Catholic Ecumenical Councils

Catholic Ecumenical Councils include 21 councils over a period of 1700 years. While definitions changed throughout history, in today's Roman Catholic understanding Ecumenical Councils are assemblies of Patriarchs, Cardinals, residing Bishops, Abbots, male heads of religious orders and other juridical persons, nominated by the Roman Pontiff. They meet to discuss matters of faith and Church discipline. Council decisions, to be valid, are approved by the popes. Participation is limited to these persons, who cannot delegate their voting rights.

Ecumenical councils are different from provincial councils, where bishops of a Church province or region meet. Episcopal conferences and plenary councils are other bodies, meetings of bishops of one country, nation, or region, such as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This article does not include councils of a lower order or regional councils. Ecumenical in the Catholic view does not mean that all bishops attended the councils, which was not even the case in Vatican II. Nor does ecumenical imply the participation of or acceptance by all Christian communities and Churches. Ecumenical refers to "a solemn congregations of the Catholic bishops of the world at the invitation of the Pope to decide on matters of the Church with him". The ecumenical character of the councils of the first millennium was not determined by the intention of those who issued the invitations. The papal approval of the early councils did not have a formal character, which was characteristic in later councils. The Catholic Church did not officially declare these Councils to be ecumenical. This became theological practice. Different evaluations existed between and within Christian communities.

Not all of the twenty-one councils were always accepted as ecumenical within the Catholic Church. For example, the inclusion of the First Lateran Council and the Council of Basel were disputed. A 1539 book on ecumenical councils by Cardinal Dominicus Jacobazzi excluded them as did other scholars. The first few centuries did not know large-scale ecumenical meetings; they were only feasible after the Church had gained freedom from persecution through Emperor Constantine.

Read more about Catholic Ecumenical CouncilsEcumenical Councils of Antiquity, Councilarism, Council of Trent, First Vatican Council, Second Vatican Council

Other articles related to "catholic ecumenical councils, council":

Catholic Ecumenical Councils - Second Vatican Council
... The Second Vatican Council was invoked by Pope John XXIII ... Unlike most previous ones, this council did not discuss heresy as its orientation was mainly pastoral The Council called for a renewal of the Roman rite of ... The general sessions of the Council were held in the autumns of four successive years (in four periods) 1962 through 1965 ...

Famous quotes containing the words councils, catholic and/or ecumenical:

    In bridge clubs and in councils of state, the passions are the same.
    Mason Cooley (b. 1927)

    That is the great end of empires before God, to be Catholic and draw nations into their Catholicism. But our empire is less and less Christian as it grows.
    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)

    Were it possible so to accelerate the intercourse between every part of the globe that all its inhabitants could be united under the superintending authority of an ecumenical Council, how great a portion of human evils would be avoided.
    James Madison (1751–1836)