§1. In each diocese the diocesan bishop must appoint a vicar general who is provided with ordinary power according to the norm of the following canons and who is to assist him in the governance of the whole diocese.
§2. As a general rule, one vicar general is to be appointed unless the size of the diocese, the number of inhabitants, or other pastoral reasons suggest otherwise.
Whenever the correct governance of a diocese requires it, the diocesan bishop can also appoint one or more episcopal vicars, namely, those who in a specific part of the diocese or in a certain type of affairs or over the faithful of a specific rite or over certain groups of persons possess the same ordinary power which a vicar general has by universal law, according to the norm of the following canons.
§1. The diocesan bishop freely appoints a vicar general and an episcopal vicar and can freely remove them, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 406
. An episcopal vicar who is not an auxiliary bishop is to be appointed only for a time to be determined in the act of appointment.
§2. When a vicar general is absent or legitimately impeded, a diocesan bishop can appoint another to take his place; the same norm applies to an episcopal vicar.
§1. A vicar general and an episcopal vicar are to be priests not less than thirty years old, doctors or licensed in canon law or theology or at least truly expert in these disciplines, and recommended by sound doctrine, integrity, prudence, and experience in handling matters.
§2. The function of vicar general and episcopal vicar can neither be coupled with the function of canon penitentiary nor be entrusted to blood relatives of the bishop up to the fourth degree.
§1. By virtue of office, the vicar general has the executive power over the whole diocese which belongs to the diocesan bishop by law, namely, the power to place all administrative acts except those, however, which the bishop has reserved to himself or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law.
§2. By the law itself an episcopal vicar has the same power mentioned in §1 but only over the specific part of the territory or the type of affairs or the faithful of a specific rite or group for which he was appointed, except those cases which the bishop has reserved to himself or to a vicar general or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law.
§3. Within the limit of their competence, the habitual faculties granted by the Apostolic See to the bishop and the execution of rescripts also pertain to a vicar general and an episcopal vicar, unless it has been expressly provided otherwise or the personal qualifications of the diocesan bishop were chosen.
A vicar general and an episcopal vicar must report to the diocesan bishop concerning the more important affairs which are to be handled or have been handled, and they are never to act contrary to the intention and mind of the diocesan bishop.
§1. The power of a vicar general and an episcopal vicar ceases at the expiration of the time of the mandate, by resignation, by removal made known to them by the diocesan bishop, without prejudice to cann. 406 and 409
, and at the vacancy of the episcopal see.
§2. When the function of the diocesan bishop is suspended, the power of a vicar general and an episcopal vicar is suspended also unless they are bishops.
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