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11 Sep 2015 Americas News No comments

Read the official prayer for Pope Francis' visit to Cuba

The Cuban bishops have issued a prayer to help prepare for Pope Francis' Sept. 19-22 visit to their island nation, focused on the visit's theme, “Missionary of …

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09 Sep 2016 Articles Comments (1)

Why I’m Catholic: Sola Scriptura Isn’t Scriptural, Part I

When I began to look critically the idea of sola scriptura, as an evangelical Protestant and Bible Christian I had one question foremost in my mind: What does S…

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03 Oct 2015 Europe News Comments (3)

Ahead of the synod, LGBT activists lobby bishops. Here's what they want.

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19 Jul 2016 Vatican Comments (2)

Theologians: Amoris Laetitia needs clarification against ‘heretical’ interpretations

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06 Oct 2016 Articles Comments (2)

Threat of World War III grows, but it won't look like you think. Here's how WW3 will be different and…

The political situation between America, Russia and China continues to deteriorate in this fictional scenario. The United Nations tries to broker a peace deal a…

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12 Oct 2016 News No comments

Mary Whitehouse was right about morality, says barrister who fought against her

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09 Jun 2016 Articles Comments (3)

The Intercession of the Saints

Fundamentalists often challenge the Catholic practice of asking saints and angels to pray on our behalf. But the Bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and …

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26 Sep 2015 News USA No comments

Watch as it happened: Pope Francis visits New York school

Pope Francis is visiting the Our Lady Queen of the Angels school Source:…

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08 Oct 2015 News Vatican No comments

Letters from the Synod: October 8, 2015

Reports and commentary, from Rome and elsewhere, on the XIV Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops DISQUISITIONS …being thoughts on Synod 2015 fr…

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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?


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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