Postulation (Lat. postulare, to request), a petition presented to a competent ecclesiastical superior, that he may promote to a certain dignity a person who is not strictly eligible on account of some canonical impediment which is usually dispensable. Such impediments are, for example, illegitimate birth, defect of requisite age, or the condition of a person, such as a bishop, even a titular one, or a regular, who cannot accept a new dignity without leave of their ecclesiastical superior. When a postulation is simultaneous with an election, it is required that the votes be twice the number sufficient if the person were canonically eligible. Occasionally, the Holy See dispenses with the necessity of postulation by granting an indult of eligibility to the person in question, or by empowering the electors to proceed to a choice without having recourse to a formal postulation. Postulation is called solemn, when it is addressed to the superior who can dispense with the defect in the candidate. It is called simple, when the superior in question can not dispense in the canonical impediment yet his consent is required for the candidate’s promotion, such as is the case with regulars promoted to the episcopal dignity, who need the licence of their religious superior to accept the charge. Postulation is employed only for those who have a dispensable defect, and in the petitionary document all impediments must be expressed under pain of nullity. After a postulation has been signed and sealed, presented to, and accepted by, the proper superior, those making it can not recede from, nor change, it. The person in whose favor the postulation has been made must signify within a month his willingness to accept the dignity offered.
WILLIAM H. W. FANNING