|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops
|Just as, by the decree of the Lord, Saint Peter and the rest of the Apostles form one College, so for a like reason the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are united together in one.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops » The Roman Pontiff
|The office uniquely committed by the Lord to Peter, the first of the
Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, abides in the Bishop of the Church of Rome. He is the head of the College of Bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the Pastor of the universal Church here on earth. Consequently, by virtue of his office, he has supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, and he can always freely exercise this power.
|§1 The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate. If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained Bishop.
§2 Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone.
|§1 By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only has power over the universal Church, but also has pre-eminent ordinary power over all particular Churches and their groupings. This reinforces and defends the proper, ordinary and immediate power which the Bishops have in the particular Churches entrusted to their care.
§2 The Roman Pontiff, in fulfilling his office as supreme Pastor of the Church, is always joined in full communion with the other Bishops, and indeed with the whole Church. He has the right, however, to determine, according to the needs of the Church, whether this office is to be exercised in a personal or in a collegial manner.
§3 There is neither appeal nor recourse against a judgement or a decree of the Roman
|The Bishops are available to the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his office, to cooperate with him in various ways, among which is the synod of Bishops.
Cardinals also assist him, as do other persons and, according to the needs of the time, various institutes; all these persons and institutes fulfil their offices in his name and by his authority, for the good of all the Churches, in accordance with the norms determined by law.
|When the Roman See is vacant, or completely impeded, no innovation is to be made in the governance of the universal Church. The special laws enacted for these circumstances are to be observed.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops » The College of Bishops
|The head of the College of Bishops is the Supreme Pontiff, and its members are the Bishops by virtue of their sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members. This College of Bishops, in which the apostolic body abides in an unbroken manner, is, in union with its head and never without this head, also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church.
|§1 The College of Bishops exercises its power over the universal Church in solemn form in an Ecumenical Council.
§2 It exercises this same power by the united action of the Bishops dispersed throughout the world, when this action is as such proclaimed or freely accepted by the Roman Pontiff, so that it becomes a truly collegial act.
§3 It belongs to the Roman Pontiff to select and promote, according to the needs of the Church, ways in which the College of Bishops can exercise its office in respect of the universal Church in a collegial manner.
|§1 It is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff alone to summon an Ecumenical Council, to preside over it personally or through others, to transfer, suspend or dissolve the Council, and to approve its decrees.
§2 It is also the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to determine the matters to be dealt with in the Council, and to establish the order to be observed. The Fathers of the Council may add other matters to those proposed by the Roman Pontiff, but these must be approved by the Roman Pontiff .
|§1 All Bishops, but only Bishops who are members of the College of Bishops, have the right and the obligation to be present at an Ecumenical Council with a deliberative vote.
§2 Some others besides, who do not have the episcopal dignity, can be summoned to an Ecumenical Council by the supreme authority in the Church, to whom it belongs to determine what part they take in the Council.
|If the Apostolic See should become vacant during the celebration of the
Council, it is by virtue of the law itself suspended until the new Supreme Pontiff either orders it to continue or dissolves it.
|§1 The decrees of an Ecumenical Council do not oblige unless they are approved by the Roman Pontiff as well as by the Fathers of the Council, confirmed by the Roman Pontiff and promulgated by his direction.
§2 If they are to have binding force, the same confirmation and promulgation is required for decrees which the College of Bishops issues by truly collegial actions in another manner introduced or freely accepted by the Roman Pontiff.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Synod of Bishops
|The synod of Bishops is a group of Bishops selected from different parts of the world, who meet together at specified times to promote the close relationship between the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops. These Bishops, by their counsel, assist the Roman Pontiff in the defence and development of faith and morals and in the preservation and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline. They also consider questions concerning the mission of the Church in the world.
|The function of the synod of Bishops is to discuss the matters proposed to it and set forth recommendations. It is not its function to settle matters or to draw up decrees, unless the Roman Pontiff has given it deliberative power in certain cases; in this event, it rests with the Roman Pontiff to ratify the decisions of the synod.
|The synod of Bishops is directly under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, whose prerogative it is:
1° to convene the synod, as often as this seems opportune to him, and to designate the place where the meetings are to be held
2° to ratify the election of those who, in accordance with the special law of the synod, are to be elected, and to designate and appoint other members;
3° at a suitable time before the celebration of the synod, to prescribe the outlines of the questions to be discussed, in accordance with the special law;
4° to determine the agenda;
5° to preside over the synod personally or through others;
6° to conclude, transfer, suspend or dissolve the synod.
|The synod of Bishops can meet in general assembly, in which matters are dealt with which directly concern the good of the universal Church; such an assembly is either ordinary or extraordinary. It can also meet in special assembly, to deal with matters directly affecting a determined region or regions.
|§1 The synod of Bishops meeting in ordinary general assembly is comprised, for the most part, of Bishops elected for each assembly by the Episcopal Conferences, in accordance with the norms of the special law of the synod. Other members are designated according to the same law; others are directly appointed by the Roman Pontiff. Added to these are some members of clerical religious institutes, elected in accordance with the same special law.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 346 §1, 10.X.1991]
§2 The synod of Bishops meeting in extraordinary general assembly for the purpose of dealing with matters which require speedy resolution, is comprised for the most part, of Bishops who, by reason of the office they hold, are designated by the special law of the synod; others are appointed directly by the Roman Pontiff. Added to these are some members of clerical religious institutes, elected in accordance with the same law.
§3 The synod of Bishops which meets in special assembly is comprised of members chosen principally from those regions for which the synod was convened, in accordance with the special law by which the synod is governed.
|§1 When the meeting of the synod of Bishops is concluded by the Roman Pontiff, the function entrusted in it to the Bishops and other members ceases.
§2 If the Apostolic See becomes vacant after the synod has been convened or during its celebration, the meeting of the synod, and the function entrusted in it to the members, is by virtue of the law itself suspended, until the new Pontiff decrees either that the assembly is to be dissolved or that it is to continue.
|§1 There is to be a permanent general secretariat of the synod, presided over by a Secretary general appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The Secretary is to have the assistance of a council of the secretariat, composed of Bishops, some elected by the synod of Bishops itself in accordance with the special law, others appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The function of all these persons ceases with the beginning of a new general assembly.
§2 For each assembly of the synod of Bishops there are one or more special secretaries, who are appointed by the Roman Pontiff. They remain in office only until the end of the synod assembly.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church
|The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute a special
College, whose prerogative it is to elect the Roman Pontiff in accordance with the norms of a special law. The Cardinals are also available to the Roman Pontiff, either acting collegially, when they are summoned together to deal with questions of major importance, or acting individually, that is, in the offices which they hold in assisting the Roman Pontiff especially in the daily care of the universal Church.
|§1 The College of Cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong those Cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns the title of a suburbicarian Church, and eastern-rite Patriarchs who are made members of the
College of Cardinals; the presbyteral order, and the diaconal order.
§2 Cardinal priests and Cardinal deacons are each assigned a title or a deaconry in
Rome by the Roman Pontiff.
[NB see Rescript “ex audientia Ss.mi” of 26 June 2018 by which four Cardinals were coopted into the Order of Bishops and made equivalent to Cardinals who hold the title of a suburbicarian Church, in derogation of can. 350 §§1-2 and 352 §§2-3
(Communicationes 50 (2018), pp. 431-432).]
§3 Eastern Patriarchs within the College of Cardinals have their patriarchal see as a title.
§4 The Cardinal Dean has the title of the diocese of Ostia, together with that of any other Church to which he already has a title.
§5 By a choice made in Consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Cardinal priests may transfer to another title; Cardinal deacons may transfer to another deaconry and, if they have been a full ten years in the diaconal order, to the presbyteral order: priority of order and of promotion is to be observed.
§6 A Cardinal who by choice transfers from the diaconal to the presbyteral order, takes precedence over all Cardinal priests who were promoted to the Cardinalate after him.
|§1 Those to be promoted Cardinals are men freely selected by the Roman Pontiff, who are at least in the order of priesthood and are truly outstanding in doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters; those who are not already Bishops must receive episcopal consecration.
§2 Cardinals are created by decree of the Roman Pontiff, which in fact is published in the presence of the College of Cardinals. From the moment of publication, they are bound by the obligations and they enjoy the rights defined in the law.
§3 A person promoted to the dignity of Cardinal, whose creation the Roman Pontiff announces, but whose name he reserves in petto, is not at that time bound by the obligations nor does he enjoy the rights of a Cardinal. When his name is published by the Roman Pontiff, however, he is bound by these obligations and enjoys these rights, but his right of precedence dates from the day of the reservation in petto.
|§1 The Dean presides over the College of Cardinals. When he is unable to do so, the sub-Dean takes his place. The Dean, or the subDean, has no power of governance over the other Cardinals, but is considered as first among equals.
§2 When the office of Dean is vacant, those Cardinals who have a suburbicarian title, and only those, under the presidency of the sub-Dean if he is present, or of the oldest member, elect one of their number to act as Dean of the College. They are to submit his name to the Roman Pontiff, to whom it belongs to approve the person elected.
§3 In the same way as set out in §2, the sub-Dean is elected, with the Dean presiding. It belongs to the Roman Pontiff to approve also the election of the sub-Dean.
[See can. 350 §§1-2 above.]
§4 If the Dean and sub-Dean do not already have a domicile in Rome, they acquire it there.
|§1 Cardinals assist the Supreme Pastor of the Church in collegial fashion particularly in Consistories, in which they are gathered by order of the Roman Pontiff and under his presidency. Consistories are either ordinary or extraordinary.
§2 In an ordinary Consistory all Cardinals, or at least those who are in Rome, are summoned for consultation on certain grave matters of more frequent occurrence, or for the performance of especially solemn acts.
§3 All Cardinals are summoned to an extraordinary Consistory, which takes place when the special needs of the Church and more serious matters suggest it.
§4 Only an ordinary Consistory in which certain solemnities are celebrated, can be public, that is when, in addition to the Cardinals, Prelates, representatives of civil states and other invited persons are admitted.
|Cardinals who head the departments and other permanent sections of the Roman Curia and of Vatican City, who have completed their seventy-fifth year, are requested to offer their resignation from office to the Roman Pontiff, who will consider all the circumstances and make provision accordingly.
|§1 It belongs to the Cardinal Dean to ordain the elected Roman Pontiff a Bishop, if he is not already ordained. If the Dean is prevented from doing so, the same right belongs to the sub-Dean or, if he is prevented, to the senior Cardinal of the episcopal order.
§2 The senior Cardinal Deacon announces the name of the newly elected Supreme Pontiff to the people. Acting in place of the Roman Pontiff, he also confers the pallium on metropolitan Bishops or gives the pallium to their proxies.
|Cardinals have the obligation of cooperating closely with the Roman Pontiff. For this reason, Cardinals who have any office in the Curia and are not diocesan Bishops, are obliged to reside in Rome. Cardinals who are in charge of a diocese as diocesan Bishops, are to go to Rome whenever summoned by the Roman
|§1 When a Cardinal has taken possession of a suburbicarian Church or of a titular Church in Rome, he is to further the good of the diocese or church by counsel and patronage. However, he has no power of governance over it, and he should not for any reason interfere in matters concerning the administration of its goods, or its discipline, or the service of the church.
