A vicar general is the principal deputy to and the alter ego of the bishop of a diocese, an agent in central administration, acting as second-in-command, with executive power over the whole diocese, caring for its day-to-day activities. He is the equivalent of a chief operating officer to ensure that diocesan structures will always be at the service of God’s faithful and that administrative demands should not take precedence over the care of people, but rather be a help and support to them and to the priests who serve.
He must be a priest and has the title of local ordinary. He is to report more important affairs to the diocesan bishop, maintaining frequent communication, and must always act according to the bishop’s intention and mind.
While the historical origins of this office date back to the fourth century, the Second Vatican Council spoke of it as “the most important office in the diocesan curia”, and the 1983 Code of Canon Law established it as a mandatory office in the organizational structure of a diocese.