St. Paul the Apostles admitted that Christ did not sent him to baptize but to preach the Gospel.

17For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with eloquent words of wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. (1Corinthian1:17)

In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders. - Bishop in the Catholic Church

In Catholicism the priest has the faculties to administer Sacraments of Baptism, Penance and Matrimony but the Sacrament of Confirmation is only for the consecrated Bishop.

If St. Paul was not sent to baptize although the scriptures showed St. Paul had the faculties to baptize if he wants too. It would mean St. Paul lacks the faculties to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation unlike the rest of the Apostles who were present at the Upper Room and had received the Holy Spirit.

1299 In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from sin and gave them new life. Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord.113

Does Catholic Church acknowledge St. Paul the Apostle as a consecrated bishop during Apostolic times?

  • Priests may administer the sacrament of confirmation with the permission of their local ordinary. It is quite common to see priests confirm adults at the Easter Vigil.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 17, 2019 at 10:42
  • @KenGraham Can the priest consecrate the oil of chrism? Anyway, just try focus on the main questio. Is St.Paul acknowledge as consecrated Bishop by Catholic Church? Oct 17, 2019 at 12:32
  • There is a lack of evidence to make a good response here, however the Apostolic Constitutions or Constitutions of the Holy Apostles states that St. Paul ordained the future Sovereign Pontiff St. Linus. See here: Who Were They that the Holy Apostles Sent and Ordained?
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 17, 2019 at 23:04
  • A related clue would be who consecrated Titus, St. Paul's longest and one of his most trusted co-worker, and they both founded the church at Crete where Titus later became bishop. I would be very surprised if it were not Paul himself who consecrated Titus before he left for other mission opportunities (see letter to Titus). See reginamag.com/saint-titus-bishop-confessor Can a non-bishop consecrate someone a bishop? Oct 18, 2019 at 0:14
  • @GratefulDisciple and Ken thanks for the link. So, St.Paul not only can baptize but also can ordain a priest and consecrate a Bishop, it follows that he is also a Bishop. As who consecrate St.Paul as "bishop" meaning who laid hands and pour oil on St.Paul was still a mystery. Although Ive seen passages in Book of Acts that relates consecration to anointing done by prophet Samuel to David that made him "Prince or Bishop" of the People of Israel and St.Paul "Prince of the People of God particularly gentiles". Oct 18, 2019 at 2:08

2 Answers 2


Does Catholic Church acknowledge St. Paul the Apostle as consecrated Bishop during Apostolic times?

The short answer is yes.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states that St. Paul actually consecrated Timothy a Bishop by St. Paul himself thus St. Paul had to have been a bishop.

From Scripture we learn that the Apostles appointed others by an external rite (imposition of hands), conferring inward grace. The fact that grace is ascribed immediately to the external rite, shows that Christ must have thus ordained. The fact that cheirontonein, cheirotonia, which meant electing by show of hands, had acquired the technical meaning of ordination by imposition of hands before the middle of the third century, shows that appointment to the various orders was made by that external rite. We read of the deacons, how the Apostles "praying, imposed hands upon them" (Acts 6:6). In 2 Timothy 1:6 St. Paul reminds Timothy that he was made a bishop by the imposition of St. Paul's hands (cf. 1 Timothy 4:4), and Timothy is exhorted to appoint presbyters by the same rite (1 Timothy 5:22; cf. Acts 13:3; 14:22). In the Third Clementine Homily (73), we read of the appointment of Zachæus as bishop by the imposition of Peter's hands. The word is used in its technical meaning by Clement of Alexandria (Stromata VI.13, 106; cf. Apostolic Consitutions II.32). "A priest lays on hands, but does not ordain" (cheirothetei ou cheirotonei) "Didasc. Syr.", IV; III, 10, 11, 20; Cornelius, "Ad Fabianum" in Eusebius, Church History VI.43.

The ordinary minister of the sacrament [of holy orders] is the bishop, who alone has this power in virtue of his ordination. Holy Scripture attributed the power to the Apostles and their successors (Acts 6:6; 16:22; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6; Titus 1:5), and the Fathers and councils ascribe the power to the bishop exclusively. First Council of Nicaea (Canon 4) and Apostolic Constitutions VIII.28 — "A bishop lays on hands, ordains. . .a presbyter lays on hands, but does not ordain." - Holy Orders

To see more that the Church believes that St. Paul was a bishop can be seen in the Apostolic Constitutions (Book VII) that St. Paul is believed to have ordained several men.

Who Were They that the Holy Apostles Sent and Ordained?

XLVI. Now concerning those bishops which have been ordained in our lifetime, we let you know that they are these:— James the bishop of Jerusalem, the brother of our Lord; upon whose death the second was Simeon the son of Cleopas; after whom the third was Judas the son of James. Of Cæsarea of Palestine, the first was Zacchæus, who was once a publican; after whom was Cornelius, and the third Theophilus. Of Antioch, Euodius, ordained by me Peter; and Ignatius by Paul. Of Alexandria, Annianus was the first, ordained by Mark the evangelist; the second Avilius by Luke, who was also an evangelist. Of the church of Rome, Linus the son of Claudia was the first, ordained by Paul; 2 Timothy 4:21 and Clemens, after Linus' death, the second, ordained by me Peter. Of Ephesus, Timotheus, ordained by Paul; and John, by me John. Of Smyrna, Aristo the first; after whom Stratæas the son of Lois; 2 Timothy 1:5 and the third Aristo. Of Pergamus, Gaius. Of Philadelphia, Demetrius, by me. Of Cenchrea, Lucius, by Paul. Of Crete, Titus. Of Athens, Dionysius. Of Tripoli in Phœnicia, Marathones. Of Laodicea in Phrygia, Archippus. Of Colossæ, Philemon. Of Borea in Macedonia, Onesimus, once the servant of Philemon. Of the churches of Galatia, Crescens. Of the parishes of Asia, Aquila and Nicetas. Of the church of Æginæ, Crispus. These are the bishops who are entrusted by us with the parishes in the Lord; whose doctrine keep always in mind, and observe our words. And may the Lord be with you now, and to endless ages, as Himself said to us when He was about to be taken up to His own God and Father. For says He, Lo, I am with you all the days, until the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:20 - Enumeration Ordained by Apostles


Does Catholic Church acknowledge St. Paul the Apostle as consecrated Bishop during Apostolic times?

