« PrécédentContinuer »
that is the parish priest, not the vicar, who must be appointed to actually exercise the care of souls. The latter, indeed, as we shall see in a moment, is on the same footing as a parish priest so far as rights and obligations are concerned, but, strictly speaking, has no right to this title. Hitherto canonists regarded the vicar as the real parish priest, and the moral person as one only in an improper sense of the term-of course there was no legislation on the point.1
Two classes of priests, although not included in this definition, have all the rights and obligations of parish priests, and in law come under this name; so that when any legal enactment is made regarding parish priests, they also are affected by it:
1°. Quasi-parish priests who govern quasi-parishes. Quasi-parishes, according to Canon 216, § 3, are the divisions of vicariates and prefectures. Parishes, on the other hand, are the divisions of dioceses.
2o. Parochial vicars who have received full parochial power (c. 451, § 2). Amongst these are certainly included the vicars who exercise the actual care of souls in parishes united to moral persons. So also are these vicarii oeconomi to whose care is committed a parish during its vacancy. The vicars who take the place of absent parish priests or of parish priests incapable, through age or some other infirmity mental or bodily, of themselves discharging their duties also come within this category, except in the regard to the Mass pro populo, which devolves on the parish priest himself. In this country the ordinary curates do not receive full parochial power, and, consequently, they can in no sense be regarded as parish priests. On the other hand, administrators are endowed with complete authority to govern the parishes over which they are placed, and so have all the rights and obligations of parish priests. In this connexion it may be well to recall the reply given by the Congregation of the Council to the Bishop of Dromore in 1863, which declared that an administrator, if not already in existence, should be appointed in the mensal parish of Newry, that the Mass for the people of the parish should be celebrated by him, but that, in
1 Bouix, De Parocho, p. 187: 'Cura habitualis non sufficit ut quis sit verus parochus' (p. 230); vicarius perpetuus, quando parochus principalis habitualem dumtaxat curam habet, est verus et proprie dictus parochus '; Wernz, Jus Decret., tom. ii. n. 821, etc.
apportioning him his revenues, account should be taken of this obligation.1
Union of Parish with Moral Person.-The erection and suppression, the union, dismembration, and division of parishes, and their attachment to benefices or other ecclesiastical institutions, are dealt with in connexion with benefices. In this special section the Code treats merely in an incidental way of the union of parishes with moral persons. Canon 452, § 1, states that without an indult of the Apostolic See a parish cannot be united fully (pleno jure) to a moral person, in such a way, namely, that the moral person is the parish priest in accordance with Canon 1423, § 2. The latter canon amplifies the regulation just quoted. It declares that local Ordinaries cannot unite a parish with a chapter or episcopal mensa, with monasteries, churches of religious, or any other moral person, or with dignities or benefices of a cathedral or collegiate church; but with a cathedral or collegiate church, which is situated in the territory of the parish, they can so unite it that the revenues of the parish go to the church itself; a sufficient portion, however, is to be left for the parish priest or vicar.'
The union pleno jure, mentioned in Canon 452, § 1, implies a union in regard both to temporal and spiritual rights; it is distinguished from a union non pleno jure, which attaches merely the temporalities of the parish to the moral person. In accordance with the canons just quoted, a union pleno jure is never within the competence of local Ordinaries; but a union non pleno jure, that is to say, in regard to temporalities, is, but only in the circumstances mentioned in the final portion of Canon 1423, § 2.
When a parish is united to a moral person, the latter can retain only the habitual care of souls. For the actual care a vicar with full parochial power must be appointed, to whom a reasonable portion of the revenues must be assigned (c. 452, § 2).
In Ireland the only parishes united in this way, as far
1' 8°. An Episcopus Drumorensis qui parochi officium exercet, dum Missam pro suis dioecesanis applicat, suae satisfaciat obligationi, quae sibi uti parocho inhaeret ?
'Ad 8um: Juxta exposita negative et ad mentem. Mens est quod si episcopus nullum habet in civitate Newry vicarium, qui eam parochiam administret, teneatur eum ibi constituere, ac per eum ipsum debeat etiam satisfacere obligationi Missae pro populo, animadverso tamen quod ad normam 4 Const. Benedicti XIV Cum semper oblatas, in prefinienda congrua ad illius modi onus habeat respectum.'
as we know, are the episcopal mensal parishes. From what has been said it is clear that such union can take place only by indult of the Holy See. From Canon 452, § 2, and from the reply to the Bishop of Dromore, to which we have already referred, it follows also that Bishops are bound to appoint vicars or administrators with full parochial power to exercise the actual care of souls in these parishes.
These regulations of the Code in regard to union involve very little change. In the 24th Session, c. 13, de ref., the Fathers of the Council of Trent forbade Bishops to unite parishes to monasteries, chapters, benefices, or similar institutions; and in the 7th Session, c. 7, de ref., they commanded them, where such unions existed, to provide for the actual care of souls by the appointment of vicars. The concession to Ordinaries in the final portion of Canon 1423, § 2, in virtue of which they can unite a parish, so far as temporalities are concerned, with a cathedral or collegiate church situated in its territory, is a modification of the older and stricter legislation.
