ...
, it was also the prerogative of the bishop to consecrate the
paten A paten or diskos is a small plate, usually made of silver or gold, used to hold Eucharist The Eucharist (; grc-gre, εὐχαριστία, eucharistía, thanksgiving) also known as Holy Communion and the Lord's Supper, among other names ...
and
chalice A chalice (from Latin 'mug', borrowed from Ancient Greek () 'cup') or goblet is a footed cup intended to hold a drink. In religious practice, a chalice is often used for drinking during a ceremony or may carry a certain symbolic meaning. Rel ...
that would be used during the Mass. One of the changes implemented since the council, is that a simple blessing is now said and it may be given by any priest.


Canonical authority

In both Western and Eastern Catholic churches, any priest can celebrate the
Mass Mass is the quantity Quantity is a property that can exist as a multitude or magnitude, which illustrate discontinuity and continuity. Quantities can be compared in terms of "more", "less", or "equal", or by assigning a numerical value ...
or
Divine Liturgy Icon of Ss. Basil the Great (left) and John Chrysostom, ascribed authors of the two most frequently used Eastern Orthodox Divine Liturgies, c. 1150 (mosaic in the Cappella Palatina, Palatine Chapel, Palermo). Divine Liturgy ( grc-gre, Θεία Λ ...
. In order to offer Mass or Divine Liturgy publicly, however, a priest is required to have permission from the local Ordinary—authority for this permission may be given to pastors of parishes for a limited period, but for long-term permission recourse to the diocesan bishop is usually required. A celebret may be issued to travelling priests so that they can demonstrate to pastors and bishops outside of their own diocese that they are in good standing. However, even if a priest does not possess such a document, he may celebrate the sacraments if the local bishop or pastor judges that the visiting priest is a person of good character. In the East an
antimension 300px, Oradea-Mare (Transylvania), 1890. The Antimins (from the Greek language, Greek , ''Antimension'': "instead of the table"), is one of the most important furnishings of the altar in many Eastern Christianity, Eastern Christian liturgical tr ...

antimension
signed by the bishop is kept on the altar partly as a reminder of whose altar it is and under whose
omophorion from the 14th century depicting St. Gregory the Illuminator Gregory the Illuminator (Classical Armenian orthography, Classical hy, Գրիգոր Լուսաւորիչ, Armenian orthography reform, reformed: Գրիգոր Լուսավորիչ, ''G ...
the priest at a local parish is serving. For priests to validly celebrate the sacrament of
Penance Penance is any act or a set of actions done out of repentance Repentance is reviewing one's actions and feeling contritionIn Christianity, contrition or contriteness (from the Latin ''contritus'' 'ground to pieces', i.e. crushed by guilt) is ...
they must have faculties (permission and authority) from the local bishop; however when the penitent is in danger of death, a priest has both the right and obligation to hear the confession no matter where he may be. To preside at matrimony ceremonies, Latin Church priests and deacons must have appropriate jurisdiction or delegation from a competent authority. In the Latin branch of the Catholic Church, the teaching is that it is the couple themselves who administer the graces of the sacrament; thus, although it is normally an ordained person who officiates at a marriage ceremony, a bishop may delegate a lay person to be present for the exchange of vows; this would be done only in extreme cases such as in mission territories. In the Eastern tradition, the clergy not only witness the exchange of vows but must impart a blessing for a valid marriage to have taken place. Unless a particular bishop has forbidden it, any bishop may preach throughout the Catholic Church and any priest or deacon may also preach anywhere (presuming the permission of local pastor) unless his faculty to preach has been restricted or removed. The
cathedral A cathedral is a church Church may refer to: Religion * Church (building) A church building, church house, or simply church, is a building used for Christian worship services and other Christian religious activities. The term is used ...

cathedral
of a diocese contains a special chair, called a ''
cathedra A ''cathedra'' is the of a in the  . When used with this meaning, it may also be called the bishop's throne. With time, the related term ''cathedral'' became synonymous with the "seat", or principal church, of a . The word in modern langua ...

cathedra
'', sometimes referred to as a
throne A throne is the seat of state of a potentate or dignitary {{Short pages monitor