Assemblies of Hierarchs and Conferences of Bishops: A Comparative Study

Title: Assemblies of Hierarchs and Conferences of Bishops: A Comparative Study
Authors: Laschuk, Alexander
Date: 2016-07-05
Abstract: In numerous regions, whether due to migration or historical circumstance, a plurality of Churches sui iuris coexist with varying degrees of interaction. The main question of this thesis is: what does the single Corpus iuris canonici offer with respect to a model of collegiality for the bishops of a given region and what options are available in an inter-ecclesial environment? To answer this question, this study engages in a comparative analysis of the canons on assemblies of hierarchs and conferences of bishops as presented in the Latin and Eastern codes, respectively. There are four chapters. Chapter one examines the historical, theological, and canonical foundations for episcopal collegiality. Chapter two is an examination of the general canons on conferences of bishops as articulated in the 1983 Latin Code. Chapter three studies the legislation governing assemblies of hierarchs as articulated in canon 322 of the Eastern Code. Chapter four critically examines these two models as presented in the codes by means of comparative legal analysis. The general canons on conferences and assemblies are examined for their similarities and differences on numerous points. Further, concrete implementation of these structures is observed by contrasting already-promulgated statutes of both conferences of bishops and assemblies of hierarchs. Finally, this study offers practical suggestions for collegial activity in inter-ecclesial environments so as to promote collegial activity while respecting the juridical autonomy of the different Churches sui iuris. The proposal of this study is thus two-fold. First, in those territories where assemblies have not been erected but a plurality of Churches coexist, both in traditional “Eastern” territories and the diaspora, assemblies of hierarchs should be explored as a model for collegial activity. These structures can coexist along the already existing collegial bodies proper to the individual Churches. Second, these assemblies should be given competencies that reflect the broad possibilities of CCEO canon 322 in a manner that is both deliberative and respects the limitations provided by the common law. Common pastoral activity is of foremost importance and the assembly of hierarchs facilitates this activity in a spirit of collaboration and, importantly, equality. Promotion of these Churches must be made a priority in the Church’s ecclesial mission and the failure to do so risks detracting from that diversity which, far from subtracting from the Church’s splendour, contributes to its unity.
CollectionThèses Saint-Paul // Saint Paul Theses