The answer is YES, if we accept the number of Popes who had chosen the name of St.Paul as their papal name.

Pope Paul I (757–767)

Pope Paul II (1464–1471)

Pope Paul III (1534–1549)

Pope Paul IV (1555–1559)

Pope Paul V (1605–1621)

Pope Paul VI (1963–1978)

St.Pope Paul VI is perhaps the most well known to had witnessed the charism of St.Paul the Apostles as a Missionary Bishops preaching the gospel of Christ to many parts of the world.

Paul VI, an 'evangelical' pope For Francis, the key to Paul's pontificate was his 1975 exhortation on evangelization, Evangelii Nuntiandi ("On Proclaiming the Gospel"), which Francis has called "the greatest pastoral document written to date."

In that landmark document -- largely overshadowed by the contraception encyclical -- Paul said that the church itself "has a constant need of being evangelized," and he wrote that people today listen "more willingly to witnesses than to teachers," so Catholic leaders above all must practice what they preach.

"The world calls for, and expects from us, simplicity of life, the spirit of prayer, charity towards all, especially towards the lowly and the poor, obedience and humility, detachment and self-sacrifice. Without this mark of holiness, our word will have difficulty in touching the heart of modern man. It risks being vain and sterile," Paul wrote in words that could have come from the pen of Francis.

In fact, in November 2013, Francis sent a personal representative to a meeting of the U.S. bishops and had him read those passages to the hierarchy, followed by clear instructions that Francis, like Paul, "wants 'pastoral' bishops, not bishops who profess or follow a particular ideology." Francis also asked all eight cardinals in his special advisory groups to reread Evangelii Nuntiandi. https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/pope-paul-vi-almost-saint-here-are-four-his-biggest-legacies

After St.Pope Paul VI, the next two Popes had chosen to combine the name of St.Paul the Apostle with St.John the beloved apostle.

Pope John Paul I (1978)

Pope John Paul II (1978–2005)

The Church also celebrates the feast day celebration of St.Peter and St.Pau the Apostle;

The Feast of Saints Peter and Paul or Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul is a liturgical feast in honour of the martyrdom in Rome of the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul, which is observed on 29 June. The celebration is of ancient origin, the date selected being the anniversary of either their death or the translation of their relics.[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feast_of_Saints_Peter_and_Paul

But, to answer the question on hand;

Does Catholic Church acknowledge St. Paul the Apostle as consecrated Bishop during Apostolic times?

Biblical Proof that St.Paul the Apostle can confer the Sacrament of Confirmation which is proper only to Bishop can be seen in the following passages;

Acts 19:6 New International Version (NIV) 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[a] and prophesied.

This can be seen as the same effect on the people who had experienced the Pentecost.

Acts 2 New International Version (NIV) The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost 2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

The remaining question is, when did St.Paul received the "anointing" as Bishop?

Is the laying of hands of Ananias "enough to consecrate" St.Paul as Bishop?

So Ananias went to the house, and when he arrived, he placed his hands on Saul. “Brother Saul,” he said, “the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts9:17)

Is the laying of hands of Anannias has the power to confer raising Saul to episcopate or Bishop or Prince of the Church?

So, where can we found the biblical passage pertaining to Saul consecration as Bishop?

The answer is in Acts13:1-2;

Acts 13 New International Version (NIV) 13 1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Now, these passage has "prophets" plus they "united in praying thru worship and fasting" resembling the Mary and the Apostles as they invoke the Holy Spirit to come down. Also, since the prophets knew the Jewish Tradition in "anointing with oils" if one will be "set aside for a mission meaning chosen" to empower them with the Holy Spirit, did the prophet "anoint Saul & Barnabas with oils" like what prophet Samuel did to Saul and David that made them Prince of Israel or Bishop?

We can see on the next passages it mentioned the name of Saul became Paul and mentioned that he was "filled by the Holy Spirit", not only that it display the power of Saul now name Paul to exorcise demons which in the Catholic Church reserve only to the Bishop.

They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7 who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.

Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. (Acts13:6-12)

This passages, although not explicit stated the Holy Spirit instructed the prophet to "set aside or consecrate" and aided by united prayers of the prophets and teachers Saul & Barnabas was "filled by the Holy Spirit" and have now the power over demons and Saul name was now mentioned as Paul. A change in the character and power implied Saul becoming Paul marks his missionary role as Prince of the Gentiles a Bishop and Apostles chosen by Christ and anointed by the Holy Spirit.

  • Yet priests can administer the sacrament of confirmation also. I am not disagreeing with you, but the evidence could be stronger.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 19, 2019 at 13:20
  • @KenGraham Can a priest consecrate the "chrism"? Oct 19, 2019 at 22:20
  • No , but your comment is not in the scope of this question! And you do not quote St. Paul as doing so. Besides there is a lot of irrelevant information in your answer.
    – Ken Graham
    Oct 19, 2019 at 22:42
  • 2
    The Use of "Paul" as a papal name doesn't show that St. Paul was a bishop -- there's no requirement that Papal names must have been previously used by a bishop.
    – eques
    Nov 19, 2019 at 20:02

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