We all know that the Pope – often called the Holy Father – has universal authority over the Church. When he exercises his power, he is unhindered. The pope is, without any doubts, the visible foundation and source of the harmony between the faithful flock and bishops. So, what are the archdioceses? Learn the difference between archdiocese and diocese.
Everything you need to know about dioceses
Let’s start from the beginning. First of all, a parish is a primary geographical division. The worship of congregations is accommodated in the churches established within parishes. So, the parish church is the religious center of the parish. Here is the place where the flock comes for baptisms and weddings. As for the canonical authority over the primary congregation, it is granted to a priest (pastor), who is helped by one or several parochial vicars. The bishop may assign a deacon to the parish; although the deacon assists in public ministry, they will not perform several rites by themselves.
The diocese is the geographical division that encompasses some parishes. The canonical authority within the diocese is the bishop, who is assisted by his principal deputy, a vicar general – who must be an ordained deacon, priest, or bishop. The right of succession is held by the coadjutor bishop, who also cooperates in administering the diocese. Then, the archbishop has authority over the bishops whose dioceses are located in the archdiocese within his ecclesiastical province.
Obviously, archdioceses are more significant than dioceses. In fact, their importance is based on their size and historical origins. There may be more than just one archbishops in an ecclesiastical province. However, only one archbishop has the title of Metropolitan of the See. In case you were wondering about the purpose of the archdiocese, here it is: it fosters the common pastoral action and cooperation within a geographical region.
The power of the bishops and archbishops is different. Though archbishops aren’t a distinct type of clerics, they just occupy a position that has an exclusive authority. It’s a function, not quite a job. When they retire, archbishops can still be considered bishops.
The difference between bishops and archbishops
The metropolitan archbishop has many essential duties. Apart from the fact that they inform the Pope in the case of negligence or abuses within dioceses, archbishops also make sure that bishops and dioceses are vigilant in the ecclesiastical discipline and faith. They assist installing the new bishops within dioceses and discuss important topics in the region with the suffragan bishops.
We must admit that in many duties, bishops are similar to archbishops. They preach the Word of God to his people and teach the truth. They make sure that the Church laws are observed and meet the needs of the local community governed.
The difference between archdiocese and diocese isn’t as complicated as it seems. If a diocese is a portion of the people of God, an archdiocese reunites several dioceses within a certain defined territory. Archdioceses promote a joint pastoral action of a few neighboring dioceses. If you want to know more about the topic, ask the priest from your favorite church.