Sacramentum Mundi Online

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Ecclesiastical Authority
(5,337 words)

Ecclesiastical authority (potestas sacra) is the authority which the Church has been given by Jesus Christ to be exercised in his name in carrying out the mission entrusted to it.

1. Basis in the nature of the Church. In the language of Vatican II potestas sacra means the power which Jesus Christ has given the Church to exercise in his name, in the discharge of ministries he has established in his Church in such a way that they have to be carried out by special authorities (Constitution on the Church, art. 18). The ministry here referred t…

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Klaus Mörsdorf, “Ecclesiastical Authority”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 29 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2016

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