Hierarchy

PopePiusXII_1The Church is a closely organised and united society. It is made up of the hierarchy and the faithful. All members obey the Pope, the Vicar of Christ. The Pope shouldn’t rule as a proud king, but as a Father, the representative of God; as a good Shepherd, caring for each member of the great flock. The obedience of the faithful is responsible for the wonderful unity among the members of the Church throughout the world. There are about 1.2 billion Catholics, all submitting to the hierarchy, at the head of which is the Pope.

The hierarchy is the organisation of the ruling powers of the Church in levels or grades, just like in the army. The Pope is the visible head of the Church – he is commander-in-chief of this army. He has jurisdiction and supreme and sovereign power and authority over the entire Church.

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Teaching / Hearing

The hierarchy is the “teaching Church”, the ruling body made up of the Pope and the bishops under him. It is an army of leaders who have care and control of the holy and sacred things of the Church. Under…

Powers

There are two types of powers in the hierarchy: the power of orders and the power of jurisdiction. The power of orders is given by the Sacrament of ordination. It is the power to sanctify or to make holy. It…

> Orders

The members of the hierarchy are divided into three classes with different power of orders: deacons, priests and bishops. This order of rank and power has been in force in the Church from the time of the Apostles. These three…

> Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction refers to the power of governing. For example, a civil judge has jurisdiction in a particular town or county – this gives him the right to make judgments that are binding in cases brought before him in that particular…