Coadjutor bishop

Last updated

A coadjutor bishop (or bishop coadjutor) is a bishop in the Catholic, Anglican, and (historically) Eastern Orthodox churches whose main role is to assist the diocesan bishop in the administration of the diocese. [1] [2] The coadjutor (literally, "co-assister" in Latin) is a bishop himself, although he is also appointed as vicar general. The coadjutor bishop is, however, given authority beyond that ordinarily given to the vicar general, making him co-head of the diocese in all but ceremonial precedence. In modern times, the coadjutor automatically succeeds the diocesan bishop upon the latter's retirement, removal, or death.


Catholic Church

In the Roman Catholic Church, a coadjutor is a bishop with papal appointment as an immediate collaborator of the diocesan bishop in the governance of a diocese, with authority to substitute for the diocesan bishop in his absence and right to automatic succession to the diocesan see upon death, resignation, or transfer of the incumbent diocesan bishop. [3] The diocesan bishop must appoint the coadjutor as vicar general and must "entrust to him before others" acts that require a special mandate. [4] The coadjutor holds the title of "Coadjutor" of the see, and the coadjutor of an archdiocese has status as an archbishop. In recent years, the Vatican has stopped the former practice of assigning titular sees to coadjutors of dioceses.[ citation needed ]

The sui juris ritual churches of the various non-Roman rites also use coadjutors, but the manner of choosing them follows the norm of the particular law of each church for election or appointment of its bishops. Thus, the patriarchal or major archiepiscopal synods of the larger sui juris ritual churches typically elect coadjutors, with papal assent, while the pope typically appoints coadjutors in the smaller sui juris ritual churches personally. The coadjutor of an eparchy, archieparchy, or metropolis has the respective status of an eparch, archieparch, or metropolitan.

Particular churches that are not dioceses also may have coadjutors. Perhaps one of the more widely known examples is the appointment of Fernando Arêas Rifan as Coadjutor of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney in 2002, less than a year after the reconciliation of the former Priestly Union of Saint John Mary Vianney formed this particular church.

In modern church practice, the normal reason for appointment of a coadjutor is to begin an orderly transition with declining health or expected retirement of a diocesan bishop. For example, Bishop Dennis Marion Schnurr of the Diocese of Duluth, Minnesota, was named Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 2008 to succeed aging Archbishop Daniel Edward Pilarczyk.[ citation needed ] However, other situations do arise—a coadjutor may have authority to override the diocesan bishop with respect to a matter of public scandal, mismanagement, or other some problem that does not warrant removal from office.

The 1917 edition of the Code of Canon Law distinguished between coadjutor bishops cum jure succesionis ("with the right of succession") and those without, so coadjutors were sometimes appointed without such a right, usually as archbishops in particularly large dioceses who also held other important posts and to honor certain auxiliary bishops.[ citation needed ] For an example of a coadjutor without right of succession, see John J. Maguire, coadjutor archbishop of New York (1965-1980).[ citation needed ] The revised Code of Canon Law stipulates that all coadjutors have right of succession, while providing for the appointment of an auxiliary bishop "with special faculties" in lieu of a coadjutor when automatic succession is not indicated. [5]

Anglican Communion

In some provinces of the Anglican Communion, a bishop coadjutor (the form usually used) is a bishop elected or appointed to follow the current diocesan bishop upon the incumbent's death or retirement. For example, in the Episcopal Church in the United States of America, when a diocesan bishop announces a retirement, a special diocesan convention is held to elect a coadjutor. Usually, the coadjutor serves with the incumbent for a short time before the latter's retirement, when the coadjutor becomes the diocesan bishop. Bishops coadjutor are also appointed in the Reformed Episcopal Church.[ citation needed ]

The role of "assistant bishop" (with no expectation to succeed the diocesan see) in the Church of England is fulfilled by a suffragan.[ citation needed ]

There have been bishops coadjutor in the Anglican Church of Australia without the right of succession to the diocesan see.[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Archbishop Bishop of higher rank in many Christian denominations

In many Christian Denominations, an archbishop is a bishop of higher rank or office. In some cases, such as the Lutheran Church of Sweden and the Church of England, the title is borne by the leader of the denomination. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, there are many archbishops who either have jurisdiction over an ecclesiastical province in addition to their own Archdiocese, or are otherwise granted a titular archbishopric.

