A territorial prelate
is, in Catholic
usage, a prelate
whose geographic jurisdiction, called territorial prelature
, does not belong to any diocese
and is considered a particular church
The territorial prelate is sometimes called a prelate nullius, from the Latin nullius diœceseos, prelate "of no diocese," meaning the territory falls directly under the jurisdiction of the pope and is not a diocese under a residing bishop.
The term is also used in a generic sense, and may then equally refer to an apostolic prefecture
, and apostolic vicariate
or a territorial abbacy
A territorial prelate exercises quasi-episcopal
jurisdiction in a territory not comprised in any diocese. The origin of such prelates must necessarily be sought in the apostolic privileges, for only he whose authority is superior to that of bishops can grant an exemption from episcopal jurisdiction. Such exemption, therefore, comes only from the pope.
The rights of prelates nullius
are quasi-episcopal, and these dignitaries are supposed to have any power that a bishop has, unless it is expressly denied to them by canon law
. If they have not received episcopal consecration
, such prelates may not confer holy orders
. If not consecrated episcopally, they have not the power to exercise those functions of consecrating oils
, etc., which are referred to the episcopal order only analogously.
Prelates nullius may take cognizance of matrimonial causes within the same limits as a bishop. They may... Read More