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A prelate ( Latin praelatus , 'the preferred', 'the ruler' or 'the preferred' ) is a dignitary in the Christian Church .

Roman Catholic Church

Cardinal with three bishops

In the Catholic Church, the prelate is the holder of ordinary management powers (such as a bishop or an abbot ). However, a prelate can also be the holder of higher curial offices. On official occasions, the prelates are addressed by their highest title, e.g. B. "(Most Revered) Cardinal" or "(Your) Eminence".

However, the honorary prelates are far more common in the Catholic Church . These are deserving priests who have received one of the three possible honorary prelate titles from the Pope , mostly in order to perform important representative tasks on behalf of the bishop, e.g. B. to the state to be able to perceive. In January 2014, Pope Francis reduced the possible papal honorary titles from three to one. Since then, only the title Papal Honorary Chaplain with the salutation Monsignor has been awarded.

In earlier centuries the rank of prelate could also be awarded for money, for example in the case of the noble Lorenzo Corsini, who later became Pope Clement XII. who paid 30,000 scudi for the rank of prelate.

Protestant church

In the Evangelical Church in Württemberg , the members of the church leadership who act as “ regional bishops” and deputies of the bishop in the prelatures (also called Sprengel and comparable administrative districts) are also called prelate or prelate .

In the Uniate Badische Landeskirche the prelate was the spiritual director from 1819 to 1933. Johann Peter Hebel was the first prelate. In 1933 the last prelate took on the title of “regional bishop”, with the function of church president, who had previously been in charge of church administration, combined with the office of prelate. Today the two prelates of the church districts of North and South Baden are pastors of the pastorate and members of the upper church council . They are directly subordinate to the regional bishop (“extended arms” of the bishop), without being superiors of the pastors and deans in the respective church district. Its further function is the organization of pastors' training.

In the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck , the spiritual representative of the bishop holds the title of prelate. The prelate is a member of the regional synod and the council of the regional church. He is the head of personnel for the spiritual staff. The first prelate here was the later professor for the Old Testament in Kiel, Hans Wilhelm Hertzberg .

The authorized representative of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany for the Federal Republic of Germany and the European Union also has the title of prelate or prelate . Until June 1, 2013, the position was held by Bernhard Felmberg . Martin Dutzmann is his successor . The same applies to the EKD commissioner in Lutherstadt Wittenberg , Prelate Stephan Dorgerloh , who was appointed on the occasion of the Luther Decade , who now holds a state office and therefore no longer holds the prelate title associated with his previous church function.

Individual evidence

  1. Pope abolishes honorary titles. In: Tagesspiegel . January 6, 2014, accessed June 21, 2017 .