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Code of Canon Law

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  • BOOK II : THE PEOPLE OF GOD
    • PART II : THE HIERARCHICAL CONSTITUTION OF THE CHURCH
      • SECTION II :PARTICULAR CHURCHES AND THEIR GROUPINGS
        • TITLE I :PARTICULAR CHURCHES AND THE AUTHORITY CONSTITUTED WITHIN THEM (Cann. 368 - 430)
          • CHAPTER II : BISHOPS
            • ARTICLE 1: BISHOPS IN GENERAL
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CHAPTER II : BISHOPS

ARTICLE 1: BISHOPS IN GENERAL

Can. 375 §1 By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy Spirit who is given to them. They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance.

§2 By their episcopal consecration, Bishops receive, together with the office of sanctifying, the offices also of teaching and of ruling, which however, by their nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members.

Can. 376 Bishops to whom the care of a given diocese is entrusted are called diocesan Bishops; the others are called titular Bishops.

Can. 377 §1 The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints Bishops or confirms those lawfully elected.

§2 At least every three years, the Bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, if circumstances suggest it, of an Episcopal Conference, are to draw up, by common accord and in secret, a list of priests, even of members of institutes of consecrated life, who are suitable for the episcopate; they are to send this list to the Apostolic See. This is without prejudice to the right of every Bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of priests whom he thinks are worthy and suitable for the episcopal office.

§3 Unless it has been lawfully prescribed otherwise, for the appointment of a diocesan Bishop or a coadjutor Bishop, a ternus, as it is called, is to be proposed to the Apostolic See. In the preparation of this list, it is the responsibility of the papal Legate to seek individually the suggestions of the Metropolitan and of the Suffragans of the province to which the diocese in question belongs or with which it is joined in some grouping, as well as the suggestions of the president of the Episcopal Conference. The papal Legate is, moreover, to hear the views of some members of the college of consultors and of the cathedral chapter. If he judges it expedient, he is also to seek individually, and in secret, the opinions of other clerics, both secular and religious, and of lay persons of outstanding wisdom. He is then to send these suggestions, together with his own opinion, to the Apostolic See.

§4 Unless it has been lawfully provided otherwise, the diocesan Bishop who judges that his diocese requires an auxiliary Bishop, is to propose to the Apostolic See a list of the names of at least three priests suitable for this office .

§5 For the future, no rights or privileges of election, appointment, presentation or designation of Bishops are conceded to civil authorities.

Can. 378 §1 To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must:

be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfil the office in question;

be held in good esteem;

be at least 35 years old;

be a priest ordained for at least five years;

hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well versed in these disciplines.

§2 The definitive judgement on the suitability of the person to be promoted rests with the Apostolic See.

Can. 379 Unless prevented by a lawful reason, one who is promoted to the episcopate must receive episcopal consecration within three months of receiving the apostolic letters, and in fact before he takes possession of his office.

Can. 380 Before taking canonical possession of his office, he who has been promoted is to make the profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See, in accordance with the formula approved by the same Apostolic See.




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