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An Apostolic administration in the Catholic Church is administrated by a prelate appointed by the Pope to serve as the ordinary for a specific area. The area is not yet a diocese (a stable 'pre-diocesan', usually missionary apostolic administration) or for a diocese, eparchy or similar permanent ordinariate (such a territorial prelature or a territorial abbacy) that either has no bishop (an apostolic administrator sede vacante , as after an episcopal death or resignation) or, in very rare cases, has an incapacitated bishop (apostolic administrator sede plena).
Apostolic administrators of stable administrations are equivalent in canon law with diocesan bishops, meaning they have essentially the same authority as a diocesan bishop. This type of apostolic administrator is usually the bishop of a titular see.
Administrators sede vacante or sede plena only serve in their role until a newly chosen diocesan bishop takes possession of the diocese. They are restricted by canon law in what they can do to the diocese they temporarily administer. For example, such an administrator may not sell real estate owned by the diocese. This type of administrator is commonly an auxiliary bishop of the diocese, a priest serving as the vicar general of the diocese, or the ordinary of a neighboring diocese.
Normally when a diocese falls vacant, either the previously appointed Coadjutor bishop takes possession of the see or (lacking such successor) a vicar capitular/diocesan administrator is chosen locally, but the Pope, having full governmental power, can preempt this choice and name an apostolic administrator instead. Sometimes a retiring, promoted or transferred (arch)bishop is designated to be apostolic administrator until his successor is designated and takes office, sometimes the Metropolitan or a fellow suffragan is appointed.
In May 2015, there were the following stable apostolic administrations, most administered by a (titular or external) bishop.
Most are of the Roman rite; most are in former or current communist countries.
Some apostolic administrations have jurisdiction not only over Latin Rite Catholics, but also over Catholics of other rites, not having their own jurisdictions there:
Also some apostolic administrations have jurisdiction only over Catholics of the Byzantine Rite, that not having their own jurisdictions there:
The Diocese of Pyongyang, North Korea: its last official bishop, Francis Hong Yong-ho, was imprisoned by the communist regime of Kim Il-sung in 1949 and later disappeared. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Seoul (South Korea) acts as the Apostolic Administrator in Pyongyang, as religion is suppressed in North Korea.
In addition, the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney is a non-territorial jurisdiction, similar to a personal prelature, which is exempt, i.e. immediately subject to the Holy See, not part of any ecclesiastical province. It is a separate particular church for traditionalist Catholics within the Brazilian Diocese of Campos, a suffragan of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Niterói.
The personal apostolic administration was formed by Pope John Paul II to administer to a group of traditionalist Catholic priests, using the Tridentine Mass, who reconciled with Rome on January 18, 2002. The group had been formed by bishop Antônio de Castro Mayer and had been associated with the Society of St. Pius X of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
It has become not unusual that the Pope appoints an Apostolic Administrator to a diocese which is sede vacante, thus replacing the diocesan administrator. Usually, the emeritus bishop will be appointed in such a case. Recently (and in exception to the latter), the archdiocese St. Andrews and Edinburgh had Philip Tartaglia under this procedure.
For example, Luis Antonio Tagle was appointed as Prefect of Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in 9 December 2019, and he took office in February 2020. Broderick Soncuaco Pabillo, the current Auxillary Bishop of Manila, was appointed as Apostolic Administrator.
Michael Yeung Ming-cheung, the Bishop of Hong Kong passed away in 3 January 2019. Cardinal John Tong Hon, Bishop Emeritus, was appointed as Apostolic Administrator.
There is also exception that the Pope can appoint apostolic administrator sede plena, replacing the current bishop in exercise, Anthony Sablan Apuron, the Archbishop of [Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agana|Agana]] was under investigation of sexual abuse in June 2016. Pope Francis appointed Savio Hon Tai-fai as apostolic administrator sede plena, as temporary replacement. In 31 October 2016, Michael J. Byrnes, then Auxillary Bishop of Detroit, was appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Agana with full administrative authority, and later succeeded as Archbishop.
The term exarch comes from the Ancient Greek ἔξαρχος, exarchos, and designates holders of various historical offices, some of them being political or military and others being ecclesiastical.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Agaña is an ecclesiastical territory or diocese of the Catholic Church in the United States. It comprises the United States dependency of Guam. The prelate is an archbishop whose cathedral is the Dulce Nombre de Maria Cathedral-Basilica.
The hierarchy of the Catholic Church consists of its bishops, priests, and deacons. In the ecclesiological sense of the term, "hierarchy" strictly means the "holy ordering" of the Church, the Body of Christ, so to respect the diversity of gifts and ministries necessary for genuine unity.
An apostolic prefect or prefect apostolic is a priest who heads what is known as an apostolic prefecture, a 'pre-diocesan' missionary jurisdiction where the Catholic Church is not yet sufficiently developed to have it made a diocese. Although it usually has an (embryonal) see, it is often not called after such city but rather after a natural or administrative geographical area.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Cheju is a Latin rite suffragan diocese in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Gwangju, South Korea, yet depends on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Its episcopal see and mother church is Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Jeju City.
A territorial prelate is, in Catholic usage, a prelate whose geographic jurisdiction, called territorial prelature, does not belong to any diocese and is considered a particular church.
The Catholic Church in Serbia is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. There are 356,957 Catholics in Serbia according to the 2011 census, which is roughly 5% of the population. Catholics are mostly concentrated in several municipalities in northern Vojvodina, and are mostly members of ethnic minorities, such as Hungarians and Croats.
A mission sui iuris, or in Latin missio sui iuris ; also spelled mission(s) sui juris), also known as an independent mission, is a rare type of Roman Catholic missionary pseudo-diocesan jurisdiction, ranking below an apostolic prefecture and an apostolic vicariate, in an area with very few Catholics, often desolate or remote.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Santiago de los Caballeros is a Latin rite Metropolitan Archdiocese in the Dominican Republic.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nampula is an archbishopric and the metropolitan see for one of the three ecclesiastical provinces in Mozambique in (south)eastern Africa, yet still depends on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
The Catholic Metropolitan Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana is a Latin archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Kazakhstan.
The Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada is a Ukrainian Catholic eparchy in the Eastern part of Canada.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Antofagasta is a Latin rite Metropolitan archdiocese in northern Chile's Antofagasta Province.
The Diocese of Guiratinga was a former ecclesiastical circumscription of the Catholic Church in Brazil, belonging to the Ecclesiastical Province of Cuiabá and the West II Regional Bishops' Council of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, being a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Cuiabá. The episcopal see is the Cathedral St. John the Baptist in the city of Guiratinga in the state of Mato Grosso.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Limoeiro do Norte is a Latin rite suffragan diocese in the Ecclesiastical province of Fortaleza, both in Ceará state, northeast Brazil.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Caacupé is a Latin rite suffragan diocese in the Ecclesiastical province of Archdiocese of Asunción, which covers all and only Paraguay.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pyay is a suffragan diocese of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church in Burma, in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Yangon (Rangoon), but like that depends on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.