Auxiliary Bishops

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: Can you help us clarify some of the protocols around auxiliary bishops? 

My sense is that only the bishop of the diocese should use the cathedra, and that when an auxiliary bishop presides in the Cathedral he would use a different presidential chair.

I also wonder about the use of the crozier. When he is celebrant, does an auxiliary use a crozier always—or sometimes?

Thanks and take care!


A: The Ceremonial of Bishops #47 says this about the cathedra: “Apart from the cases provided for by law, only the diocesan bishop, or a bishop he permits to use it, occupies this chair.” Given that the cathedra is “the sign of his teaching office and pastoral power in this particular Church” (42), in my view an auxiliary bishop should not use it regularly, but apparently the bishop may permit it.

Incidentally, footnote 44 pertaining to the “cases provided for by law” has a misprint. It says canon 463 §3, but the typical edition has canon 436 §3.

Regarding the pastoral staff, the bishop carries it “in his own territory as a sign of his pastoral office, but any bishop who, with the consent of the diocesan bishop, solemnly celebrates may use the pastoral staff. When several bishops are present at the same celebration, only the presiding bishop uses the pastoral staff” (59). In this case the footnote cites a 1968 instruction on the simplification of pontifical rites and insignia. In my view, because the crozier refers to “pastoral office” and not to “pastoral power” as the cathedra does, I see no problem if the bishop generously permits auxiliaries to use the pastoral staff whenever they preside.