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(404 words)

Author(s): Aymans, Winfried | Seiferlein, Alfred
[German Version] I. Catholic Usage In the strict sense, a prelate is the spiritual leader (Bishop: III, 1; or priest) of a particular church (also occasionally called praesul or antistes at Vatican II) or other incardination community. In this sense, CIC/1983 speaks of a territorial prelate as the head of a territorial prelature (c. 370; formerly “free prelature”). In this case we have a particular church that is similar in many ways to a diocese but for specific ongoing reasons has not developed a full diocesan structure; it is head…


(2,855 words)

Author(s): Schäfer, Rolf | Thompson, J. Michael | Aymans, Winfried
[German Version] I. Dogmatics – II. Liturgy – III. Music – IV. Canon Law I. Dogmatics In the Vulgate, the Latin term communio, along with the more frequent translations communicatio and societas, renders the New Testament word κοινωνία ( koinōnía). It gained ecclesiological content primarily through the Apostles' Creed, which adopted Augustine's description of the church as the communio sanctorum including not only the elect, but also the angels. The communio evidenced in the NT as participation in the benefits of salvation in worship became the startin…

Papal Secretary of State

(165 words)

Author(s): Aymans, Winfried
[German Version] is the title of the head of the highest authority in the Roman Curia. The roots of this office as the pope’s political adviser go back to the 14th century. Since the 17th century, the holder has always been a cardinal (and is often referred to as Cardinal Secretary of State). The anachronistic name of the office is connected with its former predominant responsibility for church politics, and for internal and external affairs of the papal states. The Secretariat of State is divided into two sections in current law (Apostolic constitutions Pastor bonus: AAS 80, 1988, 841–93…

Mörsdorf, Klaus

(222 words)

Author(s): Aymans, Winfried
[German Version] (Apr 3, 1909, Muhl, Hunsrück – Aug 17, 1989, Planegg, near Munich), Catholic theologian, Dr.iur., Dr.theol., Dr.iur.can. h.c.; one of the most important Catholic canonists of the 20th century (Canon law: II, 1). Ordained to the priesthood in Berlin in 1936, he was a professor at the University of Munich from 1946 to 1977. There he founded the institute of canon law in 1947, which was renamed the ¶ Klaus-Mörsdorf-Studium für Kanonistik on Jul 1, 2001. He was the founder of the so-called Munich School, whose major interest is the theological interpre…

Sägmüller, Johann Baptist

(201 words)

Author(s): Aymans, Winfried
[German Version] (Feb 24, 1860, Winterreute, near Biberach – Oct 22, 1942, Tübingen), Catholic canonist. After studying philosophy and theology in Tübingen, he was ordained to the priesthood in 1884; after three years as a parish priest, he served as a lecturer at the Wilhelmsstift in Tübingen from 1887 to 1893. In 1888 he received his doctorate and in 1893 was appointed adjunct professor of medieval history in Tübingen; from 1896 to 1926, he taught as professor of canon law and pedagogics in the Catholic faculty of theology in Tübingen. Sägmüller’s magnum opus was his historically org…