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Back to Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
regarding
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
BISHOPS, ARCHBISHOPS AND CARDINALS.

Q. 1. What is the difference between a Bishop, an Archbishop and a Cardinal?

A. 1. Allow be to explain the differences.

The Bishop

- A Bishop, a member of the clergy, is a priest who has already received the Holy Orders.

- A Bishop requires an episcopal consecration, such raising him to the "fullness of the Holy Orders."

- A Bishop must receive the episcopal consecration to become a member of the episcopacy.

- As such, a Bishop has additional Sacramental powers that an member of the clergy does not enjoy.

a. Bishop can ordain men to the Diaconate and the Priesthood.

b. They administer the Sacrament of Confirmation on the faithful.

c. They can consecrate other Bishops.

- A Bishop is entrusted with a territory that is called a Diocese.

Can. 369 "A diocese is a portion of the people of God which is entrusted to a bishop for him to shepherd with the cooperation of the presbyterium, so that, adhering to its pastor and gathered by him in the Holy Spirit through the gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes a particular church in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative."

Can. 376 "Bishops to whom the care of some diocese is entrusted are called diocesan; others are called titular."

The Archbishop

The dioceses (mentioned above) are grouped into what is called ecclesiastical provinces. This ensures that dioceses are not like an island in the ocean. An ecclesiastical province permits the Dioceses to promote common pastoral activities with other Dioceses within the province.

Can. 431 1. "To promote the common pastoral action of different neighboring dioceses according to the circumstances of persons and places and to foster more suitably the relations of the diocesan bishops among themselves, neighboring particular churches are to be brought together into ecclesiastical provinces limited to a certain territory."

The bishop who oversees the ecclesiastical province is called a metropolitan. A metropolitan is an archbishop. The archbishop is also entrusted with a Diocese of his own, over and above the administration of the archdiocese (ecclesiastical province).

Can. 435 "A metropolitan, who is the archbishop of his diocese, presides offer an ecclesiastical province. The office of metropolitan is joined with an episcopal see determined or approved by the Roman Pontiff."

The Cardinal

As explained above, when a priest becomes a Bishop, there is a sacramental change. Such does not happen when a priest becomes a Cardinal. All that takes place is the ceremony at the Vaticna where the new Cardinal receives his "red hat."

The Cardinals are the clerics around the Pope who act in an advisory role. The Cardinals, called the Princes of the Church, are members of College of Cardinals which elects the new Pope.

A Cardinal can be appointed from the clergy in general. It is not necessary that he be a Bishop prior to his appointment.



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