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Orders of precedence
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.
The order of precedence in the Catholic Church is organized by rank within the hierarchy according first to order, then jurisdiction, and finally to titular or ad personam honors granted to individuals despite a lack of jurisdiction. Emeritus ecclesiastics are counted among the latter.
Precedence may also apply to feasts or actions, as for example in the order of precedence of liturgical days.
At this time, a current table of precedence in its entirety is not published by the Holy See. However, the principles of precedence present in the Codes of Canon Law, and the customs of precedence longstanding, inform any formulation of an order of precedence. Some contemporary authorshave compiled reference texts complete with a table of precedence based on such principles, and these, though helpful, remain unofficial in nature.
Though the 1911 Catholic Encyclopediaoffered a brief order of precedence based on these principles, it was updated and replaced by the New Catholic Encyclopedia in 1967, which was further updated with a Revised Edition in 2002. The current Catholic Encyclopedia does not include an entry on "precedence". Since the publication of the first edition, in 1911, several changes have rendered its order of precedence substantially out of date, including the publication of three codes of canon law (1917, 1983, 1990), an ecumenical council (1962-65), and multiple apostolic constitutions that affect the topic.
As noted above, the first consideration for precedence is always the hierarchy of order: first bishops, then presbyters, next deacons. At earlier times in the Church's history, deacons were ranked above presbyters, or the two orders considered equal, but the bishop always came first.[ citation needed ] Laity (including lay ecclesial ministers, religious, seminarians, et al.) are not part of the hierarchy of order.
The next principle is the hierarchy of jurisdiction: one who has authority over other persons has the right of precedence over them.This considers a person's office, and therefore can include laity, particularly lay ecclesial ministers and religious.
Relatedly, those with jurisdiction take precedence over those with titular, ad personam, or emeritus titles, so someone serving in a specific office (e.g., diocesan bishop) has precedence over someone with a titular claim to the same rank (e.g., titular bishop) or someone who used to serve in an equivalent office (e.g., a retired bishop).
Generally speaking, function, or the exercise of office, has precedence over purely honorary titles. De facto precedence should be applied where, a non-ordained religious or lay ecclesial minister serves in an office equivalent listed below (e.g., a diocesan director of Catholic Education is an equal office to an episcopal vicar, a pastoral life director an equal office to pastor, though with respect to the principle of the hierarchy of order noted above).
Among honorary titles, geographic extent is considered (e.g., the national primate has precedence over a titular patriarch, as the former has an honorary title extending over an entire country, but the latter only over a single diocese).
If two persons hold the same office, precedence is given to the one of a higher order (e.g., of two episcopal vicars, one being a presbyter and the other an auxiliary bishop, the bishop takes precedence).
If two persons are of the same order and office, the one who was promoted earlier takes precedence (e.g., of two metropolitan archbishops, whoever was promoted to a metropolitan see first has precedence).
If two persons of the same order and office were promoted at the same time, precedence goes to the one who was ordained first (to that order) (e.g., of two priests appointed as pastors at the same time, whoever was ordained presbyter first has precedence).
In the case of cardinals of the same rank created at the same consistory, precedence is given according to the order in which their names were published.
In their own dioceses, bishops have precedence before other bishops and archbishops, but not before their own metropolitan.A metropolitan archbishop has precedence before all other bishops and archbishops (except the Pope, his Patriarch, or his Primate) within his own province, and a patriarch has precedence over other patriarchs within his own jurisdiction.
Similarly, in their own parishes, pastors have precedence before other presbyters and deacons, even monsignors, but not before their own dean or archdeacon.
Diplomatic precedence in the Holy See's diplomatic corps incorporates the Congress of Vienna (1815) and the updated Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations (1961). The office of nuncio (papal ambassador) is primarily a diplomatic rank and not of an ecclesiastical nature. Most nuncios are ordained as titular archbishops, and would be ranked accordingly. If, however, the nuncio is present in a diocese or at an event acting as the personal representative of the pope, as for example at the ordination of a bishop, he is granted precedence accordingly, taking precedence over even cardinals present.
Patriarchs of autonomous (sui iuris) churches have precedence above all other bishops of any rank, including cardinals. This has been defined in law since 1990.From 1965-1990, they were ranked as equal to Cardinal-bishops. It remains the case that, if a patriarch is also made a cardinal in the Latin Church, he is created at the rank of cardinal-bishop, without a named see, but retains his place of precedence. From the 1917 Code of Canon Law until the motu proprio of Paul VI in 1965, cardinals of all ranks took precedence over patriarchs. The current practice reflects a more Catholic, and less Latinized, ecclesiology.
Within each category, precedence is determined by the date of founding of the institute, society, or association.
A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.
In Christianity, 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. Like popes, patriarchs, metropolitans, cardinal bishops, diocesan bishops, and suffragan bishops, archbishops are in the highest of the three traditional orders of bishops, priests, and deacons. An archbishop may be granted the title or ordained as chief pastor of a metropolitan see or another episcopal see to which the title of archbishop is attached.
The highest-ranking bishops in Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, the Catholic Church, and the Church of the East are termed patriarchs.
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 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.
In Christian churches with episcopal polity, the rank of metropolitan bishop, or simply metropolitan, pertains to the diocesan bishop or archbishop of a metropolis.
A titular see in various churches is an episcopal see of a former diocese that no longer functions, sometimes called a "dead diocese".
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 Roman Catholic and 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.
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 curia is an official body that governs a particular Church in the Catholic Church. These curias range from the relatively simple diocesan curia, to the larger patriarchal curias, to the Roman Curia, which is the central government of the Catholic Church. Other Roman Catholic bodies, such as religious institutes, may also have curias. For example, the Legion of Mary has a rank called the Curia. It stands above the Praesidium but below the Regia. The Curia is responsible for several Praesidia.
A diocesan bishop, within various Christian traditions, is a bishop or archbishop in pastoral charge of a diocese or archdiocese.
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, from say the Western Latin Church to an Eastern Catholic Church or from a territorial diocese to one of the three personal ordinariates for former Anglicans.
Ecclesiastical addresses are the formal styles of address used for members of the clergy.
Maximos IV Sayegh was Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, and Alexandria and Jerusalem of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church from 1947 until his death in 1967. One of the fathers of Second Vatican Council, the outspoken patriarch stirred the Council by urging reconciliation between the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. He accepted the title of cardinal in 1965 after Pope Paul VI clarified the significance of that title in the case of an Eastern Patriarch.
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.
The Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is the highest Orthodox authority in the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It formulates the rules and regulations regarding matters of the church's organisation and faith.
The Diocese of Rome is a diocese of the Catholic Church in Rome. The Bishop of Rome or the Roman Bishop is the Pope, the Supreme Pontiff and leader of the Catholic Church. As the Holy See, the papacy is a sovereign entity with diplomatic relations, and civil jurisdiction over the Vatican City State located geographically within Rome. The Diocese of Rome is the metropolitan diocese of the Province of Rome, an ecclesiastical province in Italy. The first Bishop of Rome was Saint Peter in the first century. The incumbent since 13 March 2013 is Pope Francis.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.