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Tom O'Reilly wrote:

Hi, guys —

I am aware that a bishop is responsible for the pastoral care of all faithful Catholics in his diocese but I have often heard that he is also responsible for the pastoral care of the every individual within his diocese as well — whether they are:

  • faithful Catholics
  • unfaithful Catholics, or even
  • non-Christians, like atheists.
  • Is that true?, and
  • Secondly, if it is true, from where does the authority emanate that charges a bishop with that responsibility?

Thank you,


  { Are the bishops of each diocese responsible for the pastoral care of Catholics and non-Catholics? }

Mike replied:

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the question.

Yes! the Bishops are responsible, not only for the pastoral care of the souls of Catholics in their diocese, faithful or not, but also non-Catholics and non-believers. The bishops are successors to the Twelve Apostles so the authority for this emanates from the very lips of Jesus Himself:

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain, which Jesus had appointed for them. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


Matthew 28:16-20

Note that Jesus said: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Though Jesus ascended into Heaven, He is still with us in the Blessed Sacrament. This is what He meant and why we have received numerous e-mails from non-Catholics saying they feel a special presence of God whenever they enter a Catholic parish.

  • Are you a non-Catholic?

No one is going to force you to join a Church you don't want to, so when you have some free time, visit a Catholic parish today and just sit in the pew and enjoy the special presence today!

I hope this helps,


Tom replied:


Thank you, for that great and complete answer.

What you said makes all the sense in the world, since Jesus Christ is concerned for the souls of every human being, whether they are Catholic or not. I do appreciate the cited authority.

I will continue to follow your site and tell others about it as well.


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