CODE OF CANON LAW
BOOK II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD
PART II. THE HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
SECTION II. PARTICULAR CHURCHES AND THEIR GROUPINGS
PARTICULAR CHURCHES AND THE AUTHORITY ESTABLISHED IN THEM (Cann. 368 - 430)
Can. 368 Particular churches, in which and from which the one and only Catholic Church exists, are first of all dioceses, to which, unless it is otherwise evident, are likened a territorial prelature and territorial abbacy, an apostolic vicariate and an apostolic prefecture, and an apostolic administration erected in a stable manner.
Can. 369 A diocese is a portion of the people of God which is entrusted to a bishop for him to shepherd with the cooperation of the presbyterium, so that, adhering to its pastor and gathered by him in the Holy Spirit through the gospel and the Eucharist, it constitutes a particular church in which the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church of Christ is truly present and operative.
Can. 370 A territorial prelature or territorial abbacy is a certain portion of the people of God which is defined territorially and whose care, due to special circumstances, is entrusted to some prelate or abbot who governs it as its proper pastor just like a diocesan bishop.
Can. 371 §1. An apostolic vicariate or apostolic prefecture is a certain portion of the people of God which has not yet been established as a diocese due to special circumstances and which, to be shepherded, is entrusted to an apostolic vicar or apostolic prefect who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.
§2. An apostolic administration is a certain portion of the people of God which is not erected as a diocese by the Supreme Pontiff due to special and particularly grave reasons and whose pastoral care is entrusted to an apostolic administrator who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.
Can. 372 §1. As a rule, a portion of the people of God which constitutes a diocese or other particular church is limited to a definite territory so that it includes all the faithful living in the territory.
§2. Nevertheless, where in the judgment of the supreme authority of the Church it seems advantageous after the conferences of bishops concerned have been heard, particular churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or some other similar reason can be erected in the same territory.
Can. 373 It is only for the supreme authority to erect particular churches; those legitimately erected possess juridic personality by the law itself.
Can. 374 §1. Every diocese or other particular church is to be divided into distinct parts or parishes.
§2. To foster pastoral care through common action, several neighboring parishes can be joined into special groups, such as vicariates forane.
BISHOPS IN GENERAL
Can. 375 §1. Bishops, who by divine institution succeed to the place of the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who has been given to them, are constituted pastors in the Church, so that they are teachers of doctrine, priests of sacred worship, and ministers of governance.
§2. Through episcopal consecration itself, bishops receive with the function of sanctifying also the functions of teaching and governing; by their nature, however, these can only be exercised in hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college.
Can. 376 Bishops to whom the care of some diocese is entrusted are called diocesan; others are called titular.
Can. 377 §1. The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints bishops or confirms those legitimately elected.
§2. At least every three years, bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, where circumstances suggest it, of a conference of bishops, are in common counsel and in secret to compose a list of presbyters, even including members of institutes of consecrated life, who are more suitable for the episcopate. They are to send it to the Apostolic See, without prejudice to the right of each bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of presbyters whom he considers worthy of and suited to the episcopal function.
§3. Unless it is legitimately established otherwise, whenever a diocesan or coadjutor bishop must be appointed, as regards what is called the ternus to be proposed to the Apostolic See, the pontifical legate is to seek individually and to communicate to the Apostolic See together with his own opinion the suggestions of the metropolitan and suffragans of the province to which the diocese to be provided for belongs or with which it is joined in some grouping, and the suggestions of the president of the conference of bishops. The pontifical legate, moreover, is to hear some members of the college of consultors and cathedral chapter and, if he judges it expedient, is also to seek individually and in secret the opinion of others from both the secular and non-secular clergy and from laity outstanding in wisdom.
§4. Unless other provision has been legitimately made, a diocesan bishop who judges that an auxiliary should be given to his diocese is to propose to the Apostolic See a list of at least three presbyters more suitable for this office.
§5. In the future, no rights and privileges of election, nomination, presentation, or designation of bishops are granted to civil authorities.
Can. 378 §1. In regard to the suitability of a candidate for the episcopacy, it is required that he is:
1/ outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues, and endowed with other qualities which make him suitable to fulfill the office in question;
2/ of good reputation;
3/ at least thirty-Five years old;
4/ ordained to the presbyterate for at least Five years;
5/ in possession of 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 truly expert in the same disciplines.
§2. The definitive judgment concerning the suitability of the one to be promoted pertains to the Apostolic See.
Can. 379 Unless he is prevented by a legitimate impediment, whoever has been promoted to the episcopacy must receive episcopal consecration within three months from the receipt of the apostolic letter and before he takes possession of his office.
