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The jurisdiction of a vicar-general, according to most canonists, is of a class by itself between ordinary and delegated, and it may be called quasi-ordinary, because, on the one hand, it is connected with a certain office by legal enactment and, on the other, it is exercised not in his own, but another's name.As ordinary jurisdiction, however, is always exercised by him as a matter of fact, there is no reason why his power should not be called ordinary.Regulars cannot be appointed vicars-general without the permission of their religious superiors, and they need, in addition, the license of the Holy See to live outside their monasteries. The tribunal of the vicar-general is one with the bishops, and therefore there is no appeal from one to the other.It is expedient that the vicar-general should not be a blood relation of the bishop or a cleric of the diocese, but there is no general law to this effect, though the schema of the Vatican Council contains one (Jus. The vicar-general cannot substitute another cleric in his place to exercise his whole jurisdiction, but he may appoint delegates for special causes.The office of vicar-general is unique, and therefore there should not be several of them in one diocese, either acting in concert or governing a special part of the diocese (S. He should have attained his twenty-fifth year and be commendable for the probity of his life, his prudence, and his knowledge of canon law, in which he should be a doctor or licentiate, or at least equivalently qualified.Statutes of particular councils and rescripts of Roman Congregations declare that the vicar-general should not have the cure of souls , but this is nowhere prescribed in common law, and though an urban parish, or a capitular office, or the rectorship of a seminary are hindrances to the liberty of a vicar-general, yet they are not strictly incompatible with it. The power of the vicar-general, by reason of his office and deputation, extends to all causes in the ordinary episcopal jurisdiction, except those which common law or the bishop may have reserved or made dependent on a special mandate.He is a cleric legitimately deputed to exercise generally the episcopal jurisdiction in the name of the bishop, so that his acts are reputed the acts of the bishop himself.The wide powers of administration now enjoyed by the vicar-general belonged formerly to the archdeacon.
The highest official of a diocese after the ordinary.By the eleventh century, the jurisdiction of archdeacons had become ordinary and stable. The institution of vicars-general greatly limited the powers of the archdeacons, and finally the latter officials were reduced by the Council of Trent (Sess. xii, "De ref.") to mere honorary dignitaries in cathedral chapters.