§2 Cardinals living outside Rome and outside their own diocese, are exempt in what concerns their person from the power of governance of the Bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.
|A Cardinal may be deputed by the Roman Pontiff to represent him in some solemn celebration or assembly of persons as a ‘Legatus a latere’, that is, as his alter ego; or he may, as a special emissary, be entrusted with a particular pastoral task. A Cardinal thus nominated is entitled to deal only with those affairs which have been entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff himself.
|When the Apostolic See is vacant, the College of Cardinals has only that power in the Church which is granted to it by special law.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Curia
|The Supreme Pontiff usually conducts the business of the universal Church through the Roman Curia, which acts in his name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the Churches. The Curia is composed of the Secretariat of State or Papal Secretariat, the Council for the public affairs of the Church, the
Congregations, the Tribunals and other Institutes. The constitution and competence of all these is defined by special law.
|In this Code the terms Apostolic See or Holy See mean not only the Roman
Pontiff, but also, unless the contrary is clear from the nature of things or from the context, the Secretariat of State, the Council for the public affairs of the Church, and the other Institutes of the Roman Curia.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » Legates of the Roman Pontiff
|The Roman Pontiff has an inherent and independent right to appoint
Legates and to send them either to particular Churches in various countries or regions, or at the same time to States and to public Authorities. He also has the right to transfer or recall them, in accordance with the norms of international law concerning the mission and recall of representatives accredited to States.
|§1 To Legates of the Roman Pontiff is entrusted the office of representing in a stable manner the person of the Roman Pontiff in the particular Churches, or also in the States and public Authorities, to whom they are sent.
§2 Those also represent the Apostolic See who are appointed to pontifical Missions as Delegates or Observers at international Councils or at Conferences and Meetings.
|The principal task of a Papal Legate is continually to make more firm and effective the bonds of unity which exist between the Holy See and the particular Churches. Within the territory assigned to him, it is therefore the responsibility of a Legate:
1° to inform the Apostolic See about the conditions in which the particular Churches find themselves, as well as about all matters which affect the life of the Church and the good of souls;
2° to assist the Bishops by action and advice, while leaving intact the exercise of their lawful power;
3° to foster close relations with the Episcopal Conference, offering it every assistance;
4° in connection with the appointment of Bishops, to send or propose names of candidates to the Apostolic See, as well as to prepare the informative process about those who may be promoted, in accordance with the norms issued by the Apostolic See;
5° to take pains to promote whatever may contribute to peace, progress and the united efforts of peoples;
6° to work with the Bishops to foster appropriate exchanges between the Catholic Church and other Churches or ecclesial communities, and indeed with non-christian religions;
7° to work with the Bishops to safeguard, so far as the rulers of the State are concerned, those things which relate to the mission of the Church and of the Apostolic See;
8° to exercise the faculties and carry out the other instructions which are given to him by the Apostolic See.
|§1 A papal Legate who at the same time acts as envoy to the State according to international law, has in addition the special role:
1° of promoting and fostering relationships between the Apostolic See and the Authorities of the State;
2° of dealing with questions concerning relations between Church and State, especially, of drawing up concordats and other similar agreements, and giving effect to them.
§2 As circumstances suggest, in the matters mentioned in §1, the papal Legate is not to omit to seek the opinion and counsel of the Bishops of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction and to keep them informed of the course of events.
|Given the special nature of a Legate’s role:
1° the papal Legation is exempt from the power of governance of the local Ordinary, except for the celebration of marriages;
2° the papal Legate has the right to perform liturgical celebrations, even in pontificalia, in all churches of the territory of his legation; as far as it is possible, he is to give prior notice to the local Ordinary.
|The office of papal Legate does not cease when the Apostolic See is vacant, unless otherwise specified in the pontifical Letters- it does cease, however, on the expiry of the mandate, on receipt by him of notification of recall, and on acceptance of his resignation by the Roman Pontiff.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Particular Churches
|Particular Churches, in which and from which the one and only catholic
Church exists, are principally dioceses. Unless the contrary is clear, the following are equivalent to a diocese: a territorial prelature, a territorial abbacy, a vicariate apostolic, a prefecture apostolic and a permanently established apostolic administration.
|A diocese is a portion of the people of God, which is entrusted to a Bishop to be nurtured by him, with the cooperation of the presbyterium, in such a way that, remaining close to its pastor and gathered by him through the Gospel and the Eucharist in the Holy Spirit, it constitutes a particular Church. In this Church, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ truly exists and functions.
|A territorial prelature or abbacy is a certain portion of the people of God, territorially defined, the care of which is for special reasons entrusted to a Prelate or an Abbot, who governs it, in the manner of a diocesan Bishop, as its proper pastor.
|§1 A vicariate apostolic or a prefecture apostolic is a certain portion of the people of God, which for special reasons is not yet constituted a diocese, and which is entrusted to the pastoral care of a Vicar apostolic or a Prefect apostolic, who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.
§2 An apostolic administration is a certain portion of the people of God which, for special and particularly serious reasons, is not yet established by the Supreme Pontiff as a diocese, and whose pastoral care is entrusted to an apostolic Administrator, who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.
|§1 As a rule, that portion of the people of God which constitutes a diocese or other particular Church is to have a defined territory, so that it comprises all the faithful who live in that territory.
§2 If however, in the judgement of the supreme authority in the Church, after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned, it is thought to be helpful, there may be established in a given territory particular Churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality.
|It is within the competence of the supreme authority alone to establish particular Churches; once they are lawfully established, the law itself gives them juridical personality.
|§1 Each diocese or other particular Church is to be divided into distinct parts or parishes.
§2 To foster pastoral care by means of common action, several neighbouring parishes can be joined together in special groups, such as vicariates forane.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Bishops » Bishops in general
|§1 By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who is given to them. They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance.
§2 By their episcopal consecration, Bishops receive, together with the office of sanctifying, the offices also of teaching and of ruling, which however, by their nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members.
|Bishops to whom the care of a given diocese is entrusted are called diocesan Bishops; the others are called titular Bishops.
|§1 The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints Bishops or confirms those lawfully elected.
§2 At least every three years, the Bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, if circumstances suggest it, of an Episcopal Conference, are to draw up, by common accord and in secret, a list of priests, even of members of institutes of consecrated life, who are suitable for the episcopate; they are to send this list to the Apostolic See. This is without prejudice to the right of every Bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of priests whom he thinks are worthy and suitable for the episcopal office.
§3 Unless it has been lawfully prescribed otherwise, for the appointment of a diocesan Bishop or a coadjutor Bishop, a ternus, as it is called, is to be proposed to the Apostolic See. In the preparation of this list, it is the responsibility of the papal
Legate to seek individually the suggestions of the Metropolitan and of the Suffragans of the province to which the diocese in question belongs or with which it is joined in some grouping, as well as the suggestions of the president of the Episcopal
Conference. The papal Legate is, moreover, to hear the views of some members of the college of consultors and of the cathedral chapter. If he judges it expedient, he is also to seek individually, and in secret, the opinions of other clerics, both secular and religious, and of lay persons of outstanding wisdom. He is then to send these suggestions, together with his own opinion, to the Apostolic See.
§4 Unless it has been lawfully provided otherwise, the diocesan Bishop who judges that his diocese requires an auxiliary Bishop, is to propose to the Apostolic See a list of the names of at least three priests suitable for this office .
§5 For the future, no rights or privileges of election, appointment, presentation or designation of Bishops are conceded to civil authorities.
|§1 To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must:
1° be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfil the office in question;
2° be held in good esteem;
3° be at least 35 years old;
4° be a priest ordained for at least five years;
5° hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well versed in these disciplines.
§2 The definitive judgement on the suitability of the person to be promoted rests with the Apostolic See.
|Unless prevented by a lawful reason, one who is promoted to the episcopate must receive episcopal consecration within three months of receiving the apostolic letters, and in fact before he takes possession of his office.
|Before taking canonical possession of his office, he who has been promoted is to make the profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See, in accordance with the formula approved by the same Apostolic See.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Bishops » Diocesan bishops
|§1 In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office, except in those matters which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme or to some other ecclesiastical authority.
§2 Those who are at the head of the other communities of the faithful mentioned in can. 368, are equivalent in law to the diocesan Bishop unless the contrary is clear from the nature of things or from a provision of the law.
|§1 A person who is promoted to the episcopate cannot become involved in the exercise of the office entrusted to him before he has taken canonical possession of the diocese. However, he is able to exercise offices which he already held in the same diocese at the time of his promotion, without prejudice to can. 409 §2.
§2 Unless he is lawfully impeded, one who is not already consecrated a Bishop and is now promoted to the office of diocesan Bishop, must take canonical possession of his diocese within four months of receiving the apostolic letters. If he is already consecrated, he must take possession within two months of receiving the apostolic letters.
§3 A Bishop takes canonical possession of his diocese when, personally or by proxy, he shows the apostolic letters to the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact. This must take place within
the diocese. In dioceses which are newly established he takes possession when he communicates the same letters to the clergy and the people in the cathedral church, with the senior of the priests present making a record of the fact.
§4 It is strongly recommended that the taking of canonical possession be performed with a liturgical act in the cathedral church, in the presence of the clergy and the people.
|§1 In exercising his pastoral office, the diocesan Bishop is to be solicitous for all Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care, whatever their age, condition or nationality, whether they live in the territory or are visiting there. He is to show an apostolic spirit also to those who, because of their condition of life, are not sufficiently able to benefit from ordinary pastoral care, and to those who have lapsed from religious practice.
§2 If he has faithful of a different rite in his diocese, he is to provide for their spiritual needs either by means of priests or parishes of the same rite, or by an episcopal Vicar.
§3 He is to act with humanity and charity to those who are not in full communion with the catholic Church- he should also foster ecumenism as it is understood by the
§4 He is to consider the non-baptised as commended to him in the Lord, so that the charity of Christ, of which the Bishop must be a witness to all, may shine also on them.
|He is to have a special concern for the priests, to whom he is to listen as his helpers and counsellors. He is to defend their rights and ensure that they fulfil the obligations proper to their state. He is to see that they have the means and the institutions needed for the development of their spiritual and intellectual life. He is to ensure that they are provided with adequate means of livelihood and social welfare, in accordance with the law.
|He must in a very special way foster vocations to the various ministries and to consecrated life, having a special care for priestly and missionary vocations.
|§1 The diocesan Bishop is bound to teach and illustrate to the faithful the truths of faith which are to be believed and applied to behaviour. He is himself to preach frequently. He is also to ensure that the provisions of the canons on the ministry of the word, especially on the homily and catechetical instruction, are faithfully observed, so that the whole of christian teaching is transmitted to all.
§2 By whatever means seem most appropriate, he is firmly to defend the integrity and unity of the faith to be believed. However, he is to acknowledge a just freedom in the further investigation of truths.
|Mindful that he is bound to give an example of holiness, charity, humility and simplicity of life, the diocesan Bishop is to seek in every way to promote the holiness of Christ’s faithful according to the special vocation of each. Since he is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, he is to strive constantly that Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care may grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments, and may know and live the paschal mystery.
|§1 After he has taken possession of the diocese, the diocesan Bishop must apply the Mass for the people entrusted to him on each Sunday and on each holyday of obligation in his region.
§2 The Bishop must himself celebrate and apply the Mass for the people on the days mentioned in §1; if, however, he is lawfully impeded from so doing, he is to have someone else do so on those days, or do so himself on other days.
