Juridical Manifestations of the Presbyterium


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Chapter 3: The Presbyterium at the Intra-Diocesan Level

We have seen concrete expressions of the presbyterium materialized on the diocesan level. Does this manifestation also take place among groups of just some priests within the diocese? "The priests... constitute, together with their bishop, a unique presbyterium dedicated it is true to a variety of distinct duties." (LG 28)1 Indeed, although priests may exercise individual offices or work in small groups, they still form part of the presbyterium, which links them to the entire diocese.

This chapter examines the juridical institutions and offices that accomplish this at levels within the diocese, between parishes and even within the parish. These offices not only require that their titleholders enjoy the sacred order of the priesthood, but also contribute to the cooperation of priests among themselves and with their bishop, including: the episcopal vicar (Can. 476-481, CCEO Cann. 246-251), vicar forane (Cann. 553-555; CCEO Can. 276-278), parish pastor (Cann. 519-535; CCEO Cann. 281-297), parochial vicar (Cann. 545-553; 546; CCEO Cann. 301-303), and parish "in solidum" (Cann. 517, 542-544; CCEO Can. 287 §2).

The Vicar Forane and Episcopal Vicar

In the current legislation of the Church, there are various possible ways to accomplish the coordination and cooperation that is needed among parishes, but usually this occurs by grouping parishes together in what can be called a "vicariate". These vicariates, however, can be configured in two different ways, with an episcopal vicar as the head, as introduced last chapter, or with a vicar forane.

The position of vicar forane has a variety of names in history and current law. "The Vicar forane, known also as the dean or the archpriest or by some other title, is the priest who is placed in charge of a vicariate forane. (Can. 553 §1)"2 In the Eastern tradition, the same position is today called a "protopresbyter", a "presbyter who is placed in charge of a district consisting of several parishes" (CCEO Can. 276 §1).3 This was preceded by other institutions in the early Eastern church.

New communities, especially those in the countryside, were at first dependencies of the city or town community, and the bishop appointed then a chorbishop (country-bishop) to take care of them... Such an arrangement had to become a source of conflict, which led to the elimination of the institution of chorbishops. They were then replaced by periodeuts, priests who performed the duty of the deans or protopresbyters today.4
The name comes from the Latin adverb foras, meaning out-of-doors, outside, an outlying or remote area. "Vicars forane are representatives of the bishop in certain outlying areas of the diocese",5 priests appointed to oversee the parishes of a section of the particular Church. The different names - dean, archdeacon, archprelate, protopapas or other designation - matter little as the function is the same. The legislation regarding this office in the two codes is essentially identical, so everything said about the vicar forane applies equally for the protopresbyter.

In the west, the creation of the vicar forane is credited to St. Charles Borromeo (1538-1584). "During the period of post-Tridentine reform, the chief duty of the vicar forane was to watch over the life and morals of clerics, especially parish priests."6 The vicar did this by holding regular assemblies of the priests of his territory, and by making parish visitations. They quickly spread and were often required in particular law, although the establishment of vicariates forane was not universally mandatory until the 1917 Code (CIC 1917 Can. 217). Their many functions (CIC 1917 cc. 445-450) can be summarized under five headings:

supervising the lives and activities of clerics; visiting the parishes of his deanery at stated intervals; convoking and presiding at theological conferences; providing material and spiritual assistance to any seriously ill pastor of his deanery; and reporting to the bishop at least once a year on the state of the deanery.7
Since Vatican II, the role of the vicar forane is not conceived as one of authority and governing control over parish priests, rather as a help for the priests of the vicariate in the more efficient fulfillment of their parish duties, a "prudent supervision and assistance with regard to the obligations and activities of parish priests and other clerics."8 The vicars forane and protopresbyters "have a relation with the communitarian character of the mission of the presbyters."9

"In some respects, the office of vicar forane is likened to that of the episcopal vicar in that both 'vicars' are identified as collaborators of the bishop in episcopal ministry."10 Yet vicars forane do not share in the ordinary vicarious power which is granted to episcopal vicars who assist the bishop in governance. Rather both codes list pastoral cooperation as their primary right and duty: "to promote and coordinate common pastoral action" in the vicariate or district. (Can. 555 §1, 1°)11

The vicar forane is a priest (Can. 553 §1), freely appointed and removed by the Bishop. The office is not tied to any given parish,12 and not even to the office of parish pastor, so that the most qualified priest may be chosen (e.g. a chaplain).13 His duties prescribed in universal law (Can. 555, CCEO Can. 278) still involve a certain administration or supervision: overseeing the life of clerics, the proper celebration of the liturgy and sacraments, and the safeguarding of ecclesiastical goods. He is also to show a special concern for the clergy: organizing meetings,14 providing spiritual aid, carrying for clerics who are sick, in need, or have died. To accomplish these tasks he is obliged to visit the parishes of the vicariate.

