A Kapitular is after the law of the Roman Catholic Church a priest , which alone or in community with other priests, the chapter is entrusted the task to a cathedral or a collegiate solemn religious services and to keep all the bishop to fulfill the tasks assigned ( Can. 503 CIC).
Institutions of the Protestant denomination also had capitulars. The Bonifacii Abbey in Hameln , which had joined the Protestant faith during the Reformation , had not only "Canonici" but also "Capitulare". When the monastery later gave up its denominational ties, the previous bodies and functions retained their clerical names.
A cathedral chapter is often referred to as a canon and the chapter as a cathedral chapter . In the past, however, the canon was not automatically a capitular. B. also secular canons, who could only be accepted into the cathedral chapter after admission to the clergy . In Germany (except in the Bavarian dioceses and in the diocese of Speyer ) and Switzerland as well as in some other dioceses (including in the Archdiocese of Salzburg ), the cathedral chapter has, among other things, the right to vote in the appointment of a new bishop's chair in the diocese , but in any case the right to vote for the diocesan administrator ( formerly Chapter Vicar or Capitular Vicar ), who leads the diocese on an interim basis if the bishopric is vacant , unless an apostolic administrator has been appointed.
The cathedral chapter used to function as the bishop's "senate". According to the new canon law, the college of consultors , which is formed from members of the diocesan priests' council, has taken on this (Can. 502 CIC). § 3 of Can. 502 provides that the national bishops' conferences can resolve that the duties of the college of consultors can be carried out through the cathedral chapter. This is the case in Germany. Cathedral chapters are particularly an institution in Europe and here in areas of the former Holy Roman Empire . By comparison, there are no cathedral chapters in America.
At the top of a cathedral chapter are the dignities or dignitary. These are a cathedral provost or cathedral dean , in some places both together, the latter being the provost's deputy. The number of canons in a cathedral chapter varies: in Cologne there are twelve resident and four non-resident canons, in Fulda six resident, in Erfurt five resident and three non-resident.
In addition, the bishop can appoint priests or bishops, including other dioceses, as canons of honor or capitulars. A cathedral chapter at the episcopal church of a metropolitan is also called a metropolitan chapter .
The assistants or representatives of the cathedral capitals call themselves cathedral vicars (in Mainz and Fulda also cathedral praise dates). These priests, together with the cathedral capitulars, form the cathedral monastery or the cathedral clergy , which in some places also includes one or more cathedral deacons .
Most of the concordats in the area of the former Holy Roman Empire stipulate that the state has to provide financial contributions to pay the cathedral capitals as a substitute for the secularization ( confiscation ) of church property.
The clothing of the cathedral capitals is regulated by particular law, i.e. by church law, by the bishops' conferences or by the dioceses. In most cases, however, cathedral capitals are allowed to wear a purple cassock with purple mozzetta (often with a small hood) and a special neck cross. Dressed in this way, they are outwardly different from the bishop wearing a pileolus (skullcap) and pectoral (episcopal pectoral cross).
- Fr. Sprenger: History of the City of Hameln . Verlag Helwing, 1826, page 460 ff