Bishopric-Priorate of the Military Orders of Spain, directly subject to the Holy See
Ciudad Real (ECCLESIA CLUNIENSIS), Bishopric-Priorate of the Military Orders of Spain, directly subject to the Holy See. To counteract the disadvantages caused by the dispersion of the church lands appertaining to the military orders of Santiago, Alcantara, Calahorra, and Montesa, Article VI of the Concordat of 1851 decrees that a special circumscription (coto redondo) be formed for the churches belonging to the aforesaid orders and that the government thereof be confided to a prior, with episcopal rank, and furthermore that said see be designated as in partibus infidelium. Consequently, by the Bull “Ad Apostolicam Beati Petri”, Pius IX created (1875) the Bishopric-Priorate of the Military Orders, assigning to it as territory all the province of Ciudad Real, some towns of which had hitherto belonged to the Diocese of Toledo, others to the Dioceses of Cuenca and Cordova. The residence of the bishop is at Ciudad Real (population, 1900, 15,327). At the same time the pope accorded to King Alfonso XII and to his successors, as Grand Masters of the Military Orders, the right to nominate within three months the bishop-prior, whenever a vacancy occurred, and at the same time to solicit for him from the Holy See the title of Bishop of Dora in partibus infidelium, which church was to remain perpetually united to the Priorate of Ciudad Real. The execution of the Bull was confided to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo, by whom (June 4, 1876) the entire province of Ciudad Real was made a bishopric-priorate of the Military Orders, and for all canonical purposes constituted a territory vere et proprie nullius dicecesis, i.e. exempt from all neighboring jurisdiction.
EDUARDO DE HINOJOSA