Image of Pius XII whose Infallible
Magisterium the N.O. sect's SSPX; & Sedevacantists Despise
Pius XII] taught that the Vicar of Christ on earth is the one from whom all the
other pastors in
the Catholic Church 'receive immediately their jurisdiction and their mission.'"
"Msgr. Alfredo Ottaviani declares that this teaching ... must now be held as entirely certain
by reason of what Pope Pius XII has said." (Fr. Joseph C. Fenton, True Catholic Theologian, 1949)
"It follows from what We have said that no authority
whatever, save that which is proper to the Supreme Pastor, can render void the Canonical Appointment granted to any Bishop; that no person
or group, whether of Priests
or of laymen, can lay claim to the right of nominating Bishops; that
no one can lawfully confer Episcopal Consecration unless he has received the Mandate of the Apostolic See (Canon
953.)." (Pius XII, from his Encyclical, "Prince of the Apostles", June 29, 1958)
EPISCOPAL JURISDICTION AND THE ROMAN SEEfrom
theAmerican Ecclesiastical ReviewVol. CXX, Jan.-Jun. 1949
One of the most important contributions to sacred theology in recent years is to
be found in the Holy Father's teaching about the immediate source of episcopal jurisdiction within the Catholic Church. In his great encyclical letter Mystici corporis, issued June 29, 1943, Pope Pius XII spoke of the ordinary power of
jurisdiction of the other Catholic bishops as something "bestowed upon them immediately" by the Sovereign Pontiff. More than a year before the publication of the Mystici corporis the Holy Father brought out the same truth in his
pastoral allocution to the parish priests and the Lenten preachers of Rome. In this address he taught that the Vicar of Christ on earth is the one from whom all the other pastors in the Catholic Church "receive immediately their jurisdiction and their
In the latest edition of his classic work, Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici, Msgr. Alfredo Ottaviani declares that this teaching, which was previously considered as "probabilior"
or even as "communis," must now be held as entirely certain by reason of what Pope Pius XII has said. The thesis which must be accepted and taught as certain is an extremely valuable element in the Christian teaching about the nature of the
true Church. Denial or even neglect of this thesis will inevitably prevent anything like an accurate and adequate theological understanding of Our Lord's function as the Head of the Church and of the visible unity of the kingdom of God on earth.
Thus, in giving this doctrine the status of a definitely certain statement, the Holy Father has greatly benefited the work of sacred theology.
The thesis that bishops derive their power of jurisdiction immediately
from the Sovereign Pontiff is by no means a new teaching. In his Brief Super soliditate, issued, Nov. 28, 1786, and directed against the teachings of the canonist Joseph Valentine Eybel, Pope Pius VI bitterly censured Eybel for that writer's
insolent attacks on the men who taught that the Roman Pontiff is the one "from whom the bishops themselves derive their authority." Pope Leo XIII, in His encyclical Satis cognitum, dated June 29, 1896, brought out a fundamental point
in this teaching when he restated, with reverence to those powers which the other rulers of the Church hold in common with St. Peter, the teaching of Pope St. Leo I that whatever God had given to these others He had given through the Prince of the Apostles.
That teaching has been enunciated explicitly in a communication of the Roman Church by Pope St. Innocent I, in his letter to the African bishops, issued Jan. 27, 417. This great Pontiff stated that "the
episcopate itself and all the power of this name" come from St. Peter. The doctrine propounded by Pope St. Innocent I was quite familiar to the African Hierarchy. It had been developed and taught by the predecessors of the men to whom he wrote,
in the first systematic and extensive explanation of the episcopacy within the Catholic Church. Towards the middle of the third century St. Cyprian, the Martyr - Bishop of Carthage, had elaborated his teaching on the function of St. Peter and of his
"cathedra" as the basis of the Church's unity. St. Optatus, the Bishop of Milevis and an outstanding defender of the Church against the attacks of the Donatists had written, around the year 370, that Peter's "cathedra" was the one
See in which "unity is to be maintained by all," and that, after his fall, Peter had "alone received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, which were to be handed over also (communicandas) to the others."
the last years of the fourth century Pope St. Siricius had asserted the Petrine origin of the episcopate in his letter, Cum in unum, when he designated the Prince of the Apostles as the one "From whom both the apostolate and episcopate in Christ
derived their origin." He introduced this concept into his writing as something with which those to whom his epistle was addressed were perfectly familiar. It was and it remained the traditional and common teaching of the Catholic Church.
The thesis that bishops derive their power of jurisdiction immediately from the Roman Pontiff rather than immediately from Our Lord Himself has had a long and tremendously interesting history in the field of scholastic
theology. St. Thomas Aquinas propounded it in his writings, without, however, dealing with it at any great length. Two other outstanding mediaeval scholastics, Richard of Middleton and Durandus, followed his example. The outstanding
pre-Tridentine theological treatise on the Church of Christ, The Summa de ecclesia of the Cardinal John de Turrecremata went into the matter in minute detail. Turrecremata elaborated most of the arguments which later theologians
employed to demonstrate the thesis. Thomas de Vio, Cardinal Cajetan, contributed much to the development of the teaching in the period immediately preceding the Council of Trent.