Can. 380 Before he takes canonical possession of his office, the one promoted is to make the profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See.
Can. 381 §1. A diocesan bishop in the diocese entrusted to him has all ordinary, proper, and immediate power which is required for the exercise of his pastoral function except for cases which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme authority or to another ecclesiastical authority.
§2. Those who preside over the other communities of the faithful mentioned in ⇒ can. 368 are equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop unless it is otherwise apparent from the nature of the matter or from a prescript of law.
Can. 382 §1. One promoted as bishop cannot assume the exercise of the office entrusted to him before he has taken canonical possession of the diocese. Nevertheless, he is able to exercise offices which he already had in the same diocese at the time of promotion, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 409, §2.
§2. Unless he is prevented by a legitimate impediment, one promoted to the office of diocesan bishop must take canonical possession of his diocese within four months of receipt of the apostolic letter if he has not already been consecrated a bishop; if he has already been consecrated, within two months from receipt of this letter.
§3. A bishop takes canonical possession of a diocese when he personally or through a proxy has shown the apostolic letter in the same diocese to the college of consultors in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who records the event. In newly erected dioceses, he takes canonical possession when he has seen to the communication of the same letter to the clergy and people present in the cathedral church, with the senior presbyter among those present recording the event.
§4. It is strongly recommended that the taking of canonical possession be done within a liturgical act in the cathedral church with the clergy and people gathered together.
Can. 383 §1. In exercising the function of a pastor, a diocesan bishop is to show himself concerned for all the Christian faithful entrusted to his care, of whatever age, condition, or nationality they are, whether living in the territory or staying there temporarily; he is also to extend an apostolic spirit to those who are not able to make sufficient use of ordinary pastoral care because of the condition of their life and to those who no longer practice their religion.
§2. If he has faithful of a different rite in his diocese, he is to provide for their spiritual needs either through priests or parishes of the same rite or through an episcopal vicar.
§3. He is to act with humanity and charity toward the brothers and sisters who are not in full communion with the Catholic Church and is to foster ecumenism as it is understood by the Church.
§4. He is to consider the non-baptized as committed to him in the Lord, so that there shines on them the charity of Christ whose witness a bishop must be before all people.
Can. 384 With special solicitude, a diocesan bishop is to attend to presbyters and listen to them as assistants and counselors. He is to protect their rights and take care that they correctly fulfill the obligations proper to their state and that the means and institutions which they need to foster spiritual and intellectual life are available to them.
He also is to take care that provision is made for their decent support and social assistance, according to the norm of law.
Can. 385 As much as possible, a diocesan bishop is to foster vocations to different ministries and to consecrated life, with special care shown for priestly and missionary vocations.
Can. 386 §1. A diocesan bishop, frequently preaching in person, is bound to propose and explain to the faithful the truths of the faith which are to be believed and applied to morals. He is also to take care that the prescripts of the canons on the ministry of the word, especially those on the homily and catechetical instruction, are carefully observed so that the whole Christian doctrine is handed on to all.
§2. Through more suitable means, he is firmly to protect the integrity and unity of the faith to be believed, while nonetheless acknowledging a just freedom in further investigating its truths.
Can. 387 Since the diocesan bishop is mindful of his obligation to show an example of holiness in charity, humility, and simplicity of life, he is to strive to promote in every way the holiness of the Christian faithful according to the proper vocation of each. Since he is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, he is to endeavor constantly that the Christian faithful entrusted to his care grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments and that they understand and live the paschal mystery.
Can. 388 §1. After the diocesan bishop has taken possession of the diocese, he must apply a Mass for the people entrusted to him each Sunday and on the other holy days of obligation in his region.
§2. The bishop himself must personally celebrate and apply a Mass for the people on the days mentioned in §1. If he is legitimately impeded from this celebration, however, he is to apply the Masses either on the same days through another or on other days himself.
§3. A bishop to whom other dioceses besides his own have been entrusted, even under title of administration, 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.
Can. 389 He is frequently to preside at the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist in the cathedral church or another church of his diocese, especially on holy days of obligation and other solemnities.
Can. 390 A diocesan bishop can perform pontifical functions in his entire diocese but not outside his own diocese without the express, or at least reasonably presumed, consent of the local ordinary.
Can. 391 §1. It is for the diocesan bishop to govern the particular church entrusted to him with legislative, executive, and judicial power according to the norm of law.
§2. The bishop exercises legislative power himself. He exercises executive power either personally or through vicars general or episcopal vicars according to the norm of law. He exercises judicial power either personally or through the judicial vicar and judges according to the norm of law.
