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in their diocesan synods, surrounded by their presbyters and deacons, according to the more ancient system.1 The delegation of episcopal jurisdiction was also partly caused by the less simple and more systematic and technical method of proceeding introduced into the spiritual tribunals during the twelfth century, when the canon-law began to become a great and complicated body, of jurisprudence. The judicial authority of the church was, however, never in any country delegated to a layman (except in purely temporal matters) until a statute of Henry VIII.2 introduced that practice in England; an innovation for which bishop Gibson apologises at great length, arguing that the exercise of ecclesiastical jurisdiction by laymen, in the Church of England, is merely accidental, and that the lay judge is no more than the instrument whereby the ecclesiastical judge exercises his authority.
I. The Archdeacon's court is the most inferior court in the whole ecclesiastical polity. It is held before the archdeacon, or in his absence before a judge appointed by himself, and called his official; and its jurisdiction is sometimes in concurrence with, and sometimes in exclusion of, the bishop's court of the diocese.3 The jurisdiction of the archdeacon originally emanated from that of the bishop by delegation.4 And of this we have sufficient proof in the fact that there was no appeal from the
1 Fleury, Inst . par. iii. tom. ii. c. ii. Van Espen, Jus. Eccles. Univ. par. iii. tit . v. § 14, 15, 16.
2 Stat . 37 Hen. VIII. c. xvii. And see Gibson, Codex, introductory discourse.
3 Blackst. Com. b. iii. c . v. p. 64. And see Lord Raymond, 123; And Robson v. Godsalve, cited in Burn, Eccles. L. art. Appeal.
* Fleury, Inst . par. iii tom. ii. c. iii. p. 28. Bishop Gibson, Codex, introd. disc. p. xxii. Bishop Stillingfleet, Eccles. Cases, vol. i. p. 235-238.
archdeacon to the bishop, except in certain cases, until it was allowed by stat., 24 Hen. VIII. c. xii.; for by the canon-law, quifacitper alium facit per se, and the act of the delegate is therefore held to be the act of the ordinary judge from whom the delegation proceeds; and consequently there can be no appeal from one to the other.1 This principle arises from the peculiar nature of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, which is so inherent in the ordinary judge, that there can be no distinction between him and his delegate, who is held to be merely the mouthpiece and instrument of the judge by whom he is delegated.» The delegated authority of the archdeacon was that of general and universal vicar of the bishop, both in temporal administration and spiritual jurisdiction, though it varied in extent in different places ;-' and in process of time some portions thereof became by custom no longer vicarious or delegated, but ordinary, that is to say, appertaining to the dignity of the archdeacon; and this was fully established in the thirteenth century.4
We come next to the courts of the Bishops. And it is necessary that we should here briefly consider the delegation of the episcopal jurisdiction to vicars-general, officials, or chancellors, who are properly called judges delegate (judices delegati), as contradistinguished from ordinary judges (Judices ordinarii), whose jurisdiction is not vested in them by any commission, but belongs to their dignity or office.
1 "Ne ab eodem ad seipsum appellatio interposita videatur."— Sext. Decret. 1. i. t. iv. c ii.
2 Van Espen, Jus. Eecles. Univ. par. iii tit. v. § 37. Gibson, Codex, introd. discourse, p. xxiv.
• Van Espen, Jus. Eecles. Univ. par. i. tit. xii. § 8, 4, 5. Lyndwood says, that the archdeacon is tanquam tricarint epiteopi. De Offic. Archidiac.
