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EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE

A form of assembly in which the bishops of a certain country or region exercise their pastoral office jointly in order to enhance the Church's beneficial influence on all men especially by devising forms of the apostolate and apostolic methods suitably adopted to the circumstances of the times (Second Vatican Council, Christus Dominus, III, 38). The local ordinaries and coadjutors have a deliberate vote. Each conference draws up its own statutes, which are subject to the approval of Rome. Decisions of an episcopal conference have the force of law when they have been legitimately approved by at least two thirds of the bishops who have a deliberative vote and confirmed by the Apostolic See, but then only in cases prescribed by common law, or when so declared by a special mandate of the Holy See. This mandate may come from Rome on its own initiative or in response to the conference itself.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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