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Vicar Judicial

In Church Law (Canon Law), “vicars” are the representatives of the diocesan bishop and may have different titles based on what role they are performing. The diocesan bishop governs the diocese with legislative, executive and judicial powers. The bishop personally exercises legislative power; he exercises executive power either personally or through Vicar General or Pro-Vicar General; he exercises judicial power either personally or through a Vicar Judicial and judges. Vicar Judicial must be a priest and an expert in Canon Law, holding doctorate or at least licentiate. He exercises judicial power of the diocesan bishop by virtue of his office, with ordinary power in the whole diocese, to admit and judge cases in the diocesan ecclesiastical court. The Judicial Vicar heads the tribunal of the diocese, which is charged with the administration of justice. Although most cases brought before the tribunal involve challenges to the canonical validity of marriage, the court also acts as the competent forum for other issues, including penal matters. The Vicar Judicial and the diocesan bishop are a single tribunal, which means that decisions of the judicial vicar cannot be appealed to the diocesan bishop but must instead be appealed to the appellate tribunal. The diocesan bishop is to have a diocesan curia which assists him in the governance of the diocese committed to him. To the curia belong the Vicar General, Pro-Vicar General, Vicar Judicial, finance officer and council for economic affairs, chancellor, judges, promoter of justice and defender of the bond, notaries and other persons as signed by the bishop for properly fulfilling the offices of the curia. If it is necessary or useful for the diocese, the bishop can establish other offices in the curia.