Removing bishops—an answer

Removing bishops—an answer

In answer to my question yesterday about whether the Pope can remove any bishop, even if the bishop hasn’t violated canon law or Church teaching, “Cheshire”—a contributor to the CWN Off The Record blog—says the following:

The Pope has universal and immediate jurisidiction over all the dioceses of the world, as explained in the Code of Canon of Law and encoded by General Councils, the most recent example being “Christus Dominus” of Vatican II. No bishop serves without Papal appointment, and as he is himself the definer of the universal law of the Church with or without consent of a General Council, he defines by his own action the right and reason to remove a bishop. To him alone is reserved the right to legislate in “casae maiores”, that is, matters of great moment and personages of eminent dignity. In the exercise of his “universal coercive jurisdiction” the Sovereign Pontiff has full authority to “deprive” of his see any bishop, for any reason sufficient to the Sovereign Pontiff himself.

The question still remains, however, what the Pope can do if the bishop refuses to leave despite a legal and valid order. I suppose he would be excommunicated and all his authority transferred to his successor.

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