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the Holy See to effect their purpose. Of course it may happen, too, that some parishes will require to be divided up, and new ones erected; in this case the regulation just quoted must be observed.
In countries in which a hierarchy was established, but in which there were no canonically erected parishes, this section taken in conjunction with Canon 216, as we have already remarked, caused considerable excitement after the publication of the Code. In our opinion these canons did not convert ipso facto the existing divisions of territory in these countries into parishes: to effect this a special act on the part of the Bishops concerned was required. Nor was it necessary in the new erections to adopt the boundaries of the old divisions, or to change all the removable missions into removable parishes, and all the irremovable missions into irremovable parishes; in fact, if the spirit of the new legislation were followed, most of the new foundations would be irremovable.
The final two sections of this canon contain still further regulations on the question of fixity of tenure:
Quasi-parishes are all removable (§ 4).
Parish priests belonging to a religious institute are always, by reason of their person, removable at the will of the local Ordinary, after a notification to their Superior, and of their Superior after a notification to the Ordinary, for a just cause, and without its being necessary for one of them to obtain the consent of the other; neither is one bound to manifest, much less to prove, the cause of his decision to the other, but the right of recourse with devolutive effect to the Holy See remains.
Religious parish priests may, therefore, be removed, either by their own Superior or by the local Ordinary, for a just cause, without any formality; and, consequently, the special regulations in regard to the administrative removal of parish priests do not apply to them.
The Right of appointing Parish Priests.-In regard to the right of appointing parish priests the new legislation agrees almost entirely with the old. With the exception of parishes reserved to the Holy See-these reservations are dealt with in connexion with benefices-the nomination and institution of pastors is the function of the local Ordinary, every contrary custom being reprobated. The rights of patronage, when legitimately acquired, are, however, still recognized (c. 455, § 1). Whenever, then, a parish is subject to patronage or election, the Ordinary, of course, cannot freely collate it, he can merely accept the presentation or confirm the election and grant real institution or possession.
Under the title of Local Ordinary Vicars-Capitular and Vicars-General are included, unless in any particular case an express exception is made (c. 198). There is such an exception in this connexion. The only powers in this matter possessed by a Vicar-Capitular are: 1°, to confirm elections and accept presentations to vacant parishes, and to grant canonical institution to those who have been elected or presented (c. 455, § 2, 2°); 2°, to confer parishes of free collation, if the see has been vacant for at least a year (c. 455, § 2, 3°). This latter power is an innovation: hitherto, no matter how long the see was vacant, parishes could not be conferred by the Vicar-Capitular without special permission from the Holy See. A Vicar-General's faculties are even more limited still without a special mandate he has no power in this matter at all. Whilst, therefore, a Vicar-Capitular's jurisdiction, as we have seen, has been somewhat extended, a Vicar-General's, on the other hand, has been restricted. Formerly, the latter could confirm elections and accept presentations to vacant parishes, and grant canonical institution to those elected or presented, he could also confer parishes on those who, as the result of a strict concursus, were judged most worthy of them. In the extraordinary circumstances mentioned in Canon 429, § 1, in which the Bishop is himself prevented from administering the diocese through captivity, imprisonment, exile, or some other impediment, a Vicar-General has all the powers of a Vicar-Capitular (c. 455, § 3).
In the case of parishes entrusted to religious, the Superior, who is competent in accordance with the constitutions, must present a priest of his own Institute to the local Ordinary; the latter grants canonical institution (c. 456). Their own local Ordinary, after taking the advice of his council, appoints quasi-parish priests (c. 458).
Time for conferring Parish.-According to Canon 458 the local Ordinary is to make provision for a vacant parish within six months from the time that he becomes aware of the vacancy, unless, in view of the peculiar circumstances of place and person, he deems it more prudent to defer doing so for a further period. This is a slight modification of Canon 155, which prescribes the collation of ecclesiastical offices within six months from the time that notice of their vacancy has been received; and also of 1432, § 3, which states that, if benefices are not conferred within this time, their collation devolves upon the Holy See.
In the old discipline the general regulation regarding the time for conferring offices and benefices was the same as at present, but there was no special modification of it for parishes. Hitherto also the collation of benefices, for which no provision was made within the prescribed time, as a general rule devolved, in the first instance, not upon the Holy See, but upon the immediate Superior.
Form to be observed in conferring Parishes.-The general law prior to the publication of the Code was that parishes should be conferred by concursus or examination. The discipline of the concursus had its origin in the Council of Trent, but was afterwards considerably modified by Pius V, Clement XI, and especially by Benedict XIV in the Constitution Cum illud. Custom, however, had abrogated these laws in very many countries; and in many others, instead of the special examination for each vacant parish prescribed by the decree of Trent and its subsequent modifications, periodic general examinations were alone necessary. The Tridentine law itself afforded a certain amount of foundation for the latter procedure: it expressly gave power to Provincial Synods to make any remissions or additions in the form of examination which they might deem necessary.
