An ordinary is a church or civic authority who has “ordinary power” to execute laws. Such officers are found in hierarchically organized churches of Western Christianity. Diocesan bishops are ordinaries in the Episcopal Church. The term can also be used in outside the church, and in many southern states, the county ordinary issues marriage licenses and adjudicates claims. In the Episcopal Church, a person exercises power to govern either because the person holds an office to which Canon Law grants power (ordinary power) or because someone with governing power has delegated the power to that person (delegated power). Jesus originally gave ordinary power to bishops when He established Peter as the first bishop; diocesan bishops are successors to Peter and retain ordinary power within their dioceses. Episcopal Canons assist a Dean in a cathedral’s administration or a bishop in a diocese administration. The latter bears the title “Canon (assistant) to the Ordinary (the bishop).” Canons to the Ordinary oversee the ordination process and are involved with parish development. The title of Canon may also be honorary and is bestowed by cathedrals or bishops to clergy or laity who provide significant service. Fr. Tony Moon served as a Canon in our diocese.
~ Dr. Gil Haas