January 2019 Print

Bishop’s Oath and Examination


“I, N, elect of the Church of N, from this hour henceforward will be faithful and obedient to blessed Peter the apostle, and to the holy Roman Church, and to our lord, Pope N, and to his Successors canonically elected. I will not advise, or consent, or do anything that they may lose life or member, or be taken by an evil deception, or have hands violently laid upon them in any way, or have injuries offered to them under any pretense whatsoever. The counsel indeed which they shall entrust to me, by themselves, or by their messengers or letters, I will not, to their harm, knowingly reveal to anyone. The Roman Papacy and the Royalty of St. Peter I will help them to retain and defend, without prejudice to my order, against every man. The legate of the apostolic see, in his going and returning, I will treat honorably and help in his necessities. The rights, honors, privileges, and authority of the holy Roman Church, of our lord the pope, and of his aforesaid successors, I will take care to preserve, defend, increase, and promote. Nor will I take part in any counsel, or deed, or working, in which anything may be contrived against the pope himself or the said Roman Church, to the injury or prejudice of their persons, right, honor, state, and power. And if I shall know such things to be taken in hand or managed by any whomsoever, I will hinder this as far as I can; and as soon as I shall be able, will make it known to our said pope, or to some other one by whom it may come to his knowledge. The rules of the holy fathers, the decrees, ordinances, or dispositions, reservations, provisions, and apostolic mandates, I will observe with all my might, and cause to be observed by others. Heretics, schismatics, and rebels against our said pope or his aforesaid Successors I will, as far as I can, pursue and fight against. When called to a synod I will come, unless I shall be prevented by a canonical impediment. I will myself personally visit the thresholds of the apostles every three (or four or five or ten) years; and I will render to our pope and his aforesaid Successors an account of my whole pastoral office, and of all things in anywise pertaining to the state of my Church, to the discipline of the clergy and people, finally to the salvation of the souls committed to my trust; and I will in turn humbly receive and with the utmost diligence perform the apostolic commands. But if I shall be detained by a lawful impediment, I will perform all the things aforesaid by a certain messenger specially authorized for this purpose, one of my chapter, or some other one placed in ecclesiastical dignity, or else having a benefice; or, if these are lacking to me, by a priest of the diocese; and if the clergy are altogether lacking, by some other secular or regular priest, of proven honesty and piety, well instructed in all the above-named subjects. In respect to an impediment of this sort, however, I will give information by legitimate proofs, to be transmitted by the aforesaid messenger to the Cardinal proponent of the holy Roman Church in the Congregation of the sacred Council. Assuredly, the possessions belonging to my table I will not sell, nor give away, nor pledge, nor enfeoff anew, or in any way alienate, even with the consent of the chapter of my Church, without consulting the Roman Pontiff. And if I shall make any alienation, I desire by that very act to incur the penalties set forth in a certain constitution published on this subject. So help me God, and these holy Gospels of God.”




The Consecrator examines the bishop-elect, beginning with the admonition: “The ancient rule of the holy Fathers teaches and ordains that he who is chosen to the order of bishop shall be with all charity examined diligently beforehand concerning his faith in the Holy Trinity, and shall be questioned concerning the different objects and rules which pertain to this government and are to be observed, according to the word of the apostle: “Impose hands hastily on no man.” This is done in order that he who is to be ordained may be instructed how it behooveth one placed under this rule to conduct himself in the Church of God, and also that they may be blameless who impose on him the hands of ordination. Therefore, by the same authority and commandment, with sincere charity, we ask you, dearest brother, if you desire to make your conduct harmonize, as far as your nature allows, with the meaning of the divine Scripture.” The bishop-elect answers: “With my whole heart I wish in all things to consent and obey.”


The Consecrator interrogates further, with the bishop-elect responding: “Will you teach the people for whom you are ordained, both by words and by example, the things you understand from the divine Scriptures?” “I will” [Volo, or It is my will to do so].

“Will you receive, keep and teach with reverence the traditions of the orthodox fathers and the decretal constitutions of the Holy and Apostolic See?” “I will.”

“Will you exhibit in all things fidelity, submission, obedience, according to canonical authority, to Blessed Peter the Apostle, to whom was given by God the power of binding and of loosing, and to his Vicar our Holy Father, Pope N. and to his successors the Roman Pontiffs?” “I will.”

“Will you refrain in all your ways from evil and, as far as you are able, with the help of the Lord, direct them to every good?” “I will.”

“Will you observe and teach, with the help of God, chastity and sobriety?” “I will.”

“Will you, as far as your human frailty shall allow, always be given up to divine affairs and abstain from worldly matters or sordid gains?” “I will.”

“Will you yourself observe, and likewise teach others to observe humility and patience?” “I will.”

“Will you, for the Lord’s sake, be affable and merciful to the poor and to pilgrims and all those in need?” “I will.”


The Consecrator says to him: “May the Lord bestow upon thee all these things and every other good thing, and preserve thee and strengthen thee in all goodness.” He then examines the bishop-elect on matters of the Catholic Faith:


“Do you believe, according to your understanding and the capacity of your mind, in the Holy Trinity, the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, one God almighty and the whole Godhead, in the Holy Trinity coessential, consubstantial, coeternal, and coomnipotent, of one will, power and majesty, the Creator of all creatures, by whom are all things, through whom are all things, and in whom are all things in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, corporeal and spiritual?” “I assent and do so believe.”

“Do you believe each single person of the Holy Trinity is one God, true, full and perfect?” “I do believe.”

“ Do you believe in the Son of God, the Word of God eternally begotten of the Father, consubstantial, coomnipotent and coequal in all things to the Father in divinity, born in time of the Holy Ghost from Mary ever Virgin, with a rational soul, having two nativities, one eternal from the Father, the other temporal from the Mother, true God and true Man, proper and perfect in both natures, not the adopted nor the fantastic, but the sole and only Son of God in two natures and of two natures, but in the singleness of one person, incapable of suffering and immortal in his divinity, but Who suffered in his humanity for us and for our salvation, with real suffering of the flesh, and was buried, and, rising on the third day from the dead with a true resurrection of the flesh, on the fortieth day after resurrection, with the flesh wherein he rose and with his soul, ascended into Heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, thence to come to judge the living and the dead, and to render to everyone according to his works as they shall have been good or bad?” “I assent and so in all things do I believe.”

“Do you believe also in the Holy Ghost, full and perfect and true God, proceeding from the Father and the Son, coequal and coessential, coomnipotent and coeternal in all things with the Father and the Son?” “I do believe.”

“Do you believe that this Holy Trinity is not three Gods, but one God, almighty, eternal, invisible and unchangeable?” “I do believe.”

“ Do you believe that the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church is the one true Church in which there is but one true baptism and the true remission of all sins?” “I do believe.”

“Do you also anathematize every heresy that shall arise against this holy Catholic Church?” “I do anathematize it.”

“Do you believe also in the true resurrection of this same flesh of yours, and in life everlasting?” “I do believe.”

“Do you believe also that God and the Lord Almighty is the sole author of the New and Old Testaments, of the Law, and of the Prophets, and of the Apostles?” “I do believe.”

Afterwards the Consecrator says: “May this faith be increased in thee, by the Lord, unto true and eternal happiness, dearest brother in Christ.”