The discipline of the concursus is no longer universal, even theoretically. It is true, indeed, that the Code prescribes its continuance in places in which it has hitherto been in vogue. Thus, Canon 459, § 4, states that in places in which the provision of parishes is by concursus, whether special, in accordance with the Constitution Cum illud of Benedict XIV, 14 December, 1742, or general, this form is to be retained until the Holy See decrees otherwise.' The position, however, of those countries in which the concursus was abrogated by custom is now officially recognized, and a special form of procedure analogous to the concursus is prescribed for them. This new method, to be followed in the appointment of parish priests, is detailed in the first three sections of Canon 459. The Ordinary is bound, under grave obligation, to appoint to the vacant
1 Sess. XXIV, c. 18, de Ref.
2 Const. In conferendis, (16 Maii, 1567).
3 Const. Reverendissime domine, 10 January, 1721.
4 14 December, 1742.
Cf. Bouix, op. cit., p. 354 et seq.; Wernz, op. cit., n. 827.
• 'Licebit etiam synodo provinciali, si qua in supradictis circa examinationis formam addenda remittenda ve esse censurit, providere.'
parish the person whom he deems most fitted to govern it, without any acceptation of persons (§ 1).
In this judgment, account must be taken, not only of learning, but of all the other qualifications which are required for the proper government of the vacant parish (§ 2).
Consequently, the local Ordinary:
1°. Should consult documents in the diocesan archives which concern the cleric to be appointed, if there be any such, and should also, if he deems it opportune, make inquiries regarding him, even secretly and outside the diocese;
2o. Should take into consideration the results of the examinations which, in accordance with Canon 130, clerics are obliged to undergo during their first three years after ordination;
3°. Should submit the cleric of whose appointment there is question to an examination before himself and the synodal examiners. He may, however, dispense from this examination, with the consent of the examiners, in the case of clerics about whose theological knowledge there is no doubt (§3). As it is not stated when precisely the examination is to be held, the regulation will be sufficiently fulfilled either by a special examination before each individual appointment, or by periodic general examinations, such as those which take place in countries where the discipline of the general concursus prevails.
In Ireland, previous to 1900, Bishops were, indeed, bound to appoint to parishes the persons best fitted to govern them, but they were not obliged to follow any special form: the Tridentine and subsequent legislation regarding the special concursus had been abolished by custom. In that year the general concursus was introduced by the Synod of Maynooth'; and, in accordance with Canon 459, § 4, already referred to, it must still be continued until the Holy See decrees otherwise. The clergy are already so familiar with its details that it is quite unnecessary to discuss them here. In England appointments to missions were made without any concursus, either special or general. Under the new discipline, therefore, parishes must be conferred in accordance with the form described in the first three sections of Canon 459.
Unity of the Parish Priest and Parish.-No parish priest is to have more than one parish (c. 460, § 1). Parishes are
1 Vide Acta et Decreta, nn. 272-278.“
incompatible offices, that is to say, the obligations which they involve, for example, that of residence, cannot be fulfilled at the same time by one and the same person. There is one exception to this general rule to parishes united aeque principaliter one parish priest may be appointed. In a union of this kind the united parishes remain distinct, so far as rights, privileges, and temporalities are concerned the bond between them is merely the extrinsic one of a common pastor. Parishes under the old discipline, too, were incompatible offices, but, when united, they could be cumulated in the same individual, just as at present.
Just as one parish priest can have only one parish, so in one and the same parish there can be only one parish priest with the actual care of souls, every contrary custom and privilege being reprobated (c. 462, § 2). This prohibition, clearly, is no obstacle to the retention of the habitual care by one parish priest and of the actual care by another; in fact, as we have already seen, when a parish is fully united to a moral body, such a condition of things necessarily comes into existence. The prohibition, however, does not of itself prevent a moral body from retaining not merely the habitual, but also the actual care of souls; this is effected rather by Canon 471, § 1.
Prior to the Council of Trent, moral bodies, such as chapters, to which parishes were united, very frequently exercised the care of souls in their collegiate capacity without appointing any vicars to represent them1; and, even after Trent, that could still be permitted by Bishops in special circumstances, though normally vicars should be appointed.* Whilst the teaching on this point was unanimous there was, however, a considerable division of opinion in preCode days as to whether the general law permitted the appointment of two or more parish priests of the ordinary kind to one and the same parish; as far as we could see, there was not sufficient data to decide the point.
Rights of Parish Priests.-Canon 462 enumerates a number of functions which are reserved to parish priests.
1o. The right of conferring solemn baptism is reserved to parish priests. We notice that, according to Canon 738, § 2, even a peregrinus is to be solemnly baptized in his own parish by his own parish priest, if this can be done easily and without delay. Hitherto there was some difference of opinion upon this point. Not a few maintained 1 Cf. Bouix, op. cit., p. 196. 2 Conc. Trid., Sess. VII, c. 7.