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A Commissary Apostolic (Latin Commissarius Apostolicus) is Commissary (i.e. one who has received power from a legitimate superior authority to pass judgment in a certain cause or to take information concerning it) who has been appointed by the pope, hence commissary Apostolic.
A commissary is a government official charged with oversight or an ecclesiastical official who exercises in special circumstances the jurisdiction of a bishop.
The custom of appointing such commissaries by the Holy See is a very ancient one. A noteworthy instance is the commission issued to St. Cyril of Alexandria by Pope Celestine I, in the early part of the fifth Century, by which that holy patriarch was empowered to judge Nestorius in the pope's name. English history furnishes, among other instances, that of the commission which constituted Cardinal Wolsey and Cardinal Campeggio papal representatives for the judicial hearing of the divorce case of king Henry VIII Tudor.
Pope Celestine I was Pope from 10 September 422 to his death in 432. According to the Liber Pontificalis, the start of his papacy was 3 November. However, Tillemont places the date at 10 September.
Nestorius was Archbishop of Constantinople from 10 April 428 to August 431, when Emperor Theodosius II confirmed his condemnation by the Council of Ephesus on 22 June.
Henry VIII was King of England from 1509 until his death in 1547. Henry was the second Tudor monarch, succeeding his father, Henry VII. Henry is best known for his six marriages, in particular his efforts to have his first marriage, to Catherine of Aragon, annulled. His disagreement with the Pope on the question of such an annulment led Henry to initiate the English Reformation, separating the Church of England from papal authority. He appointed himself the Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved convents and monasteries, for which he was excommunicated. Henry is also known as "the father of the Royal Navy"; he invested heavily in the Navy, increasing its size greatly from a few to more than 50 ships.
Sometimes Apostolic commissions are constituted permanently by the Holy See. Such are the various Roman congregations presided over by the cardinals.
The full extent of the authority of commissaries Apostolic must be learnt from the diploma of their appointment. The usual powers which they possess, however, are defined in the common law of the Church. Commissaries can be empowered not only for judicial but also for executive purposes. When a papal commission mentions explicitly certain persons and certain things as subject to the authority of a commissary, and then adds in general that "other persons and other things" (quidam alii et res aliœ) are also included, it is understood that the latter phrase refers only to persons and things of equal or lower importance than those that are expressly named, and under no circumstances can the commissary's power extend to what is higher or more dignified (Cap. xv, de rescript.). If a bishop be appointed commissary Apostolic in matters that already belong to his ordinary (mainly diocesan) jurisdiction, he does not thereby receive a delegated jurisdiction superadded to that which he already possessed; such an Apostolic commission is said to 'excite', not to alter, his ordinary jurisdiction.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
As a Commissary Apostolic is a delegate of the Holy See, an appeal may be made to the Pope against his judgments or administrative acts.
When several commissaries have been appointed for the same case, they are to act together as one; but if, owing to death or any other cause, one or other of the commissaries should be hindered from acting, the remaining members have full power to execute their commission. In case the commissaries be two in number and they disagree in the judgment to be given, the matter must be decided by the Holy See.
A commissary Apostolic has the power to subdelegate another person for the cause committed to him, unless it has been expressly stated in his diploma that, owing to the importance of the matter at issue, he is to exercise jurisdiction personally.
By the plenitude of his power, the Pope can constitute a layman commissary Apostolic for ecclesiastical affairs, but according to the common canon law only prelates or clerics of the higher orders should receive such a commission (Lib. Sext., c. II, de rescr., 1, 3). The Council of Trent (Sess. XXV, c. xvi, de Ref.) prescribes that each bishop should transmit to the Holy See the names of four persons capable of receiving such delegation for his diocese. It has consequently become customary for the Pope to choose commissaries Apostolic from the locality where they are to investigate or pass judgment or execute a mandate.
A prelate is a high-ranking member of the clergy who is an ordinary or who ranks in precedence with ordinaries. The word derives from the Latin prælatus, the past participle of præferre, which means "carry before", "be set above or over" or "prefer"; hence, a prelate is one set over others.
The Council of Trent, held between 1545 and 1563 in Trent, was the 19th ecumenical council of the Catholic Church. Prompted by the Protestant Reformation, it has been described as the embodiment of the Counter-Reformation.
The public domain consists of all the creative works to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.
