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BENEFICE


475


BENEFICE


benefice is given perpetually to another benefice or to some other ecclesiastical entity. In this case no new benefice is set up, and the act in question is in reality simply an alienation of church property, and is therefore governed by the rules applicable to aliena- tion. Dismembration is also used at times to signify the separation of a certain territory with its in- habitants from one parish and its incorporation in another, which may be effected for sufficient reason. The extinction of benefices occurs when both the benefice and the church to which it is attached are utterly destroyed or cease completely to have any connexion with Catholic worship, as happened in the past when certain countries were overnm by infidels or heretics, and in more recent times on the occasion of acts of usurpation by the civil power. Suppression diff'ers from extinction in that it simply terminates the existence of a benefice, leaving intact the church and any other benefices which may be connected with it. Suppression involves a diminu- tion of religious service, and is consequently re- garded as odious in law. Nevertheless a bishop may for good reasons and with the consent of his chapter proceed to suppression, and at times such action is rendered necessary by a considerable depreciation in the value of the beneficiary property or by the de- parture of the population to whose spiritual needs the benefice was intended to minister. Suppression is not iiifrequently requested by patrons. In such cases the practice is not to consent to absolute sup- pression, at least of the religious service depending on the benefice, but simply to the exoneration of the patron and his renunciation of the jus patronatus. CoLL.\TiON. — The collation or granting of benefices may be ordinary or extraordinary, free or necessary. The distinction between ordinarv- and extraordinary collation is based upon the fact that while ordinarily major benefices are disposed of by the pope and minor benefices by bishops, it may occasionally happen that this rule suffers an exception in so far as it relates to bishops, either because of a special provision of the laAV in favour of the pope or of some other authority, or because, on the failure of the bishop to act, the right to appoint devolves on his superior. These exceptions are kno-mi as extraordi- nary collations. From the eleventh century, ex- traordinary collations by the pope became more and more common, usually taking the form of man- datn de providendo, lilerce eipectalivw, and reservations. The mandata de providendo were intended to give to the cleric named therein a right to a benefice already vacant in the diocese of the bishop to wiiom the mandate was directed. Lilerce expectativcE were similar papal interventions in regard to diocesan benefices, but affected benefices not yet vacant, the recipient of the letter being given a claim on a benefice as soon as it should be at the disposal of the bishop. These two methods of extraordinary collation were not productive of happy results; they proved to be prejudicial to episcopal authority; they were taken advantage of by unworthy aspirants for ecclesiastical offices; and at times they were fraudulently obtained and offered for sale. Hence their reprobation by the Council of Trent (Sess. XXIV, cap. xix De ref). This animadversion of Trent was not, it is needless to say, a limitation of any papal prerogative; its sole purpo.se being to forestall possible abuses on the part of petitioners for favours from the Holy See. Reservations are still in opera- tion, and consist in this, that the pope reserves to himself in specified cases the collation of certain diocesan benefices. After serving for centuries as a cause of much controversy, they were finally regu- lated by laws defining accurately the instances in which collation was to be reserved to the pope. One of the most important reservations which may serve as an example is contained in the ninth rule of the


.\postolic Chancery (see Roi\m.n Cubi.\), which provides that those diocesan benefices which fall vacant during -ight months of the year are to be at the disposal of the pope, but that bishops who observe the law of residence may freely dispose of all benefices vacated during the six alternate months beginning with February. To-day reservations are in effect to some extent throughout the Church; for example, they affect the first dignities in chap- ters in the Province of Quebec and canonries in England; but Italy is the only country in which they are in full operation. Apart from cases provided for in reservations, the pope rarely, if ever, exercises his right of extraordinary collation. A collation, whether made by the pope or by a bishop, is said to be free when it is not conditioned by any act of an elector or of a patron; necessary when it follows election or nomination by competent persons or presentation by patrons. In many countries, con- cordats have secured to the representatives of civil authority an important part in appointments to benefices. Thus in Bavaria the king nominates to all archiepiscopal and epi-scopal sees; and a similar right has been granted to the Emperor of Austria and to the King of Portugal; in Hanover the chapter, before proceeding to the election of a bishop, must allow the Government to cancel the names of those candidates whom it judges unacceptable. Secular intervention in the collation of minor benefices varies from the royal nomination of the King of Portugal to the governmental exequatur required by Italian law. The interests of religion are safeguarded by the canonical requirement that in every case the candidate must be confirmed by ecclesiastical au- thority before he can lawfully begin his incumbency. (For abuses in the collation of benefices, see Patron- age, Commendatory Abbots, Investitures.)

Condition of Coll.\tion. — In order that benefices may the more effectually fulfill the purposes for which they were instituted, various laws have been enacted governing the act of collation. Whether the collation be free or necessary it must always be gratuitous, to avoid simony; free, that is without coaction; unconditional; public, so that it may be readily proved; and granted witliin six months from the date of ^-acancy. Moreover no benefice can be conferred before it is vacant, nor can seculars re- ceive the benefices of regulars, nor regulars those which are secular in character. Plurality of benefices also is forbidden. This last regulation was intro- duced very early in the history of benefices to assure the faithful execution of the trust attached to ecclesiastical foundations, as well as to guard against the evils which follow luxury; but in the course of time its effectiveness was considerably diminished by a distinction drawn between compatible and incompatible benefices. It was claimed that a bene- fice which does not require residence is perfectly compatible with one which docs, and also that several simple benefices might very properly be held at the same time. This view held sway down to the time of the Council of Trent, which ordained that the possession of more than one benefice is lawful only when the first benefice obtained does not suffice for the support of the incumbent, and that in no case should both be residential. The Holy See alone can dispense from the observance of this law. The act of collation is further conditioned by canons requiring certain qualities in the appointee: (a) The derieal state and cililiactj. — Tonsure is necessary for all benefices, and higher orders must be received by aspirants to important charges; thus cardinals are obliged to receive within the year the order cor- responding to their rank in the sacred college; arch- bishops and bishops must have been subdeacons for at least six months; parish priests must receive the priesthood within a year, (d) Age. — Before the