Qualifications for a Parish Priest.-The qualifications necessary in order that a person may be appointed a parish priest are enumerated in Canon 453. "In order that a person may be appointed a parish priest he must be in the sacred order of priesthood' (§ 1). 'He must besides be endowed with a good moral character, with learning, with zeal for souls, with prudence, and with the other virtues and qualities which are required by general and particular law for governing the vacant parish in a praiseworthy manner' (§ 2). The only change of any importance is the regulation in regard to priesthood. Hitherto for the valid acquisition of a parish it was sufficient to have actually received first tonsure. It was obligatory, however, to receive priesthood within a year from the date of the appointment. In this country, and, we believe, in most other countries too, no modification of the actual discipline will be involved. The reception of a parish by one who is not yet a priest is almost unknown in modern times.
There is no mention of the old law requiring that a candidate for a parish should have begun his twenty-fifth year. It is, however, practically included in the regulation regarding the reception of priesthood, for which twenty-five is the canonical age. At the same time if, through dispensation, one has been ordained priest before he has begun his twenty-fifth year, he can immediately
obtain a parish without any further dispensation in age; so that the correspondence between the old and new discipline on this point is not absolute.
Removable and Irremovable Parish Priests.-The Council of Trent in the 24th Session, c. 13, de ref., ordered Bishops, in those cities and places where parishes had no defined boundaries or no special pastors, to divide the people into fixed, definite parishes, and to assign to each a perpetual and special parish priest, or to provide for them in some more useful way, as the circumstances of individual places might demand.1 From this Tridentine law canonists, while admitting that, normally, parish priests should be perpetual and irremovable, held that sometimes they might be removable at will, and that in special circumstances dioceses need not be divided up into strict canonical parishes at all. Hence, as a matter of fact, prior to the publication of the Code, you had in France and Belgium, for example, where parishes were canonically erected, a certain number of the parish priests, known as desservants, who were removable at the will of the Bishop; whilst in Great Britain and the United States you had no canonically erected parishes at all, and, consequently, no parish priests in the strict sense of the term.
As we have already pointed out, the Code, in Canon 216, prescribes absolutely the division of dioceses into strictly canonical parishes, to each of which its own special parish priest is to be assigned. According to Canon 454, parish priests may be either removable or irremovable. Those who are appointed to administer a parish as the proper rectors of the same, should have fixity of tenure in it; this, however, does not prevent their removal from it in accordance with the prescriptions of law' (§ 1). 'But not all parish priests have the same fixity; those who have the greater fixity are usually called irremovable; those who have the lesser, removable' (§ 2). The implication of these regulations will be fully understood, only when we come to deal specially with the removal of parish priests. Suffice it at present to say that this removal may be either
1'In iis quoque civitatibus ac locis, ubi parochiales ecclesiae certos non habet fines, nec earum rectores proprium populum, quem regant, sed promiscue petentibus sacramenta administrant, mandat sancta synodus episcopis
ut distincto populo in certas propriasque parochias unicuique suum perpetuum peculiarem que parochum assignent... aut alio utiliori modo, prout loci qualitas exegerit, provideant. Idemque in iis civitatibus ac locis, ubi nullae sunt parochiales, quam primum fieri curent.'
judicial or administrative; that as regards judicial removal both classes are upon the same footing; that for administrative removal a more complicated process is prescribed in the case of irremovable than in that of removable parish priests.
Under the old discipline, too, when a judicial process was employed, there was no difference between the two classes. Prior to the publication of the decree Maxima Cura, in 1910, removable parish priests could be deprived of their parishes for a just and reasonable cause without any formality whatsoever; whereas for the administrative removal of irremovable parish priests the existence of certain special causes and the observance of some formalities were necessary. It must be confessed, however, that up to 1910 the position of the latter in regard to administrative removal was not at all too clearly defined. The Maxima Cura, however, prescribed the same procedure for all parish priests in the strict sense of the term, whether they were removable or irremovable.1 In countries like Great Britain and the United States, in which canonical parishes had not yet been erected, this decree applied only to irremovable rectors, so that removable rectors could still be administratively removed for any just cause and without formality."
The third section of Canon 454 contains the rules to be observed in the establishment of removable and irremovable parishes :
Irremovable parishes [it states] cannot be made removable without the consent of the Holy See; removable can be declared irremovable by the Bishop, but not by the Vicar-Capitular, after having taken the advice of his Chapter; new parishes which are erected should be irremovable, unless the Bishop, in his prudence, with a view to the peculiar circumstances of places and persons, and after having consulted his Chapter, decrees that it is more expedient to have them removable.
In this country these regulations are not of much practical importance. Before the Code made its appearance strict canonical parishes were in existence in Ireland, and they were all irremovable. We do not believe that Bishops will be desirous of changing any of them into removable parishes, as the practical differences between the two, even in regard to removal itself, are not very great. Should they be so, however, they must obtain the permission of
1 Cf. Decr. Maxima Cura, Canon 30.
2 Resolutio S. C. Consistorialis, 28 Jan., 1915.