The term Administrator in its general sense signifies a person who administers some common affairs, for a longer or shorter period, not in his own name or in virtue of the ordinary jurisdiction attached to a certain office, but in the name and by the authority of a superior officer by whom he is delegated. In this sense vicars, and prefects-apostolic, vicars-capitular and even vicars-general are sometimes classed as administrators. In the stricter sense, however, this term is applied by modern writers to a person, usually a cleric and but rarely a layman, to whom the provisional administration of certain ecclesiastical affairs is entrusted by special papal or episcopal appointment. Although in itself delegated, the power of an administrator may be quasi-ordinary with the right of subdelegating. Its extent depends entirely on the tenor of his commission. His jurisdiction may extend to temporalities only, or to spiritual matters exclusively, or it may comprise both. There are three kinds of administrators who deserve special mention: (1) Administrators of dioceses ; (2) Administrators of parishes ; (3) Administrators of ecclesiastical institutions.
Inasmuch as these administrators are appointed only by the Apostolic See, the title of Administrator Apostolic applies principally to clergymen, bishops, or priests, who are appointed directly by the Holy See, with episcopal jurisdiction to administer the affairs, temporal, or spiritual, or both, of a diocese. Their power is very nearly the same as that of vicars, and prefects-apostolic. A provicar is in fact simply an administrator apostolic. Unless it be otherwise stated in the brief of appointment, the administrator apostolic has full episcopal jurisdiction, although in its exercise he is bound by the same laws as the bishop himself. Thus, for instance, in the United States the administrator of the diocese is bound to take the advice or to get the consent of the diocesan consultors, in the same manner as the bishop (III Pi. C. Balt., n. 22). For the event of his death, the administrator apostolic may designate in advance his own successor. His support must come from the diocese which he administers, unless otherwise provided for. While the jurisdiction of the administrator apostolic is similar to that of the bishop, yet his honorary rights are greatly limited. Even if he has episcopal orders, he cannot use the throne, nor the seventh candle, nor honorary deacons, although he has the right of the crosier. His name is not mentioned in the canon, nor is the anniversary of his consecration commemorated. Administrators apostolic may be appointed in two cases:
Sometimes called parish vicars, curates, or coadjutors. They may be appointed for the same reasons as an administrator apostolic, namely, for a vacant parish, or during the lifetime of the rector or pastor who has become unfit for the administration of the parish, or during his absence for a longer period. Such an administrator is usually appointed by the bishop of the diocese, with full Jurisdiction over parish affairs and with a sufficient revenue for his support, which according to circumstances may be derived from the parish, or from the pastor, or from both. His office and jurisdiction cease either by recall or by appointment of a new pastor. In the United States, when an irremovable rector of a parish makes an appeal against his removal by the bishop, the bishop must appoint an administrator of the parish until the appeal is decided by the higher authority (III P1. C. Balt., n. 286). Among these parish administrators may be classed the so-called perpetual or permanent curates of parishes which are under the jurisdiction of some convent or monastery, and of which the rector or curate is appointed not by the bishop of the diocese, but by the superior of such convent. The case is far more frequent in Europe than in America. The charge of the parish is considered to be with the monastery, and the curate is merely the administrator of the parish for the convent.
In the language of canon law, seminaries, colleges, hospitals, asylums, convents, etc., are usually called loca pia , pious places; that is, religious and charitable institutions . Inasmuch as all ecclesiastical institutions within a diocese, with the exception of those privileged by papal exemption, are subject to the jurisdiction of the bishop, it is evidently within his power to appoint a special or extraordinary administrator for any of these institutions, whenever he considers such a measure necessary for the welfare or the protection of such institution. It is true, the institution may, under certain conditions, appeal against the appointment of such an administrator or against the person so appointed. The Holy See having supreme jurisdiction over all institutions within the Church, may appoint administrators for any ecclesiastical institution, according to its own judgment, without recourse or appeal against its action. Administrators (executors) may also be appointed by popes or bishops to take charge of certain pious bequests and legacies made in favour of the Church or for the spiritual good of her members. Although the administration of all ecclesiastical affairs, even those of a temporal and material nature, belongs by the constitutional law of the Church exclusively to the hierarchy, yet she often allows laymen to take part in the administration of her temporalities.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed between 1907 and 1912 in fifteen hard copy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online