Pending Vatican approval, my diocese is moving the Cathedral to a neighboring parish. The Cathedral Parish was St. Raphael, the new Parish is St. Bernards. Now, nothing against St. Bernard, but he's not exactly an archangel. So what I'm wondering is, is it the norm to rename the parish a Cathedral moves to (in this case, rename St. Bernard's parish St. Raphael's parish) or is it normal to leave St. Bernard alone and re-dedicate the diocese?

Also, since this is the only church in the parish, would it also be normal to rename the church building itself?

  • Unless it is a new building, it would be St. Bernard, since the altar has been consecrated under his protection. Do not if you can get a dispensation for a double patronage title. In Medieval times, this occasionally happened.
    – Ken Graham
    Mar 8, 2023 at 17:49
  • @ken it's not a new building (it's a very old building). So I guess I should have asked, if a parish consists of one church building, it's it always going to be named after the church?
    – Peter Turner
    Mar 8, 2023 at 17:55
  • Can not believe it may be possible.
    – Ken Graham
    Mar 9, 2023 at 2:43

1 Answer 1


If a cathedral has to move in a diocese, is it normal to rename the parish?

The short answer is no. But indults do exist.

One would think that it would not be possible! After all Canon Law seems to make this quite clear.

Can. 1218 Each church is to have its own title which cannot be changed after the church has been dedicated.

Nevertheless I love ecclesiastical loopholes.

Once the church has been solemnly dedicated under the chosen title, this title cannot be changed. Canon Law 1218 is completely unambiguous about this. However, Omnis ecclesia titulum, February 10,1999, has ecclesiastical norms that may offer the possibility of changing the title of a dedicated church, but only for grave reasons and with a specific indult from the Apostolic See. I can not determine however, what might be a sufficiently grave reason, nor how disposed the Congregation would be to grant such an indult.

Still trying to locate a copy of Omnis ecclesia titulum from an Internet source.

It should be clearly understood that a church is, and always has been, dedicated to God: other dedications are annexed on an entirely different plane. Thus a church is dedicated to God in honour (for example) of the Blessed Virgin and the saints. A typical form is the following: "Deo sacrum in honorem deiparæ immaculatæ et SS. Joannis Baptistæ et Evangelistæ." In 1190 a collegiate church in Dublin was dedicated "to God, Our Blessed Lady, and St. Patrick". Sometimes out of several who are mentioned the patron is expressly designated, as in the dedication of a chaplainry in Arngask (Scotland) in 1527, "for the praise, glory, and honour of the indivisible Trinity, the most glorious Virgin and St. Columba, abbot, our patron of the parish". The celestial patronage here considered will be restricted in the first instance to churches and chapels. Patrons in different countries generally present a distinctly national colouring; but the principles which have governed the selection of names will be made apparent by the examination of a few instances. In comparing place with place, the rank or precedence of patrons should be kept in view. - Patron Saints

Thus it is quite possible to have St. Raphael as a principle patron saint with St. Bernard as a secondary patron also saint.

Here is an example of Bishop Salvatore Matano of Rochester invoking Omnis ecclesia titulum, in a name change of one of his parish churches.

Thus one could conclude that St. Bernard’s Parish could possibly become St. Raphael’s Cathedral! Good luck!

  • I think it's a little different in the cases where parishes consisting of one church come together to form a parish with multiple churches. We've already done that several times in southern Wisconsin, now we're doing throughout the diocese and every parish is going to consist of 3-7 churches. However, our new cathedral is moving to a new parish consisting of one church building (dedicated in the 1800's) so St. Bernard's Parish could become St. Raphael's Cathedral Parish (which would be super confusing), but it would still have to be St. Bernard's Church.
    – Peter Turner
    Mar 9, 2023 at 15:49
  • @PeterTurner Not necessarily. The faithful would have to be educated as to what is happening. According to Omnis ecclesia titulum the title of the Church would change.
    – Ken Graham
    Mar 9, 2023 at 16:01

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