Option (Lat. optare, to elect, choose) is in ecclesiastical language the choice or preference which the archbishop of a province enjoys as a customary prerogative, when one of his suffragan bishops is consecrated by him, in the appointment of a clerk or chaplain. In lieu of this it is now usual. however, for the bishop to make over by deed to the archbishop, his executors, administrators, and assigns, the next presentation of such dignity or benefice in the bishop's disposal within that see; so that the archbishop himself may choose, and this is hence called the archbishop's option. If the bishop die or be translated before the archbishop exercises his right, the option is lost, because the new bishop is not bound by the grant of the predecessor; and the archbishop cannot present to any benefice which is vacant at the time of the bishop's death, because the patronage of all such vacant benefices belongs by prerogative to the crown. An option is considered the private patronage of the archbishop; and if the archbishop die, it belongs to his personal representatives, who may present whomsoever they please, unless the archbishop has by his will directed them to present a particular individual in which case they can be compelled to obey the will.

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