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Catholic Dictionary

Term

SUPERIOR, ECCLESIASTICAL

Definition

A member of the Catholic hierarchy who has ordinary or delegated jurisdiction in the Church. The highest ecclesiastical superior is the Pope, who has jurisdiction over the whole Church; then the cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, who have jurisdiction over the faithful in the territories under their care; and finally those in sacred orders who have been entrusted with the care of souls, in accordance with the ecclesiastical office that they hold.