Besides these supra-parochial duties, the vicar forane has a role of consultation and collaboration with the Bishop. "Those priests are to be considered among the more immediate collaborators with the bishop of the diocese who exercise a pastoral office of a supra-parochial nature".15 He should be consulted in the appointing of parish pastors (Can. 524, CCEO Can. 285 §3),16 and may be consulted in the naming of parochial vicars (Can. 547). As an important consultor, the dean could be an ex officio member of the presbyteral council17 and/or diocesan pastoral council, and may be called by the bishop for meetings, discussion, or simply information on the condition of the deanery.18 The dean, however, no longer has to make an annual report to the bishop, as was required in the 1917 code.

In Eastern law, the bishop is to consult the presbyteral council before establishing, changing or suppressing a protopresbyter's district (CCEO Can. 276 §2). This would seem appropriate in the West also, as the "Directory for Bishops" calls for such consultation when developing the deanery statutes, which include: the composition of the deanery, the name of the deanery's head, the faculties given to him, the organs of the deanery, and the regulations for its good functioning.19

Overall the function is largely the same, but there is one significant change from the old code: vicariates and vicars forane are no longer mandatory. "To foster pastoral care by means of common action, several neighboring parishes can be joined together in special groups, such as vicariates forane." (Can. 374 §2)20

No one denies the need for inter-parish collaboration today, as even the Holy Father recognizes, the parish alone cannot carry out the Church's mission.21 Yet it is debated how this collaboration should be carried out in practice, especially since the vicar forane is no longer mandatory as the only possible division of the diocese. Various other infrastructures have been proposed to replace or supplement the vicariate forane with "pastoral zones", "diocesan districts" or "urban vicariates". Is the vicar forane outdated and in need of replacement?

The vicariates forane... have lost importance in the organization of the diocesan Church. On the other hand, the sociological structure of the diocese can be very diverse... To all this one adds the great mobility of persons. The vicariates forane have lost importance also for the motive of the greater centralization of the diocesan governance... In the end, this intermediate structure has less strength.22
On the contrary, the "Directory for Bishops" strongly recommends joining the parishes of a diocese into vicariates forane, to facilitate the exercise of ministry on behalf of the faithful. It stresses the importance of deaneries as they "contribute much to concerted pastoral action and are a necessary means to subsidiarity and to a good distribution of ministry throughout the diocese."23
The deanery has as its aim that the pastors and pastoral officials of one and same territory or social region form among themselves, with the dean's help, a kind of vital cell of the diocesan presbytery [presbyterium], around which the apostolate of religious men and women and of the laity working in the area or in a pastoral office may be conveniently coordinated, and thus a common pastoral action may be suitably fostered and organized.24
The purposes of the deanery, as described here, clearly show not only its usefulness, but also its necessity. The new law also puts the vicar forane in a very positive light, almost assuming its existence, yet maintains a flexibility which is necessary to account for the variety of the universal Church.
The vicariate forane is an effective application of the principle of subsidiarity so advantageous to the government of the Church... pastoral problems, even of outlying areas of the diocese, can be effectively addressed and solutions efficiently explored. Fraternity and cooperation among clergy of the same region are fostered; and last, but not least, participation in planning and decision making is afforded to all members of the people of God... It was never the intention of either the council fathers or the consultors engaged in the work of the revision of canon law to supplant or undermine the office of the dean.25
Of course, diverse solutions are possible, depending on the circumstances of geography and population in a particular diocese, but the importance of the vicar forane should not be overlooked. Could the vicars forane also be appointment as episcopal vicars? The law does not prevent this, but does the situation of the diocese require the deans to have the additional jurisdiction of a local ordinary? Can the vicar forane be eliminated? Again it is possible, but who will carry our the duties assigned by to him by the law, and do circumstances say they could be performed better by someone else?

The "Directory for Bishops" recognizes that sometimes a "pastoral district or region" may need an episcopal vicar as head. Such is understood as "a group of people living in a defined area, constituting a particular community, in some measure autonomous for its growth, and requiring separate pastoral care."26 Yet what constitutes a need for "separate pastoral care" remains to be clarified.27

It is a possibility, especially in large dioceses, to have a combination of episcopal vicars with power of governance (local Ordinaries), and vicars forane to promote and direct the common pastoral activity. Thus, circumstances may call for individual deaneries to be grouped into regions or zones. This would respect the vision of two separate functions: the dean is conceived as a help for priests, not as an intermediary authority between them and the bishop. "It is this principle, distinctive, and complementary point that obviously distinguishes its different activities and faculties from those of regional episcopal vicars."28

Since there is much flexibility left to particular law, the vicar forane may provide an important means to facilitate the coordination demanded by changing needs of today's parishes. Indeed, if necessary, deaneries could be based not only on territorial criteria, but also personal, ritual or functional.29 Romita gives an example of using a vicariate to pastorally coordinate parishes while keeping them juridically distinct as an alternative to suppressing or merging them.

