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Episcopal Conference

Episcopal Conference

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In the Roman
Roman Catholic (term)
The term Roman Catholic appeared in the English language at the beginning of the 17th century, to differentiate specific groups of Christians in communion with the Pope from others; comparable terms in other languages already existed...

 Catholic Church, an Episcopal Conference, Conference of Bishops, or National Conference of Bishops is an official assembly of all the bishops
Bishop (Catholic Church)
In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders and is responsible for teaching the Catholic faith and ruling the Church....

 of a given territory. Episcopal conferences have long existed as informal entities, but were first established as formal bodies by the Second Vatican Council
Second Vatican Council
The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the modern world. It was the twenty-first Ecumenical Council of the Catholic Church and the second to be held at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed...

 (Christus Dominus
Christus Dominus
Christus Dominus is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops. It was approved by a vote of 2,319 to 2 of the assembled bishops and was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965. The title in Latin means "Christ the Lord," and is from the first line of the...

, 38), and implemented by Pope Paul VI's
Pope Paul VI
Paul VI , born Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church from 21 June 1963 until his death on 6 August 1978. Succeeding Pope John XXIII, who had convened the Second Vatican Council, he decided to continue it...

 1966 motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

Ecclesiae sanctae. The operation, authority, and responsibilities of episcopal conferences are currently governed by the 1983 Code of Canon Law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

 (see especially canons 447-459).

The nature of episcopal conferences, and their magisterial
Magisterium
In the Catholic Church the Magisterium is the teaching authority of the Church. This authority is understood to be embodied in the episcopacy, which is the aggregation of the current bishops of the Church in union with the Pope, led by the Bishop of Rome , who has authority over the bishops,...

 authority in particular, was subsequently clarified by Pope John Paul II
Pope John Paul II
Blessed Pope John Paul II , born Karol Józef Wojtyła , reigned as Pope of the Catholic Church and Sovereign of Vatican City from 16 October 1978 until his death on 2 April 2005, at of age. His was the second-longest documented pontificate, which lasted ; only Pope Pius IX ...

's 1998 motu proprio
Motu proprio
A motu proprio is a document issued by the Pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him....

Apostolos suos which stated that conferences of bishops do not participate in the teaching authority of the college of bishops although individual bishops do as they are members of the college of bishops which maintains unity with and under the Bishop of Rome, that is, the Pope. Consequently, a conference of bishops cannot make doctrinal declarations unless it receives two-thirds approval of the individual bishops of the conference and receives the subsequent recognitio, that is, recognition of approval, of the Holy See. Thus, while a conference of bishops can assist the individual bishops of the conference it cannot substitute for the authority which they individually possess.

Episcopal conferences are generally defined by geographic borders, with all the bishops in a given country belonging to the same conference — which might also include neighboring countries. Certain tasks and authority are assigned to episcopal conferences, particularly with regard to setting the liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

 norms
Norm (sociology)
Social norms are the accepted behaviors within a society or group. This sociological and social psychological term has been defined as "the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit...

 for the Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

. Episcopal conferences receive their authority under universal law or particular mandates. In certain circumstances, as defined by canon law
Canon law (Catholic Church)
The canon law of the Catholic Church, is a fully developed legal system, with all the necessary elements: courts, lawyers, judges, a fully articulated legal code and principles of legal interpretation. It lacks the necessary binding force present in most modern day legal systems. The academic...

, the decisions of an episcopal conference are subject to ratification from the Holy See
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

. Individual bishops do not relinquish their authority to the conference, and remain responsible for the governance of their respective diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

.

Episcopal Conferences


This list is based on that found in the Annuario Pontifico per l'anno 2010
Annuario Pontificio
The Annuario Pontificio is the annual directory of the Holy See. It lists all the popes to date and all officials of the Holy See's departments...

(Città di Vaticano: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2010).

Africa

  • Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé
  • Episcopal Conference of Benin
  • Conference of Bishops of Burkina Faso and of Niger
  • Conference of Catholic Bishops of Burundi
  • National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon
  • Central African Episcopal Conference
  • Episcopal Conference of Chad
  • Episcopal Conference of the Congo
  • Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Episcopal Conference of the Côte d'Ivoire
  • Assembly of Catholic Hierarchs of Ethiopia and Eritrea
  • Episcopal Conference of Gabon
  • Inter-territorial Catholic Bishops' Conference of The Gambia and Sierra Leone
  • Ghana Bishops' Conference
  • Episcopal Conference of Guinea
  • Episcopal Conference of Equatorial Guinea
  • Kenyan Episcopal Conference
  • Lesotho Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Liberia
  • Episcopal Conference of Madagascar
  • Episcopal Conference of Malawi
  • Episcopal Conference of Mali
  • Episcopal Conference of Mozambique
  • Namibian Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Nigeria – see Roman Catholicism in Nigeria #Episcopal conference
  • Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa
  • Conference of Catholic Bishops of Rwanda
  • Conference of Bishops of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde, and Guinea Bissau
  • Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference (SACBC)
  • Sudan Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • Tanzania Episcopal Conference
  • Episcopal Conference of Togo
  • Uganda Episcopal Conference
  • Zambia Episcopal Conference
  • Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference

Asia

  • Conference of the Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Bangladesh
  • Chinese Catholic Bishops Conference
    Chinese Catholic Bishops Conference
    In 1958, the People's Republic of China's communist government appointed two Catholic bishops to be consecrated without approval from the Vatican. Since then, the Catholic Church in China has been controlled by a government-sanctioned Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association, that opposes submission...

