Clerical Status of St. Paul


I realized not many people talk about St. Paul’s clerical status. We know those of most clergy mentioned in the Bible, as the Apostles were bishops. Timothy and Titus were bishops (correct me if I’m wrong, I’ve seen them in icons as bishops, I think.) Was St. Paul a priest? Deacon? I would guess he wasn’t a bishop because he traveled extensively. Your thoughts please.
Pax et bonum.


apostle ergo bishop


Wow, that was a fast answer. Thank you.
However, I know St. Paul’s title is ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’, but he wasn’t one of the Twelve. And I thought you had to have a see to be a bishop. Peter at Antioch and Rome, James at Jerusalem, etc.
At least in modern times, I didn’t think you could be a bishop without a see. Is my logic wrong? It probably is.


Think of St. Paul as being an internant Missionary Bishop, headquartered in Antioch.


From Cardinal Ratzinger’s “The Theological Locus of Ecclesial Movements” (PDF), emphasis added:[INDENT]The apostles were not bishops of particular local** churches, but just that, “apostles,” **and as such they were responsible for the whole world and for the whole Church that was to be built: the universal Church precedes the local churches, which come into existence as its concrete realizations. To put it even more clearly and unequivocally: **Paul was never the bishop of a particular place nor did he ever intend to be. **There was only one division of labor at the beginning, and Paul describes it in Gal 2:9: We—Barnabas and I—for the gentiles, they—Peter, James, and John—for the Jews. However, this initial division was soon superseded. Peter and John recognized that they too were sent to the gentiles and at once went beyond the limits of Israel. James, the brother of the Lord, who after the year 42 became a sort of primate of the Jewish Church, was doubtless not an apostle.


ALL the Apostles travelled extensively - with the possible exception of James who martyred only a short time after Christ in any event. St Andrew for example went to Greece and possibly Russia and Poland, Bartholomew to Ethiopia and Armenia, Thomas went as far as India, and St Jude and St Simon to Persia and so on. So Paul’s journeys are far from unusual.

The Apostles couldn’t do otherwise than travel really, the Church was too small and too spread out for them to stay put for too long. And Paul, as an Apostle, and chosen moreover by Christ directly, was most certainly a bishop too.


Whoa…so much information.
The way I am understanding it is this:
There are two types of Apostles: the Twelve, and the others who were chosen to spread the Gospel after the death of Christ. Paul was of the second type, as was Barnabas; so Paul was a bishop, without a see, preaching with magisterium. So can is it possible for there to be a bishop without a see in modern times? Can the Pope do this?


There are some Bishops who are given purely titular Sees - Sees that exist in title only and not physically. Perhaps old ones from areas that are no longer Christian or something.


A lot of the Titular Bishops are bishops of areas that are still Christian just under a different diocese. To use an English example one of the Auxiliary Bishops to the Archbishop of Westminster is the Bishop of Beverley, but the Diocese of Beverley got split into the Dioceses of Leeds and Middlesbrough a while back (part of Leeds and part of Nottingham made Hallam later still, but that’s besides the point)


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit