Understanding Church Hierarchy is Easier Than You May Think (Father Simon Says)

Have you ever wondered why Holy Days of Obligation seem to vary from place to place? 🤔 It can feel a bit confusing, right? Well, Fr. Richard Simon is here to shed some light on this!

Local Flavor in a Universal Church 🌍

So, why the differences? Father explains that the Catholic Church, while universal in its beliefs, gives a lot of autonomy to local bishops. This means they can decide which Holy Days are best for their flock. Imagine it like your favorite family recipe—everyone adds their unique touch!

The Church’s Simple Structure 🏛️

Father insists that despite all the titles like cardinals, bishops, and vicars, the Church’s structure is straightforward:

Bishop: The head of a diocese

Priest: Think of them as the bishop’s deputy within a parish.

Deacon: They focus on service and support.

The Pope: The Shepherd’s Shepherd 🐑

Now, what about the pope? Fr. Simon clears up that the Holy Father, being the Bishop of Rome, has a special role—kind of like the shepherd of all shepherds. But his authority is mostly about strengthening the faith, not micromanaging every diocese.

Universal vs. Local Feasts 🎉

While Christmas is celebrated everywhere, some feasts are unique to certain regions. This mix allows the Church to honor local traditions and devotions, making the faith feel both universal and personal.

Infallibility and Local Authority 📜

And about papal infallibility? Fr. Simon clarifies it’s limited to faith and morals, which actually keeps the Pope’s power in check and preserves the local bishop’s authority. This is why some Holy Days get shifted around—it’s up to the local bishops to decide what’s best for their people.

In a Nutshell 🌰

Father sums it up beautifully: the Church is like a big family that’s both global and local. This structure ensures that while we share the same faith, we can also celebrate our unique local traditions. So next time a Holy Day seems different, remember it’s all part of our beautiful, diverse Church!


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Jake Moore serves as a Digital Audio Content Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, and is passionate about classic movies, Christian music, young adult ministry, and leading this generation to Christ through compelling media. You can listen to more of his podcasts at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.