Provision (Lat. provisio) is, in canon law, the bestowal of an ecclesiastical benefice (q.v.).

I. In the Roman Catholic Church it involves the regular collation (q.v.) of the ecclesiastical functions. Any of its ecclesiastical offices can only be thus lawfully obtained from a competent superior.

1. Extent and Classification.

Definition of provision

(1.) The "provision" includes three stages

(a) the designation of the person on whom the benefice is bestowed (designatio personae);

(b) the collation of the office itself (collatio sice institutio canonica), for higher offices by papal confirmation, for inferior functions by episcopal institution; and

(c) the act of putting the nominee in possession of the office or the prebend, called, when he is bishop, inthronization, when he is a canon or other prebendary, installation. The election or designation confers on the candidate only a right of priority: the complete lawful possession can only be acquired by the canonic confirmation or institution.

(2.) There are an ordinary and an extraordinary, a free and an obligatory, a full and a partial provision.

(a) When, as the rule requires, higher functions are conferred by the pope, lower ones by the bishop, this is called ordinary provision (provisio ordinaria); but if by some special lawful title, a third person, or by the law of devolution the next superior clerical functionary, or in consequence of special reservation the pope is possessed of the right of collation, this is an extraordinary provision (provisio extraordinaria).

(b) If the ordinary collator is free and bound by no obligation as to the person of the nominee, the collation is free (provisio sive collatio libera); but if he is bound by the right of designation enjoyed by a third person, the provision is restricted, and inasmuch as the collator, if all canonic requirements are met, is held to admit the proposed person, it is an obligatory one (provisio necessaria).

(c) If the collator is entitled to all three acts of a full collation, his right of provision is called a full one (jus provisionisplenum); but if he enjoys only one or the other of these attributes, he has only a partial right (jus provisionis minus plenum).

2. Requisites. — An ecclesiastic function can only be bestowed on a person possessing certain qualities, and must be occupied within a certain period and in a canonic way.

(1.) In regard to the qualifications of the candidate, the canons require that he be capable and worthy (idoneus et dignus); that not only he have all untarnished reputation, but also the required age, the necessary orters, and the instruction demanded by the office.

(a) The required age varies with the functions. It is an extraordinary rule which, in Hanover, even for simple canonries, requires thirty years of age.

(b) The candidate must belong to the clergy, and, in consequence, must be at least tonsured, and be advanced enough to be able to get the necessary orders within a year (Clem. c. 2," De Act. et Qual." i, 6; Cone. Trid. sess. 22 c. 4, "De Ref."). In ancient law the candidate, if his office required higher orders than those of a subdeacon, could receive a dispensation for seven years, to give him time to complete his scientific education, and the benefice meanwhile might be administered by a vicar (Sext. c. 34, "De Elect." i, 6). The modern law reduces this term to one year, which runs from the day of possession fully obtained (Sext. c. 35, "De Elect." i, 6). If during this period the orders have not been conferred, the benefice is lost, if it is a curacy, eo ipso (Sext. c. 14, 35:" De Elect." i, 6), otherwise only after previous warning (c. 7, 10:" De Elect." i, 6; Sext. c. 22, cod. i, 6); but in the latter case the bishop may grant a second dispensation of one year (Cone. Trid. sess. 7:c. 12, "De Ref."). To get into possession of a bishopric, the elected person or nominee must have obtained the subdeaconate six months before his election or nomination (Conc. Trid. sess. 12:c. 2, "De Ref."). Abbots, holders of dignities. and functions with which jurisdiction and charge of souls are connected must be priests (c. 9, 10 "De Act. et Qual." i, 14), and especially in cathedral clhpters half at least of the canons must be presbyters (Cone. Trid. sess. 24:c. 12, "De Ref."), although in the time of the Council of Trent already many chapters — for instance, those of Cologne, Treves, etc. — were exclusively composed of priests, which is now always the case. (c) The candidate must possess the scientific acquirements required by the office. The Tridentine rule decrees that the bishop must have shown his capacity at some university (or lyceum) as a teacher, or by degrees obtained in theology or canon law, or other academical testimonies (Conc. Trid. sess. 22:c. 2, "De Ref."). The functions of cathedral scholastics, of penitentiaries, and in general of all dignities and half of the canonries, can only be bestowed upon graduates (ibid. sess. 23 c. 18, sess. 24 c. 8, 12, "De Ref."). For candidates to prebends implying charge of souls (curates, preachers) a trial is instituted, and held by the bishop or his vicar-general and at least three other examiners chosen by the diocesan synod and put under special oath (Conc. Trid. sess. 24:c. 18, "De Ref.;" comp. Pii V "In Conferendis," d. 18 Maj. 1566, and Benedicti XIV "Cum illud," d. 14 Dec. 1742). As the diocesan synods, after a long interruption, have only been revived of late, the papal see has conferred full powers on the bishop (modo provisorio), and, until the regular synods should be reestablished, to nominate, himself, these synodal examiners and take their oath. Besides this examination required by the Church, most civil governments in Germany prescribe a similar examination for the candidates to the functions of curate or preacher.

