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.