"In verbo veritatis" (2 Cor 6:7)

August 30, 2019

Episcopal conferences

Filed under: Essays, Foundations in Ecclesiology, Uncategorized — Tags: , — komonchak @ 5:04 pm

The Final Report of the 1985 Synod of Bishops called for a clarification of the theological and canonical nature of episcopal conferences. Even though the Report could be taken to be calling for theologians and canon lawyers to undertake that task, the Vatican took this to mean that they should appoint a committee to do the clarifying.  The result of this was an “Instrumentum laboris” (working paper) sent out to the bishops of the world.  It would receive severe criticisms from many episcopates, including that of the USA for which I wrote a lengthy critique which was adopted by the bishops.

A symposium on episcopal conferences was held at Georgetown University, the results of which were published in a book. I was asked to write an introduction explaining what the controversies were that surrounded the institution and then to offer a theological assessment of the working paper. Both essays are available here: JAK – Two essays on episcopal conferences .

The official text that came out of the Vatican effort is entitled Apostolos suos. It will be seen that the critiques of the draft had little effect, and this text presented a very narrow vision of the conferences which are basically seen as threats to the pope or to diocesan bishops, or to both.

Pope Francis has asked that the question of the role and authority of episcopal conferences be re-opened. These essays, then, if of little effect forty years ago, may have some pertinence today.

2 Comments »

  1. I came across your name the other day and I was sorry that we do not hear from you in Ordinary Time. This is a treat. Thank you! I hope you are well. Tracey

    On Fri, Aug 30, 2019, 2:04 PM In verbo veritatis (2 Cor 6:7) wrote:

    > komonchak posted: “The Final Report of the 1985 Synod of Bishops called > for a clarification of the theological and canonical nature of episcopal > conferences. Even though the Report could be taken to be calling for > theologians and canon lawyers to undertake that task, the Va” >

    Comment by Tracey Sharp — August 30, 2019 @ 6:18 pm

    • Thanks, Tracey. Your comment moved me to post three homilies for tomorrow’s liturgy.

      Comment by komonchak — August 31, 2019 @ 11:16 am


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