Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/657

This page needs to be proofread.




Bent, it does not belong to the bishop to act contrary to the will of the pope. The power of granting dis- pensations is correlative to the legislative power. The bishop may, therefore, dispense with regard to all diocesan laws. He may also dispense, in particular cases only, from the laws of provincial and plenary synods; any dispensation from these laws would be next to impossible, if it were necessary on all such occasions to convoke a fresh provincial or plenary syiiod. The bishop, however, cannot dispense from enactments that relate directly to himself, and impose obligations upon him, or from enactments that accord rights to a third party. The bishop cannot dispense from laws made by the sovereign pontiiT. To this there are, however, some exceptions. In certain matters, the written law or custom has granted this right to the bishop. He may also dispense from such laws in virtue of an expressly delegated power, or even sometimes in virtue of the consent, presumed or tacit, of the sovereign pontiff. These cases in real- ity are determined by custom. Canonical WTiters also admit that a bishop may grant a dispensation, when there is a doubt whether a dispensation is re- quired, though in such a case it may be a question whether any dispensation at all is requisite (Bargil- liat, I, 483-491).

(2) Judicial Power. — This power is exercised in two ways: without legal apparatus (extra judicialiler) or in a judicial process {judicialiler). In his diocese the bishop is judge in the first instance in all trials, civil and criminal, that pertain to the ecclesiastical tribunal, unless the persons be exempt from his authority, or the matters reserved for other judges; such, e. g., are the process of canonization reserved to the pope or the misdemeanours of a vicar-general, which fall imder the cognizance of the archbishop. (Ch. vii, De officio judicis ordinarii, VI, I, xvi; Friedberg, II, 988; Council of Trent, Sess. XXIV, De ref., ch. xx.) In ecclesiastical trials he must conform to the general or special provisions of the law. (For matrimonial trials see "Instructio de judiciis ecclesiasticis circa causas matrimoniales" in "Acta et decreta Concilii Plenarii Baltimorensis III", Appendix, 262; for trials of ecclesiastics .see the Instruction of the Propaganda, "Cum Magnopere", which reproduces substantially the Instruction of the Congregation of Bishops and Regulars of 11 June, 1880, op. eit., 287; see also S. Smith, "New procedure in criminal and disciplinary causes of ecclesiastics", 3d ed., New York, 1898.) The bishop has also ju- dicial power which he exercises extra judicialiter both in foro externa (publicly) and in joro interno (in con- science). He has the power to absolve his subjects from all sins and censures not reserved to the Holy See. Moreover, the absolution from a censure in- flicted by an ecclesiastical judge is always reserved to the latter or to his superiors (Bull, "Sacramentum Pcenitentia? ", 1 June, 1741 in "Benedicti XIV, Bul- lariura", Venice, 1778, I, 22; Const. " ApostohcEe Sedis", "Collectanea S. C. P.", 1002). On the other hand, the bishop may reserve to himself absolution from certain sins (Council of Trent, Sess. XIV, "De pcpnit.", ch. vii; Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, nos. 124, 127).

(3) Coercive Power. — The right to punish is a necessary consequence of the right to judge. For- merly the bishop could and did inflict even corporal punishments and fines. These are no longer cus- tomary, even for ecclesiastics. The usual penalties for the laity are censures; for ecclesiastics, religious exercises, confinement for a time in a monastery (Third Plenary Council of Baltimore, nos. 72-73), degradation to an office of less importance (privatio officii ecclesiaslici), and censures, especially suspension. The bishop may inflict suspension ex irifornmtd conscientid, i. e. on his personal responsibility, and without observing any legal formality, but in cases

foreseen by the law (Instruction of Propaganda, 20 October, 1884; Cone. Bait. Ill, Appendix, 298). To the coercive power of the bishop belongs also the right of issuing certain commands {prcecepta), i. e. of imposing on a particular ecclesiastic special obliga- tions sanctioned by certain penalties (Constitution, "Cum Magnopere" nos. 4 and 8). He has also the lawful power to remove the penalties inflicted by him. Bishops can also grant indulgences: cardinals 200, archbishops 100, and bishops, 50 days' indul- gence (Decree of Congregation of Indulgences, 28 Au- gust, 1903; Acta Sanctae Sedis, XXXVI, 318).

(4) Administrative Power. — The matters to which the administrative power of the bishop extends can only be briefly indicated here: (a) The foremost is the supreme direction of the clergy. At the present day, generally speaking, it might be said that the bishop has the right to retain in his diocese a priest to whom he has entrusted ecclesiastical functions and given the means of subsistence (Claeys-Bouuaert, 200-244). In case of necessity or great utility, e. g. given a scarcity of priests, the bishop may compel an ecclesiastic to accept ecclesiastical functions, but he will require a pontifical indult to impose upon liim the cura animarum, or cure of souls. Eccle- siastics ordained titulo missionis (see Holy Orders, Missions) take upon themselves special obhgations in this matter. (See Instruction of Propaganda, 27 April, 1871, and the Reply of 4 February, 1873; Cone. Plen. Bait. Ill, Appendix, 204-211; decree "De seminariorum alumnis", 22 December, 1905; "Acta Sancta; Sedis", 1905, XXXVIII, 407.) The bishop may also nominate to the benefices and ecclesiastical functions of his own diocese. Certain nominations, however, are reserved to the Holy See, and in several countries the right of patronage still exists, (b) The bishop, moreover, intervenes in the administration of ecclesiastical property. No alienation whatever of ecclesiastical goods is possible w'ithout his consent, and he exercises su- preme supervision over their administration, (c) He has a special right of intervention in all matters relating to Divine worship and to the sacraments; he authorizes and supervises the printing of liturgical books, regulates pubUc worship, processions, ex- position of the JMessed Sacrament, celebration of the Holy Mass, celebration of Mass twice on the same day by the same priest (see Bination), and exorcisms; his consent is required for the erection of churche.* and oratories; he authorizes the public veneration of the relics of saints and of those who have been beatified; he exercises supervision over statues and images e:<posed for the veneration of the faithful; he publishes indulgences, etc. But in all these matters his power is not imhmited; he must conform to the enactments of the canon law.

Bishops have also a "delegated jurisdiction", which they exercise in the name of the Holy See; this power is granted to them a jure or ab homine. Ecclesiastical law frequently accords to bishops lielegated [)Owers; but it would be wrong to say. for instance, that every power of dispensation granted by a general law of the Church is a delegated one. Such power is perhaps quite as often an ordinary power. But when the law accords a power of juris- diction to the bishop, tanquam Sedis apostolicie dele- gatus, it is a delegated power that he receives. (See, for example. Council of Trent, Sess. V, De ref., ch. i, ii; Sess. VI, De ref., ch. iii; Sess. VII, De ref., ch. vi, viii, xiv, etc.) Writers do not agree as to the nature of the power accorded to the bishop also as delegate of the Apostolic See, etiam tanquam sedis apostolica' delegatus. Some maintain that in this case the bishop has at the same time both ordinary and delegated power, but only relative to such persons as are sub- ject to his jurisdiction (KeitTenstuel, Jus canonicum universum. Paris, 1864, tit. xxix, 37); others contend