In the Anglican Communion, a suffragan bishop is a bishop who is subordinate to a metropolitan bishop or diocesan bishop and so is not normally jurisdictional in their role. Suffragan bishops may be charged by a metropolitan to oversee a suffragan diocese and may be assigned to areas which do not have a cathedral of their own.

Sede vacante is a term for the state of an episcopal see while without a bishop. In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the term is used to refer to the vacancy of any see of a particular church, but it comes into especially wide journalistic use when the see is that of the papacy.

A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese". The ordinary or hierarch of such a see may be styled a "titular metropolitan", "titular archbishop" or "titular bishop", which normally goes by the status conferred on the titular see.

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. Either the area is not yet a diocese, or is a diocese, eparchy or similar permanent ordinariate that either has no bishop or, in very rare cases, has an incapacitated bishop.

A titular bishop in various churches is a bishop who is not in charge of a diocese. By definition, a bishop is an "overseer" of a community of the faithful, so when a priest is ordained a bishop, the tradition of the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches is that he be ordained for a specific place. There are more bishops than there are functioning dioceses. Therefore, a priest appointed not to head a diocese as its diocesan bishop but to be an auxiliary bishop, a papal diplomat, or an official of the Roman Curia is appointed to a titular see.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle

Formerly known as Diocese of Nesqually, 1850-1907.

A vicar general is the principal deputy of the bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority and possesses the title of local ordinary. As vicar of the bishop, the vicar general exercises the bishop's ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese or other particular church after the diocesan bishop or his equivalent in canon law. The title normally occurs only in Western Christian churches, such as the Latin Church of the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Among the Eastern churches, the Mar Thoma Syrian Church of Kerala uses this title and remains an exception. The title for the equivalent officer in the Eastern churches is syncellus and protosyncellus.

Hierarchy of the Catholic Church Organization of the Catholic Church

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.

Diocesan administrator

A diocesan administrator is a provisional ordinary of a Roman Catholic particular church.

Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney

The Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney was established on 18 January 2002 by Pope John Paul II for traditionalist Catholic clergy and laity within the Diocese of Campos in Brazil. It is the only personal apostolic administration in existence, and the only Catholic Church jurisdiction devoted exclusively to celebrating the pre-1965 form of the Roman Rite. Its current Apostolic Administrator is Bishop Fernando Arêas Rifan.

An assistant bishop in the Anglican Communion is a bishop appointed to assist a diocesan bishop.

A diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop or archbishop in pastoral charge of a diocese or archdiocese.

Anglican ministry

The Anglican ministry is both the leadership and agency of Christian service in the Anglican Communion. "Ministry" commonly refers to the office of ordained clergy: the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons. More accurately, Anglican ministry includes many laypeople who devote themselves to the ministry of the church, either individually or in lower/assisting offices such as lector, acolyte, sub-deacon, Eucharistic minister, cantor, musicians, parish secretary or assistant, warden, vestry member, etc. Ultimately, all baptized members of the church are considered to partake in the ministry of the Body of Christ.

Bishops in the Catholic Church Ordained minister in the Catholic Church (for other religious denominations, use Q29182); catholic bishop

In the Catholic Church, a bishop is an ordained minister who holds the fullness of the sacrament of holy orders and is responsible for teaching doctrine, governing Catholics in his jurisdiction, sanctifying the world and representing the Church. Catholics trace the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics believe this special charism has been transmitted through an unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands in the sacrament of holy orders.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dhaka Catholic ecclesiastical territory

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Dhaka is the Latin, main Metropolitan Metropolitan diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Bangladesh, but no longer the only one. It still depends on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Order of precedence in the Catholic Church

Precedence signifies the right to enjoy a prerogative of honor before other persons; for example, to have the most distinguished place in a procession, a ceremony, or an assembly, to have the right to express an opinion, cast a vote, or append a signature before others, to perform the most honorable offices.

Glossary of the Catholic Church Wikipedia glossary

This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.


  1. Patrich, Joseph (2001). The Sabaite Heritage in the Orthodox Church from the Fifth Century to the Present. Peeters Publishers. ISBN   9789042909762.
  2. Hamilton, Bernard (2016-12-05). The Latin Church in the Crusader States: The Secular Church. Routledge. ISBN   9781351887052.
  3. "Code of Canon Law - Book II - The People of God - Part II. (Cann. 368-430)". Retrieved 2021-01-17.
  4. Canon 406, Section 1, Codex Juris Canonici, 1983.
  5. Canon 403 §2 and §3, Codex juris canonici, 1983.