Obedience to authority.

If someone in authority, such as a Catholic bishop or priest prevents us, say from organizing a Youth group or a Bible study or some othe good thing, must we still submit to his authority?

I say yes. Unless he is asking you to sin.

Quoted from Bro. JR in another thread.

Yes, of course, we must accept the bishop or pastor’s authority. You can still have a youth group somewhere off of Church property.

YES! Otherwise it will be something else rather than a Catholic group with a good will,
maybe an ‘anti-catholicism’ group of people with ‘good’ will…
(whose goodness without obedience will be sharply questionable also!)

Just to be clear, the Youth Group was just an example. Let me rephrase the question.

If someone in authority bars you from serving the Lord in some way, or asks you to do somethin un-godly, do you still have to obey?

The Church teaches that

[quote=CCC]1900 The duty of obedience requires all to give due honor to authority and to treat those who are charged to exercise it with respect, and, insofar as it is deserved, with gratitude and good-will.


I would suggest you ready the whole section beginning at 1897.

Thank you David :slight_smile:

I’ll echo Davidv citation of the CCC rule that answers your question–and add a bit, to supplement, in terms of the rationale. Often times, the Bishop or pastor may simply have other plans or use for your talents, and/or the talents/resources which your Bible study or youth group might tie up.

Quick illustration: in our diocese, due to constraints on the diocese’s treasuries, the Bishop implemented a diocese wide rule a few years ago, still in effect to this day, that any and all fundraising by any Cat. organization within the diocese, must be presented to diocese, approved, and then coordinated with other such efforts. And so the board of directors upon which I sit for a local Cat. school, has to plan well in advance for any fundraising activities, have a plan b, c and d, ready for presenting, etc., etc. We can’t even hit up our own alumni for donations, without going through this tedious process.

Hence the rationale (not that the Bishop needs to explain himself…)–is pretty obvious–so that the funds needed by the Bishop, aren’t diverted and/or concentrated to a singular Cat. organization within the diocese, to the point of hurting others (especially the diocese itself).

Besides the practical rationale, Obedience is one of the greatest virtues of the Church, and one of her strongest unifying characteristics.

…and from our vantage point–that of the Faithful–it is excellent ‘seasoning’ and practice if you will, for surrendering our Will, to the Will of God.

St. Therese of Lisieux said it beautifully in her auto biogoraphy, the Story of a Soul–

“My God, I choose everything! I am not afraid of suffering for thee; I won’t be a saint by halves; I only fear one thing–and that is to do MY will.”

Or perhaps you prefer St. Augustine’s immortal quote:

"Lord, grant what thou commandest, then command what thou wilt

…and of course, there is the fella who started it all:

"…Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.

One the greatest gifts we can give to the Lord, is to surrender our will to Him–and obedience to authority (especially to the authority vested in the one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church that Yeshua himself founded) helps prepare us for the humility and challenge of this grand calling.


Ah, now you have changed the question.

Certainly if somebody asks you to do something ungodly, even if he is a person in authority, you do not have to obey.

BUT. . .’“serving the Lord in some way?”

That’s a horse of a different color.
Many many saints have wanted to serve the Lord in some way. Some wanted to be missionaries, but their superiors wished them to serve ‘at home’. So __THEY OBEYED.

Just because you might THINK, "I want to serve the Lord with a youth group, but my pastor says no. He is STOPPING ME from serving God, I don’t have to obey him’ ==doesn’t mean you are correct.

You do not HAVE to ‘serve the Lord with a youth group’. There are many ways to serve the Lord.

You can be SERVING THE LORD through obedience of YOUR will to that of your priest, who is your shepherd. He is not keeping you from serving God. He is not stopping you from doing good; he is asking you to do good through obedience to something he has deemed necessary for YOUR good.

God told Abraham to slay his son…and also told Saul to slay someone.

And this is what Samuel said to Saul after Saul disobeyed:

1 Samuel 15:22-23
22 But Samuel replied:
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.”

Thank you :slight_smile: that makes a lot of sense.

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