(2.) In regard to the time and manner of the provision, the following principles prevail:

(a) A newly established clerical function must first be endowed; an office subsisting already must be not only really, but lawfully vacant. Even to give expectancies, or promises of provision in case of vacancy, is prohibited. Every clerical office must be filled in a given period of time-higher offices within three months; inferior offices, the provision of which is left to the free collation of the bishops or chapters, six months (c. 2, 10:" De Concess. Preb." iii, 8) from the day their vacancy was first known (c. 3, 10:" De Suppl. Negl. Prael." i, 10). If the offices to be filled are patronal benefices, the lay patron is allowed a term of four months (c. 3, 10:"De Jure Patron." iii, 38) for making his presentation. the clerical patron a term of six months; the latter being lawful even in cases where a layman has transferred his right of presentation to a church or ecclesiastical corporation (Sext. c. un. "De Jur. Patron." iii, 19), or where the patronate is nixed. However, the civil legislation of several countries disagrees in many cases with these rules. If the election, postulation, nomination, or presentation have not taken place within the allotted term, it is, for this case, lost to the patron, and devolves upon the superior clerical authority.

(b) The benefice must be filled according to the canons; consequently, with complete independence both of the collator and the receiver (c. 2, 10 "De his quae Vi," i, 40), without diminution or heavier taxation of the prebend (c. un. 10 "Ut Benef. sine Diminut." iii, 12), and without simony. The admission of the state, and often of individuals, to a share in the provision of ecclesiastical benefices gave rise in the mediaeval Church to the contention for investiture (q.v.), and remains as yet unsettled. In some countries it was set at rest by concordat; in others it is still unregulated, though the right of final and complete provision is admitted to belong to the pope. In most Roman Catholic countries the crown elects to bishoprics, and the pope is bound to confirm the nominee of the crown, unless canonical cause of rejection should appear. In Germany, the contest with the papacy has on this account left vacant several important provisions.

3. Form of the Provision. —

(1.) Concerning the ordinary collation

(a) of higher offices. Archiepiscopal and episcopal sees, abbacies, and other prelatures are filled by election, postulation, or nomination.

(b) The other clerical functions are disposed of by the bishop in the whole extent of his diocese. This right of filling the vacant places is either entirely free, or it is more or less circumscribed by the rights of third persons or by the peculiar situation of the chapter, especially by the right of presentation of the patrons.

(2.) An extraordinary provision takes place

(a) either jure devoluto, when the person entitled to fill the vacant office does not fulfil the canonic conditions of the provision, or

(b) jure reservato, when the prebend is one of those the collation of whom is reserved to the pope.

4. Institution or Installation. —

(1.) The lawful collation of the office in question by the competent clerical superior. whichi alone entitles to the possession of the office and to th e exercise of the rights of consecration and jurisdicLion connected with it, is made, for episcopates and prelatures, by the pope, by confirmation of the elected or postulated person or nominee; for other functions, by the bishop (c. 3, 10 "De Instit." iii, 7; Conc. Trid. sess. 24:c. 13, "De Ref."), through canonic institution. The phrase institutio canonica appears in Sext. c. 1, "De Reg. Jur." 5:12, and has since prevailed; the expressions collatio, institutio collativa, institutio verbalis, institutio auctorisabilis, investitura, are somewhat erroneously employed as synonymous with it. Collatio beneficii ought to be used only for prebends freely conferred by the clerical superior, as here the collation of the office makes one with the designatio persone, both being included in the decree of collation. If the office belongs to that class to which third persons (physically and morally qualified) have a right of election or presentation, then institutio is the right word, and, better, institutio canonica, to indicate that this institution made by the competent clerical superior is alone the lawful collation; or institutio collativa, to indicate that the office is really conferred only by the institution; institutio verbalis, to distinguish this verbal delivery of the office from the act of putting a person in possession of it (installatio). While the libera collatio was always, and is still, an absolutely personal right of the bishop, neither the vicargeneral (sede plena) can perform it without special powers, nor the chapter, nor the capitular vicar appointed by them (sede vacante). The institutio canonica, or collutiva, or cerbalis, was formerly a regular official right of the archdeacon (c. 6, 10 "De Instit." iii, 7), and is still a right comprised in the general powers of the vicar- general. This right of institution to offices connected with no charge of souls can exceptionally belong even to other ecclesiastical persons or corporations, either in consequence of special favor or of prescription (c. 18, 10 "De Praeser." ii, 26; c. 2, § 2, "De Privil." 5:33). By this canonical institution the nominee obtains the full right to his office and to the attributes of jurisdiction and honorary distinctions connected with it, but no right to take charge of souls: for this he needs a special authorization, for which he must apply within a period of two months from the day when the decree of presentation or collation has been received (Pii V "In Conferendis," d. 8 Mart. 1867); and this is called the inlstitutio, in a narrower sense, or institutio auctorisabilis, i.e. the special collation of the charge of souls. The collation of the cura aninmarum is, again, so exclusively a right of the bishop that neither tle archdeacon nor formerly the vicar-general, unless specially empowered, could confer it (c. 4, 10 "De Off. Archidiac." i, 23), nor, in general, any third person even possessed of the fuill right of provision. Now the institutio auctorisabilis goes regularly together with the institutio collativa, and is given at the episcopal residence after previous examination (Cone. Trid. sess. vii; c. 13, "De Ref.") and approbation, by means of symbolical performances, by dressing the candidate in the chasuble and barret (hence the name investiture), receiving his profession of faith and oath of obeisance, and delivering the beneficiary a deed thereof, called "letter of investiture." This institutio auctorisabilis can be made by the bishop himself or his vicar-general, who needs no longer a special mandate for it (Benedicti XIV "De Syn. Diec." lib. ii, c. 8), and, sede vacante, the chapter, or the capitular vicar appointed by them (Sext. c. 1, "De Instit." iii, 6).

