Vatican Confirms SSPX Is Being Offered Personal Prelature
The Vatican has confirmed that the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X is being offered the status of a personal prelature as part of a deal to heal the group’s 24-year rift with the Catholic Church.
This is the OP in a thread I responded in that got me banned form the Catholic Answers Forum for a month. I wrote a blog post and then realized that the actual offending post made no sense without the background. If you care, the set of posts and answers is reproduced here. In this thread, JREducation talks about how prelatures operate.
Only what he said, pretty much all of it, I think, was completely wrong for the only Prelature we have as an example, which is Opus Dei. And there are no general rules for Prelatures anyplace that are anything like he said.
Here is the series of posts:
#84 by Julia Mae
A prelature is governed directly by the pope. The FSSP is not governed by the pope. They have their own superior general
The prelature will have statutes and constitutions handed to it by the Vatican. Prelatures do not get to write their own statutes,
This is the first Prelature. Now, a Pope might impose something different on a new Prelature, but in fact, the one we have governs itself for the most part and wrote their own rules.
#86 by Julia Mae
The FSSP gets to elect its superior general. A prelature does not get to elect the prelate. The prelate is appointed by the pope.
|The FSSP has to ask for permission to enter a diocese, so does the prelature.|
|The prelature has ordinary authority over the laity. Guess who is morally responsible for the laity . . . bingo! The prelature, not the local bishop,|
Of course, these lay people mostly don't go to Diocesan churches or donate to them or in any other way participate, but the legal issue is that they are under the local Ordinary.
|If the SSPX decides to have a happy hour and there are complaints, the prelate has to deal with them and he has to inform the pope.|
PERSONAL PRELATURES (Cann. 294 - 297)
Can. 294 After the conferences of bishops involved have been heard, the Apostolic See can erect personal prelatures, which consist of presbyters and deacons of the secular clergy, to promote a suitable distribution of presbyters or to accomplish particular pastoral or missionary works for various regions or for different social groups.
Can. 295 §1. The statutes established by the Apostolic See govern a personal prelature, and a prelate presides offer it as the proper ordinary; he has the right to erect a national or international seminary and even to incardinate students and promote them to orders under title of service to the prelature.
§2. The prelate must see to both the spiritual formation and decent support of those whom he has promoted under the above-mentioned title.
Can. 296 Lay persons can dedicate themselves to the apostolic works of a personal prelature by agreements entered into with the prelature. The statutes, however, are to determine suitably the manner of this organic cooperation and the principal duties and rights connected to it.
Can. 297 The statutes likewise are to define the relations of the personal prelature with the local ordinaries in whose particular churches the prelature itself exercises or desires to exercise its pastoral or missionary works, with the previous consent of the diocesan bishop.
|A prelature is like a diocese without physical boundaries. It certainly has many other boundaries and a lot more oversight from the Vatican.|
In fact, giving the SSPX standing as a Prelature really means the Pope is giving them the whole world as their operating arena, just like Opus Dei. One estimate puts the number of priests in Opus Dei, actual Opus Dei priests, not diocesan priests who associate with it, at over 20k. That's not a diocese.
So, I'm thinking making the SSPX a Prelature, pretty sweet deal for them. In fact, the Vatican could just do away with the Diocesan system altogether.