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Esse, Bene Esse, Plene Esse 

Terms for characterizing the significance of a doctrine or practice for the church. Esse indicates that which is of the essence of the very existence of the life of the church. Bene esse indicates that which is of benefit for the life of the church. Plene esse indicates that which is of the fullness of the Church's life. These terms have been frequently used with respect to the role of the historic episcopate in the life of the church. This question has often been raised in the context of ecumenical discussions, especially with churches that do not have an episcopal ministry and do not require episcopal ordination of clergy. The statement "No bishop, no Church" would reflect the position that the historic episcopate is of the esse of the church. This view, strictly applied, serves to "unchurch" Protestant denominations that do not have the episcopate. It also serves to restrict severely the possibilities for Anglican ecumenical relations with these churches. 

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.
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