The small parishes... may be regrouped under the pastoral point of view in the Forane and would be governed by the respective Parish Pastors, who will form a Presbyterium of co-Pastors, whose pastoral activity would be coordinated by the Vicar Forane.30
Finally, the opportunity for pastoral planning at the deanery level should not be overlooked. While respecting the role of the diocesan advisory councils, the deanery can also be a place of decision-making and collaboration, striving for greater pastoral unity among the presbyterium. "Vicariate meetings help the priests, young and old, for their personal and spiritual growth and it is a moment of the pastoral programming and verification, done as a community of priests."31
Conferences and congregations of deans offer a good many opportunities for the formation of diocesan communities, for the deans - by their attitude and daily influence on priests in their region - can contribute effectively to the strengthening of the ties between priests and their deanery.32

The Parish Pastor

The parochus or parish pastor has care of souls in a specific section of the diocese "as their particular shepherd" (the word pastor is also Latin for shepherd). Yet as part of the whole presbyterium, pastors do not and cannot exercise their ministry in isolation, but as "collaborators with the bishop" and other priests of the diocese, particularly those close by, as Vatican II makes clear.

They should therefore collaborate both with other parish priests and with those priests who are exercising a pastoral function in the district (such as vicars forane and deans) or who are engaged in works of an extra-parochial nature, so that the pastoral work of the diocese may be rendered more effective by a spirit of unity. (CD 30)33
The priestly ministry, being the ministry of the Church itself, can only be fulfilled in the hierarchical union of the whole body of the Church. (PO 15)34
The office of parish pastor must be held by a priest (Can. 521 §1, CCEO Can. 285 §1), even in a shortage of priests (Can. 517 §2), and cannot be entrusted to a juridical person (Can. 520 §1, CCEO Can. 281 §2). Among the many duties of the pastor of a parish (Cann. 528-535, CCEO Cann. 289-296), one notes that the principle of collaboration has been codified: "The parish priest ... is to cooperate with his proper Bishop and with the presbyterium of the diocese." (Can. 529 §2)35 The Congregation for Clergy comments on this canon:
The parish priest is obliged to collaborate with his Bishop and with the other priests of the diocese so as to ensure that the faithful who participate in the parochial community become aware that they are also members of the diocese and of the universal Church.36
This vision has also been codified other places in the law, for example "Can. 757 puts the exercise of the ministry of the individual presbyter in relation with the Bishop and with the whole presbyterium."37
It belongs to priests, as cooperators of the Bishops, to proclaim the Gospel of God. For the people entrusted to their care, this task rests especially on parish priests, and on other priests entrusted with the care of souls. Deacons also are to serve the people of God in the ministry of the word, in union with the Bishop and his presbyterium.38
Parish pastors are an essential part of the Bishop's shepherding of souls, as the Holy Father reminds us: "The presbyters, and among them parish priests in particular, are the closest cooperators in the Bishop's ministry."39 One cannot conceive a pastor not being in hierarchical communion. The pastor is under the authority of the diocesan Bishop (Can. 515 §1) and freely appointed by him (Can. 524, CCEO Can. 285 §3). The pastor represents the diocesan bishop, and thus creates a hierarchical bond with the particular Church. "The parochial community is therefore a pars dioecesis animated by the same spirit of communion".40

Besides communion with and obedience to the bishop, the parish pastor must work with the whole presbyterium, of which he is a member, in building up the diocese. "Such collaboration not only expresses the communal nature of the particular Church, but is required by the pastoral care which in such mode achieves the due unity and a better operational efficacy."41 Today, "no priest is sufficiently equipped to carry out his own mission alone and as it were single-handed":

There is all the more need in our day for union of priests with bishops because in this age of ours apostolic enterprises must necessarily for various reasons take on many different forms. And not only that, but they must often overstep the bounds of one parish or diocese. (PO 7)42
This is the reason Christus Dominus 30, cited above, stresses the need for parish priests to collaborate within their vicariate. The Congregation for Evangelization's words to missionaries are very applicable for all priests:
Priests have a duty to fulfill their pastoral service in an ecclesial spirit, as part of the community, in union with and obedience to the bishop, and in collaboration with all the pastoral agents, avoiding acting in an independent, autonomous way, and fitting in with the pace of the community in achieving its goals, with patience and flexibility.

The involvement of priests in the diocesan program is also manifested through their participation in various councils and organizations. They should give their time to these with interest and generosity, for the growth of the whole diocesan family.43

The Parochial Vicar

Priests are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity and at the same time depend on them in the exercise of their pastoral functions... They form around their bishop the presbyterium which bears responsibility with him for the particular Church.44
The Catechism recalls that all priests, especially those in parishes, exercise their ministry within the presbyterium. Nearly all that has been said of the parish pastor can also be applied to the priest who assists him in the care of the parish, the parochial vicar, also called the curate, associate or assistant pastor.
Curates, as co-workers with the parish priest, should be eager and fervent in their daily exercise of their pastoral ministry under the authority of the parish priest. There should therefore be a fraternal relationship between the parish priest and his curates; mutual charity and respect should prevail, and they should assist each other by advice, practical help and example, providing with harmonious will and a common zeal for the needs of the parish. (CD 30 §3)45
Being in hierarchal communion with the Bishop, parochial vicars - like their parish pastors - assist in being representatives of the bishop to the parochial communities. "The pastor with the help of his assistants and of other priests assigned to the parish makes present in a portion of the diocese the manifold ministry of the bishop".46

