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Old 06-29-2017, 08:33 AM   #2
Michael Cule
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: Contribute Something For Yrth

And this is slightly later than the last thing.

The Choosing of Bishops

In the early years of Christianity on Yrth, before the establishment of the Curia, there was a period when there was no central authority for the Church but a continued need for hierarchy and organisation. And a continued need for Bishops and eventually Archbishops to provide those two commodities. You canít make new priests without Bishops.

Now, in Catholic dogma, a Bishop is someone whose consecration partakes of the Apostolic Succession. That is that he was made a Bishop by someone whose own consecration could be traced back (in theory) to one of the Twelve Apostles, commissioned by Christ to spread the Faith throughout the world. The annals of Christianity on Yrth speak of at least two itinerant Bishops who were caught up in the Banestorm: an Italian called Paulo and a Norman called Roger. Their original dioceses are not clear from the record and the Church does not encourage sceptical historians to examine these legends too closely. (Given the fact that people from several similar timelines arrived on Yrth at about that period the theological complexity of the mutual validity of the two bishopsí consecrations has driven more than a few scholars mad.) Thus Episcopal continuity was satisfied. However the Church still had to face the problem of how to choose who replaced a deceased Bishop, a matter that was not entirely fixed in canon law on Earth at the time of the Banestorm. Before the rise of the Curia this was decided on by locally evolved customs, most of which gave the local ruler a big say in who got to wear the mitre.

When the Curia emerged as the collegial central authority, they wished to impose a uniform code for the choosing of bishops. The solution that eventually emerged was that of election, a custom already found in some places.

When a Bishop or Archbishop dies, canon laws requires the Dean of his Cathedral to contact the next higher level of authority: the Archbishop in the case of a Bishop, the Curia for an Archbishop. That authority will send a representative to the Cathedral to supervise the election of the new Bishop. At the election of a Bishop the secular clergy of the diocese (that is those not belonging to an Order) will be invited to attend to elect their new leader, most will send a fellow priest with a proxy vote. At the election of an Archbishop the Bishops of the archdiocese are the electors. Local rulers (if Christian) will be permitted to send observers but not to vote. If the candidate chosen is unacceptable to the authority calling the election (the Archbishop or the Curia) the election will have to be repeated until there is a candidate acceptable to both the electors and the higher authority. The heads of the regular Orders are also elected by means specified in their charters and those candidates are also approved or vetoed by the Curia.

Thatís the theory. In fact the system varies with local political conditions and the culture of the particular place. In one place there will be a genuinely open election. In another it will be an exercise in pure bribery, politicking and corruption. In a third the election is simply a rubber stamp for a candidate chose by a powerful ruler. The Emperor of Megalos in particular expects to be able to fill any Megalosian vacancy with a candidate of his choice and it is a foolish cleric who tries to defy him.

Oddly, the place where the system works at its best is in the Archdiocese of Tredroy, where the divided nature of political authority means the Church is left to govern its own affairs. A Tredroyan conclave to elect an Archbishop is an exercise in politics as a High Art.
Michael Cule,
Genius for Hire,
Gaming Dinosaur Second Class
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