"By far the strongest presentation of doctrine lately set
forth by Pope Pius XII was made in the Council of Trent..."
During the Council of Trent, the thesis was debated by the Fathers themselves. By far the strongest presentation of doctrine lately set
forth by Pope Pius XII was made in the Council of Trent by the great Jesuit theologian, James Laynez. In many ways Laynez' quaestiones, De origine jurisdictionis episcoporum and De modo quo jurisdictio a summo pontifice
in episcopos derivatur, remain in the best sources of theological information on the relations of the other bishops in the Catholic Church to the Roman Pontiff to this day.
During the century following
the Council of Trent, three of the classical scholastic theologians wrote magnificent explanations and proofs of the thesis that episcopal authority in the Church of God is derived immediately from the Vicar of Christ on earth. St. Robert Bellarmine
treated the question with his accustomed clarity and sureness, using an approach somewhat different from that employed by Turrecremata and Laynez and closer to that of Cajetan. Francis Suarez dealt with the thesis "in extenso" in his Tractatus
de legibus, and set forth certain explanations which completed the teaching of Laynez himself. Francis Sylvius, in his "Controversies", summarized the findings of his great predecessors in this field and gave what remains to this day probably
the most effective brief presentation of the teaching in all scholastic literature. During the same period a very brief but theologically sound treatment of the same subject was given by the Portugese Franciscan Francis Macedo in his De
clavibus Petri. Two of the leading sixteenth- century thomistic theologians, Dominic Soto and Dominic Bannez, likewise included this teaching in their "Commentaries."
XIV included an excellent treatment of this thesis in his great work De synodo diocesana. Among the more recent authorities who have dealt with the question in a noteworthy manner are the two Jesuit theologians Dominic Palmieri
and Cardinal Louis Billot. Cardinal Joseph Hergenroether treated the topic effectively and accurately in his great work "Catholic Church and Christian State."
The most important opposition to
the thesis, as might be expected, came from the Gallican theologians. Bossuet and Regnier defended the Gallican cause on this question. Others, however, not infected with the Gallican virus, have opposed this teaching in times past.
Noteworthy among these opponents were Francis de Victoria and Gabriel Vasquez. Victoria, outstanding theologian though he was, seems to have misconstrued the question at issue, and to have imagined that in some way the traditional teaching involved the
implication that all bishops had been placed in their sees by appointment from Rome. Vasquez, on the other hand, was attracted by a now outworn theory that episcopal jurisdiction was absolutely inseparable from the episcopal character, and that the
Holy Father's authority over his fellow bishops in the Church of Christ is to be explained by his power of removing or altering the material or subjects over which this jurisdiction is to be exercised.
[Note from TCW: The pseudo-traditionalists/sedevacantists are DEAF to the Fact
that Pope Pius XII CONDEMNED non-papal mandated "consecrations" - even for a "so called grave emergency". Pius XII in Ad Apostolorum Principis acknowledged non-papal mandated consecrations had occurred in emergencies, saying it was "licit in PREVIOUS centuries", YET, "the Supreme Authority of the Church has long ago DECREED OTHERWISE." (See Pius' Eternally Binding: Encyclical on the Crime of Non Papal Mandated Consecrations, promulgated June 29th, 1958). To attempt to consecrate a bishop without a papal mandate
incurs automatic excommunication. Under the penalty of excommunication one may not
participate in public worship nor receive the Body of Christ or any of the sacraments. Moreover, if he be a cleric, he is FORBIDDEN to administer a sacred rite or to exercise an act of spiritual authority. This condemnation applies to all who belong to, support, or condone these antipapal schismatic acts/sects.]
The teaching of Pope Pius XII on the origin of episcopal jurisdiction definitely is not a claim that St. Peter and his successors in the Roman See have always appointed directly every other bishop within the Church of Jesus
Christ. It does mean, however, that every other bishop who is the ordinary of a diocese holds his position by the consent and at least the tacit approval of the Holy See. Furthermore, it means that the Bishop of Rome can,
according to the divine constitution of the Church itself, remove particular cases from the jurisdiction of the bishops and transfer them to his own jurisdiction. Finally it signifies that any bishop not in union with the Holy Father has no authority
over the faithful.
This teaching in no way involved a denial of the fact that the Catholic Church is essentially hierarchical as well as monarchical in its construction. It does not conflict with the
truth that the residential bishops have ordinary jurisdiction, rather than merely delegated jurisdiction; in their own Churches. Actually it is a certainly true explanation of the origin of that ordinary jurisdiction in the consecrated men who rule the
individual communities of the faithful as successors of the apostles and as subjects of the head of the apostolic college. It means that the power of jurisdiction of these men comes to them from Our Lord, but through His Vicar on earth, in whom alone
the Church finds its visible center of unity in this world.
Joseph Clifford FentonThe Catholic University of AmericaWashington, D.C.
 Cf. the NCWC edition, n. 42.
 Cf. Osservatore Romano, Feb. 18, 1942.
 Cf. Institutiones iuris publici ecclesiastici,
3rd edition (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1948), I, 413.
 Cf. DB, 1500.