Can. 392 §1. Since he must protect the unity of the universal Church, a bishop is bound to promote the common discipline of the whole Church and therefore to urge the observance of all ecclesiastical laws.
§2. He is to exercise vigilance so that abuses do not creep into ecclesiastical discipline, especially regarding the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the veneration of the saints, and the administration of goods.
Can. 393 The diocesan bishop represents his diocese in all its juridic affairs.
Can. 394 §1. A bishop is to foster various forms of the apostolate in the diocese and is to take care that in the entire diocese or in its particular districts, all the works of the apostolate are coordinated under his direction, with due regard for the proper character of each.
§2. He is to insist upon the duty which binds the faithful to exercise the apostolate according to each one’s condition and ability and is to exhort them to participate in and assist the various works of the apostolate according to the needs of place and time.
Can. 395 §1. Even if a diocesan bishop has a coadjutor or auxiliary, he is bound by the law of personal residence in the diocese.
§2. Apart from ad limina visits, councils, synods of bishops, conferences of bishops which he must attend, or some other duty legitimately entrusted to him, he can be absent from his diocese for a reasonable cause but not beyond a month, whether continuous or interrupted, and provided that he makes provision so that the diocese will suffer no detriment from his absence.
§3. He is not to be absent from the diocese on Christmas, during Holy Week, and on Easter, Pentecost, and the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, except for a grave and urgent cause.
§4. If a bishop has been illegitimately absent from the diocese for more than six months, the metropolitan is to inform the Apostolic See of his absence; if it concerns the metropolitan, the senior suffragan is to do so.
Can. 396 §1. A bishop is obliged to visit the diocese annually either in whole or in part, so that he visits the entire diocese at least every Five years either personally or, if he has been legitimately impeded, through the coadjutor bishop, an auxiliary, vicar general, episcopal vicar, or another presbyter.
§2. A bishop is permitted to choose the clerics he prefers as companions and assistants on a visitation; any contrary privilege or custom is reprobated.
Can. 397 §1. Persons, Catholic institutions, and sacred things and places, which are located within the area of the diocese, are subject to ordinary episcopal visitation.
§2. A bishop can visit members of religious institutes of pontifical right and their houses only in the cases expressed in law.
Can. 398 A bishop is to strive to complete the pastoral visitation with due diligence. He is to take care that he does not burden or impose a hardship on anyone through unnecessary expenses.
Can. 399 §1. Every Five years a diocesan bishop is bound to make a report to the Supreme Pontiff on the state of the diocese entrusted to him, according to the form and time determined by the Apostolic See.
§2. If the year determined for submitting a report falls entirely or in part within the first two years of his governance of a diocese, a bishop can refrain from making and submitting his report on this one occasion.
Can. 400 §1. Unless the Apostolic See has established otherwise, during the year in which he is bound to submit a report to the Supreme Pontiff, a 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. A bishop is to satisfy the above-mentioned obligation personally unless he is legitimately impeded. In that case, he is to satisfy it through his coadjutor, if he has one, or auxiliary, or a suitable priest of his presbyterium who resides in his diocese.
§3. An apostolic vicar can satisfy this obligation through a proxy, even one living in Rome. This obligation does not bind an apostolic prefect.
Can. 401 §1. A diocesan bishop who has completed the seventy-fifth year of age is requested to present his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who will make provision after he has examined all the circumstances.
§2. A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.
Can. 402 §1. A bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted retains the title of emeritus of his diocese and can retain a place of residence in that diocese if he so desires, unless in certain cases the Apostolic See provides otherwise because of special circumstances.
§2. The conference of bishops must take care that suitable and decent support is provided for a retired bishop, with attention given to the primary obligation which binds the diocese he has served.
COADJUTOR AND AUXILIARY BISHOPS
Can. 403 §1. When the pastoral needs of a diocese suggest it, one or more auxiliary bishops are to be appointed at the request of the diocesan bishop. An auxiliary bishop does not possess the right of succession.
§2. In more serious circumstances, even of a personal nature, an auxiliary bishop provided with special faculties can be given to a diocesan bishop.
§3. If it appears more opportune to the Holy See, it can appoint ex officio a coadjutor bishop who also has special faculties. A coadjutor bishop possesses the right of succession.
Can. 404 §1. A coadjutor bishop takes possession of his office when he, either personally or through a proxy, has shown the apostolic letter of appointment to the diocesan bishop and college of consultors in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who records the event.
§2. An auxiliary bishop takes possession of his office when he has shown the apostolic letter of appointment to the diocesan bishop in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who records the event.
