✟ God the Sanctifier ✟
The Church
Revealed Truth (Defined Dogma)

Christ gave His Church a hierarchical constitution.

Lay Catechist Notes
    Because Jesus Christ is God and infinitely wise and intelligent, He knew well what means would be necessary to affect the most powerful means of saving human beings. With that said, Christ infused in to His Church a strict hierarchy that would be necessary to ensure the carrying out of all of His commands. Just as when He walked on earth with the Apostles, He knew that a formal monarchy (with a single head) would be the only appropriate governmental structure that would be capable of implementing His teachings and commands for all of time.
Divine Revelation (Scriptural Proof)
  • 21He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. (John 20:21)
  • 19Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. 20Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Matthew 28:19-20)
  • 15And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
  • 16He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. (Luke 10:16)
  • 18Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth, shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth, shall be loosed also in heaven. (Matthew 18:18)
  • 5By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name; (Romans 1:5)
  • 18But all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Christ; and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18)
  • 5For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee: (Titus 1:5)
Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • 816 "The sole Church of Christ which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it.... This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him."
      The Second Vatican Council's Decree on Ecumenism explains: "For it is through Christ's Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained. It was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the People of God."
  • 880 When Christ instituted the Twelve, "he constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from among them." Just as "by the Lord's institution, St. Peter and the rest of the apostles constitute a single apostolic college, so in like fashion the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, and the bishops, the successors of the apostles, are related with and united to one another."
  • 881 The Lord made Simon alone, whom he named Peter, the "rock" of his Church. He gave him the keys of his Church and instituted him shepherd of the whole flock. "The office of binding and loosing which was given to Peter was also assigned to the college of apostles united to its head." This pastoral office of Peter and the other apostles belongs to the Church's very foundation and is continued by the bishops under the primacy of the Pope.
  • 882 The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter's successor, "is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful." "For the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme, and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."
  • 883 "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head." As such, this college has "supreme and full authority over the universal Church; but this power cannot be exercised without the agreement of the Roman Pontiff."
  • 884 "The college of bishops exercises power over the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council." But "there never is an ecumenical council which is not confirmed or at least recognized as such by Peter's successor."
Ecumenical Council Documents
  • 4th General Council of Constantinople (869)
    • Canons
      • "14. We declare that  those who are called by divine grace to the office of bishop, since they bear the image and likeness of the holy hierarchies in heaven, that is of the angels, in accordance with what is clearly an hierarchical dignity and function , should be held as worthy of all honour on the part of everyone, rulers and ruled alike."

  • General Council of Trent (1545)
    • Chapter IV -  The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy And Ordination
      • "...Wherefore, the holy council declares that,  besides the other ecclesiastical grades, the bishops, who have succeeded the Apostles, principally belong to this hierarchical order, and have been placed, as the same Apostle says, by the Holy Ghost to rule the Church of God; that they are superior to priests, administer the sacrament of confirmation, ordain ministers of the Church, and can perform many other functions over which those of an inferior order have no power ."
    • Canons On The Sacrament Of Order
      • Canon 6.  If anyone says that in the Catholic Church there is not instituted a hierarchy by divine ordinance , which consists of bishops, priests and ministers, let him be anathema.

  • 1st General Council of the Vatican (1869)
    • Chapter 3. -  On the power and character of the primacy of the Roman Pontiff
      • "2. Wherefore we teach and declare that,  by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate . Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively,  are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination  and true obedience, and this  not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world ."
Papal Encyclical Documents
  • Etsi Multa (1873) - Despite the Many - Pius IX
    • "13. Moreover  so that the ecclesiastical government and the hierarchical order of subordination constituted by Christ Himself may be more quickly and fully subverted , these same laws impose many obstacles on bishops so that they cannot provide, through canonical censures and punishments, for the salvation of souls, the soundness of doctrine in Catholic schools, and the obedience due them from clerics."

  • Providentissimus Deus (1893) - God of Providence - Leo XIII
    • "But since the divine and infallible magisterium of the Church rests also on the authority of Holy Scripture, the first thing to be done is to vindicate the trustworthiness of the sacred records at least as human documents,  from which can be clearly proved, as from primitive and authentic testimony, the Divinity and the mission of Christ our Lord, the institution of a hierarchical Church and the primacy of Peter and his successors ."

  • Mystici Corporis Christi (1943) - The Mystical Body of Christ - Pius XII
    • "... that after He had ruled the "little flock"  Himself during His mortal pilgrimage,  Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded ."
    • " Although the juridical principles, on which the Church rests and is established, derive from the divine constitution given to it by Christ and contribute to the attaining of its supernatural end, nevertheless that which lifts the Society of Christians far above the whole natural order is the Spirit of our Redeemer who penetrates and fills every part of the Church's being and is active within it until the end of time as the source of every grace and every gift and every miraculous power . Just as our composite mortal body, although it is a marvelous work of the Creator, falls far short of the eminent dignity of our soul, so the social structure of the Christian community, though it proclaims the wisdom of its divine Architect, still remains something inferior when compared to the spiritual gifts which give it beauty and life, and to the divine source whence they flow."

  • Ad Sinarum Gentem (1954) - To The Chineese People - Pius XII
    • "12. By virtue of God's Will, the faithful are divided into two classes: the clergy and the laity.  By virtue of the same Will is established the twofold sacred hierarchy, namely, of orders and jurisdiction. Besides - as has also been divinely established - the power of orders (through which the ecclesiastical hierarchy is composed of Bishops, priests, and ministers) comes from receiving the Sacrament of Holy Orders . But the power of jurisdiction, which is conferred upon the Supreme Pontiff directly by divine rights, flows to the Bishops by the same right, but only through the Successor of St. Peter, to whom not only the simple faithful, but even all the Bishops must be constantly subject, and to whom they must be bound by obedience and with the bond of unity."

  • Ad Apostolorum Principis (1958) - Prince of the Apostles - Pius XII
    • "14. Hence all its members are forced to approve those unjust prescriptions by which missionaries are cast into exile, and by which bishops, priests, religious men, nuns, and the faithful in considerable numbers are thrust into prison; to consent to those measures by which the jurisdiction of many legitimate pastors is persistently obstructed;  to defend wicked principles totally opposed to the unity, universality, and hierarchical constitution of the Church; to admit those first steps by which the clergy and faithful are undermined in the obedience due to legitimate bishops; and to separate Catholic communities from the Apostolic See ."
    • "46. "We teach, . . .  We declare that the Roman Church by the Providence of God holds the primacy of ordinary power over all others, and that this power of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, which is truly episcopal, is immediate . Toward it, the pastors and the faithful of whatever rite and dignity, both individually and collectively,  are bound by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience , not only in matters which pertain to faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church spread throughout the whole world, in such a way that once the unity of communion and the profession of the same Faith has been preserved with the Roman Pontiff, there is one flock of the Church of Christ under one supreme shepherd.  This is the teaching of the Catholic truth from which no one can depart without loss of faith and salvation ."