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Code of Canon Law
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ARTICLE 2: THE VACANT SEE
Can. 417 Until they have received certain notification of the Bishop's death, all actions taken by the Vicar general or the episcopal Vicar have effect. Until they have received certain notification of the aforementioned papal acts, the same is true of actions taken by the diocesan Bishop, the Vicar general or the episcopal Vicar.
Can. 418 §1 Within two months of receiving certain notification of transfer, the Bishop must proceed to the diocese to which he has been transferred and take canonical possession of it. On the day on which he takes possession of the new diocese, the diocese from which he has been transferred becomes vacant.
§2 In the period between receiving certain notification of the transfer and taking possession of the new diocese, in the diocese from which he is being transferred the Bishop:
1° has the power, and is bound by the obligations, of a diocesan Administrator; all powers of the Vicar general and of the episcopal Vicar cease, without prejudice to can. 409 §2;
2° receives the full remuneration proper to the office.
Can. 419 While the see is vacant and until the appointment of a diocesan Administrator, the governance of the diocese devolves upon the auxiliary Bishop. If there are a number of auxiliary Bishops, it devolves upon the senior by promotion. If there is no auxiliary Bishop, it devolves upon the college of consultors, unless the Holy See has provided otherwise. The one who thus assumes the governance of the diocese must without delay convene the college which is competent to appoint a diocesan Administrator.
Can. 420 Unless the Holy See has prescribed otherwise, when the see is vacant in a vicariate or a prefecture apostolic, the governance is assumed by the Pro-Vicar or Pro-Prefect who was designated for this sole purpose by the Vicar or Prefect immediately upon taking possession.
Can. 421 §1 Within eight days of receiving notification of the vacancy of an episcopal see, a diocesan Administrator is to be elected by the college of consultors, to govern the diocese for the time being, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 502 §3.
§2 If, for any reason, the diocesan Administrator is not lawfully elected within the prescribed time, his appointment devolves upon the Metropolitan. If the metropolitan see is itself vacant, or if both the metropolitan see and a suffragan see are vacant, the appointment devolves on the suffragan who is senior by promotion.
Can. 422 The auxiliary Bishop or, if there is none, the college of consultors, must as soon as possible notify the Apostolic See of the death of the Bishop. The person elected as diocesan Administrator must as soon as possible notify the Apostolic See of his election.
§2 The diocesan Administrator is not to be at the same time the financial administrator. Accordingly, if the financial administrator of the diocese is elected Administrator, the finance committee is to elect another temporary financial administrator.
Can. 425 §1 Only a priest who has completed his thirty-fifth year of age, and has not already been elected, appointed or presented for the same see, can validly be deputed to the office of diocesan Administrator.
§2 As diocesan Administrator a priest is to be elected who is outstanding for doctrine and prudence.
§3 If the conditions prescribed in §1 have not been observed, the Metropolitan or, if the metropolitan see itself is vacant, the suffragan senior by promotion, having verified the truth of the matter, is to appoint an Administrator for that occasion. The acts of a person elected contrary to the provisions of §1 are by virtue of the law itself invalid.
§2 The diocesan Administrator obtains his power on his acceptance of the election, without the need of confirmation from anyone, but without prejudice to the provision of can. 833, n. 4.
§2 Those who have the interim governance of the diocese are forbidden to do anything which could in any way prejudice the rights of the diocese or of the Bishop. Both they, and in like manner any other persons, are specifically forbidden to remove, destroy or in any way alter documents of the diocesan curia, either personally or through another.
§2 Removal of the diocesan Administrator is reserved to the Holy See. Should he perchance resign, the resignation is to be submitted in authentic form to the college which is competent to elect, but it does not require acceptance by the college. If the diocesan Administrator is removed, resigns or dies, another diocesan Administrator is to be elected in accordance with can. 421.
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