Saturday, May 03, 2008

More on the Diocesan Administrator

I was concelebrating at a Mass yesterday. When the main celebrant came to the part of the Eucharistic Prayer where the diocesan bishop is to be mentioned he prayed for our diocesan administrator, who is a priest. My practice has been to exclude any reference to the DA as the See is vacant. So I went scurrying back to do some research and seek out the views of eminent canonists.

The General Instruction on the Roman Missal (GIRM) for 2003 says:

The diocesan bishop or anyone equivalent to him in law must be mentioned by means of this formula: una cum famulo tuo Papa Nostro N. et Episcopo (or Vicario, Prelato, Praefeto, Abbate) (together with our servant N., our Pope, and N. our Bishop [or Vicar, Prelate,Prefect, Abbot)."

However the diocesan administrator is not the equivalent to a diocesan bishop as seen in canon 368 which refers to holders of stable offices even though the diocesan administrator has nearly all the faculties of the diocesan bishop according to canon 427.1. Thus I think it is incorrect to include the DA in the canon as he is not the holder of a stable office. I`m sure a DA needs prayers too but I think it confuses things to mention him there and the omission in the canon of the ordinary`s name brings home the notion that we are sede vacante.


Anonymous said...

I support your line, Father, which I believe is consistent with Canon law and standard liturgical practice.

When the diocese of Birmingham was vacant, I know at least one priest who did the same thing and many thought he was incorrect to do so.

If we followed the logic of including the name of the person standing in for (most of) the functions of a vacant office, then presumably we could have prayed for Cardinal Ratzinger (as Cardinal Dean) when the papacy was vacant after the death of JPII. I suspect I can guess what the reponse to that would have been. It's no different in principle to a vacant diocese.

Fr Michael Brown said...

Thanks Augustinus: that`s a good point and one I shall raise when the need arises.

PeterHWright said...

I have been thinking about this.

I agree with Augustinus. Following this argument, logic dictates that after the death of a pope, when the Chair of Peter is sede vacante, one would pray for those in charge of governing the Church, but this would seem to be the entire college of cardinals, over which the Dean presides as primus inter pares, and, presumably, the Camerlengo.

Therefore this part of the Canon of the Mass would have to read something like :

"una cum Camerario sanctae Romanae ecclesiae N. et omnibus cardinalibus N. et N., et N., et N., Et N., [etc.,] et Antiste nostro N., ..."

It really wouldn't do, would it ?

And, as Father points out, one loses the sense of sede vacante.

Yes, a prayer for the diocesan administrator, but not at this point !