The parochial vicar must be a priest (Can. 546, CCEO Can. 301 §1), freely appointed and removed by the Bishop, assigned to one or more parishes, or just a particular part of a parish (Can. 545 §2, CCEO Can. 301 §2). His task is to assist the pastor in the pastoral care of the parish. "As cooperators with the parish priest and sharers in his concern, they are, by common counsel and effort with the parish priest and under his authority, to labor in the pastoral ministry." (Can. 545 §1)47

The duties of a parochial vicar (Cann. 548-550, CCEO Cann. 301-303) are bound up in almost the same duties of a parish pastor (thus including the duty to cooperate with the Bishop and presbyterium in Can. 529 §2). Indeed, he assumes all the responsibilities of the pastor, substituting if he is absent, impeded or the parish is vacant (Can. 541 §1, CCEO Can. 300 §1), except for the obligation of applying the Mass for the people (Can. 549). The commitment to the pastoral care of the parish creates a right and duty of common responsibility with the pastor, which requires communication and collaboration between them.

The assistant priest is to report regularly to the parish priest on pastoral initiatives, both those planned and those already undertaken. In this way the parish priest and the assistant or assistants can by their joint efforts provide a pastoral care of the parish for which they are together answerable. (Can. 548 §3)48
Between the pastor and the parochial vicar the relationship is to be fraternal; mutual love and reverence are to prevail always; they are to assist each other with advice, support and example, in order to provide parochial care with unanimity of mind and joint endeavor. (CCEO Can. 302 §3)49
"The rapport of collaboration between parish pastor and parochial vicar holds particular importance for the promotion of the 'parochial communion'"
The vicar will have to recognize in the parish pastor, as representative of the bishop, the authority of moderator of his activity. The unity and pastoral efficacy of the parish depend on the fraternal cooperation of the priests, which imply a right exercise of the authority by the pastor and a mature obedience by the vicar.50
This communion between parochial vicars and their pastors leads one author to make an analogy between this relationship and that between priests and their bishop, all manifesting the one presbyterium.
The whole trend of recent documents on the relationship of bishops and priests emphasizes the mutuality of this relationship. The code envisions the whole presbyterate as primary collaborators in the government of the diocese. Parochial vicars are to pastors what episcopal vicars are to the bishop of the diocese. Therefore associates are primarily collaborators with the pastor.51
The parish pastor is to live in the parish house (Can. 533 §1, CCEO Can. 292), while the parochial vicar is only bound to reside within the parish boundaries (Can. 550 §1, CCEO Can. 302 §4). To foster communion, however, and favor cooperation and priestly fraternity: "The local Ordinary is to see to it that, where it is possible, some manner of common life in the parochial house be encouraged between the parish priest and the assistants." (Can. 550 §2)52
It is necessary that parish priests be available to encourage common life in the parochial house with their vicars, effectively considering them as their cooperators and sharers of the pastoral care. And the vicars, in order to build priestly communion, must recognize and respect the authority of the parish priest.53
Thus, the legislator shows his desire that between the parish priest and the vicars a certain practice of common life exists in the parochial house.
It is not the common life that one expects of religious; but a certain common life that manifests the christian and priestly communion, it favors good example, reciprocal knowledge and programing and verifying of the pastoral activity... the residence, with a certain practice of common life, in the parochial house, sustains the life of the priests and has economic advantages.54
Unfortunately there is a modern trend, perhaps rooted in individualism, for priests (including the parish pastor) to move out of the parish rectory and live by themselves in a house or apartment. "More and more dioceses are pursuing alternatives to the rectory system."55 Many authors argue against this, given the necessity of communion between priests assigned to the same parish.
Living in common and sharing a common table is a great good, if it is possible to be attained ... The exchange of ideas and experiences, the desire to receive prudent advice, information concerning the life and work of priests - all these constitute frequent occasions for creating a parochial priestly community.56
While it is not mandatory, it seems preferable that the parochial vicar(s) should live with the pastor whenever possible. "This allows them to get to know one another better and to achieve daily coordination of their pastoral work. The example of fraternity given by the priests living together is edifying for the faithful."57

The Parish In Solidum

As studied earlier, some collegial models of priestly life and ministry existed in the history of the Church, including the medieval canons and cathedral chapters; however, this form of common life and ministry did not last. Whether from laxity and nonobservance of their rules, or from avarice and covetousness regarding the parish income, a shift took place from a collaborative, collegial priesthood to an individualistic and beneficiary one. This is perhaps a reason why the Council of Trent declared parishes could not be entrusted to juridical persons,58 and the 1917 Code stated that "In one parish there shall be only one parish priest who has the care of souls" (CIC 1917 Can. 460 §2).59 These laws are still in force today, Can. 520 §1 and Can. 526, however both also allow for exceptions.

The traditional parish model is still one of collaboration between a sole pastor and his assistants. Infused with Vatican II's development of ecclesial communion, however, a new institution has been created by which several priests are together entrusted with pastoral care.

