Monday, 8 June 2015


The Catholic church is built on a hierarchy of Obedience. Everyone in the Catholic church owes obedience. that is submits to someone higher in its hierarchy. The canonical rule was that all religious persons were subject to the hierarchy of the Church, first to the Pope, then to their bishop unless exempted by the pope. The Canon Gratian's Decretals Distinction 93 c. 5 formalises this specifying union with  Rome and the need for everyone in the Church to obey his/her superior. Everyone had to take a vow of obedience to his superior: priest to bishop, bishop to archbishop, monk to abbot, abbot to bishop and so forth all the way to the Pope, to whom everyone in the Church owed obedience.

The Catholic Church saw this hierarchy of obedience as part of the natural order of things. Obedience was a father-son relationship at this time. Junior ecclesiastics [sons] had to honour their fathers, senior ecclesiastics, as per the commandment.

The opposite of obedience is Contumacy [stubborn disobedience]. The punishment for Contumacy was excommunication.

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