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60 Jurist 310 (2000)
Baptism as Basis for Church Ministry: Application of the Ecclesiology of Communio

handle is hein.journals/juristcu60 and id is 312 raw text is: THE JURIST 60 (2000) 310-329

On October 16, 1978, Karol Wojtyla was elected bishop of Rome and
the ceremony of the solemn inauguration of his ministry was held on Oc-
tober 22, 1978. In virtue of his election, Karol Wojtyla became the
Bishop of Rome and Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of Saint Peter,
Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Patri-
arch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the
Roman Province, Servant of the Servants of God, and Sovereign of Vati-
can City State. According to canon 331 of the Code of Canon Law, the
bishop of the Roman Church, by virtue of his office, possesses supreme,
full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he is
always able to exercise freely.2
In view of this description of papal power and papal titles, one area of
reflection focuses upon that quality or aspect of Pope John Paul II which
is deemed the most important, that is, the quality upon which all else de-
pends. In other words, what is the sine qua non for the exercise of the of-
fice of bishop of Rome? Clearly, now the episcopal character is required
but this character in turn depends upon presbyteral ordination. And, ac-
cording to canon 1024, only a baptized male may receive the sacrament
of ordination. Ultimately then, the necessary prerequisite for someone
becoming the bishop of Rome is the sacrament of baptism.
* Assistant Professor of Canon Law, Catholic University of America.
1 This article was originally prepared as an oral presentation at the Midwest Canon
Law Society Convention, held May 8-10, 2000 in Madison, Wisconsin.
2 Canons are cited from Code of Canon Law. Latin-English Edition. New English
translation prepared under the auspices of the Canon Law Society of America (Washing-
ton, D.C.: CLSA, 1999). Canon 332 notes that the Roman Pontiff obtains full and
supreme power in the Church by his acceptance of legitimate election together with epis-
copal consecration; the second condition, episcopal consecration, is new to the code.
Canon 219 of the 1917 code, reflecting a long tradition, stated that, immediately upon his
acceptance, the individual elected to the papacy obtained by divine law the full power of
supreme jurisdiction.

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