Primates in the Americas

Ok…I was reading that the Archbishop of Santo Domingo, Domincan Republic, is the Primate of the Americas because his see is the oldest in the Americas.

I also remember reading that the United States doesn’t have an official primate. Back in the 1800s, one of the Plenary Councils of Baltimore requested that the Archbishop of Baltimore be named the Primate of the United States. However, Rome didn’t rule on the petition (i.e. didn’t grant or deny it), but instead, gave the Baltimore See some of the ceremonial prerogatives of a primatial see but not the full title or powers. Hence, the Archbishop of Baltimore is seen as an “honorary primate” of the United States.

Question is this: What is the relationship between the Archbishop of Santo Domingo/Primate of the Americas and the other national primates in the Americas (for example: the Archbishop of Montreal who’s Primate of Canada or the Archbishop of Mexico City who is the Primate of Mexico, etc. What prerogatives does continental primate have over a national primate?

Also, when the prelates of the Americas meet when they have the Synod of the Americas, is the Archbishop of Baltimore treated as a primate?

In procession and seating, does the Primate of the Americas have precedence over the national primates? Do the actual primates have precedence over Baltimore which has the prerogatives of a primate but not the title?

One correction, the title of Primate of Canada belongs to the Archbishop of Quebec, not Montreal and is in this case Cardinal Marc Quellet.
The title Primate is one of honour and precedence. not one of jurisdiction. The primate is primus inter pares among the metropolitan archbishops of the region but he normally goes not have jurisdiction over them. In the past, the primate of a country or region did have leadership functions such as presiding over a synod of the bishops of a nation or region but now that that function belongs to the president of the national conference of bishops.
The title Primate of the Americas would have been given to the Archbishop of Santo Domingo because that see is the oldest in that area of the world. Much the same as the Archbishop of Toledo, Spain is called the Primate of the Visigoth Kingdom and the Archbishop of Lyons, France is the Primate of the Gauls. As far as ecclesiastical precedence goes ( for processions, seating at conferences etc) there is a long list of categories or rank that is strictly adhered to. The top of the list is as follows:
The Supreme Pontiff
Cardinal Vice -Dean
Cardinal-Secretary of State ( de facto because of responsibility)
Cardinal-Bishops (by date of their appointment to the suburican see)
Oriental Patriarchs
Cardinal-Priests (by date of creation)
Cardinal- Deacons ( by date of creation )
Major Archbishops
Archbishops !. Residential 2. Titular
And the list goes on!
Within each category or rank, precedence is derived from the date of ordination, promotion or nomination into that specific category. So, Cardinal Lopez Rodriguez of Santo Domingo would have precedence in Central or South America, not because he has the title Primate but because he was created a Cardinal-Priest in 1991 and has had that title longer than any other Cardinal-Priest in that region… In the United States, The first in strict order of precedence would be Cardinal Law (created Cardinal-Priest in 1985). However, since he is no longer, I presume, a member of the USCCB, that honour would go to Cardinal Mahoney (Cardinal -Priest in 1991) followed by Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop-emeritus of Baltimore ( Cardinal-Priest in 1994).
In Canada, although Cardinal Ouellet is the Primate of Canada he is the most junior of the Canadian cardinals. Cardinal Turcotte of Montreal (Cardinal-Priest in 1994) and Cardinal Ambrozic, Archbishop-emeritus of Toronto ( Cardinal-Priest in 1998) have ecclesiastical precedence over him.
I hope this helps a bit.:slight_smile:

A small correction: Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, Major Penitentiary Emeritus of the Apostolic Penitentiary, was made a Cardinal Priest in the consistory of 1976 and participated in both Conclaves of 1978 and the Conclave of 2005. Of the American Cardinal-Priests, he is the longest serving. He has 9 years over Law.

You’re right. Sorry. I was going by those cardinals who are still eligible to vote in a conclave. I should have clarified that in my previous post.:o

For some reason I thought this would be a question/comment about evolution, don’t know where my mind was. Interesting question and answers :thumbsup:

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