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Re: Pope's authority to remove bishops

By Cheshire (articles ) | May 06, 2003

The Pope has universal and immediate jurisidiction over all the dioceses of the world, as explained in the Code of Canon of Law and encoded by General Councils, the most recent example being "Christus Dominus" of Vatican II. No bishop serves without Papal appointment, and as he is himself the definer of the universal law of the church with or without consent of a General Council, he defines by his own action the right and reason to remove a bishop. To him alone is reserved the right to legislate in "casae maiores", that is, matters of great moment and personages of eminent dignity. In the exercise of his "universal coercive jurisdiction" the Sovereign Pontiff has full authority to "deprive" of his see any bishop, for any reason sufficient to the Sovereign Pontiff himself.

Numerous recent examples obtain, but a dramatic one is the case of the deprivation of Portuguese bishops by Pope St. Pius X. In the non-sacramental case of Cardinals, whose titles are of jurisidctional distinction apart from Holy Orders, the Pope has sovereign authority to bestow the Red Hat and to remove it (as Pope XI did with Cardinal Billot.) As the Pope is subject to Scripture and Tradition, he cannot abolish the episcopate but he can deprive any bishop of jurisidction.

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