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Code of Canon Law

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  • BOOK II : THE PEOPLE OF GOD
    • PART II : THE HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
      • SECTION I: THE SUPREME AUTHORITY OF THE CHURCH (Cann. 330 - 367)
          • CHAPTER I : THE ROMAN PONTIFF AND THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS
            • ARTICLE 2: THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS
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ARTICLE 2: THE COLLEGE OF BISHOPS

Can. 336 The head of the College of Bishops is the Supreme Pontiff, and its members are the Bishops by virtue of their sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members. This College of Bishops, in which the apostolic body abides in an unbroken manner, is, in union with its head and never without this head, also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church.

Can. 337 §1 The College of Bishops exercises its power over the universal Church in solemn form in an Ecumenical Council.

§2 It exercises this same power by the united action of the Bishops dispersed throughout the world, when this action is as such proclaimed or freely accepted by the Roman Pontiff, so that it becomes a truly collegial act.

§3 It belongs to the Roman Pontiff to select and promote, according to the needs of the Church, ways in which the College of Bishops can exercise its office in respect of the universal Church in a collegial manner.

Can. 338 §1 It is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff alone to summon an Ecumenical Council, to preside over it personally or through others, to transfer, suspend or dissolve the Council, and to approve its decrees.

§2 It is also the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to determine the matters to be dealt with in the Council, and to establish the order to be observed. The Fathers of the Council may add other matters to those proposed by the Roman Pontiff, but these must be approved by the Roman Pontiff .

Can. 339 §1 All Bishops, but only Bishops who are members of the College of Bishops, have the right and the obligation to be present at an Ecumenical Council with a deliberative vote.

§2 Some others besides, who do not have the episcopal dignity, can be summoned to an Ecumenical Council by the supreme authority in the Church, to whom it belongs to determine what part they take in the Council.

Can. 340 If the Apostolic See should become vacant during the celebration of the Council, it is by virtue of the law itself suspended until the new Supreme Pontiff either orders it to continue or dissolves it.

Can. 341 §1 The decrees of an Ecumenical Council do not oblige unless they are approved by the Roman Pontiff as well as by the Fathers of the Council, confirmed by the Roman Pontiff and promulgated by his direction.

§2 If they are to have binding force, the same confirmation and promulgation is required for decrees which the College of Bishops issues by truly collegial actions in another manner introduced or freely accepted by the Roman Pontiff.




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