Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Response to a dubium Concerning the Diocesan Administrator as a Minister of Confirmation, 1999.

Does the diocesan administrator, who governs a diocese sede vacante, have the duty and right to confer the sacrament of confirmation on the faithful of his diocese and to grant the same faculty to specific priests?

Response. Because there is the right and duty for the faithful to receive assistance from the sacrament of confirmation (see cc. 213; 843, §1; 890), and the diocesan bishop has the obligation of seeing to it that [confirmation] be conferred on those seeking it (see c. 895, §§1 and 2), it follows that the diocesan administrator (see c. 427, §1) has from the law the faculty to confer the sacrament of confirmation.

If there is a necessity, the diocesan administrator can grant this faculty to specific priests so that they can administer this sacrament (see cc. 427, §; 884, §1; 885, §§1 and 2).

The diocesan administrator has the faculty to administer confirmation only within the territory of the diocese committed to his pastoral care.

Notitiae 35 (1999): 160; W.H. Woestman, Sacraments: Initiation, Penance, Anointing of the Sick: Commentary on Canons 840-1007 (Ottawa, Saint Paul University, Faculty of Canon Law, 2004): 422.