In each diocese the diocesan bishop must appoint a vicar general who is provided with ordinary power according to the norm of the following canons and who is to assist him in the governance of the whole diocese. As a general rule, one vicar general is to be appointed unless the size of the diocese, the number of inhabitants, or other pastoral reasons suggest otherwise.” (Canon 475

A Vicar General is the principal deputy of the Bishop of a diocese for the exercise of administrative authority. He is a local ordinary and, as such, acquires his powers by virtue of office and not by delegation. The Vicar General, by virtue of the office, is the Bishop's agent in administration, acting as second-in-command for diocesan executive matters.

The Vicar General exercises the Bishop’s ordinary executive power over the entire diocese and, thus, is the highest official in a diocese after the diocesan Bishop or his equivalent in canon law. Priests appointed as Vicars General are freely appointed or removed by the diocesan Bishop, and are appointed for a fixed duration. They lose their office when the term expires, or when the episcopal see falls vacant.

 


Episcopal Vicar for Clergy

Whenever the correct governance of a diocese requires it, the diocesan bishop can also appoint one or more episcopal vicars, namely, those who in a specific part of the diocese or in a certain type of affairs or over the faithful of a specific rite or over certain groups of persons possess the same ordinary power which a vicar general has by universal law, according to the norms of the following canons.” (Canon 476)

The Episcopal Vicar for Clergy represents the Bishop’s ministry to his priests and deacons, with jurisdiction in matters relating to his clergy. The Episcopal Vicar for Clergy co-ordinates the Bishop's Office for the Pastoral Support of the Clergy, an office which has oversight for many areas connected with priestly life and ministry, including but not restricted to: formation, morale, spirituality, continuing education, wellness, retreats and retired priests.