Talk:Vicar general

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Ordinaries and PMadrid's edits[edit]

Wrong, no, incorrect.

VGs and EVs are "ordinaries" only with regard to exercise of their power, not with regard to source. Their jurisdiction is vicarious, which is why they are vicars, eh? That is, the source of their authority is delegated, hence they are delegates, which is why the VG loses jurisdiction with the death of the bishop (Cn. 481). They are, in fact, properly "quasi-ordinaries" in that they exercise functions by the law itself (475, 479), and so are ordinaries in the exercise of their office, but their jurisdiction is derivative (479, in that the bishop may restrict or limit their jurisdiction). "This is vicarial jurisdiction, delegated as to its source, but ordinary as to its exercise, and which would be more accurately termed quasi-ordinary. In this sense vicars-general and diocesan officials are ordinaries." (Boudhinon; cf Sagmuller). In short, as you have it written, VGs are equivalents of diocesan bishops, which is emphatically not the case.HarvardOxon 21:27, 29 November 2006 (UTC)

Ah, I see what you are saying, and I realize my error. We are both right in some way, but you are more right than I am. I was wrong in saying that VGs and EVs exercise their own power. They do indeed exercise the executive power of their bishop. My mistake. I will adjust the article accordingly.
I was trying to avoid saying that VGs and EVs are delegates of the bishop, and I came up with the wrong terminology instead. We should still use a different word than delegate because they are not mere delegates of the bishop. A delegate exercises power by virtue of a mandate. An ordinary exercises power by virtue of an office, which is a more stable exercise of power.
The power that the vicars exercise is not their own power; it is the power of the bishop. However, as ordinaries they have the right by virtue of law to exercise the bishop's power, subject to the limits that the bishop has placed on it (a la c. 479) and the limits of law. In essence, their ordinary power is a power of agency. The Catholic Encyclopedia also defines vicar as agent and not a mere delegate. I think defining vicar as "agent of the bishop" is a way to avoid using the term delegate which could be confused with "delegated power", a completely different concept than what these offices entail.
By the way, a few offices with vicarious ordinary power do not fall vacant sede vacante. The judicial vicar, for instance, retains his power. If his were mere delegated power, his mandate should also expire sede vacante. Instead we have a special law in the case of vicars general and episcopal (c. 481) in which they lose their office (not just their jurisdiction), emphasizing again the fact that these guys really are ordinaries and that there has to be a special law depriving them of office in order to extinguish their powers sede vacante.
Thanks for bringing this up though. This should make the articles even more accurate. Pmadrid 04:00, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I believe the definition of "ordinary" and "delegate" is that the two are direct opposites and that ordinary is whatever canonical power is attached to an office. In this sense, the power of vicars-general is ordinary. In this sense, it is even inappropriate to use the term "ordinary" in the question from whom the power comes (sacramentally). -- (talk) 11:41, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Lay female chancellors[edit]

There are reports about the existence of lay female chancellors in certain dioceses. This should maybe be mentioned in the article, along with a legal examination on how this relates to the norms set forth in canon law (cf canon 483). However, the current article appears to suggest that there are no specific rules on the issue, meaning that this could be acceptable in appropriate circumstances. [1] ADM (talk) 07:11, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

This is pretty common, as the chancellor is not an office restricted to clergy. About 1/4 of dioceses in the U.S. have women as chancellors. Protoclete (talk) 10:01, 20 March 2017 (UTC)


larger dioceses or archdioceses routinely have two or even three vicars-general. Do they really? In Germany, where the dioceses are large indeed for historical reasons, there is not one that has two vicars-general, not even Cologne with its two million Catholics, or Hamburg with its three bundesländers, or Rottenburg with its combination of large surface and another nearly two million Catholics. I believe also that canon law says one vicar-general is the norm, and more of them the exception. If there are more than one vicar-general, it's not due to size (which normally induces the appointment of auxiliary bishops as vicars-episcopal) but due to political reasons, i. e. because the diocese comprises territory of more than one state, such as Rome itself, such as Urgell. Similarly some Swiss dioceses have more than one vicar-general because even if they do belong as a whole to Switzerland, they comprise a couple of cantons which are each quite individualistic and have quite some differences in the state law with regard to churches. -- (talk) 11:37, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

If you read Canon 475 strictly, a bishop must appoint one vicar general and may appoint other [episcopal] vicars. Since the jurisdiction of a VG extends to the entire diocese--unlike EVs whose rescript is limited geographically or to particular persons, institutes, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2604:2000:6B26:CA00:ACA0:4CA9:2436:4998 (talk) 20:37, 20 May 2015 (UTC)


How long has this office been in place? Since the Council of Nicene? (is that the right spelling?) Xaxafrad (talk) 08:16, 10 January 2015 (UTC)

Council of Nicea whence Nicene Creed.

As to the question: NCE says:
The office of vicar was in use among the ancient Romans, that being the title of officials subordinate to the praetorian prefects. In the ecclesiastical forum, from very early times, we read of vicars of the Apostolic See, such as the archbishops of Thessalonica. Bishops also had their vicars, such as the archdeacons and archpriests, and likewise the rural priest, who, in the first ages, had the cure of souls outside of episcopal cities. In course of time, all of these officials became part of the ordinary magistracy of the Church. These vicars are treated in the Decretum of Gratian and in the Decretals of Gregory IX, but vicars-general of bishops first appear in the sixth book of Decretals and in the Clementines of the "Corpus juris canonici".
So it's pretty antique. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2604:2000:6B26:CA00:ACA0:4CA9:2436:4998 (talk) 20:42, 20 May 2015 (UTC)
The office now known as vicar general was a diaconal office in the first millennium, and eventually held the title "archdeacon". The shift from deacons as archdeacon to priests as vicars general (with less authority) occurred, as i recall, around the 13th century.Protoclete (talk) 10:08, 20 March 2017 (UTC)