How to Cover the Catholic Church
churches as churches. Christian churches which share partially in the historic
apostolic communities of Christian discipleship, but which in the Catholic
Church’s perspective do not have the fullness of apostolic succession in their
bishops or ordained ministry, are called
, rather than
churches. This position, strongly affirmed by the world’s Catholic bishops at
the Second Vatican Council and reaffirmed in numerous church documents
since then, remains a topic of considerable disagreement in ecumenical dia-
logues. In Catholic teaching the church embraces all its members—not only
those still living on earth, but also those in heaven or purgatory. The ancient
teaching that outside the church there is no salvation (
extra ecclesiam nulla
) has been officially nuanced in church teaching to include many who
do not explicitly embrace the church and all its teachings, or even many who
join no Christian religion. The teaching affirms the central role and responsi-
bility of the church to reach out to all people with the Gospel message while
acknowledging that those who have not been apprised or convinced of that
message may still be saved if they live upright lives in accord with their own
convictions and understanding of God.
In Catholic usage, a collective term referring to all those ordained—
bishops, priests and deacons—who administer the rites of the church.
A bishop appointed to a Catholic diocese or archdiocese to assist
the diocesan bishop. Unlike an auxiliary bishop—see
has the right of succession, meaning that he automatically becomes the new
bishop when the diocesan bishop retires or dies. By canon law, he is also vicar
general of the diocese. If the diocese is an archdiocese, he is called
. In recent years a growing number of
U.S. bishops in larger dioceses or archdioceses have requested and received
a coadjutor in the final year or two before their retirement, in order to famil-
iarize their successor with the workings of the (arch)diocese before he has to
take over the reins.
College of Cardinals.
A group of men chosen by the pope as his chief advis-
ers. Most are heads of major dioceses around the world or of the major depart-
ments of the Vatican, or are retired from such posts. In the interregnum fol-
lowing the death of the pope, the College of Cardinals administers the church,
and those under the age of 80 meet in a conclave to elect a new pope.