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Apostolic Vicar

An apostolic vicariate is a form of territorial jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church established in missionary regions and countries where a diocese has not yet been established. It is essentially provisional, though it may last for a century or more. The hope is that the region will generate sufficient numbers of Catholics for the Church to create a diocese.

An apostolic vicariate is led by a vicar apostolic who is usually a titular bishop. While such a territory can be classed as a particular church, according to canon 371.1 of the Latin Code of Canon Law, a vicar apostolic's jurisdiction is an exercise of the jurisdiction of the Pope — the territory thus comes directly under the pope as "universal bishop", and the pope exercises this authority through a “vicar”. This is unlike the jurisdiction of a diocesan bishop, whose jurisdiction derives directly from his office.

Like any ecclesiastical jurisdiction, an apostolic vicariate may be administered by the bishop of a neighbouring diocese, or by a priest appointed transitionally as an apostolic administrator. As in a regular diocese, the vicar apostolic may appoint priests as vicars exercising limited jurisdiction over the apostolic vicariate. Normally, however, an apostolic vicariate is administered by a titular bishop of its own.

An apostolic vicariate is to be distinguished from an apostolic prefecture, a similar type of territory whose chief distinction from an apostolic vicariate is that its prefect is not a bishop, but a mere priest. The latter is not organised enough to be elevated to apostolic vicariate. The less developed instance is the mission sui iuris, which other than the ones mentioned before is not a particular Church, although it shares some similarities to one; for it as well, a superior is named. The usual sequence of development is mission, apostolic prefecture, apostolic vicariate, and finally diocese.

The apostolic vicariate is distinguished from a territorial abbacy (or "abbey nullius") — an area not a diocese but under the direction of the abbot of a monastery.

Apostolic vicariates

Inactive apostolic vicariates are in italics.

Africa

The Americas

  • Vicariate Apostolic of Aguarico, Ecuador
  • Vicariate Apostolic of San José del Amazonas
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Athabasca
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Aysén, Chile
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Beni
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Bluefields, Nicaragua
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Camiri, Bolivia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Caroní, Venezuela
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Chaco Paraguayo, Paraguay
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Darién, Panama
  • Vicariate Apostolic of El Beni, Bolivia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of El Petén, Guatemala
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Esmeraldas, Ecuador
  • Apostolic Vicariate of Galapagos, Ecuador
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Goajira
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Guapi, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Iles Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Inírida, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Iquitos, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Izabal, Guatemala
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Jaén in Peru/San Francisco Javier
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Keewatin
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Leticia, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Lower California
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Machiques, Venezuela
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Marysville
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Mackenzie
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Méndez, Ecuador
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Mitú, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Montevideo, Uruguay (erected 1830, promoted to Diocese 1878)
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Napo, Ecuador
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Nuflo de Chávez, Bolivia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Pando, Bolivia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Pilcomayo, Paraguay
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Pucallpa, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Puerto Carreño, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Puerto Gaitán, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Puerto Maldonado, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Puyo, Ecuador
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Reyes, Bolivia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Requena, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of San Andrés y Providencia, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of San José de Amazonas, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of San Miguel de Sucumbíos, Ecuador
  • Vicariate Apostolic of San Ramon, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of San Vicente–Puerto Leguízamo, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Sucumbíos
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Tierradentro, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Trinidad, Colombia
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Tucupita, Venezuela
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Ucayali, Peru (was suppressed in 1956 by erection of the three new vicariates)
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Yurimaguas, Peru
  • Vicariate Apostolic of Zamora, Ecuador

Asia

Europe

Oceania

See also

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Catholicism portal

External links

  • List of Current Apostolic Vicariates by Giga-Catholic Information
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