An episcopal see is understood to be impeded if by reason of captivity, banishment, exile, or incapacity a diocesan bishop is clearly prevented from fulfilling his pastoral function in the diocese, so that he is not able to communicate with those in his diocese even by letter.
§1. When a see is impeded, the coadjutor bishop, if there is one, has governance of the diocese unless the Holy See has provided otherwise. If there is none or he is impeded, governance passes to an auxiliary bishop, the vicar general, an episcopal vicar, or another priest, following the order of persons established in the list which the diocesan bishop is to draw up as soon as possible after taking possession of the diocese. The list, which must be communicated to the metropolitan, is to be renewed at least every three years and preserved in secret by the chancellor.
§2. If there is no coadjutor bishop or he is impeded and the list mentioned in §1 is not available, it is for the college of consultors to select a priest to govern the diocese.
§3. The one who has assumed the governance of a diocese according to the norm of §§1 or 2 is to advise the Holy See as soon as possible of the impeded see and the function he has assumed.
Whoever has been called according to the norm of can. 413
to exercise the pastoral care of a diocese temporarily and only for the period in which the see is impeded is bound by the obligations and possesses the power in the exercise of the pastoral care of the diocese which a diocesan administrator has by law.
If an ecclesiastical penalty prevents a diocesan bishop from exercising his function, the metropolitan or, if there is none or it concerns him, the suffragan senior in promotion, is to have recourse immediately to the Holy See so that it will make provision.
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