In Partibus Infidelium
In partibus infidelium (i.q. in heathen countries), EPISCOPUS, episcopus titularis, episcopus sufraganeus. All these expressions, sometimes used promiscuously, have, when closely examined, different significations. As bishops, on account of the great variety and number of duties devolving on them, are unable to perform them all in person, they are allowed the use of assistants, such as archdeacons, coadjutors, etc. For such functions, however, as can only be performed by a bishop, since there can be but one in a diocese (c. 8, Conc. Niccen. a. 325), the bishop unable to perform them was formerly obliged to call in the aid of a neighboring bishop. In after times, the bishops driven out of their dioceses were especially entrusted with these functions, being considered as still belonging dejure to their diocese. The Roman Church was thus led never to give up, in principle, any place where it had once obtained a footing, even when it did lose it in fact; and thus, when its bishops were driven from a place, their connection with their cathedra did not therefore cease. In the 9th century a number of bishops were driven out of Spain by the Arabs, and sought refuge at Oviedo (Africa), waiting to resume their sees; and when one of them died,' another was at once elected in his stead. While thus waiting they acted as assistants to the bishops of Oviedo, according to the express definition: "Ut episcopi, qui ditione carerent, Ovetensi praesuli vicariam operam exhiberent, cura in multos partita, ejusque reditibus alerentur" (see Thomassin, Vetus ac nova ecclesiae disciplina de beneficiis, pt. 1, lib. 1, cap. 27, no. 8; Vinterim, Die vorzüglichsten Denkwürdigkeiten d. christkath. Kirche, vol. 1, pt. 2, p.
379, 380). We next find instances of such vice-episcopi, vices gerentes in pontificalibus, vicarii in pontificalibus, in Germany, and they grew more numerous after the 12th century in consequence of the schism of the Eastern Church. It then became the practice to appoint for such dioceses as had formerly been Christian, but had now fallen into the hands of infidels (in partibus infidelium), bishops called episcopi titulares, who were used as assistants to other bishops in their strictly episcopal functions. The practice soon led to abuses, monks especially using every exertion to obtain such appointments. Clement V therefore decreed at Vienna in 1311 that no such bishops should thenceforth be appointed without the special authorization of the 'pope, and that no monks could be raised to that office without the consent of their superiors (cap. 5, Clement. De electione). Other restrictions were also enacted at Ravenna in 1311,1314, etc., but the practice was not abolished. Thus, at the Synod of Cologne in 1322, we find the bishop of Liege represented by a titular bishop (episcopus ecclesie Henner's) (Hartzheim, Concilia Gernmaniae, 4:284). We find also mention made in the synod of Salzburg, in 1420, of episcopi titulares (Hartzheim, 5, 179), and in that of Passan, in 1470 (Song 7; Song 8), of surcaganei, whose functions were to consecrate priests and churches. They received the name of suffiaganei because they were to support the bishops by deed and word (suifagio). Leo X, in the fifth Lateran Council, 1514 (Sess. 9), granted also to the cardinals the privilege of having vicarii seu sufifaganei. The Council of Trent (Sess. 6:cap. 5, De re. form.; Sess. 14, cap. 2, 8:De reform.) sought to remedy the still existing abuses, for sometimes titular bishops endeavored to establish separate bishoprics for themselves in the dioceses of the bishops whom they were to assist. On this and subsequent decisions (see Benedict XIV, De synodo diocesana, lib. 2, cap. 7; lib. 13, cap. 14; Ferraris, Bibl. Canonica, s.v. Episcopus, art. 7. no. 21 sq.) is based the existing practice of creating bishops- of the title of dioceses which have passed from the rule of the Romish Church. Hence, in the bull De salute animarum of 1821 to Prussia, it is enacted that the confirmation of existing suffraganeatus, as also the restoration of those of Treves and Cologne, shall be performed in the usual manner ("servatis consuetis formis de episcopatu titulari in partibus ilfidelium"). This consecration differs from that of the other bishops only in making the recipient simply an adjunct of the regularly located bishops, without separate jurisdiction. When they confer orders without the consent of their bishops, or otherwise overstep their duties, they are punished by being suspended for one year. The episcopi in partibus, as simple titular bishops, are revocable papal delegates. So also when they are missionary bishops. Suffragan bishops are in a more secure position, "cum assuetas congrume adsignatione provideatur," as says the bull De salute. See A. H. Andreucci, De episcopo titulari seu in partibus infidelium (Romans 1732); Thomassin, Vetus ac nova ecclesice disciplina de beneficiis, pt. 1, lib. 1, cap. 27, 28; F. A. Dtirr, De suffiaganei seu vicariis in pontificalibus episcop. German. (Mogunt. 1782); J. H. Heister, Suffraganei Colonienses extraordinarii sive de sacrce Colon. ecclesiae pro episcopis, etc. (Mogunt. 1843). — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 4, 103.