4 Van Espen, Jus. Eecles. Univ. p. i. tit. xii. § 6, 7.
We have already seen, that during the first centuries of the church, the bishops transacted the whole government of their dioceses in person, and that they decided ecclesiastical causes in the midst of their assembled clergy, and subsequently with the assistance of the chapter of their cathedral. They therefore stood in need neither of grand vicars or vicars-general to exercise their voluntary jurisdiction (consisting in the decision of matters wherein there is no litigation or dispute), nor of officials to determine contentious causes. Ecclesiastical history, however, presents instances of bishops entrusting some portion of their functions to priests of high character. Thus St. Gregory Nazianzenus was sent for, out of his solitude, to assist his father in the government of his church. St . Gregory Nazianzenus himself describes St. Basil as the guide, the interpreter, and the support of Eusebius of Coesarea, who entrusted to him a part of the episcopal jurisdiction. The western church also offers similar examples. Valerius, bishop of Hippona, having long prayed that he might be given some person to share his authority, cast his eyes on St. Augustine. That great father accepted with reluctance the second place in the government of that church. Ft* mihi facta est, he says, in his epistle 148, ut secundus locus gitbernaculorum mihi traderetur. Sidonius Apollinarus, speaking of the priest Claudian, brother of St. Mamertus bishop of Vienne, who laboured under his brother's orders in the government of that diocese, says that Claudian shared with the bishop the weight of episcopacy, and regulated the ecclesiastical ceremonies; calling him a prelate of the second order, antistes ordine in secundo, and the vicar of his brother, vicarium in ecclesiis. But, with the exception of these cases, and a few others, it does not appear that there were in the twelve first centuries any persons performing the functions of vicars-general and officials; unless, indeed, we consider as vicars-general the archdeacons, whose duty it was to see the execution of the bishop's commands, to visit the parishes, and to watch over the conduct of the inferior clergy, and even of the priests. The council of Lateran, held under pope Innocent III., exhorted those bishops who found themselves too much pressed with business, and whose dioceses were very large, to choose zealous and able persons, to teach, to govern, and to visit the diocese in their room. That decree was followed by a great number of bishops; and it would appear, from the decisions on this subject contained in the Sextum Decrttalium, that in the time of Boniface VIII. (a.d. 1292), there was no bishop who had not at least a grand vicar or vicar-general. That pontiff calls them grand vicars and officials; and even at the present day the two titles are synonymous in Italy. In France, however, and some neighbouring countries, those two names designate different offices. The grand vicar, or vicar-general, exercises the voluntary jurisdiction; and the official, the contentious jurisdiction: that is to say, the duties of the former are administrative, and those of the latter strictly judicial.1
The wisdom of this constitution is manifest. Its object is to discharge the bishop from all that is mere business, and all those things that can as well be done by some other person under his directions and authority; that he
1 Hericourt, Loix Eccles. de France, c. i. prooem. See, as to the official, Sext. Dccret. 1. i. t. xiii. c. ii.; and Sext. Decret . I. it t . xv. c. Romana. Lyndwood, Provinc. de Sequestr. c. Frequens V. Officiates. As to the vicar-general, sec Otho de Inst. Vic. v. ad vicar, who says,"Inofficialem est transfusa cognitio causarum lolius dicecesis generaliter; mm autem inquisitio, eorrectio, punitio excestuum, *nt amotio a beneficio, nec etiam collatio beneftciorum, niti ista specialUer tibi euent commissa. Vicariut lamen generalit episcopi haec omnia facere potett, exceptis beneficiorum collationibits."
may be the more able to devote himself to the divine offices,—to the sacred functions of his order,—to meditation, prayer, and study,—and the care of those things wherein the pontifical authority and dignity are more especially required. The bishop is thereby enabled to preserve that venerable tranquillity and serenity which properly belong to the plenitude of the sacerdotal office; and by his example and paternal influence with all classes of the clergy and laity (to whom he should be as accessible as possible), as well as by reproof, exhortation, and encouragement, administered with the gravity of a Roman magistrate, and the charity of a Christian priest, to be truly the supreme spiritual ruler, and the very life and soul of the church wherein he presides. These things cannot be compatible with the hurry, the fatigue, and the tumult of the administration of a large diocese in all its details.
In England, the distinction between the vicar-general and the official, or, as he is called, the official principal, exists indeed; but the functions of both, or at least some part thereof, is vested in one person, called a chancellor.1 But the bishop may, according to Gibson, reserve to himself the particular species of causes properly belonging to the vicar-general, by not granting their cognisance to his chancellor; and bishop Stillingfleet says, "the bishop, by appointing a chancellor, doth not divest himself of his own ordinary power; but he may delegate some part of it by commission to others, which goes no further than is expressed in it."*
Thus the authority requisite for the government of the clergy, as to manners and functions, the visitation of their diocese, the detection of vice, the support of churches
1 Gibson, Cod. introd. disc. p. xxiv. xxv.