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Catholic Dictionary




A papal representative who has the right and duty of supervising the status of the Church in the area assigned to him and keeping the Pope informed of the same. He has certain faculties delegated to him by the Holy See. Where established relations exist with a civil government, he is a papal representative with diplomatic status; otherwise his role is purely ecclesiastical. His duties do not interfere with the jurisdiction of local ordinaries but rather strengthen the general condition of the Church throughout the territory by unifying and facilitating the work of the bishops. He does not constitute a tribunal of justice but he may decide certain conflicts according to Church law. The delegate takes precedence in honor over the bishops not cardinals in his territory. He enjoys other concessions of an honorary nature.