§3. If the diocesan bishop is completely impeded, however, it suffices that both the coadjutor bishop and the auxiliary bishop show the apostolic letter of appointment to the college of consultors in the presence of the chancellor of the curia.
Can. 405 §1. A coadjutor bishop and an auxiliary bishop have the obligations and rights which are determined in the prescripts of the following canons and are defined in the letter of their appointment.
§2. A coadjutor bishop and the auxiliary bishop mentioned in can. 403, §2 assist the diocesan bishop in the entire governance of the diocese and take his place if he is absent or impeded.
Can. 406 §1. The diocesan bishop is to appoint a coadjutor bishop and the auxiliary bishop mentioned in can. 403, §2 as vicar general. Moreover, the diocesan bishop is to entrust to him before others those things which by law require a special mandate.
§2. Unless the apostolic letter has provided otherwise and without prejudice to the provision of §1, a diocesan bishop is to appoint his auxiliary or auxiliaries as vicars general or at least as episcopal vicars, dependent only on his authority or that of the coadjutor bishop or auxiliary bishop mentioned in can. 403, §2.
Can. 407 §1. In order to foster the present and future good of the diocese as much as possible, a diocesan bishop, a coadjutor, and the auxiliary mentioned in can. 403, §2 are to consult one another on matters of major importance.
§2. In considering cases of major importance, especially of a pastoral character, a diocesan bishop is to wish to consult the auxiliary bishops before others.
§3. Since a coadjutor bishop and an auxiliary bishop are called to share in the solicitude of the diocesan bishop, they are to exercise their duties in such a way that they proceed in harmony with him in effort and intention.
Can. 408 §1. A coadjutor bishop and an auxiliary bishop who are not prevented by a just impediment are obliged to perform pontificals and other functions to which the diocesan bishop is bound whenever the diocesan bishop requires it.
§2. A diocesan bishop is not to entrust habitually to another the episcopal rights and functions which a coadjutor or auxiliary bishop can exercise.
Can. 409 §1. When the episcopal see is vacant, the coadjutor bishop immediately becomes the bishop of the diocese for which he had been appointed provided that he has legitimately taken possession of it.
§2. When the episcopal see is vacant and unless competent authority has established otherwise, an auxiliary bishop preserves all and only those powers and faculties which he possessed as vicar general or episcopal vicar while the see was filled until a new bishop has taken possession of the see. If he has not been designated to the function of diocesan administrator, he is to exercise this same power, conferred by law, under the authority of the diocesan administrator who presides over the governance of the diocese.
Can. 410 Like the diocesan bishop, a coadjutor bishop and an auxiliary bishop are obliged to reside in the diocese.
Except for a brief time, they are not to be absent from it other than to fulfill some duty outside the diocese or for vacation, which is not to exceed one month.
Can. 411 The prescripts of cann. 401 and 402, §2 on resignation from office apply to a coadjutor and auxiliary bishop.
THE IMPEDED SEE AND THE VACANT SEE
THE IMPEDED SEE
Can. 412 An episcopal see is understood to be impeded if by reason of captivity, banishment, exile, or incapacity a diocesan bishop is clearly prevented from fulfilling his pastoral function in the diocese, so that he is not able to communicate with those in his diocese even by letter.
Can. 413 §1. When a see is impeded, the coadjutor bishop, if there is one, has governance of the diocese unless the Holy See has provided otherwise. If there is none or he is impeded, governance passes to an auxiliary bishop, the vicar general, an episcopal vicar, or another priest, following the order of persons established in the list which the diocesan bishop is to draw up as soon as possible after taking possession of the diocese. The list, which must be communicated to the metropolitan, is to be renewed at least every three years and preserved in secret by the chancellor.
§2. If there is no coadjutor bishop or he is impeded and the list mentioned in §1 is not available, it is for the college of consultors to select a priest to govern the diocese.
§3. The one who has assumed the governance of a diocese according to the norm of §§1 or 2 is to advise the Holy See as soon as possible of the impeded see and the function he has assumed.
Can. 414 Whoever has been called according to the norm of can. 413 to exercise the pastoral care of a diocese temporarily and only for the period in which the see is impeded is bound by the obligations and possesses the power in the exercise of the pastoral care of the diocese which a diocesan administrator has by law.
Can. 415 If an ecclesiastical penalty prevents a diocesan bishop from exercising his function, the metropolitan or, if there is none or it concerns him, the suffragan senior in promotion, is to have recourse immediately to the Holy See so that it will make provision.
