(L. abbatia territorialis) ; a territorially defined specific section of the people of God, whose care is for certain reasons entrusted to a prelate or an abbot who governs it, akin to a diocesan bishop, as its proper pastor (cf. CIC, c.370).

Abbacies which has an exemption from the diocesan jurisdiction and this exemption extended to the communities outside which depended on the monastery for their pastoral care. They are to be seen as an interim arrangement in territories not dependent on the Congregation for Evangelization of Peoples, where there are yet insufficient ecclesiastical structures for a proper diocese.