Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

According to an answer to this question When did Peter become the first Pope, according to Roman Catholic doctrine?, the Pope is the bishop of Rome.

So this made me wonder - since Peter was ordained an Apostle (not bishop of Rome) and he is considered the first Pope - are bishops equal in authority with apostles according to Roman Catholic tradition?

I understand what apostolic succession is, but it doesn't seem clear from this that it's the actual apostolic authority or just a part of it handed down to the bishops from the original apostles.

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

Bishops (from the Greek, epi-scopus = overseers) are the successors of the Apostles. Their primary responsibility is shepherding the faith of the people in their diocese. They ordain priests, perform the sacrament of confirmation on the faithful, and serve to teach, provide guidance and support for the faithful. So in that sense, they indeed have the authority of the Apostles. However, a tenet of the Catholic Church is that public revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle.

The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ

Vatican II, Dei Verbum 4

Only apostles had firsthand knowledge of the teachings of Jesus. Therefore, no Bishop can add to public revelation. They may explain or further develop the implications of sacred revelation, whether by Scripture or the sacred Tradition of the Apostles.

share|improve this answer
    
Is public revelation = revelation to the church, meaning doctrine and commandments for the church? –  kutschkem Nov 11 at 13:43
    
Public revelation (aka divine revelation): beliefs revealed to the apostles, which all members are bound to hold. Private revelation = heavenly messages or Marian apparitions that have been designated "worthy of belief" by the Church, and which a given member of the faithful is not bound to hold. –  Firstrock 10 hours ago

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.