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Ecumenical dialogue looks at role of pope

VATICAN (CNS): Many people, including many Catholics, believe the pope always ruled over the Catholic Church as an absolute monarch, appointing the world’s bishops and definitively settling issues of faith and morals. Yet that exercise of the papal office is comparatively new.
 
The pope’s supreme power, both in governance and doctrine, was defined by the First Vatican Council in 1870 and has been seen as crucial to defending the Church from hostile governments and cultural forces around the world.
 

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