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Official (Offzl) and Oberoffizial (OOffzl) are titles of civil servants in Austria. Further, in the Catholic Church right Offizial the designation for the head of a church court ( Offizialat ).

The official under general canon law ( CIC 1983)

The judicial vicar (lat. Vicarius iudicialis ) of a particular church is usually called official in the German-speaking world . He is the head of a Roman Catholic church court ( tribunal ecclesiasticum ). As court vicar of the bishop , the official speaks law on his behalf . He is sometimes referred to as a diocesan or (in archbishopric ) metropolitan judge. A Offizial must priest to be and have knowledge of canon law have that in Germany through the doctorate licentiate ( Lic. Iur. Can. ) Or Doctor (of canon law in law Dr. Can. ) Or by a specialist in canon law Theological doctorate ( Dr. theol. ) acquired must be proven.

The main tasks of the official and his authority in the ecclesiastical administration of justice are the granting of dispensations , the implementation of ecclesiastical judicial proceedings, especially marriage nullity proceedings , and the preparation of beatification and canonization processes ( beatifications or canonizations ).

A church notary , also known as a church, court or diocesan notary , and one or more judges and investigating magistrates are assigned to the official as the direct representative of the bishop or archbishop . The official and notary are practically always full-time employees.

Some dioceses form officiate communities. For example, the official of the Archdiocese of Hamburg is also the official of the Diocese of Osnabrück , the official of the Diocese of Münster is also the official of the Diocese of Reykjavík .

Unlike the office of vicar general, according to can. 1420 §5 does not take over the office of official with the death or resignation of the diocesan bishop, but the new bishop must confirm the official or appoint a new official.

The official as episcopal administrator

In the diocese of Munster , the representative ( vicar ) appointed by the diocesan bishop for the Oldenburg part of the diocese is also referred to as an official. The official, who has also been the auxiliary bishop since the 1970s , heads the Bischöflich Münstersche official office based in Vechta .


  • Paul Wirth: Art. Official. in: Stephan Haering, Heribert Schmitz (Ed.): Lexicon of Canon Law. Freiburg 2004 (= Lexicon for Theology and Church compact), Sp. 686f, ISBN 3-451-28522-3 .
  • Heinrich Molitor: The area of ​​competence of the vicar general and official of the Archdiocese of Cologne during the 17th and 18th centuries. Cologne 1960.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Duden
  2. Officials of the general administration and in craft use
  3. ^ Officialat Hamburg / Osnabrück on the website of the Archdiocese of Hamburg , accessed on July 10, 2016
  4. ^ Officialat Hamburg / Osnabrück on the website of the Diocese of Osnabrück , accessed on July 10, 2016
  5. ^ The court of the Reykjavík Diocese , accessed July 10, 2016