Where circumstances so require, the pastoral care of a parish, or of a number of parishes together, can be entrusted to several priests jointly, but with the stipulation that one of the priests is to be the moderator of the pastoral care to be exercised. This moderator is to direct the joint action and to be responsible for it to the Bishop. (Can. 517 §1)60
This canon foresees that a team of priests, and only priests, might be entrusted in solidum with care of one or more parishes simultaneously, and that each of the priests would enjoy the office of proper pastor of the parish. While the moderator directs the joint action, they do not act collegially, rather each priest is personally responsible for the pastoral activity. In fact, if one of them fails in his duty, the others continue to be responsible.

The parish in solidum creates multiple titles, where each priest member of the team holds the office of pastor, together with the others. According to Can. 543, all the obligations, rights and faculties of a parish priest are held by each member of the group, except only the moderator can represent the parish in juridical affairs, and only one (by agreement) celebrates the Mass for the people.

This new institution is seen as a way to improve the communion and cooperation between priests, having them function more as brothers in ministry, rather than as a superior-assistant relationship. While the parish in solidum is still an exception and only to be used "when circumstances require it", the Congregation for the Clergy recently stressed its many advantages.

Entrusting the pastoral care of a parish in solidum can prove useful in resolving difficulties arising in those dioceses in which reduced numbers of priests are obliged to distribute their time among several ministerial activities. It can also prove a useful way of promoting pastoral coresponsibility among priests and, in a special way, for promoting the custom of the common life among priests which should always be encouraged.61
A possible disadvantage is that the priests in solidum do not have the title of pastor (indeed the law does not specify what to call these "co-pastors"). This could pose a problem for some faithful, as "It is natural for the faithful to identify with their own parish priest. The continuing rotation of priests among themselves can be confusing or misunderstood in the parish."62

The obligation of residence binds the priests who are jointly entrusted with pastoral care (Canon 543 §2, 1°), the same as it binds all parish pastors: "in the parochial house, near the church" (Can. 533 §1).63 Thus, the "charge of a parish or parishes in solidum, extends to priests a new way of sharing their pastoral life and community living."64

Under what conditions should it be used? Besides supplying for a lack of priests, the team of priests in solidum may also help other modern situations. For example, "to facilitate the care of very-populated parishes in large cities, or of various distant parishes and little population in rural areas".65 In addition, religious priests could be assigned with diocesan priests, becoming "one of the effective ways of collaboration between Diocesan Clergy and Religious."66 For example, it may be an appropriate means to incorporate a priest from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter into the diocesan parish ministry.67

The parish in solidum presents a new, although exceptional, way to accommodate new pastoral needs of the faithful in today's circumstances. It does so in a way by which priests may collaborate and implement community living. It can promote the co-responsibility between priests and create a great unity of pastoral action, a clear manifestation of the presbyterium's goal of mutual cooperation. The parish in solidum "tends to realize on the parochial level a structure which reflects the model of the presbyterium in miniature."68

One again asks: can the diocesan presbyterium also be manifested on a smaller scale, among groups of just some priests within the diocese? The Congregation for Bishops responds:

In a parish or a "vicariate" made up of smaller parishes, the priests form, in so far as it is possible, a miniature presbytery [presbyterium], as it were, and promote a common life suited to their mission, cooperating in their pastoral work, carefully studying and preparing their projects and then carrying them through together.69
This chapter has shown why the "Directory for Bishops" speaks of these smaller groups of priests, even within a single parish, as forming a "parvum presbyterium". By their union and cooperation in a common ministry, the one priestly ministry of the bishop and priests is manifested.

Priests realize this reality of the presbyterium on the parish and inter-parish levels through the various juridical ways they collaborate in ministry and means that help them to do so. Coordination among parishes occurs by the division of the diocese into districts headed by vicars forane or episcopal vicars, and by the collaboration and union among parish pastors. Co-responsibility occurs within a single parish when there are parochial vicars or teams of priests in solidum.

These institutions are ways that help the priests to respect the spiritual and pastoral leadership of the bishop, and to work in communion with the diocesan presbyterium. "Pastoral charity demands that priests, if they are not to run in vain, should always work within the bond of union with the bishops and their fellow priests." (PO 14)70 Now we shall examine ways that can help reinforce these bonds of union and pastoral charity among the priests of the presbyterium.


1 Vatican II. Lumen Gentium, 28. "Presbyteri... unum presbyterium cum suo Episcopo constituunt, diversis quidem officiis mancipatum." Translation and emphasis mine.

2 Can. 553 §1. "Vicarius foraneus, qui etiam decanus vel archipresbyter vel alio nomine vocatur, est sacerdos qui vicariatui foraneo praeficitur."

3 CCEO Can. 276 §1. "Protopresbyter est presbyter, qui districtui ex pluribus paroeciis constanti praeficitur, ut ibidem nomine Episcopi eparchialis munera iure determinata expleat."