  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
    Catholic Bishops' Conference of India
    The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India is the episcopal conference of the Catholic bishops of India. It was first convened in September 1944, in Madras . Currently the CBCI has 212 members and 38 honorary members, and is headquartered in New Delhi, the capital of India...

     (CBCI)
  • Episcopal Conference of the Indian Ocean
  • Bishops' Conference of Indonesia
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Japan
  • Conference of Catholic Bishops of Kazakhstan
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Korea
  • Episcopal Conference of Laos and Cambodia
  • Bishops' Conference of Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Myanmar
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan
    Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan
    The Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan is the episcopal conference of the Catholic bishops of Pakistan. Its objectives are to facilitate coordinated study and discussion of issues affecting the Church, and adoption of a common policy and effective action in all matters concerning the Church...

  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines
    Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines
    The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines is the official organization of the Catholic episcopacy in the Philippines. Archbishop Jose S. Palma of Cebu is the current president while Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan is the current Vice President. The CBCP has 99 active...

  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailandhttp://www.cbct.net/
  • Catholic Bishops Conference of Sri Lanka
  • Episcopal Conference of Vietnamhttp://www.hdgmvietnam.org

Europe

  • Episcopal Conference of Albania
  • Austrian Bishops' Conference
  • Conference of Catholic Bishops of Belarus
  • Episcopal Conference of Belgium
  • Bishops' Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Episcopal Conference of Bulgaria
  • Croatian Bishops' Conference
    Croatian Bishops' Conference
    The Croatian Bishops' Conference is an episcopal conference of the Catholic Church in Croatia. It is currently composed of fourteen bishops from all Croatian dioceses plus the Croatian military ordinary....

  • Czech Bishops' Conference
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
    Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
    The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is the episcopal conference of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales.-About:...

  • Bishop's Conference of France (CEF)
  • German Bishops' Conference
  • Holy Synod of Catholic Bishops of Greece
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Hungary
  • Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • Italian Episcopal Conference
  • Hungarian Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • Latvian Bishops' Conference
  • Lithuanian Bishops' Conferencehttp://lvk.lcn.lt/en/
  • Maltese Episcopal Conference
  • Bishops' Conference of the Netherlands
  • Polish Episcopal Conference
    Polish Episcopal Conference
    Polish Episcopal Conference is the central organ of Catholic Church in Poland. It is composed of 6 cardinals, 25 archbishops and 104 bishops.** President - abp Józef Michalik...

  • Portuguese Episcopal Conference
  • Romanian Episcopal Conference
  • Conference of Catholic Bishops of the Russian Federation
  • International Bishops' Conference of Sts. Cyril and St. Methodius
  • Scandinavian Bishops' Conference
    Scandinavian Bishops Conference
    The Scandinavian Bishops Conference is an episcopal conference of Roman Catholic bishops covering the Nordic countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Iceland. At present, it has 12 members who represent all seven of the Catholic dioceses in the Nordic countries...

  • Bishops' Conference of Scotland
    Bishops' Conference of Scotland
    The Bishops' Conference of Scotland is an episcopal conference for Roman Catholic bishops in Scotland and is based in Airdrie. The conference is primarily made up of the presiding bishops of Scotland's eight dioceses as well as bishops who have retired....

     (BCOS)
  • Conference of Slovak Bishops
  • Slovenian Bishops' Conference
  • Spanish Episcopal Conference
  • Swiss Bishops Conference
  • Episcopal Conference of Turkey
  • Ukrainian Episcopal Conference
  • Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia
    Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia
    The Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia was an episcopal conference of the Catholic Church covering the territory of Yugoslavia.The first such bishops' conference was held in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes in November of 1918...

     (defunct)

Oceania

  • Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • New Zealand Catholic Bishops' Conference
  • Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (C.E. PAC.)
  • Catholic Bishops' Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands

North America

  • Antilles Episcopal Conference
    Antilles Episcopal Conference
    The Antilles Episcopal Conference is a Roman Catholic episcopal conference. Its members are bishops and archbishops from current and former British, Dutch, and French colonies and dependencies in the Caribbean , Central America, and northern South America. The conference's membership includes five...

  • Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
    Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
    The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops is the national assembly of the Bishops of the Catholic Church in Canada. It was founded in 1943 and was officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948. Since the Second Vatican Council, it became part of a worldwide network of Episcopal Conferences,...

