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In the legal terminology of the Church, jurisdiction is the authoritative power to govern (potestas jurisdictionis seu regiminis, CIC, can. 196), which was bestowed on the Church in the metaphor of the shepherd (cf. Jn 10:1– 28; 21:15–17); hence it is sometimes called, in contrast to the power of teaching and sanctifying, the pastoral office. Jurisdiction is exercised in the external and internal forum, in the sacramental and the non- sacramental realm. In contrast to the power of orders, which comes from a conse…

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Klaus Mörsdorf, “Jurisdiction”, in: Sacramentum Mundi Online, General Editor Karl Rahner, SJ. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2016

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