A fully organized diocese must have various officials to assist the bishop.
These form the diocesan court.
It consists of:
- a vicar-general with general vicarious power in spiritual and temporal matters, who is one tribunal with his bishop and can be removed from office at will;
- an official, who corresponds to a chief justice in the civil courts, having ordinary power;
- a chancellor, to keep the records a promoter of justice, like a district attorney;
- a defender of the bond of Marriage and Sacred Orders, whose duty it is to defend the existence of a true marriage or valid Orders when either is attacked;
- synodal judges, who may be called associate justices and who are generally named in the diocesan synod;
- examiners, who preside at examinations of the clergy and intervene in certain cases of removal of parish priests;
- parish priest consultors, who also are called in sometimes in the removal of irremovable pastors or in the transfer of ordinary pastors; auditors, who assist the judges in ecclesiastical trials by citing witnesses, etc.;
- messengers or beadles, to serve citations on parties to suit;
- notaries, who act as secretaries and sign all official acts of a trial.
New Catholic Dictionary