§3 A Bishop who, in addition to his own, is given another diocese, even as administrator, satisfies the obligation by applying one Mass for all the people entrusted to him.
§4 A Bishop who has not satisfied the obligation mentioned in §§1-3, is to apply as soon as possible as many Masses for the people as he has omitted.
|He is frequently to preside at the Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral church or in some other church of his diocese, especially on holydays of obligation and on other solemnities.
|The diocesan Bishop may use pontificalia throughout his diocese. He may not do so outside his diocese without the consent of the local Ordinary, either expressly given or at least reasonably presumed.
|§1 The diocesan Bishop governs the particular Church entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power, in accordance with the law.
§2 The Bishop exercises legislative power himself. He exercises executive power either personally or through Vicars general or episcopal Vicars, in accordance with the law. He exercises judicial power either personally or through a judicial Vicar and judges, in accordance with the law.
|§1 Since the Bishop must defend the unity of the universal Church, he is bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws.
§2 He is to ensure that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the cult of the saints, and the administration of goods.
|In all juridical transactions of the diocese, the diocesan Bishop acts in the person of the diocese.
|§1 The Bishop is to foster various forms of the apostolate in his diocese and is to ensure that throughout the entire diocese, or in its particular districts, all works of the apostolate are coordinated under his direction, with due regard for the character of each apostolate.
§2 He is to insist on the faithful’s obligation to exercise the apostolate according to the condition and talents of each. He is to urge them to take part in or assist various works of the apostolate, according to the needs of place and time.
|§1 The diocesan Bishop is bound by the law of personal residence in his diocese, even if he has a coadjutor or auxiliary Bishop.
§2 Apart from the visit ‘ad limina’, attendance at councils or at the synod of Bishops or at the Episcopal Conference, at which he must be present, or by reason of another office lawfully entrusted to him, he may be absent from the diocese, for a just reason, for not longer than one month, continuously or otherwise, provided he ensures that the diocese is not harmed by this absence.
§3 He is not to be absent from his diocese on Christmas Day, during Holy Week, or on Easter Sunday, Pentecost and Corpus Christi, except for a grave and urgent reason.
§4 If the Bishop is unlawfully absent from the diocese for more than six months, the
Metropolitan is to notify the Holy See. If it is the Metropolitan who is absent, the senior suffragan is to do the same.
|§1 The Bishop is bound to visit his diocese in whole or in part each year, so that at least every five years he will have visited the whole diocese, either personally or, if he is lawfully impeded, through the coadjutor or auxiliary Bishop, the Vicar general, an episcopal Vicar or some other priest.
§2 The Bishop has a right to select any clerics he wishes as his companions and helpers in a visitation, any contrary privilege or custom being reprobated.
|§1 Persons, catholic institutes, pious objects and places within the boundaries of the diocese, are subject to ordinary episcopal visitation.
§2 The Bishop may visit the members of religious institutes of pontifical right and their houses only in the cases stated in the law.
|The Bishop is to endeavour to make his pastoral visitation with due diligence. He is to ensure that he is not a burden to anyone on the ground of undue expense.
|§1 Every five years the diocesan Bishop is bound to submit to the Supreme
Pontiff a report on the state of the diocese entrusted to him, in the form and at the time determined by the Apostolic See.
§2 If the year assigned for submitting this report coincides in whole or in part with the first two years of his governance of the diocese, for that occasion the Bishop need not draw up and submit the report.
|§1 Unless the Apostolic See has decided otherwise, in the year in which he is bound to submit the report to the Supreme Pontiff, the diocesan Bishop is to go to
Rome to venerate the tombs of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and to present himself to the Roman Pontiff.
§2 The Bishop is to satisfy this obligation personally, unless he is lawfully impeded; in which case he is to satisfy the obligation through the coadjutor, if he has one, or the auxiliary, or a suitable priest of his presbyterium who resides in his diocese.
§3 A Vicar apostolic can satisfy this obligation through a proxy, even through one residing in Rome. A Prefect apostolic is not bound by this obligation.
|§1 A diocesan Bishop who has completed his seventy-fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who, taking all the circumstances into account, will make provision accordingly.
§2 A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfilment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office.
NB see m.p. Learn to take your leave, 12.II.2018:
Art. 1. Upon reaching 75 years of age, diocesan and eparchial Bishops, and those deemed equivalent to them according to canons 381 §2 cic and 313 cceo, as well as Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops or holders of special pastoral responsibilities, are invited to present to the Supreme Pontiff their resignation from pastoral office.
Art. 2. Upon reaching 75 years of age, non-Cardinal Dicastery Heads of the
Roman Curia, Superior Prelates of the Roman Curia and Bishops holding other
offices of the Holy See, do not ipso facto cede their office, but must present their resignation to the Supreme Pontiff.
Art. 3. Likewise, Pontifical Representatives do not ipso facto cede their office upon reaching seventy-five years of age, but in this circumstance must present their resignation to the Supreme Pontiff.
Art. 4. To be effective, resignation pursuant to articles 1-3 must be accepted by the Supreme Pontiff, who will decide by evaluating the concrete circumstances.
Art. 5. Once the resignation is presented, the office relative to articles 1-3 will be extended until acceptance of the resignation is communicated to the interested party, for a fixed or unspecified time, contrary to the general terms established by canons 189 §3 cic and 970 §1 cceo.
|§1 A Bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted, acquires the unless, because of special circumstances in certain cases, the Apostolic See provides otherwise.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 402 §1, 10.X.1991]
§2 The Episcopal Conference must ensure that suitable and worthy provision is made for the upkeep of a Bishop who has resigned, bearing in mind the primary obligation which falls on the diocese which he served.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Bishops » Coadjutor and auxiliary bishops
|§1 When the pastoral needs of the diocese require it, one or more auxiliary
Bishops are to be appointed at the request of the diocesan Bishop. An auxiliary
Bishop does not have the right of succession.
§2 In more serious circumstances, even of a personal nature, the diocesan Bishop may be given an auxiliary Bishop with special faculties.
§3 If the Holy See considers it more opportune, it can ex officio appoint a coadjutor
Bishop, who also has special faculties. A coadjutor Bishop has the right of succession.
|§1 The coadjutor Bishop takes possession of his office when, either personally or by proxy, he shows the apostolic letters of appointment to the diocesan
Bishop and the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact.
§2 An auxiliary Bishop takes possession of his office when he shows his apostolic letters of appointment to the diocesan Bishop, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact.
§3 If the diocesan Bishop is wholly impeded, it is sufficient that either the coadjutor
Bishop or the auxiliary Bishop show their apostolic letters of appointment to the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia.
|§1 The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop have the obligations and the rights which are determined by the provisions of the following canons and defined in their letters of appointment.
§2 The coadjutor Bishop, or the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, assists the diocesan Bishop in the entire governance of the diocese, and takes his place when he is absent or impeded.
|§1 The coadjutor Bishop, and likewise the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, is to be appointed a Vicar general by the diocesan Bishop. The diocesan
Bishop is to entrust to him, in preference to others, those things which by law require a special mandate.
§2 Unless the apostolic letters provide otherwise, and without prejudice to the provision of §1, the diocesan Bishop is to appoint his auxiliary or auxiliaries as Vicar general or at least episcopal Vicar, in dependence solely on his authority, or on that of the coadjutor Bishop or of the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2.
|§1 For the greatest present and future good of the diocese, the diocesan
Bishop, the coadjutor and the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, are to consult with each other on matters of greater importance.
§2 In assessing matters of greater importance, particularly those of a pastoral nature, the diocesan Bishop is to consult the auxiliary Bishop before all others.
§3 The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop, since they are called to share in the cares of the diocesan Bishop, should so exercise their office that they act and think in accord with him.
|§1 As often as they are requested to do so by the diocesan Bishop, a coadjutor Bishop and an auxiliary Bishop who are not lawfully impeded, are obliged to perform those pontifical and other functions to which the diocesan Bishop is bound.
§2 Those episcopal rights and functions which the coadjutor can exercise are not habitually to be entrusted to another by the diocesan Bishop.
|§1 When the episcopal see falls vacant, the coadjutor immediately becomes the Bishop of the diocese for which he was appointed, provided he has lawfully taken possession.
§2 Unless the competent authority has provided otherwise, when the episcopal see is vacant and until the new Bishop takes possession of the see, the auxiliary Bishop retains all and only those powers and faculties which he had as Vicar general or as episcopal Vicar when the see was occupied. If he is not appointed to the office of diocesan Administrator, he is to exercise this same power of his, conferred by the law, under the authority of the diocesan Administrator, who governs the diocese.
|The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop are bound, like the diocesan
Bishop, to reside in the diocese. Other than for the fulfilment of some duty outside the diocese, or for holidays, which are not to be longer than one month, they may not be away from the diocese except for a brief period.
|The provisions of cann. 401 and 402 §2, concerning resignation from office, apply also to a coadjutor and an auxiliary Bishop.
[NB see m.p. Learn to take your leave, 12.II.2018, art. 5 (cf. can. 401)]
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » The impeded see and the vacant see » The impeded see
|The episcopal see is understood to be impeded if the diocesan
Bishop is completely prevented from exercising the pastoral office in the diocese by reason of imprisonment, banishment, exile or incapacity, so that he is unable to communicate, even by letter, with the people of his diocese.
|§1 Unless the Holy See has provided otherwise, when a see is impeded, the governance of the diocese devolves on the coadjutor Bishop, if there is one. If there is no coadjutor, or if he is impeded, it devolves upon the auxiliary Bishop, or the Vicar general, or the episcopal Vicar, or another priest: the order of persons to be followed is to be that determined in the list which the diocesan Bishop is to draw up as soon as possible after taking possession of his diocese. This list, which is to be communicated to the Metropolitan, is to be revised at least every three years, and kept under secrecy by the chancellor.
§2 If there is no coadjutor Bishop or if he is impeded, and the list mentioned in §1 is not at hand, it is the responsibility of the college of consultors to elect a priest who will govern the diocese.
§3 The person who undertakes the governance of the diocese according to the norms of §§1 or 2, is to notify the Holy See as soon as possible that the see is impeded and that he has undertaken the office.
|Whoever is called, in accordance with can. 413, to exercise the pastoral care of the diocese for the time being, that is, only for the period during which the see is impeded, is in his pastoral care of the diocese bound by the obligations, and has the power, which by law belong to the diocesan Administrator.
|If the diocesan Bishop is prohibited from exercising his office by reason of an ecclesiastical penalty, the Metropolitan is to refer the matter at once to the Holy
See, so that it may make provision; if there is no Metropolitan, or if he is the one affected by the penalty, it is the suffragan senior by promotion who is to refer the matter.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » The impeded see and the vacant see » The vacant see
|The episcopal see becomes vacant by the death of the diocesan Bishop, by his resignation accepted by the Holy See, by transfer, or by deprivation notified to the
|Until they have received certain notification of the Bishop’s death, all actions taken by the Vicar general or the episcopal Vicar have effect. Until they have received certain notification of the aforementioned papal acts, the same is true of actions taken by the diocesan Bishop, the Vicar general or the episcopal Vicar.
|§1 Within two months of receiving certain notification of transfer, the
Bishop must proceed to the diocese to which he has been transferred and take canonical possession of it. On the day on which he takes possession of the new diocese, the diocese from which he has been transferred becomes vacant.
§2 In the period between receiving certain notification of the transfer and taking possession of the new diocese, in the diocese from which he is being transferred the
1° has the power, and is bound by the obligations, of a diocesan Administrator; all powers of the Vicar general and of the episcopal Vicar cease, without prejudice to can. 409 §2;
2° receives the full remuneration proper to the office.
|While the see is vacant and until the appointment of a diocesan
Administrator, the governance of the diocese devolves upon the auxiliary Bishop. If there are a number of auxiliary Bishops, it devolves upon the senior by promotion. If there is no auxiliary Bishop, it devolves upon the college of consultors, unless the
Holy See has provided otherwise. The one who thus assumes the governance of the diocese must without delay convene the college which is competent to appoint a diocesan Administrator.
|Unless the Holy See has prescribed otherwise, when the see is vacant in a vicariate or a prefecture apostolic, the governance is assumed by the Pro-Vicar or
Pro-Prefect who was designated for this sole purpose by the Vicar or Prefect immediately upon taking possession.
|§1 Within eight days of receiving notification of the vacancy of an episcopal see, a diocesan Administrator is to be elected by the college of consultors, to govern the diocese for the time being, without prejudice to the provisions of can.
§2 If, for any reason, the diocesan Administrator is not lawfully elected within the prescribed time, his appointment devolves upon the Metropolitan. If the metropolitan see is itself vacant, or if both the metropolitan see and a suffragan see are vacant, the appointment devolves on the suffragan who is senior by promotion.
|The auxiliary Bishop or, if there is none, the college of consultors, must as soon as possible notify the Apostolic See of the death of the Bishop. The person elected as diocesan Administrator must as soon as possible notify the Apostolic See of his election.
|§1 Only one diocesan Administrator is to be appointed, contrary customs being reprobated; otherwise the election is invalid.
§2 The diocesan Administrator is not to be at the same time the financial administrator. Accordingly, if the financial administrator of the diocese is elected
Administrator, the finance committee is to elect another temporary financial administrator.
|The diocesan Administrator is to be elected according to the norms of cann.
|§1 Only a priest who has completed his thirty-fifth year of age, and has not already been elected, appointed or presented for the same see, can validly be deputed to the office of diocesan Administrator.
§2 As diocesan Administrator a priest is to be elected who is outstanding for doctrine and prudence.
§3 If the conditions prescribed in §1 have not been observed, the Metropolitan or, if the metropolitan see itself is vacant, the suffragan senior by promotion, having verified the truth of the matter, is to appoint an Administrator for that occasion. The
acts of a person elected contrary to the provisions of §1 are by virtue of the law itself invalid.
|Whoever governs the diocese before the appointment of the diocesan
Administrator, has the power which the law gives to a Vicar general.
|§1 The diocesan Administrator is bound by the obligations and enjoys the power of a diocesan Bishop, excluding those matters which are excepted by the nature of things or by the law itself.
§2 The diocesan Administrator obtains his power on his acceptance of the election, without the need of confirmation from anyone, but without prejudice to the provision of can. 833, n. 4.
|§1 While the see is vacant, no innovation is to be made.
§2 Those who have the interim governance of the diocese are forbidden to do anything which could in any way prejudice the rights of the diocese or of the Bishop.
Both they, and in like manner any other persons, are specifically forbidden to remove, destroy or in any way alter documents of the diocesan curia, either personally or through another.
|The diocesan Administrator is bound by the obligations of residing in the diocese, and of applying the Mass for the people in accordance with can. 388.
|§1 The office of the diocesan Administrator ceases when the new Bishop takes possession of the diocese.
§2 Removal of the diocesan Administrator is reserved to the Holy See. Should he perchance resign, the resignation is to be submitted in authentic form to the college which is competent to elect, but it does not require acceptance by the college. If the diocesan Administrator is removed, resigns or dies, another diocesan Administrator is to be elected in accordance with can. 421.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Ecclesiastical provinces and regions
|Neighbouring particular Churches are to be grouped into ecclesiastical provinces, with a certain defined territory. The purpose of this grouping is to promote, according to the circumstances of persons and place, a common pastoral action of various neighbouring dioceses, and the more closely to foster relations between diocesan Bishops.
§2 From now onwards, as a rule, there are to be no exempt dioceses. Accordingly, individual dioceses and other particular Churches which exist within the territory of an ecclesiastical province, must be included in that ecclesiastical province.
§3 It is the exclusive prerogative of the supreme authority in the Church, after consulting the Bishops concerned, to establish, suppress or alter ecclesiastical provinces.
|§1 The provincial council and the Metropolitan have authority over the ecclesiastical province, in accordance with the law.
§2 By virtue of the law, an ecclesiastical province has juridical personality.
|§1 If it seems advantageous, especially in countries where there are very many particular Churches, the Holy See can, on the proposal of the Episcopal
Conference, join together neighbouring provinces into ecclesiastical regions.
§2 An ecclesiastical region can be constituted a juridical person.
|It is for a meeting of the Bishops of an ecclesiastical region to foster cooperation and common pastoral action in the region. However the powers given to
Episcopal Conferences in the canons of this Code do not belong to such a meeting, unless some of these powers have been specially granted to it by the Holy See.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 434, 23.V.1988]
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Metropolitans
|An ecclesiastical province is presided over by a Metropolitan, who is
Archbishop in his own diocese. The office of Metropolitan is linked to an episcopal see, determined or approved by the Roman Pontiff.
|§1 Within the suffragan dioceses, the Metropolitan is competent:
1° to see that faith and ecclesiastical discipline are carefully observed and to notify the Roman Pontiff if there be any abuses;
2° for a reason approved beforehand by the Apostolic See, to conduct a canonical visitation if the suffragan Bishop has neglected it;
3° to appoint a diocesan Administrator in accordance with cann. 421 §2 and 425 §3.
§2 Where circumstances require it, the Apostolic See can give the Metropolitan special functions and power, to be determined in particular law.
§3 The Metropolitan has no other power of governance over suffragan dioceses. He can, however, celebrate sacred functions in all churches as if he were a Bishop in his own diocese, provided, if it is the cathedral church, the diocesan Bishop has been previously notified.
|§1 The Metropolitan is obliged to request the pallium from the Roman
Pontiff, either personally or by proxy, within three months of his episcopal consecration or, if he has already been consecrated, of his canonical appointment.
The pallium signifies the power which, in communion with the Roman Church, the
Metropolitan possesses by law in his own province.
§2 The Metropolitan can wear the pallium, in accordance with the liturgical laws, in any church of the ecclesiastical province over which he presides, but not outside the province, not even with the assent of the diocesan Bishop.
§3 If the Metropolitan is transferred to another metropolitan see, he requires a new pallium.
|The title of Patriarch or Primate gives a prerogative of honour, but in the latin Church does not carry with it any power of governance, except in certain matters where an apostolic privilege or approved custom establishes otherwise.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Particular councils
|§1 A plenary council for all the particular Churches of the same Episcopal
Conference is to be celebrated as often as the Episcopal Conference, with the approval of the Apostolic See, considers it necessary or advantageous.
§2 The norm laid down in §1 is valid also for a provincial council to be celebrated in an ecclesiastical province whose boundaries coincide with the boundaries of the country.
|§1 A provincial council, for the various particular Churches of the same ecclesiastical province, is celebrated as often as, in the judgement of the majority of the diocesan Bishops of the province, it is considered opportune, without prejudice to can. 439 §2.
§2 A provincial council may not be called while the metropolitan see is vacant.
|It is the responsibility of the Episcopal Conference:
1° to convene a plenary council;
2° to choose a place within the territory of the Episcopal Conference for the celebration of the council;
3° to elect from among the diocesan Bishops a president of the plenary council, who is to be approved by the Apostolic See;
4° to determine the order of business and the matters to be considered, to announce when the plenary council is to begin and how long it is to last, and to transfer, prorogue and dissolve it.
|§1 It is the responsibility of the Metropolitan, with the consent of the majority of the suffragan Bishops:
1° to convene a provincial council
2° to choose a place within the territory of the province for the celebration of the provincial council;
3° to determine the order of business and the matters to be considered, to announce when the provincial council is to begin and how long it is to last, and to transfer, prorogue and dissolve it.
§2 It is the prerogative of the Metropolitan to preside over the provincial council. If he is lawfully impeded from doing so, it is the prerogative of a suffragan Bishop elected by the other suffragan Bishops.
|§1 The following have the right to be summoned to particular councils and have the right to a deliberative vote:
1° diocesan Bishops;
2° coadjutor and auxiliary Bishops
3° other titular Bishops who have been given a special function in the territory, either by the Apostolic See or by the Episcopal Conference.
§2 Other titular Bishops who are living in the territory, even if they are retired, may be invited to particular councils; they have the right to a deliberative vote.
§3 The following are to be invited to particular councils, but with only a consultative vote:
1° Vicars general and episcopal Vicars of all the particular Churches in the territory;
2° the major Superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life. Their number, for both men and women, is to be determined by the Episcopal Conference or the Bishops of the province, and they are to be elected respectively by all the major
Superiors of institutes and societies which have a centre in the territory;
3° the rectors of ecclesiastical and catholic universities which have a centre in the territory, together with the deans of their faculties of theology and canon law;
4° some rectors of major seminaries, their number being determined as in no. 2; they are to be elected by the rectors of seminaries situated in the territory.
§4 Priests and others of Christ’s faithful may also be invited to particular councils, but have only a consultative vote; their number is not to exceed half of those mentioned in 1-3.
§5 The cathedral chapter, the council of priests and the pastoral council of each particular Church are to be invited to provincial councils, but in such a way that each is to send two members, designated in a collegial manner. They have only a consultative vote.
§6 Others may be invited to particular councils as guests, if this is judged expedient by the Episcopal Conference for a plenary council, or by the Metropolitan with the suffragan Bishops for a provincial council.
|§1 All who are summoned to particular councils must attend, unless they are prevented by a just impediment, of whose existence they are obliged to notify the president of the council.
§2 Those who are summoned to a particular council in which they have a deliberative vote, but who are prevented from attending because of a just impediment, can send a proxy. The proxy, however, has only a consultative vote.
|A particular council is to ensure that the pastoral needs of the people of
God in its territory are provided for. While it must always respect the universal law of the Church, it has power of governance, especially legislative power. It can, therefore, determine whatever seems opportune for an increase of faith, for the ordering of common pastoral action, for the direction of morality and for the preservation, introduction and defence of a common ecclesiastical discipline.
|When a particular council has concluded, the president is to ensure that all the acts of the council are sent to the Apostolic See. The decrees drawn up by the council are not to be promulgated until they have been reviewed by the Apostolic
See. The council has the responsibility of defining the manner in which the decrees will be promulgated and the time when the promulgated decrees will begin to oblige.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Conferences of bishops
|The Episcopal Conference, a permanent institution, is the assembly of the
Bishops of a country or of a certain territory, exercising together certain pastoral offices for Christ’s faithful of that territory. By forms and means of apostolate suited to the circumstances of time and place, it is to promote, in accordance with the law, that greater good which the Church offers to all people.
|§1 As a general rule, the Episcopal Conference includes those who preside over all the particular Churches of the same country, in accordance with can. 450.
§2 An Episcopal Conference can, however, be established for a territory of greater or less extent if the Apostolic See, after consultation with the diocesan Bishops concerned, judges that circumstances suggest this. Such a Conference would include only the Bishops of some particular Churches in a certain territory, or those who preside over particular Churches in different countries. It is for the Apostolic See to lay down special norms for each case.
|§1 It is for the supreme authority of the Church alone, after consultation with the Bishops concerned, to establish, suppress, or alter Episcopal Conferences.
§2 An Episcopal Conference lawfully established has juridical personality by virtue of the law itself.
|§1 By virtue of the law, the following persons in the territory belong to the
Episcopal Conference: all diocesan Bishops and those equivalent to them in law; all coadjutor Bishops, auxiliary Bishops and other titular Bishops who exercise in the territory a special office assigned to them by the Apostolic See or by the Episcopal
Conference. Ordinaries of another rite may be invited, but have only a consultative vote, unless the statutes of the Episcopal Conference decree otherwise.
§2 The other titular Bishops and the Legate of the Roman Pontiff are not by law members of the Episcopal Conference.
|Each Episcopal Conference is to draw up its own statutes, to be reviewed by the Apostolic See. In these, among other things, arrangements for the plenary meetings of the Conference are to be set out, and provision is to be made for a permanent committee of Bishops, and a general secretary of the Conference, and for other offices and commissions by which, in the judgement of the Conference, its purpose can more effectively be achieved.
|§1 Each Episcopal Conference is to elect its president and determine who, in the lawful absence of the president, will exercise the function of vice-president. It is also to designate a general secretary, in accordance with the statutes.
§2 The president of the Conference or, when he is lawfully impeded, the vice-president, presides not only over the general meetings of the Conference but also over the permanent committee.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 452, 23.V.1988]
|Plenary meetings of the Episcopal Conference are to be held at least once a year, and moreover as often as special circumstances require, in accordance with the provisions of the statutes.
|§1 By virtue of the law diocesan Bishops, those equivalent to them in law and coadjutor Bishops have a deliberative vote in plenary meetings of the Episcopal
§2 Auxiliary Bishops and other titular Bishops who belong to the Episcopal
Conference have a deliberative or consultative vote according to the provisions of the statutes of the Conference. Only those mentioned in §1, however, have a deliberative vote in the making or changing of the statutes.
|§1 The Episcopal Conference can make general decrees only in cases where the universal law has so prescribed, or by special mandate of the Apostolic See, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Conference itself.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 455 §1, 5.VII.1985]
§2 For the decrees mentioned in §1 validly to be enacted at a plenary meeting, they must receive two thirds of the votes of those who belong to the Conference with a deliberative vote. These decrees do not oblige until they have been reviewed by the
Apostolic See and lawfully promulgated.
§3 The manner of promulgation and the time they come into force are determined by the Episcopal Conference.
§4 In cases where neither the universal law nor a special mandate of the Apostolic
See gives the Episcopal Conference the power mentioned in §1, the competence of each diocesan Bishop remains intact. In such cases, neither the Conference nor its president can act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent.
|When a plenary meeting of the Episcopal Conference has been concluded, its minutes are to be sent by the president to the Apostolic See for information, and its decrees, if any, for review.
|The permanent committee of Bishops is to prepare the agenda for the plenary meetings of the Conference, and it is to ensure that the decisions taken at those meetings are duly executed. It is also to conduct whatever other business is entrusted to it in accordance with the statutes.
|The general secretary is to:
1° prepare an account of the acts and decrees of the plenary meetings of the
Conference, as well as the acts of the permanent committee of Bishops and to communicate these to all members of the Conference; also to record whatever other acts are entrusted to him by the president or the permanent committee;
2° to communicate to neighbouring Episcopal Conferences such acts and documents as the Conference at a plenary meeting or the permanent committee of Bishops decides to send to them.
|§1 Relations are to be fostered between Episcopal Conferences, especially neighbouring ones, in order to promote and defend whatever is for the greater good.
§2 The Apostolic See must be consulted whenever actions or affairs undertaken by
Conferences have an international character.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan synod
|The diocesan synod is an assembly of selected priests and other members of
Christ’s faithful of a particular Church which, for the good of the whole diocesan community, assists the diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the following canons.
|§1 The diocesan synod is to be held in each particular Church when the diocesan Bishop, after consulting the council of priests, judges that the circumstances suggest it.
§2 If a Bishop is responsible for a number of dioceses, or has charge of one as his own and of another as Administrator, he may convene one diocesan synod for all the dioceses entrusted to him.
|§1 Only the diocesan Bishop can convene a diocesan synod. A person who has interim charge of a diocese cannot do so.
§2 The diocesan Bishop presides over the diocesan synod. He may however, delegate a Vicar general or an episcopal Vicar to fulfil this office at individual sessions of the synod.
|§1 The following are to be summoned to the diocesan synod as members and they are obliged to participate in it:
1° the coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishops;
2° the Vicars general and episcopal Vicars, and the judicial Vicar
3° the canons of the cathedral church;
4° the members of the council of priests;
5° lay members of Christ’s faithful, not excluding members of institutes of consecrated life, to be elected by the pastoral council in the manner and the number to be determined by the diocesan Bishop or, where this council does not exist, on a basis determined by the diocesan Bishop;
6° the rector of the major seminary of the diocese;
7° the vicars forane;
8° at least one priest from each vicariate forane to be elected by all those who have the care of souls there; another priest is also to be elected, to take the place of the first if he is prevented from attending;
9° some Superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life which have a house in the diocese: these are to be elected in the number and the manner determined by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 The diocesan Bishop may also invite others to be members of the diocesan synod, whether clerics or members of institutes of consecrated life or lay members of the faithful.
§3 If the diocesan Bishop considers it opportune, he may invite to the diocesan Synod as observers some ministers or members of Churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the catholic Church.
|A member of the synod who is lawfully impeded from attending, cannot send a proxy to attend in his or her place, but is to notify the diocesan Bishop of the reason for not attending.
|All questions proposed are to be subject to the free discussion of the members in the sessions of the synod.
|The diocesan Bishop is the sole legislator in the diocesan synod. Other members of the synod have only a consultative vote. The diocesan Bishop alone signs the synodal declarations and decrees, and only by his authority may these be published.
|The diocesan Bishop is to communicate the text of the declarations and decrees of the synod to the Metropolitan and to the Episcopal Conference.
|§1 If he judges it prudent, the diocesan Bishop can suspend or dissolve the diocesan synod.
§2 Should the episcopal see become vacant or impeded, the diocesan synod is by virtue of the law itself suspended, until such time as the diocesan Bishop who succeeds to the see decrees that it be continued or declares it terminated.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia
|The diocesan curia is composed of those institutes and persons who assist the Bishop in governing the entire diocese, especially in directing pastoral action, in providing for the administration of the diocese, and in exercising judicial power.
|The appointment of those who fulfil an office in the diocesan curia belongs to the diocesan Bishop.
|All who are admitted to an office in the curia must:
1° promise to fulfil their office faithfully, as determined by law or by the Bishop;
2° observe secrecy within the limits and according to the manner determined by law or by the Bishop.
|The provisions of Book VII on ‘Processes’ are to be observed concerning cases and persons involved in the exercise of judicial power in the curia. The following canons are to be observed in what concerns the administration of the diocese.
|§1 The diocesan Bishop must ensure that everything concerning the administration of the whole diocese is properly coordinated and is directed in the way that will best achieve the good of that portion of the people of God entrusted to his care.
§2 The diocesan Bishop has the responsibility of coordinating the pastoral action of the Vicars general and episcopal Vicars. Where it is useful, he may appoint a
Moderator of the curia, who must be a priest Under the Bishop’s authority, the
Moderator is to coordinate activities concerning administrative matters and to ensure that the others who belong to the curia properly fulfil the offices entrusted to them.
§3 Unless in the Bishop’s judgement local conditions suggest otherwise, the Vicar general is to be appointed Moderator of the curia or, if there are several Vicars general, one of them.
§4 Where the Bishop judges it useful for the better promotion of pastoral action, he can establish an episcopal council, comprising the Vicars general and episcopal
|Acts of the curia which of their nature are designed to have a juridical effect must, as a requirement for validity, be signed by the
Ordinary from whom they emanate. They must also be signed by the chancellor of the curia or a notary. The chancellor is bound to notify the Moderator of the curia about these acts.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia » Vicars general and episcopal vicars
|§1 In each diocese the diocesan Bishop is to appoint a Vicar general to assist him in the governance of the whole diocese. The Vicar -general has ordinary power, in accordance with the following canons.
§2 As a general rule, one Vicar general is to be appointed, unless the size of the diocese, the number of inhabitants, or other pastoral reasons suggest otherwise.
|As often as the good governance of the diocese requires it, the diocesan
Bishop can also appoint one or more episcopal Vicars. These have the same ordinary power as the universal law gives to a Vicar general, in accordance with the following canons. The competence of an episcopal Vicar, however, is limited to a determined part of the diocese, or to a specific type of activity, or to the faithful of a particular rite, or to certain groups of people.
|§1 The Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar are freely appointed by the diocesan Bishop, and can be freely removed by him, without prejudice to can. 406.
An episcopal Vicar who is not an auxiliary Bishop, is to be appointed for a period of time, which is to be specified in the act of appointment.
§2 If the Vicar general is absent or lawfully impeded, the diocesan Bishop can appoint another to take his place. The same norm applies in the case of an episcopal
|§1 The Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar are to be priests of not less than thirty years of age, with a doctorate or licentiate in canon law or theology, or at
least well versed in these disciplines. They are to be known for their sound doctrine, integrity, prudence and practical experience.
§2 The office of Vicar general or episcopal Vicar may not be united with the office of canon penitentiary, nor may the office be given to blood relations of the Bishop up to the fourth degree.
|§1 In virtue of his office, the Vicar general has the same executive power throughout the whole diocese as that which belongs by law to the diocesan Bishop: that is, he can perform all administrative acts, with the exception however of those which the Bishop has reserved to himself, or which by law require a special mandate of the Bishop.
§2 By virtue of the law itself, the episcopal Vicar has the same power as that mentioned in §1, but only for the determined part of the territory or type of activity, or for the faithful of the determined rite or group, for which he was appointed; matters which the Bishop reserves to himself or to the Vicar general, or which by law require a special mandate of the Bishop, are excepted.
§3 Within the limits of their competence, the Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar have also those habitual faculties which the Apostolic See has granted to the Bishop.
They may also execute rescripts, unless it is expressly provided otherwise, or unless the execution was entrusted to the Bishop on a personal basis.
|The Vicar general and episcopal Vicar must give a report to the diocesan
Bishop concerning more important matters, both those yet to be attended to and those already dealt with. They are never to act against the will and mind of the diocesan
|§1 The power of the Vicar general or episcopal Vicar ceases when the period of their mandate expires, or by resignation. In addition, but without prejudice to cann. 406 and 409, it ceases when they are notified of their removal by the diocesan Bishop, or when the episcopal see falls vacant.
§2 When the office of the diocesan Bishop is suspended, the power of the Vicar general and of the episcopal Vicar is suspended, unless they are themselves Bishops.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia » The chancellor, other notaries, and the archives
|§1 In each curia a chancellor is to be appointed, whose principal office, unless particular law states otherwise, is to ensure that the acts of the curia are drawn up and dispatched, and that they are kept safe in the archive of the curia.
§2 If it is considered necessary, the chancellor may be given an assistant, who is to be called the vice-chancellor.
§3 The chancellor and vice-chancellor are automatically notaries and secretaries of the curia.
|§1 Besides the chancellor, other notaries may be appointed, whose writing or signature authenticates public documents. These notaries may be appointed for all acts, or for judicial acts alone, or only for acts concerning a particular issue or business.
§2 The chancellor and notaries must be of unblemished reputation and above suspicion. In cases which could involve the reputation of a priest, the notary must be a priest.
|The office of notary involves:
1° writing acts and documents concerning decrees, arrangements, obligations, and other matters which require their intervention;
2° faithfully recording in writing what is done, and signing the document, with a note of the place, the day, the month and the year;
3° while observing all that must be observed, showing acts or documents from the archives to those who lawfully request them, and verifying that copies conform to the original.
|The chancellor and the other notaries can be freely removed by the diocesan
Bishop. They can be removed by a diocesan Administrator only with the consent of the college of consultors.
|§1 All documents concerning the diocese or parishes must be kept with the greatest of care.
§2 In each curia there is to be established in a safe place a diocesan archive where documents and writings concerning both the spiritual and the temporal affairs of the diocese are to be properly filed and carefully kept under lock and key.
§3 An inventory or catalogue is to be made of documents kept in the archive, with a short synopsis of each document.
|§1 The archive must be locked, and only the Bishop and the chancellor are to have the key; no one may be allowed to enter unless with the permission of the
Bishop, or with the permission of both the Moderator of the curia and the chancellor.
§2 Persons concerned have the right to receive, personally or by proxy, an authentic written or photostat copy of documents which are of their nature public and which concern their own personal status.
|It is not permitted to remove documents from the archive, except for a short time and with the permission of the Bishop or of both the Moderator of the curia and the chancellor.
|§1 In the diocesan curia there is also to be a secret archive, or at least in the ordinary archive there is to be a safe or cabinet, which is securely closed and bolted and which cannot be removed. In this archive documents which are to be kept under secrecy are to be most carefully guarded.
§2 Each year documents of criminal cases concerning moral matters are to be destroyed whenever the guilty parties have died, or ten years have elapsed since a condemnatory sentence concluded the affair. A short summary of the facts is to be kept, together with the text of the definitive judgement.
|§1 Only the Bishop is to have the key of the secret archive.
§2 When the see is vacant, the secret archive or safe is not to be opened except in a case of real necessity, and then by the diocesan Administrator personally.
§3 Documents are not to be removed from the secret archive or safe.
|§1 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that the acts and documents of the archives of cathedral, collegiate, parochial and other churches in his territory are carefully kept and that two copies are made of inventories or catalogues. One of these copies is to remain in its own archive, the other is to be kept in the diocesan archive.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that there is an historical archive in the diocese, and that documents which have an historical value are carefully kept in it and systematically filed.
§3 In order that the acts and documents mentioned in §§1 and 2 may be inspected or removed, the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop are to be observed.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia » The finance council and the finance officer
|§1 In each diocese a finance committee is to be established, presided over by the diocesan Bishop or his delegate. It is to be composed of at least three of the faithful, expert in financial affairs and civil law, of outstanding integrity, and appointed by the Bishop.
§2 The members of the finance committee are appointed for five years but when this period has expired they may be appointed for further terms of five years.
§3 Persons related to the Bishop up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity are excluded from the finance committee.
|Besides the functions entrusted to it in Book V on ‘The Temporal Goods of the Church’, it is the responsibility of the finance committee to prepare each year a budget of income and expenditure over the coming year for the governance of the whole diocese, in accordance with the direction of the diocesan Bishop. It is also the responsibility of the committee to account at the end of the year for income and expenditure.
|§1 In each diocese a financial administrator is to be appointed by the
Bishop, after consulting the college of consultors and the finance committee. The financial administrator is to be expert in financial matters and of truly outstanding integrity.
§2 The financial administrator is to be appointed for five years, but when this period has expired, may be appointed for further terms of five years. While in office he or she is not to be removed except for a grave reason, to be estimated by the Bishop after consulting the college of consultors and the finance committee.
§3 It is the responsibility of the financial administrator, under the authority of the
Bishop, to administer the goods of the diocese in accordance with the plan of the finance committee, and to make those payments from diocesan funds which the
Bishop or his delegates have lawfully authorised.
§4 At the end of the year the financial administrator must give the finance committee an account of income and expenditure.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The presbyteral council and the college of consultors
|§1 In each diocese there is to be established a council of priests, that is, a group of priests who represent the presbyterium and who are to be, as it were, the
Bishop’s senate. The council’s role is to assist the Bishop, in accordance with the law, in the governance of the diocese, so that the pastoral welfare of that portion of the people of God entrusted to the Bishop may be most effectively promoted.
§2 In vicariates and prefectures apostolic, the Vicar or Prefect is to appoint a council composed of at least three missionary priests, whose opinion, even by letter, he is to hear in the more serious affairs.
|The council of priests is to have its own statutes. These are to be approved by the diocesan Bishop, having taken account of the norms laid down by the
|As far as the designation of the members of the council of priests is concerned:
1° about half are to be freely elected by the priests themselves in accordance with the canons which follow and with the statutes;
2° some priests must, in accordance with the statutes, be members ex officio, that is belong to the council by reason of the office they hold;
3° the diocesan Bishop may freely appoint some others.
|§1 The following have the right to both an active and a passive voice in an election to the council of priests:
1° all secular priests incardinated in the diocese;
2° priests who are living in the diocese and exercise some useful office there, whether they be secular priests not incardinated in the diocese, or priest members of religious institutes or of societies of apostolic life.
§2 Insofar as the statutes so provide, the same right of election may be given to other priests who have a domicile or quasi-domicile in the diocese.
|The manner of electing the members of the council of priests is to be determined by the statutes, and in such a way that as far as possible the priests of the presbyterium are represented, with special regard to the diversity of ministries and to the various regions of the diocese.
|§1 It is the prerogative of the diocesan Bishop to convene the council of priests, to preside over it, and to determine the matters to be discussed in it or to accept items proposed by the members.
§2 The council of priests has only a consultative vote. The diocesan Bishop is to consult it in matters of more serious moment, but he requires its consent only in the cases expressly defined in the law.
§3 The council of priests can never act without the diocesan Bishop. He alone can make public those things which have been decided in accordance with §2.
|§1 The members of the council of priests are to be designated for a period specified in the statutes, subject however to the condition that over a five year period the council is renewed in whole or in part.
§2 When the see is vacant, the council of priests lapses and its functions are fulfilled by the college of consultors. The Bishop must reconstitute the council of priests within a year of taking possession.
§3 If the council of priests does not fulfil the office entrusted to it for the welfare of the diocese, or if it gravely abuses that office, it can be dissolved by the diocesan
Bishop, after consultation with the Metropolitan, in the case of a metropolitan see, the Bishop must first consult with the suffragan Bishop who is senior by promotion.
Within a year, however, the diocesan Bishop must reconstitute the council.
|§1 From among the members of the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop freely appoints not fewer than six and not more than twelve priests, who are for five years to constitute the college of consultors. To it belong the functions determined by law; on the expiry of the five year period, however, it continues to exercise its functions until the new college is constituted.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 502 §1, 11.VII.1984]
§2 The diocesan Bishop presides over the college of consultors. If, however, the see is impeded or vacant, that person presides who in the interim takes the Bishop’s place or, if he has not yet been appointed, then the priest in the college of consultors who is senior by ordination.
§3 The Episcopal Conference can determine that the functions of the college of consultors be entrusted to the cathedral chapter.
§4 Unless the law provides otherwise, in a vicariate or prefecture apostolic the functions of the college of consultors belong to the council of the mission mentioned in can. 495 §2.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Chapters of canons
|A chapter of canons, whether cathedral or collegiate, is a college of priests, whose role is to celebrate the more solemn liturgical functions in a cathedral or a collegiate church. It is for the cathedral chapter, besides, to fulfil those roles entrusted to it by law or by the diocesan Bishop.
|The establishment, alteration or suppression of a cathedral chapter is reserved to the Apostolic See.
|Every chapter, whether cathedral or collegiate, is to have its own statutes, established by lawful capitular act and approved by the diocesan Bishop. These
statutes are not to be changed or abrogated except with the approval of the diocesan
|§1 The statutes of a chapter, while preserving always the laws of the foundation, are to determine the nature of the chapter and the number of canons.
They are to define what the chapter and the individual canons are to do in carrying out divine worship and their ministry. They are to decide the meetings at which law, they are to prescribe the conditions required for the validity and for the lawfulness of the proceedings.
§2 In the statutes the remuneration is also to be defined, both the fixed salary and the amounts to be paid on the occasion of discharging the office, so too, having taken account of the norms laid down by the Holy See, the insignia of the canons.
|§1 Among the canons there is to be one who presides over the chapter. In accordance with the statutes other offices are also to be established, account having been taken of the practice prevailing in the region.
§2 Other offices may be allotted to clerics not belonging to the chapter, so that, in accordance with the statutes, they may provide assistance to the canons.
|§1 The canon penitentiary both of a cathedral church and of a collegiate church has by law ordinary faculties, which he cannot however delegate to others, to absolve in the sacramental forum from latae sententiae censures which have not been declared and are not reserved to the Holy See. Within the diocese he can absolve not only diocesans but outsiders also, whereas he can absolve diocesans even outside the diocese.
§2 Where there is no chapter, the diocesan Bishop is to appoint a priest to fulfil this office.
|§1 It belongs to the diocesan Bishop, after consultation with the chapter, but not to the diocesan Administrator, to bestow each and every canonry both in the cathedral church and in a collegiate church, any privilege to the contrary is revoked.
It is also for the diocesan Bishop to confirm the person elected by the chapter to preside over it.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 509 §1, 20.V.1989]
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to appoint to canonries only priests who are of sound doctrine and life and who have exercised a praiseworthy ministry.
|§1 Parishes are no longer to be united with chapters of canons. Those which are united to a chapter are to be separated from it by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 In a church which is at the same time a parochial and a capitular church, a parish priest is to be appointed, whether chosen from the chapter or not. He is bound by all the obligations and he enjoys all the rights and faculties which by law belong to a parish priest.
§3 The diocesan Bishop is to establish certain norms whereby the pastoral duties of the parish priest and the roles proper to the chapter are duly harmonised, so that the parish priest is not a hindrance to capitular functions, nor the chapter to those of the parish. Any conflicts which may arise are to be settled by the diocesan Bishop, who is to ensure above all that the pastoral needs of the faithful are suitably provided for.
§4 Alms given to a church which is at the same time a parochial and a capitular church, are presumed to be given to the parish, unless it is otherwise established.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The pastoral council
|In each diocese, in so far as pastoral circumstances suggest, a pastoral council is to be established. Its function, under the authority of the Bishop, is to study and weigh those matters which concern the pastoral works in the diocese, and to propose practical conclusions concerning them.
|§1 A pastoral council is composed of members of Christ’s faithful who are in full communion with the catholic Church: clerics, members of institutes of consecrated life, and especially lay people. They are designated in the manner determined by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 The members of Christ’s faithful assigned to the pastoral council are to be selected in such a way that the council truly reflects the entire portion of the people of God which constitutes the diocese, taking account of the different regions of the diocese, of social conditions and professions, and of the part played in the apostolate by the members, whether individually or in association with others.
§3 Only those members of Christ’s faithful who are outstanding in firm faith, high moral standards and prudence are to be assigned to the pastoral council.
|§1 The pastoral council is appointed for a determinate period, in accordance with the provisions of the statutes drawn up by the Bishop.
§2 When the see is vacant, the pastoral council lapses.
|§1 The pastoral council has only a consultative vote. It is for the diocesan
Bishop alone to convene it, according to the needs of the apostolate, and to preside over it. He alone has the right to make public the matters dealt with in the council.
§2 It is to be convened at least once a year.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Parishes, pastors, and parochial vicars
|§1 A parish is a certain community of Christ’s faithful stably established within a particular Church, whose pastoral care, under the authority of the diocesan
Bishop, is entrusted to a parish priest as its proper pastor.
§2 The diocesan Bishop alone can establish, suppress or alter parishes. He is not to establish, suppress or notably alter them unless he has consulted the council of priests.
§3 A lawfully established parish has juridical personality by virtue of the law itself.
|§1 Unless the law provides otherwise, a quasi-parish is equivalent to a parish. A quasi-parish is a certain community of Christ’s faithful within a particular
Church, entrusted to a priest as its proper pastor, but because of special circumstances not yet established as a parish.
§2 Where some communities cannot be established as parishes or quasi-parishes, the diocesan Bishop is to provide for their spiritual care in some other way.
|§1 Where circumstances so require, the pastoral care of a parish, or of a number of parishes together, can be entrusted to several priests jointly, but with the stipulation that one of the priests is to be the moderator of the pastoral care to be exercised. This moderator is to direct the joint action and to be responsible for it to the Bishop.
§2 If, because of a shortage of priests, the diocesan Bishop has judged that a deacon, or some other person who is not a priest, or a community of persons, should be entrusted with a share in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish, he is to appoint some priest who, with the powers and faculties of a parish priest, will direct the pastoral care.
|As a general rule, a parish is to be territorial, that is, it is to embrace all
Christ’s faithful of a given territory. Where it is useful however, personal parishes are to be established, determined by reason of the rite, language or nationality of the faithful of a certain territory, or on some other basis.
|The parish priest is the proper pastor of the parish entrusted to him. He exercises the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling with the cooperation of other priests or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of
Christ’s faithful, in accordance with the law.
|§1 A juridical person may not be a parish priest. However, the diocesan
Bishop, but not the diocesan Administrator, can, with the consent of the competent
Superior, entrust a parish to a clerical religious institute or to a clerical society of apostolic life, even by establishing it in the church of the institute or society, subject however to the rule that one priest be the parish priest or, if the pastoral care is entrusted to several priests jointly, that there be a moderator as mentioned in can. 517
§2 The entrustment of a parish, as in §1, may be either in perpetuity or for a specified time. In either case this is to be done by means of a written agreement made between the diocesan Bishop and the competent Superior of the institute or society. This agreement must expressly and accurately define, among other things, the work to be done, the persons to be assigned to it and the financial arrangements.
|§1 To be validly appointed a parish priest, one must be in the sacred order of priesthood.
§2 He is also to be outstanding in sound doctrine and uprightness of character, endowed with zeal for souls and other virtues, and possessed of those qualities which by universal or particular law are required for the care of the parish in question.
§3 In order that one be appointed to the office of parish priest, his suitability must be clearly established, in a manner determined by the diocesan Bishop, even by examination.
|It is necessary that a parish priest have the benefit of stability, and therefore he is to be appointed for an indeterminate period of time. The diocesan Bishop may appoint him for a specified period of time only if the Episcopal Conference has by decree allowed this.
|Without prejudice to can. 682, appointment to the office of parish priest belongs to the diocesan Bishop, who is free to confer it on whomsoever he wishes, unless someone else has a right of presentation or election.
|The diocesan Bishop is to confer a vacant parish on the one whom, after consideration of all the circumstances, he judges suitable for the parochial care of that parish, without any preference of persons. In order to assess suitability, he is to consult the vicar forane, conduct suitable enquiries and, if it is appropriate, seek the view of some priests and lay members of Christ’s faithful.
|When a see is vacant or impeded, it is for the diocesan Administrator or whoever governs the diocese in the interim:
1° to institute priests lawfully presented for a parish or to confirm those lawfully elected to one;
2° to appoint parish priests if the see has been vacant or impeded for a year.
|§1 A parish priest is to have the parochial care of one parish only.
However, because of a shortage of priests or other circumstances, the care of a number of neighbouring parishes can be entrusted to the one parish priest.
§2 In any one parish there is to be only one parish priest, or one moderator in accordance with can. 517 §1; any contrary custom is reprobated and any contrary privilege revoked.
|§1 One who is promoted to exercise the pastoral care of a parish obtains this care and is bound to exercise it from the moment he takes possession.
§2 The local Ordinary or a priest delegated by him puts the parish priest into possession, in accordance with the procedure approved by particular law or by lawful custom. For a just reason, however, the same Ordinary can dispense from this procedure, in which case the communication of the dispensation to the parish replaces the taking of possession.
§3 The local Ordinary is to determine the time within which the parish priest must take possession of the parish. If, in the absence of a lawful impediment, he has not taken possession within this time, the local Ordinary can declare the parish vacant.
|§1 The parish priest has the obligation of ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety to those living in the parish. He is therefore to see to it that the lay members of Christ’s faithful are instructed in the truths of faith, especially by means of the homily on Sundays and holydays of obligation and by catechetical formation. He is to foster works which promote the spirit of the Gospel, including its relevance to social justice. He is to have a special care for the catholic education of children and young people. With the collaboration of the faithful, he is to make every effort to bring the gospel message to those also who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith.
§2 The parish priest is to take care that the blessed Eucharist is the centre of the parish assembly of the faithful. He is to strive to ensure that the faithful are nourished by the devout celebration of the sacraments, and in particular that they frequently approach the sacraments of the blessed Eucharist and penance. He is to strive to lead them to prayer, including prayer in their families, and to take a live and active part in the sacred liturgy. Under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, the parish priest must direct this liturgy in his own parish, and he is bound to be on guard against abuses.
|§1 So that he may fulfil his office of pastor diligently, the parish priest is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care. He is therefore to visit their families, sharing in their cares and anxieties and, in a special way, their sorrows, comforting
them in the Lord. If in certain matters they are found wanting, he is prudently to correct them. He is to help the sick and especially the dying in great charity, solicitiously restoring them with the sacraments and commending their souls to God.
He is to be especially diligent in seeking out the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those who are exiled from their homeland, and those burdened with special difficulties. He is to strive also to ensure that spouses and parents are sustained in the fulfilment of their proper duties, and to foster the growth of christian life in the family.
§2 The parish priest is to recognise and promote the specific role which the lay members of Christ’s faithful have in the mission of the Church, fostering their associations which have religious purposes. He is to cooperate with his proper
Bishop and with the presbyterium of the diocese. Moreover, he is to endeavour to ensure that the faithful are concerned for the community of the parish, that they feel themselves to be members both of the diocese and of the universal Church, and that they take part in and sustain works which promote this community.
|The functions especially entrusted to the parish priest are as follows:
1° the administration of baptism;
2° the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those in danger of death, in accordance with can. 883, n. 3;
3° the administration of Viaticum and of the anointing of the sick, without prejudice to cann. 1003 §§2 and 3, and the imparting of the apostolic blessing;
4° the assistance at marriages and the nuptial blessing;
5° the conducting of funerals;
6° the blessing of the baptismal font at paschal time, the conduct of processions outside the church, and the giving of solemn blessings outside the church;
7° the more solemn celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
|Even though another person has performed some parochial function, he is to give the offering he receives from the faithful on that occasion to the parish fund unless, in respect of voluntary offerings, there is a clear contrary intention on the donor’s part; it is for the diocesan Bishop, after consulting the council of priests, to prescribe regulations concerning the destination of these offerings and to provide for the remuneration of clerics who fulfil such a parochial function.
|In all juridical matters, the parish priest acts in the person of the parish, in accordance with the law. He is to ensure that the parish goods are administered in accordance with can. 1281-1288.
|§1 The parish priest is obliged to reside in the parochial house, near the church. In particular cases, however, where there is a just reason, the local Ordinary may permit him to reside elsewhere, especially in a house common to several priests, provided the carrying out of the parochial duties is properly and suitably catered for.
§2 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, the parish priest may each year be absent on holiday from his parish for a period not exceeding one month, continuous or otherwise. The days which the parish priest spends on the annual spiritual retreat are not reckoned in this period of vacation. For an absence from the parish of more than a week, however, the parish priest is bound to advise the local Ordinary.
§3 It is for the diocesan Bishop to establish norms by which, during the parish priest’s absence, the care of the parish is provided for by a priest with the requisite faculties.
|§1 When he has taken possession of his parish, the parish priest is bound on each Sunday and holyday of obligation in his diocese to apply the Mass for the people entrusted to him. If he is lawfully impeded from this celebration, he is to have someone else apply the Mass on these days or apply it himself on other days.
§2 A parish priest who has the care of several parishes is bound to apply only one
Mass on the days mentioned in §1, for all the people entrusted to him.
§3 A parish priest who has not discharged the obligations mentioned in §§1 and 2, is as soon as possible to apply for the people as many Masses as he has omitted.
|§1 In each parish there are to be parochial registers, that is, of baptisms, of marriages and of deaths, and any other registers prescribed by the Episcopal
Conference or by the diocesan Bishop. The parish priest is to ensure that entries are accurately made and that the registers are carefully preserved.
§2. In the baptismal register, a note is also to be made of ascription to a Church ‘sui iuris’ or the transfer to another Church, as well as of confirmation and of all matters pertaining to the canonical status of the faithful by reason of marriage, without prejudice to the provision of can. 1133, adoption, the reception of sacred orders, the making of perpetual profession in a religious institute. These annotations are always to be stated on a Certificate of Baptism.
[revised wording according to m.p. De concordia inter Codices, 31.V.2016]
§3 Each parish is to have its own seal. Certificates concerning the canonical status of the faithful, and all acts which can have juridical significance, are to be signed by the parish priest or his delegate and secured with the parochial seal.
§4 In each parish there is to be an archive, in which the parochial books are to be kept, together with episcopal letters and other documents which it may be necessary or useful to preserve. On the occasion of visitation or at some other opportune time, the diocesan Bishop or his delegate is to inspect all of these matters. The parish priest is to take care that they do not fall into unauthorised hands.
§5 Older parochial registers are also to be carefully safeguarded, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.
|§1 If, after consulting the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop considers it opportune, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish. In this council, which is presided over by the parish priest, Christ’s faithful, together with those who by virtue of their office are engaged in pastoral care in the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral action.
§2 The pastoral council has only a consultative vote, and it is regulated by the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop.
|In each parish there is to be a finance committee to help the parish priest in the administration of the goods of the parish, without prejudice to can. 532. It is ruled by the universal law and by the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, and it is comprised of members of the faithful selected according to these norms.
|§1 A parish priest ceases to hold office by removal or transfer effected by the diocesan Bishop in accordance with the law; by his personal resignation, for a just reason, which for validity requires that it be accepted by the diocesan Bishop; and by the lapse of time if, in accordance with the particular law mentioned in can.
522, he was appointed for a specified period of time.
§2 A parish priest who is a member of a religious institute or is incardinated in a society of apostolic life, is removed in accordance with can. 682 §2.
§3 A parish priest who has completed his seventy fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the diocesan Bishop who, after considering all the circumstances of person and place, is to decide whether to accept or defer it. Having taken account of the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference, the diocesan
Bishop must make provision for the appropriate maintenance and residence of the priest who has resigned.
|When a parish is vacant, or when the parish priest is prevented from exercising his pastoral office in the parish by reason of imprisonment, exile or
banishment, or by reason of incapacity or ill health or some other cause, the diocesan
Bishop is as soon as possible to appoint a parochial administrator, that is, a priest who will take the place of the parish priest in accordance with can. 540.
|§1 The parochial administrator is bound by the same obligations and has the same rights as a parish priest, unless the diocesan Bishop prescribes otherwise.
§2 The parochial administrator may not do anything which could prejudice the rights of the parish priest or could do harm to parochial property.
§3 When he has discharged his office, the parochial administrator is to give an account to the parish priest.
|§1 When a parish is vacant, or when the parish priest is impeded from exercising his pastoral office, pending the appointment of a parochial administrator the interim governance of the parish is to be undertaken by the assistant priest; if there are a number of assistants, by the senior by appointment; if there are none, by the parish priest determined by particular law.
§2 The one who has undertaken the governance of the parish in accordance with §1, is at once to inform the local Ordinary of the parish vacancy.
|The priests to whom, in accordance with can. 516 §1,is jointly entrusted the pastoral care of a parish or of a number of parishes together:
1° must possess the qualities mentioned in can. 521;
2° are to be appointed in accordance with cann. 522 and 524;
3° obtain the pastoral care only from the moment of taking possession: their moderator is put into possession in accordance with can. 527 §2; for the other priests, the profession of faith lawfully made replaces the taking of possession.
|§1 Each of the priests to whom the care of a parish or of a number of parishes together is jointly entrusted, is bound to fulfil the duties and functions of a parish priest mentioned in cann. 528, 529 and 530. They are to do this according to a plan determined among themselves. The faculty to assist at marriages, and all the faculties to dispense which are given to a parish priest by virtue of the law itself, belong to all, but are to be exercised under the direction of the moderator.
§2 All the priests who belong to the group:
1° are bound by the obligation of residence;
2° are by common counsel to establish an arrangement by which one of them celebrates the Mass for the people, in accordance with can. 534.
3° in juridical affairs, only the moderator acts in the person of the parish or parishes entrusted to the group.
|When one of the priests, or the moderator, of the group mentioned in can.
517 §1 ceases to hold office, or when any member of it becomes incapable of exercising his pastoral office, the parish or parishes whose care is entrusted to the group do not become vacant. It is for the diocesan Bishop to appoint another moderator; until he is appointed by the Bishop, the priest of the group who is senior by appointment is to fulfil this office.
|§1 Whenever it is necessary or opportune for the due pastoral care of the parish, one or more assistant priests can be joined with the parish priest. As cooperators with the parish priest and sharers in his concern, they are, by common counsel and effort with the parish priest and under his authority, to labour in the pastoral ministry.
§2 An assistant priest may be appointed either to help in exercising the entire pastoral ministry, whether in the whole parish or in a part of it or for a particular group of the faithful within it, or even to help in carrying out a specific ministry in a number of parishes at the same time.
|To be validly appointed an assistant priest, one must be in the sacred order of priesthood.
|The diocesan Bishop freely appoints an assistant priest; if he has judged it opportune, he will have consulted the parish priest or parish priests of the parishes to which the assistant is appointed, and the Vicar forane, without prejudice to can. 682
|§1 The obligations and rights of assistant priests are defined not only by the canons of this chapter, but also by the diocesan statutes, and by the letter of the diocesan Bishop ; they are more specifically determined by the directions of the parish priest.
§2 Unless it is otherwise expressly provided in the letter of the diocesan Bishop, the assistant priest is by virtue of his office bound to help the parish priest in the entire parochial ministry, with the exception of the application of the Mass for the people.
Likewise, if the matter should arise in accordance with the law, he is bound to take the place of the parish priest.
§3 The assistant priest is to report regularly to the parish priest on pastoral initiatives, both those planned and those already undertaken. In this way the parish priest and the assistant or assistants can by their joint efforts provide a pastoral care of the parish for which they are together answerable.
|When the parish priest is absent, the norms of can. 541 §1 are to be observed, unless the diocesan Bishop has provided otherwise in accordance with can.
533 §3, or unless a parochial administrator has been appointed. If can. 541 §1 is applied, the assistant priest is bound by all the obligations of the parish priest, with the exception of the obligation to apply the Mass for the people.
|§1 The assistant priest is bound to reside in the parish or, if he is appointed for a number of parishes at the same time, in one of them. For a just reason, however, the local Ordinary may permit him to reside elsewhere, especially in a house common to several priests, provided the carrying out of the pastoral duties does not in any way suffer thereby.
§2 The local Ordinary is to see to it that, where it is possible, some manner of common life in the parochial house be encouraged between the parish priest and the assistants.
§3 As far as holidays are concerned, the assistant priest has the same rights as the parish priest.
|The provisions of can. 531 are to be observed in respect of offerings which
Christ’s faithful make to the assistant priest on the occasion of his exercise of the pastoral ministry.
|Without prejudice to can. 682 §2, an assistant priest may for a just reason be removed by the diocesan Bishop or the diocesan Administrator.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Vicars forane
|§1 The Vicar forane, known also as the dean or the archpriest or by some other title, is the priest who is placed in charge of a vicariate forane.
§2 Unless it is otherwise prescribed by particular law, the Vicar forane is appointed by the diocesan Bishop; if he has considered it prudent to do so, he will have consulted the priests who are exercising the ministry in the vicariate.
|§1 For the office of Vicar forane, which is not tied to the office of parish priest of any given parish, the Bishop is to choose a priest whom, in view of the circumstances of place and time, he has judged to be suitable.
§2 The Vicar forane is to be appointed for a certain period of time, determined by particular law.
§3 For a just reason, the diocesan Bishop may in accordance with his prudent judgement freely remove the Vicar forane from office.
|§1 Apart from the faculties lawfully given to him by particular law, the
Vicar forane has the duty and the right:
1° to promote and coordinate common pastoral action in the vicariate;
2° to see that the clerics of his district lead a life befitting their state, and discharge their obligations carefully
3° to ensure that religious functions are celebrated according to the provisions of the sacred liturgy; that the elegance and neatness of the churches and sacred furnishings are properly maintained, particularly in regard to the celebration of the Eucharist and the custody of the blessed Sacrament; that the parish registers are correctly entered and duly safeguarded; that ecclesiastical goods are carefully administered; finally, that the parochial house is looked after with care.
§2 In the vicariate entrusted to him, the Vicar forane:
1° is to encourage the clergy, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to attend at the prescribed time lectures and theological meetings or conferences, in accordance with can. 272 §2 .
2° is to see to it that spiritual assistance is available to the priests of his district, and he is to show a particular solicitude for those who are in difficult circumstances or are troubled by problems.
§3 When he has come to know that parish priests of his district are seriously ill, the
Vicar forane is to ensure that they do not lack spiritual and material help. When they die, he is to ensure that their funerals are worthily celebrated. Moreover, should any of them fall ill or die, he is to see to it that books, documents, sacred furnishings and other items belonging to the Church are not lost or removed.
§4 The Vicar forane is obliged to visit the parishes of his district in accordance with the arrangement made by the diocesan Bishop.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Rectors of churches and chaplains » Rectors of churches
|Rectors of churches are here understood to be priests to whom is entrusted the care of some church which is neither a parochial nor a capitular church, nor a church attached to the house of a religious community or a society of apostolic life which holds services in it.
|§1 The rector of a church is freely appointed by the diocesan Bishop, without prejudice to a right of election or presentation to which someone may lawfully have claim: in which case the diocesan Bishop has the right to confirm or to appoint the rector.
§2 Even if the church belongs to some clerical religious institute of pontifical right, it is for the diocesan Bishop to appoint the rector presented by the Superior.
§3 The rector of a church which is attached to a seminary or to a college governed by clerics, is the rector of the seminary or college, unless the diocesan Bishop has determined otherwise.
|Without prejudice to can. 262, the rector of a church may not perform in his church the parochial functions mentioned in can. 530 nn. 1--6, without the consent or, where the matter requires it, the delegation of the parish priest.
|The rector can conduct liturgical celebrations, even solemn ones, in the church entrusted to him, without prejudice to the legitimate laws of a foundation, and on condition that in the judgement of the local Ordinary these celebrations do not in any way harm the parochial ministry.
|Where he considers it opportune, the local Ordinary may direct the rector to celebrate in his church certain functions for the people, even parochial functions, and also to open the church to certain groups of the faithful so that they may hold liturgical celebrations there.
|Without the permission of the rector or some other lawful superior, no one may celebrate the Eucharist, administer the sacraments, or perform other sacred functions in the church. This permission is to be given or refused in accordance with the law.
|Under the authority of the local Ordinary, having observed the lawful statutes and respected acquired rights, the rector of a church is obliged to see that sacred functions are worthily celebrated in the church, in accordance with liturgical and canon law, that obligations are faithfully fulfilled, that the property is carefully administered, and that the maintenance and adornment of the furnishings and buildings are assured.
He must also ensure that nothing is done which is in any way unbecoming to the holiness of the place and to the reverence due to the house of God.
|For a just reason, the local Ordinary may in accordance with his prudent judgement remove the rector of a church from office, even if he had been elected or presented by others, but without prejudice to can. 682 §2.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Rectors of churches and chaplains » Chaplains
|A chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a stable manner the pastoral care, at least in part, of some community or special group of Christ’s faithful, to be exercised in accordance with universal and particular law.
|Unless the law provides otherwise or unless special rights lawfully belong to someone, a chaplain is appointed by the local Ordinary, to whom also it belongs to appoint one who has been presented or to confirm one elected.
|§1 A chaplain must be given all the faculties which due pastoral care demands. Besides those which are given by particular law or by special delegation, a chaplain has by virtue of his office the faculty to hear the confessions of the faithful entrusted to his care, to preach to them the word of God, to administer Viaticum and the anointing of the sick, and to confer the sacrament of confirmation when they are in danger of death.
§2 In hospitals and prisons and on sea voyages, a chaplain has the further facility, to be exercised only in those places, to absolve from latae sententiae censures which are neither reserved nor declared, without prejudice to can. 976.
|§1 The local Ordinary is not to proceed to the appointment of a chaplain to a house of a lay religious institute without consulting the Superior. The Superior has the right, after consulting the community, to propose a particular priest.
§2 It is the responsibility of the chaplain to celebrate or to direct liturgical functions; he may not, however, involve himself in the internal governance of the institute.
|As far as possible, chaplains are to be appointed for those who, because of their condition of life, are not able to avail themselves of the ordinary care of parish priests, as for example, migrants, exiles, fugitives, nomads and sea-farers.
|Chaplains to the armed forces are governed by special laws.
|If a non-parochial church is attached to a centre of a community or group, the rector of the church is to be the chaplain, unless the care of the community or of the church requires otherwise.
|In the exercise of his pastoral office a chaplain is to maintain the due relationship with the parish priest.
|In regard to the removal of a chaplain, the provisions of can. 563 are to be observed.
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