The Catholic Encyclopedia: An International Work of Reference on the Constitution, Doctrine, Discipline, and History of the Catholic Church, also referred to as the Old Catholic Encyclopedia and the Original Catholic Encyclopedia, is an English-language encyclopedia published in the United States and designed to serve the Roman Catholic Church. The first volume appeared in March 1907 and the last three volumes appeared in 1912, followed by a master index volume in 1914 and later supplementary volumes. It was designed "to give its readers full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine".
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope’s name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the central organization for the Church to advance its objectives.
The politics of Vatican City take place in a framework of a theocratic absolute elective monarchy, in which the Pope, religiously speaking, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and Bishop of Rome, exercises ex officio supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power over the Vatican City, a rare case of non-hereditary monarchy.
An ecclesiastical court, also called court Christian or court spiritual, is any of certain courts having jurisdiction mainly in spiritual or religious matters. In the Middle Ages these courts had much wider powers in many areas of Europe than before the development of nation states. They were experts in interpreting canon law, a basis of which was the Corpus Juris Civilis of Justinian which is considered the source of the civil law legal tradition.
Universi Dominici gregis is an apostolic constitution of the Catholic Church issued by Pope John Paul II on 22 February 1996. It superseded Pope Paul VI's 1975 apostolic constitution, Romano Pontifici eligendo, and all previous apostolic constitutions and orders on the subject of the election of the Roman Pontiff.
A papal legate or apostolic legate is a personal representative of the pope to foreign nations, or to some part of the Catholic Church. He is empowered on matters of Catholic faith and for the settlement of ecclesiastical matters.
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.
The term coadjutor is a title qualifier indicating that the holder shares the office with another person, with powers equal to the other in all but formal order of precedence.
There are currently nine congregations of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church. They are second highest-ranking departments, below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions, tribunals and offices.
Ecclesiastical jurisdiction in its primary sense does not signify jurisdiction over ecclesiastics, but jurisdiction exercised by church leaders over other leaders and over the laity.
The Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura is the highest judicial authority in the Catholic Church. In addition, it oversees the administration of justice in the Church.
In the jurisprudence of canon law of the Catholic Church, a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Its object is to modify the hardship often arising from the rigorous application of general laws to particular cases, and its essence is to preserve the law by suspending its operation in such cases.
A Pontifical Delegate is a cleric who is delegated by the Pope.
Cardinal Vicar is a title commonly given to the vicar general of the Diocese of Rome for the portion of the diocese within Italy. The official title, as given in the Annuario Pontificio, is "Vicar General of His Holiness".
A canonical visitation is the act of an ecclesiastical superior who in the discharge of his office visits persons or places with a view to maintaining faith and discipline, and of correcting abuses. A person delegated to carry out such a visitation is called a visitor. When, in exceptional circumstances, the Holy See delegates an Apostolic visitor "to evaluate an ecclesiastical institute such as a seminary, diocese, or religious institute ... to assist the institute in question to improve the way in which it carries out its function in the life of the Church," this is known as an apostolic visitation.
An ecclesiastical judge is an ecclesiastical person who possesses ecclesiastical jurisdiction either in general or in the strict sense. Up until 1858 when Ecclesiastical courts were abolished, ecclesiastical judges tried church clergy men in church courts or Ecclesiastical courts. Charges dealt in these courts were often very lenient, especially when dealt to church clergymen.
The papal majordomo or chief steward of the household of the pope is one of the three palatine prelates, concerning whom particulars have been given in the article maestro di camera.
The monarchia Sicula was a historical but unduly inflated right exercised from the beginning of the sixteenth century by the secular authorities of Sicily, according to which they claimed final jurisdiction in religious matters, independent of the Holy See.
Manuel Monteiro de Castro is a Portuguese cardinal, He was the Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary from 5 January 2012 until his retirement on 21 September 2013. He had previously served as Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops.
The Fundamental Law of Vatican City State, promulgated by Pope John Paul II on 26 November 2000, is the main governing document of the Vatican's civil entities. It obtained the force of law of 22 February 2001, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, Apostle, and replaced in its entirety law N. I. All the norms in force in Vatican City State which were not in agreement with the new Law were abrogated and the original of the Fundamental Law, bearing the Seal of Vatican City State, was deposited in the Archive of the Laws of Vatican City State and the corresponding text was published in the Supplement to the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. The law consists of 20 Articles.
A censure, in the canon law of the Catholic Church, is a medicinal and spiritual punishment imposed by the church on a baptized, delinquent, and contumacious person, by which he is deprived, either wholly of in part, of the use of certain spiritual goods, until he recover from his contumacy.