RC bp. with title of bp. of a defunct see, hence without jurisdiction there. Conquests, e.g., by Muslim, destroyed many sees: many exiled bps. assisted other prelates and became known as vicarii in pontificalibus or bps. in partibus infidelium. After the 12th c. the papal see continued to nominate bps. to sees in which they could not reside or rule. Since the 16th c., bps. have also been assigned to sees long suppressed. An 1882 encyclical abolished the term in partibus infidelium, substituting titular bp. and titular see. Many higher prelates in the curia,* vicars apostolic, and prelates nullius are titular bps. and abps. See also Roman Catholic Church, The, C 4; Vicar Apostolic.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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