On the death of a bishop the governance of a diocese falls on the auxiliary bishop until the college of consultors ( a body of priests which is chosen to advise the bishop) can meet and they can elect a diocesan administrator. As we don`t have an auxiliary bishop then the college of consultors had governance until they elected an administrator.
Our college of consultors met yesterday afternoon and the former Vicar General, Canon Cunningham was elected as diocesan administrator. On the death of a bishop the Vicar General and all episcopal vicars lose authority. Canon Cunningham, as diocesan administrator enjoys the power of diocesan bishop `excluding those things whch are excepted by their very nature or by the law itself`. However canon 428 says: sede vacante nihil innovetur ( `when the see is vacant nothing new is to be done`).
The judicial vicar (and associate judicial vicar) remain in office and cannot be removed by the diocesan administrator but need to be confirmed in office by the new bishop. The diocesan chancellor remains in office and can only be removed from office by the diocesan administrator with the consent of the college of consultors.
Looking back at the history of this diocese there has always been an auxiliary bishop in the diocese on the death of the bishop since 1958 when bishop McCormack died (his auxiliary was bishop Cunningham who became bishop of the diocese on July 1st 1958) until the retirement of bishop Griffiths although he retired on 25th May 2004, the day bishop Dunn was consecrated.
Most of our bishops have been buried at Ushaw.