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An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government and participates in the exercise of authority (either their own or that of their superior and/or employer, public or legally private). A government official or functionary is an official who is involved in public administration or government, through either election, appointment, selection, or employment. A bureaucrat or civil servant is a member of the bureaucracy. An elected official is a person who is an official by virtue of an election. Officials may also be appointed ex officio (by virtue of another office, often in a specified capacity, such as presiding, advisory, secretary). Some official positions may be inherited. A person who currently holds an office is referred to as an incumbent. The word official as a noun has been recorded since the Middle English period, first seen in 1314.[citation needed] It comes from the Old French official (12th century), from the Latin
Latin
officialis ("attendant to a magistrate, public official"), the noun use of the original adjective officialis ("of or belonging to duty, service, or office") from officium ("office"). The meaning "person in charge of some public work or duty" was first recorded in 1555. The adjective is first attested in English in 1533 via the Old French
Old French
oficial. The informal term officialese, the jargon of "officialdom", was first recorded in 1884.

Contents

1 Roman Antiquity 2 Ecclesiastical judiciary 3 Other 4 Max Weber
Max Weber
on bureaucratic officials 5 Adjective 6 See also 7 Sources and references

Roman Antiquity[edit] An officialis (plural officiales) was the official term (somewhat comparable to a modern civil servant) for any member of the officium (staff) of a high dignitary such as a governer. Ecclesiastical judiciary[edit]

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Hierarchy of the Catholic Church

Saint Peter

Ecclesiastical titles (order of precedence)

Pope Cardinal

Cardinal Vicar

Moderator of the curia Chaplain
Chaplain
of His Holiness Papal legate Papal majordomo Apostolic Nuncio Apostolic Delegate Apostolic Syndic Apostolic visitor Vicar Apostolic Apostolic Exarch Apostolic Prefect Assistant at the Pontifical Throne Eparch Metropolitan Patriarch Bishop

Archbishop Bishop Emeritus Diocesan bishop Major archbishop Primate Suffragan bishop Titular bishop Coadjutor bishop Auxiliary bishop

Territorial prelate Territorial abbot

Liturgical titles

Acolyte Consecrator Lector Reader Subdeacon

Administrative and pastoral titles

Auditor Brother Chancellor Chaplain

Military chaplain Military ordinary

Coarb Confessor Consultor Curate Deacon Defender of the Bond Definitor Devil's advocate Diocesan administrator Ecclesiastical judge Episcopal vicar Exorcist Judicial vicar Lay brother Lay cardinal Monsignor Officialis Pastor

Assistant pastor

Personal prelate Preacher Prefect Presbyter Priest Protonotary Apostolic Saint

Blessed Venerable

Seminarian Vicar forane Vicar general

Consecrated and professed titles

Abbess Abbot Consecrated virgin Corrector Custos Friar Dean Grand Master Hermit Master general Master of novices Monk Novice Nun

Postulant

Oblate Prior Provincial superior Rector Religious Superior general

Additional titles

Almoner Altar server Archimandrite Archpriest Archdeacon Canon Chorbishop Commissary Apostolic Datarius Honorary Prelate Minor canon Notarius Ostiarius Peritus Postulator Precentor Prince-bishop Promotor Fidei Protopriest Protodeacon Protosyncellus Regionarius

Organization
Organization
titles

Grand Master

Sovereign Military Order of Malta Order of the Holy Sepulchre Teutonic Knights

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Part of a series on the

Jurisprudence of Catholic canon law

Current law

1983 Code of Canon Law

Omnium in mentem Magnum principium

Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches Ad tuendam fidem Ex corde Ecclesiae Indulgentiarum Doctrina Pastor
Pastor
bonus

Pontificalis Domus

Veritatis gaudium Custom

Legal history

1917 Code of Canon Law

Corpus Juris Canonici

Decretist Regulæ Juris Decretals of Gregory IX

Decretalist

Decretum Gratiani Extravagantes Liber Septimus

Ancient Church Orders

Didache The Apostolic Constitutions

Canons of the Apostles

Collections of ancient canons

Collectiones canonum Dionysianae Collectio canonum quadripartita Collectio canonum Quesnelliana Collectio canonum Wigorniensis

Other

Pseudo-Isidorian Decretals Benedictus Deus (Pius IV) Contractum trinius Defect of Birth Jus exclusivae Papal appointment

Oriental law

Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches Eastern Canonical Reforms of Pius XII Nomocanon Archeparchy

Eparchy

Liturgical law

Ecclesia Dei Mysterii Paschalis Sacrosanctum concilium

Musicam sacram

Summorum Pontificum Tra le sollecitudini

Sacramental law

Canon 844 Ex opere operato Omnium in mentem Valid but illicit

Holy Orders

Impediment (canon law)

Abstemius

Clerical celibacy (Catholic Church) Nullity of Sacred Ordination

Apostolicae curae

Dimissorial letters Approbation

Confession

Apostolic Penitentiary Complicit absolution Canon penitentiary Internal forum Paenitentiale Theodori Penitential canons Seal of the Confessional

Eucharist

Eucharistic discipline Canon 915

Matrimonial law

Banns of Marriage Declaration of Nullity

Matrimonial Nullity Trial Reforms of Pope
Pope
Francis

Defender of the Bond Impediments to Marriage

Affinity Bigamy Clandestinity Impediment of crime Disparity of Cult Ligamen

Matrimonial Dispensation

Ratum sed non consummatum Sanatio in radice

Natural marriage

Pauline privilege Petrine privilege

Trials and tribunals

Tribunals

Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura Tribunal of the Roman Rota Apostolic Penitentiary

Tribunal Officers

Judicial Vicar/Officialis Auditor Advocatus Diaboli Defender of the Bond

Tribunal Procedure

Appeal as from an abuse Presumption

Canonical structures Particular churches

Particular churches sui juris

Latin
Latin
Church Eastern Catholic Churches

Local particular churches

Abbacy nullius

Abbot
Abbot
nullius

Apostolic vicariate

Apostolic vicar

Apostolic administration

Apostolic administrator

Archdiocese Diocese

Aeque principaliter Cathedraticum In persona episcopi Chancery Deanery

Vicar forane

Archeparchy Eparchy Military ordinariate Mission sui juris Personal ordinariate

Anglicanorum Coetibus

Personal Prelature

Juridic persons

Parish Roman Curia

Dicastery Congregation Pontifical council

Jurisprudence

Canonical coronation

Canonically crowned images

Computation of time Contract law Custom Delegata potestas non potest delegari Derogation Dispensation

Taxa Innocentiana

Indult Impediment Interpretation

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts

Jurisdiction Peritus Obreption & subreption Obrogation Promulgation Resignation of the Roman Pontiff Sede vacante Vacatio legis Valid but illicit

Philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory

Theology

Ecclesiology

Treatise on Law

Determinatio

Law of persons

Person (canon law) Canonical age Canonical faculties Clerics and public office Clerical celebacy Consecrated life Defect of Birth Emancipation Juridic & physical persons Jus patronatus Laicization (dispensation)

Canonical documents

Notary (canon law)

Protonotary apostolic

Apostolic constitution Canon Concordat Decree Decretal Encyclical Motu proprio Ordinance Papal brief Papal bull Penitential Positive law Rescript

Penal law

Canon 1324 Canon 1398 Censure (canon law) Excommunication

List of excommunicable offences in the Catholic Church List of people excommunicated by the Catholic Church

List of excommunicated cardinals

Interdict Internal forum Laicization (penal) Latae sententiae

Procedural law Election
Election
of the Roman Pontiff

Universi Dominici gregis Papal renunciation

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In Canon law, the word or its Latin
Latin
original officialis is used absolutely as the legal title of a diocesan bishop's judicial vicar who shares the bishop's ordinary judicial power over the diocese and presides over the diocesan ecclesiastical court. The 1983 Code of Canon Law
1983 Code of Canon Law
gives precedence to the title Judicial Vicar, rather than that of Officialis (canon 1420). The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches uses only the title Judicial Vicar
Judicial Vicar
(canon 191). In German, the related noun Offizialat was also used for an official bureau in a diocese that did much of its administration, comprising the vicariate-general, an adjoined secretariat, a registry office and a chancery. The title of official principal, together with that of vicar-general, has in Anglicanism been merged in that of Diocesan chancellor
Diocesan chancellor
of a diocese. Other[edit] In sports, the term official is used to describe a person enforcing playing rules in the capacity of a linesman, referee and umpire; also specified by the discipline, e.g. American football official, Ice hockey official. The term officer is close to being a synonym (but has more military connotations). A functionary is someone who carries out a particular role within an organization; this again is quite a close synonym for official, as a noun, but with connotations closer to bureaucrat. Any such person acts in their official capacity, in carrying out the duties of their office; they are also said to officiate, for example in a ceremony. A public official is an official of central or local government. Max Weber
Max Weber
on bureaucratic officials[edit]

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Max Weber
Max Weber
gave as definition of a bureaucratic official:

they are personally free and appointed to their position on the basis of conduct he exercises the authority delegated to them in accordance with impersonal rules, and their loyalty is enlisted on behalf of the faithful execution of their official duties their appointment and job placement are dependent upon their technical qualifications their administrative work is a full-time occupation their work is rewarded by a regular salary and prospects of advancement in a lifetime career.

An official must exercise their judgment and their skills, but their duty is to place these at the service of a higher authority; ultimately they are responsible only for the impartial execution of assigned tasks and must sacrifice their personal judgment if it runs counter to their official duties. Adjective[edit] As an adjective, "official" often, but not always, means pertaining to the government, as state employee or having state recognition, or analogous to governance or to a formal (especially legally regulated) proceeding as opposed to informal business. Some examples:

An official holiday is a public holiday, having national (or regional) recognition. An official language is a language recognised by a government, for its own use in administration, or for delivering services to its citizens (for example, on signposts). An official spokesperson is an individual empowered to speak for the government, or some part of it such as a ministry, on a range of issues and on the record for the media. An official statement is an issued by an organisation as an expression of its corporate position or opinion;[citation needed] an official apology is an apology similarly issued by an organisation (as opposed to an apology by an individual).[citation needed] Official
Official
policy is policy publicly acknowledged and defended by an organisation.[citation needed] In these cases unofficial is an antonym, and variously may mean informal, unrecognised, personal or unacknowledged. An official strike is a strike organised and recognised by a labour union, as opposed to an unofficial strike at grassroots level. An official school is a school administered by the government or by a local authority, as opposite to a private school or religious school.[citation needed] An official history, for example of an institution or business, or particularly of a war or military unit, is a history written as a commission, with the assumption of co-operation with access to records and archives; but without necessarily full editorial independence.[citation needed] An official biography is usually on the same lines, written with access to private papers and the support of the family of the subject.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

Look up official in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Bureaucrat Civil servant Title Pauly-Wissowa

Sources and references[edit] (incomplete)

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "article name needed". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton.   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "article name needed". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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