4 Pospishil,159.

5 Riccardo, 61.

6 Kurtyka, Edward John. The Vicar Forane: An Historico-Canonical Study. Washington D.C.: CUA, 1991, 283.

7 Ibid. 153.

8 Calvo, Juan. "Commentaries to cc. 515-572" in Caparros, E., et al., eds., 403.

9 Erdö and Martin, 438. "l'istituto dei vicari foranei nella Chiesa latina o quello dei protopresbiteri nelle Chiese orientali hanno una relazione con il carattere comunitario della missione dei presbiteri."

10 Kurtka, 178.

11 Can. 555 §1, 1° and CCEO Can. 278 §1, 1°. "actionem pastoralem communem provomovendi et coordinandi".

12 Since it is not attached to a particular parish, and can change, it would be preferable not to name the vicariate after a parish or city; rather, a religious (saint) name could be used (cf. Romita, 620).

13 Cf. Paul VI. Ecclesiae Sanctae, I,19,1, which is incorporated in Can. 554 §1 and CCEO Can. 277 §1.

14 The Eastern Code adds that the topic of these meetings of conferences are "for the promotion of the sacred sciences and pastoral matters" (CCEO Can. 278 §2, 1°).

15 Paul VI. Ecclesiae Sanctae, I,19,1. "Inter proximiores Episcopi dioecesani cooperatores recensentur illi presbyteri, qui munus pastorale exercent indolis supraparoecialis".

16 The diocesan bishop confers the office of pastor after consideration and judgment, in which "he is to consult the vicar forane, conduct suitable inquiries and, if it is appropriate, seek the view of some priests and lay members of Christ's faithful." (Can. 524). Apparently, this is the context and reason for a priests' personnel board or placement committee, something not mentioned in any official document, but ubiquitous among dioceses in the United States (cf. Riccardo, 59).

17 Cf. Montini, 105. Some dioceses elect the vicars forane (according to ancient practice and allowed by Can. 553 §2) with the Bishop confirming the election (cf. Can. 179). This permits the vicars to be "representative of the diocesan clergy" and then be inserted in the presbyteral council.

18 Cf. Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 188 and Riccardo, 62.

19 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 186.

20 Can. 374 §2. "Ad curam pastoralem per communem actionem fovendam plures paroeciae viciniores coniungi possunt in peculiares coetus, uti sunt vicariatus foranei."

21 John Paul II. Christifideles Laici, 26. "Since the Church's task in our day is so great, its accomplishment cannot be left to the parish alone. For this reason the Code of Canon Law provides for forms of collaboration among parishes in a given territory and recommends to the bishop's care the various groups". He cites Can. 555 §1, 1° on the vicar forane, quoted above.

22 Ramos, 593-594. "I vicariati foranei... hanno perso importanza nell'organizzazione della Chiesa diocesana. D'altra parte, la struttura sociologica della diocesi può essere molto diversa... A tutto questo si aggiunga la grande mobilità delle persone. I vicariati foranei hanno perso importanza anche a motivo della maggiore centralizzazione del governo diocesano... Infine, queste strutture intermedie hanno meno forza...".

23 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 184. "quae multum conferant ad pastoralem coniunctam actionem ... necessaria media ... subsidiarietati et bene disposito in dioecesi ministerio."

24 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 185. "Foraniae institutum ad id tendit, ut, adiuvante Vicario foraneo, parochi vel officiales pastorales unious eiusdemque territorii vel plagae socialis inter se constituant quasi quandam cellulam vitalem presbyterii diocesani, circa quam opportune coordinetur etiam apostolatus specificus religiosorum, religiosarum et laicorum, in territorio vel officio pastorali operantium, et sic pastoralis actio communis apte promoveatur et ordinetur." It cites Paul VI. Ecclesiae Sanctae, I,19,1.

25 Kurtyka, 288-289 and 289.

26 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 189. "Nomine regionis seu plagae pastoralis hic intelligitur convictus aliquis humanus, territorio circumscriptus, communitatem quandam particularem constituens, quodammodo autonomam in suo progressu, et distinctam actionem pastoralem postulans."

27 At times, regions, districts or zones may pastorally require an episcopal vicar as head. Yet some authors continue to propose as a "pastoral zone" what is simply a vicariate forane with a different name, not discerning its difference from the territory entrusted to an episcopal vicar. Cf. Can. 476.

28 Calvo, Juan. "Commentaries to cc. 515-572" in Caparros, E., et al., eds., 402.

29 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 184.

30 Romita, 598. "Le piccole parrocchie, che non potessero esser unite siano raggruppate sotto il punto di vista pastorale nella Forania e siano rette dai rispettivi Parroci, i quali formeranno un Presbiterio di con-Parroci, la cui attività pastorale sia coordinata dal Vicario Foraneo."

31 Singaroyan, Sebastianappan. Ongoing Formation of Middle Aged Prists in the Light of "Pastores Dabo Vobis". Rome: Lateranense, 1995, 167.

