In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS— SOME CANONICAL INVESTIGATIONS ON THE RECENT APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION Duane L.C.M. Galles, JD, JCD* The apostolic constitution onAnglican ordinariates bearing the incipit Anglicanorum coetibus1 which was issued November 4, 2009, on the feast of Saint Charles Borromeo, has excited great interest. For some it seems a consummation devoutly to have been wished and a resolution for which they have waited for some three decades, although at the same time it has raised a seemingly endless number of questions. For others it has excited mostly yawns and the suggestion that it seems much ado about nothing.2 In understanding the document it is helpful to situate it in the geography of ecclesiastical circumscriptions of the Latin Catholic Church. Canon 17 says that ecclesiastical laws are to be understood according to the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context, and so this article shall fall into two parts. The first part shall look at ecclesiastical circumscriptions in a general way to establish the context. The second part will look at the specific and individual provisions of the new apostolic constitution; and, since it appears to have as its paradigm the apostolic constitution on military ordinariates,3 we will compare and contrast the provisions of the two documents in order better to understand the provisions of the new document. 1.1 The 2010 Annuario Pontificio4 or yearbook of the Holy See notes that in the Catholic Church there are some 183 cardinals and 4882 bishops. The Jurist 71 (2011) 201–233 201 * Minneapolis, Minnesota 1 Benedict XVI, -apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus November 4, 2009, original English text published by Vatican News Service on the Vatican web site The text was also printed in Origins 39 (November 19, 2009) 387–390; the Complementary Norms at 390–192, along with at 392–395, the commentary of Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda published by the Vatican News Service, “The Significance of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.” While this is an “official” text, the authentic one is the Latin one published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis [=AAS]101(2010) 985– 990. 2 John L. Allen, “When Hype Meets Reality,” National Catholic Reporter, at (11/25/09). 3 Ghirlanda, “Apostolic Constitution,” 393. 4 Annuario pontificio per l’anno 2010 (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2010) 1149 [=Annuario]. 202 the jurist Most of these prelates head what since Vatican II have been called “particular churches,” which are usually dioceses. Canon 368 tells us that “particular churches, in which and from which the one and only Catholic Church exists, are principally dioceses.” Canon 13 tells us that particular law is not presumed to be personal, but rather territorial, unless the contrary is evident, and this signals to us that the usual case will be for an ecclesiastical circumscription to be territorial (see, e.g., c. 372§1) and not personal. Canon 381 tells us that in the diocese entrusted to his care the diocesan bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office. This canon reflects the teaching of Lumen gentium 27, the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on the church, which announced that “bishops, as vicars and legates of Christ, govern the particular churches assigned to them. . . . This power, which they exercise personally in the name of Christ, is proper, ordinary and immediate. . . . They are not to be regarded as vicars of the Roman Pontiff.”5 Dioceses number 2812 and of these 13 are headed by patriarchs, four by major archbishops, 539 by metropolitans, 77 by (non-metropolitan) archbishops (those who do not have suffragans, e.g., Winnipeg, Luxembourg , Monaco, Vaduz), and 2179 by bishops (There were also some 2086 titular bishops, including curial prelates, legates of the Roman Pontiff , and coadjutor and auxiliary bishops).6 Dioceses are the “normal” type of ecclesiastical circumscription, but there are, in much smaller numbers, others as well (see cc. 370–371). One distinguished canonist divides particular churches into three groups. His first group includes circumscriptions of common law (mainly dioceses, and “common law” is used here in the sense of universal law or ius commune, not AngloAmerican Common Law). His typology includes two other groups, circumscriptions...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 201-233
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.