  • Episcopal Conference of Costa Rica
  • Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba
  • Conference of the Dominican Episcopate
  • Episcopal Conference of El Salvador
  • Episcopal Conference of Guatemala
  • Episcopal Conference of Haiti
  • Episcopal Conference of Honduras
  • Mexican Episcopal Conference
    Mexican Episcopal Conference
    The Mexican Episcopal Conference is an organization of Catholic bishops, known as an episcopal conference. It is the official leadership body of the Catholic Church in Mexico....

  • Episcopal Conference of Nicaragua
  • Episcopal Conference of Panama
  • Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference
    Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference
    The Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference is the episcopal conference of the Roman Catholic bishops of Puerto Rico, a commonwealth of the United States.-Dioceses:*Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico...

     (CEP)
  • United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
    The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is the episcopal conference of the Catholic Church in the United States. Founded in 1966 as the joint National Conference of Catholic Bishops and United States Catholic Conference, it is composed of all active and retired members of the Catholic...

     (USCCB)

South America

  • Argentinian Episcopal Conference
    Argentine Episcopal Conference
    The Argentine Episcopal Conference is an episcopal conference of the Roman Catholic Church of Argentina that gathers the bishops of the country in order to discuss pastoral issues and in general all matters that have to do with the Church...

  • Bolivian Episcopal Conference
  • National Conference of Bishops of Brazil
  • Episcopal Conference of Chile
  • Episcopal Conference of Colombia
  • Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference
  • Paraguayan Episcopal Conference
  • Peruvian Episcopal Conference
    Peruvian Episcopal Conference
    The Peruvian Episcopal Conference is an episcopal conference of the Roman Catholic Church of Peru that gathers the bishops of the country in order to discuss pastoral issues and in general all matters that have to do with the Church....

  • Episcopal Conference of Uruguay
  • Venezuelan Episcopal Conference

Similar bodies


In addition to the episcopal conferences as defined by the Holy See, there are a number of other regional groupings of bishops:
  • Synods of Bishops of the Patriarchal and Major Archiepiscopal Churches and Assemblies of Hierarchs of Churches Sui Iuris
  • Synod of the Armenian Catholic Church
  • Synod of the Chaldean Church
  • Synod of the Catholic Coptic Church
  • Synod of the Greek-Catholic Ukrainian Church
  • Synod of the Greek-Melkite Catholic Church
  • Synod of the Romanian Church
  • Synod of the Syrian Catholic Church
  • Synod of the Syro-Malabarese Church
  • Synod of the Syro-Malankarese Church
  • Council of the Ethiopian Church
  • Council of the Ruthenian Church, U.S.A.
  • Council of the Slovakian Church
  • Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt
  • Assembly of the Catholic Bishops of Iraq
  • Assembly of the Patriarchs and Bishops of Lebanon
  • Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchs of Syria
  • Assembly of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land
  • Iranian Episcopal Conference

  • International Reunions of Episcopal Conferences
  • Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the East
  • Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar
  • Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa
  • Association of Episcopal Conferences of the Region of Central Africa
  • Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa
  • Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa
  • Association of the Episcopal Conferences of Western Africa
  • Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences
  • Federation of Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Oceania
  • Council of European Bishops' Conferences (CCEE)
  • Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community
    Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community
    The Commissio Episcopatuum Communitatis Europaeae or Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community is an organisation of Roman Catholic bishops in Europe to examine European Union policy and legislation from a Catholic perspective...

     (COMECE)
  • Latin American Episcopal Conference
    Latin American Episcopal Conference
    The Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano , also known as CELAM, is a conference of the Roman Catholic bishops of Latin America, created in 1955 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil....

     (CELAM)
  • Episcopal Secretariate of Central America and Panama

See also


  • Catholic Church hierarchy
    Catholic Church hierarchy
    The term Hierarchy in the Catholic Church has a variety of related usages. Literally, "holy government", the term is employed in different instances. There is a Hierarchy of Truths, which refers to the levels of solemnity of the official teaching of the faith...

  • Episcopal see
    Episcopal See
    An episcopal see is, in the original sense, the official seat of a bishop. This seat, which is also referred to as the bishop's cathedra, is placed in the bishop's principal church, which is therefore called the bishop's cathedral...

  • Roman Curia
    Roman Curia
    The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Catholic Church, together with the Pope...

  • Dicastery
    Dicastery
    Dicastery is an Italicism sometimes used in English to refer to the Departments of the Roman Curia....


Further reading

  • Sullivan, Francis
    Francis A. Sullivan
    Francis Aloysius Sullivan, S.J. is an American Catholic theologian and a Jesuit priest. He is best known for his research in the area of ecclesiology and the magisterium.- Early Life and Jesuit Formation :...

    . "The Teaching Authority of Episcopal Conferences", Theological Studies, v. 63, 2002, pp. 472–493.

External links