32 Barela, 50.

33 Vatican II. Christus Dominus, 30. "Episcopi cooperatores sunt parochi, quibus, tamquam pastoribus propriis, animarum cura committitur in determinata dioecesis". "Quapropter cum diis paroehis collaborent necnon cum sacerdotibus, qui munus pastorale in territorio exercent (uti sunt e.g. Vicarii Foranei, Decani), vel operibus indolis supraparoecialis sunt addicti, ut cura pastoralis in dioecesi unitate non careat atque efficacior reddatur."

34 Vatican II. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 15. "Ministerium autem sacerdotale, cum sit ministerium ipsius Ecclesiae, nonnisi in communione hierarchica totius corporis adimpleri potest."

35 Can. 529 §2. "parochus... cum proprio Episcopo et cum dioecesis presbyterio cooperetur".

36 Congregation for Clergy. "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community." August 4, 2002, 22. "il parroco deve collaborare con il Vescovo e con gli altri presbiteri della diocesi perché i fedeli, partecipando alla comunità parrocchiale, si sentano anche membri della diocesi e della Chiesa universale."

37 Erdö and Martin, 438. "Il c. 757 mette in relazione l'esercizio del ministero del singolo presbitero con il Vescovo e con tutto il presbiterio."

38 Can. 757. "Presbyterorum, qui quidem Episcoporum cooperatores sunt, proprium est Evangelium Dei annuntiare; praesertim hoc officio tenentur, quoad populum sibi commissum, parochi aliique quibus cura animarum concreditur; diaconorum etiam est in ministerio verbi populo Dei, in communione cum Episcopo eiusque presbyterio, inservire."

39 John Paul II. "On the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World." Pastores Gregis. October 16, 2003, 47. "Presbyteri, et inter eos praesertim parochi, artiores cooperatores sunt ministerii Episcopi."

40 Congregation for Clergy. "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community", 18. "la comunità parrocchiale... Si tratta dunque di una pars dioecesis animata da uno stesso spirito di comunione".

41 Mariconti, Gian Franco. "Il Parroco promotore di comunione nella comunità parrocchiale." Monitor Ecclesiasticus 116 (1991) 257. "Tale collaborazione non solo esprime la natura comunionale della Chiesa particolare ma è richiesta dalla cura pastorale che in tale modo raggiunge la dovuto unità ed una migliore efficacia operativa."

42 Vatican II. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 7. "Unio Presbyterorum cum Episcopis eo magis nostris diebus requiritur quod aetate hac nostra, diversis ex causis, incepta apostolica non tantum multlplices formas induere, verum etiam limites unius paroeciae vel dioecesis praetergredi necesse est. Nullus ergo Presbyter seorsum ac veluti singillatim suam missionem satis adimplere valet".

43 Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. "Pastoral Guide for Diocesan Priests in Churches Dependent on the Congregation for the Evangelization Of Peoples." Le Giovani Chiese. October 1, 1989, 10. "I sacerdoti hanno il dovere di compiere il loro servizio pastorale, in spirito ecclesiale, profondamente inseriti nella comunità, in unione e obbedienza al vescovo e in collaborazione con tutti gli operatori di pastorale, evitando di agire in modo autonomo e personalistico, e seguendo il passo della comunità nel realizzare i piani operativi, con pazienza e flessibilità. Il coinvolgimento dei presbiteri sul piano diocesano si manifesta anche attraverso il loro insegnamento nei vari consigli e organismi. Esprimano questa loro partecipazione con interesse e generosità, per la crescita di tutta la famiglia diocesana."

44 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1595. "Presbyteri in dignitate sacerdotali cum Episcopis coniunguntur simulque ab illis dependent in suorum munerum pastoralium exercitio... circa suum Episcopum presbyterium constituunt, quod cum illo responsabilitatem sustinet Ecclesiae particularis."

45 Vatican II. Christus Dominus,30 §3. "Vicarii paroeciales tamquam parochi cooperatores, praestantem et actuosam operam quotidie impendunt in ministerio pastorali sub parochi auctoritate exercendo. Quare inter parochum eiusque vicarios fraterna habeatur conversatio, mutua caritas et reverentia semper vigeat iidemque consiliis, auxilio et exemplo sese invicem adiuvent, paroeciali curse concordi voluntate communique studio providentes."

46 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 206e. "Parochus, cum auxilio suorum vicariorum aliorumque presbyterorum paroeciae addictorum, multiplex Episcopi servitum... praesens reddet in aliqua diocesesis parte".

47 Can. 545 §1. "tamquam parochi cooperatores eiusque sollicitudinis participes, communi cum parocho consilio etstudio, atque sub eiusdem auctoritate operam in ministerio pastorali praestent."

48 Can. 584 §3. "Vicarius paroecialis regulariter de inceptis pastoralibus prospectis et susceptis ad parochum referat, ita ut parochus et vicarius aut vicarii, coniunctis viribus, pastorali curae providere valeant paroeciae, cuius simul sunt sponsores."

49 CCEO Can. 302 §3. "inter parochum et vicarium paroecialem fraterna habeatur conversatio, mutua caritas et reverentia semper vigeat iidemque consiliis, auxilio et exemplo se invicem adiuvent curae paroeciali concordi voluntate communique studio providentes."

