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What is the Problem with Collegiality? - Episode 11 - SSPX FAQ Series. - Of the many debates that took place during the Second Vatican Council, one of the most important - and one that …More
What is the Problem with Collegiality? - Episode 11 - SSPX FAQ Series. - Of the many debates that took place during the Second Vatican Council, one of the most important - and one that still goes on today - concerned collegiality, or the role of the college of bishops in leading, guiding and teaching the church. This is what we are going to explain in this video.

Catholicism and modernism understand truth very differently, one defending the primacy of God’s objective reality, the other promoting the subjective expression of individual opinions. This divergent definition of truth has also produced two conflicting views of how the Church should be governed.

Catholicism teaches that God created the universe in a hierarchical order over which He is the supreme authority. Likewise God, in the divine person of Jesus Christ, established His one true Church over which He appointed Peter and his successors as its supreme head. Traditionally these successors, the popes, have exercised an immediate and unmediated jurisdiction over every office in the Church. In moral, doctrinal, and disciplinary matters the pope’s say is final for he speaks with the direct authority of Christ. The bishops, likewise, as successors of the other apostles, also receive their power from God and exercise supreme religious authority in their respective dioceses, subject only to extraordinary intervention by the pope.

The modernist concept of religious collegiality, stemming from a faulty understanding of liberty and individual rights, threatens this clear, hierarchical structure. It insists that a strict democratic process should govern the Church at all times. The pope is thus free to have his say, but his cardinals and bishops must always be allowed to voice their own opinions as well. Likewise, a bishop in his diocese must consult all his priests and respect their views, while each parish priest must similarly consult all his parishioners. This is the only way, according to modernism, that everyone’s inviolable individual rights and liberty will be preserved. Everyone, therefore, must learn to communicate and compromise, even the pope. Such unwavering devotion to debate and discussion severely obscures the hierarchical nature which God intended for his Church and unnecessarily hinders the actions of its leaders.

Lumen Gentium by suggesting that the College of Bishops, together with the Pope, exercises supreme power in the Church has introduced a new notion of Collegiality: a democratization of the government within the Church, destroying personal authority of the Pope over the Cardinals, the Bishops and even the faithful.
Consequently, Bishops’ conferences, for instance (or parish councils) make now decisions binding on their members in an authoritarian manner, reducing the bishops to a role of presidents or mere commissioners.

Certainly the pope and bishops should consult one another, their fellow priests, and the laity when appropriate, but they are not bound to do so and it is only done in order to bring their light together and help those in authority to decide. The Church, moreover, has convened numerous councils during its long history, but the popes have primarily guided these councils and the individual bishops have been directly responsible for implementing any subsequent rulings in their respective dioceses.

Collegiality is the destruction of personal authority, the authority of God, of the Pope and of the bishops.

For further understanding and insight on this question, we recommend listening to the “2012 Conference Audio: The Papacy”, which can be found at

Another great source we recommend is to read “Against the Heresies” by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, also available at

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- Recommended Resources in Video -

2012 Angelus Press Conference Audio “The Papacy” -

Against the Heresies - by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre -