The appointment of a chaplain is covered under Canon Law 564....and the person appointed should be a priest. Does this place Archbishop Nichols in breach of CL?
This is what it says:
Can. 564 A chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a
stable manner the pastoral care, at least in part, of some community or
special group of Christ's faithful, to be exercised in accordance with
universal and particular law.
Can. 565 Unless the law provides otherwise or unless special rights
lawfully belong to someone, a chaplain is appointed by the local Ordinary,
to whom also it belongs to appoint one who has been presented or to confirm
Can. 566 §1 A chaplain must be given all the faculties which due pastoral
Besides those which are given by particular law or by special delegation,
a chaplain has by virtue of his office the faculty to hear the confessions of the
faithful entrusted to his care, to preach to them the word of God, to administer
Viaticum and the anointing of the sick, and to confer the sacrament of
confirmation when they are in danger of death.
§2 In hospitals and prisons and on sea voyages, a chaplain has the further
to be exercised only in those places, to absolve from latae sententiae censures
are neither reserved nor declared, without prejudice to can. 976.
Can. 567 §1 The local Ordinary is not to proceed to the appointment of a
chaplain to a house of a lay religious institute without consulting the Superior.
The Superior has the right, after consulting the community, to propose a
§2 It is the responsibility of the chaplain to celebrate or to direct liturgical
he may not, however, involve himself in the internal governance of the institute.
Well, that all seems pretty clear and straightforward.
Now how could a layman hold this position in the light of the law?