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What is the difference between list of episcopabili and Terna (Ternus)?

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by March 2, 2018 Canonical Teaching

Question 6

What is the difference between list of episcopabili and Terna (Ternus)?

Answer 6

A list of episcopabili is a list of priests, even including members of institutes of consecrated life, who are more suitable for the episcopate which the bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, where circumstances suggest it, of a conference of bishops, in common counsel and in secret, are to compose at least every three year and submit to the Apostolic See. The proposed names are discussed and the minutes of the discussions are also transmitted to the Apostolic See. The mentioned list is without prejudice to the right of each diocesan bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of priests whom he considers worthy of and suited to the episcopal function.

A Terna (Italian) or Ternus as used in the Latin-English Code is a list of candidates for the office of bishop which the Apostolic Nuncio is to send to the Apostolic See. When the See is vacant—either because the bishop has died, resigned or been transferred—the Apostolic Nuncio begins a process of assembling a list of three recommendations, known as a “terna,” to succeed that bishop. It is composed after he has sought out individually the suggestions of the metropolitan and suffragans of the province (see. Can. 435-436) in which the diocese which will receive the diocesan or coadjutor bishop is located, and the suggestions of the president of the episcopal conference.  The Apostolic Nuncio is to communicate these suggestions to the Apostolic See along with his own opinion. He also to hear some members of the college of the consultors (can. 502) and of the cathedral chapter (can. 503 -510). And if he judges it expedient, is also to seek individually and in secret the opinion of others from both the secular and non-secular clergy and from laity outstanding in wisdom. The definitive judgment concerning the suitability of the one to be promoted pertains to the Apostolic See.


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