Apostolic Administrator

An Apostolic Administrator (Latin: Administrator apostolicus ) is in accordance with the Codex Iuris Canonici an official appointed by the Pope administrator of a particular diocese, diocese of a circumscribed part of a diocese or church -like territory or the head of an apostolic administration. Even the Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium does not know the field of Uniate Eastern Churches the canonical construct an apostolic administrator, but the administrative structure of the apostolic administration.

Canonical position

The Apostolic Administrator does not take his line function as a bishop as an official divine right true, but is the position set out in the territory for which he is responsible, vicar ( representative) of the Pope. This can put it on a definite or indefinite time and dismissed at any time again. The exact canonical position and the area of ​​responsibility is spelled out in the decree of appointment. In general, an Apostolic Administrator has the episcopal ordination, but there are exceptions.


The Holy See subdivided according to the circumstances for which an apostolic administrator is appointed, various forms of ministry:

Apostolic Administrator sede vacante et ad nutum Sanctae Sedis

Can be ordered in place of a diocesan Administrator selected by the chapter or the College of Consultors in the case of vacancy of a bishopric by the Pope. This approach is often chosen when the replacement of the episcopal chair encounter difficulties or could take a long time to complete. In general, for reasons of age who resigned or transferred to another episcopal diocesan bishops are appointed for their former diocese as apostolic administrator until a new bishop for this is appointed and officially takes office. In rare cases, however, the Metropolitan or another bishop of the ecclesiastical province is appointed Apostolic Administrator of a part of Church of the Province.

In current practice this form of Apostolic Administrator is the most common.

Apostolic Administrator sede plena

If ordered, if the bishop appears incapable of administration. With the assumption of office of the Apostolic Administrator rests Pastors power of the diocesan bishop and his vicar general. However, the administrator can not act against the past official guide or initiate proceedings against the bishop or the vicar general.

Apostolic Administrator sede impedita

Similarly, when an Apostolic Administrator sede impedita is appointed. This happens mainly when the diocesan bishop is entirely disabled at the Annual officiate, for example, by captivity or completely denied in the official guide, eg by a mental illness. As soon as the Apostolic Administrator takes office, will void the jurisdiction of the bishop, but not necessarily the authority of the Vicar-General. However, the appointment of an Apostolic Administrator by the Holy See in this case is not mandatory and therefore extremely rare, since the provisions of can. 413 CIC/1983 initially an existing Coadjutor or a set in a created for this situation through the list of bishops suffragan bishop, vicar general or another priest, the governance of the diocese takes over or in the absence of such a list, the College of Consultors ( in Germany: Cathedral Chapter ) to choose such a priest. Thus, if a by the Holy See appointed for this case Apostolic Administrator should take over the leadership of the diocese, he shall in accordance with can. 414 CIC/1983 only the rights and duties of a diocesan Administrator, unless otherwise specified in the decree of appointment.

Apostolic Administrator permanent constitutus

The official title of Apostolic Administrator permanent constitutus can be found in the new Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983 no longer, but was at this description from the CIC of 1917 lying even after the entry into force of the new Code for the administrator on GDR territory shares of West German Dioceses ( Episcopal Office Erfurt -Meiningen, episcopal office Magdeburg, Bishop's Office Schwerin ) held. Such Apostolic Administrator was in accordance with can. 315 § 1 CIC/1917 the same rights and obligations, which held a Resident diocesan bishop. The Administratores Apostolici permanent constituti were therefore usually equipped with the episcopal ordination and appointed on a permanent basis without the areas under their administration were elevated to the status of an Apostolic Administration. Rather rested for the territories of the administrators of the actual power of jurisdiction diocesan bishops and went over to the apostolic administrators employed. However, in a reorganization of the Catholic Church in Germany after reunification in 1994 this church legal concept disappeared and appeared already no longer in Annuario Pontifical of 1995.