The Role of the Parish Priest and Parochial Administrator in the Pastoral Governance of a Parish

  • Joseph Paul Iyamah


The legislative provision on parish (c. 515), parish priest and stability in office (cc. 519; 522) and parish administrator (cc. 539-540) are ingrained in Church history, theology and canonical doctrine. Much of what we experience about the Church is within the context of the parish, which is the local community unit. The importance of this work is bringing about a clearer and exact perceptive of these aspects, focusing on lay down procedures, which are the defining factors about parish identity, the connection between parish and parish priest and the relationship with the diocesan Bishop, as well as the place of parish administrator in the life of a parish. However, the significant extent to which the elements essential to what constitute a parish in juridical legislation flows from the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council would be noted. Since no parish exist independent of a diocese, the parish priest, appointed by the diocesan Bishop, administers a parish as proper pastor under the Bishop’s authority, but not as Bishop’s vicar, rather in his own name, and represents the parish in all juridical matters (c. 532). The questions here are: Can the act of erecting/suppressing a parish, which is within the competence of the Bishop affect the juridical status of a parish if the administrative acts (cc 35-47) are not observed? Can the parish administrator permanently replace the appointment of a parish priest in a parish? Can the parish priest’s responsibilities automatically be that of the parish administrator?