Page:Vactican as a World Power.djvu/402

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88 THE CURIA

(the Papacy) and the episcopacy (the office of bishop) are divinely established and therewith also of divine right. Other steps in the governing hierarchy have been added during the course of historical development, at the bidding of the hierarchical power of the Church. Their incumbents do not have to be bearers of the power of ordination also, for the reason that a hierarchy of ordination and a hierarchy of government are two really distinct functions. Even of the Papacy it may be said that every orthodox Catholic Christian who has attained the use of reason, who is not unable to receive ordination to the priest- hood, and who is not guilty of simony, can be elected Pope.

The original hierarchical structure has grown with the Church it- self. It is a moot question when and where the hieratic principle of the superiority of the bishop to the presbyteri, the elders of the congregation, was first put into effect. Though this change from an oligarchical to a monarchical administration of the community was radical, there is absolutely no reason for believing that it was brought about suddenly or even through the use of force. The charisma of the layman in the state of grace was regarded as still too nearly on a par with ordination to the priesthood to make it possible to assume that the later sharp distinction between clergy and laity had already then been possible. Certainly the first Christian century did not know any such separation. But already in the third century the raised throne of the bishop, the cathedra, symbolized his increased power; and this power was no longer associated with the revered personality of the leader, but with his office. The bishop was the appointed guardian of his flock, and he termed his messages "pastoral letters." The area over which a bishop's authority extended was still not much larger than that of a big parish, and many bishops were needed. Meetings between these bishops (synods) and the establishment of higher ranks (metropolitan bishops, and in Europe after the sixth century, archbishops) were fruits of necessity. All further additions to die structure were in- evitable: entrusting of supreme authority to the Papacy and the Patriarchates of the East, and the passing on of the pastoral authority to the lower ranks from the bishop to a first group of assistants and then to a second, to pastors (whom the historian meets for the first rime in Gaul of the Carolingian period) and their assistants, who are termed vicars, chaplains, co-operators, assistants, in accordance with


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