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Pope gives bishops, episcopal conferences greater responsibilities

February 15, 2022

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has granted greater autonomy to diocesan bishops and episcopal conferences in certain matters.

The apostolic letter Assegnare Alcune Competenze, issued on February 15, allows for national episcopal conferences to set up regional seminaries, to dismiss professed religious, and to establish their own plans for priestly formation—all matters that had previously required Vatican approval.

The Pope explained that the new responsibilities should “foster a sense of collegiality and pastoral responsibility” among bishops, and favor “a healthy decentralization.”

The apostolic letter was the second piece of canonical legislation that the Pontiff had issued in as many days, following on his move to split the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith into two sections.

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