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  • Das Amt des Metropoliten und die Metropolitanverfassung in der Lateinischen Kirche. Geschichte, Theologie und Recht
  • Michael Nobel
Das Amt des Metropoliten und die Metropolitanverfassung in der Lateinischen Kirche. Geschichte, Theologie und Recht by Heinrich Hohl. Beihefte zum Münsterischen Kommentar Vol. 59. Essen: Ludgerus Verlag, 2010.

Since its very beginning the office of the metropolitan was subject to changes and integration into the context of the universal Church. The Council of Nicea (325) defined his rights and obligations, e.g., with the consent of the metropolitan, three bishops of the same province could consecrate another bishop; a metropolitan is to convoke a provincial council twice a year. The decretals confirmed the importance of the office of the metropolitan. He could confirm and consecrate suffragan bishops, convoke and preside at a provincial council, supervise suffragan dioceses, establish the judicial appellate instance, as well as a number of rights exercised by suffragans that devolve to him in case of negligence, etc. Especially since the Council of Trent, the office of the metropolitan has lost importance in favour of the papal office. The decree of Vatican II, Christus Dominus, concerning the pastoral office of bishops in the Church states that the rights and obligations of metropolitans are to be re-defined. The CIC offers such a definition in Book II, title II, chapter II on metropolitans (cc. 435-438). The author examines in four main chapters, (his dissertation to attain the doctorate in Theology at the Fakultät Katholische Theologische of the Otto-Friedrich-Universität [End Page 285] Bamberg in 2009), the history, theology and the law concerning the office of a metropolitan and ecclesiastical provinces in the Latin Church.

The author presents a short introduction in three pages, defining the topic of this study, a general outline, as well as the scope and parameters.

The first chapter presents a historical overview on the office of the metropolitan, the title "archbishop," the pallium, as well as the provincial councils, beginning in the 2nd-7th centuries, its development in the 8th-11th centuries in Germany, its implications in the decretals (12th-15th centuries), after the Council of Trent (16th-20th centuries), and in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. The focus of his study is on the Latin Church, but each title is concluded by a short summary for the Eastern Churches.

The second chapter is on the understanding of the office of a metropolitan according to Vatican II. The author examines in general the function and task of the Antepraeparatoria (1959-1960), the Praeparatoria (1960-1962) periods, and further organizational aspects of the preparation of three main documents related to the office of a metropolitan, presented in the second title of this chapter: Lumen Gentium, Christus Dominus, and Orientalium Ecclesiarum. Title III contains a detailed presentation of the drafting period of the conciliar documents, title IV examines post-conciliar documents with reference to the office of a metropolitan, and title V outlines the consequences of the conciliar and postconciliar documents concerning the office of the metropolitan and his rights and obligations.

The third chapter is on the genesis of the ius vigens. It investigates the period of revision for the 1983 CIC of the norms on the office of a metropolitan, the pallium, and the provincial council. Furthermore, the author offers a short conclusion of the new understanding of this office and its canonical changes. The author concludes the third chapter with an overview on the office of a metropolitan according to the CCEO. He also provides a comparison of the norms of the CIC and CCEO which refer to the metropolitan.

In chapter four the author examines recent documents (after promulgation of the CIC) on the office of the metropolitan. Furthermore, he offers a theological and canonical evaluation on the understanding of the office.

After his analysis the author presents Abbreviations, Sources, Bibliography, and an extensive appendix. This book contains much valuable information and wisdom—canonical, theological and historical—on the office [End Page 286] of the metropolitan. The author faithfully follows the methodology as briefly outlined in the introduction. The study is well-conceived and well-organized. It is thoroughly...


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