50 Mariconti, 257. "Particolare importanza riveste per la promozione della "comunione parrocchiale" il rapporto di collaborazione tra parroco e vicari parrocchiali" ... "il vicario dovrà riconoscere al parroco, come rappresentante del vescovo, l'autorità di moderatore della sua attività. Dalla cooperazione fraterna dei sacerdoti, chi implica un retto esercizio dell'autorità da parte del parroco e un'obbedienza matura da parte del vicario, dipende l'unità e l'efficacia pastorale nella parrocchia."

51 Lasch, Kenneth E. "Personnel Issues" in Code, Community, Ministry ed. Edward G. Pfnaush, 2nd edition, Washington D.C.: CLSA , 1992, 82.

52 Can. 550 § 2. "Curet loci Ordinarius ut inter parochum et vicarios aliqua vitae communis consuetudo in domo paroeciali, ubi id fieri possit, provehatur."

53 Congregation for Clergy. "Directory on the Ministry and Life of Priests", 29. "Exoptandum est ut parochi parati sint favere vitae communi in domo paroeciali cum suis vicariis, eos vere suos cooperatores existimantes et sollicitudinis pastoralis participes; vicarii vicissim, ad communionem sacerdotalem aedificandam, parochi auctoritatem agnoscere debent et observare."

54 Ramos, 591. "Non è la vita comune che si aspetta dai religiosi; ma una certa vita comune che manifesta la comunione cristiana e sacerdotale, favorisce il buon esempio, la conoscenza reciproca e la programmazione e verifica dell'attività pastorale. ...la residenza, con ina certa pratica di vita comune, nella casa parrocchiale, sostiene la vita del presbiteri ed ha vantaggi economici."

55 Griffan, Bertram F. in Beal, John P., et al., eds. New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (CLSA). New York: Paulist Press, 2000, 728.

56 Barela, 49.

57 Hesch, John Beaman. A canonical commentary on selected personnel policies in the United States of America regarding decent support of diocesan priests in active ministry. Washington, D.C.: CUA, 1994,151-152.

58 cf. Trent, Session XXIV, Chapter 13. "parochial churches shall not be united to any monasteries whatsoever, or to abbeys or dignities, or prebends of a cathedral or collegiate church, or to other simple benefices, hospitals or military orders".

59 CIC 1917 Can. 460 §2. "In eadem paroecia unus tantum debet esse parochus qui actualem animarum curam gerat"

60 Can. 517 §1. "Ubi adiuncta id requirant, paroeciae aut diversarum simul paroeciarum cura pastoralis committi potest pluribus in solidum sacerdotibus, ea tamen lege, ut eorundem unus curae pastoralis exercendae sit moderator, qui nempe actionem coniunctam dirigat atque de eadem coram Episcopo respondeat."

61 Congregation for Clergy. "The Priest, Pastor and Leader of the Parish Community", 19. "Affidare la cura pastorale in solidum si manifesta utile per risolvere talune situazioni in quelle diocesi dove pochi sacerdoti devono organizzare il loro tempo nell'assistenza di attività ministeriali diverse, ma diventa anche un mezzo opportuno per promuovere la corresponsabilità pastorale dei presbiteri e, in maniera speciale, per facilitare la consuetudine della vita comune dei sacerdoti, che va sempre incoraggiata."

62 Ibid. "è connaturale ai fedeli l'identificazione con il proprio pastore, e può essere disorientante e non compresa la presenza variante di più presbiteri".

63 Can. 533 §1. "Parochus obligatione tenetur residendi in domo paroeciali prope ecclesiam".

64 Woestmann, William H., O.M.I. The Sacrament of Orders and the Clerical State: A Commentary on the Code of Canon Law. Ottawa: St. Paul University: 1999, 185, commenting on Can. 280.

65 Sánchez-Gil, Antonio S. "Comentario, c. 517" in Marzoa, A., et al. vol II/2, 406. "facilitar la atención da parroquias superpobladas en grandes ciudades, o de varias parroquias distantes y poco pobladas en áreas rurales".

66 Madalaimuthu, 103.

67 The priests of this clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right celebrate the Mass and sacraments according to the Latin liturgy of 1962. As they only celebrate this traditional rite, it is difficult to entrust a territorial parish to this institute according to Can. 520, so instead they are usually rectors or chaplains of a church or chapel. It seems that the office of parochial vicar or member of a team of priests would be better solution to incorporate such priests into diocesan parish ministry.

68 Corecco, 187.

69 Congregation for Bishops. Ecclesiae imago, 176 c. "ut in paroecia vel vicariatu, e minoribus paroeciis constante, quasi parvum prebyterium quatenus fieri possit prebyteri constituant et vitam communem excolant iis formis, quae ipsorum missioni congruant, communemque dent operam ministerii pastoralis inceptis sedulo inquirendis et apparandis et exsequendis".

70 Vatican II. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 14. "Pastoralis ergo caritas postulat ut Presbyteri, ne in vacuum currant, in vinculo communionis cum Episcopis et cum aliis in sacerdotio fratribus semper laborent." Cf. Gal. 2:2.


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