Presbyters vesting as bishops

I know of two cases where mere presbyters (priests) vest as bishops - or at least “bishop-like” (mitre, crossier, etc): abbots and Ordinaries of Anglican Ordinariates. Are there any other examples of “quasi-bishops” in terms of vesting? What about Prefects Apostolic?

Yes, besides bishops, apostolic prefects (assigned to missionary areas) or abbots (monastery) are able to wear the mitre and ring and carry a crosier. There are a lot of apostolic prefects in China.

The Ordinaries in the Anglican Ordinariate are allowed to vest as Bishops. Except for Ordination of priests, they have the same duties as a Bishop of a Diocese.

They also attend the Bishops Conference, I am not sure it they are able to vote or not.

At some point in time there will probably be a Ordinariate Bishop. He will have to be celibate.

Yours in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary


Until 1968, monsignors were allowed to celebrate Pontifical Masses four times a year, dressed in full bishop’s regalia. The post-V2 reforms eliminated this privilege for most monsignors.

In the byzantine rite there is the rank of “mitred archpriest”, an honorific awarded by the bishop. They way a mitre similar to that of byzantine bishops:

(See pictured in the site below, Fr. Roman Galadza, a Ukrainian Greek-Catholic mitred archpriest)

I just realized that such priests do not have the cross on their miter or “crowns” in the eastern churches.

Could married priests be elevated to the rank of “mitred archpriest”? I had previously assumed the Anglican Ordinaries were the only married Catholic priests who vest as bishops.


I had previously assumed the Anglican Ordinaries were the only married Catholic priests who vest as bishops.

To start, we need to make a distinction between Eastern and Western practice.

In the East, priests who hold those orders are ordained to them. Therefore, they are always permanent, and never “automatic” (there must be an ordination). Once he is an archpriest, he is always an archpriest.

In the West, these offices might be temporary (some of them). For example, an Abbot who is also an ordinary wears the mitre, crozier, ring and cross as symbols of his office as shepherd/ordinary; but when his term of office is expired, he no longer wears them (although some may retain the cross).

To answer you question more directly: in practical terms, the Anglican Ordinaries are most likely the only married Western priests who may vest as bishops, but this is more coincidental than strictly legal. A Protonotary Apostolic (the 3rd level of Monsignor) may wear the Mitre. While there might not be any PA’s who are married, there’s no actual law prohibiting a married priest from being a PA.

An abbess can also use a croiser, gloves, and a pectoral cross.

I understand that historically some abbesses even had the right to wear the mitre. Of course the mitre hasn’t always been strictly associated with the office of bishop.

Some abbesses even ruled men’s monasteries.


Do Apostolic Prefects still have this privilege? I know Wikipedia is hardly infallible, but it implies that only Abbots and Personal Ordinaries (Anglican) are still permitted to wear the mitre among presbyters…
I believe that Apostolic Protonotaries and Domestic Prelates previously had this privilege but no longer do.

Apostolic Administrator Father Antonysamy , M.E.P. Susairaj wears a miter (Cambodia) installed Apostolic Prefect of Kompong Cham on May 27, 2000.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit