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Incardination is the formal term in the Catholic Church for a clergyman being under a bishop or other ecclesiastical superior. It is also sometimes used to refer to laity who may transfer to another part of the church. Examples include transfers from the Western Latin Church to an Eastern Catholic Church or from a territorial diocese to one of the three personal ordinariates for former Anglicans.
As one part of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, every Catholic priest or deacon must have an ordinary as a superior. Such an ordinary is most often a diocesan bishop, but can also be a leader of a religious order, such as the Jesuits or Franciscans, or some other ecclesiastical superior.
The purpose of incardination is to ensure that no cleric is "freelance", without a clear ecclesiastical superior to whom the cleric is accountable and who in turn is responsible for the cleric.
Incardination does not cease until the moment when that cleric is incardinated as a subject of another superior. An excardination from one diocese, for instance, does not become effective until the moment of incardination to another, so there is no gap during which the clergyman is not clearly answerable to a definitely determined superior.
A priest or deacon may move from diocese to diocese taking a new position, including moving to a new country, while formally still being incardinated in his original diocese, and therefore still under the supervision of his original diocese's bishops, at least formally, by Canon Law. For instance, a Philippine diocesan priest may be assigned to a parish in the United States for decades but still be formally incardinated in his original Philippine diocese.
Incardination is dealt with in canons 265–272 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
There is a similar canonical institution in the law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, which appears in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, Title X «Clerics», Chapter II «Ascription of Clerics to an Eparchy», Canons 357-366.
Questions of civil jurisdiction can come into conflict with canon law in situations where a priest is on temporary assignment remotely while he remains incardinated to his diocese of origin. This applied in the case of a French priest involved in a car accident which killed two people, while at his temporary post in California. The question arose in a civil suit, whether the Diocese of Fresno (California) where he was working was responsible legally, although the priest remained incardinated in France. The civil court ruled that it was.
Its antonym, excardination, denotes that a member of the clergy has been freed from one jurisdiction and is transferred to another.
Both terms are derived from the Latin cardo (pivot, socket, or hinge), from which the word cardinal is also derived—hence the Latin verbs incardinare (to hang on a hinge or fix) and excardinare (to unhinge or set free).
During the ordination ceremony, prior to the actual sacrament of Holy Orders itself, the man places himself under a promise of obedience to his bishop or other ordinary of a particular church, or makes an acknowledgment of a pre-existing vow of obedience to a prior, abbot, or other superior in an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life.
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.
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 praelatus, the past participle of praeferre, which means 'carry before', 'be set above or over' or 'prefer'; hence, a prelate is one set over others.
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.
Defrocking, unfrocking, or laicization of clergy is the removal of their rights to exercise the functions of the ordained ministry. It may be grounded on criminal convictions, disciplinary problems, or disagreements over doctrine or dogma, but may also be done at their request for personal reasons, such as running for civil office, taking over a family business, declining health or old age, desire to marry against the rules for clergy in a particular church, or an unresolved dispute. The form of the procedure varies according to the Christian denomination concerned. The term defrocking implies forced laicization for misconduct, while laicization is a neutral term, applicable also when clergy have requested to be released from their ordination vows.
Personal prelature is a canonical structure of the Catholic Church which comprises a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities. The first personal prelature is Opus Dei. Personal prelatures, similar to dioceses and military ordinariates, are under the governance of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. These three types of ecclesiastical structures are composed of lay people served by their own secular clergy and prelate. Unlike dioceses which cover territories, personal prelatures—like military ordinariates—take charge of persons as regards some objectives regardless of where they live.
An ordinary is an officer of a church or civic authority who by reason of office has ordinary power to execute laws.
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.
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.
A religious is, in the terminology of many Western Christian denominations, such as the Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches, and Anglican Communion, what in common language one would call a "monk" or "nun", as opposed to an ordained "priest". A religious may also be a priest if he has undergone ordination, but in general he is not.
The term secular clergy refers to deacons and priests who are not monastics or members of a religious institute. A diocesan priest is a Catholic, Anglican or Eastern Orthodox priest who commits themself to a certain geographical area and is ordained into the service of the citizens of a diocese, a church administrative region. That includes serving the everyday needs of the people in parishes, but their activities are not limited to that of their parish.
A deanery is an ecclesiastical entity in the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, the Evangelical Church in Germany, and the Church of Norway. A deanery is either the jurisdiction or residence of a dean.
Gommar A. DePauw was a traditionalist Catholic priest and founder of an organization that he called the Catholic Traditionalist Movement.
Dimissorial letters are testimonial letters given by a bishop or by a competent religious superior to his subjects in order that they may be ordained by another bishop. Such letters testify that the subject has all the qualities demanded by canon law for the reception of the order in question, and request the bishop to whom they are addressed to ordain him.
In the Roman Catholic Church, a judicial vicar or episcopal official is an officer of the diocese who has ordinary power to judge cases in the diocesan ecclesiastical court. Although the diocesan bishop can reserve certain cases to himself, the judicial vicar and the diocesan bishop are a single tribunal, which means that decisions of the judicial vicar cannot be appealed to the diocesan bishop but must instead be appealed to the appellate tribunal. The judicial vicar ought to be someone other than the vicar general, unless the smallness of the diocese or the limited number of cases suggest otherwise. Other judges, who may be priests, deacons, religious brothers or sisters or nuns, or laypersons, and who must have knowledge of canon law and be Catholics in good standing, assist the judicial vicar either by deciding cases on a single judge basis or by forming with him a panel over which he or one of them presides. A judicial vicar may also be assisted by adjutant judicial vicars. The judicial vicar is assisted by at least one, if not more, individuals with the title defender of the bond, they are normally priests, but do not have to be. On staff will also be notaries and secretaries, who may be priests, religious brothers or sisters or nuns, or laypersons.
The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church, comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the bishops and the deacons. Church doctrine also sometimes refers to all baptised Catholics as the "common priesthood".
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.
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.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
A rector is, in an ecclesiastical sense, a cleric who functions as an administrative leader in some Christian denominations. In contrast, a vicar is also a cleric but functions as an assistant and representative of an administrative leader.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, exclaustration is the official authorization for a member of a religious order bound by perpetual vows to live for a limited time outside their religious institute, usually with a view to discerning whether to depart definitively.