(2.) The introduction into the office and prebend, or putting into possession (institutio corporalis), is called

(a) for the bishop inthronization, and consists in this, that the consecrated bishop, in his badges, takes solemn possession of his cathedral and assigned residence. It is combined, if the bishop be consecrated in his own church, into one act with the consecration; but if the consecration take place extra diocesin — in the metropolitan church, or cathedral, of the consecrator delegated by the pope — then, according to the traditional custom, the bishop in pastoral habit, with crosier and mitre, is received at his arrival in the ban/ieue of his seat by the chapter and the clergy of the city and surrounding country, and escorted to some church situated in the neighborhood, where, after a short prayer, he is clothed in the pontifical robes and badges, hence to be led in solemn procession, all bells ringing, into his cathedral. Here he is greeted with the hymn Ecce sacerdos magnus, and while the clergy and the people sing the Te Deum, he takes his seat, gives the episcopal benediction, and is then escorted to his residence, the cross being carried before him.

(b) The solemn admission of a canon of a cathedral or collegiate chapter is called installation. The beneficiary, in the house of the chapter, is clothed in the choir garments, and the capitular cross is appended to his neck, whereupon he recites the Credo and swears the capitular oath. He is then led to his seat in the chapter (sedes in capitulo), escorted to the church, and here, also, shown his place in the choir (staltum in choro, hence installatio).

(c) With curates and other beneficiaries, the institutio corporalis (now also called installatio) is performed at the place of the prebend, the introduction into the office (immissio in spiritualia beneficii) by a legate of the bishop, and the putting in possession of the prebend (immissio in temporalia) by a commissary of the civil government.

In Austria, every ecclesiastic, upon getting into office, after receiving spiritual investiture at the hands of the bishop, has, before his installation, to sign a written declaration to the effect that he does not belong, nor will ever belong, to any secret society. The spiritual installation is performed, in the name of the ordinariate, by the vicar of the district or dean the first holyday after the arrival of the ecclesiastic at the place of his benefice; the worldly installation, in the name of the government, by a higher functionary commissioned thereto; in patronal prebends by the patron, according to the prevailing custom. In Prussia, the prebendary is generally put into possession by the archpriest (dean), in common with the patron or with the Landrath, if the curacy be one of those to which the government has the right of nomination. The deed of confirmation is read in the presence of the community, the curate is introduced, and put in possession of his residence with appurtenances. In Bavaria the oath is exacted, after which the dean proceeds to the spiritual performance in the church, where he introduces the new curate to his community. From the church he is led again to his residence, where he is introduced to the community by the royal commissary. Then the people are dismissed, and the same commissary, in the presence of the episcopal plenipotentiary and the civil functionaries and church trustees, delivers the keys of the house to the new curate. In Baden, the curate is put in possession, in the name of the grandduke, by the grand- ducal dean and the functionaries of the district, but only mediately, by a written order of these officers; but a solemn institutio corporalis takes place in the church in the presence of the archiepiscopal dean. Similar dispositions prevail in Wurtemberg, in the kingdom of Saxony, the grand- duchy of Hesse, and in Nassau. — Wetzer u. Welte, Kirchen-Lex. s.v.

II. In the Church of England, the bishop is nominally elected by the chapter; but, in reality, the members of the chapter are only permitted to name the particular person whom the crown presents to them for election with the conge d'elire. In the Roman Catholic Church of England and of Ireland, the parochial clergy, together with the canons, recommend three candidates, one of whom is commonly, although not necessarily, appointed by the pope.

III. In the Russo-Greek Church, the candidates are presented by the holy synod, and the czar names the bishop from among them. See Hardwick, Hist. of the Reformation, 1, 350.

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