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06 Nov 2014 Articles Comments (1)

The Authority of the Pope: Part II

In another Catholic Answers tract, The Authority of the Pope: Part I, we looked at the views of the popes and the other Church Fathers up to the year A.D. 341 a…

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02 Nov 2014 Articles Comments (1)

The Church Militant or the Church Belligerent?

How Fighting for the Faith Can Destroy Charity Every nation needs to defend itself. Yet many nations (including our own at its founding) have been wary of stan…

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06 Aug 2016 Q&A No comments

Why do some communicants approach the priest with a rosary in their hands?

Full Question I have seen older communicants approach the priest for reception of the Eucharist with a rosary wrapped around the right hand. Do you know wh…

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14 Mar 2016 Europe News No comments

Pope's schedule for the 31st World Youth Day in Auschwitz, Poland

According to the draft itinerary released by the Vatican Radio on Saturday, the Pontiff is set to make a five-day trip to Poland in July for the 31st World Yout…

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03 Nov 2014 Q&A Comments (5)

What is the Catholic view of women?

Full Question I am a Muslim woman considering becoming a Christian. Can you tell me what is the Catholic view about women? In Islam "they" say that women a…

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25 May 2015 Uncategorized No comments

California's soon-to-be saint hailed as a man ahead of his time

Experts in California history, archeology and the life of Bl. Junipero Serra have praised him as a passionate missionary with a vision that extended far beyond …

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17 Jul 2015 Articles Q&A Comments (26)

Do we know what happens in Purgatory? Is there really a fire?

The Catechism clearly affirms the Church’s belief in Purgatory and the purification of the soul after death: “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but sti…

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13 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Cardinal Dolan reportedly among concerned bishops who wrote Pope about synod

New York's archbishop is listed among the signatories in a letter last week to Pope Francis over whether this year's Synod on the Family lacked the “openness an…

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31 Aug 2016 Europe News USA Vatican Comments (4)

Nuns oppressed at French beach

Rudy Salles, the Deputy Mayor of Nice, released a statement on Sunday regarding the use of religious clothing at public beaches. While many stand by France's…

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Can the pope bind all future popes to a specific liturgical discipline?

Full Question

Can the pope bind all future popes to a specific liturgical discipline?

Answer

Absolutely not. Discipline, by its very nature, is a changeable practice that is determined by those with the authority to impose it. Dogma, on the other hand, is a definition of objective supernatural reality and therefore cannot be changed.

The Code of Canon Law says this about the authority of the pope:

The office uniquely committed by the Lord to Peter, the first of the apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, abides in the bishop of the Church of Rome. He is the head of the college of bishops, the vicar of Christ, and the pastor of the universal Church here on earth. Consequently, by virtue of his office, he has supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, and he can always freely exercise this power. (CIC 331)

“Supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power” includes disciplinary authority. If a preceding pope could hamstring the disciplinary authority of his successors by issuing a disciplinary decree binding upon his successors under pain of mortal sin, then the current pope could not be said to have full disciplinary authority over the Church.

The disciplinary authority of a particular pope ends with his death. Successors may choose to continue to promulgate the disciplinary edicts of their predecessors because such edicts continue to be of importance to the life of the Church, but they are not bound to do so.









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