 Cf. Codicis iuris canonici fontes, edited by Cardinal
Pietro Gasparri (Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis, 1933), III, 489 f. The statement of Pope St. Leo I is to be found in his fourth sermon, that on the second anniversary of his elevation to the papal office.
 Cf. Adhemar D'Ales, La theologie de Saint Cyprien (Paris: Beauchesne, 1922), pp. 130 ff.
 Cf. Libri sex contra Parmenianum Donatistam,
 Cf. ibid., VII, 3.
 Cf. Ep. V.
 St. Thomas taught in his Summa contra
gentiles, Lib. IV, cap. 76, that, to conserve the unity of the Church, the power of the keys must be passed on, through Peter, to the other pastors of the Church. Subsequent writers also appealed to his teaching in the Summa theologica,
in IIa-IIae, q. 39, art. 3, in his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter the Lombard, IV, dist. 20, art. 4, and in his Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Matthew, in cap. 16, n. 2, in support of the thesis that bishops derive
their power of jurisdiction immediately from the Soverign Pontiff.
 Cf. Richard's Commentary on the Sentences, Lib. IV, dist. 24.
 Cf. D. Durandi
a Sancto Porciano Ord. Praed. et Meldensis Epiccopi in Petri Lombardi sententias theologicas libri IIII (Venice, 1586), Lib. IV, dist. 20, q. 5, n. 5, p. 354.
 Cf. Summa de ecclesia (Venice,
1561), Lib. II, chapters 54-64, pp. 169-188. Turrecremata's thesis is identical with that set forth by Pope Pius XII, although his terminology is different. The Holy Father speaks of the bishops receiving their power of jurisdiction "immediately"
from the Holy See, i.e., from Our Lord through the Sovereign Pontiff. Turrecremata, on the other hand, speaks of the bishops as receiving their power of jurisdiction "mediately" or "immediately" from the Holy Father, i.e., from him directly or from another
empowered to act in his name.
 Cf. Cajetan's De comparatione auctoritatis Papae et concilii, cap. 3, in Fr. Vincent Pollet's edition of his Scripta theologica (Rome: The Angelicum,
1935), I, 26 f.
 Cf. Sforza Pallavincini Histoire de concile de Trente (Montrouge: Migne, 1844), Lib. XVIII, chapters 14 ff; Lib. XXI, chapters 11 and 13, II, 1347 ff; III, 363 ff; Hefele-Leclercq, Histoire
des conciles(Paris: Letouzey et Ane, 1907 ff), IX, 747 ff; 776 ff.
 In Hartmann Grisar's edition of Laynez' Disputationes Tridentinae (Innsbruck, 1886), I, 97-318.
 Cf. De Romano Pontifice, Lib. IV, chapters 24 and 25.
 Cf. Lib IV, cap. 4, in Migne's Theologiae cursus completus (MTCC) XII, 596 ff. Suarez touches upon this
matter in his treatise De Summo Pontifice in his Opus de triplici virtute theologica, De fide, tract. X, section I.
 Cf. Lib. IV, q. 2, art. 5, in the Opera omnia (Antwerp,
1698), V, 302 ff.
 Cf. De clavibus Petri (Rome, 1560), Lib. I, cap 3, pp. 36 ff.
 Cf. In quartam sententiarum (Venice, 1569),
dist. 20, q. 1, art. 2, conclusio 4, I, 991.
 Cf. Scholastica commentaria in secundam secundae Angelici Doctoris D. Thomae (Venice, 1587), in q. 1, art. 10, dub. 5, concl. 5, columns 497 ff.
 Cf. In Lib. I, cap. 4, n. 2 ff, in MTCC, XXV, 816 ff.
 Cf. Tractatus de Romano Pontifice (Rome, 1878), 373 ff.
 Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi, 5th edition (Rome: The Gregorian University, 1927) I, 563 ff.
 Cf. Catholic Church and Christian State (London, 1876), I, 168
 Cf. Defensio declarationis cleri Gallicani, Lib. VIII, chapters 11-15, in the Oeuvres completes (Paris, 1828), XLII, 182-202.
Cf. Tractatus de ecclesia Christi, pars. II, sect. I, in MTCC, IV, 1043 ff.
 Cf. Relectiones undecim, in Rel. II, De potestate ecclesiae (Salamanca,
1565), pp 63 ff.
 Cf. In primam secundae Sancti Thomae (Lyons, 1631), II, 31.
The True Faith it is Impossible to Please God
"The virtue of faith, the foundation of a Christian life, gives us an absolute certitude of the truths which we believe; a certitude more positive
than that which is based on the testimony of our eyes and reason. It rests on God, whose word cannot fail: and on the Church, which is likewise infallible when teaching us that word." (Fr. Francois Xavier Schouppe S.J. "Short Sermons For The Low Masses
Of Sunday. Comprising In Four Series A Methodical Exposition of Christian Doctrine", 1883 Imp.)
"It is necessary for salvation that all the faithful of Christ be subject
to the Roman Pontiff."
(V Lateran Council)
Blessed be St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles!
The Papal Restoration Staff
3P's: Pence + Penance + Prayer