THE VACANT SEE
Can. 416 An episcopal see is vacant upon the death of a diocesan bishop, resignation accepted by the Roman Pontiff, transfer, or privation made known to the bishop.
Can. 417 Everything that a vicar general or episcopal vicar does has force until they have received certain notice of the death of the diocesan bishop. Likewise, everything that a diocesan bishop, a vicar general, or an episcopal vicar does has force until they have received certain notice of the above-mentioned pontifical acts.
Can. 418 §1. Upon certain notice of transfer, a bishop must claim the diocese to which he has been transferred (ad quam) and take canonical possession of it within two months. On the day that he takes possession of the new diocese, however, the diocese from which he has been transferred (a qua) is vacant.
§2. Upon certain notice of transfer until the canonical possession of the new diocese, a transferred bishop in the diocese from which he has been transferred:
1/ obtains the power of a diocesan administrator and is bound by the obligations of the same; all power of the vicar general and episcopal vicar ceases, without prejudice to can. 409, §2;
2/ receives the entire remuneration proper to this office.
Can. 419 When a see is vacant and until the designation of a diocesan administrator, the governance of a diocese devolves upon the auxiliary bishop or, if there are several, upon the one who is senior in promotion. If there is no auxiliary bishop, however, it devolves upon the college of consultors unless the Holy See has provided otherwise.
The one who so assumes governance of the diocese is to convoke without delay the college competent to designate a diocesan administrator.
Can. 420 When the see is vacant in an apostolic vicariate or prefecture, the governance is assumed by the pro-vicar or pro-prefect, appointed only for this purpose by the vicar or prefect immediately after the vicar or prefect has taken possession of the vicariate or prefecture, unless the Holy See has established otherwise.
Can. 421 §1. The college of consultors must elect a diocesan administrator, namely the one who is to govern the diocese temporarily, within eight days from receiving notice of the vacancy of an episcopal see and without prejudice to the prescript of can. 502, §3.
§2. If a diocesan administrator has not been elected legitimately within the prescribed time for whatever cause, his designation devolves upon the metropolitan, and if the metropolitan church itself is vacant or both the metropolitan and the suffragan churches are vacant, it devolves upon the suffragan bishop senior in promotion.
Can. 422 An auxiliary bishop or, if there is none, the college of consultors is to inform the Apostolic See of the death of a bishop as soon as possible. The one elected as diocesan administrator is to do the same concerning his own election.
Can. 423 §1. One diocesan administrator is to be designated; any contrary custom is reprobated. Otherwise, the election is invalid.
§2. A diocesan administrator is not to be the finance officer at the same time. Therefore, if the Finance officer of the diocese has been elected as administrator, the Finance council is to elect a temporary Finance officer.
Can. 424 A diocesan administrator is to be elected according to the norm of cann. 165-178.
Can. 425 §1. Only a priest who has completed thirty-Five years of age and has not already been elected, appointed, or presented for the same vacant see can be designated validly to the function of diocesan administrator.
§2. A priest who is outstanding in doctrine and prudence is to be elected as diocesan administrator.
§3. If the conditions previously mentioned in §1 have been neglected, the metropolitan or, if the metropolitan church itself is vacant, the suffragan bishop senior in promotion, after he has ascertained the truth of the matter, is to designate an administrator in his place. The acts of the one who was elected contrary to the prescripts of §1, however, are null by the law itself.
Can. 426 When a see is vacant, the person who is to govern the diocese before the designation of a diocesan administrator possesses the power which the law grants to a vicar general.
Can. 427 §1. A diocesan administrator is bound by the obligations and possesses the power of a diocesan bishop, excluding those matters which are excepted by their nature or by the law itself.
§2. When he has accepted election, the diocesan administrator obtains power and no other confirmation is required, without prejudice to the obligation mentioned in can. 833, n. 4.
Can. 428 §1. When a see is vacant, nothing is to be altered.
§2. Those who temporarily care for the governance of the diocese are forbidden to do anything which can be prejudicial in some way to the diocese or episcopal rights. They, and consequently all others, are specifically prohibited, whether personally or through another, from removing or destroying any documents of the diocesan curia or from changing anything in them.
Can. 429 A diocesan administrator is obliged to reside in the diocese and to apply Mass for the people according to the norm of can. 388.
Can. 430 §1. The function of a diocesan administrator ceases when the new bishop has taken possession of the diocese.
§2. The removal of a diocesan administrator is reserved to the Holy See. If an administrator resigns, the resignation must be presented in authentic form to the college competent to elect, but it does not need acceptance.
If a diocesan administrator has been removed, resigns, or dies, another diocesan administrator is to be elected according to the norm of can. 421.