hierarchy of jurisdiction

By divine institution of Christ, the pope, the successor of Saint Peter, is the supreme head of the visible Church. By his sacred office, the Roman pontiff has supreme jurisdiction over the universal Church, in matters of faith and morals, in discipline, and rule. This power is ordinary, and immediate over all churches, all pastors, all the faithful, and comes to him immediately from God.

Next by divine institution we have the episcopate; while the bishops of the Church are subject to and subordinate to the Roman pontiff, by ordinary jurisdiction they rule over a portion of the Church, called a diocese. As to the source of episcopal jurisdiction, the more common opinion is that power to rule a diocese comes to the bishop immediately from the pope, since no bishop is made without the consent and confirmation and the approbation of the Holy See. Since the episcopate was constituted by Christ as part of the divine organization of the Church, the pope as supreme head of the Church cannot suppress the episcopate, but must appoint bishops who in the diocese committed to their care enjoy ordinary jurisdiction. As the power of Orders and jurisdiction are really distinct, it can happen that a bishop can have the fullness of the episcopal order but lack jurisdiction, e.g., a titular or auxiliary bishop.

The priesthood is divinely instituted by Christ. By the Sacrament of Orders, priests receive the spiritual power to offer the Eucharistic sacrifice and to administer the Sacraments; by jurisdictional power received from their superiors, they exercise the sacred ministry over a portion of the Church, either as pastors of souls or as curates.

Finally from ecclesiastical institution, we find a number of administrative and judicial offices in the Church; thus we number as members of the ecclesiastical hierarchy, cardinals, patriarchs, .primates, archbishops, whose powers ultimately proceed from the pope; also diocesan authorities as vicar general, rural deans, diocesan consultors whose powers proceed from the bishop. First tonsure is not an order; it is an ecclesiastical ceremony by which a person is made a cleric and is made eligible to receive Orders.

New Catholic Dictionary

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