Why does the laity no longer ratify the appointment of Bishops?


#1

According to Canon IV of the Council of Nicaea, the "metropolitan" had to ratify the appointment of Bishops for the appointment to be valid. Why is this no longer the practice in the Church? Canonical or Scriptural reasons, please. I already understand the social connotations.

faculty.cua.edu/pennington/Canon%20Law/Nicea/CanonsCouncilNiceae.htm#CANON II


#2

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=773674

Just as a friendly heads up, I would be careful posting the same thread in multiple places. It tends to clutter up the forum and the moderators discourage it.

As for the rest, you pose an interesting question and I look forward to the discussion.

Peace of Christ,


#3

Thanks for the advice Jason. I just wasn't sure where to put it--I'll refrain from double-posting in the future :)


#4

[quote="vish1990, post:3, topic:321995"]
Thanks for the advice Jason. I just wasn't sure where to put it--I'll refrain from double-posting in the future :)

[/quote]

Happy to help. Welcome to the forum!


#5

I'd have to dig up sources, but as I recall part of the issue was that it became too political. There were concerns about the local authorities using the "voice of the people" to try to block bishops who might have stood up against them.


#6

[quote="DarkLight, post:5, topic:321995"]
I'd have to dig up sources, but as I recall part of the issue was that it became too political. There were concerns about the local authorities using the "voice of the people" to try to block bishops who might have stood up against them.

[/quote]

That's pretty much what I would have suspected.

The other thing which pops into my head when I think about this is simply human nature. Sin has always been popular, and it would have only been a matter of time until we would prefer Bishops who confirm us in our sinfulness rather than shepherd us towards the Truth. Can you imagine the results of such a practice today when the vast majority who self identify as Catholic don't even go to Mass with regularity and openly dissent from the Church on areas of Faith and Morals? :eek:

Although, getting back to the OP's post a bit closer, I cannot help but wonder if that text means the Metropolitan as in the Bishop who serves in this fashion, or as in the people of the metropolis. My suspicion is that it is referring to the Bishop. catholic.org/encyclopedia/view.php?id=7939


#7

[quote="vish1990, post:1, topic:321995"]
According to Canon IV of the Council of Nicaea, the "metropolitan" had to ratify the appointment of Bishops for the appointment to be valid.

[/quote]

A "metropolitan" is a type of bishop. I'm not sure if you interpreted that word to mean "laity."


#8

That is the exact conclusion I have come to, after about three hours of diving into the internet. It seems like an elementary mistake, as in all 3 examples the Metropolitan is referred to as the “local,” that is to say, “non-provincial” bishop, and not the laity.

Thanks everyone for the help.


#9

[quote="vish1990, post:8, topic:321995"]
That is the exact conclusion I have come to, after about three hours of diving into the internet. It seems like an elementary mistake, as in all 3 examples the Metropolitan is referred to as the "local," that is to say, "non-provincial" bishop, and not the laity.

Thanks everyone for the help.

[/quote]

Well ... a Metropolitan actually is the "provincial bishop" since he is at the head of an ecclesiastical province. (There's little left of a Metropolitan's prerogatives, but there are a few things, one being that he may offer Mass in any diocese in his province at will.)

The way it worked in the 1st millennium was for the local clergy to elect the diocesan bishop, with the election being confirmed by the Metropolitan. In turn, the bishops would elect the Metropolitan, with the election being confirmed by the Primate. The Metropolitans would elect the Primate, with the election being confirmed by the Pope. (There's even less left of a Primate's prerogatives other than the honorific itself.)

Of course it's all moot now, since Rome appoints bishops. :shrug:


#10

[quote="jwinch2, post:6, topic:321995"]
That's pretty much what I would have suspected.

The other thing which pops into my head when I think about this is simply human nature. Sin has always been popular, and it would have only been a matter of time until we would prefer Bishops who confirm us in our sinfulness rather than shepherd us towards the Truth. Can you imagine the results of such a practice today when the vast majority who self identify as Catholic don't even go to Mass with regularity and openly dissent from the Church on areas of Faith and Morals? :eek:

[/quote]

:eek: Indeed! It would be like Sodom and Gomorrah on steroids......though we're well on our way to that anyways. :p


#11

As has been mentioned, "metropolitan" refers to a bishop, not the laity. If a diocese isn't a metropolitan see, it's a suffragen. E.g., the Archdiocese of NY is a metropolitan see and Cardinal Dolan is the metropolitan bishop. Suffragen dioceses like Brooklyn have the Archdioese of NY as their metropolitan see.

However, bishops were once elected by the people in the early church. I imagine, after you get enough people it becomes unruly. So then it was the priests who elected the bishop. And now it's the regional bishops who elect the replacement bishop.


#12

[quote="johnmann, post:11, topic:321995"]
And now it's the regional bishops who elect the replacement bishop.

[/quote]

In the Catholic Church, the Holy Father elects bishops. It's an electorate of one.


#13

[quote="johnmann, post:11, topic:321995"]
And now it's the regional bishops who elect the replacement bishop.

[/quote]

Bishops can recommend priests in their diocese who they believe would be a good choice for Bishop, but they do not elect new bishops.

marysaggies.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-is-bishop-chosen.html


#14

[quote="johnmann, post:11, topic:321995"]
And now it's the regional bishops who elect the replacement bishop.

[/quote]

Not quite. They may recommend a candidate or two, but they do not elect. Bishops are appointed by Rome, which may or may not consider any recommendation.


#15

I do not think that, given current circumstances, seeking the ratification of lay faithful would be a good or prudent idea.


#16

The general answer to the OP's question about "why is no longer done although it was a canon of council?" is that this is a matter of discipline, not doctrine or dogma. Remember that Scripture tells us that a bishop should be "the husband of only one wife" but we (as well as the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox) soon changed this discipline to raise bishops only from the celibate. Discipline is reflected in most of Canon Law. Friday abstinence is another example of Church discipline. Fasting laws can and are changed with the times and circumstances.


#17

The general answer to the OP's question about "why is no longer done although it was a canon of council?" is that this is a matter of discipline, not doctrine or dogma. Remember that Scripture tells us that a bishop should be "the husband of only one wife" but we (as well as the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox) soon changed this discipline to raise bishops only from the celibate. Discipline is reflected in most of Canon Law. Friday abstinence is another example of Church discipline. Fasting laws can and are changed with the times and circumstances.

Does this mean that this discipline could be changed, and that "reformer" groups are not morally wrong in lobbying to Rome to allow the public election of Bishops?


#18

[quote="vish1990, post:17, topic:321995"]
Does this mean that this discipline could be changed, and that "reformer" groups are not morally wrong in lobbying to Rome to allow the public election of Bishops?

[/quote]

Not morally wrong, but some disciplines - like this one - are so firmly entrenched that it would take generations to change them in the direction wished by these "reformer" groups.


#19

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